Thursday, May 2, 2013

#532: Courtney Brown

Courtney Brown is a social scientist at Emory University also known for promoting the use of nonlinear mathematics in social scientific research but, more widely, the use and efficacy of remote viewing, a form of extra-sensory perception explored featured in the documentary Men who stare at goats.

Brown's research into the latter has received notable positive reviews from other advocates of psychic powers such as Fred Alan WolfWilliam A. Tiller, and Daryl Bem. The claims have been dismissed by all serious scientists, of course, and Brown’s supporting evidence has been described as singularly unimpressive” by his colleague Scott Lillienfeld (the link is to a pretty darn good assessment). Brown has refused to subject his ideas and his own purported psychic powers to independent scientific testing on what has been described as curious” grounds (see previous link)

In his book Cosmic Voyages: A Scientific Discovery of Extraterrestrials Visiting Earth, Brown claims to use powers of remote viewing to visit Mars and observe the actions of aliens. He purports to have uncovered indisputable evidence that two races of extraterrestrials, Martians and Greys, left the red planet centuries ago and have taken up residence in the dark recesses of Earth. His powers have furthermore revealed that Adam and Eve were architects of a genetic engineering project and that numerous Star Trek episodes were written with the assistance of aliens; he claims to have entered the mind” of an extraterrestrial and investigated its psychological make-up, and to have conversed with Jesus about various topics.

By contractual agreement Brown is not permitted to mention his affiliation with Emory during interviews about remote viewing.

Brown has augmented his scientific training with studies of Transcendental Meditation, the TM-Sidhi program, as well as Yogic Flying (also here) at the Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. He himself directs the Farsight Institute” in Atlanta, where he promises to provide attendees with the psychic abilities he himself has mastered.

Diagnosis: Since fraud” has a clear legal definition and should not be applied lightly, we will instead suggest that Brown’s actions – insofar it is not the case that he does indeed believe his own claims – are borderline ethically questionable.

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