[Paleopsych] RedNova News: Can This Black Box See Into the Future?

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Tue Apr 12 19:46:35 UTC 2005

Can This Black Box See Into the Future?
Posted on: Friday, 11 February 2005, 00:00 CST

[This would be completely fabulous if true. Actually, there are a number 
of results like this that would change very basic science. When should I 
join the bandwagon? I'm reminded of the saying, "Those who quit the Party 
before I did were traitors; those who quit after were fools."

    DEEP in the basement of a dusty university library in Edinburgh lies a
    small black box, roughly the size of two cigarette packets side by
    side, that churns out random numbers in an endless stream.

    At first glance it is an unremarkable piece of equipment. Encased in
    metal, it contains at its heart a microchip no more complex than the
    ones found in modern pocket calculators.

    But, according to a growing band of top scientists, this box has quite
    extraordinary powers. It is, they claim, the 'eye' of a machine that
    appears capable of peering into the future and predicting major world

    The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World
    Trade Centre four hours before they happened - but in the fevered mood
    of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked
    back by sceptics. But last December, it also appeared to forewarn of
    the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that
    precipitated the epic tragedy.

    Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box with
    apparently inexplicable powers.

    'It's Earth-shattering stuff,' says Dr Roger Nelson, emeritus
    researcher at Princeton University in the United States, who is
    heading the research project behind the 'black box' phenomenon.

    'We're very early on in the process of trying to figure out what's
    going on here. At the moment we're stabbing in the dark.' Dr Nelson's
    investigations, called the Global Consciousness Project, were
    originally hosted by Princeton University and are centred on one of
    the most extraordinary experiments of all time. Its aim is to detect
    whether all of humanity shares a single subconscious mind that we can
    all tap into without realising.

    And machines like the Edinburgh black box have thrown up a tantalising
    possibility: that scientists may have unwittingly discovered a way of
    predicting the future.

    Although many would consider the project's aims to be little more than
    fools' gold, it has still attracted a roster of 75 respected
    scientists from 41 different nations. Researchers from Princeton -
    where Einstein spent much of his career - work alongside scientists
    from universities in Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and
    Germany. The project is also the most rigorous and longest-running
    investigation ever into the potential powers of the paranormal.

    'Very often paranormal phenomena evaporate if you study them for long
    enough,' says physicist Dick Bierman of the University of Amsterdam.
    'But this is not happening with the Global Consciousness Project. The
    effect is real. The only dispute is about what it means.' The project
    has its roots in the extraordinary work of Professor Robert Jahn of
    Princeton University during the late 1970s. He was one of the first
    modern scientists to take paranormal phenomena seriously. Intrigued by
    such things as telepathy, telekinesis - the supposed psychic power to
    move objects without the use of physical force - and extrasensory
    perception, he was determined to study the phenomena using the most
    up-to-date technology available.

    One of these new technologies was a humble-looking black box known was
    a Random Event Generator (REG). This used computer technology to
    generate two numbers - a one and a zero - in a totally random
    sequence, rather like an electronic coin-flipper.

    The pattern of ones and noughts - 'heads' and 'tails' as it were -
    could then be printed out as a graph. The laws of chance dictate that
    the generators should churn out equal numbers of ones and zeros -
    which would be represented by a nearly flat line on the graph. Any
    deviation from this equal number shows up as a gently rising curve.

    During the late 1970s, Prof Jahn decided to investigate whether the
    power of human thought alone could interfere in some way with the
    machine's usual readings. He hauled strangers off the street and asked
    them to concentrate their minds on his number generator. In effect, he
    was asking them to try to make it flip more heads than tails.

    It was a preposterous idea at the time. The results, however, were
    stunning and have never been satisfactorily explained.

    Again and again, entirely ordinary people proved that their minds
    could influence the machine and produce significant fluctuations on
    the graph, 'forcing it' to produce unequal numbers of 'heads' or

    According to all of the known laws of science, this should not have
    happened - but it did. And it kept on happening.

    Dr Nelson, also working at Princeton University, then extended Prof
    Jahn's work by taking random number machines to group meditations,
    which were very popular in America at the time. Again, the results
    were eyepopping. The groups were collectively able to cause dramatic
    shifts in the patterns of numbers.

    From then on, Dr Nelson was hooked.

    Using the internet, he connected up 40 random event generators from
    all over the world to his laboratory computer in Princeton. These ran
    constantly, day in day out, generating millions of different pieces of
    data. Most of the time, the resulting graph on his computer looked
    more or less like a flat line.

    But then on September 6, 1997, something quite extraordinary happened:
    the graph shot upwards, recording a sudden and massive shift in the
    number sequence as his machines around the world started reporting
    huge deviations from the norm. The day was of historic importance for
    another reason, too.

    For it was the same day that an estimated one billion people around
    the world watched the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales at
    Westminster Abbey.

    Dr Nelson was convinced that the two events must be related in some

    Could he have detected a totally new phenomena? Could the concentrated
    emotional outpouring of millions of people be able to influence the
    output of his REGs. If so, how?

    Dr Nelson was at a loss to explain it.

    So, in 1998, he gathered together scientists from all over the world
    to analyse his findings. They, too, were stumped and resolved to
    extend and deepen the work of Prof Jahn and Dr Nelson. The Global
    Consciousness Project was born.

    Since then, the project has expanded massively. A total of 65 Eggs (as
    the generators have been named) in 41 countries have now been
    recruited to act as the 'eyes' of the project.

    And the results have been startling and inexplicable in equal measure.

    For during the course of the experiment, the Eggs have 'sensed' a
    whole series of major world events as they were happening, from the
    Nato bombing of Yugoslavia to the Kursk submarine tragedy to America's
    hung election of 2000.

    The Eggs also regularly detect huge global celebrations, such as New
    Year's Eve.

    But the project threw up its greatest enigma on September 11, 2001.

    As the world stood still and watched the horror of the terrorist
    attacks unfold across New York, something strange was happening to the

    Not only had they registered the attacks as they actually happened,
    but the characteristic shift in the pattern of numbers had begun four
    hours before the two planes even hit the Twin Towers.

    They had, it appeared, detected that an event of historic importance
    was about to take place before the terrorists had even boarded their
    fateful flights. The implications, not least for the West's security
    services who constantly monitor electronic 'chatter', are clearly

    'I knew then that we had a great deal of work ahead of us,' says Dr

    What could be happening? Was it a freak occurrence, perhaps?

    Apparently not. For in the closing weeks of December last year, the
    machines went wild once more.

    Twenty-four hours later, an earthquake deep beneath the Indian Ocean
    triggered the tsunami which devastated South-East Asia, and claimed
    the lives of an estimated quarter of a million people.

    So could the Global Consciousness Project really be forecasting the

    Cynics will quite rightly point out that there is always some global
    event that could be used to 'explain' the times when the Egg machines
    behaved erratically. After all, our world is full of wars, disasters
    and terrorist outrages, as well as the occasional global celebration.
    Are the scientists simply trying too hard to detect patterns in their
    raw data?

    The team behind the project insist not. They claim that by using
    rigorous scientific techniques and powerful mathematics it is possible
    to exclude any such random connections.

    'We're perfectly willing to discover that we've made mistakes,' says
    Dr Nelson. 'But we haven't been able to find any, and neither has
    anyone else.

    Our data shows clearly that the chances of getting these results by
    fluke are one million to one against.

    That's hugely significant.' But many remain sceptical.

    Professor Chris French, a psychologist and noted sceptic at Goldsmiths
    College in London, says: 'The Global Consciousness Project has
    generated some very intriguing results that cannot be readily
    dismissed. I'm involved in similar work to see if we get the same
    results. We haven't managed to do so yet but it's only an early
    experiment. The jury's still out.' Strange as it may seem, though,
    there's nothing in the laws of physics that precludes the possibility
    of foreseeing the future.

    It is possible - in theory - that time may not just move forwards but
    backwards, too. And if time ebbs and flows like the tides in the sea,
    it might just be possible to foretell major world events. We would, in
    effect, be 'remembering' things that had taken place in our future.

    'There's plenty of evidence that time may run backwards,' says Prof
    Bierman at the University of Amsterdam.

    'And if it's possible for it to happen in physics, then it can happen
    in our minds, too.' In other words, Prof Bierman believes that we are
    all capable of looking into the future, if only we could tap into the
    hidden power of our minds. And there is a tantalising body of evidence
    to support this theory.

    Dr John Hartwell, working at the University of Utrecht in the
    Netherlands, was the first to uncover evidence that people could sense
    the future. In the mid-1970s he hooked people up to hospital scanning
    machines so that he could study their brainwave patterns.

    He began by showing them a sequence of provocative cartoon drawings.

    When the pictures were shown, the machines registered the subject's
    brainwaves as they reacted strongly to the images before them. This
    was to be expected.

    Far less easy to explain was the fact that in many cases, these
    dramatic patterns began to register a few seconds before each of the
    pictures were even flashed up.

    It was as though Dr Hartwell's case studies were somehow seeing into
    the future, and detecting when the next shocking image would be shown

    It was extraordinary - and seemingly inexplicable.

    But it was to be another 15 years before anyone else took Dr
    Hartwell's work further when Dean Radin, a researcher working in
    America, connected people up to a machine that measured their skin's
    resistance to electricity. This is known to fluctuate in tandem with
    our moods - indeed, it's this principle that underlies many lie

    Radin repeated Dr Hartwell's 'image response' experiments while
    measuring skin resistance. Again, people began reacting a few seconds
    before they were shown the provocative pictures. This was clearly
    impossible, or so he thought, so he kept on repeating the experiments.
    And he kept getting the same results.

    'I didn't believe it either,' says Prof Bierman. 'So I also repeated
    the experiment myself and got the same results. I was shocked. After
    this I started to think more deeply about the nature of time.' To make
    matters even more intriguing, Prof Bierman says that other mainstream
    labs have now produced similar results but are yet to go public.

    'They don't want to be ridiculed so they won't release their
    findings,' he says. 'So I'm trying to persuade all of them to release
    their results at the same time. That would at least spread the
    ridicule a little more thinly!' If Prof Bierman is right, though, then
    the experiments are no laughing matter.

    They might help provide a solid scientific grounding for such strange
    phenomena as 'deja vu', intuition and a host of other curiosities that
    we have all experienced from time to time.

    They may also open up a far more interesting possibility - that one
    day we might be able to enhance psychic powers using machines that can
    'tune in' to our subconscious mind, machines like the little black box
    in Edinburgh.

    Just as we have built mechanical engines to replace muscle power,
    could we one day build a device to enhance and interpret our hidden
    psychic abilities?

    Dr Nelson is optimistic - but not for the short term. 'We may be able
    to predict that a major world event is going to happen. But we won't
    know exactly what will happen or where it's going to happen,' he says.

    'Put it this way - we haven't yet got a machine we could sell to the

    But for Dr Nelson, talk of such psychic machines - with the potential
    to detect global catastrophes or terrorist outrages - is of far less
    importance than the implications of his work in terms of the human

    For what his experiments appear to demonstrate is that while we may
    all operate as individuals, we also appear to share something far, far
    greater - a global consciousness. Some might call it the mind of God.

    'We're taught to be individualistic monsters,' he says. 'We're driven
    by society to separate ourselves from each other. That's not right.

    We may be connected together far more intimately than we realise.'


    On the Net:

    [42]Global Consciousness Project
    [43]Princeton University
    Source: Daily Mail; London (UK)


   42. http://noosphere.princeton.edu/
   43. http://www.princeton.edu/

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