Parapsychology has no better spokesperson than Dr Dean Radin. His 1997 book, The Conscious Universe, has become the go-to book for those interested in investigating the ‘serious’, scientific side of psi research. From telepathy to group consciousness, from precognition to the sense of being stared at, Radin is familiar with the research and is able to communicate the results – and their implications – to a lay audience with more ease than would be expected.
Now, after a nine year hiatus from ‘popular publishing’ (he has remained active in writing for specialised groups and also in scientific publishing), Radin returns with a new book on the topic. Titled Entangled Minds, this latest effort is an updated version of his previous best-seller – in that he goes through the latest research into various areas of parapsychology – with the added theme of contemplating quantum entanglement as a possible mechanism behind psi effects. Radin sets out his thoughts on the matter right at the beginning of the book:
Science is at the very earliest stages of understanding entanglement, and there is much yet to learn. But what we’ve seen so far provides a new way of thinking about psi…psi is reframed from a bizarre anomaly that doesn’t fit into the normal world – and hence is labeled paranormal – into a natural phenomenon of physics.
Radin starts by laying the foundations of the book, recounting the history of psi, of quantum physics, and also his own involvement in parapsychology. Readers are sure to be fascinated by some of the material here, such as how the EEG machine had its origins in the telepathy research of Hans Berger, and Radin’s description of a ‘future experiment’ which would prove psi…which has actually already taken place!
This introduction moves right up to modern times, with discussion of the machine interaction experiments at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Lab (PEAR), and the remote-viewing experiments of Targ and Puthoff which led into the Stargate program (Radin mentions here that he actually worked on Stargate as well).
Radin then works through the various types of psi research, which he splits into areas such as ‘conscious psi’ (sense of being stared at, ganzfeld telepathy experiments etc), ‘unconscious psi’ (autonomic responses to physically removed influences, gut feelings etc.), mind-matter interactions, pre-sentiment, and group consciousness (the Global Consciousness Project, the ‘noosphere’). He collates the data via meta-analysis, checks for statistically significant results – and in most cases they are – as well as searching for possible explanations such as the file-drawer problem (using funnel plots) and weak controls.
Much of the book to this point is similar to The Conscious Universe (though with more up-to-date results), but the final chapters set it apart with the introduction of the hypothesis that quantum entanglement may explain psi effects. Radin does well to compact a complicated subject into a few short chapters of readable text (I only had to reread a couple of pages!).
Beyond that, he also explores other theories of psi, and where we should be heading from here. This final section also includes a short rebuttal of skeptical arguments against psi, though it is hard to go past the relevant chapter in his previous book for deconstructions of the ‘skeptical’ position.
Radin is careful not to seem over-eager to naively link psi and quantum entanglement purely because they are both ‘mysterious’. Rather he simply asks us to consider it, as a more than possible idea:
Quantum entanglement as presently understood in elementary atomic systems is, by itself, insufficient to explain psi. But the ontological parallels implied by entanglement and psi are so compelling that I believe they’d be foolish to ignore.
This is a fascinating book and is certainly another important contribution to ‘new paradigm’ thinking (and diplomacy) by Dean Radin. Although some readers may find the statistical analysis employed when discussing experimental results a little tedious, the author is caught somewhat between a rock and a hard place. The controversial nature of psi research means that any skeptical reader would demand that Radin offer data to prove his claims. As such, his hand is forced. Certainly, this does detract from the readability of the book to the general public, who simply want a quick and fascinating read. But Radin also manages to keep the reader interested by providing thought-provoking ideas, and a number of anecdotes which are sure to surprise. Once again, Dean Radin has established himself as the leading communicator between psi researchers and the general public.