Dean Radin – 2
about everything, and I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t interested in the mind and what it means to be alive. I also had, and still have, a strong sense of empathy, and I suppose that helped sparked my interest in the idea that some things can be felt that aren’t coming through the ordinary senses. A colleague jokes that I was born with an extra “why” chromosome: a genetic predisposition for curiosity. Usually people who are drawn to psychic phenomena can point to a dramatic event in their life, or in someone’s life who is close to them–their psychic Auntie Rosie, their grandmother who was psychic, or something like that. There wasn’t anything like that in my life. I’ve had my share of psychic experiences, but they never grabbed me in a way that said, you must now spend your life figuring out what this means. That wasn’t the motivation.
David: Did you ever have any particularly profound psychic experiences?
Dean: Yes, a few, but I don’t dwell on them. I’ve learned to take personal experiences, including my own, with a grain of salt.
David: How did you get started doing psi research then?
Dean: My father was an sculptor and my mother was involved with yoga before I was born. Both were also involved in the “Great Books” discussion clubs for many years, and my father collected five university degrees as an adult, including a law degree. He’s now 82 and still writing books on every imaginable subject. So from birth I was immersed in an environment that valued creative expression, reading and discussing great ideas. As a kid, besides playing music, I read all of the science fiction and fairy tales I could find, and I also read a lot about yogic lore and meditation. So all that, combined with curiosity and sensitivity, made research into psi a natural.
David: Why do you think it is that so many conventional scientists have such a strong negative prejudice regarding research into psychic phenomena, and are so ignorant of the strong evidence in favor of it?
Dean: In my book I go over some of the reasons, many of which are based on fear. There’s fear that we don’t know what we think we know, the fear of losing privacy, and the fear that maybe what we think of as our precious encapsulated ego may not be so. The worst case is that it’s a complete illusion, and the best case is it’s not quite as private as we thought it was. So deep dark secrets probably cannot be kept, and that idea can be extremely threatening for someone who has something they wish to hide.
David: So you think that a lot of the negative bias from scientists is really due to their fear that someone might be able to read their thoughts?
Dean: Yeah, I’ve heard scientists say this at times, that we’re all in very serious trouble if someone knows what we’re thinking. There was a funny comment I heard somewhere that’s relevant. It was claimed that the reason why scientists in particular dislike the idea of telepathy is because they’re afraid of what other people think about the way that they dress. (laughter)
For a scientist, establishing and maintaining a reputation for credibility is one of the most important things you can do. So this is why lots of scientists keep far away from questionable topics–they can seriously damage your credibility in the eyes of your colleagues. Also, Western society mainly sees this topic as a form of entertainment, and crazy people are associated with it–spooks and kooks of all types. Science is a conservative enterprise, and the occasional scientist who goes to a New Age fair is usually appalled.
A month ago I went up to see the Whole Life Expo. I went because it’s fun. But there’s so much that goes on at these expos which is worse than pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is bad enough, but to falsely portray some gizmo as “scientifically validated” just so people will be enticed to buy it is something I strongly object to. Like most scientists then, if somebody came along and said, well, I’m psychic so-and-so, and I can do this and that, of course, the immediate reaction is one of very high skepticism. So I am sympathetic when I hear my more conservative colleagues say that there’s nothing to anything to this, it can’t possibly be real, and since there are a million other things for me to do, I’ll spend time doing what I think is important, and I don’t need to spend any time on this.
David: A number of scientists that I’ve interviewed have told me that they didn’t think that there was any scientific evidence for psychic phenomena. What would you say to these scientists about research in psychic phenomena?
Dean: The usual reason for such comments