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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ending Psychic Programs May Have Cost USA 4 Trillion Dollars

A surprising fact is that between 1975 and 1995 the United States spent many millions of dollars investigating psychic phenomena. The investigations originated out of fears of falling behind the Soviet Union in this area (the Soviets were believed to have a vigorous program of psychic research). The US programs went under a variety of names, including the famous STARGATE program to investigate remote viewing (the alleged ability of certain people to gain knowledge of remote locations through paranormal means).

In 1995 the government paid a group called the American Institutes for Research to evaluate the program. The group issued a report recommending that the research be canceled, and it was. But many thought there was something very strange about this sudden termination of the program. If the remote viewing programs had not been producing positive results, why were they funded for twenty years? If humans are not capable of remote viewing, it should have taken no more than twenty days to discover that through testing, not twenty years.

In fact, there is every reason to think that the US government investigations into psychic phenomena were extremely successful, in terms of providing substantial evidence for the reality of certain paranormal phenomena. The historical record indicates that the US government experiments on remote viewing did produce positive results time and time again. One remote viewer, Joe McMoneagle, was awarded a Legion of Merit award for his successful remote viewing. A remote viewer working for the US government was apparently able to detect details of a new type of Soviet sub before its existence was known to the US government. There were numerous other remarkable successes, some involving the famous psychic Ingo Swann. Swann was reported to have detected rings around Jupiter at a time before such rings had been discovered by US spacecraft.

What is also interesting is that the very American Institutes for Research report that led to a cancellation of the program contained quite a few pages indicating that it was actually successful. For example, on page 23 the report states the following (in a section written by University of California statistician Dr. Jessica Utts):

Using the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic functioning has been well established. The statistical results of the studies examined are far beyond what is expected by chance. Arguments that these results could be due to methodological flaws in the experiments are soundly refuted.

Then on page 35 of the report Dr. Utts reviews 154 experiments consisting of over 26,000 trials with 227 subjects. She says, “The statistical results were so overwhelming that results that extreme or more so would occur only about once in every 1020 such instances if chance alone is the explanation.” This is a statement that you would have to run the experiments 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 times before you would get by chance a result as significant as the results that were achieved. On page 50 of the report, Dr. Utts concludes the following:

It is clear to this author that anomalous cognition is possible and has been demonstrated. This conclusion is not based on belief, but rather on commonly accepted scientific criteria.

It was only by some very implausible mental gymnastics and sophistry that other writers in the report were able to argue against the US research on remote viewing. In a “the evidence be damned” kind of triumph, the skeptics won out. In 1995 the United States closed down its programs involving psychic research.

As it happens, this was almost precisely the worst possible time to have made such a decision. This is because one year later Osama bin Laden and his followers declared war on the United States. The US wanted to find bin Laden, but could not. Let us ask: how might things have gone differently if the US had not abandoned its paranormal programs? What might have happened if the US had decided to continue to give healthy funding to paranormal defense-related programs in 1995?

For one thing, there might have never been a 9/11 attack on September 11, 2001. This is because we might have been able to use remote viewing and similar techniques to get a good idea of exactly where Osama bin Laden was. Then we might have eliminated him by means of a cruise missile launch, long before 2001. If remote viewers had been able to determine bin Laden's location, it would have been a success less remarkable than other successes logged during the US investigations into remote viewing between 1975 and 1995.

If the US had taken psychic research seriously after 1995, we might also have got a “heads up” regarding the attacks on the World Trade Center. As Dr. Larry Dossey documents abundantly in his very fascinating book The Science of Premonitions, there are numerous cases of people who have had dreams or premonitions that seemed to warn of a disaster that eventually occurred. I don't claim to have any unusual psychic abilities, but several months before the World Trade Center attack I had a dream of the World Trade Center collapsing. Other people had similar dreams or premonitions, which might have arisen either from real precognition or from simple ESP in which a person in one place somehow picks up the thoughts of distant people plotting an attack. What if the US had taken seriously the idea of encouraging people to report dreams or premonitions of disaster? It might have established some kind of hotline for reporting such dreams or premonitions. In 2001 federal authorities might have noticed a spike in reports of dreams or premonitions about a World Trade Center disaster. The FBI might then have begun diligently investigating all means by which the World Trade Center could be attacked, including a greater investigation of pilot-training schools with foreign students. This might have exposed the plot and prevented the World Trade Center attacks.

If we consider the years 2002 and 2003, we see cases in which the USA might have achieved its ends for very little money, by using the fruits of paranormal research. The remote viewing process investigated with apparent success between 1975 and 1995 might have been used to help determine the location of Osama bin Laden, who could have been taken out with a cruise missile. Remote viewing also could have been used to help determine the location of Saddam Hussein. Regime change might then have been accomplished with a single cruise missile launch, instead of a full ground invasion.

Remote viewing also could have been used to help rule out the faulty hypothesis that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Remote viewers could have been trained to focus on targets in Iraq. If none reported any weapons of mass destruction, it would have helped to discredit such an idea.

The main person from Iraq who suggested such a hypothesis was an intelligence source known as Curveball. This person told a story that Saddam Hussein had an active and massive program to develop weapons of mass destruction. The story turned out to be a great big lie, but the US government fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Psychics could have been used to help determine that the person was lying. Given reported powers far, far greater than being able to tell whether someone is lying, this might have been child's play for such psychics.

In short, reviewing the events that occurred between 1995 and 2003, we see quite a few cases in which the USA might have avoided becoming involved in two major wars, if only we had simply believed the results of the experiments we had conducted between 1975 and 1995, and taken appropriate followup efforts to make use of such findings. Instead, we basically kind of said, “That can't be right,” and threw the valuable results of twenty years of government research into the trash can, at exactly the worst time (1995).

I estimate that the cost of such a mistake may have been between 2 trillion dollars and 4 trillion dollars, the latter being the total price tag of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including future medical care for the many injured US soldiers. Four trillion dollars is $4,000,000,000,000.00. The graphic below (from the Watson Institute at Brown University) illustrates the cost of the wars that might have been prevented. 

cost of Iraq war

In 1995 the US may have acted just like an infantry soldier who throws away his binoculars the night before a crucial battle.