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BOOK REVIEW:
Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality, by Dean Radin, Ph.D., 2006

Published by Paraview Pocket Books: New York

(Clicking on image takes you to Amazon.)


Dean Radin's book, Entangled Mines, is required reading for anyone seriously interested in understanding the current debates in the science of psi. Here Radin proposes that human minds are literally entangled with the universe on a quantum level, and that this entanglement may be the root explanation for a great many psychic phenomena.


Entangled Minds is Dean Radin's second book on the science of psychic phenomena (or, more generally, "psi"). As with his first book, The Conscious Universe, Radin survey's a huge scientific literature on the subject. But with Entangled Minds, Radin goes much further in the direction of proposing a theoretical underpinning that may explain psi. Before turning one's attention toward this theory, however, it is worthwhile placing Radin's theoretical contribution in context, which is why his lengthy and rich description of the relevant extant literature is so important.

Radin begins his book by focusing on the primal exposure to psi that first riveted so many early scientists, and which still intrigues lay people today. His focus throughout this book is the idea of entanglement as a possible explanation for psychic phenomena. Thus, even when he discusses early approaches to the study of psi, he keeps his eye on this larger theoretical picture. Radin then moves on to examine both consciously and unconsciously mediated psychic phenomena. Consciously mediated psi is, for example, when a person consciously tries to send a telepathic message to someone else. Thus, we have a sender and a receiver, both of whom are trying to establish a psychic mental connection for the purpose of transferring information from one person to another. Unconsciously mediate psi typically refers to unconscious responses of a person's nervous system to distant mental influence, often as measure with respect to brain waves or skin resistance.

The study of psi extends well beyond the transfer of information, either consciously or unconsciously. Psychic phenomena include mental influences on physical mater, and Radin spends considerable time explaining this. To introduce the idea of mind-matter interaction, Radin summarizes a large set of laboratory experiments in which mental influences are statistically apparent in things as diverse as throwing dice to the computation of random numbers by computers. The statistical evidence of this is overwhelming, and certainly far beyond that which would be required in any branch of nonparanormal science.

The study of psi also extends to the cosmological realm of time. Radin addresses the issue of time by examining something called "presentiment," and that is the ability of a person to respond consciously or unconsciously to a stimulus before the stimulus is applied. This is a highly complex area of research, but at its core is the simple idea that humans can react emotionally to certain things that are about to happen, even when they are given no prior physical information relating to this. Skeptical readers can be assured that all scientific controls are in place, and the experiments are conducted so that there can be no leak of information to the person about to receive a stimulus. For example, when a computer randomly selects a picture to show to a person in a controlled and isolated environment, various measures (such as skin resistance, EEG measurements, etc.) indicate that that the person knows in advance when the picture is going to elicit a strong emotional response. As with the other evidences of psychic functioning surveyed by Radin, the statistical evidence is many times greater than any minimum threshold requirement.

One of Radin's chapters ("Gaia's Dreams") addresses a set of experiments that are increasingly attracting mainstream scientific attention. It appears that certain types of events in the globe affect the way humanity in general thinks. That is, certain types of events cause large numbers of humans to think about the same subject, and to hold similar emotions. When this occurs, computational devices that compute random numbers are influenced. Events such as the terrorist attack in the United States that destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the funeral of Princess Diana, the funeral of Pope John Paul II, and the tsunamis in Asia in 2004 seem to be particularly potent in triggering a coherence in human thinking that can influence the operation of random number generators. Put bluntly, this is the strongest evidence to date that there may be something to the idea of a "collective consciousness." Perhaps most interestingly, the random number generators are often influenced a few hour before the major events occur, suggesting that a predictive capability to major events may one day be possible.

The great beauty in Dean Radin's book becomes most visible in his later chapters in which he proposes a connection between psychic phenomena and quantum mechanics. Here, readers can obtain one of the most comprehensive and approachable introductions into this area of physics in print. Radin summarizes much of the debate among physicists regarding the interpretation of quantum phenomena such as entanglement. Indeed, his exceptionally clear description of John Bell's famous theorem is itself worth the price of the book. He then goes on to explain why quantum theory should be considered the prime candidate for explaining the manifestation of psi.

If someone were to ask what are the most important things that one gets from reading this book, I would say there are two. First, Dean Radin's approach to the explanation of psychic phenomena is thoroughly comprehensive. Reading this book forces a realization that an enormous number of very serious scientists working in large variety of prestigious places are deeply concerned with matters of psi. Moreover, their experiments are convincing beyond any reasonable scientific doubt that psi is real, and that its implications to the way we conceive of reality are profound. Second, Radin offers the reader a truly intriguing entry into the theory of psychic functioning based on theories of quantum mechanics. In this regard, Radin is in good company with the likes of Stapp, Josephson, Goswami, Wolf, Hameroff, and Penrose.

If I could wish anything to be true, I would wish two things. First, I would wish that every college president would read Radin's book, Entangled Minds. Second, I would wish that each of these presidents would turn to his or her own faculty and ask them why they are not studying this material. It should be clear to anyone familiar with this literature that this area of research will one day profoundly influence the future of science. College as well as lay audiences who want an insider's glimpse into some of the most important questions that future scientists in many fields will be working on should read this book.