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Healing EEs/EHEs/Healing Process
Record Type: Review   ID: 543

The Spindrift Papers: Exploring Prayer and Healing Through the Experimental Test

Spindrift, Inc.

 The experimental and theoretical observations that form the heart of this book were initiated by a small group of Christian science healers. Two of them in particular, Bruce Klingbeil and his son John (who wrote under the pseudonym "Robert Owen"), developed an experimental approach to test two kinds of prayer, one in which a specific outcome was prayed for, which is similar to petitionary prayer, and the other a prayer that God’s will, or the best possible outcome, be made manifest. Their experimental work was very similar to that used in parapsychology, but their underlying assumptions differed. Although the "targets" used by the Spindrifters were random binary sequences of the numbers 0 and 1, which is also true of many parapsychological experiments, the aim differed. The Spindrifters "reasoned that the random binary sequences generated by both shuffling the cards and by calling the cards would be affected by the unconscious mind of the individual taking the test [and] ... the effect would be in the direction of greater order" (p. x). Parapsychology experiments, on the other hand, aimed at increasing the divergence from the mean. Spindrift’s focused their experiments on "the internal order of the sequences generated by the process involved" (p. x). The basic findings of the Spindrifters are capsulized as follows: They were convinced that evidence for an ordinary effect was accruing, and that "the ordering effect on random binary sequences, however generated, appears whenever human consciousness is aware of the process which generates the sequences. They also believe that the consciously directed power of thought to restore a system to a more perfect pattern underlies the power of spiritual healing. In addition, ‘defense mechanisms’ act to conceal the powers of the mind" (p. xi). They feel their research provides an opening wedge to research on the power of thought and prayer, including spiritual healing. The Spindrifters’ research is controversial, and it has been criticized and even reviled by both Christian Science and the broader Christian community, as well as by scientists, including parapsychologists, because the Spindrifters were not scientists and did not understand scientific principles. Several parapsychologists have taken the experiments seriously and tried to see if they held up to scientific scrutiny. There seem to be two different mind-sets at work here and no closure has been reached. The Spindrifters were employing a holistic approach and the scientists have unsuccessfully tried to analyze it. The Spindrifters have been accused of unclear writing, but this may mask a deeper problem—the healer-experimenters were operating from a different level of consciousness than those who have attempted to evaluate their work. Yet the Spindrifters made scientific claims as well. Still needed is someone to review this material who sees wholly enough to do both (or what John Klingbeil called "Quality" and "Quantity"). The book consists of general background information on Spindrift and its work. The main portion of the book consists of 7 experimental reports of three types of tests: Prayer and Healing: Tests with Organic Systems; The "Double Loops" Technique, and the VIUR Tests. The last section consists of Opinion and Commentary by "Robert Owen," 5 by Samantha Fairfax, and 2 by Spindrift, Inc.
Publisher Information:Salem, OR: Spindrift, Inc., 1993. 404p. 60 figs; 128 tables [For further information on Spindrift, contact them directly at P.O. Box 452471, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33345-2471. Tel/Fax 954-389-2471.]
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