Azara Blog: Ministry of Defence concludes that psychic powers are bunk

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Date published: 2007/02/24

The BBC says:

The Ministry of Defence has defended a decision to carry out tests to find out whether psychic powers could be used to detect hidden objects.

The previously secret tests - conducted in 2002 - involved blind-folding volunteers and asking them about the contents of sealed brown envelopes.

Most subjects consistently failed to establish what was in the envelopes.

The MoD said the study was to assess claims made in academic circles and found the theories had "little value".

Revelations about the hitherto secret research is contained in a previously classified report released under the Freedom of Information Act.

During the tests, defence experts attempted to recruit 12 "known" psychics who had advertised their abilities on the internet.

However, when they all refused to take part in the research, "novice" volunteers were drafted in.

During the study, commercial researchers were contracted at a cost of £18,000 to test them to see if psychic ability existed and could be used for defence purposes.

Some 28% of those tested managed a close guess at the contents of the envelopes, which included pictures of a knife, Mother Teresa and an "Asian individual".

However, most subjects produced guesses that were not close to the correct answer and one subject even fell asleep while he tried to focus on the envelope's content.

The MoD refused to discuss the possible applications of psychic techniques, but said that the study had concluded there was "little value" in using "remote viewing" in the defence of the nation.

"The remote viewing study was conducted to assess claims made in some academic circles and to validate research carried out by other nations on psychic ability," said a spokeswoman.

She added: "The study concluded that remote viewing theories had little value to the MoD and was taken no further."

Well it is good to know that this report was classified, what would have happened to the security of Britain if Al Qaeda knew that our psychics could not defend us from the terrorist threat.

More seriously, although this was in some ways a waste of public money, perhaps the fact that the MOD showed that psychic theories are rubbish lends more credibility than if a bunch of academics had demonstrated it, especially since the MOD covered the result up, so obviously were not just out to rubbish the theories in the first place. Not that the charletans who promote the idea that we have psychic powers will be persuaded. (Not finding a positive result is not the same as proving a positive result cannot be there, blah, blah...)

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