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The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena

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The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena [Hardcover]

Dean Radin (Author)
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews) Like (2)

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Book Description

July 18, 1997
Recently profiled in the "New York Times" Magazine. Dean Radin is perhaps the most respected parapsychology authority in the country. An articulate, engaging communicator, Radin wields impeccable credentials, a healthy skepticism and a meticulous scientific method to put "psi" phenomona like telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and mind-over-matter abilities to the hard test of science. His unprecedented manifesto makes a startingly persuasive case for the truth of psychic phenomena -- and places us on the cusp of what may well be the next great paradigm shift.

Editorial Reviews Review

Holding up such anomalies as ESP, psychokinesis, prayer, near-death experiences, and reincarnation under the cool light of scientific scrutiny can be a daunting task. Dean Radin, director of the Consciousness Research Laboratory at the University of Nevada, rises to the challenge in the pioneering and exhaustively researched The Conscious Universe. Fans of The X-Files will need no further convincing, but for the remaining skeptics, this easy-to-read mix of history, scientific evidence, and proclamations ("When modern science began about three hundred years ago, one of the consequences of separating mind and matter was that science slowly lost its mind.") will authenticate the existence of psychic phenomena.

Radin creates two categories: the perceiving of objects or events beyond our ordinary sense capabilities and the triggering or influencing of action through mental powers. Radin aims to present simply and clearly the basic elements from science, psychology, and physics that prove the existence psychic phenomena. Given the tacit acceptance of psychic phenomena as "real," why do both government and mainstream science repudiate the claims and the evidence, yet continue to exploit them?

The Conscious Universe challenges our most basic assumptions about reality, those that exist in both the upper echelons of science and in the basic daily interactions. It’s a mind-bending exploration of how and what we see.


Radin is a mix of curiosity, scholarship, technical expertise, and sly wit. (New York Times Magazine )

Looking through The Lost Symbol, it seems that the “new” topic that will benefit from “the Dan Brown effect” is Noetic Science. . . . parapsychology researcher Dean Radin is at the Institute of Noetic Science - these “heretical science” topics are likely to generate much debate. (MSNBC's Cosmic Log )

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (July 18, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062515020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062515025
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

If you buy anything you hear as true, read it too. Spiff  |  8 reviewers made a similar statement
Very well organized and written. bob  |  8 reviewers made a similar statement
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
246 of 263 people found the following review helpful
By Spiff
Radin's book was a surprise to me. I have been often interested in the paranormal, but have always felt it completely lacked any scientific truth, and was worth little more than entertainment. Eventually, I became very sceptical to any issues that could not be easily accepted by science. This book has made me think twice by finally providing some meta-analysis that convinced me to at least stop to wonder.

To keep it short, Radin basically claims that the paranormal is real and has proof of it. He starts by defining the concept of Psi, and dedicates many pages trying to explain you the mathematical and statistical background you will need to understand the studies and the meta-analysis of the results. Radin then proceeds to expose all the evidence that has been gathered for the past years, for Telepathy, Perception at a distance and through time, Mind-Matter interaction, Mental interaction with living organisms and field consciousness. His next theme dedicates 50 pages to explain the why scepticism has been limiting the knowledge of Psi phenomena, and even approaches some metaphysics.

The book is very well organized, there is some redundancy, but no more than normal and it is often necessary. Subjects are well separated and the index is very good. What impressed me most was perhaps the way Radin provides the reader with external sources that back up his claims. The text is full of marks to references. You have about 40 pages with notes and references, which you will be able to check for yourself. If Radin claims something you might want to confirm, it most likely tells you where to go find the original document. This aspect alone would be enough to separate this work from many of the pseudocience junk on the market.

You will be left under the impression that the experiences known as "psychic phenomena" are real. Radin never refuses the possibility that these phenomena might be fully understood by science in the future, losing its "paranormal" label, but dedicates his energy in trying to prove that they are no longer based solely upon faith or absorbing anecdotes, or even in few experiments - It shows that these phenomena exist because they have been evaluated in massive amounts of scientific evidence.

Carl Sagan said extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and Radin does provide most of the evidence. As younger scientists become aware of these matters and innovative corporations pour resources into psi investigation, there is no doubt that the scientific community is getting very, very curious about something that is going on but cannot be explained.

Radin is very persuasive, many people might not be impressed with his writing on sociology and metaphysics, but his technical expertise on the rest of the book is obvious.

This is a very dense book to review in a short space, so I'll end up by warning those who are expecting a lot of hocus-pocus, ghost stories and x-files scripts. This book has almost nothing of that, Radin only gives a few short "reports" as the intro, but he obviously gives them no value at all and instantly proceeds to crunching the numbers. The studies are sometimes a bit dry for those who are expecting Uri Geller moments (Uri isn't even mentioned) and it might appear as if you're reading something your college forced you to, but once you get interested, it will be a delicious read. Even if you feel you might be challenged by the studies, but you don't need to be a statistician to understand it, Radin will give you the basics. So be warned, it gets zero on the Ghostbusters scale. (In fact, in many parts I could almost see Radin shrugging and saying "well uh, we have no idea on why this happens, but we are completely sure that it does happen for no known reason". Lacking some impact for Hollywood perhaps, but still engaging. :-)

Radin has convinced me that psi phenomena have indeed considerable scientific evidence behind, but that unlike what many pseudo-science fans think, those effects are extremely subtle and hard to control for any good use, at least, at present time. They cannot, however, be ignored as non-existing, or the product of ignorant minds. Nobel Laureate in Physics Brian Josephson for instance said "Radin shows the evidence in favour of paranormal existence is overwhelming".

I highly recommend it. A powerful case for the reality of parapsychological phenomena. Very professional work in a subject that has been plagued by many pseudoscience titles that do nothing but add more noise. What it sometimes likes in fun, it provides in painstaking research.

If you are a sceptic, read it, no matter if you are religious or not, with a scientific background or not. If you buy anything you hear as true, read it too. Most of all, it will challenge you to weigh the facts and think for yourself. But one view is never enough. Be sure to read several of the best sceptical works (many of which Radin mentions in the text and References) and any other you find interesting (Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan is a good title to start with) and you will understand everything better. Well worth the time. I look forward to Radin's next work.

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221 of 242 people found the following review helpful
Comment from the author February 15, 2000
Format:Hardcover|Amazon Verified Purchase
Of the 26 reviews posted here (not counting this comment), 22 are rated 4 or 5 stars. Only 3 reviews give 1 star, and all three of those are posted by one person.

This individual first claimed that the book is flawed because it relies too heavily on anecdotal evidence to make its case. This is false, as anyone who actually reads the book will immediately see. Then he claimed that the statistical methods are wrong. The implication is that psi research relies on methods that are different from those used in the conventional behavioral and social sciences. This too is false.

The case for psi in The Conscious Universe relies on conventional methods that are widely accepted and used in other scientific disciplines. The critic apparently prefers other statistical methods. But while the merits of such techniques may be debated, it overlooks an important point: For psi research to appeal to mainstream science, it must first demonstrate that conventional methods of analysis lead to a strong prima facie case that there is something interesting going on. Later (and only later), other proposed analysis techniques may be explored.

As one reviewer commented, don't take my word for it. Read this book and the associated literature and learn why well-informed skeptics, including the late Carl Sagan, have conceded that the usual criticisms (selective reporting, design flaws, fraud, etc.) are insufficient to explain away the cumulative scientific evidence for psi effects.

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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
I consider Dr. Radin to be a man that takes a lot of heat for his experiments and beliefs. Whether or not you agree with him, I think this book shows that Dr. Radin didn't come to the conclusion that psi phenomenon are real overnight. He spent years investigating subtle aspects of "psi phenomena", analyzed large bodies of this type of experimental research, and learned to implement numerous statistical techniques. I do not consider him to be a "quack". Dean Radin is a dedicated scientist. Whether or not he is a misguided scientist depends upon your point of view. I am not convinced that he is misguided. This book has made me open to investigating more and learning more before I draw any conclusions. I simply am not sure what to believe.

Dean Radin has a very expressive and easy to read writing style. In addition, he has an uncanny ability to explain the ins and outs of statistics by utilizing simple analogies.

For me, this resulted in a book that I was able to read and digest very rapidly.

I decided to give the book 5 stars for all of the above reasons.

Potential psi research criticisms that were addressed reasonably well by Dr. Radin include:

1) The File Drawer problem
2) The problem of fraud
3) Statistical significance of results (ie. effect size)
4) Replicability of results
5) The use of Meta-analysis
6) Sensory Leakage
7) Randomization of tests

There is one area of criticism that I wish were addressed more thoroughly:

A fair amount of skepticism about psi phenomena appears to stem from the fact that so much of the evidence is based on "statistical deviations". Granted, (p) values are important, but isn't there even one form of psi that can be captured upon demand? Not one? How about a psi effect that can be looked at tangibly? Where is that? I understand Dr. Radin's point that psi phenomena are inherently complex, but there has to be at least one truly tangible demonstration of its effects. After all, parapsychology is a very broad field of inquiry.

Consider, for instance, that physicists can actually conduct a quantum teleportation experiment. It can be observed. Nobody can deny it anymore. With enough effort, it can be VISIBLY reproduced. Psychologists can give a rat a certain narcotic and OBSERVE its unusual behavior. Chemists can form compounds, and you can VIEW them with a microscope.

I mean there has to come a point where you actually isolate at least one aspect of a phenomenon and make it tangible. Statistics are inherently complex and there can be so many confounding factors that it's easy for skeptics to dismiss results one way or another.

For instance, I feel that parapsychologists need to find a way to create a tangible demonstration of psychokinesis so that skeptics will truly be lost for words. Not tangible with statistics, I mean truly tangible.

Personally, I would be elated if any of the following happened:

1) A large group of psychics is able to bend a piece of metal even a millionth of an inch under very tightly guarded conditions, the experiment having been designed and monitored by deeply affirmed skeptics. The psychics could try this as many times as they wanted to until they produced the effect. Surely the psychics could overcome the negative experimenter effect, at least once, given an unlimited number of trials?

2) A large group of psychics is able to move a very specific small electronic gadget a certain small distance or alter a very specific bit of information while under extremely controlled circumstances. The experiment would have to be monitored by skeptics. The psychics could attempt this as many times as they wanted to until they made it happen.

I am confused why this type of irrefutable evidence doesn't exist. Or does it exist, and the skeptics still denounce the results? Am I missing something here?

There has to be some VISIBLE, TANGIBLE, IRREFUTABLE evidence that mainstream science would be forced to accept. I doubt mainstream science would reject such evidence.

Without directly isolating an effect, and making it tangible, the skeptics will always play hardball.


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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Why No Easily Duplicable Tests?
A reviewer of Radin's book asks; "I am confused why this type of irrefutable evidence doesn't exist. Or does it exist, and the skeptics still denounce the results? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steve Baughman
Excellent! One of the best books on Consciousness I've ever read.
Thank You Dr. Dean Radin. His work is amazing and truly on the leading edge. Though this book came out several years ago, I still rarely hear of these studies. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Judene Mock
Interesting, well written book. Where's the editing? (Kindle Edition)
So far I like Dean Radin's book. It's detailed, informative and the author applies the scientific method to increase the validity of his work. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Andy O
excellent, excellent book. Very well organized and written. Brings points across clearly, concisely, and thoroughly. Read more
Published 12 months ago by bob
Published 13 months ago by SUE De NIME
Still in Need of a Metaphysics
This is a well-organized, thoughtful book that presents a persuasive, if not irrefutable, argument in support of the reality of psychic phenomena. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Philip Mereton
A must read!
I absolutely loved this book, probably the best book I've read in a long time. It's very well written and hard to put down.
Published 16 months ago by Einstein Fan
very cool book; eye-opening research
Presents a comprehensive overview of parapsychology research. Shook my views of science, determinism, consciousness, observation, and whatnot. Worth a gander. I recommend it.
Published 17 months ago by danzkuh
This book is amazing, scientific, and quite mind blowing!
If you wanna see scientific evidence of psi phenomena,then this is the book for you. Dean Radin has provided enough emperical evidence to convince me, other scientists, and... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Angel
Read if you have an open mind, super skeptics don't bother
Skepticism is way too thick in subjects like this. But when all you've heard since you were five years old is that magic is a fantasy and to not believe anything related to it then... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Brian J. Brubaker
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