Dean Radin – 2
and they do coexist with the flow of time in ways that no one understands very well. Precognition says that we have access to that timeless realm, and that suggests that we have ways of mucking about with it. That’s why the idea of healing someone in the past, or making something happen in the future, all of that can actually happen, but it doesn’t “happen” within our experience of time. In other words, the mechanism is somewhere or some-when else. We’re skirting on the edge of ineffablilty.
David: Perhaps our language creates deficiencies in our ability to describe it.
Dean: That is very clear. Our thoughts are bound by language. That’s why we end up screaming at each other in our meetings a lot–because in trying to discuss this we’re effectively using a tool for something that it’s not designed for. So we all get very frustrated using a hamburger for a hammer. We either need to come up with new words, or find new ways of thinking to get around our words. It’s slow, but we’re moving in those directions.
David: What is your perspective on the concept of God, and do you see any teleology in evolution?
Dean: I’m not a fan of the image of a large white man with a beard sitting in the clouds. In other words, I think that a being projected in our image is awfully limiting, as human beings are collectively just one small step out of the monkey tribe, as evidenced by watching the nightly news on TV. But in the sense of a larger scale of intelligence I do think there is a role for a teleological presence that some might call spiritual. It is conceivable that there’s something much bigger than us, not in terms of size but in scope, and not in terms of a “thing” or being, as a principle. Whatever it is I imagine it is impersonal, in the sense that we might have an ant farm where we probably don’t care much about each individual ant, but we may care deeply about the collective. I should add that I am agnostic when it comes to religion. I prefer to question rather than blindly accept anything based only on faith. And I especially distrust anyone who claims to know the truth based solely on faith, or worse, personal revelation. History and the nightly news shows that this sort of certainty has been one of the most destructive social forces ever created.
In terms of teleology, I think it is clear that evolution has a certain degree of random pushing. It pushes itself randomly into the future, and natural selection does an excellent job–but I’m not convinced that this can account for everything that we see. And, especially because of my work in parapsychology, I have a sense that it is possible that causation is not constrained to flow in only one direction, and in particular that there are retrocausal influences. That being the case, then we would experience a retrocausal influence from the future as a teleological pull. In fact, I’ve just finished a series of experiments looking at that very issue. Under the right circumstances it looks very much like the future can “pull” us into itself. So could there be teleological pulls into the future on very large scales? Perhaps. We (meaning civilization) might be pulling ourselves into the future.
David: That’s a really interesting way of looking at it. Do you ever entertain the idea that there might be any type of intelligent design in the evolutionary process?
Dean: I would put that in the same category as teleology. Something is pulling us, whether something is pulling us intelligently or not, I don’t know. But, I mean, I should also add that intelligent design is the new, slightly more sophisticated version of creationism. From that point of view I don’t agree with the use of a veneer of mathematics to hide what might amount to a religious ideology. But, in the same breath, is it conceivable that there is a teleological pull from somewhere and some-when? I think yes, and not as part of a religious agenda, simply as part of my interpretation of the empirical evidence suggests.
David: Do you think that the human species will survive the next hundred years, or do you think we’re in danger of extinction?
Dean: We are always in danger of extinction–not always just because of us. An asteroid could hit us. A virus could mutate. There are plenty of reasons why we could be wiped out. So there’s always that probability. The question is, how big is the probability, and how does it change over time? I tend to be an optimist, so I presume that we will survive. We have a very strong imperative to survive, so I think that if things got dicey politically, at some point our collective urge to survive as a species will take over. At least I hope so. On the other hand, we live in times when a few