The test was clearly a failure, the kids bombed. The only time they succeeded was when the opportunity—and temptation—for cheating was available. It was not just that they couldn’t read the colors inside the envelopes—though the KIBS people claimed they could in Korea, and all sides agreed to the experimental protocol—but they could not read the cards when all three kids were blindfolded, taking away the opportunity for cuing.
All evidence, therefore, rationally points to the simplest explanation: HSP is false and the kids cheat. They might cheat with the best of intentions, but it’s still cheating. In other words, with this evidence, it would be irrational to increase your believe that brain respiration is real. It is rational, however, to decrease your belief in it.
Before the test, I emailed James Randi, a well known expert in designing tests of psychic phenomena. Randi has for years held out the “Million Dollar Challenge”, which will pay to the individual who can demonstrate, under test conditions, any psychic ability, what is now over one million U.S.A. dollars.
My email to Randi was unsolicited (he didn’t know me, but I called him a “hero” of mine), so I only gave a sketch of my request. He did not get back to me until the test was over, at which time I emailed him again, briefly outlining what had happened. At no time did I not mean for my sketch to be a complete report of what occurred. But Randi, without my knowledge, published my email on his popular site, and added interstitial comments, taking me to task for deviating from the protocol and allowing the non-scheduled blindfold trials after the main trial had failed.
He said, “Matt, sympathetic as I am to your situation, you let the kids run away with the situation. That doesn’t happen when I get going on such a test.” Well, Randi is an old man and curmudgeonly, and certainly has had more experience than I ever will, so I accept his criticisms gracefully.
I want to stress that had Randi asked for permission to publish my email, I probably would have given it, but I would have liked the opportunity to be more explicit about what happened. I have had no further communication with Randi since, except that I mailed his educational foundation library a copy of my book (also unsolicited).
It is important also to note that Randi had written negative commentary on Ilchi Lee prior to receiving my email. I didn’t know about these posts until afterwards, but my favorite is the one explaining the $4000 cost of a small metal turtle that Dahn Yoga followers could purchase and place by the side of their bed to “increase energy flow.”
What happened next was this: some member of Dahn Yoga found Randi’s post of my email and told Dr S. Lee. Sung was furious that I could have published something without his prior knowledge. But the first time I learned that Randi had published my email was from Sung. I told him this, and also said I didn’t care that Randi had posted it, and reminded Sung of our agreement that either of us could publish what we wanted.
Sung stop talking to me and starting communicating with me via email, mostly to dispute my conclusions about the experiment’s results. I suggested to Sung that if the kids truly get as good as they say they can get, that they contact Randi to win that million bucks. This received an emphatic no.
I also suggested that, if I was right, and brain respiration was false, then KIBS was doing the kids harm by encouraging their cheating and subjecting them to stressful situations that they might not understand. This warning fell, as it’s said, on deaf ears.
A reporter, either present at the MIT trial, or who had heard about it contacted Cornell’s Public Relations department. The reporter was concerned because there were rumors that Dahn Yoga was a cult. I did not know about these accusations before the experiment.
I was subsequently contacted by Lorie Anderson, who runs this site, which compiled evidence of Dahn Yoga’s less laudatory practices.
I assured Miss Anderson, and my boss, that we ran the MIT experiment unofficially, and that we did not involve Cornell’s name except to give our affiliations for the record. Sung also assured the Public Relations department and our boss of the same
thing. This was accepted.
But it was further discovered by officials at Cornell that Sung was running and planning experimental medical trials which used Dahn Yoga as a treatment. His interactions with the Cornell hierarchy became more acrimonious and he, about two months after the MIT experiment, resigned from the Cornell faculty.
Before he left, I tried patching things up with Sung and told him I thought brain respiration was false and why didn’t he? We went back and forth, but I finally said, “Let’s boil it all down to this turtle” (mentioned above). I asked, “Do you really and truly believe it does what it says it does? If so, then you’re a true believer; if not, then you’re willing to accept negative evidence.” He started, “Well, there are things about energy…” and I stopped him. I said, “Okay, you do believe. Let’s leave it at that.”
We shook hands and he left.
I had heard he went out to Arizona to work in a new facility Ilchi Lee was building to develop brain respiration in America. As far as I know, he hasn’t contacted anybody at Cornell since he left; I haven’t heard from him either.
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