Parapsychology or Psionics?

Instructor: RainTurtle
Date: February 13, 2010 (Saturday)

Rainsong Welcome to another seminar here at the social club

Rainsong The usual disclaimer applies: we will be discussing real-world psionics, rather than role-playing games. If this is a problem for you, you might want to try a different chatroom

Rainsong That said, just about anyone who is reasonably polite is welcome here; it doesn’t matter whether you have any experience or skill in any aspect of psionics. Newbies and the merely curious are welcome

Rainsong Are there any questions before we start this evening (or morning, afternoon, or what-have-you)?

eversosleepy More of a comment.

eversosleepy We -should- do that RPG you folks used to do, one of these days. Might be fun!

Jael It was fun 🙂

Rainsong Sure, we can do that. I’ll need to find the quick-start rules online again, for folks who want to join the game without buying the full set of rulebooks.


Rainsong As you can see, it’s not that we have anything against role-playing games….it’s just that the topic in this room is not based on the rules for an RPG.

Rainsong You will find that some websites which seem to discuss real-world stuff are actually role-playing supplements….

Rainsong And, I have a book in my library which claims to be about real-world psionics, but is clearly based on the D&D rules, with a few dubious website references tossed in for good measure (there is no such compound as sodium hydroxate…which the author seems to think is the cause of the potassium-depletion symptoms)

Rainsong Any other questions or commentary?

Jael none here

eversosleepy Nein.

Rainsong Alright then

Rowan makes it just in time.

Rainsong As some of you may know, we had a spot of trouble with our website recently because the host company went belly-up. Raven and Jael do most of the website stuff, and last Sunday, Jael and I were chatting in a rambling kind of way about the categories for the logs, articles and the like.

Jael (still having problems, but almost (maybe?) ready for it to be actually live again)

Rainsong For example, should we lump all the psychic skills under “Anomalous Cognition” or keep Telepathy/Empathy separate? Should DMILS have its own section, or should we put it all under PK? And so on.

Rainsong I often go on about psi vs chi vs mana vs prana vs purple dinosaurs and so on.

Rowan (Or have it be a separate subsection of PK?)

Rainsong I do lump them all together, if someone can use them to produce an objective result (preferably one that can be recorded mechanically, such as on medical diagnostic equipment).

Rainsong Yes, various “energies” look different to me.

Rainsong The stuff that a friend at the Guild uses looks and feels different to me than the stuff a local buddy who’s a Reiki Master uses.

Rainsong That doesn’t mean it is _necessarily_ a different thing, however.

Rainsong Snow and ice and steam all look and feel different to me, also, but they are all the same substance.

Rainsong Psi might be one thing or it might be several, could be a noun or a verb.

Rainsong I don’t know yet

Rainsong If you do, I would strongly suggest submitting an article about your findings to a peer-reviewed journal in medicine, physics, physiology, engineering or whatever. It will be a major breakthrough in science.

Rainsong Some of us are “into” both parapsychology and psionics.

Rainsong On the surface, it may seem as though they are the same thing.

Rainsong They are certainly related, and they overlap.

Rainsong A lot.

Rainsong Parapsychology is more of the pure science approach

Rainsong Psionics is more like experimental engineering.

Rainsong Some serious parapsychologist acquaintances of ours regard our community and our website with amused indulgence

Rainsong They view us as more than a little fluffy

eversosleepy gasps

Rainsong And that’s okay.

Rainsong (A couple of them were also very excited to learn that someone actually _read_ their published paper and had a discussion forum about it.)

Rainsong The difference is that we are more interested in “how to get it to work consistently”, and they are (usually) more interested in finding out “how it works”.

Rainsong Any questions or commentary so far?

Rainsong At the very least, the ones who are going at the “how to get it to work” are very concerned about lab conditions, making sure there are no flaws in the experimental method, and so on.

Rainsong We tend to not worry about that until the _end_ of the process: Aha, we’ve got this bit working consistently

Rowan nods

Rainsong If any of us do a, b happens

Rainsong Now let’s put this to a serious proof-of-principle test; then we can try a controlled scientific test.

Rainsong Parapsychologists rarely have the luxury of time for the mucking-about part

Rainsong They are lucky if their funding can cover the entire controlled scientific test part.

Rainsong Those of you who read the paper we discussed in last week’s class probably noticed that it bore a striking resemblance to a lab report for a high school Physics or Chemistry class

Rainsong It was a very preliminary paper for peer review

Rainsong Mr. Russ had other scientists look it over for flaws, then some of the reviewers for The Lancet looked it over for flaws (and presumably approved it, seeing as it was published), and then readers of The Lancet can look it over and try to find flaws or to replicate it, if they are so inclined.

Rainsong The more people who try to find flaws in it, the better, in fact.

Rainsong Once it is determined that the apparatus does what Mr. Russ says it does (if in fact it does so), the next step would be to try to determine why and how it works, and under what conditions

Rainsong For example, if an almost-identical device was constructed such that it could be filled with corn oil, would the thing still turn if you look at it?

Rainsong How about water? Mineral oil? Corn starch?

Rainsong My guess is that the latter would present much too much resistance, for the size of effect noted.

Rainsong So far so froody?

eversosleepy Shiny.

Jael froody 🙂

Rowan All the different things you listed obviously have different physical properties, so.

Rowan (Yes, quite shiny.)

Rainsong One of the papers we’ll be discussing, perhaps next month, is a comparison of “fringe” types of articles (such as parapsychology) and standard types such as Physics and Medicine.

Rowan Oh, neat.

Rainsong In any case, the other bit I’d like to cover this evening, is “what to look for” if you are planning to buy some nifty books.

Aryn *perks up* Define Nifty

Rainsong For the Psionics side, anything written by Harold Sherman, Beverly Jaegers, and Joe McMoneagle is worth the money.

Rowan books! (wish I had money. libraries are good too though.)

Aryn *nods* Nice

Rainsong G Harry Stine wrote “Mind Machines You Can Build”, which is definitely a useful book to read. Unfortunately, it is out of print at the moment, and when it is available second-hand, it is usually overpriced.

Rainsong On the Parapsychology side, look for items by Hal Puthoff, Edwin May, Russel Targ, and Charles Tart

Rainsong Questions?

Rainsong At some point in the reasonably near future, I’ll be doing a seminar on elementary (very elementary, or it won’t fit into an hour) Statistics and Probability, because too many people think that the 1-in-5 odds from a Zener deck apply to all psychic tests

Rainsong Even Bevy (Beverly Jaegers) made that mistake in one of her early books.

Jael I’d like the stats class

Rainsong Questions? Commentary?

eversosleepy Stats might make me cry.

Rainsong I’ll warn you off, that evening?

OrzBrain Raises hand.

Rainsong OrzB?

OrzBrain Incidentally, for those who don’t mind that kind of thing, it looks like “Mind Machines You Can Build” can be found online

OrzBrain If you know where to look

OrzBrain Since it’s out of print I wouldn’t call it a crime.

Jael raises her hand too

Rainsong Depends what Mr. Stine’s estate has done with the copyright, as far as legality goes….also what country you’re in.

Rainsong Jael?

Jael Is there a difference in what is being studied/practiced between psionics and parapsychology? I’m wondering if the different approach results in a different item being studied.

Rainsong Not really….same topic, slightly different approach

Jael nifty

Rainsong Although, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a parapsychologist doing serious study of constructs, other than Shields

Jael they’d be more interested in it if they could measure it, I expect.

Jael (just my guess)

Rowan I have a feeling that parapsychologists don’t care very much about psionic cat toys.

Rainsong Pretty much. Anyone who has ever applied for a research grant could explain exactly why construct studies are rare….it’d never get approval

Rainsong Cat toys would be one of the things they might look into, because a cat’s reaction can be observed objectively

Rowan True. But cats have been known to also play with pretty much nothing at all and have the time of their life with it.

Rainsong Cats hallucinate

Rainsong They also have imaginations

Rowan Right, which would make it a bit more difficult to objectively hold that sort of study.

Rowan Sometimes my cats like the constructs. Sometimes their own ideas and imaginations are more interesting.

Rowan They’re cats, after all.

Rainsong Cats = fuzzy

Rowan ^^

Rainsong Any further questions and commentary, or shall we call it a night?

Rowan cats = adorable. that’s my last comment.

Jael Just a comment that I think the difference between the two is good to realise/know about. Thanks 🙂

Rainsong 🙂

Rainsong Thanks for participating, all. Have a great evening

Rowan You too.

eversosleepy Thanks Rain!

thais thank you Rain. I fell asleep at an inopportune time, but it was sorely needed. good class.

Rainsong thanks

OrzBrain Yes, thanks Rain.

thais it will help me talk to parapsych friends.

Rainsong 🙂

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