ECEN 3070 – Edges of Science

Spring 2018 - TTh 12:30-1:45 – Professor Garret Moddel – University of Colorado at Boulder

Location: ITL 1B50 (seminar room in the southeastern extension to the Engineering Center)






Texts & References

Contacts & Locations

Issues & Ethical Guidelines

Links to Psi Resources


ANNOUNCEMENTS  (last update 14 Nov 18)

  • If you can’t register for the course because it is full you might still want to put your name on the wait list and come to the first class meeting, as some people probably will drop the course.
  • Is this the right course for you?  Click here to find out.
  • In this course we explore whether laboratory investigations of psychic phenomena can be considered legitimate science. Through in-class discussion we examine historical examples of how new scientific paradigms have been developed in various disciplines and current examples in the field of parapsychology. We investigate the scientific method from the inside, developing and carrying out new experiments to test the phenomena. The results of several previous class experiments have gone on to be published.
  • See the abstract and video of a course project presented at Society for Scientific Exploration Conference
  • Discussion of student research projects in psi, and the field in general (podcast and transcription
  • See a previous year’s student projects.
  • Please buy the Radin book immediately, either at the bookstore or online.



SCHEDULE  (not updated yet)




Aug 27

General introduction


Advocacy Arguments may be written on topic labeled with dot

Aug 29

Mind-matter 1: Psychokinesis

Reading: Radin Ch 9 (note references at end of file), Retro-PK (Schmidt 1976)



Sep 3

Perception through time 1: Experiments

Reading: Radin Ch 10 (note references at end of file), and precognitive habituation (Bem 2003) & reaction (NYT 2011). The 2003 reading is one of the studies in Bem 2011 (not required reading)

Sep 5

Mind-matter interactions 2: Field consciousness

Reading: Radin Ch 11


Sep 10

Maverick science success & failures

Reading: Brody 27-39, Friedlander 21-34, flying machines, ulcers, epigentics, recent cold fusion, and more recently

Sep 12

The scientific method

Reading: Friedlander 35-62, Bridgman, Beaty: Scientific Method

Discussion of class projects

Scan to provide ideas for class projects: Gruber’s PK


Sep 17

The scientific process  (The readings for Sep 12 will also be discussed in class)

Readings: informational cascades, breakfast, scientific consensus, medical lies [pp. 1-4 (top half)], brass containers,

Optional reading: global warming

Sep 19
Telepathy 1: common experiences

Reading: Sheldrake: sense of being stared at,

Skepticism on staring, Sheldrake's reply, Baker's reply,

Optional reading: Email telepathy, more staring results


Sep 24

Remote perception, with Paul Smith

Readings: What is remote viewing?, Methodology, and CIA program

7 pm: Remote viewing workshop – in regular classroom (ITL 1B50)

Sep 26

Project proposal due

Psi history

Reading: Carter Ch 3 & 4, skim Radin Chs 2, 4 –5.


Oct 1

Complete the online course for Social Behavioral Research Investigators and Key Personnel and pass quiz. (See item 3a on coursework page)

Telepathy 2

Reading: Radin Ch 6, the Monte Hall problem, playing the odds

Oct 3

Complete a description of your protocol and expedited worksheet for the HRC. (See item 3b on coursework page.) Email completed research proposal to G. Moddel

Statistics primer I: using Seeing Statistics

Paranormal Distribution


Oct 8
Submit research proposal to the HRC.

Statistics primer II: using Seeing Statistics

Reading; Statistics in psi research

Oct 10
Statistics primer III: using Seeing Statistics

Reading: Aikin on inference


Oct 15
Perception through time 2: Logic & causality

Reading: retroactive prayer: Leibovici, Backward causation (definition of nomic: “lawlike”), strange PK (Schmidt 1987)

Short analysis page (optional; counts as one advocacy report)

Oct 17

Perception through time 3: Meta-Analysis & Theory, with Julia Mossbridge

Reading: Mossbridge12


Oct 22

Healing (and harming) with intention

Readings: Bengston (pp 5-9), and meanspeak (slides #14 &#15 here)

Oct 24


Readings: placebos, card guessing

Optional reading: Radin (2007)


Oct 29

Project analysis paper due

Reproducibility & experimenter effect

Reading: Smith

Oct 31

Machine consciousness

Reading: presient machine or machine precognition (Moddel 2011)


Nov 5

Give a brief (3 minute max) in-class update on your projects

Skepticism 1

Reading: Psience, Outrage to presentiment experiment

Pseudoscience, Worldview

Nov 7

Skepticism 2

Shermer on RV Part 1 & Part 2

Reading: Utt’s Report, Conclusions section in Hyman's report

Optional Reading: Utt’s reply, May’s report


Nov 12

Skepticism 3

Reading: Carter Ch 8, & Ch 14, Sheldrake on Wikipedia

Optional reading: Carter Ch 2

Nov 14


Reading: Radin Ch 12


Nov 19


Reading: Radin Ch 13

Optional reading: Wilber on Physics & Mysticism

Nov 21

Significance of psi

Personal psi anecdotes

Optional reading: Revisiting decline effect (subject to change)

Final advocacy arguments due


Nov 26  No class – Fall break

Nov 28  No class - Thanksgiving


Dec 3

Project presentations: (1) Koller & Meyers (2) Holston & Williams (3) Garrison & Tafoya

Dec 5

Project presentations: (4) Shprengel (5) Papaikolas & Pohl (6) Chapman, Park & Potthoff


Dec 10

Project presentations: (7) Van Court (8) Risse & Sprouse (9) Flodberg & Maddocks (10) Begin, Shore & Vogel

Dec 12

Project presentations: (11) Callahan, Gehring, & Tobey (12) Carlson (13) Evans, Gann, Hannan & Moody (14) Lobato & Maton


Dec 17  Final project paper due: slip under my office door by 5 p.m., or turn in at front desk in ECEE office. Emailing it to me is also fine if printing in black & white is adequate.