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Old 11-04-2007, 05:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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E.S.P. vs Luck, If There Are Such Things

There has been a debate continuing through the ages whether ESP is a reality. I think there are snake oil salesmen out there, I also believe there are a great many things still undiscovered in human abilities.

I have pretty good grasp of the reasons why some believe in ESP. What Iím curious to find out is those that donít believe it, if they see any validity in someone having a ďhunchĒ. For someone that subscribes to the belief that currently what you see is what you get, if the see a difference between intuition and ESP. Do they see the people that are not on psychic hotlines, or shows communicating with the dead, but being utilized being police departments for help, or studied in remote viewing as just being merely; lucky?

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Old 11-04-2007, 05:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Tzu

I have pretty good grasp of the reasons why some believe in ESP. What Iím curious to find out is those that donít believe it, if they see any validity in someone having a ďhunchĒ.
I have hunches all the time, sometimes they work sometimes they don't, often they are based on past experiences of similar circumstances.

Quote:
For someone that subscribes to the belief that currently what you see is what you get, if the see a difference between intuition and ESP.
Having a feeling and claiming super normal abilities are two very different things. I had a feeling NE would beat the Colts, I was right, it doesn't make it ESP.

Quote:
Do they see the people that are not on psychic hotlines, or shows communicating with the dead, but being utilized being police departments for help, or studied in remote viewing as just being merely; lucky?
Neither, I see them as silly, and over hyped as real by the popular press. There is nothing wrong with investigating things like ESP or testing its use, but lets see some real results for one, I'd settle for someone who could have a positive ratio guessing heads or tails, I don't require they solve a crime.
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Old 11-08-2007, 06:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know of someone who has intuition, but it occurs occasionally, but is usually right. I can't call it ESP, but I do believe that some people get a sign that something is wrong before it happens. She told me a few instances which I was also involved in and they really happened.
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
I have hunches all the time, sometimes they work sometimes they don't, often they are based on past experiences of similar circumstances.
This can also happen subconsciously. You can notice things without becoming consciously aware of them, and your mind puts them together, notices a similarity to a past event, and suddenly you get a feeling seemingly out of nowhere.
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by inBOIL
This can also happen subconsciously. You can notice things without becoming consciously aware of them, and your mind puts them together, notices a similarity to a past event, and suddenly you get a feeling seemingly out of nowhere.
Like when you and a friend start to hum the same song. Something you saw triggered the same thought.
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I see the human brain as a machine designed for predicting the future: we make plans for ourselves and the ones around us, we think of dangers that could befall us, we imagine things that could be, we plan out interactions, and we do all the things that make us human with the implicit assumption that there’s going to be a future. However, this machine wasn’t built by some mystical process that can’t be in principle understood, it was natural selection. That explains why we jump at shadows, we’re scared by weird noises, and get funny feelings randomly. We forget all the times we were wrong and harp on the ones that were right because our ancestors that had it in their genes to do this survived more often.

I don’t believe in ESP because I have never seen anyone do it repeatedly in a controlled environment. Discounting the charlatans I think everyone else who thinks they have ESP is pretty much covered under the explanation above.
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Scientists tend to have a skeptical view of ESP and parapsychology. If a person were to turn on the television at two o'clock in the morning they would be bombarded by commercials for various psychic hotlines. A celebrity whose career probably isn't going as well as they would like usually hosts the commercials. They introduce some eccentric person who is a psychic to the stars. I recently heard one of the more popular ones the psychic friends network has gone out of business. I guess the psychics they have working for them didn't pick up on the future financial problems. There seems to be a lot of room for fraud when it comes to ESP. Because of this people are naturally skeptical. Does this mean that ESP and the researchers investigating this phenomenon arrant doing valid research? Surprisingly there is research indicating that there is something to ESP.
When most people think of parapsychologists researching ESP they automatically think of ESP testing cards. J.B Rhine who is some times refereed to the father of parapsychology created these cards. His career in parapsychology began at Duke University in the late 1920s. Rhine became interested in ESP after hearing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle speak about ESP and spiritualism in the early 1920s. He began having children guess numbers that were stamped on cards. Not getting the results he wanted Rhine asked a college Karl Zener a specialist in perception to design a set of cards that could be easily remembered. The cards consisted of 5 symbols the subjects were to guess which symbol was on the card. They ran four separate experiments. The results were 558 hits out of 1,850 trails. Chance would account for 370 hits making the odds 22 billion -to- one. (Broughton, 66-70)

ESP research was taken even further at the Maimonides medical center in Brooklyn New York. The studies at Maimonides took place in the mid 1960s. The experiments mainly focused on ESP and dreams. The mainmonides lab discounted Rhine's card guessing tests and started a new approach. They preferred a more free approach compared with the forced guessing method of the cards. What they did was have one person sleeping and one person mentally send a picture that was sealed in an envelope. The two people would be separated in two different rooms. The dreamer was hooked up to a polygraph machine. When the dreamer reached the REM state indicating the dreamer had started to dream. When the dreamer entered this state a buzzer would sound in the room were the sender was in. The sender would look at a picture and try to send it to the dreaming person. When the REM state stopped the person who was dreaming would be woken up, asked what they were dreaming about, and recorded. This routine would go on through out the time. They would usually get around four dreams. The nightly dreams would then be sealed up and sent to be transcribed. The transcriptions would then be sent to outside judges who would rank the nightly transcripts against the possible target pictures. The judges did not know which picture had been used in the session. They would rank each transcript according to the similarity to picture. The best rank a picture would get would be a one, indicating a direct hit. One example of this is the man doing the dreaming was dreaming of New Mexico, mountains, clouds, and Pueblo Indians going down into a Mayan-Aztec civilization. The target picture was Zapatistas by Carlos Oscar Romero. The picture was of Mexican Indians marching. There are mountains and clouds in the background. The judges labeled this as a striking hit. (Broughton 89-92)

The researchers also modified the format of the dreamer and sender experiments. They wanted to test precognition in dreams or the ability to perceive future events. For this type of experiment they still had the dreamer go to sleep, hooked up to the polygraph would wake them up after the REM state occurred, and recorded their dreams. Then the following morning a person who had no knowledge of the dreams that were recorded would randomly select a picture. A dramatic example of this was a person was dreaming of a hospital and Doctors in white coats. The doctors in his dream called him Mr. Van Gogh. The target picture was Vincent Van Gogh's Hospital Corridor at Saint Remy. The judges labeled this as a direct hit. (Broughton 95-96)

The dream lab closed in 1978 due to lack of funding. Most of the original members had moved on prior to this. Despite a shaky start producing evidence proving ESP exists they did get some significant findings. They did a statistical analysis of the labs results in 1988. The findings were out of 379 trails there were 233 hits. This shows an accuracy rate of 83.5 %. Chance would have been 50%, making the odds against chance about a quarter of a million to one. (Broughton 97-98)

Out of the research at the Mainmonides a new method of investigating ESP came about. This new method came to be known as the Ganzfelt technique. Ganzfelt comes from the German word that means whole field. One of the reasons Ganzfelt came about was because the research at Miamonaides required the staff and subjects to stay up all night it was fairly expensive. A parapsychologist named Charles Honorton was its creator. Honorton wondered if ESP was a weak sense and deduced the reason it was so prevalent in dreams was due to the fact that external stimuli it markedly reduced. When persons dreaming there focused internally. He though about some eastern religions that used meditation who often linked meditation with ESP. He devised a technique that was similar to sensory depravation and meditation. What they did was to tape Ping-Pong balls that were cut in half to person's eyes. The Ping-Pong balls are fitted to the person's eyes so it's not uncomfortable. This is done to reduce the persons visually input. Then the person puts headphones on and listens to a hiss that is played through them. This is designed to reduce the audio input of the subject. A red light is shined on the person's face so with the Ping Pong balls they will see a pink glow. Then the subject sits back in a reclining chair to minimize tactile input. The person is to let their mind go blank, let images and sensations flow, and say what ever comes to mind. A computer randomly selects a picture in another room. The target picture is then sealed in an envelope with three other pictures. After the person is finished describing what they see, the sealed envelope is brought out to them. The subject is to rank each picture on how close it is to what they perceived. Although this changed when Honorton headed Psychophysical Research Laboratories (PRL) at Princeton University's Forrestal Center research campus. At PRL they would have a computer select a target which could be a picture, a film clip, a cartoon, or even a commercial. The sessions would last about a half-hour when they are done the computer turns on a television in the subject's room and shows the person four target pictures. As with the earlier experiments the subjects rates then compared to the images and sensory information they perceived. (Broughton 105-107)

The most recent studies around ESP actually came from interestingly enough the United States government. The United States government became interested in ESP in the early 1960s. An article in a French magazine called Science and Life called "The Secret of the Nautilus" would start a psychic cold war. The article reported that the US government did a secret test that involved using telepathy to communicate with a submarine submerged under an Arctic ice cap. The story turned out not to be true but the soviets took the article very seriously. The soviets began heavily funding research experiments. By the late 1960s the US government saw how much the soviets were spending began looking into researching ESP them selves. This research came to be known as remote viewing. (Schnabel 90-92)

Remote viewing essentially is a scientific term for clairvoyance. It is defined as the ability of experienced or inexperienced to view, by means of mental processes, remote geographical or technical targets such as roads, buildings, and laboratory apparatus. (Targ and Puthoff ix) Put more simply it could be defined as the ability to perceive remote locations while not being there physically. Remote viewing experiments started in early 1970s at Stanford Research Institute. Interestingly enough, the researchers who were doing the experiments weren't parapsychologists they were physicists. The two men responsible for a new direction in the field of parapsychology were Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff.

Harold Puthoff was teaching at Stanford University's electrical engineering department. He received a Ph.D. from Stanford, had a patent on a laser he invented, and co-authored a book called Fundamentals of Quantum Electronics. He was also very bored with his life. He left Stanford University and joined Stanford Research Institute (SRI). He was hired at SRI to work on a laser project for the government. Most of the money SRI received was through government contracts, although it was still related to Stanford University. After the project Puthoff was working on winded down he decided to peruse one of his own interests ESP research. After checking with his boss he began to look for funding. A friend of his named Bill Church who owned a chicken restaurant chain gave him ten thousand dollars. After this remote viewing research was born.(Schnabel 86-87)

Shortly after Puthoff got some funding a man by the name of Ingo Swann contacted him Swann was an artist and also a psychic. He participated in psychic research at City College of New York and American Society for Psychical Research. Swann claimed that he could influence the temperature of a graphite rod and travel out of his body and view objects hidden in a laboratory. Puthoff flew him out to SRI. (Schnabel 87-88)

Two days after Swann arrived at SRI Puthoff did an interesting experiment. He took Ingo to the physics building at Stanford University. Puthoff wanted to see if Swann could influence the output of an experimental magnetometer. This magnetometer was designed to measure very small magnetic field perturbations. Swann had never tried any thing like this before and said he would try clairvoyantly to see inside the magnetometer. As he did this, the magnetometer input suddenly changed as indicated by the printed read out of the meter. Convinced he had found something significant Puthoff wrote up a small report with the output reading of the magnetometer and sent it to a few government offices. A few weeks later the government let Puthoff know they were interested. The government agency that ended up funding the research at SRI began with the CIA. After seeing an experiment where Swann correctly described the contents of a box the CIA was funding ESP research. The target in the box was a moth. (Schnabel 86-89)

Remote viewing essentially is a scientific term for clairvoyance. It is defined as the ability of experienced or inexperienced to view, by means of mental processes, remote geographical or technical targets such as roads, buildings, and laboratory apparatus. (Targ and Puthoff ix) Put more simply it could be defined as the ability to perceive remote locations while not being there physically. Remote viewing experiments started in early 1970s at Stanford Research Institute. Interestingly enough, the researchers who were doing the experiments weren't parapsychologists they were physicists. The two men responsible for a new direction in the field of parapsychology were Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff.

Harold Puthoff was teaching at Stanford University's electrical engineering department. He received a Ph.D. from Stanford, had a patent on a laser he invented, and co-authored a book called Fundamentals of Quantum Electronics. He was also very bored with his life. He left Stanford University and joined Stanford Research Institute (SRI). He was hired at SRI to work on a laser project for the government. Most of the money SRI received was through government contracts, although it was still related to Stanford University. After the project Puthoff was working on winded down he decided to peruse one of his own interests ESP research. After checking with his boss he began to look for funding. A friend of his named Bill Church who owned a chicken restaurant chain gave him ten thousand dollars. After this remote viewing research was born.(Schnabel 86-87)

Shortly after Puthoff got some funding a man by the name of Ingo Swann contacted him Swann was an artist and also a psychic. He participated in psychic research at City College of New York and American Society for Psychical Research. Swann claimed that he could influence the temperature of a graphite rod and travel out of his body and view objects hidden in a laboratory. Puthoff flew him out to SRI. (Schnabel 87-88)

Two days after Swann arrived at SRI Puthoff did an interesting experiment. He took Ingo to the physics building at Stanford University. Puthoff wanted to see if Swann could influence the output of an experimental magnetometer. This magnetometer was designed to measure very small magnetic field perturbations. Swann had never tried any thing like this before and said he would try clairvoyantly to see inside the magnetometer. As he did this, the magnetometer input suddenly changed as indicated by the printed read out of the meter. Convinced he had found something significant Puthoff wrote up a small report with the output reading of the magnetometer and sent it to a few government offices. A few weeks later the government let Puthoff know they were interested. The government agency that ended up funding the research at SRI began with the CIA. After seeing an experiment where Swann correctly described the contents of a box the CIA was funding ESP research. The target in the box was a moth. (Schnabel 86-89)

Remote viewing first happened as sort of an accident. Shortly after getting the CIA contract Puthoff hired a man named Russell Targ. Like Puthoff Targ was also a laser physicist. Targ created an ESP training machine. The machine consisted of a computer that had light bulbs behind four slides. The computer would randomly light up a slide and the subject using this was to guess which slide would light up. Ingo Swann didn't like this machine. It reminded him of the earlier forced choice work in parapsychology. One day Swann suggested that Puthoff and Targ give him geological coordinates and he would describe what he saw. Puthoff and Targ didn't like this mainly because if Swann did get accurate information skeptics would ague that he had a photographic memory. Ingo would not let this go after threatening to quit Puthoff and Targ finally gave in. After trying this a few times they decided to do some more research in this area after Swann successfully described the coordinates. (Schnabel 98-104) This procedure evolved into the remote viewer or psychic and a monitor in a sound proofed room that was shielded from electromagnetic waves. The monitor's job is to ask questions and talk to and the remote viewer. Neither of them have any idea what the target location is. Then one or two people in another room with roll a die and pick up a manila envelope correlating with the number that was rolled on the die. They would open the envelope and a location is in side it. The people them go to the location for about a half-hour and then come back. The people that do this are called out-bounders. (McMoneagle 44-45)

A dramatic example of remote viewing ability is a man named Pat Price. Pat Price was a police commissioner, vice mayor of Burbank Ca, and was the president of a coal company. Pat called Puthoff and told him that he used his psychic abilities to solve crimes when he was on the police force. (Targ and Puthoff 46) Puttoff got many calls like this a day but on a whim or perhaps intuition he gave Price the coordinates that a friend who was in the military gave him. Price sent Puthoff a five-page report going in to great detail about the place. Price said it was a military installation and even read the names of files that were on a desk and in locked cabinets. Puthoff's friend told him the coordinates were of his college's summer cabin and that price was wrong. A week later Puthoff's friend took his family for a drive in the countryside. A few miles away from his college's cabin was a dirt road and a sign that said government property no tress passing. The following Monday Puthoffs friend asked some one about the base and passed on all the information that Pat Price had perceived. With in a few days military officials were interrogating Puthoffs friend. They wanted to know how he got into the base and why. Not buying his explanation Targ and Puthoff were interrogated too. The military official also knocked on neighbor's doors asking if they were communists. It turns out that Price was correct after all. (Schnabel 108-112)

SRI's ten million military contract was terminated in 1989. The research at SRI produced some exciting results. A statistical analysis showed that of all the research done at SRI. It was based on 154 experiments, consisting of over 26,000 separate trials, conducted over 16 years. The statistical analysis came out to be a billion to one against chance. Although some people suggest the early research methods at SRI had some flaws. (Radin 101)

The current research with ESP has also shown significant results. Particularly the research of a man named Dean Radin. He has been called the Einstein of parapsychology. Radin is director of the conscious research Lab at the University of Arizona. One interesting experiment that was done had a subject sit in a chair about two feet from a color computer monitor. On the persons first two fingers of the left had electrodes are attached to record fluctuations in the skin conductance. On the third finger of the left hand a device is attached to record the heart rate and the amount of blood in the fingertips. The signals from these are then fed into a computer. The subject then rests their left hand on their lap. With their right hand they hold a computer mouse when there ready to begin the subject presses the mouse button. Then the computer selects one target image out of a large group of different images. When this is being done the monitor only shows a blank screen. The images that the computer chooses fall into two categories, calm and emotional. Calm pictures usually consist of nature scenery, cheery people, or a relaxing situation. Emotional pictures are disturbing images such as an autopsy. After five seconds of the blank screen the target photo is shown for three seconds. A blank screen then follows this again for five seconds. After another five-second-rest period the subject is told to press the mouse button and the sequence repeats using a different target image. The subject's physiological responses to the three sequences are measured. The person view forty different pictures one at a time in a single sitting. The study had some fascinating findings, for instance before seeing a calm picture the subjects heart rate would increase a little then it would steadily drop. It was as if the subject knew the picture was going to be relaxing. In comparison too this before the person saw a disturbing picture the participants pre-acted to their own future emotional stress. They also found that the electrodermal activity was much higher before the emotional picture than before the calm pictures. It is important to note that most of the people were not consciously aware what kind of picture was going to come up. This indicates that this phenomenon is a largely unconscious process. (Radin 118-124)

There is now solid evidence that ESP is very much real. If this is the case, we must change the way we think about reality. Most scientists today believe that ESP is impossible because it violates certain natural laws such as time and space. There is however a theory that explains this: the field consciousness theory. This theory has been around for years in which Carl Jung called it the collective unconscious and it has also been referred to as global mind. The basic premise of the field consciousness theory is that mind and matter are radically interconnected. At the Consciousness Research Laboratory, they ran several experiments to test the prediction that mass consciousness can affect matter. One was where they programmed one or more electronic random number generators to generate 400 random bits (zeros and ones) every six seconds (each group of 400 bits is a sample). Essentially it is similar to flipping a coin 400 times and recording heads or tails that resulted. They wanted to take an event that had a large number of people watching or participating. One of these events picked was the 1995 Academy Awards (over one billion people in 120 countries watched this event). They independently kept minute by minute logs of programs and judged whether they thought each noted event was interesting and likely to attract attention of the viewing audience. They also noted if it was uninteresting and likely to bore the audience (Radin, 160-170). The findings of this study were significant. The devices showed that an increase in order over base line measurements occurred (Graff, 204).

Despite almost 30 years of solid research with significant statistical data, the debate over ESP is still on going. Part of the problem is with "main stream" sciences belief systems. The belief system acts as a filter to what people will or will not accept. It is similar to not being able to find an object you are looking for that is right in front of your face. They will not validate ESP research simply because they do not believe in it. Scientific discoveries usually go in three stages: the first being disbelief and conflict Laws of Science; the second being admitting there is weak evidence therefore it is unimportant; and the final stage is acceptance where the main stream accepts that there is credible evidence. ESP research is now in stage two. Science has now admitted that there is weak evidence that supports the ESP phenomena. This however, is not true: ESP has been proven over and over beyond a reasonable doubt. Statistical analysis has proven that there is concrete evidence that ESP does in fact exist. Just because mainstream scientists will not validate it, does not make the evidence less credible or make the scientists correct. As in the 1400s there was a consensus with scientists that the world was flat and anyone who did not subscribe to this theory was ridiculed much like today with ESP research. As scientists slowly realized that this school of thought was false and that the world is in fact round. One day scientists will realize the validity of ESP research.
http://www.viewzone.com/ESP1.html
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I wrote I have never seen it done repeatedly in a controlled environment. Thatís pretty much the only way I would believe ESP was true at this moment and time, if I could see it with my own eyes under stringent conditions.

Now in regards to what youíve quoted above, Iíll admit Iíve only read about the first half of it. The questions that come to mind are as follows: Where was this research published? Was it published? (The cited sources from your link list 4 or 5 books, and no scholarly articles). There is some mention of methods, but not nearly enough imo. How did they select the people for the tests? What were the people subject to the tests told exactly? There are a myriad of other questions I could come up with, but it all rests on this. Any experiment is about more than quoting the results. The method, especially in something that is nonstandard or controversial, should garner specific attention. Something that in my opinion isnít outlined to satisfactory degree. Perhaps it is elsewhere.

The article seems also to throw statistics and percentages with no clear explanation as how they got those results. Mathematics can give some pretty non intuitive figures to how likely an event really is. Take for example this math puzzle(reworded by me for this discussion, you can skip it if you like, it sums up to: crazy shit can be explained logically):

In a far away land live a group a people called the espers, they purport to have magical abilities related to clairvoyance and the like. An unscrupulous scientist decides to put their ability to the ultimate test. He rounds up 100 of them at a time numbering them as he does so. Also, they are allowed to talk among themselves in the group. Then he lines up 100 boxes and in each box he puts a piece of paper with the number 1 to 100 (the method with which he does this is up to his liking). Then one by one each of the 100 espers is lead into the room with the boxes. An esper has at most 50 tries to find a box with his number in it, making sure to put the papers back in the box after heís done. If he doesnít find his number within 50 tries he is killed otherwise let go. The same holds for the rest of the espers. So in groups of 100 the espers are forced to perform the devilish experiment. In the end the scientist finds that about 1/3 of the time all 100 espers survive. Is there any explanation other than some natural clairvoyant ability of these people?

The answer is yes, the mathematics is complicated enough that very few people would appreciate it (and it would be non trivial for me to recreate). However, there is a strategy that allows for all in a group of 100 to survive about 1/3 of the time. Iím trying to show that there are unexpected and very non-intuitive results that do not require explanations outside mathematics. Regrettably, this is the best example I could come up with. Iím sorry Iíve not given you a detailed proof of the result, but I hope youíll trust me enough to believe my assertion. The article states that statistics predict x(insert random percentage) but perhaps the people performing the experiments were not clever enough mathematicians to figure out the correct predictions. It all depends on what they did which isnít outlined clearly enough.

Finally, this business of mainstream science not accepting the ďsolidĒ research outlined in the article. Iím a physics guy, so let me relate to you what a professor I respect once told our class. In physics when you publish something that is wrong usually no one ever publishes a paper stating outright that youíre wrong. Instead, all that happens is that what you wrote never gets referenced in other papers and it quietly goes away into obscurity. Though Iím not as familiar with other fields I assume that generally the same thing happens elsewhere. So if scientists are dismissing something as exciting as whatís outlined in the article there are two likely explanations: One itís not as exciting as is made out to be. That is were getting an incomplete picture of what actually went on. The other possibility is that something similar to what I outlined above(with respect to a wrong physics paper) is happening. In either case my conclusion is that what youíve posted is not at all a satisfactory proof that such a thing as ESP exists.
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Old 11-10-2007, 11:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albania
I wrote I have never seen it done repeatedly in a controlled environment. Thatís pretty much the only way I would believe ESP was true at this moment and time, if I could see it with my own eyes under stringent conditions.
And it seems like that's the biggest problem with "supernatural" research right there. If a scientist does this testing and says they've discovered a new chemical, or new rule governing physics, it would be properly studied by other scientists. But with ESP, people wind up just righting it off more often than not. Not that I'm saying that you should just take their word for it, but but it through the neccesary tests because that's how science works, NOT because it goes against your current belief system.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Most scientists today believe that ESP is impossible because it violates certain natural laws such as time and space.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:05 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I do not take any article that cites the SRI studies as credible sources seriously. They were performed by a private institute, were not peer reviewed and had a vested interest in returning positive results, since their funding was dependent on it. Unsurprisingly, when independent inquiries were made, their testing methods were found to be flawed and biased. Hence why the CIA pulled funding.

Seriously. SRI is not a credible source. Show me a peer-reviewed study from a reputable institution and I may concede you have a case.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:08 AM   #12 (permalink)
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As always, if you don't agree with the evidence presented its flawed & biased. The political threads often employ the same methodology.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:34 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMatrix
As always, if you don't agree with the evidence presented its flawed & biased. The political threads often employ the same methodology.
No, you've got it backward. It's not that the evidence is flawed and biased because I don't agree with it. It's that I don't agree with it because of the flaws. Their results were independently reviewed and serious faults in the testing method cast the significance of the studies into doubt. That, combined with the fact that nobody has been able to replicate their results independently, pretty much debunks the SRI studies.

But really, don't take my word for it. I have sources!
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:45 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Sometimes my feelings are based on patterns that my subconscience compiles. Other times, unexplained images and sounds or phrases come to me unannounced and unprovoked.

I dont know what it is. I dont analyze what it is, or even if its a what or a who.

I just listen and acknowlege, because often it is valuable information or insight.

I think its important to stay in a receptive frame of mind, regardless of reality or perception.

Or.
Or.
Or.
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Old 11-16-2007, 09:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I used to believe in ESP, now I'm very skeptical to the idea. Sure, there are a lot of things that seem supernatural, but there are logical explanations even if we don't always see them. I really wanted to believe in psychic abilities, mostly because I wanted to be one of those special people who could do it. I still have books around on "Developing your ESP powers," but I've recognized that I don't have some sort of sixth sense. What I have is an uncanny ability to notice tiny things that most people ignore, and quickly process the potential effects of these things.

In the end, none of it stands up to scientific scrutiny. Even if we weren't able to observe the mechanisms by which results are produced, believers claim that ESP is an observable phenomenon, and no correlation has been found between claims of psychic abilities and actual results, even with large cash prizes offered for positive results under controlled conditions. Logically, the only conclusions I can draw are that tests yielding positive results were flawed, and that ESP does not exist.
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Old 11-16-2007, 10:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I believe that people may believe they have ESP, but I think what is really happening is that they are making guesses based on information that may not be obvious. The brain is complicated enough to detect patterns and give you feelings about conclusions without you consciously knowing why.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:52 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MrSelfDestruct
I used to believe in ESP, now Im very skeptical to the idea. Sure, there are a lot of things that seem supernatural, but there are logical explanations even if we dont always see them. I really wanted to believe in psychic abilities, mostly because I wanted to be one of those special people who could do it. I still have books around on Developing your ESP powers, but Ive recognized that I dont have some sort of sixth sense. What I have is an uncanny ability to notice tiny things that most people ignore, and quickly process the potential effects of these things.

In the end, none of it stands up to scientific scrutiny. Even if we werent able to observe the mechanisms by which results are produced, believers claim that ESP is an observable phenomenon, and no correlation has been found between claims of psychic abilities and actual results, even with large cash prizes offered for positive results under controlled conditions. Logically, the only conclusions I can draw are that tests yielding positive results were flawed, and that ESP does not exist.
Yeah yeah yeah.

But where is it written that the world, the universe, etc., all must be explicable by logic, science, or even....at all?

Further, why does it need to be? Just for us? To give us meaning? As if were the most important things ever, in all of existence in the perception of some great maker? Because in my opinion, were probably not.

Even the most dedicated scientists and geniuses in all of humanity were people of faith - and knew that aside from logic and explanation, there were going to be things that defied all of that.

Im all for proving paranormal phenomenon. I really am. But Im also all for allowing the extraordinary to occur without immediately thinking its bogus.

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Old 11-18-2007, 05:31 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Miss Mango
But where is it written that the world, the universe, etc., all must be explicable by logic, science, or even....at all?
This is exactly what science and logic are all about.

Science is not a fixed edifice that never changes. It was, once upon a time, considered that the Earth was the center of the Universe, and that all illness was caused by an imbalance of humours. As we've discovered more about how the Universe around us works, we've adapted our scientific models. Understanding begets new theories, begets better understanding. It's a constant cycle to describe the workings of the world around us to the best of our abilities.

Frankly, I don't think anybody is even particularly concerned about the scientific explanation for paranormal phenomena such as ESP at this point. For now, evidence of their existence would suffice. And the point is that despite years of of research (and discounting one unreliable study for reasons cited above) nobody's been able to come up with anything to even suggest that this sort of thing actually occurs.

I'm very receptive to new ideas. If you can demonstrate a new concept for me, I'll learn everything I can about it. Indeed, I have learned a fair bit about ESP. One of the things I've learned is that it is a refuge of frauds and con artists, and that there is no solid evidence anywhere that such abilities actually exist. It's a powerful fantasy and subject to the Barnum effect, but if one can disassociate that desire and view the matter some objectivity, it becomes much harder to put any stock in such claims.

If someone can conclusively demonstrate to me or a source I trust in a controlled environment that such abilities do actually exist, I'll eat my crow like it's caviar. Until then, I maintain that it's all lies and scams.
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Old 11-18-2007, 06:48 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Martian
This is exactly what science and logic are all about.

Science is not a fixed edifice that never changes. It was, once upon a time, considered that the Earth was the center of the Universe, and that all illness was caused by an imbalance of humours. As we've discovered more about how the Universe around us works, we've adapted our scientific models. Understanding begets new theories, begets better understanding. It's a constant cycle to describe the workings of the world around us to the best of our abilities.

Frankly, I don't think anybody is even particularly concerned about the scientific explanation for paranormal phenomena such as ESP at this point. For now, evidence of their existence would suffice. And the point is that despite years of of research (and discounting one unreliable study for reasons cited above) nobody's been able to come up with anything to even suggest that this sort of thing actually occurs.

I'm very receptive to new ideas. If you can demonstrate a new concept for me, I'll learn everything I can about it. Indeed, I have learned a fair bit about ESP. One of the things I've learned is that it is a refuge of frauds and con artists, and that there is no solid evidence anywhere that such abilities actually exist. It's a powerful fantasy and subject to the Barnum effect, but if one can disassociate that desire and view the matter some objectivity, it becomes much harder to put any stock in such claims.

If someone can conclusively demonstrate to me or a source I trust in a controlled environment that such abilities do actually exist, I'll eat my crow like it's caviar. Until then, I maintain that it's all lies and scams.
Do you believe in luck? Or is life a bunch of simple carbon based organisms bumping into one another inside a mathematical equation peppered with chaos?
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:01 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Sun Tzu
Do you believe in luck? Or is life a bunch of simple carbon based organisms bumping into one another inside a mathematical equation peppered with chaos?
Define luck. In some circles, the traditional concept of luck is eschewed in favour of the idea that everything is affected by quantum fluctuations; in these circles, one would wish a peer 'good fluctuations' instead of 'good luck'. In a practical sense, it serves the same purpose. If one wishes to take a deterministic view, one could argue that with a sufficiently advanced algorithm one could predict the future with perfect accuracy; I think, however, that this discounts the not inconsiderable human factor. We make decisions that alter the outcomes of everyday events in ways that aren't always immediately obvious. At any rate, even if such an algorithm could theoretically be possible, it would likely be far too complex to be useful in any practical sense, and would most probably require access to data that we have no way of acquiring. Whether there truly is such a thing as random chance or if everything is pre-determined and we simply lack the means to make the necessary calculations, it all comes out the same in the wash. Sometimes events work out in your favour, sometimes they don't. Call it luck or God or fate or whatever makes you happy. I reckon it's semantics, really. And I'm not sure what it has to do with ESP, unless you're arguing that statistically insignificant fluctuations are evidence.
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:11 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I think luck is merely entropy, or the second law of thermodynamics.

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The second law of thermodynamics is an expression of the universal law of increasing entropy, stating that the entropy of an isolated system which is not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium.

The second law traces its origin to French physicist Sadi Carnot's 1824 paper Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, which presented the view that motive power (work) is due to the fall of caloric (heat) from a hot to cold body (working substance). In simple terms, the second law is an expression of the fact that over time, differences in temperature, pressure, and density tend to even out in a physical system that is isolated from the outside world. Entropy is a measure of how far along this evening-out process has progressed.

There are many versions of the second law, but they all have the same effect, which is to explain the phenomenon of irreversibility in nature.
Stephen King is quite qualified to talk about ESP and luck... seeing as how he should be dead and yet isn't.

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Chance, chaos, randomness, jittering white roulette ball on the wheel of life. Sanity! Like Coca-Cola... it's the real thing!
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Old 11-18-2007, 11:00 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Im not arguing anything, just inquiring for other opinions and thoughts. I was referencing luck in the sense a psychic being right by making a "lucky" guess. Or situations outside of palm readers that may have exsisted in anyones life where utilizing gathered memory and, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning were not factors; if you or perhaps anyone especially those that don't believe in ESP, feel they may have used (terms that are used interchangably) gut, instinct, hunch, etc. If the belief that these exsist only in the person's perception the believes in them, if luck happens if favorable outcomes occur consistently.

It seems that it has become the norm to address everyone in an almost confrontive tone here at TFP, but it wasnt my intention to across as that if that is how it sounded.
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Old 11-18-2007, 02:52 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Mango
Yeah yeah yeah.

But where is it written that the world, the universe, etc., all must be explicable by logic, science, or even....at all?

Further, why does it need to be? Just for us? To give us meaning? As if were the most important things ever, in all of existence in the perception of some great maker? Because in my opinion, were probably not.

Even the most dedicated scientists and geniuses in all of humanity were people of faith - and knew that aside from logic and explanation, there were going to be things that defied all of that.

Im all for proving paranormal phenomenon. I really am. But Im also all for allowing the extraordinary to occur without immediately thinking its bogus.
To say that science will be capable of explaining everything is tautological. The whole point of the scientific method is that by observing or testing something under controlled conditions, presumptions can be proven true or false. Any failure to explain something is based on an inability to measure the results.

Logic is. in the simplest terms, a system to determine whether a conclusion follows a set of presumptions.

Faith is the belief in something that cannot be proven or disproven.

From a scientific standpoint, if ESP is a real phenomenon, then a certain set of conditions will produce a certain result consistently under controlled circumstances. Under controlled circumstances, consistent results that indicate the presence of ESP have not been produced, therefore it is intellectually dishonest to claim that ESP is a real phenomenon.

Logically, it can be said that if ESP is a real spectrum of abilities, it follows that these abilities would produce observable, reproducible results (E implies R.) Because those claiming to have these abilities cannot produce results at a greater rate than the statistical average, it follows that ESP is not a real spectrum of abilities (~R implies ~E.)

ESP is not a matter of faith, because its proponents claim it to be real and observable, which is contradictory to the definition of faith.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Tzu
Im not arguing anything, just inquiring for other opinions and thoughts. I was referencing luck in the sense a psychic being right by making a "lucky" guess. Or situations outside of palm readers that may have exsisted in anyones life where utilizing gathered memory and, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning were not factors; if you or perhaps anyone especially those that don't believe in ESP, feel they may have used (terms that are used interchangably) gut, instinct, hunch, etc. If the belief that these exsist only in the person's perception the believes in them, if luck happens if favorable outcomes occur consistently.

It seems that it has become the norm to address everyone in an almost confrontive tone here at TFP, but it wasnt my intention to across as that if that is how it sounded.
I'd say that "lucky" people are the ones who are statistically ahead of the curve when it comes to repeated occurrences of things that are considered good rather than bad. It's not a very warm and happy outlook compared to most, but yes, I do believe that we are just a bunch of carbon-based organisms in a chaotic system and that any observable event was caused by a number of factors that could be reduced to mathematical equations with enough processing power and if it were possible to observe each fundamental particle's movement without altering its course.
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Old 11-18-2007, 05:37 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I am well aware of what the scientific method is, thanks.

I guess that in the end, I guess all that matters is ones perception.
I doubt that within our lifetimes there will be measurable and scientificially observable evidence for ESP, mothers intuition, hunches, prophetic dreams, communication with the dead, etc.

That doesnt mean that it will never be provable. But it might be centuries...if ever. And dumb TV shows that perpetuate crap science or fake psychics dont help.

I personally am not about to decide that despite the lack of ability at this moment to mathematically and deductively test the theories, or despite the number of skeptics out there, that its conclusively rubbish.

We still are at the embryonic stages of knowing how the entire brain works, anyway. Its a little early to make such a decisive call, yes? Maybe the wrong questions are being asked, if the answers arent apparent?

Just because this type of phenomenon does not happen to you personally, I wouldnt be so quick to judge for all of humanity and all of existence whats real.
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:10 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Miss Mango
I am well aware of what the scientific method is, thanks.

I guess that in the end, I guess all that matters is ones perception.
I doubt that within our lifetimes there will be measurable and scientificially observable evidence for ESP, mothers intuition, hunches, prophetic dreams, communication with the dead, etc.
Why, whats so special about it can't be observed now if an effect exists?

We can detect planets light years away, we have mapped the human genome, yet we can't compare before and after predictions?

I think the obvious answer is the correct one here, and people go to great lengths to figure out ways to deny this.
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Old 11-18-2007, 07:21 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Miss Mango
I guess that in the end, I guess all that matters is ones perception.
I doubt that within our lifetimes there will be measurable and scientificially observable evidence for ESP, mothers intuition, hunches, prophetic dreams, communication with the dead, etc.
Aaah, the pacification power of "magic" in other untitled forms.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:10 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Miss Mango
Just because this type of phenomenon does not happen to you personally, I wouldnt be so quick to judge for all of humanity and all of existence whats real.
I don't base my assertions on personal experience, I base them on the fact that ESP is claimed to be an observable phenomenon in the face of years of research that have failed to produce a repeatable observation. As far as hunches, mother's intuition, communication with the dead, precognitive dreams, the first two are more likely caused by subconscious processing of observations that are not consciously noticed, communication with the dead has been attempted with no positive results, and although I have had what I previously believed to be precognitive dreams (I've dreamed about being places before going there and found that the layout in my dream visits was close enough to the real thing to be able to find my was around without directions,) I feel comfortable dismissing the phenomenon as synchronicity because of the extremely poor signal to noise ratio.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:11 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by MrSelfDestruct
As far as hunches, mother's intuition, communication with the dead, precognitive dreams, the first two are more likely caused by subconscious processing of observations that are not consciously noticed
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Old 11-19-2007, 02:30 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Crompsin
Aaah, the pacification power of magic in other untitled forms.
Aaah, no. Not magic.
I dont think thats what it is.

Get back to me when you fully understand how the human brain works.

Because I know that I dont.
And neither do you.
And neither do the experts in the field.
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Old 11-19-2007, 03:14 PM   #30 (permalink)
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You say yes, I say no, you say stop and I say go, go, go
I say we're nothing but animals with self-awareness as a weakness.
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Old 11-19-2007, 07:37 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I am not more than happy to say that some things simply arent meant to be discovered or have no logical explanation.

It would be incredible to have the ability to chart and graph and magnetically image people into proof of this kind of thing. Whether it is ever done will not change what I personally believe.

I just dont think that at this point, we have the means to measure such a concept in a way that is irrefutable and reproducible for people who only go by that sort of data. We may not ever - as fascinating as the topic is. I think that is unlikely in our lifetimes that anyone will know for sure, because the brain is so complex. Yes, weve been guessing at how the brain works for years and decades - but thats not really much time at all.


Does that mean I believe that We arent meant to ever know? or This will never have a logical explanation? No. I hope that science does keep plugging away at answers - but Im okay with the idea that in this life, those answers probably wont ever come.
If there is to be scientific evidence for such things, it is a long way off from being figured out.

I dont think that its impossible or wrong or foolish to believe in the possibility of those things being valid. And I think its both ignorant and arrogant to assume that we are at a point of expertise, at this very, very early stage in our knowledge.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:00 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Miss Mango
I am not more than happy to say that some things simply arent meant to be discovered or have no logical explanation.

It would be incredible to have the ability to chart and graph and magnetically image people into proof of this kind of thing. Whether it is ever done will not change what I personally believe.

I just dont think that at this point, we have the means to measure such a concept in a way that is irrefutable and reproducible for people who only go by that sort of data.
But the thing is, nobody's requesting that kind of data. The data we are requesting is simple; a repeatable, observable test that provides evidence to support the claim that these abilities exist. It need not use any equipment more technical than a set of flash cards. To date there has been exactly one series of tests that suggested anything out of the ordinary and it's not really credible for reasons discussed.

In other words, start by establishing that it exists at all, before worrying about the hows and whys of it. So far nobody's been able to do that.
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:25 AM   #33 (permalink)
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This topic kind of reminds me of a movie I saw a few years ago - Suspect Zero...I think that's what it was called. In the special features, it was discussing a type of ESP that the FBI were trying to use (supposedly). It was based on the theory of how matter is constantly expanding. Supposedly, matter from the brain has somehow expanded throughout Earth, space, time, etc. Somehow or another these people were able to contact that matter to help find criminals or possible future terrorist attacks or even to help investigate a crime.

I'm not saying I believe this stuff. I just thought it was fun to listen to.

On the actual topic though, I don't really believe in ESP. Like others have said before, most likely the brain is just subconsciously processing information.
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:37 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Mango
I am not more than happy to say that some things simply arent meant to be discovered or have no logical explanation.

It would be incredible to have the ability to chart and graph and magnetically image people into proof of this kind of thing. Whether it is ever done will not change what I personally believe.

I just dont think that at this point, we have the means to measure such a concept in a way that is irrefutable and reproducible for people who only go by that sort of data. We may not ever - as fascinating as the topic is. I think that is unlikely in our lifetimes that anyone will know for sure, because the brain is so complex. Yes, weve been guessing at how the brain works for years and decades - but thats not really much time at all.


Does that mean I believe that We arent meant to ever know? or This will never have a logical explanation? No. I hope that science does keep plugging away at answers - but Im okay with the idea that in this life, those answers probably wont ever come.
If there is to be scientific evidence for such things, it is a long way off from being figured out.

I dont think that its impossible or wrong or foolish to believe in the possibility of those things being valid. And I think its both ignorant and arrogant to assume that we are at a point of expertise, at this very, very early stage in our knowledge.
Yes, Yes, Yes!! Bravo, a real live human that realizes we don't know everything....
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:54 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DaveMatrix
Yes, Yes, Yes!! Bravo, a real live human that realizes we don't know everything....
I've never claimed that I, or even we as a species, know everything. My argument is that 'we can't prove it doesn't exist' is not valid proof. If I were to argue in favour of the Easter Bunny on the same grounds, you'd think me a fool. And yet...
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:44 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Martian
I've never claimed that I, or even we as a species, know everything. My argument is that 'we can't prove it doesn't exist' is not valid proof. If I were to argue in favour of the Easter Bunny on the same grounds, you'd think me a fool. And yet...
BAM! Just because something is possible doesn't mean it is to be blindly considered. I'd prefer to think that we, as a collective, keep the proverbial doors in universe of possibility closed and unlocked instead of wide open and banging around.

I like to think that discretion is the better part of science, logic, etc. You can be wrong, not a problem, and you can say you were at least reasonably humble.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:11 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Martian
I've never claimed that I, or even we as a species, know everything. My argument is that 'we can't prove it doesn't exist' is not valid proof. If I were to argue in favour of the Easter Bunny on the same grounds, you'd think me a fool. And yet...
Ya gotta love the Easter Bunny & Santa Claus retort that comes up in almost every thread where "scientific proof" is lacking. I especially like this one in relation to proof of God, a truly ridiculous & absurd comparison, that always comes off as condescending.

This is where the fallacy of the Ďproofí becomes evident. How many scientific theories have been Ďprovení, only to be later overturned when new facts come to light? The answer must be countless. In science, proof is not an absolute, it merely means that we havenít yet been able to disprove it. Scientific fact is nothing more than this yearís best guess. An educated guess, but a guess none the less, as I've said before.

When a new theory fits the observed phenomena better than an old theory, generally speaking, it then becomes the accepted model. Sometimes this can take a while, as was the case with the heliocentric solar system or the dangers of cigarette smoke. Often, this new model is then overthrown when a later and more sophisticated theory offers slightly more, or slightly better, answers.

Time will tell......new theories will evolve & new evidence will no doubt be found regarding ESP....
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:38 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DaveMatrix
Ya gotta love the Easter Bunny & Santa Claus retort that comes up in almost every thread where "scientific proof" is lacking. I especially like this one in relation to proof of God, a truly ridiculous & absurd comparison, that always comes off as condescending.

This is where the fallacy of the Ďproofí becomes evident. How many scientific theories have been Ďprovení, only to be later overturned when new facts come to light? The answer must be countless. In science, proof is not an absolute, it merely means that we havenít yet been able to disprove it. Scientific fact is nothing more than this yearís best guess. An educated guess, but a guess none the less, as I've said before.

When a new theory fits the observed phenomena better than an old theory, generally speaking, it then becomes the accepted model. Sometimes this can take a while, as was the case with the heliocentric solar system or the dangers of cigarette smoke. Often, this new model is then overthrown when a later and more sophisticated theory offers slightly more, or slightly better, answers.

Time will tell......new theories will evolve & new evidence will no doubt be found regarding ESP....
...

This is so absurd, I literally cannot come up with a reply. I don't even know where to start.

Is your argument, then, that because some hypotheses have been proven invalid or inaccurate in the past, that we should accept new ones with absolutely no evidence to back them up, because they're what people want to believe? Well, if that's the case, then to hell what people think! The Easter bunny exists, dammit! I can't prove it, but I know in my heart that it's true!

God has no place in this discussion and evidence has no place in a discussion of God. Religion is based on faith. People who follow Christian dogma pride themselves on the fact that they hold to their beliefs without any proof (that being the very definition of faith). When it comes to supposedly real and observable phenomena, however, we're not just in a different league, we're in a whole other sport.

Yes, occasionally we come up with models that better describe observed phenomena. This is where we get a progression from, say, Newtonian physics to quantum physics. However, this still has no bearing on the discussion. I could walk you through the scientific method (since, based on the above post, your grasp of it seems to be tenuous at best) but that's not relevant to the current debate either. Science is the process of explaining the world around us; designing and testing hypotheses to explain observed events. Before we can design and test hypotheses to explain paranormal phenomena like ESP, they need to be observed first. Observed doesn't mean that your cousin Jed saw some guy bend a spoon with the power of his mind once; such things can be and very often are faked very convincingly. Therefore, observed means the phenomenon must be demonstrable and repeatable in a controlled environment. To date, there have been a huge number of people who have claimed to be able to accomplish this; yet the JREF's prize money still hasn't been spoken for. Nobody has been able to back it up. One study out of more than I'd care to count has shown results that indicate there may be something to such phenomena, and that single one was shown to be flawed in design.

So, once more for emphasis. Before we worry about how or why something works, we need to see that it works at all. Give me one single shred of conclusive evidence behind psychic abilities and I will forever concede the point; until then, all the rest is just so much semantics and feel-good rationalizing bullshit.

Psychic powers do not exist.
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Last edited by Martian; 11-20-2007 at 07:49 AM.. Reason: Thank you to DaveMatrix for kindly pointing out my typo.
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:02 AM   #39 (permalink)
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I like to think of science as a bunch of boxes labeled "Proof," and on top of that, I like to think of this boogieman voodoo magic crap as a smaller set of boxes set aside from the primary row which are full of evidence and thus has more weight.

It isn't that we know or don't know or will ever know or (faith / religion), it is that we don't have anything to put in the damn box.
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:03 AM   #40 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crompsin
I like to think of science as a bunch of boxes labeled "Proof" and I like to think of this boogieman voodoo magic crap as a smaller set of boxes set aside from the primary row which is full of evidence and thus has more weight.

It isn't that we know or don't know or will ever know or (faith / religion), it is that we don't have anything to put in the damn box.
This analogy works surprisingly well. Nothing in the damn box, indeed.
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I wake up in the morning more tired than before I slept
I get through cryin' and I'm sadder than before I wept
I get through thinkin' now, and the thoughts have left my head
I get through speakin' and I can't remember, not a word that I said

- Ben Harper, Show Me A Little Shame
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