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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking
I never believed in psychic phenomena. I still don't. But I also can't casually dismiss the results of hundreds of experiments indicating that something peculiar is going on that certainly looks like psychic phenomena. This book led me to track down and read a number of the original journal articles reporting experiments on psychic phenomena, especially those from the...
Published on May 28 2004 by wickiesnout

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impressive taken at face value - but...
The results of Radin's meta-analysis are certainly impressive if you take them at face value. The problem is just that you can't do it.
Radin's alleged evidence is largely based in the use of the "fail safe file drawer" method to account for the publication bias, which assumes that the unpublished studies are unbiased. However, the real fact is that in psi research...
Published on Feb. 28 2003 by Cliente Amazon


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, May 28 2004
By 
"wickiesnout" (New Orleans, LA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Conscious Universe (Hardcover)
I never believed in psychic phenomena. I still don't. But I also can't casually dismiss the results of hundreds of experiments indicating that something peculiar is going on that certainly looks like psychic phenomena. This book led me to track down and read a number of the original journal articles reporting experiments on psychic phenomena, especially those from the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory. If these results really are what they appear to be, then some psychic effects are real. Accepting this idea would have such a shocking impact on science that it's no wonder parapsychology is relegated to the far fringe (at best). This book summarizes a large body of experimental data from a scientific point of view and, as such, it probably wouldn't appeal to someone looking for ghostbusting stories. But for the scientifically minded, this book is far more mind-blowing than ghost stories because it just might be true.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Impressive taken at face value - but..., Feb. 28 2003
This review is from: The Conscious Universe (Hardcover)
The results of Radin's meta-analysis are certainly impressive if you take them at face value. The problem is just that you can't do it.
Radin's alleged evidence is largely based in the use of the "fail safe file drawer" method to account for the publication bias, which assumes that the unpublished studies are unbiased. However, the real fact is that in psi research you can certainly assume that a study reaches the literature only when it has been successful, and then the unpublished studies are biased by definition. Through this method, Radin enormously overestimates the size of the so-called "file drawer" (amount of additional experiments necessary to bring the combined results down to chance).
Apart from any problem in the meta-analysis, there's the fact that individual results from other investigators are uncritically accepted. Even downplaying any possibilities of cheating, we must unfortunately be careful about the use of statistics in psi research. Skeptics have not been that unsuccessful explaining these results through publication bias, selective reporting, and optional stopping.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great information, kind of boring, June 30 2013
By 
Harrison Koehli (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Conscious Universe (Hardcover)
Radin's book (***1/2) covers similar ground as Richard Broughton's excellent introduction to the topic (Parapsychology: The Controversial Science), but is more up to date (albeit, only by 6 years) and focuses more on experimental procedures and Radin's specialty: meta-analysis. Basically, meta-analysis treats a whole bunch of experiments as one big experiment. So if one study only had 10 subjects, those 10 data points can be added to the pool, giving a better picture of the actual effects being measured. At the time of writing, here are a few statistics Radin shares: dream telepathy (450 sessions, chance: 50%, result: 62%, odds: 75,000,000:1), ganzfeld (2,549 sessions, chance: 25%, result: 33%, odds: 1,000,000,000,000,000:1), ESP cards (907,000 trials, chance: 20%, result: 20.6%), all clairvoyance tests combined (chance: 50%, result: 53%), dice rolling (2.6 million dice throws, chance/control: 50.02%, result: 51.2%, odds: 1,000,000,000:1), RNG tests (832 studies, chance: 50%, result: 51%, odds: 1,000,000,000,000:1), distant mental interaction on human electrodermal activity (400 sessions, chance: 50%, result: 53%, odds: 1,400,000:1), 'feeling of being stared at' (chance: 50%, results: 63%, odds: 3,800,000:1). The confidence intervals fall outside of chance, an the results can't be ascribed to faulty methodology or the 'file-drawer effect' (i.e., unpublished negative results). In other words, there is a definite effect being measured here.

Also interesting are the 'field consciousness' studies, using RNGs during events involving large numbers of people focussing on the same thing (e.g., the Academy awards), and his 'pis in the casino' tests, both showing positive results. Interesting facts: Group PK may influence the weather. Psi improves when geomagnetic field fluctuations decrease. This ties in with the lunar cycle. New moon, medium GMF > medium spike in telepathy scores. Full moon, low GMF > high spike in telepathy scores. Waxing/waning moon, high GMF > low telepathy scores. (Four of six jackpots in one casino occurred within one day of the full moon.)

In addition to the research summaries, I think Radin's "Field Guide to Skepticism" and the following chapter is a highlight. He discusses skeptical tactics (accusations of triviality, prejudice, valid and invalid criticisms, distortions), motivations, and the psychological effects we need to keep in mind when studying psi and skeptics alike (effects of prior convictions, cognitive dissonance, expectancy effects, judgment errors, confirmation bias, representativeness heuristics, hindsight bias, suppression, reaction formation, repression, identification and introjection, dissociation, projection). Overall, while I appreciate the amount of information in the book, Broughton's book was much more of a pleasure to read. Radin's is best for the data and the sections on psychology and metaphysics, but overall, I think Broughton has written a clearer and better introduction to the topic. Still, Conscious Universe (and Radin's more recent books) is worth your time if you want to get up to speed on the research.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good scientific exposition of the paranormal, April 14 2000
This review is from: The Conscious Universe (Hardcover)
I cannot emphasize this more: In order to fully appreciate this book, you need knowledge of statistics. Really. The book is filled with experimental designs, confidence intervals, and meta-testing, which are lost on someone who doesn't know much of statistics, and will be misleading. I originally bought this book thinking it was going to be a book of explanations and stories of the paranormal, and I was pleasantly suprised. The author works in several stories to give the unknowing an idea of what is going on, but he is more interested in proving to the general audience his beliefs. The scientific discussions are fascinating, and eye-opening. The only reason I did not give this book five stars is because the jacket and the blurbs are misleading, and the procession of thoughts is somewhat difficult to follow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flawed statistics, Feb. 11 2000
By 
Jeffrey Scargle (Menlo Park, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Conscious Universe (Hardcover)
The conclusions in this book are largely based on combined analysis of published studies. As noted by the Author, such "meta-analyses" are subject to publication bias. Unfortunately, the "fail-safe file drawer" method of assessing possible effects of publication, used by the Author, is flawed. In my opinion, the claimed positive effects which form the thread of The Conscious Universe are spurious and the result of publication bias.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Response to review by jordico, March 5 2003
By 
Larry Dossey (Santa Fe, NM USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Conscious Universe (Hardcover)
Unfortunately, the review by jordico from Spain is misinformed because it neglects some of the most important psi-like events ever demonstrated -- controlled studies in distant healing and intercessory prayer. Currently, there are nine controlled, double-blind studies in distant healing; six show statistically posivite results. These studies are published in mainstream, peer-reviewed medical journals. It simply is not true that failed studies are not published (the file-drawer effect to which jordico refers). Moreover, these human studies are buttressed by scores of studies in non-humans -- microbes, plants, seeds, and biochemical reactions in test tubes - demonstrating distant mental influence. These studies are the "bench science" supporting human studies. Because they occur in nonhumans, they cannot be dismissed by attributing them to the placebo response. Jordico can find the citations for many of these studies in my recent book REINVENTING MEDICINE (HarperSanFrancisco, 1999.)
- Larry Dossey, MD.
Executive Editor, ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES IN HEALTH AND MEDICINE
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars most people dont understand true scientific skepticism, Jan. 23 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Conscious Universe (Hardcover)
First of all, I find it incredible that Dean Radin would give himself 5 out of 5 stars. That is just insanity. Giving himself 4 stars to match the average would be far more honest.
Now, that being said, I have to give credit to the dissapointing "few" scientists that try to examine the evidence for paranormal using the scientific method. The science communitiy is general prefers to dismiss out of hand any paranormal claims. Either they say that paranormal cannot be studied using scientific methods or that all evidence suggests the paranormal cannot be verified scientifically. When People come forward to attempt to examine this topic scientifically,t hey are usually laughed at, or worse, intentionally ridiculed. IT is naive to think that people may not want to believe that paranormal activity exists and will attack anyone who even attempts to examine the issue. It is certainly comendable when someone risks their reputations to publish thier findings. That doesnt make them right however. It certainly increases their credibility in my opinion. Sure there are some who merely want to capitalize on an ignorant and all to willing to believe general public but do not paint everyone with the same brush. Simply read this well written book and decide for yourself if the author is trying to con an ignorant public or is really trying to be objective about the whole thing. This book is certainly more objective that every single pro-paranormal book I have ever read. As to his use of anectodal evidence, it is simply required. THe science communinty has done so little experimentation that anecdotal evidence is all we got (in many cases). That doesnt mean the author is saying that he has proven that the paranormal exists simply because he writes about some anectodal events. Ultimately, it is up to the reader to decide if the author is being fair or not. Reading the book doesnt mean you have to agree with it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on psi, May 26 2002
This review is from: The Conscious Universe (Hardcover)
To be honest, as a somewhat skeptical physicist, I wasn't expecting to find this book very convincing about the reality of psi. However, I must say, after reading the book, I found it convincing. Something real and repeatable is going on here.

To be more exact, The Conscious Universe experimentally demonstrates the existence of at least some psychic (or "psi") phenomena. Using the statistical technique of meta-analysis, Radin clearly displays the results from about century of increasingly sophisticated experiments. Radin concludes that this meta-analysis strongly implies the existence of "maybe" all of the following: telepathy (mind-to-mind perception), clairvoyance (perception at distance), precognition (perception through time), psychokenesis (mind-matter interaction). I say "maybe" all because some (like David Ray Griffin -- see below) claim precognition is better explained by other types of psi, whereas Radin seems to imply precognition may be the main psi ability. (I think I like Griffin here. But this is an open question.)

Radin discusses a number of theories and possible metaphysics that might explain psi. This discussion wasn't as focused or convincing as the other parts of Radin's book, at least to me. Here I prefer the discussion and metaphysics offered by David Ray Griffin in his book: "Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality : A Postmodern Exploration." Griffin is a follower of the famous philosopher Alfred North Whitehead and proposes a "process metaphysics" as the best explanation of psi. Radin comes close briefly to agreeing with this when he talks about Michael Lockwood's "naturalistic panpsychism," on p. 294. But it's not clear Radin prefers any metaphysics or theory of psi.

In any event, Dean Radin's book I think is a must read for anyone interested in psi. It is a book that will satisfy even most skeptical scientists who are willing to give it (and psi) careful and open-minded consideration.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hoping, July 14 2014
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This review is from: The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena (Paperback)
I was hoping that this book would go into more detail about the psychic world and not just talk about experiments.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A dishonest treatment of facts, March 17 2000
By 
Lubos Motl (Cambridge, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Conscious Universe (Hardcover)
This book is an attempt to treat paranormal phenomena using the tools of science. However, solid statistical evidence is overwhelmed by telling the reader amusing stories. The fact that selective reporting accounts for virtually all the strange claims by Dean Radin becomes obvious if we look at reviews of this book, for example. Radin wrote that none (except of prof. Scargle) gave him less than 4 stars. Radin "overlooked" the review by the "reader from Pittsburgh" called "one good chapter" which gave him 3 stars. Furthermore, Radin wrote a review for himself and got 5 stars for free in this way. My review (and I guess that many others) were not published several times. This type of "selective reporting" occurs not only when people judge this book but also in paranormal phenomena generally and the book does not take this dishonesty into the account at all and treats uncritically the claims by people who really wish paranormal phenomena to exist.
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