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The Global Consciousness Project
#1
I thought I'd start a thread on this project because, taken at face value, it provides some of the strongest experimental evidence for psi, but has tended to be neglected by sceptics and proponents alike.

It began as a kind of sequel to the microPK experiments conducted at the PEAR lab at Princeton. It consists of a worldwide network of several dozen random number generators. Essentially the idea behind it was that at the time of significant events - typically, events that engaged the attention of the whole world - the random number generators would exhibit unusual behaviour. Different measures of unusual behaviour were used at different times, but the commonest signified that the numbers produced by the different generators would tend to correlate with one another.

The network still exists, and continues to generate numbers. It has a Facebook page, where the latest post examines its response to Hurricane Irma:
https://www.facebook.com/EGGproject/
 
But for evidential purposes, the significant data are those produced by the "Registry of Formal Hypotheses and Specifications". According to the organisers of the project, for each of a sequence of 513 events in the period 1998-2015, a statistical hypothesis was specified before the data were examined, and was then tested. In subsequent analysis about a dozen of these events were excluded because the hypotheses were poorly defined, or not defined before any of the data were seen, but for the 500 classified as "rigorously defined", the cumulative Z value was 7.31, corresponding to a p value of 1.333 x 10^-13.
http://global-mind.org/results.html

As far as I'm aware, that result remains totally unexplained by sceptics. The hypotheses were stated to be pre-specified - that is, specified before the data were examined. The specification wasn't just a vague hypothesis - it was a specific statistical test that would yield a definite Z value for the event. And it was stated that all the pre-specified events would be included, so there would be no "publication bias" in the results.

Sceptics have criticised certain post hoc analyses of particular events, such as 9-11, which in principle is fair enough. But obviously those criticisms don't address the formal registry, for which the hypotheses are stated to have been decided in advance. And sceptics tend to dismiss the whole project as a post hoc fishing expedition, which proves only that they haven't bothered to look at the protocol.

Perhaps there's a statistical artefact lurking somewhere in the analysis. But if so, no one has found it yet. All the data are freely available to anyone who wants to try. The results have been compared not only with the theoretical behaviour of random number generators, but also with control sets sampled randomly from the database. They have also been analysed in great detail overa period of about a decade by Peter Bancel, who says he originally approached the problem as a sceptic.

If anyone wants to assert an "atheistic" rather than an "agnostic" opinion of psi, I think it's reasonable to ask them for a non-paranormal explanation of these results. I'm not aware of one - outright fraud excepted.
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#2
(09-12-2017, 01:51 AM)Chris Wrote: If anyone wants to assert an "atheistic" rather than an "agnostic" opinion of psi, I think it's reasonable to ask them for a non-paranormal explanation of these results. I'm not aware of one - outright fraud excepted.
Are you sure the word "atheistic" (disbelieving or lacking belief in the existence of God) is relevant to this topic? Or is it some metaphorical or symbolic reassignment of meaning? Certainly I've never found such things as telepathy for example to be contingent on my belief of lack thereof in a deity.
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#3
(09-12-2017, 01:58 AM)Typoz Wrote: Are you sure the word "atheistic" (disbelieving or lacking belief in the existence of God) is relevant to this topic? Or is it some metaphorical or symbolic reassignment of meaning? Certainly I've never found such things as telepathy for example to be contingent on my belief of lack thereof in a deity.

It was meant to be metaphorical. I meant positive disbelief rather than just not knowing.
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#4
I think that the avoidance is a matter of magnitude, the project has been going for an eternity and while one can nitpick several particular instances, it would take a while (and possibly a team) to go trough all of the data. Besides that, I have seen a few skeptics complain that the RNGs used are "not really random", and I am sure that they won't be silenced until the RNGs used employ some kind of quantum gimmick (i.e. radioactive decay).
"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before..."
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#5
(09-12-2017, 02:25 AM)E. Flowers Wrote: I think that the avoidance is a matter of magnitude, the project has been going for an eternity and while one can nitpick several particular instances, it would take a while (and possibly a team) to go trough all of the data. Besides that, I have seen a few skeptics complain that the RNGs used are "not really random", and I am sure that they won't be silenced until the RNGs used employ some kind of quantum gimmick (i.e. radioactive decay).

Quite, if you study what RNG's are, and the amount of electronic post processing required to get anything usable, and their susceptibility to tiny changes in power, one has to seriously question what they are measuring in the GCP. Certainly not what they claim to be as far as I'm concerned.

As a child I had a couple of visits to power stations, one nuclear at Hartlepool, fascinating experience, the control rooms tried to anticipate power demand, the most important bit of information was the TV guide... people tend to do the same things... and you would see massive spikes of demand... in the breaks of popular TV shows or events as people turned their kettles on. Power supplies to homes got flakey, and often they would fire up backup generators to cope. That sort of explanation is where I would be looking in the first instance.
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#6
Max, how does this explain the observerd correlations - surely your explanation suggests that either the correlations would be constant or they would be random, but that's not what's been observed? (caveat: I haven't read any actual papers on this experiment, I'm going solely on Chris's description above)
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#7
(09-12-2017, 05:00 AM)Laird Wrote: Max, how does this explain the observerd correlations - surely your explanation suggests that either the correlations would be constant or they would be random, but that's not what's been observed? (caveat: I haven't read any actual papers on this experiment, I'm going solely on Chris's description above)

if there is anything to explain (which I'm doubtful of), you still have to explain why you think the RNG's data is telling you anything, it's so post processed by additional electronics to get a usable stream of numbers that the idea of the GCP is just a waste of time. I've found Radin using power related changes in RNG output to make similar claims.
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#8
(09-12-2017, 05:16 AM)Max_B Wrote: if there is anything to explain (which I'm doubtful of), you still have to explain why you think the RNG's data is telling you anything, it's so post processed by additional electronics to get a usable stream of numbers that the idea of the GCP is just a waste of time. I've found Radin using power related changes in RNG output to make similar claims.

I'm not sure what you're saying. Is it that post-processing eliminates the randomness? If so, surely this would show up in control sessions?
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#9
(09-12-2017, 05:21 AM)Laird Wrote: I'm not sure what you're saying. Is it that post-processing eliminates the randomness? If so, surely this would show up in control sessions?

Perhaps an example is easier... Radin for instance, did field testing of meditators from a laptop (on batteries) with an RNG type known to be susceptible to power changes, and compared that with a baseline measurement of the laptop powered off the mains. He then suggested the deference between the  baseline and field tests, which was obviously significant, was caused by the meditators. Does that help?
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#10
(09-12-2017, 05:30 AM)Max_B Wrote: Perhaps an example is easier... Radin for instance, did field testing of meditators from a laptop (on batteries) with an RNG type known to be susceptible to power changes, and compared that with a baseline measurement of the laptop powered off the mains. He then suggested the deference between the  baseline and field tests, which was obviously significant, was caused by the meditators. Does that help?

I've seen you raise this example before. I seem to recall that somebody asked Dean his response but I can't recall where that was.

But let's say that there was no difference in power source. What then is your argument?
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