Remote Viewing: What Constitutes Proof?

Remote Viewing Goes To Eleven.

Okay, one quick follow-up to the Shermer/remote viewing post. It’s about how we categorize success where remote viewing is concerned. When Ray Hyman laughs off the success rate of remote viewing (15% psychic hits; 85% psychic misses by his count), should he be laughing? It depends on how we’re counting.

As a spy program for the military or CIA, yeah, 15% sucks. Shut the program down, by all means. As a statistical value wherein 15% represents chance, yeah, that’s pretty awful, too. But as proof that an as-yet scientifically unproven element of psychic aptitude really does exist? It’s gold.

We’re not talking about psychically influencing coin flips, here. We’re talking about visualizing what is sealed inside an envelope. In the case of the classroom exercise Shermer took part in, what’s in the envelope is a picture. In the case of military remote viewing, what was in the envelope was a set of “coordinates.” Numbers. I can’t remember if they were actual coordinates or just random numbers–if you know, please post in the comments. I’m too lazy to look it up.

So, you’ve got a target in an envelope to which the remote viewer is blind and the viewer starts sketching out what they visualize is in the envelope–or what is represented by the numbers. An accurate hit means that either what they sketch is the target or that the act of sketching aids them in being able to verbalize the target. Either way, what we end up with is a human who is perceiving something they can’t know. (If it’s coordinates or random numbers, obviously they are not perceiving what’s in the envelope but, somehow, the thought or intention of the person who wrote them. One of the big flaws I see with military remote viewing is they never tackled the question of how this works, they just knew that it did and went with it. But, if we live in a multiverse comprised of other choices we never made, yada-yada, who is to say that they are reading from this version of the person who put that in the envelope? Perhaps they end up reading some alternate version of the universe, which influences the exactness of the psychic hit. Or not. Just a possibility. I digress….)

Okay, that’s basically what remote viewing is. It’s a gussied up psychic ability. My contention is that the success rate of such a thing does not fall into the language of statistics. It just doesn’t. If even one hit is exact, that warrants uncorking the champaign. I think the dude writing “Stonehenge” when the target was Stonehenge counts as an exact hit. I think Michael Shermer admitting that, “I, myself, had picked up on a grassy field with a statue or monument near London” is close enough. I think him hiding behind the statistical probability that it’s chance is, how Penn and Teller say, bullshit.

Statistics? Irrelevant. If you have a picture hidden in an envelope of Stonehenge and I, an American in America, gain the impression that it’s  Stonehenge and draw Stonehenge, that’s it. Game over. We don’t have to guess at what constitutes failure since the rest of the class is drawing circles that may or may not be fuzzy hits. I’ve hit it exactly. And not just me, Michael friggen Shermer. And not just us but other Westernized people 15% of the time. I wonder what that hit rate would be for, say, a First Peoples shaman?

This gets me to another rub: cultural bias. Anyone else here think that if a shaman living with/in/as nature looked at our scientific studies and charts trying to prove or disprove the reality of remote viewing he or she would actually be the only one with a right to a smirk? Not Shermer. Not Carr. Hey, how about the people who have built successful cultures around the very things we are arguing about discovering or discarding as nonsense?

Perhaps when we live with/in/as nature, these “psychic” connections grow stronger. The signal grows stronger without all the noise of thoughts and judgements and egocentrism and problem-solving inherent to a people who must fix and upgrade their buildings and pavements and online access, which they’ve invented to “conquer” and be able to freely ignore nature. Or perhaps that’s another conversation for another time.

Go back to the original article. Look at what Joe McMoneagle drew and look at what his target was. He drew the target! That doesn’t mean he can predict the future or alway get it right or even mostly get it right. I find his books overblown nonsense, for the most part, truth be told. But if he never got it right again, he did that once. (And he did get it right numerous times.)

I think the old adage “If even one UFO turns out to be alien, that’s enough,” applies here. Not statistics.

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19 thoughts on “Remote Viewing: What Constitutes Proof?

  1. If you want to point to statistics – the 15% – you accept the use of it, and thus cannot point to McMoneagle’s one hit.

    If you want to point to McMoneagle’s one hit, because it falls outside of statistics, you cannot point to the 15% as evidence of remote viewing.

    Which is it? You have to make up your mind. You cannot have it both ways, depending on the situation.

    You still need to explain how you can distinguish between a hit and a lucky guess.

    • Statistics. Useful to determine how much of the time people get direct hits. I suppose if one wants to try to figure out how many shapes roughly like the target people hit, it’s useful. But I did distinguish a hit from a lucky guess. A hit is writing STONEHENGE and drawing the place. A hit is the Joe McMoneagle drawing. A hit is Michael Shermer’s statement. Those are not lucky guesses. That’s willful blindness.

      I should point out that Shermer didn’t accuse the fireman who got Stonehenge right of getting lucky. He accused him of possibly being in on a co with Dr. Carr. Even Shermer knows that’s too lucky for a lucky guess. It has to be a con. How does he know? Because it worked. And it’s not supposed to do that.

      • Yes. As do we all. I assume the only difference between remote viewing and the computer reading the brain is that we haven’t figured out the step-by-step process of how remote viewing works. To my mind they both produce a similar or same “amazing” result, but because we know the A to B to C steps of how one works and not the other, we say one works and the other is psychic bunk. Meanwhile, the only difference is that one involves a purely material reading and the other is still unknown. That is a prejudice, not a logical view.

        I’m also saying that statistical analyses regarding the likelihood of putting a man on the moon is all well and good until we actually do. Then they are irrelevant because it happened. You can’t turn around and say, “I don’t believe we put a man on the moon because, statistically speaking, there’s only a 15% chance that it could happen” as Neil Armstrong is telling the world, “That’s one small step for man….”

        Such behavior is befitting a priest who refuses to look through the telescope.

  2. Hey–if you’re friends wit Shermer, or a friend of friends, why not recommend that he continue the remote viewing training, since he seems to be a spectacular candidate? Who knows–maybe he’ll win that Randi challenge money. Everyone loves a twist ending!

    Or he’ll consistently fail and prove the value of statistics. He could benefit humanity or make me eat crow. Either way you win and actual science will have been done.

    • “I” have no interest and no money for classes. Shermer has money, one class under his belt, and already demonstrated a pronounced ability. He also might not have the goal post moved on him as to what constitutes proof because he’s friends with Randi.

      Everything’s coming up Shermer! This could be great! Stop wasting time trying to play gotcha with me and tell him of this amazing opportunity! Do your job, Claus Larsen… for science… for the children!

  3. You can give the money to your favorite charity. Or, you can use the money to pay for people to take remote viewing classes.

    What is keeping you from applying? You don’t think you can perform above chance?

  4. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been doing a little research on this.
    Andd he inn fact bought me lunmch because I discovered itt ffor him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks
    for spending time to talk about this issue here on your internet
    site.

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  7. The James Randi phenomenon is not designed to find ‘psychic’ ability. It is a phenomenon by which a man uses his belief in a certain model of how reality works to set up experiments however he chooses in such a way that would “disprove” anything. Randi is not a scientist or even a pseudoscientist. He is a magician. And very good at convincing people to believe what he believes.

  8. Have you heard of Tom Campbell? He is a physicist with a theory that explains RV. Actually, it explains pretty much everything else too. Including plant consciousness and whether the tree in the forest makes a sound.

      • It seems to me he’s saying something can’t come from nothing and so we must be coming from something. But nothingness is something, it’s a concept. It’s the only pure concept that is the case prior to the brain (and all other things.) But you can’t have a concept without intelligence. Therefore, “nothing” is actually consciousness–it IS intelligence–and that intelligence is doing something. What is it doing? Being. What is it being? Things. All things. So, consciousness doesn’t just exist prior to the brain, it exists “prior to and inclusive of” the brain (and all things.) Therefore, existence JUST IS because it can be no other way. The only virtual reality needed is imagination. There must be beings (us, at least) who can imagine everything that cannot physically exist. Like cartoons.

        That’s the short answer.

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