[Can controlled clairvoyance, aka "remote viewing," give us scientific evidence of aliens and UFOs? This provocative claim is the subject of the recent book "Cosmic Voyage" by Dr. Courtney Brown, associate professor of political science at Emory University. As a tenured academic with notable stature in nonlinear mathematical modeling of social phenomena, Brown is a man with a reputation to lose. He has apparently bet the farm, as it were, on his latest undertaking, one far afield from his established expertise. "Cosmic Voyage" is selling like hotcakes. But is its substance valid? Maybe not, according to journalist and researcher Michael Miley, who just completed a lengthy evaluation of remote viewing in general and Brown's work in particular for the May/June, 1996 issue of UFO Magazine (Vol. 11, No. 3). ISCNI*Flash thanks Michael Miley for permission to present an excerpt from his article here. Readers wishing to see Miley's full text are encouraged to obtain the current edition of UFO Magazine.]
by Michael Miley
In January of this year, a controversial book called "Cosmic Voyage" appeared in the bookstores claiming to be a "scientific discovery" of extraterrestials now visiting the earth. That in itself would be unworthy of note (since many such claims are made each year), were it not for the fact that its author, Dr. Courtney Brown, an associate professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, said he utilized the techniques of "scientific remote viewing" (SRV) to obtain his data. Remote viewing is the ability of natural psychics and specially trained people to obtain concrete information about distant people, places, and things, even when all normal sensory channels are blocked.
As it turns out, the book was strategically timed, since it followed on the heels of a bigger controversy that had brought the subject into the public eye. This was the disclosure, in November of 1995, that the government had secretly conducted and funded a 24-year program in "psychic spying" -- at a cost variously estimated at $11 to $20 million dollars.
The press had a field day with this revelation, especially since the CIA, one of its sponsors, had concluded the first phase of the program's declassification by issuing a report (recently refuted by one of its directors, Dr. Edwin May) that stated that the project had had little operational utility, which is why it was being shut down.
Not two months later, Brown was making just the opposite claim. Not only was remote viewing real, it was cosmically powerful, a kind of personal omniscience that had near total accuracy when corroborated by groups in extended studies. And it could be used to obtain "scientific evidence" of the existence of extraterrestrials now living on the Earth.
What are we to make of Dr. Brown's claims? First, we know that controlled remote viewing is a real phenomenon, with both prima facie and scientific evidence. The scientific case for remote viewing has been made at SRI International, at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research lab, and at the University of Amsterdam (and elsewhere), as well as in the many operations conducted by the CIA-sponsored project, but the evidence also shows that RV has limits and constraints. On the basis of those constraints -- which, in part, are the controlled procedures that were developed in the government program, and the checks and balances that science requires for objective knowledge -- we must be highly skeptical of Dr. Brown's claims.
Put simply, Brown doesn't appear to have the baseline credentials for credibility in this field, according to its professional practitioners; nor were his data-gathering methods "clean enough" to encourage us to believe in his data. Brown's methods are an echo of training protocols, where the monitor, the person guiding the remote viewing process, always knows beforehand what the target is, so he can coach the trainee. But this training protocol is anathema for unbiased data-gathering. In short, Brown's book is scientifically dubious, except as a lesson of what ought not be done. But since he's claimed otherwise, it also may be something else: an exercise in arrogance or self-delusion, one that mimics the carefully developed protocols of controlled remote viewing to legitimize itself.
The emerging picture probably looks something like this: Ed Dames, a monitor and trainer with publicly professed views on aliens and UFOs, trains Courtney Brown on a pool of targets that they both select beforehand. Brown, while still in training and with no publicly documented profile of accuracy on mundane "real" targets, turns his brand-new skills to metaphysical, unverifiable ones. Together, they gather their "data." After the initial sessions, they have lunch together and worry over the fate of the aliens, based solely on the result of their RV findings (despite the lack of concrete feedback). Secure that the history of RV's accuracy in Intelligence work would support him, and secure in the idea that Dames' derivative version of RV was a viable interpretation of the protocols, Brown emerges from the sessions believing in the scientific accuracy of his data. Since his findings are corroborated by TRVers at PsiTech, where accuracy is judged by "majority rules," doubt doesn't play a big part in his mind.
The result, of course, is no big surprise: Brown's viewing data supports Dames' data. But in point of fact, it is Dames' data, a priori. Brown has been "front loaded" during their discussions to believe what Dames believes, even as Dames is front-loaded with the targets as the sessions take place. And what of Dames' original data? Is it good? Is it bad? We have no way to judge its quality or origin. Because it's supported by the UFO literature, just as Brown's is, it has an air of credibility. But that literature itself is highly problematic.
In short, Brown's data cannot be objectively corroborated by PsiTech TRVers or anyone else. By definition, it's contaminated. And anyone who's read his book has also been "front loaded" or contaminated by that dirty data. Future remote viewing experiments that target UFOs or aliens will have an especially big hurdle overcoming these results, or establishing the believability of any data they do obtain.
My conclusion is a sad one. I began this project in search of a new paradigm for researching UFOs and aliens -- and I found it. It had been carefully developed over 24 years by a group of dedicated people (though it wasn't used primarily on anomalous targets). What I then found was a couple of space cowboys, drunk in the heart of the temple, destroying the covenant.
[Michael Miley can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org]
Original file name: .CNI - Miley on RV.Brown
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