News too good to confine to just one ScienceBlog

Via Recursivity and Pharyngula, I've learned that, after being an embarrassment to Princeton University for nearly three decades, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory is closing due to lack of funding. I'm only amazed that it held on so long. Let's just hope that Deepak Chopra doesn't decide to bail it out.

From my perspective, given this news, the most important question of all is: How will the impending closing of PEAR affect the Global Orgasm (news story here) scheduled for December 22 and featured in last week's Your Friday Dose of Woo? After all, the organizers are depending upon PEAR to measure an effect on the "global consciousness" from this event.

This could be a real blow to world peace through sex!

More like this

Lies As Proofs of Life After Death, a poem by WW


"Besides the various experiments in telepathy and 'remote viewing,' which are much more credible than skeptics will admit, there is a replicated study from the engineering department at Princeton in which ordinary people could will a computer to generate a certain pattern of numbers. They did this through thought alone, having no contact with the machine itself."

~Deepak Chopra gives proof of life after death scientifically

It is concluded that the quoted significance values are meaningless because of defects in the experimental and statistical procedures.

~George P. Hansen, Jessica Utts, Betty Markwick
Originally published in the Journal
of Parapsychology, Vol. 56, No. 2,
June 1992, pp. 97-113.


to cite unproven proofs
of psychokinesis
as proofs of afterlife --
misleading and telling lies --
is chicanery in itself
and is punishable for
charlatanism in this life,
and for rotting in hell when
Yama presents the guru's
soul to the maker of life.

~white wings

Unfortunately, the initiative to bring about world peace through sex will not work, not because there is any flaw in the proposed method, but because the people that really need to engage in it (the crazy fundies) will not touch with a 60 foot pole.

If Hezbollah operatives engaged in massive orgies with Israeli troops, things wopudl quite down quite over there, wouldn't you say?

By valhar2000 (not verified) on 20 Nov 2006 #permalink

I know I'm going to get slammed for this one, but I'll take the risk. I'm not writing to defend Deepak Chopra's contentions about genetic intelligence. I found it far-fetched as well when I read it, and looked upon it more as entertaining fiction. However, he has produced one book which I have found very valuable. It's called "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success." => has a brief summary of each.

I see the laws as a philosophical, poetic construct by which to use your mind power to create the life you want. Everything is born from will and desire. The laws are just an additional tool by which to engender change in self. Not everything D. Chopra says makes scientific sense, but on this soft subject I do think he provides some very valid points.

And no, this is not about believing you can cure a cancer with your mental power. This is about everyday life, how you live it, and creating the future you want.

It seems that all forms of religion and pseudoscience will usually have some valuable advice or ideas on living well, getting along with others, achieving inner peace and serenity, and becoming a better person. Someone claims to channel a space alien and tells people to let go of anger and try to find a way to make a positive difference in the life of someone else. Your horoscope informs you today is a good day to get to those projects you've been putting off. A lot of alternative medicine will include perfectly valid diet or health advice.

It's a bit hard to say if this makes the pseudoscience better or worse. As Dr. Harriet Hall pointed out in one of her reviews of an Andrew Weil book, there is no clear division between the good, the bad, and the speculative. It's jumbled up together as if it fits smoothly and harmoniously. At worst, the reasonable stuff legitimizes the nonsense, draws people in, puts them off their guard. You may be able to make distinctions. But a lot of people don't seem to be able to tell the difference between "this personally works in my life" and "the rationale behind it must be true."

The other problem is that the legitmate advice is generally pretty obvious, in most cases little more than platitudes. If you pared away all the woo i doubt there'd be enough left of alternative medicine to make a viable concept of anything, except advice anyone might give.

If there is anything of worth in alternitve medicine at all we will never find it while its buried in woo. That's where the scientific method comes in.

It's an idiotic idea. But their choice of music is kind of nice. (It would be even better if the guitarist didn't produce so many string squeaks, but wotthehell........)

By anomalous4 (not verified) on 23 Nov 2006 #permalink