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October 28, 1974
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Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 QUANTUM PHYSICS AND PARUSYCHOLOGY The 23rd Annual International Conference of the Parapsychology Foundation, Inc. Hotel La Reserve, Geneva, Switzerland August 26-27, 1974 An iAterpretative conference report containing some comments about prospects in parapsychological research. SG1I October 28, 1974 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 I. INTRODUCTION The 23rd Annual Conference of the Parapsychology Foundation was held at the Hotel La Reserve, Geneva, Switzerland on August 26 and 27, 1974. The subject of the conference was "Quantum Physics and Parapsychology'", a topic selected at the instigation. of Arthur Koestler, the well-known author,. who in recent years has interested himself in the subject of parapsychology. His recent book, The Roats of Coincidence, ' reflects this interest. The putative relation between quantum physics and para- 11 psychology arises because the apparent non.-common sense features accepted in~quantum physics may be analogous to the non-common sense features observed in parapsychological phenomena. In any case the conference was ostensibly devoted to an exploration of the physical bases for parapsychology. Complete texts of all ten of the papers presented at this conference have previously been supplied. A summary and critique of the contents of each of the ten papers appears in the Appendix of this report. At the conference a discussion period followed the presentation of each paper, a"nd at the conclusion of the conference another more general discussion took place. The proceedings of this conference, containing both the submitted papers and the verbal discussion, is scheduled for publication in June 1975 by the Parapsychology Foundation, Inc., 29 West 57th Street, New York. A brief official account of the conference will appear sooner in their "Newsletter of the Parapsychology Foundation". The following discussion of conference content is based upon attendance Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 at all the sessions, subsequent study of written versions of the papers, and private conversations with nearly all of the personalities present. II. ANALYSIS OF THE PURPORT OF THE CONFERENCE The reality of ESP was an accepted fact at this conference. When discussion of the reality of the phenomena occurred, it was concerned only with methods of securing public acceptance and belief in paranormal cognition. Some doubt was expressed of the usefulness of public demonstrations to "blue--ribbon panels", but all agreed on the necessity of more research support. It became clear that there exists at present no adequate theory of paranormal perception which can furnish a physical basis-for the phenomena. The existing attempts at physical theories are speculative, incomplete, at at best poorly substantiated; although some ideas were presented which might furnish the seeds of fruitful investigation. These ideas are discussed in more detail below. The conference evidenced a rough division of attitudes toward parapsychology into two schools~of thought. Researchers share a general acceptance of the strangeness of it all, but on the working level some believe-progress in understanding can be achieved through extension and use of existing scientific knowledge and methods, perhaps by some new synthesis. The others basically favor a more philosophical and mystical approach, and believe that nothing short of a complete revolution of thought, maybe into more spiritual directions, can cope with the challenge. The "mystics" characterize the physical approach as Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 naive reductionism. The "reduct9.onist:~~~, for lack of a better term, retain their faith in the efficacy of traditional scientific methods. These categories are a convenient simplification of complex attitudes and some individuals show traces of both orientations. In vi.ow,of the conference topic it was surprising that the ('mystics" were strongly represented. The presentations of Chari, Firsoff, Whiteman, and'Bastin seem to fall in the mystical category. Verbal comments of Arthur Koestler would, place him also in this group. At the conclusion of the conference he expressed disappointment that the ideas were not "crazy" enough and voiced scepticism at seeking explanation of ESP in existing physical theories. These contributions to the conference seem to offer no avenues of physical understanding and will not be discussed further. The remaining papers presented at the conference are more physical' in content. Of the theoretical papers Costa de Beauregard gave the most general and perhaps the best formulated analysis of a possible physical basis for ESP. His presentation consisted of words, and not equations, but the concepts discussed were readily understandable by a theoretical physicist., No specific mechanism was proposed, but information theory was interwoven with some established physical principles to describe a framework within which ESP might be unc1or:itood. The ideas of Costa do Beauregard are unifying in character, rather analogous to the unifying character of the enemy concept in conventional physics, ana like the concept of energy could establish broad guidlines without supplying a detailed mechanism. For example, the idea discussed by Feinberg, that precognition is a memory propagated from the future, is subsumed in Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved P:or`Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 t Costa de-Beauregard's thinking. Puthoff presented some speculations about apparent features of his PK experiments which are also consistent with the same overall picture. Indeed'if any common thread emerged-from the physical side of the conference, it was that somehow information theoretic concepts must play an important role in ESP. The connection is established through the equivalence of information theory with physical probability and Its role both in quantum theory and in macroscopic entropy. A detailed and partially quantitative physical theory of ESP was presented by Walker. This theory may err through its use of overspecific and poorly justified assumptions. It relies heavily on some explicit conjectures about neural activity in the brain, and also postulates-an essential- function in consciousness and psi communication for the so- called "hidden variab,tes" of quantum theory. A simple empirical method of quantifying the results of ESP experiments was-proposed by Schmidt. This quantification, if appropriate, would permit the various experimental manifestations of. ESP ( precognition, clairvoyance, PK, etc.) to be interrelated. Experimental papers describing striking PK and remote viewing experiments with gifted paragnosts were presented by Puthoff and Targ. In terms of normal standards of scientific conferences the gleanings of theoretical understanding from this conference are somewhat sparse, particularly if a physical basis of ESP is the object. The phenomena of ESP have undergone a great deal of experimental verification, but a basic understanding of paranormal perception is evidently still lacking. The material presented at this conference only indicates a bare beginning of a rational, physical, interpretation of parapsychological phenomena. Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 III. MINERAL CONCLUSIONS AND GUIDELlnE$ The picture of ESP research derived from attendance at this conference and supplemented by a study of publications in-the open literature forms the basis of the following general comments. 1. Knowledge of normal perception and neural data processing in the brain is still limited, even though the physical basis of normal perception is well-founded. The wide area of ignorance or partial knowledge surrounding even normal. mental function is indicative of the possible impediments to attaining a coherent understanding of paranormal perception. The physical paradoxes of ESP are severe, but even were a physical basis'if ESP established, much would remain unknoim. In short;,- progress-in this area may require not only increased understanding of the physical basis of the phenomena, but also advances in cybernetics and neurophysiology as well. 2. The ideas of Costa de Beauregard form the most auspicious point of departure for development of a physical understanding of ESP. These ideas sre favored because of their broad physical base, their use of general information concepts, and because they contain a minimum of ad hoe assumptions. Although some elementary deductions are immediately r possible, this theoretical framework is, as yet, insufficiently articulated. Additional analysis and calculation is needed to explore detailed consequences of the,basic general idea. Experimentally verifiable i predictions and relations should be sought, and the theory should be f, scrutinized for guidolinas'to meaningful. experimental. efforts. Such Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 a program would represent a firm physically-based attempt to understand some of the mechanism of ESP, but could not be expected to produce immediate results. 3. For practic..al purposes-the investigation and experimental verification of empirical regularities governing the occurrence, content, and reliability of paranormal events should not be disdained. Although theory is always valuable, it may not be absolutely essential. It is quite-possible to know enough about a phenomenon to use it effectively, or to evaluate its use, without possessing any deep understanding of its nature. The human race used fire for thousands of years without understanding chemistry. Identification and quantification of physical. and psychological conditions for inhibition and enhancement of psi effects is especially desirable. The apparent spontaneity of these phenomena and their independence of most referents poses the most serious obstacle to their application. It is difficult to perceive the purpose served by research in parapsychology which does not attempt to relate the phenomena to controling conditions. Parapsychology may have application provided such relationships exist on some level, even r the level of total empiricism. 4. Regardless of the level of understanding of paranormal perception it is clear that information derived by this means is incomplete, subject to error and distortion, and sometimes completely erroneous. In many cases the accuracy is amazing, but complete errors are also frequent. A percipient may be unable to reliably estimate his oim accuracy. Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 These inherent features raise the. fundamental problem of how such erratic information can be utilized, How can the output of paranormal perception be assessed according to its completeness and/or reliability so as to optimize its use and minimize the effect of errors? The pecq jar features of ESP derived information demand that these problems be-addressed if such information is to serve a useful function. SG1I Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00781R000200180001-2 APPENDIX A Sutmnary and Critique of Each Paper Presented at the Conference Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 1. FOUNDATIONS OF 'AR~1~'i-IYSICAL AND P,ARAPSYC!tOI:,OGIC~~ P)t:C~t0i "1A. Evan Harris Walker, B.RL, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. SUMMARY: The oral talk consisted only of an outline summary of ideas and results; Study of a 'written version (69 pages) of this tali, together with previous papers referenced therein is required to evaluate the thinking of Dr. Walker. The written version of this talk explains a theory of psi phenomena resting upon several foundations: 1. A theory of consciousness developed by Dr. Walker (referenced but not explained) in which triggering of nerve synapses is influenced by. single quantum-level processes, and in which there are computed 3 basic rates of data processing in the brain, a.) Subconscious data rate 2.4(10)12 bits/sec. b.) Conscious data rate 7.5(10) bits/sec. c.) Attention set or. "will" d,cta rate 3(10) bits/sec. 2. The notion of "hidden variables" in quantum theory. These "hidden variables" ere not present in standard quantum theory, and are called "hidden" because they are inaccessible to direct measurement. There is no e:poriment,al verification of necessity for such v~.!riables, but they have been conjectured solely for philosophical -)r logical motives. The roll of those variables is to fix the precise outcome of a quan- tum event (or measurement), nn outttcono which in standard quantum theory is only determined in terms of its probability. The outcome of a. q.uan- tum event must be the same for all observers regardless of location or time lapse, so "hidden variables" potentially provide a communica- tion channel independent of space and time. Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 3. The assertion that the attention set or "tri.l1" data rate in the brain is the rate at which "hidden variable"-governed quantum processes are influencing the mind, or at which the mind can influence quantum proc- esses. Such a mind-mind or mind-object link provides a "hidden var- iable" theory of psi phenomena, suitable for telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and PK. Since according to this theory the "will" or paranormal data rate, 3(10) 4 bits/see, is a very small fraction of the conscious data rate, 7.5(10) bits/sec, the rarity of paranormal cognition is explained. Assuming a perceptive cue may occur at random from either data rate permits a calculation of the incidence of psi ability in an individual or a population. Fair agreement results. A detailed calculation is presented of the effect of quantum uncertainties in the initial position and velocity of a cubical die which bounces down an inclined plane. This experimental situation amplifies initial quantum uncer- tainties into macroscopic differences in the final position of the die? The results of PK placement experiments on rolling dice are consistent with those calculations, lending credence to the belief that PK operates by resolving quantum uncertainty. CRITIQUE: 1. The somewhat dubious contention that the triggering of nerve syngpsos is a quantum process requires more substantiation. The author's ar- gumezits leading to this contention) though published or reported, are not readily accessible. A like statement applies to his calculation and interpretation of the three fundamental data rates in the brain. All the aut'hor's ideas form an interlocking system which has evolved over several years. To*secur.e acceptance, or even objective consid- Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 eration, these thoughts should be combined into a single, concise, and self-cunt .ned presentation, which the present paper is not, 2. Hidden variables are controversial and by no means form a part of ac- cepted physical theory. No compelling physical evidence requires them, unless psi phenomena itself constitutes such evidence. Invocation of physical hidden variables for a theory of consciousness is a radical assumption, justifiable only by successful results. 3. The theory has not yet predicted anything. The calculations of, the incidence of psi ability, and of the influence of quantum uncertain- ties upon dice rolling, show consistency with experiment but do not test the fundamental assumptions of the theory,. The former calcula-- 4. tion depends only upon a single number (the ratio l:lo ), and the latter is a physical calculation. 'Regardless of its validity, Dr. Walker's theory is the most explicit, detailed, and quantitative theory of psi phenomena presented at this conference; though perhaps not the most fundamental. Unlike some of the other papers its contents are sufficiently explicit to neit de- tailed criticism and evaluation, and to at least offer some possibil- ities of experimental assessment. Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 13 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 2. PR E,CGGNITTOI`1-L OF TUINGS FUTURE? Gerald Feinberg, Department of Physics, Columbia University, New York. SUM MY: The suggestion is advanced. that precognition may be knowledge of a future state of the percipient's mind rather than prior knowledge of an objective state of the physical world. Thus, like memory where the mast state of the mind is recalled, precognition is perception of a future state of the mind. Professor Feinberg notes that the theory of electromagnetic radiation, and other physical theories, in principle permits both time retarded and time ad- vanced solutions. The time advanced solutions which propagate information from future to past are customarily excluded for the reason that they have not been observed experimentally. The possibility exists of some small admixture of time advanced solution together with the dominant time retarded solution. In the case of electromagnetic theory experiments are presently testing this pos- sibility to the accuracy of one part in 10 If one assumes that the mechanism of memory, whatever it may be, likei?rise permits a small admixture of time advanced solutions as well as the usual time retarded ones which we call memory, we have the phenomena of occasional pre- cognition based upon perception of a future state of the mind. Precognition of events is possible only if the percipient learns of the event at some time in the future. These speculations would receive experimental substantiation if precog- nition is influenced by the same factors as influence memory. CRITIQUE: Basically a trivial paper, containing one idea expressed in the title, Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 together with some standard physics which is only related to psi phenomena by virtue of a strained analoty between electromagnetic radiation and memory processes. 14 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 3. IPA RSYCTIOLOGYJAi'TTTR-T LOGIC APP ITIYOT? `!1 IO!-T T'?-OF C.T.K. Chari, Madras Christian College, Madras, India Professor Chari did not attend the conference. His paper was read by Harold Puthoff. ) 15 SUIT4ARY: ,In addition to three tyres of conventional biological information; 1.) ge- netic, 2.) environmentally conditioned, and 3.) symbolic and recorded communi- cation; the author postulates a 4th type of information network, the psi-net- work. The logic of this network would be non-BoaLean. Understanding the psi network may require use of recently proposed concepts in the quantum theory of measurement and in information theory. CRITIQUE: A paper written in the context of philosophy and formal logic without, however, a clear internal organization. It provides no theory clear enough for experimental: verification or further development. The principal value of the paper is its numerous citations of recent work in the philosophy of quan- tum mechanics and in information theory. Indeed this paper reads like an over- abbreviated review article. Since C.T.K. Chari did not attend the conference he read advanced drafts of some of the presented papers and submitted a written version of his reac- tions to them. entitled. An Indian Parapsychologist's Reactions to the Geneva Conference on "Quantum Physics and Parapsychology" Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 4e UANM PARADOXES AI'1D ARISTOTLE t S TWOFOLD INFORr,1ATION CONCEPT C). Costa de Beauregard, Institut Henri Poincarc, Paris, France S Th RY: The problems of relativity, time reversibility, and entropy increase lead to consideration of measurement processes in the context of information theory. A measurement process by which information is acquired produces an increase in entropy, since negative entropy must be supplied equal to or greater than the information acquired. Such a process is a learning or a perceptual process. An entropy increasing process is dissipative, and'dissipation is a requirement of macroscopic causality in the normal sense of past determining the future or, equivalently, retarded waves. The author proposes the reverse process ( an ordering process) whereby pre-existing information is converted into order, a process which occurs whenever any conceptual scheme is actualized to produce macroscopic order. Ordering decreases entropy. An entropy decreasing process-is the reverse of dissipative and implies macroscopic acausality (or finality) in the sense of the future situation determining the past, or advanced waves. Both processes, which were foreshadowed in Aristotle's thinking, can be represented by the two chains of equivalence: Measurement'-~ Information Entropy Increase Dissipation Causality Retarded Wave Past to Future Information- Ordering Entropy Decrease Anti-Dissipation Finality Advanced Waves Future to Past Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Although de de facto the first column predominates in natural macroscopic processes, the inverse process of the second column is or theoretical possibility and indeed must also occur. At the microscopic level of elementary quantum processes one might expect a spmnetry between the two columns, similar to the other symmetries of microscopic physics ( time reversal, charge conjugation, etc.). Since probability plays a central role in quantum theory, the two types of process depending respectively on increasing and decreasing order, have tight consequences. Some of these are PK by use of corcious information to control a quantum process, and telepathy by the linked outcome of quantum measuritg-processes. Basically these considerations are summarized in the statement that the wave function of quantum mechanics propagates probabilities. It is not a physical field which propagates, but rather an information field. CRITIQUE: .;Though scarcely providing an explicit theory, this paper hews closely to established physical understanding.. It provides a theoretical framework which not only may connect observed ESP effects with quantum mechanics, but which also places ESP in the very general context of information theory. Whatever else it may be or may involve, ESP does deal with information. In addition the paper points up how information theory may underlie some very deep- physical principles. This is a provocative paper, perhaps the most profound physical discussion at the conference. It may perhaps formulate a general foundation upon which could be built an intelligible physical theory-of ESP. Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 Approved For Release 2003/09/09 : CIA-RDP96-00787R000200180001-2 5. LIFT OD C U11IvTTU;1 P r ICs V.A. Firsoff, Royal Astronomical Society, London, England SUr4SARY: This paper uses the ideas expressed by Monod (Jacques 1?onod, Chance ani necessity, 1972 ) as a framework for exuounding the theme that ment