Human intentions can bring about effects at a distance in a variety of ways: a dog can pick up its owner's intention to come home from many miles away; a cat can respond to its owner's silent call; and a person can feel the intention of someone to call by telephone. Likewise, animals' intentions can affect people to whom they are bonded, as when cats in distress call their owners to the rescue. And animals' intentions can also affect other animals. All these kinds of intentions can work telepathically through morphic fields. But what if an animal's intentions are directed toward an inanimate object rather than a member of its social group? If its intentions could influence such an object at a distance, without any known forms of physical contact, then this would be an example of psychokinesis, the name given by parapsychologists to the action of mind on matter. In some astonishing experiments with young chicks, the French researcher Rene Peoc'h has demonstrated just such an effect. His experiments involved young chicks bonding to a machine instead of their mother.

Newly hatched chicks, ducklings, and goslings "imprint" on, or form an attachment to, the first moving object they encounter, and they then follow it around. Under normal circumstances, this imprinting instinct causes them to bond with their mother, but if the eggs are hatched in an incubator and young birds first meet a person, they will follow that person around instead. In laboratory experiments they can even be induced to imprint on moving balloons or other inanimate objects. In his experiments, Peoc'h used a small robot that moved around on wheels in a series of random directions. At the end of each movement, it stopped, rotated through a randomly selected angle, and moved in a straight line for a randomly determined period before stopping and rotating again, and so on. These movements were determined by a random-number generator inside the robot. The path it traced out was recorded. In control experiments, its movements were indeed haphazard. Peoc'h exposed newly hatched chicks to this robot, and they imprinted on this machine as if it were their mother. Consequently they wanted to follow it around, but Peoc'h stopped them from doing so by putting them in a cage. From the cage the chicks could see the robot, but they could not move toward it. Instead, they made the robot move toward them (Figure 16.1). Their desire to be near the robot somehow influenced the random-number generator so that the robot stayed close to the cage.' Chicks that were not imprinted on the robot had no such effect on its movement.

In other experiments, Peoc'h kept non-imprinted chicks in the dark. He put a lighted candle on the top of the robot and put the chicks in the cage where they could see it. Chicks prefer being in the light during the daytime, and they "pulled" the robot toward them, so that they received more light.

Peoc'h also carried out experiments in which rabbits were put in a cage where they could see the robot. At first they were frightened of it, and the robot moved away from them; they repelled it. But rabbits exposed to the robot daily for several weeks were no longer afraid of it and tended to pull it toward them. Thus the desire or fear of these animals influenced random events at a distance so as to attract or repel the robot. This would obviously not be possible if animals' desires and fears were confined inside their brains. Instead, their intentions reached out to affect the behavior of this machine.

I interpret this influence in terms of a morphic field that projects out to the focus of their attention, connecting them to it. Just as a field of intention can affect people or animals at a distance, so it can affect a physical system. In one case, intention has effects at a distance on the brain. In the other case, intention has effects on random events in a machine. As far as I know, no one has yet repeated Peoc'h's experiments. It is possible that they involve some technical flaw that no one has yet spotted. But if they are reliable and repeatable, they are very important.

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Replies to This Discussion

Rene, naturalistic Pantheism is just as physicalist and just as skeptical as atheism. We just add a deep feeling of connection and belonging to Nature and the wider Universe.
You say you are not a Pantheist - so why are you creating a discussion on a way out and quasi-supernatural topic inside a group that's about naturalistic spirituality? This kind of stuff is not what naturalistic spirituality is about.
Why don't you set up a group for New age or supernatural or fringe science inside Atheist Nexus?
Perhaps I've misunderstood the term "pantheism" - I am skeptical of anything which attributes the natural world to the presence or power of any "deity"... therefore, I do not consider nature and god to be one and the same. I do not believe in any god(s).

However, I am also skeptical of material reductionism. I do not believe in a mechanistic universe devoid of consciousness. I do identify with "...a deep feeling of connection and belonging to Nature and the wider Universe."

IMO, the fascinating experiments of Rene' Peoc'h (I am not Rene' ... I am Heidi who posted the info re: Rene's experiments) are as naturalistic as it gets. Baby chicks bonded with a robot that was controlled by a random number generator, and the robot behaved differently when in the presence of the group of chicks who wanted to be close to it. These experiments elucidate an aspect of nature which has been "taboo" in the eyes of materialists. This "taboo" is not rational, IMO.

The prejudice against anything "new age" or "supernatural" is predicated upon the refusal to accept phenomena which are not readily demonstrable under laboratory conditions. Rene Peoc'h's experiments are. I posted this in an effort to expose others with "...a deep feeling of connection and belonging to Nature and the wider Universe" to further evidence of the interconnection between the consciousness of living beings and other living beings, as well as its effect on the natural universe.
Rupert Sheldrake tells us (in his book "Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home") that no one has repeated the Rene' Peoc'h experiments.

However, I found a source for robots controlled by random event generators:

"Psyleron Robot Overview
The Psyleron Robot is a basic mechanical toy, but with a very unique feature: inside the robot is a Psyleron-based random event generator. The REG core controls the movement of the robot―forward, reverse, left, right, and pivot. Because the REG is subject to the influence of consciousness, the movement of the robot can also be influenced by the mind.

Background Research
The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory explored the behavior of REG-driven robots under the influence of consciousness for many years (1). In lab conditions, the results were similar to other human-machine experiments: the devices behaved unusually, with statistical significance, in the direction of intent.

Separate studies by French scholar René Peoc’h suggested the same, yet rather than using human operators, Peoc’h used baby chicks (2). A randomly-driven robot was set up in a confined area, and it's movement was tracked and found to be consistent with expectations of random motion. Then the robot was introduced to motherless baby chicks, and "socialized" in a way known to cause psychological attachment. The robot was put back in the confined space and left to move around freely, yet this time, the baby chicks were situated in a cage next to the robot. After tracking the movement of the robot, they found that it clustered around wherever the chicks were, even to a statistically significant extent. The suggestion was that the baby chicks had influenced the random motion of the robot attempting to bring it near, just as the human operators had influenced the PEAR robot. "

(1) Response of an REG-Driven Robot to Operator Intention (2007). Journal of Scientific Exploration, 21, No. 1, pp. 27-46.

(2) Psychokinesis Experiments with Human and Animal Subjects Upon a Robot Moving at Random (2002). Journal of Parapsychology, Sept.
My interest in such phenomena is due to my own experiences. For a recent example:

Two weeks ago I felt moved to secure the lock on our front gate. I do not normally do this because we hardly ever receive unexpected visitors. Although we do keep the gate locked overnight, my husband Greg does not lock it behind him when he leaves for work in the morning. Most days I don't bother to lock it either.

But that particular day I had the unusual and strong feeling that someone might open the gate and drive up to the house.

Because I normally enjoy the freedom to walk around our totally secluded home and property in various states of undress, I would rather not have anyone pull up to the house unexpectedly. So I always heed such intuitive advisements unless there is some obvious reason not to. I can't even think of an instance where obeying such an inner message has ever had negative consequences... but I can recall many, many instances where obeying my intuition has been beneficial.

About mid-morning, I dressed in my gardening clothes and started mowing the horseback and hiking trails that I have created around and through our five acres of woods. I use a lawn tractor which is rather loud. My dog doesn't like motors and he barks the whole time, so I use ear plugs to spare myself all this racket.

It's important to know that my trails wind all the way around the outskirts of the acreage and crisscross through the woods... including a long path out one side of the property and through the adjacent forest to the next dirt road into the neighborhood. I cannot see the driveway from any of those areas. I have to be within 40 feet of the gate to see anyone drive up.

I had already been mowing all around the trails before I happened to drive my tractor right across the driveway parallel to the locked gate. At that very moment a white van pulled into the driveway. I recognized our plumber who had done a job for us over a week prior and had said that he would put together his bill and let us know the total later. I had been wondering about him that morning and if he was going to telephone or fax us that day. Instead, he was apparently the person who planned to drive up to the house, and I apparently felt his intention... although I did not know who it was going to be. I had been thinking about him but I had not consciously assumed that he would be the person driving onto the property.

I would not otherwise have noticed him while I was out mowing the trails, and he would not have been able to drive up to the door and leave his bill. But all went well for us after all because our minds were in-synch and coordinated our movements behind the scenes.

In retrospect, it seems I was brought to the front gate at exactly the right time the way the REG robot was moved close to the baby chicks... by my plumber's intention to connect with me that day.
Thanks Katrina. That's why it's so good to find other atheists here who acknowledge this dimension of experience.

I love what Rupert Sheldrake said in reply to Richard Dawkins when Dawkins poo-poohed Sheldrake's experiments and refused to examine any of Sheldrake's data.


"Richard Dawkins comes to call

A crusading atheist and author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins is Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is a Fellow of CSI (The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, formerly CSICOP) and a strong supporter of James Randi. His earlier books were on evolutionary biology, the best known being The Selfish Gene. In 2007, he visited Rupert to interview him for his TV series Enemies of Reason:

Richard Dawkins is a man with a mission – the eradication of religion and superstition, and their total replacement with science and reason. Channel 4 TV has repeatedly provided him with a pulpit. His two-part polemic in August 2007, called Enemies of Reason, was a sequel to his 2006 diatribe against religion, The Root of All Evil?

Soon before Enemies of Reason was filmed, the production company, IWC Media, told me that Richard Dawkins wanted to visit me to discuss my research on unexplained abilities of people and animals. I was reluctant to take part, but the company’s representative assured me that “this documentary, at Channel 4’s insistence, will be an entirely more balanced affair than The Root of All Evil was.” She added, “We are very keen for it to be a discussion between two scientists, about scientific modes of enquiry”. So I agreed and we fixed a date. I was still not sure what to expect. Was Richard Dawkins going to be dogmatic, with a mental firewall that blocked out any evidence that went against his beliefs? Or would he be open-minded, and fun to talk to?

The Director asked us to stand facing each other; we were filmed with a hand-held camera. Richard began by saying that he thought we probably agreed about many things, “But what worries me about you is that you are prepared to believe almost anything. Science should be based on the minimum number of beliefs.”

I agreed that we had a lot in common, “But what worries me about you is that you come across as dogmatic, giving people a bad impression of science.”

He then said that in a romantic spirit he himself would like to believe in telepathy, but there just wasn’t any evidence for it. He dismissed all research on the subject out of hand. He compared the lack of acceptance of telepathy by scientists such as himself with the way in which the echo-location system had been discovered in bats, followed by its rapid acceptance within the scientific community in the 1940s. In fact, as I later discovered, Lazzaro Spallanzani had shown in 1793 that bats rely on hearing to find their way around, but sceptical opponents dismissed his experiments as flawed, and helped set back research for well over a century. However, Richard recognized that telepathy posed a more radical challenge than echo-location. He said that if it really occurred, it would “turn the laws of physics upside down,” and added, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

“This depends on what you regard as extraordinary”, I replied. “Most people say they have experienced telepathy, especially in connection with telephone calls. In that sense, telepathy is ordinary. The claim that most people are deluded about their own experience is extraordinary. Where is the extraordinary evidence for that?”

He produced no evidence at all, apart from generic arguments about the fallibility of human judgment. He assumed that people want to believe in “the paranormal” because of wishful thinking.

We then agreed that controlled experiments were necessary. I said that this was why I had actually been doing such experiments, including tests to find out if people really could tell who was calling them on the telephone when the caller was selected at random. The results were far above the chance level.

The previous week I had sent Richard copies of some of my papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, so that he could look at the data.

Richard seemed uneasy and said, “I’m don’t want to discuss evidence”. “Why not?” I asked. “There isn’t time. It’s too complicated. And that’s not what this programme is about.” The camera stopped.

The Director, Russell Barnes, confirmed that he too was not interested in evidence. The film he was making was another Dawkins polemic.

I said to Russell, “If you’re treating telepathy as an irrational belief, surely evidence about whether it exists or not is essential for the discussion. If telepathy occurs, it’s not irrational to believe in it. I thought that’s what we were going to talk about. I made it clear from the outset that I wasn’t interested in taking part in another low grade debunking exercise.”

Richard said, “It’s not a low grade debunking exercise; it’s a high grade debunking exercise.”

In that case, I replied, there had been a serious misunderstanding, because I had been led to believe that this was to be a balanced scientific discussion about evidence. Russell Barnes asked to see the emails I had received from his assistant. He read them with obvious dismay, and said the assurances she had given me were wrong. The team packed up and left.

Richard Dawkins has long proclaimed his conviction that “The paranormal is bunk. Those who try to sell it to us are fakes and charlatans”. Enemies of Reason was intended to popularize this belief. But does his crusade really promote “the public understanding of science,” of which he is the professor at Oxford? Should science be a vehicle of prejudice, a kind of fundamentalist belief-system? Or should it be a method of enquiry into the unknown?" - Rupert Sheldrake

I'm with Sheldrake on this. Where is the extraordinary proof that people are deluded or lying when we report these experiences? I think that condescending, pompous presumption is complete crap!

Of course the religious fundies would caution us that "the enemy" (Satan) is trying to confuse and distract us and lure us away from Christ and eternal salvation... 8-P .... feh.... XD

Thanks for accepting my friend invite, Katrina. BTW, Clary is interested in this subject matter, too. See her discussion of Masaru Emoto's experiments with water.
Well said, Katrina. I'm a bit saddened by Dawkins' treatment of Sheldrake, but I still respect and admire Dawkins, and I have a feeling of empathic understanding concerning the ego investment.

The interesting complication about Masaru Emoto's experiments is that they are inescapably influenced by the so-called "experimenter effect"... in fact, they ARE examples of the "experimenter effect".

There are a number of videos posted on the Internet by ordinary people who have conducted Emoto's "hado rice experiment" and achieved the same results that Emoto did. I posted some of those videos on Clary's discussion. Those rice experiments don't require the facilities necessary to rapidly freeze water to the point of crystallization. Anyone can try them.

Sheldrake has noticed the same thing - that skeptical disbelievers do not get the same results as experimenters who are open minded about psi or who are already convinced that psi exists.

It's sort of a "catch-22"... if your mind is closed to it, it won't happen for you, and vice-versa. The more you trust it, the better it seems to work ... and without conscious effort. For an everyday example - I know what my husband is thinking about having for dinner while he is on his way home from work. We test this with each other. We often spontaneously say the same thing at the same time... or one of us says something and the other one says, "I was just thinking that!" And, yes, of course familiarity makes a huge difference. But if Sheldrake and Dean Radin are correct, it's the entangled mind phenomenon, and is just part of nature.

How do ants and termites coordinate complex group activities when their individual brains are so miniscule and simple? Here's a video produced by Dawkins about the complex farming and cultivating activities of ant colonies:

It seems to me that the most believable theory about these ants is that they operate as entangled minds... in a sort of common consciousness... what Sheldrake would call a Morphic Field.

Had I never experienced synchronicities beyond believable coincidence, and embraced them as a real aspect of my own extended consciousness, I would probably not have experienced the gradual increase in synchronicity that I've had over the years.

I'd like to obtain one of those REG robots and try some experiments myself.



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