Does quantum mechanics explain extra sensory perception?

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MegB
Does quantum mechanics explain extra sensory perception?

If you can change the properties of a particle by observing it, does that not mean that perception informs physical reality? If thoughts are a series of electrical impulses, without conductors and capacitors what's to constrain them? Discuss.

Slumberjack

Experience should tell us that perception most definitely informs reality in many instances.  Most of us are unqualified with respect to the properties of quantum mechanics, let alone its ability to correlate effects with ESP, the very existence of which we know even less about,

6079_Smith_W

I wouldn't assume so, without an demonstrated link.

For me, ESP is a sort of open question, and I know that according to quantum mechanics things are in more than one place at the same time, though on a subatomic level. I also know that the model explains how all kinds of energy systems, including those which make many of our modern devices possible, work.

But I don't ascribe to "what the bleep" explanations as a catchall for things which we simply do not yet understand.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_the_Bleep_Do_We_Know!%3F

 

 

MegB

Quantum entanglement has gone beyond theoretical physics to proven fact. In computer science it's been proven that if you embed particles with information and send them to a destination, with an observation point along the way, the difference at the end of the destination is measurable. ESP is probably a clumsy way of saying that there are ways of sending and receiving information that we don't yet understand. I'm not talking about the completely debunked woo woo stuff that gets peddled on TV and at psychic fairs, but rather the fairly banal anomalies we experience every day.

KenS

Agree on one thing: that various forms of human communication [and humans with other beings] that we know happen with a certain regularity, and with typical patterns, but do not understand the 'mechanics' in the least.... that the mechanics are 'knowable', at least in principle.

But I see no reason to think that there even clues in or derived from quantum mechanics. And as goofy as the woo-hoo psychic stuff looks, it may be closer to the clues. Possibly, a LOT closer.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Here is an article that poses the same question as RW did to start this thread. I think that some people do indeed "know" when close friends or relatives experience trauma although they are physically great distances away. The problem is trying to make sense of sub atomic phenomena using a complex organism like the brain that is made up of almost innumerably atoms. Or to put it another way I have given this some thought and read various articles and books about it but it is always just beyond my comprehension and tends to give me a headache.

Quote:

Albert Einstein called the theory of quantum entanglement, "Spooky action at a distance." Quantum entanglement basically says that any two particles that have interacted before are bound to each other regardless of distance, and affects the other one. Quantum entanglement theory may be a scientific explanation of ESP in that people who exhibit these tendencies, interact with information on a sub-atomic level. Someone who is perceptive to extra sensory material may be tuned into this type of linking much like we can tune into a radio station.

When one particle, which was once linked to another, can affect its distant partner instantly than this could explain telepathy. Science has shown us how two particles can somehow interact on different sides of the universe without a signal passing between them. If you take quantum entanglement one step further, it could explain ESP as well.

http://imgreencat.hubpages.com/hub/canextrasensoryperceptionbeexplainedt...

Slumberjack

It's because of the vast amount of information that we're not aware of that it makes no sense to take an absolutist position, which has to apply to a vast assortment of positions given, taken, or adapted to from within our collection of knowledge.  To even consider oneself a hard core atheist implies a 100% certainty derived from a portion of the small amount of accumulated knowledge which exists for us.  Who is to say emphatically for instance that as the essence of quantum particle migration throughout our universe left its trace within our cell structures, that this was not the original mark that compelled our distant ancestors to begin studying the sky once they had sufficiently evolved?  If such characteristics are present in quantum mechanics, might there be others?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Even Richard Dawkins doesn't claim a 100% certainty there is no god - you're building a straw atheist.

I think you'd have to show some evidence that extra sensory perception exists beyond the level of random chance in a large enough sample before you could even begin to explore whether quantum physics has any intersection. Not that it has stopped shysters like Chopra and innumerable other from quantuming it up all over the place.

Slumberjack

There's no need to build anything in that regard. Evidence is always the key point when moving on from original theories that no longer suffice for explanations. Deleuze showed with his fixation on insects that other worlds exist, which for the most part share in a mutual obliviousness with ourselves of the other, right under our feet and within our own reality. The microscope revealed entire worlds that all previous knowledge had overlooked, but which effected all living things, often in very direct ways. In the context of quantum entanglement, curiously the ancients sometimes spoke of entanglements with spirits that regulated behaviour and well being.

Slumberjack

There doesn't appear to be an end to the stuff we don't know about, or don't know enough about in order to render qualified opinions.  I suppose the same might apply to much of the stuff posted hereabouts.  Such as where all of the rubble and torn apart mass of suns, planets and galaxies go when they’re devoured by black holes?  Does it all disappear from existence entirely, or if not, into what reality does the material emerge into?  In terms of different realities from one body to another, someone's experience and reality may be remembered quite differently by another person that has observed the same life being spoken about.  And so the true reflection or recording of someone’s life may be marked on other people’s consciousness in a slightly altered manner which bends or warps the reality of the life being spoken about.  If we were to conclude that most people would prefer that only the best moments of their lives are recounted during their funeral service, and final instructions are given to this effect by the deceased prior to their passing, this is the only means of transmission that we know of whereby some of the contents of one’s brain is transmitted to another, and then onward into other memories.

Fidel

Timebandit wrote:
I think you'd have to show some evidence that extra sensory perception exists beyond the level of random chance in a large enough sample before you could even begin to explore whether quantum physics has any intersection. Not that it has stopped shysters like Chopra and innumerable other from quantuming it up all over the place.

Better than chance would allow for - Jessica Utts, Ph.D.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

.....aaaaaaaaand cue Fidel's collection of whack jobs!

KenS

Timebandit wrote:
I think you'd have to show some evidence that extra sensory perception exists beyond the level of random chance in a large enough sample before you could even begin to explore whether quantum physics has any intersection.

It would be a hell of a lot easier to show compelling evidence that "ESP" exists- however you want to specify/describe that- than to explore where quantum mechanics fits in, if at all in any meaningful sense.

Establishing that some phenomena exists, and degree of consensus on a description, is not the same thing as working out why and how.

Slumberjack

It's certainly an area of study requiring caution because of the tendency for well established extrapolations to abound.

KenS

As noted, the implications of quantum mechanics are no longer just plausible theory. We can test and observe that particles effect each other that are removed in a space-time continuum as we have always understood it. The theory of relativity LONG ago pretty much proved that our notions of the space-time continuum are inadequate and faulty, at least in principle. But we still have nothing else to go on for testing and observing at least 99.999% of what we enquire into. We test and observe according to the 'rules' of the space and time as we experience... because for all but a small slice of phenomena, we have nothing else to go on. And, we do it because it works: we get and accrue hard and sustainable knowledge that way.

Anyway. So now we know that two sub-atomic particles effect each other across space and/or time.

We also know that what gets called "ESP" exists. Radical skepiticism that it's existence at all is 'unproven' is as credible as climate change skepticism. Call 99% of it bunk, and the remaining 1% defies explanation according to current consensus understandings of how it can happen.

Do these two things have anything to do with each other? Plausibly.

Is knowledge in one field [quantum mechanics] likely to inform understanding of how "ESP" happens? 

A huge amount has to happen to 'scale' quantum mechanics past the sub atomic level, at all. Let alone to having anything practical to offer in the understanding of our brains, which is in its own right an enquiry hugely complex and speculative in countless directions.

 

I suggest that the main influence of quantum mechanics here is inspirational. It obvioulsy helps a lot of people approach ESP without being put off by the mystical mumbo jumbo and grossly inflated claims.

But there is nothing new about that. People have been taking a matter of fact and 'pedestrian enquiry' approach to ESP for decades. And that includes a lot of practitioners of some kind of psychic art. They have not got far yet. I don't watch this, but I assume we would hear about it if there was evidence out there widely seen as compelling, of being able to more or less randomly reproduce and direct things that get called ESP.

But I would still put my money on the descriptive and pedestrian science approach- lets see what works and what doesnt- over figuring out anything by building up [or over] via quantum mechanics. 

had enough

Rebecca West wrote:
If you can change the properties of a particle by observing it, does that not mean that perception informs physical reality? If thoughts are a series of electrical impulses, without conductors and capacitors what's to constrain them? Discuss.

 

Changing the properties of a particle in quantum mechanics refers to the fact that in order to observe a particle at that level, which means defining it's position in this case, you have to intract with it with relatively large forces that will change it's position. It's not changing the particle itself, just it's trajectory. So if you used a jet of air to measure the speed of a ping pong ball vs a basketball, the obvious physical realities mean the air would likely affect the ping pong balls trajectory much more than the basketball, but the balls aren't changed. So, if in order to see a tree, our eyes put out rays that burn the tree, perceiving the world changes it.

And, the electrical impulse in the nerves is a chemical process that occurs across the cell membrane of a nerve cell. It's not like in a wire, although it could be thought of as many short wires that span the cell membrane, rather than along it. Any fields associated with them due to "thoughts" and/or physical asymmetries would be the sum of all the smaller ones, which is a function of instantaneous physical condition.

6079_Smith_W

KenS wrote:

Do these two things have anything to do with each other? Plausibly.

Possibly. I'd have to see an argument from a physicist making that connection before I'd consider it plausible.

And it is a lot less plausible when we consider that other things that are perfectly normal at the subatomic level - matter constantly popping in and out of existence  - do not happen to people, chainsaws and cars with the same regularity. Nor do we see things which can happen in high energy states - like the reversal of time - in our corner of the universe.

I don't take three different paths every day to work, though some might claim I am doing just that in three different dimensions. But we don't have any evidence of those dimensions, and when we see it in photosynthesis, it is all happening right here.

Sure, it's possible, but I don't see any plausible connection, given the complex nature of some ESP stories. When a test is done with Zener cards the symbols don't change on the paper to fit the image in the mind of the subject. While it might be an interesting thing to consider, I think  subatomic physics has been a bit overused in this department, with not enough consideration for how different the two realms are.

Fidel

Timebandit wrote:
.....aaaaaaaaand cue Fidel's collection of whack jobs!

By comparison Utts has a Ph.D, has written text books on statistics, and she uses her real name online.

Who's more credible in this case,  someone who goes by 'Timebandit' or Jessica Utts who's "done the math"?

Sorry to undermine your babble cred like this, but someone had to say something.

Fidel

6079_Smith_W wrote:

KenS wrote:

Do these two things have anything to do with each other? Plausibly.

Possibly. I'd have to see an argument from a physicist making that connection before I'd consider it plausible.

The Paranormal: The Evidence and Its Implications for Consciousness

That guy's a physicist, and she's just a Ph.D. and not coming off anywhere near as credible as Timebandit's solid argument against the hokus pocus noted above.

Some interesting quotes of people speaking in haste at the time:

"We will never make a 32 bit operating system.” — Bill Gates

“Lee DeForest has said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years. Based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public … has been persuaded to purchase stock in his company …” — a U.S. District Attorney, prosecuting American inventor Lee DeForest for selling stock fraudulently through the mail for his Radio Telephone Company in 1913.

“A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.” — New York Times, 1936.

“Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical (sic) and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.” - Simon Newcomb; The Wright Brothers flew at Kittyhawk 18 months later.

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” — Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society, 1895.

“There will never be a bigger plane built.” — A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people

“Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years.” -– Alex Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times in 1955.

"I believe anything is possible. I'm a sucker for quantum theories explaining everything from consciousness to ice cream." - Fidelio

 

6079_Smith_W

From your article, Fidel:

Quote:

These proposals are extremely speculative.

What do those quotes that have to do with anything I said?  Never mind that we could just as easily look at what some people expected was going to happen a decade ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6ywMnbef6Y

I'm just saying that physical principles that apply at the subatomic level and in high energy states don't translate so well to the stable environment necessary to support our existence. I also wouldn't look at a waterbug and assume I could take a stroll across the pacific ocean.  And speculation notwithstanding, there aren't any solid links.

As for the paranormal, I already said that I consider it an open question, so I am not sure who you are arguing with. That doesn't mean I ascribe to all the ideas that are justified by pseudoscience, for instance stuff along the lines of "the secret". The dark side of that belief is that people who suffer illness, misfortune or violence are secretly asking for it and drawing it on themselves through the law of attraction.

 

 

 

Fidel

6079_Smith_W wrote:
I'm just saying that physical principles that apply at the subatomic level and in high energy states don't translate so well to the stable environment necessary to support our existence.

Why do you think scientists are studying particle physics if it's as disconnected from reality, human biology, grammar and punctuation as youve implied?

They are studing power physics and subatomic matter because quantum physicists believe that the sub-atomic is a miniature model of the universe, where we came from and what made us etc. We are a part of the whole not separate and distinct from it or nature and all of the littlest things in it. We are all star dust, outsourced by a perfectly symmetrical singularity, infinitely dense, colossally small and pretty hot ball of whatever at a time when there was no such thing as time-space, and a heckuva long time ago, too!

Winston Smith wrote:
I also wouldn't look at a waterbug and assume I could take a stroll across the pacific ocean.  And speculation notwithstanding, there aren't any solid links.

They use insects all the time to test theories about human biology. We could learn a lot from a fruit fly, for example.

Smith wrote:
As for the paranormal, I already said that I consider it an open question, so I am not sure who you are arguing with. That doesn't mean I ascribe to all the ideas that are justified by pseudoscience, for instance stuff along the lines of "the secret". The dark side of that belief is that people who suffer illness, misfortune or violence are secretly asking for it and drawing it on themselves through the law of attraction.

 Yes we should be wary of pseudo-scientists and other charlatans? Is that what you're saying?

ETA:

I'll see your excellent 2001 vid and up you one rebel rebel...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U16Xg_rQZkA

6079_Smith_W

Fidel wrote:

Why do you think scientists are studying particle physics if it's as disconnected from reality, human biology, grammar and punctuation as youve implied?

Well to my understanding the grail they are looking for is a unified field theory.

Also, a lot of it does have practical applications, from stuff as mundane as sausage casings, to replacing the work of making isotopes that we currently need reactors for.

I expect janfromthebruce knows a lot more about that than I do.

As for that other stuff, I'm not saying that no connection is possible. On the other hand, it's not good science just leap to an assumption and then go looking for stuff that fits your model. And that goes double for quantum theory, which has been way over used and abused as an excuse for stuff that likely has nothing at all to do with what it is really about.

There's plenty of stuff I think might exist for which I have no explanation. But until such time as an explanation or a refutation happens, I prefer to keep it simple.

 

 

MegB

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Fidel wrote:

Why do you think scientists are studying particle physics if it's as disconnected from reality, human biology, grammar and punctuation as youve implied?

Well to my understanding the grail they are looking for is a unified field theory.

Also, a lot of it does have practical applications, from stuff as mundane as sausage casings, to replacing the work of making isotopes that we currently need reactors for.

I expect janfromthebruce knows a lot more about that than I do.

As for that other stuff, I'm not saying that no connection is possible. On the other hand, it's not good science just leap to an assumption and then go looking for stuff that fits your model. And that goes double for quantum theory, which has been way over used and abused as an excuse for stuff that likely has nothing at all to do with what it is really about.

There's plenty of stuff I think might exist for which I have no explanation. But until such time as an explanation or a refutation happens, I prefer to keep it simple.

 

 


They already have the math behind unified field theory and it seems to be supported by tests with the most powerful particle colliders we have now, but there simply isn't enough power yet to get subatomic particles close enough to definitively prove UFT. Even so, there's enough data to strongly suggest that the various fields are unified in strength at a subatomic level.

Just because you don't yet have the capability to prove something does not mean it's untrue. Merely untested.

There have been studies that strongly suggest that the electrical impulses we call thoughts can be transmitted and received. Proof of ESP? Not nearly. But it's enough to create a compelling argument for the possibility that our thoughts are not necessarily confined within our grey matter. I'm not talking about crystal balls, tarot cards or The Amazing Kreskin. What science suggests is that simple thoughts and emotions can be transmitted between people without any visual cues. There isn't so much evidence in humans (hey, who needs ESP when you have Facebook), but other animals show us that information gets passed between them all the time (migratory patterns, group behaviors, etc.). So why not us?

KenS

Actually we do have evidence for between humans.

It just doesnt happen routinely as with other animals.

The minimum: countless documented cases of people knowing a loved one has died or is in serious distress. Do the math, and there is essentially zero probability that all the investigated cases are just undiscovered hoaxes and/or cases where people wittingly or not hid how they otherwise knew. This will never amount to 'proof' to dogmatic skeptics because there is never going to be an intsitution with a stake in cataloguing and verifying information.

It isnt only simple thoughts that are transmitted between people. It is just that it so episodically happens that it isnt really feasible to set up the kind of testing that comes easily. Seems to me it would take data crunching rooted in data gathering and the design and execution od sophisticated probabilistic enquiries... a more modest version of what it took to try out the theories of partcicles so that there would be some idea of what to look for.

6079_Smith_W

@ Rebecca

Actually I agree with you that there is a body of evidence, at least anecdotal, to support some of this.

Never mind the claims that acupuncture is nonsense, I had a conversation about a week ago with a doctor who said that putting needles in a plastic model could be more effective than putting them in the body of the subject. I don't have personal experience with it, and I have no idea how it might work, but I do accept the claim that the subject felt relief after it was done.

jas

Rebecca West wrote:
Just because you don't yet have the capability to prove something does not mean it's untrue. Merely untested. There have been studies that strongly suggest that the electrical impulses we call thoughts can be transmitted and received. Proof of ESP? Not nearly. But it's enough to create a compelling argument for the possibility that our thoughts are not necessarily confined within our grey matter. I'm not talking about crystal balls, tarot cards or The Amazing Kreskin. What science suggests is that simple thoughts and emotions can be transmitted between people without any visual cues. There isn't so much evidence in humans (hey, who needs ESP when you have Facebook), but other animals show us that information gets passed between them all the time (migratory patterns, group behaviors, etc.). So why not us?

Personally I don't understand the constant caveats and apologies that attend these conversations. ESP simply means extra-sensory perception, meaning the ability to perceive something beyond the normal capacity of what we traditionally accept as our five physical senses. Of course this exists. And of course phenomena exist outside of our sensory ability to perceive it. Perhaps most phenomena in the universe, in fact. Why would we assume the contrary? That would be idiotic, given the limitations of our physiology.

I don't understand why anyone would argue against this. What possible interest or stake could they (one) have in such an argument?

Now, as for possible connections to quantum theory, I have no idea. I'm still trying to figure out relativity. Smile

 

Fidel

I think there is such a thing as militant atheism, militant skepticism  or a kind of modern day inquisition sans the torture and drawing and quartering and so on. I think Brian Josephson has been the target of not so fast types like Randi, a former TV clown now a full-time skeptic. I have a hard time appreciating him and his pseudo-scientific skepticism.

At the same time, most scientists want nothing to do with modern day witch hunts because they view science as an open-ended pursuit of truth. They don't like it much when those with the courage to challenge mainstream ideas are smeared in similar manner that court jesters and spies for the imperialist regime attacked free thinkers centuries ago. I think it prevents scientists from veering very far from the mainstream, which is currently at a loss to explain very many things, like a theory of everything in order to tie the study of the very small (quantum mechanics) with theories measuring large scale (relativity). Human consciousness is just another relatively unexplored frontier as far as science goes.

I think if we want to talk about pseudo-science run amok, Ralph Nader has written some scathing critiques on that topic. There are two kinds of science today. There is basic research, and then there is corporate science, and they are not the same thing.

Ralph Nader wrote:
Corporate science puts profit before the public interest. Corporate science is often secretive, not peer-reviewed, laden with lobbying power, and driven by profit-seeking strategies.

Slumberjack

Fidel wrote:
 There are two kinds of science today. There is basic research, and then there is corporate science, and they are not the same thing.

The problem is that its almost always difficult to tell them apart, but you're right to suggest that it's about the uses science is dedicated toward in Capitalist societies for example, and their influence upon research. Take Psychology for instance, a peer reviewed, scientific sounding field of inquiry, studied, evaluated, and fine tuned in practice and in the universities. We already know from this society that universities are geared toward the production of managers, technologists, and theorists for Capitalism. They're not in the business of growing revolutionaries on trees. The observation here is that Psychology, as a product of the institutions of learning, attempts to treat the individual so as to better adapt to society, and not the other way around. Correspondingly, almost any scientific field we can think of, geology, biology, genetics, etc, are continuously adapting everything imaginable to the economy. As biological forms ourselves, we're almost entirely subsumed by it, and thus our expectations of science are already preconceived, pre-packaged in shrink wrapping if you will. Instead of shutting the door on everything as a result of such challenges to science, its better to leave it open a crack, if only to facilitate an escape route for the truth across the threshold of scepticism.

Fidel

Slumberjack wrote:

Fidel wrote:
 There are two kinds of science today. There is basic research, and then there is corporate science, and they are not the same thing.

The problem is that its almost always difficult to tell them apart, but you're right to suggest that it's about the uses science is dedicated toward in Capitalist societies for example, and their influence upon research. Take Psychology for instance, a peer reviewed, scientific sounding field of inquiry, studied, evaluated, and fine tuned in practice and in the universities. We already know from this society that universities are geared toward the production of managers, technologists, and theorists for Capitalism. They're not in the business of growing revolutionaries on trees.

I know what you mean. I also think that there is a surprising number of left-leaning to left wing theorists and academics in North American universities today. Take, for example, the last month of my studies in educational foundations here at Queen's. Our prof for this part of the course is Rosa Bruno-Jofre. She lived through the U.S.-backed military dictatorship years in Argentina and is exposing the kids here to some fairly revolutionary ideas with Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed and more. Of course, she has to balance the theory with some other theorists, like John Dewey. Of course, even he was critical of the education system.

Observe Ted Kaczynski, the unabomber. He was paranoid and thought that UCal and American universities in general are infested with socialists at every turn. And they still teach Marx and Marxian-Hegelian thought in university programs just not economics. As Canadian William Khrem said about it, over the last 30-35 years there has been a kind of Stalinization of economic theory in Canada and USA with Chicago schools for economics and finance influencing think tanks and governments alike. Marx & Keynes was dumped for Hayek and Friedman. And, of course, the neoliberals and neoclassico economists since then are not so sure of their neo-theories now but are still trumpeted on Wall St and Bay St and right wing think tanks in Vanccouver, Toronto, Washington etc.

Slumberjack wrote:
The observation here is that Psychology, as a product of the institutions of learning, attempts to treat the individual so as to better adapt to society, and not the other way around. Correspondingly, almost any scientific field we can think of, geology, biology, genetics, etc, are continuously adapting everything imaginable to the economy. As biological forms ourselves, we're almost entirely subsumed by it, and thus our expectations of science are already preconceived, pre-packaged in shrink wrapping if you will. Instead of shutting the door on everything as a result of such challenges to science, its better to leave it open a crack, if only to facilitate an escape route for the truth across the threshold of scepticism.

I think youre right. And I think, too, that the various disciplines of study have had to conform to the new liberal financial regime and its diktats for money/debt constraints. What we need is revolutionary economics and democracy. Paulo Freire wanted us to encourage kids to think critically by dialog and inquiry which was lacking for a long time in schools and still today. For sure we want post-secondary institutes to be incubators of independent thought as Ralph Nader says should be the purpose for higher ed. How can the kids know that they are free and living in a democracy if they can't think critically or learn  question things? I am trying to learn how to question the kids through Socratic dialog as but one approach, but for sure the academic teachers need to do their part as well. I see some older teachers of my age and a bit older who remind me too much of teachers in my day who came to school to put in their three or four hours and then leg it to the parking lot in a hurry.  I am only in tech ed, but I think I will manage to insert a little left wing thought for the kids' sake when and where I am able to. ;-

Like Freire and Marx were optimists, I too will remain optimistic about the future. Kids are the future. Nothing is written in stone.  The one percent have it all their way now. And their only hope may well be our worst nightmare, but our only hope is their worst nightmare. Scientific and technological breakthroughs will continue to be a double-edged sword and work both for or against us. According to scientists themselves, or at least the ones who still are unbiased and unsullied by political influences, they tell us that the next 100 years will be the most critical time in human development. Kids and their children are going to have a lot on their plates in the very near future, and they must be prepared for it. I will play a very small but necessary part for the future and hope for the best. And the future may unfold completely different to what we expect here in the present past.

Viva la revolucion!

Tommy_Paine

"The minimum: countless documented cases of people knowing a loved one has died or is in serious distress."

I've actually had such an experience.  I was asleep on the couch in the living room.  I woke up for no reason I could discern, and looked right at the telephone on the coffee table. 

It started to ring.  It was 3:30 AM.

The person calling though unrelated by blood was nonetheless close to me, but living 200km away in Toronto.  She was in a great deal of distress.  Not life threatening, but in a very distressfull situation.

We dealt with the problem, and about a week later I asked her if she had called a number of times.  My thinking was that she had called and got the answering machine before I actually woke up.  I sleep deep.  It seemed perfectly reasonable to me that her first calls brought me out of sleep, and I was only fully awake for the second call.

She said I picked up on the first ring.

I'm sure Fidel would describe me as a militant atheist and skeptic.  I am okay with that.  Rebecca West and I discuss ESP and quantuum stuff from time to time.  We don't agree.  I think it's a big stretch to say that somehow that person from the erie phone call and I somehow exchanged sub atomic particles and then "spooky action at a distance" set particles "spinning" in a fashion that is interpreted as alarum in the human brain.

Because if you are invoking quatuum stuff, this is what you are saying must be happening, if we are to restrain ourselves to what is known. (and if not, then anything can be true, so what's the point of all this conversation then?)

I was nearly 50 when that happened.  Think of that.  The one truly "wierd" event in my life that I can't explain.

What's wierd about that, really, is that in half a century of living, don't you think I should have MORE wierd experiences?

What happened was a coincidence.  Remarkable?  Maybe, but they happen and that's what happened there.  One wierd coincidence in 50 years is not really remarkable.

There are also times when I've felt anxious, felt something was wrong with my three daughters from my first marriage who live in Toronto, and called them.  They were fine and dandy.  There were times when bad-- really bad things-- happened to them when they lived close by here in London, and I had no inkling, no "feeling" that something was wrong.

 We remember the "hits" and forget the "misses". It's probably a valuable tool for survival-- pattern recognition.  I think we are so good at it, we often see patterns where none exist.

 

Tommy_Paine

"The minimum: countless documented cases of people knowing a loved one has died or is in serious distress."

I've actually had such an experience.  I was asleep on the couch in the living room.  I woke up for no reason I could discern, and looked right at the telephone on the coffee table. 

It started to ring.  It was 3:30 AM.

The person calling though unrelated by blood was nonetheless close to me, but living 200km away in Toronto.  She was in a great deal of distress.  Not life threatening, but in a very distressfull situation.

We dealt with the problem, and about a week later I asked her if she had called a number of times.  My thinking was that she had called and got the answering machine before I actually woke up.  I sleep deep.  It seemed perfectly reasonable to me that her first calls brought me out of sleep, and I was only fully awake for the second call.

She said I picked up on the first ring.

I'm sure Fidel would describe me as a militant atheist and skeptic.  I am okay with that.  Rebecca West and I discuss ESP and quantuum stuff from time to time.  We don't agree.  I think it's a big stretch to say that somehow that person from the erie phone call and I somehow exchanged sub atomic particles and then "spooky action at a distance" set particles "spinning" in a fashion that is interpreted as alarum in the human brain.

Because if you are invoking quatuum stuff, this is what you are saying must be happening, if we are to restrain ourselves to what is known. (and if not, then anything can be true, so what's the point of all this conversation then?)

I was nearly 50 when that happened.  Think of that.  The one truly "wierd" event in my life that I can't explain.

What's wierd about that, really, is that in half a century of living, don't you think I should have MORE wierd experiences?

What happened was a coincidence.  Remarkable?  Maybe, but they happen and that's what happened there.  One wierd coincidence in 50 years is not really remarkable.

There are also times when I've felt anxious, felt something was wrong with my three daughters from my first marriage who live in Toronto, and called them.  They were fine and dandy.  There were times when bad-- really bad things-- happened to them when they lived close by here in London, and I had no inkling, no "feeling" that something was wrong.

 We remember the "hits" and forget the "misses". It's probably a valuable tool for survival-- pattern recognition.  I think we are so good at it, we often see patterns where none exist.

 

KenS

Tommy_Paine wrote:

We remember the "hits" and forget the "misses". It's probably a valuable tool for survival-- pattern recognition.  I think we are so good at it, we often see patterns where none exist.

Makes sense intuitively. But I dont think so.

What you can generalize is that we dump what does not fit. That can include seeing a pattern where there isnt really one. Possibly because we have some cognitive stake. Like something is cool, or that we want to believe.

But we are VERY good at not seeing patterns that later we realize were OBVIOUS... because they dont fit and/or they are inconvenient.

KenS

An extension of that:

We dont know whether ESP is real. And even if as individuals some of us are confident it is more than just a peripheral anomolay that crops up here and there... we really havent a clue of anything that could be called some form of 'how it works'.

But we can most definitely account for why ESP is 'cognitively suppressed'. Like, by our brains, cultural disaproval and sneering not required.

Simple: we are surrounded by sensory phenomena. We HAVE to filter out MOST of it, just to get on in the world. To walk down the street, let alone hunt big animals that can kill us.

ESP is a distraction. It hinders survival. And/or it alienates us from others. It takes extraordinary [for us] cultural and social support that values the experiencing to overcome that.

Fidel

Well perhaps "militant" atheist is an extreme that you don't fit the bill for. I would say militant atheists are not only skeptical, they also spend a lot of time trying to prove the impossible, like trying to prove that God doesn't exist, or that the U.S. Government's version of 9/11 events is infallible and thereofore must be the truth. 9/11 Blogger site has been the target of much "debunkery" by anonymous self-proclaimed experts while the government guys just don't feel obligated to prove anything they say.

But there are people with certain "talents" in the world for sure. They are paid well for their efforts and don't advertise. There are plenty of charlatans, and the skeptics are al over them like loose fitting suits. One person has been known to be able to locate missing people, and he's pretty good at it. Try finding someone in the city of Tokyo from afar. He says much of Tokyo looks the same. And sometimes missing people don't want to be found, he says. Add to the difficulties faced by remote viewers, their targets often move around a lot like people do now and again. But Joe McMoneagle's best work was during the cold war locating nuclear power plants and hidden factories making weapons grade plutonium. He was a remote viewer for the Yanks. The former USSR used them, too.

Some people are like places: some shine more than others.  - Dick Hallorann, 'The Shining'

Tommy_Paine

I would think ESP would be such a huge survival advantage that, if it existed, most of us would have it, and use it as a sense like we use our hearing and vision. 

19th century great white hunters of elephants swore that elephants were clairvoyant or communicated with each other psychically.  A hundred years later or more, we found out that elephants do communicate with each other over long distances with infra sound.

I find belief in ESP is akin to those who believe in the "God of the Gaps" -- it exists only where our knowledge ends, and dissapears when we aquire new knowledge.

 

KenS

You are assuming that ESP would work perfectly, more or less like any other sense. The assumption is erroneous in itself.

And quite wrong.

Nor does it make sense even.

If these are things that humans do only sporadically and with difficulty...

[That very rare individuals can direct it predictably is an exception that doesnt change how the capabilities fit within what humans do. What certain exceptional individuals can do falls under the rubrik of what we as a species can do only sporadically and with difficulty / special effort.]

I'm not demonstrating it exists, or even trying really. Just accounting for if it exists, how it fits in.

KenS

Again- if we wanted a serious enquiry- it would be a massive probabilistic number crunching.

There might be a pedestrian explanation for every single form of perception we cannot explain. The fact they are often found- no surprise there- says nothing about the general implication that there is one of those for everything... we just have not, and in principle will not, find such explanations.

[But of course, its only 'probably,' and only an implication, because we're open minded.]

Fidel

Tommy_Paine wrote:

I would think ESP would be such a huge survival advantage that, if it existed, most of us would have it, and use it as a sense like we use our hearing and vision. 

I remember reading something about biological advantages. I think if we had evolved to be perfect predators, we would be able to outrun any other animal, and yet it's the other way around. We should have sharp claws and teethfor tearing open flesh with ease like a lion's paws or jackal's razor sharp fangs. Instead we are not much of a threat in that category, either, except to maybe apples and bananas. And we should have great nocturnal videes for seeing night dangers and food alike, like an owl or a cat.  Instead we were among the hunted and vulnerable for millenia's worth of evolution. Yes, big cats were the top predators for something like 40 million years. We have only managed to threaten the existence of every other living thing for a short time by comparison.

I think we had few choices but to develop our mental abilities in order to survive as long as we have. I've met some amazing people with fantastically sharp minds. People never cease to amaze me. And we've only been supreme beings in the food chain for a relatively brief period.

Now, imagine that evolution is at work elsewhere in the grand scheme of things and even other worlds. Imagine that other species have developed similarly. They were the hunted for millenia and had to develop mental abilities to survive. Imagine that they survived their own technological adolescence and didn't blow-up their worlds with nuclear or biological weapons. Imagine that they are thousands and even millions of years more technically advanced than us. I suppose that would mean that we are not God's only creations, and that Toronto or New York is not the center of the universe. Preposterous, you say? I think that, too, is a possibility. Evolution may well have produced very, very amazing people elsewhere, and I think they might even be perceived by us to have God-like mental and technical capabilities. They might look at our ability to manufacture striped toothpaste and even iPhones as backwards or even primitive by comparison.

Why do I say this? Because evolution has no best by date. There is no rule that says it stops here with us.

Tommy_Paine wrote:
I find belief in ESP is akin to those who believe in the "God of the Gaps" -- it exists only where our knowledge ends, and dissapears when we aquire new knowledge.

I think it could be a sixth sense and expainable by an expanded theory of evolution. I think evolution produces anomalous quirks in biology which may or may not be advantageous to survival. I think ESP is one of those traits we may or may not need, like hair on our heads, tonsils, tailbones or an appendix. We don't need them to surivive, and yet they exist. Gravity is another one that stymies scientists - we can't see it directly yet everyone believes. And since Einstein etc we now understand there are natural forces of strong and weak nuclear. Our best minds living before turn of the last century would have been schooled in Newtonian atomic theory and thought the idea ridiculous. Since Einstein, Bohr and Heisenberg, Newtonian atomic theory is overthrown. "Scientist as unobserved observer looking on" is no longer thought to be true. They think now that the universe is dynamic and seemingly self aware - it seemingly knows when scientists are attempting to observe it.  Perhaps the current standard model needs updating. Scientists think so. "Nobody understands quantum mechanics." - Richard Feynman. Perhaps we will someday. Evolution and technological advancement are just a matter of time.

flymeetointment

Fidel wrote:

 

I remember reading something about biological advantages. I think if we had evolved to be perfect predators, we would be able to outrun any other animal, and yet it's the other way around. We should have sharp claws and teethfor tearing open flesh with ease like a lion's paws or jackal's razor sharp fangs. Instead we are not much of a threat in that category, either, except to maybe apples and bananas. And we should have great nocturnal videes for seeing night dangers and food alike, like an owl or a cat.  Instead we were among the hunted and vulnerable for millenia's worth of evolution. Yes, big cats were the top predators for something like 40 million years. We have only managed to threaten the existence of every other living thing for a short time by comparison.

I think we had few choices but to develop our mental abilities in order to survive as long as we have. I've met some amazing people with fantastically sharp minds. People never cease to amaze me. And we've only been supreme beings in the food chain for a relatively brief period.

Now, imagine that evolution is at work elsewhere in the grand scheme of things and even other worlds. Imagine that other species have developed similarly. They were the hunted for millenia and had to develop mental abilities to survive. Imagine that they survived their own technological adolescence and didn't blow-up their worlds with nuclear or biological weapons. Imagine that they are thousands and even millions of years more technically advanced than us. I suppose that would mean that we are not God's only creations, and that Toronto or New York is not the center of the universe. Preposterous, you say? I think that, too, is a possibility. Evolution may well have produced very, very amazing people elsewhere, and I think they might even be perceived by us to have God-like mental and technical capabilities. They might look at our ability to manufacture striped toothpaste and even iPhones as backwards or even primitive by comparison.

Why do I say this? Because evolution has no best by date. There is no rule that says it stops here with us.

That reminds me of what neil degrasse tyson has said in a few of his lectures. To paraphrase, our closest genetic relative, the chimpanzee, is merely 3% different from us in genetic terms. Yet look at the difference between us and chimpanzees. On a good day a chimpanzee can count to ten. Now let us suppose there exists an intelligent species somewhere among the billions of stars in our universe that is 3% in the other direction from us. They may look upon us as we look upon chimpanzees, their children may post Einsteins equations on the fridge in first grade the way our children put up macaroni pictures. End paraphrase.

So, there are certainly possibilities we cannot fathom at this point in time, including manipulation of matter/energy with the mind. These concepts will take hundreds or even thousands of years to understand. We may have com a long way in a short time but we still use fossil fuel and that, I believe is our next big challenge. Of course, what baffles me the most is why any of us care about a future none of us will see.

Fidel

Very good, fly. Impressive.

flymeetointment wrote:
These concepts will take hundreds or even thousands of years to understand.

That sounds reasonable. And I think evolution has been shown to skip long periods previously thought needed to develop certain characteristics. We went from using stone tools 50,000 years ago to landing on the moon by the 1960's. Seemingly this happened at breakneck speed in evolutionary terms.

Dr. Michio Kaku suggests that we man-womankind are, perhaps just 100 to 200 years from becoming a type I civlization described by the Kardashev scale of technological development. According to Dr. Kaku once and if we attain type I status, a number of tech possibilities should be within a few decades to a century or two.  Some of the tech possibilities he lists are the following: ray guns, force fields, invisibility, teleportation, star ships, anti-matter engines, telepathy, artificial inteligence etcetera.

Dr Kaku and a number of scientists and engineers he has interviewed over the years are optimisitc about the possibilities for telepathy and mind reading.  Computer technology can now be used to interfere with the brain. This isn't tinfoil hat theory but the truth.  They talk about  current technology for 'brain gate',  a direct connection between the brain of a stroke victim and a laptop is already possible. A paralyzed person can learn to play video games, send email, and control objects by thought processes.         

Telepathy? I would guess a few hundred but not thousands of years away.

flymeetpointment wrote:
We may have com a long way in a short time but we still use fossil fuel and that, I believe is our next big challenge. Of course, what baffles me the most is why any of us care about a future none of us will see.

Ah! I think we should never forget that people are amazing. We've had to be to make it this far.  There is no end to what we can imagine and eventually make real. Evolution and tech are just a matter of time. The next 100 to 200 years will be the most critical time in human development - we either make it or we don't.

“We now have the technology to take ET home. No, it won't take someone's lifetime to do it." - unconfirmed X-Files type internet quote of Ben Rich, former director of Lockheed's "skunkworks"

jas

Fidel wrote:

They think now that the universe is dynamic and seemingly self aware - it seemingly knows when scientists are attempting to observe it.  Perhaps the current standard model needs updating. Scientists think so. "Nobody understands quantum mechanics." - Richard Feynman. Perhaps we will someday. Evolution and technological advancement are just a matter of time.

Much as I like to think we are special in our intelligence, I also think it's important for us to be okay with the possbility that we may never be able to understand all phenomena in the universe. As far as we know, in our present day understandings, we may simply be the scientists looking at the elephant.

Fidel

That's true. We may never understand the secrets of the universe, said Britain's top scientist. It could be that our brains are not evolved enough for the task. Understanding all of the secrets of the universe is probably a technically advanced type IV civilization. They would likely be capable of harnessing energy of the stars within a galaxy and capable of what is currently both technically and theoretically impossible for us. And if such a civilization exists somewhere out there, they would be god-like compared to us. They would likely be millions of years if not billion of years more evolved and more technically advanced. They would be totally awesome.

But I still think it's possible that we may develop into a type I to type II(Star Trek) civilization with a few hundred years. This is not unrealistic. Type III(i.e. Star Wars technology) is probably hundreds of thousands of years in the future. And type IV("the Borg"?), if it's even possible, would surely represent millions of years of evolutionary and technological advancement.

"A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..."

flymeetointment

Yes I love Dr.Kaku's lectures. Isn't the internet great? That I can say I love so and so's lectures from the confines of my living room while a mere twenty years ago I would have been ignorant of these people unless I actually attended their classes in university?

But you raise an interesting question Fidel in your passing assumption that a TypeIV civilization may very well be Borg like. As we know the Borg are not a benevolent society (from another socities perspective) and if a Type IV society, on paper, inevitably leads there, do we want that? And further, do we have a choice in the matter? Are we in other words "doomed" to become borg like as an inevitable result of technological advancement? I know I don`t want to utter the phrase resistance is futile to another species.

I just wonder if, as a species, we commit Seppuku for the common good. We cannot allow our species to become borg like but if becoming borg like is an inevitable result what do we do?

Fidel

flymeetointment wrote:
Are we in other words "doomed" to become borg like as an inevitable result of technological advancement?

I don't know, but I don't think so. I mean, Star Trek is science fiction even though the writer put a lot of time and effort into researching the science and pseudo-science behind it. I think that for one thing we would not be exploring space like the Federation. According to Kaku and the scientists he has spoken with, manning space ships for arduous and long space journeys would be a most ineffecient way of exploring space. We will likely stay at home and send out von Neumann probes similar to the 2001: Space Odyssey scenario.

As for will we continue along the path of predatory aggression but this time in space? I don't think so, either. As Kaku said about it, if a type III or IV is that technically advanced, for what reasons would they want to enslave us or dominate us in any way? I think predatory aggression and even imperialism is a primitive trait that advanced civilizations will have left behind in their evolutionary and technological development. And I think, according to Sagan anyway, that we will not evolve much past our own technological adolescence unless we drop the imperialism and aggression toward one another. As Sagan said about it, most scientists before him were not very optimistic about not blowing ourselves to kingdom come with nuclear weapons or whatever in a fit of passion.

I think that if a Borg-like civilization does exist, then they will surely have no need to either assimilate us or to occupy our planet or our minds. I think that this is a leftover idea from our imperialist past which has no place in the future by virtue of, perhaps, aggression is and violent behavour is probably a non-successful evolutionary trait beyond a certain point, like a built-in safety mechanism against proliferation of would-be interplanetary evil doers.  If I read Sagan right, the species which might be out there and survived their own technological adolscence perhaps thousands if not millions of years ago, will have need of nothing from us.  In my own opinion, I think they will not only be much more technically, physically and mentally more evolved than us, they will also have highly developed ethics and morals and probably not want to interfere with us any more than Darwin would have wanted to imperialize the Galapagos and its occupants. I think that we might be assuming that having vast intellect must equate to superimperialism in the future? Will we become the Borg in the future? Uber-Morlocks perhaps? Or will we be supplanted by our own technological creations for artificial intelligence, like Gort in Day the Earth Stood Still?

Quote:
"Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.”  H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

flymeetointment

That would be quite an evolved state. The root of all conflict is desire. I have it, you want it. We have a conflict. So a Type IV society would, by necessity, have no desires unmet. Which isn't the same as being free from desire in a Buddhist way. Exactly the opposite, where every and any desire is trivially fullfilled. An exciting future that will be wasted on those who will take such god-like powers for granted.

Fidel

Well I think the current state of affairs doesn't look good for the future. Dr. Jane Goodall answered a question about climate change put to her recently in an interview with CBC's Business News. She was asked what she has to say to people who don't believe in dangerous climate change. And Goodall said that by all scientific accounts that she has read, it is happening and largely due to unsustainable levels of carbon emissions by us.

We surely have unleashed human desire and greed on the world since the mid 1980's. We were told that this is far better than Soviet communism which couldn't keep up with promises of two cars in every garage and middle class capitalism based on consumerism. We know now that it was lies and propaganda by the west. We know now that unleashing greed on the world has resulted in stripping the world's resources at a frenzied pace and pollution galore. We know now that unfettered greed will destroy us if we can't control it. Not so easy to do under a socio-economic system that pretends to believe in invisible hands for non-intervention in economic affairs.

Professor Barnhardt: "It's only at the precipice that we change."

I think the problem for us is that we don't change so easily. We evolve and somewhat slowly. Our ancestors are killed by saber tooth cats a long time before we develop our brains well enough to avoid being kitty snacks. Nuclear weapons scared hell out of my generation. But 'global warming'? It sounds as if fuzzy and warm on a planetary scale. I think if we want people to react to global warming, then we should paint the same words on the side of some lions and tigers and unleash them on main street. That should light a motivational fire under us to deal with the issue.

ETA: I think that a type IV will have conquered a lot of things. Diseases? They may have attained immortality. It would merely be more efficient allocation of resources than to watch one another, society's long term investments,  die off so soon after pouring all that time and education and life experiences down the mortality hole a few decades later as old age overtakes them. I think they will have solved immortality like we have solved mass die offs by small pox and the like. Death might be just a preventable disease for them.

I think a type four will have conquered material desires and material poverty millions of years prior. I think it was conquered on the old Star Trek with the replicator. Creating new matter would be a neat trick, though, and perhaps a technical capability for a type IV. And they surely will have developed energy resources beyond our on own energy from dead plant material in fossil fuels. I think there would be nothing we could offer them that they would need or desire. It would be like coveting the worldly possessions of a troop of monkeys.

I think they might want to observe us, catalog and classify us, like Charles  Darwin did with lizards, turtles  and birds. They might have some curiosity for us and want to keep tabs on us from time to time.

Fidel

The Reality of ESP: A Physicist’s Proof of Psychic Abilities by Russell Targ

Quote:

When I was first working on the development of the laser, about fifty years ago, I read a well-known psychology text that dealt briefly with psychic abilities, which was already a passionate interest of mine. The book was called Human Behavior: An Inventory of Scientific Findings. With regard to my favorite subject, it said:

Quote:
The state of research in parapsychology can be summarized as follows: A small number of investigators, roughly thirty or forty, who have done a large number of studies are convinced that there is such a thing as extrasensory perception (telepathy, clairvoyance, etc). Whereas, the majority of psychologists, most of whom have not studied the subject, are not convinced [emphasis mine].

So there we have it. The majority of scientists who haven't done the research also, and here is the amazing part, they don't believe!

Which only goes to show that we can learn something new every day.