At the conclusion of Testing Round One of Project Viola Ten, the researchers were in agreement that the results were clearly statistically significant, and that there were no apparent opportunities for fraud. Nevertheless, fraud was clearly assumed to play a role, since neither was the psychophysical methodology apparent. In the 24 hours following these experiments, a rather fanciful explanation emerged from amongst the psychologists revolving around the camera provided by the university to video document the sessions.
While it was agreed that video documentation was a very important consideration – for rebutting skeptical criticism, preventing researcher and test subject fraud or collusion, as well as for the creation of a documentary on Project Viola Ten – it was also suggested that perhaps the cameras contained image recognition software which somehow provided me discreet audio (or other?) cues. The existence of such a system would be news to me, but nevertheless a second round of testing was proposed by the researchers which would take place under undisclosed conditions.
I protested that I would be unable to properly train or prepare for testing without an awareness of the parameters of the tests, and that a failure to properly train and prepare might result in a regression to the mean, which could unfairly undermine the significant results of Testing Round One. I sent a playful email addressing these issues, which read, in part:
Firstly, let me thank you in advance for your sympathy and your support.
Secondly, I am quite eager to take Project Viola Ten at least one step further, as it seems that the psi hypothesis has not yet been accepted as real and proven for all time. 😉
Once again, I have been reminded that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and I must admit that I was hopeful that overcoming odds of one in a million under rigorous and thoroughly documented conditions might be accepted as ‘extraordinary.’ But alas, apparently not.
I have stated from the outset of this project that in order for a psi study to be disregarded as fraudulent, it is not necessary to prove fraud. It is enough to simply invent some fraudulent solution (no matter how fanciful) by which the results might have been achieved. Often, these proposed situations are as hard to imagine as the psi hypothesis. I was hoping that the test design would eliminate all such fanciful ideas. But the human imagination is boundless.
I do not hesitate in the slightest to participate in another testing period. I am happy to take tests sans cameras, sans videographers, sans Zener cards, and sans underwear, if necessary.
My only request would be that we try to arrange the next round of testing sooner rather than later, as the training which is required to obtain these results is more intense than might be readily apparent. I have had very restless nights since our first testing period, and it might be nice (after this next round of testing) to shift my attention back toward my writing and preparations for my new show, Eddie Dean Telepathy Rock Star: Smells Like Dean Spirit.