Re: Sheldrake

Robert G. Grimes (
Tue, 16 Dec 1997 12:43:20 -0500

Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 12:43:20 -0500
From: "Robert G. Grimes" <>
Subject: Re: Sheldrake

Hans-Cees Speel wrote:

I think this does wrong to Sheldrake. What he does is to confront us

> with evidence (true or false, I do not know) that people 'know
> particular things when they should not according to our theories.
> He then explains them with his theory of 'fields' of knowledge, like
> magnetic fields. His particular mechanism to explain however is no
> denial of mind, but rather an extention of it (or at least can be
> seen like it). One that we haven't been able to lay ourt fingers on.

Dear Hans,

Your comments above "struck a nerve" as I have been recently reading some amazing stuff
from some folks with tenure at large universities. My personal opinion is that they are
actually a serious threat to the tenure system.

Firstly, there is the PEAR project at Princeton where Robert Jahn is working on
experiments involving subjects trying to influence the activity of Random Event
Generators with their "consciousness." The REG's are electronic equipment with diodes
creating "random" pulses of negative/positive "ones," which, naturally, should (if
random) come out with the same number of plus ones as negative ones, or with one standard
deviation equal to plus one half above and minus one half below the base line of zero
(they would offset each other if truly random with a Gaussian distribution). In any
event, with a minuscule significance, he has found that not only does the operator skew
the direction of the plusses, the minuses, and, the base line; but, that the effect is
gender based (males do it better than females), co-operators (couples) are better than
singles at skewing the output of the REGs, and "bound couples" (common interest or, best
of all, "in love") affect the machine's operation most of all. Now, in addition, they
can do all of these things at a distance (3000 miles), *before* the machine goes into
operation, *during* the time of the machine operation, and *after* the machine has been
in operation (presumably this latter involves folks not looking at the results until the
conscious influence has been "turned on")!

Not only do they skew the binary output, they can also utilize in the same manner,
"remote perception" (remote viewing) where they can describe scenes, smells, sounds, etc.
of places to which they have never been! All of this remote sensing is affected is the
same manner by the sex, co-operation, and "bound" co-operation as the other activities.

There is also a Dr. Courtney Brown from Emory University who runs (on the side) a
"Farsight Institute" where he teaches students "remote viewing." They recently made news
when he put them to work at remote viewing the companion object of the Hale Bopp comet.
His folks declared the "companion" was several times larger than the earth, was hollow,
and contained intelligent beings on their way here. He even produced pictures of the
"companion" which he said were taken by a famous astronomer. Later the Observatory of
the University of Hawaii announced that the pictures where phonies that were "altered"
copies of their large reflector shots of the comet that had been posted on the web. They
were identified down to the pixels! This brought about the naming of the "companion" as
the "Hail Mary," by amused astronomers and bystanders (some original amateur photos of
the Hale Bopp also contained anomalies caused by improper operation of the charged
coupled device used to do the photography, i.e., a "companion" to the comet that turned
out to be a known star on the star charts which was over exposed and appeared much larger
than it really was).

Then, there is the Dr. Callahan in California of "Thought Field Therapy" fame. This
fellow (PhD in psychology) has a system whereby he talks to the patients while they
"tap" on their heads, hands or different parts of their bodies while he discusses certain
"algorithms" with them. The tapping apparently affects the "thought field" of the
patients while having them concentrate on something in the algorithm (one for different
types of disturbances, i.e., depressive, anxiety, trauma, panic, phobias, compulsions,
etc.). I understand that he actually has "treated" numbers of patients in a radio
audience when they called in to his presentation. He charges a sum for the seminars for
psychotherapists to learn his technique in addition to individual therapy in his clinic.

Now, I'm pretty certain that Jahn and Brown are on tenure. Callahan has been in practice
for quite some time so his stuff is strictly commercial. Jahn has grants and Brown
charges for his students ($3000 as I recall for a course in remote viewing) but, in the
meantime, teaches political science at Emory and also writes science fiction. Brown
recently announced that his students have been communicating with extra terrestrials
(known as "Big Greys") and that President Clinton would soon announce the presence of
these visitors from outer space! This latter prediction has since been taken off the
board and the professor's web pages modified considerably. Now he kind of "respects
these views of his students." I suspect someone from the university has visited him

All of these things are talk about "fields" sort of similar (in my opinion) to Kirlian
photography and acupuncture's "electrical meridians" on the body (from Chinese folk
medicine). None of which have ever been discovered to exist.

Now, usually there is a reference to "Quantum Mechanics" and the workings of particles
and fields, comparing them to the activity of the human mind. To me, there is no doubt
that QM (or QED for that matter) applies to the body, including the thought processes, as
well as the rest of the physical world, but it also seems to me that the "newcomers" have
overlooked some very fundamental experiments (Michelson-Morley for one) which disproved
the presence of the "ether" or other mediums whereby all of these "fields" interact at a
distance and, apparently, unaffected by distance or time! Methinks most of the stuff is
semantic and words are tossed about to lend authenticity to less than scientific
modalities. If I were an academic, I would really be frightened that these folks will
endanger the future of tenure at universities...

So, Hans-Cees, we admire you and your work very much but I would hesitate before
accepting anything about "thought fields" or "action at a distance" without a heck of a
lot of research. <grin>

If you are interested in the subject and mentioned folks, here are some URL's for your
curiosity: (Note they now need contributions) (Look at some of the papers and
abstracts and give me your thoughts) (TFT is shorthand for Thought Field Therapy)

Always good to hear from you!



Bob Grimes Jacksonville, Florida

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore....."

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