Is it just me or has the Inquirer.net become a channel for infomercials? I noted on the “Lifestyle” section of the Inquirer.net how columnist Jaime Licauco published an article asserting that “Remote viewing is ‘scientifically validated’“. First of all, what’s with the enclosing of the phrase scientifically validated in quotes? Could it be that Mr Licauco is himself not convinced of the trueness of the assertion in the title of his piece.
Second, and perhaps this explains “scientifically validated” in quotes, Licauco cites the work of two “scientists” who “first studied and confirmed unique psychic ability”…
What exactly is remote viewing? It is “a scientifically trained and validated ability to see, sense or describe something at a distance,” according to physicists Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff, the two scientists who first studied and confirmed this unique psychic ability in the early ’70s up to early ’90s at the Stanford Research Institute (now called SRI International) in Menlo Park, California. The research was secretly funded by the US government.
I swear, if articles could speak, you’d most likely discern the mumbly way the above passage was delivered.
From there Licauco goes on to cite a litany of anecdotal “evidence” originating from among other things his own personal experience, a “recent seminar” (not sure if he was a participant or the conductor of said seminar — it wasn’t clear in Licauco’s piece), and a “psychologist friend in Canada”.
Licauco delivers one last assurance that he is no quack by deferring back to secret CIA efforts to weaponise psychic “ability”…
The success of the remote viewing scientific experiments at SRI which lasted for 20 years had convinced the Central Intelligence Agency that this mental ability could have practical value in “intelligence gathering”, a polite term for espionage.
When this project was no longer a secret, some stories came out saying that the CIA now incorporates remote viewing as part of an agent’s training.
Excuse me, Mr Licauco but you should have at least done a bit of homework before making these claims. In “The Vision Thing” published in 1995 on TIME Magazine, author Douglas Waller wrote how the CIA had abandoned psychic research in 1977 after a study commissioned by the agency revealed that there was “no documented evidence it had any value to the intelligence community” referring to the reports produced by psychics in the program.
Typically, their reports included “a large amount of irrelevant, often erroneous information,” the study said. And when the reports did seem on target, they were “vague and general in nature.”
Most telling is a widely recognised aspect of the human condition that assures the continued proliferation of LUCRATIVE feel-good quackery (italics added for emphasis):
The CIA study also found evidence that the handlers sometimes embellished what the psychics saw. “Folks want to believe that the paranormal is for real,” says Martin Gardner, one of the founders of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.
The TIME report ends with this final observation:
Thanks to his kind of faith in the extrasensory, psychics can probably count on making a living even now that the Pentagon contract will soon disappear.
Indeed, they are making a fabulous living on the back of a misguided trust that the Philippine public sustains towards their so-called guardians of “truth” and “freedom”. We find the vested interest of Mr Licauco at the very end of his article — as if to punctuate his insult on the already meager intelligence of the average Inquirer.net reader:
Note: My next Basic ESP & Intuition Development seminar will be held on Oct. 23 and 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Venue will be at Rm. 308 Prince Plaza I Condominum., 106 Legazpi St., Legaspi Village, Greenbelt, Makati. (Right in front of Greenbelt 5). Call 8107245; or leave a message at telefax 815-9890; or e-mail email@example.com to reserve your seats now.
Interesting, to say the least. I also recall back in August a similar article promoting the cosmetic surgical procedure “lipotomy” written by columnist Kinny Sales on the Inquirer.net also on its “Lifestyle” section, and also under the guise of the otherwise noble exercise of featuring “useful” information to the hapless Filipino media consumer.
Considering these are articles published as features on a news journal — the venerable Inquirer.net, no less — a supposed icon of a “revolution” that stood for “freedom” and “accountability”, I’m glad the publishers own up to such a dubious piece of journalism. After all…
Copyright 2010 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thank God for that, Mr Inquirer.net Editor.