Talk:Institute of Noetic Sciences

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No! The article noetic should not be merged into this article !!!! I beleive noetic is an old word, used in religious and philospohical literature long before there were astronauts or instutes of neotic sciences.linas 22:01, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Seconded. The Institute of Noetic Sciences is a specific organisation devoted to the study of what many would call parapsychology or transpersonal psychology. (The reason the designation "noetic science" (or, noetic scientist) is used is because not all individuals involved in frontier consciousness research are themselves psychologists - many are statisticians, biologists, medical doctors, physicists, etc.,.) The word noetic itself is a philosophical term and merging these articles would be utterly illogical.
The second above is not exactly correct. The mission of the Institute is "Exploring the frontiers of consciousness to advance individual, social, and global transformation." This includes parapsychology, but the Institute is interested in a broader range of topics. As just one example, from its beginning IONS has studied the role of consciousness in healing. From its early research came today's mainstream interest in mind/body medicine, the health effects of meditation, and psychoneuroimmunology. As often occurs when a previously controversial topic becomes mainstream, the origins of these concepts are forgotten. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
Does anyone have an idea why there's a neutrality tag on the article? The article seems to be a pretty straightforward description of what the Noetic Institute studies, and there doesn't seem to be any controversy here in the talk section.A.V. 17:02, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
I can't recall whether I add the tag (which someone must have removed) but if I did, I probably meant that the sentence claiming that this organization uses science to explore yadda yadda should be neutralized, perhaps by a quotation of the mission statement. My point: it is not clear to me that mainstream scientists would uncritically agree with the implication that Noetic Institute is a scientific organization.
Also: anon, not everyone would agree with your claim that the topics you mentioned are entirely "mainstream".---CH 23:47, 30 May 2006 (UTC)


I would suggest moving the following to a new 'criticisms' section of the article: The skeptical organization Quackwatch lists IONS as a voluntary organization it views with "considerable distrust.". Quackwatch are no more reputable than many of the organisations they criticise, they are hardly notable and little more than a personal project for Stephen Barrett. They are also through Barrett closely linked with CSICOP who are also far from neutral. In light of this to place them in the first paragraph of this article is far too POV, that is why I attempted to make the addition more NPOV. Thanks - Solar 18:42, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't know much about the organization honestly, but they do seem to be at least a little controversial. I don't have a problem with moving the critique from the intro to the next paragraph, but there ought to be some sort of critical voice in the article. — e. ripley\talk 18:53, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm okay with the line of criticism not being located in the intro paragraph, but I'm not okay with it being relegated to the very bottom of the article. One line doesn't deserve its own section header, and I believe integrating criticisms into the article text is preferred rather than dividing it up into a separate section. — e. ripley\talk 19:03, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
It is usual practice to place the criticisms after the main explanation. But at present I'm not even sure why this statement has been included, Quackwatch have no real relevance and they don't even make any direct statement to do with IONS, they have just been included in a list. You admit you don't know much about Quackwatch, so it just looks like an attempt to add criticism to the article for the sake of it. I think in situations like this it may be better to see if we can gain a consensus on how to include the information if at all. I would like to invite other users to comment maybe a post to both project Rational Skepticism and Paranormal might help. For now I will leave it as is until some other members comment. - Solar 21:06, 27 October 2006 (UTC)
I know there are a number of Skeptic's papers out there, one of those might be an appropriate source for criticism... but the lack of criticism in the article isn't necessarily an indicator of a POV article. ---J.S (t|c) 23:41, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

(resetting indent) I agree with Solar that the criticism should be at the end. It's common practice to at least let the reader know what's being criticized before doing the criticizing. For the moment, I've only moved, and slightly expanded the passage, but J. Smith is right that there should be other references that could also be cited. I agree with E. Ripley that the article, as it currently stands, is so short that there's no need for a separate section head for criticism. Edhubbard 11:18, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

There's nothing in principle wrong with talking about criticism of this pseudoscientific society. However, criticism needs to be referenced and verified. There's also nothing in principle with letting readers now that quackwatch has tagged IoNS as such, but there's not much more that can be said about it other than the tag has been applied. I would say it is not appropriate to remove designation from the article and hopefully adding to the criticisms of this institute will take place as the article develops. Having a stub-section for criticism is fine too. --ScienceApologist 15:01, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm pretty satisfied with the way it's treated now, I just wanted to see some critical voices in the article. We could stand to explain their tenets a little better in the intro paragraph, though. I may work on that later. — e. ripley\talk 16:20, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Why is this notable? -- Levine2112 discuss 01:09, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Why are you trying to remove every wikipedia link to quackwatch? FGT2 03:27, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Just the gratuitous ones and the ones with articles that aren't reliable. But yif you check my history, you will be surprised to see that I have added a couple of Quackwatch links as well! BTW, I completely agree with Solar's assessment above. Why is it notable that IONS is included on the blacklist of an unlicensed psychiatrist? -- Levine2112 discuss 17:52, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I fully agree with Solar and Levine. Stephen Barrett is quackwatch. His views have been shown to be highly biased and highly controversial. His opinions and claims have the feel of a sort of skeptical fanaticism. He is not a skeptic who questions or critically analyzes. He is a cynic who accepts only the research that backs his own worldview and often dismisses evidence to the contrary. All things are not subject to double-blind trials. (talk) 05:33, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

Intro paragraph[edit]

Well, I took a crack at cutting to the heart of what the group seeks to do in the intro paragraph instead of the old, soft language about love; take a look and see what you think. — e. ripley\talk 16:52, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

The article still needs work. I'd like to see, for example, a critique of their AIDS study. Michaelbusch 01:26, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
If you can find one, feel free to cite it and work it in the article somehow. Also, I admire anyone who is strict about sourcing, but did you actually search for sourcing for the items you're questioning before you put in a fact tag? It's considered proper etiquette to at least try to search for the answers to questions yourself before putting up a fact tag, especially on such mundane items that I'm quite sure can easily be found among IONS' own literature online. — e. ripley\talk 15:04, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
I admit that I did not search all of the literature. I was in a hurry. Michaelbusch 16:55, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
It's OK. I have some time this afternoon and I'll see if I can turn up a few links. — e. ripley\talk 19:27, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
I've added them, even though I think they're a bit superfluous given that it's readily available. Still, no harm done. Thanks Michael. — e. ripley\talk 19:32, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Skeptical Section[edit]

I have removed the skeptical section because the statements provided were not merely the opinions of a few individuals, but more importantly they were *factually* incorrect. E.g., IONS regularly publishes its research in scientific and scholarly peer-reviewed journals; it was founded by an astronaut/scientist, and it continues to advocate and practice scientific research and discernment. IONS also publishes articles and a magazine intended for the public, but obviously those materials are necessarily less technical than the scientific work.

The fact that one individual who runs a self-appointed "quackwatch" website is skeptical of the organization is insufficient reason to list it here. If the Wikipedia allows anyone offering an opinion about someone else to be used as a reference, without providing reason to believe that the source is both informed and credible, then this site is no better than a gossip magazine. Dean 03:19, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

There are three separate groups cited as criticizing the IONS (four, if Paul Kurtz and the person quoting him may be counted separately). Kurtz, the CSICOP, and, yes, Quackwatch have considerable authority as skeptics. Quackwatch is not 'one individual who runs a self-appointed website': it was founded by Stephen Barrett, who has roughly 40 years of debunking health fraud. Barrett is more controversal than some skeptics, but that he has singled out the IONS is notable enough for inclusion.
Regarding Dradin's statement that the article is factually incorrect, he must provide citations to support his claim. If the article is in error, it must be fixed, but I note that even if his above claims are correct, it does not mean that the article is incorrect. And Mitchell's scientific credentials are meaningless when it comes to judging his later conduct.
Given his close connection to this article, I ask that User:Dradin cease editing the main page and confine his contributions to talk, in accordance with WP:COI. Michaelbusch 04:50, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry but this request is absurd and I will continue to revert the article. If people who are close to a topic, and therefore know it better than anyone else, are prevented from editing these pages, then the encyclopedia is guaranteed to devolve to the lowest common denominator. It's like insisting that all textbooks be written by people who explicitly do not understand the topic, because they might be biased! In my last edit I provided links to demonstrate that the skeptical comments offered are unfounded or suspect. Dean 19:00, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Dean, please read Wikipedia:Conflict of interest. If you are the Dean Radin mentioned in the quote, then it is natural for people to assume that you are more concerned with defending your professional reputation than advancing the goals of Wikipedia. Michael, my cursory examination of Quackwatch site did not uncover any evidence that IONS had been singled out. Several organizations were singled out as examples, but IONS is merely one of the 729 that Barrett has doubts about. --Stepheng3 (talk) 18:51, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Intro sentence[edit]

I'm still having issues with the intro sentence. In particular, it isn't at all clear what "consciousness and its potentials" means. Is there any way we can restate this? Does IONS restate it anywhere? JoshuaZ 05:17, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure what the objection is to listing the paranormal things they study. A quick glance at their website's list of research turns up ESP, presentiment, and psi. --Minderbinder 13:39, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

There's a whole list of things they do at IONs and it's predominantly consciousness research. I don't understand why the lead sentence jumps to paranormal stuff. In their list of research, they include:[1]

  • Extended Human Capacities
  • Creativity
  • Meditation
  • Psi Studies
  • Wisdom Capacities
  • Subtle Energies
  • States of Consciousness
  • Death, Dying, and Beyond
  • Integral Health and Healing
  • Biofields
  • Distant Healing
  • Global Medicine
  • Integral Medicine
  • Mind Body Medicine
  • Extended Survival
  • Placebo Expectancy Effects
  • Emerging Worldviews
  • Integral Intelligence
  • Science of Wisdom
  • Gaia Theory
  • Transformative Practices
  • Cultivating Spiritual
  • Awareness
  • East/West/Indigenous Practices

It's, like their "about pages" suggest, consciousness research in general from a spiritual pespective. That's also reflected by quick searches on Google [2]. New Agey certainly, but the intro here makes it sound like they're all about paranormal research. I find that to be extremely unlikely since their search engine only returns 39 articles out of 1547 containing the word "paranormal" and only 72 for "psi".[3]

--Nealparr (talk to me) 00:15, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

I've been trying to move it away from mainly paranormal, but all it got me was Minderbinder fileing a bogus 3RR claim (I never reverted, only tried to find compromise), and JoshuaZ reverting. I agree that the intro should be balanced, and perhaps mention ESP, but focus on the main things they do. Martinphi (Talk Ψ Contribs) 00:27, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't know about all of that, but IONS has been around for quite some time and have been involved in a wide variety of things. Again, it's New Agey, but that's not the same thing as paranormally. I assume that all of this arose from the Dean Radin disputes, but IONS isn't Dean Radin either. I can understand how that idea may have come about, but check my links and poke around on Google a bit. You'll find some paranormal stuff, but mostly New Age spirituality consciousness research.
--Nealparr (talk to me) 00:34, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand why there is such desperation to keep the word "paranormal" "or references to ESP, psi, etc. out of the lead. References to such vague things as "extended human capacities," "integral health and healing," and "emerging worldviews" may be literally what is on the front page of the IONS site but certainly this stuff can be defined a lot more specifically in an encyclopedia lead. A poke around on Google gets you just as much "paranormal" associated with IONS as "new age" [4]. The current leadership may want to emphasize the ambiguity of the Institute, but there's no reason for WP to do the same.- LuckyLouie 23:23, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
There's no desperation to keep it out. My goal is stability. There's also the question of weight and fairness. When the recent edits began, it read:
"The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is an unaccredited group that attempts to use scientific research to understand alleged paranormal phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis and "mind-body health" such as the effects of meditation."
That doesn't sound very neutral or fair at all. When I started editing, it read:
"The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is a group that attempts to research such things as ESP and lucid dreaming, and 'mind-body health' such as the effects of meditation."
"Attempts to research"? Even if true, it doesn't sound neutral and can be worded better.
The other question is one of weight. If the bulk of research a group does is spiritual studies, consciousness research, sociological research, alternative medicine, and the like... oh and they also do parapsychological work, why is that bumped to the top?
I support replacing "extended human capacities," "integral health and healing," and "emerging worldviews" with something that's less vague. These are the specifics that those vague categories reference:
Creativity, Meditation, Psi Studies, Wisdom Capacities, Subtle Energies, States of Consciousness, Death, Dying, and Beyond, Biofields, Distant Healing, Global Medicine, Integral Medicine, Mind Body Medicine, Extended Survival, Placebo Expectancy Effects, Integral Intelligence, Science of Wisdom, Gaia Theory, Transformative Practices, Cultivating Spiritual Awareness, East/West/Indigenous Practices.
I support trimming that down or summarizing it too, but I don't think it can be reduced to simply "paranormal". I definitely support suggestions.
--Nealparr (talk to me) 00:27, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
I added this as a summary of the above (in laymen terms):
"This includes research into spiritual energy, meditation, consciousness, alternative healing, spirituality, human potential, psychic abilities and life after death, among others."
Does this help?
--Nealparr (talk to me) 00:48, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Yes, translating their rather vague terms into specific tangibles does help. As for why people had added phrases like "attempts to" and "unaccredited", I would assume they were trying to neutralize Dean Radin's earlier edits - LuckyLouie 01:21, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Glad it helps. Hopefully other editors will be happy with it.
--Nealparr (talk to me) 02:02, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Maybe you can take a look at Scientific_investigation_of_telepathy. The lead is pro-telepathy, and the criticism and controversy sections include little "rebuttals" for each skeptical point. - LuckyLouie 04:08, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
I'll take a look at it later on this week. Real world work takes priority : )
--Nealparr (talk to me) 03:00, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Cleaned up[edit]

I cleaned up the page considerably, fleshed out some parts, and reorganized. Please don't just revert. I'm a compromising person, so if there's something you'd like addressed, please mention it here and I'll take a look at it. Thanks! --Nealparr (talk to me) 19:24, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Special explanation[edit]

I'm making a change that I know will be controversial, so I'm posting the reasoning here specially.

In the criticism section, it states:

This isn't a criticism of the Institute, per se, but rather a criticism of Radin specifically, or more loosely the parapsychological research supported by the Institute. When Radin came in to edit (assume it was Radin while fully aware that it's an anonymous web), his edits were criticized as WP:COI. Arguably it is a conflict of interest, but here's the problem: This criticism is over Radin, not IONS directly. It's likely to be challenged that way. The wording here is also inaccurate. The criticism isn't over "members", it's over "a member". This wording is way too specific and as such loses it's relevance to this article. Plus a case could be made that a critique over Radin should be coupled by a Radin response. I'd like to see this article avoid all of that because this article isn't about Radin.

The source, I think, is a decent source for loose criticism of the Institute's parapsychological research, but the wording doesn't reflect a loose general criticism. That's why I changed it to:

This would be less likely to be challenged, though it says almost the same thing. Pointing out the obvious: Dean Radin is dropped from the quote. That's intentional as criticisms over Dean Radin belong in the Dean Radin article. This has to be related to IONS. --Nealparr (talk to me) 21:08, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

As of Sep 9, 2010 the passage reads:
Remove. I agree with Nealparr's comments above. The criticism is directed at individuals, not the subject of this article. Kurtz's verbosity is, well, it's unclear what or whom he's referring to in his quote. I flagged the section. When consensus is reached (Remove/Keep), please don't wait for me to make any edit in case I don't get back here for awhile. 5Q5 (talk) 18:12, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Remove. Wordy and hard to understand. You can use it under "External Links." GeorgeLouis (talk) 18:39, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Remove. I fully agree with Nealparr and 5Q5 here. It does not belong to this article. Almaden (talk) 14:05, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
<u.>Resolved. Consensus was to remove the material, which I see has been done. 5Q5 (talk) 15:15, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

Evidence pro and contra[edit]

We don't have in this article any concrete evidence of what the Institute has found and published through its research or why it is not believed to be a properly scientific extablishment. All that gets quoted in favour of the latter is that the conclusions the Institute draws favour the mental over the physical. Since the Institute is researching different forms of Consciousness, how could this be otherwise?

I for one would like some links or references to what the Institute may have published through its research. I would also like to read or have links indicating what techniques and criteria they use in terms of science and I would like the same documentation backing up the criticism levelled at them. All you get from the article is that people are in favour or against them depending on their basic belief in whether there ARE any Neotic phenomena or not. Those who believe the whole thing is a load of hooey say the institute is suspect and non-scientific. Those who think its not hooey think the opposite, I would like a little more documentation or links to documentation about it all, if that's possible.


ThePeg (talk) 01:10, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Check-point-of-view tag[edit]

I don't necessarily disagree with this tag, but could the person who inserted it on August 15, 2009, begin a discussion here as to why it was placed and what could be done to get rid of it? Sincerely, GeorgeLouis (talk) 21:25, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Failing a rational, I'm removing it. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 01:00, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Meaning of nous[edit]

The actual meaning of the greek word "nous" is simply "mind", not that inner knowledge crap that's on the article... --Gsapient (talk) 17:12, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure what your issue is. The article states "The institute's name is derived from the Greek word nous, meaning mind.", that's all it says abut nous. (talk) 04:44, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

see also Caryle Hirshberg

-- (talk) 20:10, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Moved over from a User Talk Page[edit]

I see you reverted my adjustment to the Stephen Barrett criticism of the Institute of Noetic Sciences. I believe you acted in good faith. I also believe the revert was erroneous.

Barrett's list is published information. Counting the number of organizations on the list does not represent original research. It is simply a way of summarizing the context in which Barrett's criticism occurred. It is information that is directly and explicitly supported by the source. It is a routine calculation that most people over the age of six could perform for themselves.

As the article stands now, it is misleading and unbalanced. A casual reader gets the impression that Barrett targeted the IONS out for special and specific criticism, when in fact his criticism was spread over hundreds of organizations.

Please undo your revert and/or reply on my talkpage explaining how my changes could be OR.

Best regards,--Stepheng3 (talk) 16:55, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, it was the casual use of "hundreds." This is not a calculation, but an interpretation. Could there be some other way of making your point, which, to me, does not seem very important at all? The sentence as originally written did not imply that Barrett targeted the IONS: It simply made a statement. Yours, GeorgeLouis (talk) 17:02, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I could use an exact number, to avoid any unnecessary interpretation. How would that be? --Stepheng3 (talk) 17:04, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't object, although I really don't think it is necessary. Let's carry on the conversation at the Talk Page over there if needed. GeorgeLouis (talk) 17:08, 27 September 2010 (UTC)


These sources all say Edgar Mitchell was the founder, not the co-founder:

Primary sources tag[edit]

Those editors interested in upgrading the article with secondary sources so that the tag can be removed may find these books to be good resources: [9] [10] [11] [12] --KeithbobTalk 00:28, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

You need independent sources so those would be fairly crummy to use, IRWolfie- (talk) 09:38, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Quackwatch again[edit]

Quackwatch is an award winning website and is perfectly reliable for its own list, IRWolfie- (talk) 22:24, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Possibly. Can you elucidate? But first look at Thanks. GeorgeLouis (talk) 05:44, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
if you question quackwatch itself, there are many reliably published sources that cover quackwatch's assessment of IONS . [13] [14] -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 12:10, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Good starting points for an addition to this article. I am interested, too, in the idea that QW "is perfectly reliable for its own list." Is there a WP:Policy that applies? GeorgeLouis (talk) 13:17, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
A source is reliable for the existence and integrity of its own list. We aren't commenting on the quality of the list, merely noting that quackwatch lists it. Also note that WP:RSN has consistently found that Quackwatch is fine to use but sometimes it's tone is an issue (rather than content itself). On the list of the archive, I'd suggest having a look at some of the RSN threads. IRWolfie- (talk) 21:30, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Yes, Quackwatch would be a reliable source for what appears in Quackwatch, but the two follow up questions are: 1) are Quackwatch's opinions /analysis generally considered reliable? and 2) is Quackwatch's opinion about the subject an opinion of note that should be included? Given that other reliable sources have covered Quackwatch's opinion, I would say the answer to 2) is: yes. And apparently the RS notice board has generally stated that the answer to 1) is also yes.-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:37, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
WP:Otherstuffexists may or may not apply, but somebody could try adding something about the Quackwatch listing and see if it sticks. GeorgeLouis (talk) 03:21, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

Wernher von Braun[edit]

It said Wernher von Braun was one of the founders, with reference ref name="Xiong2009". I see no mention of WvB in that reference, so I have removed von Braun. It is plausible he might have been part of the founding, so I hope someone will provide a good reference. GangofOne (talk) 21:59, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

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