Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Meditating our way out of the oil spill?

Can a Hurricane Be controlled by collective meditation?
An interesting article appeared a few weeks ago in The Denver Post ('Boulderite's Oil-Spill Solution: Meditate') in which an inhabitant of Boulder, CO, Carl Fuermann, has suggested world wide meditation to staunch the oil spill.

Fuermann evidently has the intent to use a collective visualization of activating the blowout preventer, to make the oil stop gushing. He claims success in small projects to fixing i-pods to cars in the same way, visualizing first. According to him:

"I visualize things working and hold the belief that they actually work"

In synch with Fuermann is another Boulderite, Lynn McTaggart - who actually initiated the "Intention Experiment" whereby more than a half dozen mind over matter experiments were organized. Most recently, one was conducted to enhance the water quality in Lake Biwa, Japan. McTaggart claims to have actual scientific evidence that the Biwa intention experiment worked. However, up to now she's not published it in any recognized journal.

The same principle applies in all such cases: getting people to focus their thoughts on changing or fixing some aspect of the physical world.

But perhaps the most significant such experiments were conducted by Dr. Robert Jahn in the labs of the Princeton School of Engineering, in what have been called "Engineering Anomalies experiments". Most of Jahn's work from these experiments was published in Volume 1 of the Journal for Scientific Exploration.

Basically, Jahn sought to have subjects sitting in front of computer screens alter the random generator outputs to approach significance. For example, say a random number generators were spewing out a stream of numbers such as:

1, 4, 11, 19, 3, 22, 9, 0, 1, 5, 17, 2........

then the objective might be to obtain instead:


In fact, Jahn's results showed some fraction of the subjects were able to alter their random number generators beyond the threshold of random chance expectation. His explanation entailed using quantum wave functions to account for the effect.

Is this nonsense? Some prosaic minded folks may think so, but we already know that quantum entanglement is real- since it can affect quantum computers. If then a person is capable of harnessing the power of entanglement, even briefly, it is possible he or she might alter the registers or memory cards of a computer enough to change a random stream to a more or less non-random one. (And note that by the superposition principle, this is feasible since qubits, or quantum bits, would be at the limit that they could be subject to it).

But, does that translate into macroscopic effects? While it is certainly true that many physicists have speculated on such, there is a vast chasm between speculation and demonstrated, verifiable fact. R. Schlegel in his monograph, Superposition and Interaction: Coherence in Physics, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1980, p. 179, actually expresses some sympathy for this view - then cautiously adds:

"However, having made this plea for our being open-minded about the implications of quantum mechanics, I introduce two closely related criticisms from within quantum physics itself. First, as indicated in the previous section, we do not know that a superposition SIGMA_n a_n PSI_n of an object system is transmitted such that the classical measuring apparatus takes on the comparable superposition of states: SIGMA_n A_n(q) PHI_n(eta) Second, it is not evident that for a given observer (that is, within a given coordinate system) all physical systems can be put into a superposition of different classical states. The evidences of superposition that we have are for micro-level phenomena."

Thus, the quantum evidence is simply not there to support an entanglement effect scenario at the macro-level of blowout preventers, or anything similar.

Doubtless, this will not stop the Intention Experiment set from trying, but I'd only advise them to refer to a similar claimed experiment that transpired in the Caribbean in the summer of 1979. At that time, Hurricane David grew to a formidable 170 mph monster and was heading directly for Barbados when all the island's meditators got together to amp up their intentional energy to deflect it. Just at midnight when it was due to strike, the storm subtly deviated to the northwest, missing the northern tip of Barbados entirely.

Did the intention experiment work here? Did the meditators succeed?

Well, counting only Barbados one may ascertain they had limited success. However, the 'cane went directly for the island of Dominica after it veered past Barbados, and pulverized it with 150 mph winds. It destroyed most of the banana plantations there, and 76% of the housing.

Maybe the intention meditators should have strived for a larger field of success!

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