The Granqvist Group and Politics of the Sensed PresenceThe Importance of Frequent InterLaboratory Communication  

When Members of the Uppsala-Lund research team, particular Dr. Larsson and Dr. Larhammar, visited our laboratory in November, 2000, they were enthusiastic to discern if Positron Emission Tomography would detect the intensity of the complex magnetic fields by which we had generated the sensed presence. Stan Koren did not lend them a helmet but later sent them two small boxes that contained the essential circuitry of the helmet. We had a pleasant series of conversations and showed them our equipment but not the precise details of our procedure. They were supposed to develop their own, specifically applied to PET research.

We did not receive any communication from the Uppsala-Lund group for a couple of years. My single email to wish happy winter holidays was followed by a brief statement that there had been delays obtaining approval from ethics committees for completing the PET. I received one email about optimal parameters for the fields which I assumed were for the PET. In November, 2004, we received the preprint of the Neuroscience Letters article that showed the group did not replicate our results.

However close inspection of their procedures indicated they could not have replicated the effect because they did not follow our procedures. They applied the software through a Pentium computer that would have distorted the magnetic configurations through the solenoids. This would produce noise rather than a bioeffective pattern. They did not even verify the fidelity of the pattern. They found exactly what they should have found (and we find as well) when the inappropriate patterns are generated: no difference between sham and treatment groups.

Their article also omitted our two major publications, with 148 people, that had been completed under double blind conditions. Accuracy of communication appeared to be a problem. The Economist quotes Pehr Granqvist saying that subjects in our studies had been biased by questionnaires before the exposures. This of course is not correct. Granqvist responded (email attached) the statement was a misquote. However, the taped statement from the interviewer who wrote the article (email attached) indicated that Granqvist had indeed made that statement.

When we attempted to engage in a cooperative effort to explore the reasons for why they did not produce the effect, there was no apparent interest. Sadly, this is another example in the history of science of how the scientific explanation for a very important phenomenon, in this instance the brain bases to the sensed presence: the prototype for god experiences, may be disrupted by social and personality factors. In my opinion a regular and open communication by the two laboratories, without compromising independence, would have allowed familiarity with the most recent developments of the technology. I am still convinced that frequent and collegial interaction and communication enhances discovery for the more complex social problems.

The reader can infer his or her own conclusion. The history of the email between the Uppsala-Lund and Laurentian Research Groups can be found on the left hand links.

Dr. M. A. Persinger, Professor 31 January 2005

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