TagMichael Persinger

Open source “god helmet” project

Cosmic Eye

Michael Persinger built a device that stimulates the brain with electromagnetic waves. He claims the machine, generally known as the “god helmet,” can induce religious experiences. His experiments have never been successfully replicated, but a group is trying to build an open source DIY god helmet:

The project is in a very early alpha stage. Some of the current goals for the project include:

-Create a workable and easy to build hardware design to allow experimentation similar to that done by Dr. Persinger.

-Develop firmware for any integrated controllers

-Develop software that facilitates controlled application of TMS or rTMS utilizing the hardware

-Software integration with openEEG and Sbagen for a rich experimental environment

Open-rTMS Project

Update: There still hasn’t been a release, but it looks it’s still under active development as of March 2013.

See also: The Next God Helmet? Zap Your Brain for Insight

(Photo Credit: h.koppdelaney’s / CC)

“God Helmet” inventor claims to have discovered magnetic telepathy link

shiva head

Well, what’s going on in the laboratory – and I have some fantastic graduate students and we work together as a team – and what we have found for example, is that if you place two different brains, two different people at a distance, you put a circular magnetic field around both. There’s a magnetic field going around like a coil, around both brains even at a distance. You make sure both coils are connected to the same computer which means they’re generating the same configuration of two different spaces.

If you flash a light in one person’s eye, even though they’re in a chamber that’s closed up, the person in the other room that’s receiving just the magnetic field now, they’re not aware of the light flashing or not, they will show similar changes in frequency in the room. And we think that’s tremendous because that maybe the first macro demonstration of a quantum connection or so-called quantum entanglement. And if that’s true then there’s another way of potential communication that may have physical application and application, for example, in space travel because there’s no time involved with it. That’s one thing we’re looking at. That’s one of our more exotic hypotheses.

Skeptiko: “God Helmet” Inventor, Dr. Michael Persinger Discovers Telepathy Link in Lab Experiments

(via Electric Children)

I think it’s worth mentioning that other researchers have failed to reproduce Persinger‘s “god helmet” results. (See: The God Experiments). Which doesn’t mean his latest results will prove unreproducible, but I think it should lead readers to be very skeptical of his claims.

“God helmet”?…yeah…right…

“A “neurotheology” researcher called Dr Michael Persinger has developed something called the “God Helmet” lined with magnets to help you in your quest: it sounds like typical bad science fodder, but it’s much more interesting than that.Persinger is a proper scientist. The temporal lobes have long been implicated in religious experiences: epileptic seizures in that part of the brain, for example, can produce mystical experiences and visions. Persinger’s helmet stimulates these temporal lobes with weak electromagnetic fields through the skull, and in various published papers this stimulation has been shown to induce a “sensed presence”, under blinded conditions.

There is controversy around these findings: some people have tried to replicate them, although not using exactly the same methods, and got different results. But however improbable or theologically offensive you might find his evidence, because it is published and written up in full, you can try to replicate it for yourself and find out whether it works. In fact, you really can try this at home: the kit needed to make a God Helmet is fabulously rudimentary.”

(via Pure Pedantry)

The God Experiments

An article on five researchers in studying the neuroscientific basis for religious experience: Michael Persinger, Stewart Guthrie, Andrew Newberg, Dean Hamer, and Rick Strassman.

Critics point out that Persinger’s subjects usually know in advance how the God machine is supposed to affect them and hence might be only responding to suggestion. A group at Upp­sala University in Sweden recently found that subjects lacking such expectations experience no unusual psychological effects as a result of electromagnetic brain stimulation. Persinger counters that in at least two of his studies, suggestibility could not have been responsible, and the Swedes “didn’t use our equipment properly.”

Dawkins, when he visited Persinger’s lab, experienced a slight dizziness and twitching in a leg but otherwise “nothing unusual.” And Charles Cook, a former grad student of Persinger’s who supervised God-machine sessions in the 1990s, has noted that most subjects who sensed a presence typically experienced only a vague feeling of being watched—which they were, of course, by the researchers.

Full Story: Discover (via A Day in the Life Of).

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