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Old 12-28-2011, 06:09 PM
 
Location: the living desert
577 posts, read 880,230 times
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Telepathy?....psychokinesis?.....precognition? Can such things be? Many of us have had a feeling of “Deja Vu” when we walked into a house or building, and some of us may get certain “feelings' that something is not quite right on occasion. The ones who do typically write it off as intuition. We've all likely read stories about E.S.P., or psychics attempting to look into the future. I would like to discuss the possible existence of what would be considered Parapsychology. For the sake of brevity we'll be ignoring some of the other aspects of parapsychology such as seeing apparitions and near-death experiences, and simply sticking with what would generally be considered the big four.


  • Telepathy-Getting information on the thoughts/feelings of others using your mind.
  • Precognition-getting information about future events or places before they happen i.e. seeing into the future.
  • Clairvoyance-Seeing things in your mind that are happening at remote locations.
  • Psychokinesis-using the mind to influence time, matter, space, or energy by means unknown to science.
Is it even possible for these types of old spiritualist beliefs to exist in today's world. Or is it an legitimate field that the scientific community has largely given a cold shoulder too, thereby stifling any real research on the subject. Most of the available research on parapsychology was done in the late 1800's and the early decades of the 1900's most famously by Dr. J B Rhine at Duke University. Can a person focus on another and receive...lets say an image pictured in the others mind? Or dreaming about a future event? Or perhaps moving a glass across a table or affecting the throwing of dice? There are numerous books arguing for and against these senses, and no shortage of anecdotal tales. Anybody here have any experience with this? Any family members that have strange abilities? Do you believe it possible?
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:21 PM
 
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<shrug> Doesn't matter to me what others "think". I wake up about five minutes before any alarm clock goes off - even if I don't know what time it is set for. Set me out in a field and ask me what time it is and I'll tell you within five minutes of accuracy. I don't fly on commercial planes in part because I sense the anxiety of other passengers (I'm fine while a passenger on a private plane). I can sense fields of distress and positive energy. I don't shop prior to Christmas because of the tension in others. There is other stuff that I experience, but it also is of no importance to others.

Does the unusual exist? Not unless you count a society of rational people entranced by a giant mouse with giant ears that sings and talks like a girl or castrato, or one that finds it appropriate to allow ads for sales of catheters in movies on tv, or one that legally declares pizza a vegetable, and then penalizes a student for eating it into the shape of a crude gun and making "terrorist" threats.

No, we live in a RATIONAL society. If it doesn't come from the government or advertisers, we don't believe it.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:13 AM
 
Location: Back in the gym...Yo Adrian!
9,411 posts, read 18,843,960 times
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I'm typically a skeptic when it comes to this sort of thing, but I also can't ignore when you get that feeling you're being watched and 9 times out of 10 it's true. Could be there's something more to our senses, but I'm not sold on moving things with our minds or predicting future events outside of an educated guess or sheer luck.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:47 AM
 
Location: Tujunga
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The problem is that most of these things are amazingly easy to test. Can people move things with their minds? Surly a pretty easy thing to test? Yet despite some studies there seems to be no clear evidence for it. Shouldn't it be something whereas, if it did exist, the evidence is amazingly clear?
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:49 PM
 
Location: the living desert
577 posts, read 880,230 times
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Easy to test. Difficult to prove. Whenever there has been limited success such as the tests administered by J B Rhine at Duke University, the cries of fraud immediately seem to start. Which drives any legit researchers away from testing this sort of thing. I mean why test it if you know you will be ripped to shreds (and your scientific reputation ruined) as soon as you release the results. And of course, there is the alternate explanation, pushed by skeptics and debunkers, which states that there is nothing to it. And that any research into such things is a waste of money which could be better spent elsewhere.
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Old 01-01-2012, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Tujunga
421 posts, read 411,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbia Blue View Post
Easy to test. Difficult to prove. Whenever there has been limited success such as the tests administered by J B Rhine at Duke University, the cries of fraud immediately seem to start. Which drives any legit researchers away from testing this sort of thing. I mean why test it if you know you will be ripped to shreds (and your scientific reputation ruined) as soon as you release the results. And of course, there is the alternate explanation, pushed by skeptics and debunkers, which states that there is nothing to it. And that any research into such things is a waste of money which could be better spent elsewhere.
I'm sorry but I just don't see your reasoning. Surly its amazingly easy to prove. I mean, if you can move something with your mind, or read other people's minds the proof is just simple. There's a cup, in a lab, behind glass, now..lift it with your mind....

I mean, if you can move a cup with your mind then it would take a month to design and implement experiments that would prove beyond all doubt that this is true. A fact that would ensure vast vast commercial and scientific success for any team of scientists who did the research.

Even thought this is the case, there just isn't the vast pool of compelling research that one would expect (despite much effort). So, realistically one must conclude that they don't exist.
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Old 01-01-2012, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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I'm pretty much a skeptic of most of it, but I'll never forget my experience with deja vu when I was around 16 or 17 -- roughly 50 years ago. It was no big deal and only lasted for a few seconds, but it was as though the moment was a rerun -- not really that I'd lived it before, but I knew exactly what others would say and do and knew what I was going to say and do. I don't think I had a choice, not that I was looking for a way to change it, and it happened so suddenly and unexpectedly that it completely caught me off guard. I don't believe I even knew of the "deja vu" term at the time.

I've had a couple other rather odd experiences in my lifetime in which I could make an argument for something paranormal going on, but they could have just been explainable/coincidental occurrences. The deja vu thing, however, was really strange. I took a psychology class shortly after that and asked the instructor about it. He suggested it was just my mind playing a trick on me -- that I'd experienced a similar situation before. I didn't argue, but I didn't really buy it either.
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:38 AM
 
Location: Cushing OK
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I am highly empathic. I avoid crowds, especially when the emotion is high, since I can feel this *wave* sweep over me. I need physical space. People seem drawn to talk because I think they can tell I feel. Once, waiting for a bus this woman was waiting with a young boy. The sheer blackness around her was so deep and opressive I had to move, but nobody spoke or talked. There was a dark cloud around her, usually meaning she would die soon. It spooked me badly.

Can I 'prove' this? I'm not sure how you measure it, but I know that others seem to feel it.

Ever since I moved in I've felt there was *somthing* in the former office (now storage and liter boxes as the room is too cold in winter) Various really wierd things have happened and I realized all in that room. Every once in a while the modem would go out, I go in and find it turned off in its box, where the cats cant get to it with a box on top. But I didn't shut it off....

Then its early in the afternoon. Cats are sleeping in there (it really likes cats). I'm sitting at the compuer in the next room and nobody else is here. I'm online for awhile, switch to writing off line, then try to go back online and nada.... Cats had all suddenly gone berserkers once while I was writing.

Excpet this time the I move all the stuff and look. Each and every plug has been pulled and is laying next to the powerstrip. The room *felt* energized. I told it it can stay so long as it doesn't mess with the modem again. I still feel it but not a single problem...

So, what unplugged the plugs?
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:08 AM
 
7,801 posts, read 5,640,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbia Blue View Post
Telepathy?....psychokinesis?.....precognition? Can such things be?
Of course they "can" be. The question really is not whether they can but whether there is any reason at all to think they ARE which is more what the Title of your thread asks.

In other words your OP title asks DO they exist and your first line is CAN they exist. It is worth recognizing these are two massively different questions.

So to answer the Title question... I have seen literally no reason at all what soever to think these things exist. Ever. Much less on these Forums.... which given the number of people on here claiming they DO exist is pretty telling. They claim again and again they exist, but not one person evidences it in any way whatsoever.

There is however a host of reasons for why we have the illusion such things exist. Confirmation bias and human pattern seeking being some of the more common explanations like this....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coolhand68 View Post
I'm typically a skeptic when it comes to this sort of thing, but I also can't ignore when you get that feeling you're being watched and 9 times out of 10 it's true.
.... unless one keeps an incredibly strict track of everything one thinks this 9/10 statistic is likely entirely illusory. What happens is we get feelings like this all the time, but they are so common we hardly notice them. We really only notice the "positives" where the feeling turns out to be true.

For example the house number I grew up in was 27. I see 27 a lot and it used to feel to me that somehow it was following me it was so common. Eventually I came to realize I was seeing numbers ALL the time, every day, most of the time without realizing it. It was just that 27 was jumping out at me because it held personal significance.

This is what happens. We do not notice so many things in our day to day lives both inside and outside our heads. Its a cacophony of noise and events we mostly filter out and ignore. It is only the "positives" that jump out at us and so we notice patterns that are not actually there.

On top of all this however there are many situations where you react to things other than the thing you think you reacted to - again without realizing it. If you are having coffee and you get the funny feeling someone behind you is staring at you, you turn and its true.... its quite possible that subconsciously you noticed that the person you are with was starting at something over your shoulder and you were responding to this, not actually being stared at. That is 1 of 100s of possibilities we could think up, but I think the 1 serves as an example.

However as has been pointed out - the types of claims this thread is about are amazingly easy to test and yet despite all those tests we see no evidence for the claims at all. Really the only support for such claims I am aware of amounts to nothing more than some people really really wanting it to be true so they just claim it is - I guess in the magical hope that claiming it is true will magically make it so.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:15 AM
 
7,801 posts, read 5,640,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbia Blue View Post
Easy to test. Difficult to prove. Whenever there has been limited success such as the tests administered by J B Rhine at Duke University, the cries of fraud immediately seem to start.
The key word here would be "limited". Science is not all about making 1 study and getting a positive results. Quite the opposite as it is well known that if you study something that is not actually there you will sometimes get "positive" results. And yet you will also get people engaged in fraud or even in just poor methodology.

So what science does is engages in what is called "Meta" studies. Which is do perform a study of the general result of a number of tests and studies in a given area. So popping out a single study with "positive" results means nothing if there is another 1000 with negative results.

Alas that procedure can also be prone to fraud and tampering as is often seen in the Homeopathy claims. If you do 10,000 studies and 10 of them give a positive result, then you can make a "meta" study look good by hand picking those 10 results.

So you might see the "cries of fraud" as some conspiracy against those who think they have evidence for woo magic claims.... but it is not a conspiracy. Whether looking at a study or a meta study one does not just accept their results... one looks at exactly what the study says, what it's basis for saying it actually is, and exactly what methodology was engaged in. There are a lot of poor studies in the world, whether from pure ineptitude or dishonesty... and so scientists ripping studies apart is not an example of them crying fraud when something does not agree with their worldview.... but IS an example of basic prudence.

How do things get into science. Lynn Margulis is a great example as she made some great contributions to biology but also made some baseless and weird claims too. One of her contributions however was symbiogenesis. This is the discovery that deep in our past prokaryote cells joined to create the cells that make up much of life today - This is why there is DNA in mitochondria. She did not just write a study and have this idea accepted however. She engaged in many decades with papers, books, monography and speeches. After 35 years it has trickled into the biological curriculum as a mildly controversial but generally accepted Theory. That's how its done. There is no Zarr that says "You cannot introduce supernatural explanation". No you go out to convince people systematically and methodically.

What you do not do is trot out a single study with a result that errs mildly towards the positive and then cry foul when people rip it apart.
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