MIND-REACH: Scientists Look at Psychic Ability by Russell & Harold Puthoff Targ

MIND-REACH: Scientists Look at Psychic Ability

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Superficially it would seem that physicists and engineers would be the least likely supporters of extrasensory phenomena. But here we have two physicists at the distinguished Stanford Research Institute who have been doing rigorous experiments and conclude that There is Something There and it is something that probably exists in everyman. That something is remote viewing: the ability of a subject at X to describe in words or drawings the details of a locale chosen by an experimenter miles away. They report on a number of experienced subjects, including Uri Geller, as well as some willing volunteers. All did better than chance would predict--even better in terms of drawings alone rather than verbal descriptions. Targ and Puthoff speculate that there may be some right hemisphere perceptual ability here that has gone unnoticed or shoved under the table in our rationalist analytic era. They also suggest that extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves may be involved, so that the phenomena need not remain beyond scientific ken. There is something very likeable about the pair: their attitude; their sophistication with regard to True Believers, to the possibilities of fraud and deception; and their understanding of the ""loyal opposition"" (e.g., Martin Gardner and others who wouldn't believe in ESP even if it were true). Margaret Mead has written an encouraging introduction showing she's ready to move with a shifting paradigm. Others, up to this point unconvinced, may be shaken up a bit (experience ""cognitive dissonance"" as the psychologists say). In any case, the results reported, confined to a small sample but with decent rigor, lob the ball squarely in the court of the nay-sayers. It will be interesting to watch the play that follows.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Delacorte