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Thread: Parapsychology: The Princeton Global Consciousness Project

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    Lightbulb Parapsychology: The Princeton Global Consciousness Project

    Global Consciousness Project (Wikipedia)

    The Global Consciousness Project, also called the EGG Project, is the most significant of current scientific research projects into parapsychology. Based at Princeton, the project researches into the theory that the human consciousness may create or otherwise influence objective reality by means undetectable via current scientific sensors.

    Working on the assumption that while the field of an individual's consciousness is too small to be measurable, the combined field of a large number of people who are experiencing similar thoughts or feelings is measurable, the GCP research suggests that such a field exists.


    Research

    Their research works by examining the output of many hardware casing random number generators located around the world. The remote devices have been dubbed Princeton Eggs, where EGG is short for electrogaiagram, a play of words on electroencephalogram and Gaia1. The current hypothesis holds that events that have a significant human impact affect the randomness of these generators in a statistically significant way.

    Roger D. Nelson started by reviewing two decades of experiments from the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (PEAR) which repeatedly show that random event generators (REG's) seem to be intentionally influenced to bring about a less random sequence of data - in other words, that human intention can reduce natural entropy and create greater coherence within a random series of events.

    In an experimental approach to this question, investigators have examined the outputs of electronic noise-based, truly random number generators (RNG) before, during and after highly focused or coherent group events. The group events studied included intense psychotherapy sessions, captivating theater presentations, religious rituals, popular sports competitions, like Football World Cup, and high-interest television broadcasts like the Academy Awards (Bierman, 1996; Blasband, 2000; Nelson, 1995, 1997; Nelson et al, 1996, 1998a, 1998b; Radin, 1997; Radin et al, 1996)

    Results of these studies allegedly suggest that mind and matter are entangled in some fundamental way, and in particular that focused mental attention in groups is associated with non-random fluctuations in streams of truly random data.


    Criticism

    The methodology of the Global Consciousness Project has been questioned. Most of this criticism centers on how the data are selected and interpreted. Spikes and fluctuations are to be expected in any random distribution of data, and there is no set time frame for how close a spike has to be to a given event for the GCP to find a correlation. For example, on September 11, it was alleged that spikes that occurred hours before the attacks were themselves caused by the attacks, implying backwards causality or subconscious mass precognition.

    Another criticism is that there is no objective criterion for determining whether an event is significant. Events are seemingly arbitrarily selected post-hoc, and only the data from that time period are observed. Data from other time periods are ignored, whether or not they may display similar fluctuations. This allows opportunity for selection bias.

    Also, there is no correlation between degree of significance and type or magnitude of fluctuations observed. Since the GCP has posited that individual emotions are too weak to be measured, but that confluence of emotion and mental state in the world cause data deviation in their random number generators, one would expect a greater global awareness to magnify the results proportionately, but this has not been observed—the GCP tends to find their correlation whether the global event under consideration affected a few hundred or a few hundred million individuals.

    Finally, it has never been satisfactorally explained through what mechanism random number generators would respond to human thoughts, even theoretically. There are two distinct claims: The claim that some sort of global consciousness field exists is being tested by assuming a different, independent claim that such a global consciousness field affects random number generators. Random number generators function by applying algorithms to white noise. No analysis of white noise itself has ever found a correlation or pattern corresponding to meaningful world events.


    Project Homepage
    The Skeptic's Dictionary
    R.D. Nelson's Hompage
    Operator-Related Anomalies in a Random Mechanical Cascade

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    Re: Princeton Global Consciousness Project

    I have noticed this phenonena myself. I like to play with random number generators, or anything that ends up being random. I have found favorable outcomes while focusing on specific things, and less favorable on other trains of thought. It often requires a deep concentration but this research makes more sense to me than my previous idea that "the computer is reading my mind".

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    Re: Princeton Global Consciousness Project

    It seems to me that the theory behind the use of the I Ching as an oracle is that there is a correlation between human consciousness and objective events in the universe. The Richard Wilhiem edition of the I Ching contains a wonderful introduction by the great Swiss analyst C. G. Jung.
    jackh

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