7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.3)

7 things @ 11 o’clock (7.3) July 3, 2013

1. Stories about things parents would never have to teach their children in a just world: Story Number 1; Story Number 2.

2. Scott Lemieux reminds us that yesterday was the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest pitching duels of all time.

The Giants beat the Braves 1-0 on a solo home run by Willie Mays in the 16th inning. Juan Marichal, who was then 25 years old, got the win, pitching all 16 innings for the shutout. Warren Spahn, 42,  took the loss, pitching all 16 innings on the losing side. Giants manager Alvin Dark tried to pull Marichal for a relief pitcher in the ninth, but Marichal refused to leave the game “as long as that old man is still pitching.” Marichal wound up throwing 227 pitches in that game. Spahn threw 200 before Mays belted the 201st. Daniel Brown interviews some of the players from that game, which Jim Kaplan called “The Greatest Game Ever Pitched.”

3. Carlos Whitaker takes a look at the Oxygen Network’s new reality show, Preachers of L.A., which he finds “a bit nauseating.” The show appears, he says, “a bad idea all the way around.” He’s not wrong.

Watching the trailer I can’t help but wonder if the title refers to what it is these preachers preach — a gospel of “L.A.,” the good news of Hollywood and of Rodeo Drive. With only a few slight edits, this trailer could be teasing an upcoming documentary — a muckraking exposé of the salesmen selling “prosperity” as religion. Except that none of the preachers profiled quite seems to realize that they’re being exposed. They don’t seem to have more than the slightest inkling of how they appear to a watching world.

Related: “Irish Prosperity Gospel Church Collapses Under 18-million Euro Debt.”

Also related: Mark Evanier on “psychics”:

It is my belief that 100 percent of people who claim to have psychic or similar abilities are frauds. They are occasionally frauds who believe their own steer manure but they are still frauds.

See also the Kyle Swenson article he links to, in which grifters posing as psychic advisers fleece their marks with a message remarkably similar to what some of those L.A. preachers are saying.

4. Ralph Reed is not a “fraud who believes his own steer manure.” Ralph Reed is a fraud who believes in nothing. I’m not saying that because he is politically conservative and I am politically liberal. Ralph Reed is not politically conservative. He’s a parasite posing as a political conservative so that he can move among them and take their money.

5. I’m a big fan of the story of Peter and Cornelius in the 10th and 11th chapters of the New Testament book of Acts. Some American Christians, unlike Peter himself, think that story is just about shellfish, bacon and cheeseburgers and not the gospel of radical inclusiveness I see there. But that radical inclusiveness is a major theme throughout the book of Acts, not just in that one story. Here’s the sermon Katherine Willis Pershey preached on Sunday based on the story told in Acts 8. Same theme. You can’t miss it — the whole story revolves around one question: “What is to prevent me from being baptized?” The man asking that question is Gentile. And a foreigner. And a eunuch. And the answer to his question is “nothing.” Nothing at all.

6. Blow your mind. Or try to, at least. If you need help, here’s some good advice on how to do that from Brian Eno’s “Oblique Strategies” and from Vi Hart’s “Twelve Tones.” That video from Hart is about 30 minutes. It’s more than worth it.

7. Item: “Chris Christie Vetoes Family Planning Funding for the Fifth Time.” So as one Jersey guy to another, here’s a word from the Boss:

Booby said he’d pull out. Bobby stayed in.
Janey had a baby wasn’t any sin.
They were set to marry on a summer day.
Bobby got scared and he ran away …

 

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  • phantomreader42

    Running a mile in five minutes is only a difference in degree from running a mile in four minutes. TELEPORTING a mile in an instant, using only the power of thought, is something very, very different.

  • Carstonio

    I feel that I have no basis for believing in the existence or non-existence of things beyond the reach of science, since I have no way of knowing either way. All I can say is that they might exist or they might not.

  • dpolicar

    Absolutely true.

    But now we’re making a different kind of argument, about the implausibility of (for example) unaided teleportation given what we know about human abilities as a general class, rather than its impossibility given the lack of documented reports of it.

    Which seems to me a lot more viable an argument.

  • Priests are not paid to perform miracles. Priests are paid to support their priesting lifestyle. If you can’t comprehend the difference between “Paid to be a priest” and “paid for absolution”, you’re being as willfully obtuse as the right-wing employers who claim that giving comprehensive healthcare to women is the same as using contraception themselves.

    In fact, the religions which practice pay-for-salvation are pretty universally derided as cults or scams

  • Lori

    People have different beliefs. In the church in which I was raised sermons are not considered divine guidance. They’re the preacher’s take on a Biblical topic. That take is based on study and training, not any sort of direct divine guidance.

    It’s probably fair to say that without the supposed divine connection most people wouldn’t be willing to pay priests or other ministers, but that doesn’t change the fact that they do actually do other things, and that some things often done by ministers have value whether god exists or not.

    A psychic who sells readings isn’t offering anything whose monetary value doesn’t depend psy talents being real and that person actually possessing them. In that sense I think it’s more comparable to faith healers than ministers in general, in the sense that faith healers really only do that one thing and the value of their ministry is wholly dependent on whether or not they can actually heal.

  • caryjamesbond

    If you said that it was physically impossible to run a four minute mile, you would’ve been incorrect. Nothing we know about human physiology contradicts the ability to run a mile at a speed of 15 mph. We know humans can run faster than that, at least for brief spurts.

    If you said a human being could run a one minute mile, you would be wrong. Everything we know about human physiology says it is impossible for a human being to reach an unassisted speed of 60 mph, let alone sustain it.

    everything we know about physics, time, and human physiology says that psychic abilities, of any kind, as ever described, are impossible. To claim that they ARE possible involves rewriting a lot of what we know about the world.

    Or they use well known cold-reading techniques easily replicated by anyone with proper training. Skills that are also easily developed naturally by someone reasonably empathetic.

  • I’m reminded of the week in the psychic development class I took where we covered distance seeing. We were each given a sealed, unmarked envelope and told there was a picture of it. We were instructed to hold our envelope in our hands and note (and then write down) any impressions we got. Colors, emotions, senses of heat or cold. As I picked mine up, I immediately thought “sunflower.” I wrote it down as well as other impressions I got. When i opened the envelope, I discovered that the picture was indeed of a sunflower.

    When I took my second envelope and repeated the exercise, I got nothing nearly that precise in the impressions I felt. (In fact, I think the teacher stretched things to make a case that a couple of my impression fit that time around.) So maybe the experience with the first envelope was a complete fluke. All the same, it struck me as pretty remarkable, even if others might write it off as coincidence.

  • Lori

    People who sell psychic readings as a business don’t claim access to all knowledge, but they do sell a version of “always on” or “on, on demand”. That’s the nature of running a business.

  • Faith healers? really? Because I’ve never promised to regrow a limb or cure any illness. I’ve offered what I see as likely and what they may want to consider doing. Some have found value in that.

    You clearly do not see value with that. Which is fine. I’m not trying to turn you into a client.

  • dpolicar

    Correct. My response to phantomreader42 above applies here as well.

  • Actually, the psychics I have worked with have had cases where they sit down to do a reading, realize they have nothing to offer the client in question, and send them on their way.

  • Lori

    I didn’t say that you promised to regrow limbs or cure illness and now feel like you’re deliberately misunderstanding.

    One more time—the comparison wasn’t between the claims being made. The comparison is between two types of businesses that each sell one product, the value of which depends on access to extraordinary knowledge.

  • Lori

    Not being able to read a specific person is, I think, slightly different than what I’m talking about.

    I used to live in an area with quite a few psychics offering readings (of various sorts). They had business hours posted and I never passed one during the posted hours that didn’t have the “open” sign up/on. That would generally indicate that they felt able to offer readings on a predictable schedule. That in turn means being either virtually always on or having some highly reliable way of turning on when the demand arises. I don’t think occasional exceptions actually invalidate that as a general premise.

  • I didn’t say that you promised to regrow limbs or cure illness and now feel like you’re deliberately misunderstanding.

    You seriously don’t see where that was offensive?

    Let’s try again. I’ve never claimed an accuracy rating of 100%. I simply claim that I get impressions and premonitions (though I will note that probably 99% of any information I offer has to do with the present rather than some future which isn’t set in stone anyway). I encourage any client to think about what I said and to apply their own reason and intuition (not to mention common sense) to it. The clients I’ve had have been quite satisfied with it and have found what I told them to be accurate (enough for their needs at least) and helpful.

    Quite frankly, i feel that what you think what I’m offering/guaranteeing is very different from what I actually am.

  • What’s my favorite movie?

  • Space Marine Becka

    Since I started out primarily talking about cognition based psi events how would you catch them on camera? 1. they aren’t visible and 2. the primary stress event isn’t usually happening to the person having the cognition.

    PK being far more visible would be far more likely to be seen if it was real – which is why skeptics bring it up. However it’s also a different thing from knowing something by means unknown.

    As to the video thing for PK – that’s a whole other kettle of fish. Things have been posted that purport to show it but anyone with patience and the right opensource software can do special effects in their bedroom nowadays so it proves nothing.

  • Lori

    You didn’t claim to be offended. You claimed that I had said something that I didn’t say.

    My comment had nothing to do with the service you offer. My comment was about the comparison you made to preachers. I pointed out why I don’t think the comparison is actually valid. That’s it.

  • Lawrence Schuman

    And the Seven of Nine picture goes with the baseball story because of the eulogy Seven gives at the end of “One Small Step”. What do I win?

  • I don’t think occasional exceptions actually invalidate that as a general premise.

    I don’t know what the psychic shops in your area are like, but at the one I’m affiliated with, the weeks where the shop handles thirty readings split among six different readers is considered an exceptionally good week for readings. (Note: Every reader there has a primary source of income other than doing readings. No one there would survive if their primary source of income was readings.) Given the low level of traffic, I probably consider those exceptions more weighty than you might.

  • Lori

    You can’t catch cognition on camera, but you can record it. A simply diary system will do. Any time a person experiences a psi event they write it down. Unless the claims are so vague that they’re not falsifiable if psi is real you should, over enough time and enough claims, find some pattern that’s better than random chance.

  • Lori

    I don’t know how those folks were making their living. I doubt that many of them relied on the reading business for all their income. Most of them were solo businesses though, so if you went there it was Clare (the only name I remember) no one, and Clare had regular business hours.

  • Carstonio

    The name Psychic Friends Network sounded to me like the members were telepaths engaging in mental texting. You would be talking with a member, and zie would suddenly freeze and hold a hand up to the side of hir head – “Excuse me, I’m getting a message from my Psychic Friend.” Convenient for requests to pick up something from the store, or invitations to dinner.

  • I admit that I mainly included the comment about the psychics at the shop I’m affiliated with having other primary sources of income to head off anyone who might have been tempted to jump in with, “You guys can make a living off that few readings?! Wow, you must be fleecing your marks for everything they’re worth!”

  • Space Marine Becka

    Some people do do that. This guy for example http://vimeo.com/2315112 (I wish I could find that whole show – it was fascinating while I was watching it and while rather inconclusive as to what’s going on not as credulous as you might think and he clearly believes in himself and makes no money out of his dreams).

    My gran’s GP wanted to do a similar thing with her but she was having none of it. Which is a weird story *anecdote warning* (And yes I’m aware anecdotes prove nothing but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interesting).

    When I was a kid Gran was always apparently having premonitions (by always I mean several times a year) and they were always distressing. It’s fair to say if she wasn’t having premonitions she was having really bad nightmares that she was mapping on to real events after the fact but her details were not vague at all.

    This was causing her not to sleep because she was afraid she’d have a premonition and eventually, in late April 1979 she went to the GP and asked for something to stop her dreaming about the future. (no seriously that’s what she asked him) So he asked her to describe her most recent dream of the future and she did.

    In it she was in a large department store which was on fire and she and a group of women were trapped upstairs and trying to get out but there were thick bars on the windows and they couldn’t. He wrote it all down, put it in an envelope and had his secetary witness the date.

    8th May this happened: http://www.fireservice.co.uk/history/woolworths-fire

    She goes to see the GP again a few days later and he says. “Your fire happened”.

    She says, “It’s not my fire!”

    Anyway he wants to do this every time it happened with more rigorous date witnessing to build up a dossier of evidence (because you would, wouldn’t you?) but she just wanted it to go away. And she was so obviously distressed that he decided her mental health came first and gave her sleeping tablets which seemed to help.

    (end anecdote)

    Again not to prove anything – just an interesting story.

  • OK, somebody’s gotta say it. Fred, if you fix just one typo this year, you should really take another look at the first line of the Springsteen song as you quote it there.

    Booby said he’d pull out. Bobby stayed in.

  • SisterCoyote

    With all due respect, your consistent referring to priests as basically people taking money to perform “godly magic” is pretty offensive as well. I’m a generic-Protestant, not a Catholic, but I don’t think a priest or pastor’s salary depends on their “performing magic” or any such thing – and it’s hardly a highly profitable profession in any case.

  • Lori

    Obviously I can’t comment on your grandmother. I have quite a few questions about the painter, the first of which is obviously what was the nature of the testing the video makers subjected the paintings to and what was the conclusion?

    Given that the video started with an exaggeration and an untrue statement, I feel skeptical. The voiceover says that the artist foresaw the destruction of the WTC. That’s at best an exaggeration. If his story is accurate he foresaw the destruction of two buildings that turned out to be the WTC, which is not the same thing. The untrue statement is that no one in the intelligence world predicted the destruction of the WTC. People did.

    I also have some questions about the dated photo of the 9/11 painting. Why did he take that sketch to the bank to have it photographed? There’s no indication that he did that with all the sketches of his visions, so why that one? Why take it to the bank to take a photo? Who took the photo? What does that person say about when & why the photo was taken? Has anyone qualified examined the photo itself for manipulation? Frankly it doesn’t look had to ‘shop.

    About the sketch identified as being of the IRA airport bombing. The artist’s position is that the shape of the grill on one of the cars is a very telling detail. How unusual was that car/style of grill in the UK at that time? I also find it interesting that that particular sketch was not of the event, but of the newspaper coverage of the event. In and of itself it doesn’t prove anything, but I would file it under “things that make you go “Hum?”.

    My thoughts on the general topic are sort of complicated, but the short version is that I don’t categorically dismiss the possibility of everything we call psi phenomena, but I subscribe to the idea that extraordinary claims absolutely require extraordinary evidence.

  • Fair enough. You’re right in that not all denominations believe that their ministers are performing a mystical act when administering the sacraments. I apologize.

    Though I’m not sure how relevant the profitability of the profession is. As I pointed out elsewhere, the psychics I know aren’t even making a livable wage from their readings. I doubt that those who find the practice of taking money for readings as unethical will change their minds because of that fact.

  • Lori

    One other thing—about this:

    he clearly believes in himself and makes no money out of his dreams

    The only thing that we can actually say is that he presents himself as believing. That may sound like a nit pick, but it’s not. Also, the fact that he’s not making money off his dreams doesn’t doesn’t provide any evidence that they’re real or that he believes they are. His claims about his dreams have brought him attention, and for some people that’s worth more than money.

  • Lori

    IME people do tend to view psychics who aren’t making a lot of money differently than those who are. It doesn’t necessarily change people’s level of belief in the phenomena, but it does tend to effect the perception of motive. People are way more likely to believe that a person who is getting rich is deliberately running a scam and that effects how people respond.

  • IME, people tend to completely ignore the fact that psychics who aren’t making a lot of money even exist and instead talk about those getting rich in generic, unqualified terms. Yeah, maybe they don’t feel (quite) the same way about those who aren’t making a lot of money, but their focus and often unqualified statements makes it unclear whether they actually believe that such psychics (that is, ones not making a lot of money) even exist.

  • Abel Undercity

    One. Million. Dollars.

    Good day, sir.

  • Space Marine Becka

    This is from memory, it’s a couple of years since I saw it.

    He does take all his drawings to the bank as I recall. It was important at one point because the investigators wondered if he had a large number of paintings that hadn’t happened in a drawer somewhere and the ones that had were just coincidence. So they asked the bank how often he came in (they kept a record) and it tallied with the number of paintings he had. They also examined the pictures for evidence of forgery. This part was mostly aimed at ascertaining that the paintings really did predate the events and had not been altered afterwards. By the end they were sure they did and weren’t. They even checked the clock in the bank and discovered it was a sealed unit.

    They also did a test where they showed various of the paintings to people and asked them to pick what they were of from a multiple choice list. The results were inconclusive – some like the concorde one, the tokyo sarin gas attack one (that one was perhaps the most astounding) and the 9-11 one all the participants selected the expected result on others answers were more random but the investigaters were unsure if that was because the events were less well known people didn’t know about them or because he was subconsciously mapping his paintings on to events when they happened and thinking they’d been fulfilled. So the results were inconclusive, they were convinced he was not a fraud but could not prove his genuiness either way.

  • Lori

    Why would the bank keep a record of the number of times the guy brings in sketches to photograph them? What form did their records take? Why does he take the photos at the bank at all? Is there some non-weird explanation for that? Also, if the clock is sealed how do they change it for daylight savings time?

    As for having people attempt to ID the subjects of the paintings, merely providing a multiple choice list skews the results. If even with that skew the results were inconclusive the test doesn’t lend a great deal of support to the notion that his dream are legitimately predicting the future. (It doesn’t prove that they’re not either.)

  • Sadly, some people take Miss Cleo and similar hotlines very seriously. Plus, the other problem I see with such hotlines is that there are those people who don’t want a psychic reading so much as they want someone to talk to(*) and who will listen to them. Considering what some of the hotlines charge per minute, that’s a pretty expensive conversation partner.

    (*) I still remember an experience I had toward the end of last year. I was helping out at the shop (sales and customer service, not readings) and a woman called to ask about readings. She then proceeded to tell me about her day and the logistics of whether she felt she could make it in for a reading that day. I think that if I didn’t have to go so I could free up the line, she might have told me her whole life story. I’m not sure whether she ever came in for a reading. I sure hope she found someone to talk to, though.

  • J_Enigma32

    They don’t and won’t work for the same reason that perpetual motion machines don’t and won’t work: most will violate multiple laws of the natural sciences.

    Precognition: violates the Law of Causality, a founding principle and incredibly important underpinning in the sciences. Violate causality and you can throw out all of the following: Physics, evolution/biology, geology, medicine, cosmology, economics, law, and every other natural science.
    – Caveat: Quantum theory violates causality at times. But that’s because the little world is ‘effin weird, and none of the effects of the little world are applicable here in the big one (see: Schrodinger’s cat).
    – Note: This is the same causality that keeps most concepts of FTL travel/communication from being possible. This is also the same causality that may allow time travel in other ways, so figure that one.

    Psychokinesis: violates the Law of Conservation of Energy. Human beings have an average basic output of about 100 watts. That’s not enough available work to bend spoons or pick up objects.

    Mind-reading: Human brains don’t work that way. Your brain is a jumble of thoughts and ideas that only become coherent shortly before you know about them. Otherwise, anyone attempting to read through a mind will get pieces and bits of everything, no wholly coherent thoughts, and a lot of different base reactions. Even reading memories would be complicated because a) memories are formed in multiple parts of the brain and are not uniformly encoded (which is to say, some are more strongly encoded than others) and b) they’re constantly being edited by the brain. What’s more, the “voice” of the brain is little more than digital/analog signals that are converted inside of the soma of a neuron. You’d need something more than another brain to translate that, especially considering the brain doesn’t broadcast anything and doesn’t have the equipment for broadcasting.

    Retrocognition: Might be possible; I can’t think of any one this violates right off the bat, but we don’t have any verifiable evidence for and may be untestable given the nature of the retrocognitive assumption. Just as likely to be the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy (the same fallacy that drives premonitions and presentiments).

    Clairvoyance: Part of me wants to say this violates Relativity, since it implies the existence of an absolute frame of reference from which we can see things as they occur regardless how far out they are based off of our own frame of reference and am not familiar enough with either clairvoyance nor Relativity to make those claims on any sound reasoning, and have no evidence to support the assertion. Of course, all tests on the subject have disproved it as a valid hypothesis (MK-ULTRA, I believe was the CIA tests done to use clairvoyance to spy on the Russians).

    Object reading: Same problem as retrocognition, depending upon the object. Other than that, how are you reading the object? What’s being imprinted on the object? I can’t think of any reason why this would violate laws either, but there’s no evidence for it to exist, either.

    Just imagine how the world would be different if these powers existed – actually existed. If Precognition existed, then causality doesn’t. Which means FTL is possible. It also means that you can communicate with future version of yourself and affect the future. If Telekinesis existed, how would be preformed? Is it manipulation of gravity or dark matter? Imagine what that would entail – if we can manipulate enough dark matter to bend spoons at 100 watts, what could a machine that generates millions do? If mind reading were possible our brain would not be remotely like what we say today; how would out brain work? In what way is that changing human cognition, human perception, and the very nature of self, since self is an illusion created by the brain (similar to free will) in order to balance all of the inputs that it’s getting at once? Postcognition implies that there’s some sort of “residue” left over – what is it? Where is it? What’s it made of? How can manipulate it and use it to our own advantage; just imagine the impact that’d have on Archeology and Biology. We’d be able to shut Creationists up for good using Postcog Machines. Or they’d shut us up good with an ability developed to manipulate causality. Welcome to the “Causality Wars”; take a number and step at the back of the line, like you never did 40.5 seconds before this, before you stopped existing back in the past.

    Having said all this, I’m relatively sure – 99% sure – that psychic powers are impossible. They’re like magic: it doesn’t exist outside of fantasy and science fiction novels. I leave the 1% room there because there’s always the possibility (the canny point to the Laws of Optics and how Metamaterials forced a rewrite of those entire laws, but I would like to stress that Causality, Conservation of Energy, and others are slightly more ingrained in our natural sciences and are slightly more important than the Laws of Optics were), but it’s such a slim one that you’re on epistemically unsound ground by believing them. Some of them I would reduce it to less than 1% – for instance, Precognition.

  • Space Marine Becka

    He takes the photos to the bank because of the sealed clock – the photos are taken there to provide independently verifiable dating evidence. I have no idea about DST – maybe it was just the calender unit, but I know they ascertained the clock date could not be messed with. I think they kept records because they keep records of all requests. That or he asked them to. Like I said it’s been a few years.

    I think the multiple choice is because of one of the old problems of parapsychology – fixed response tests like this are skewed but free response tests are harder to score. I think.

  • otrame

    Jarred, psychics, all of them, are either lying, kidding themselves, or mentally ill. I don’t know which you are, but I suppose it is number 2. Tell you what. If you can prove you have “psychic powers,” I know where there is a million dollars going spare, set aside just for people like you. You can win it easily, if you can prove those psychic powers of yours.

    Yes, I am being dismissive and contemptuous. Prove me wrong and I will apologize profusely. I mean it. I will.

  • otrame

    So cold readings with liberal use of generalities. The “secretly you wish to be happy” school of psychics.

    Not impressed.

  • Lori

    I suspect that all they proved was that the artist couldn’t mess with the clock, which is not the same thing as saying that it can’t be messed with.

    Beyond that I won’t tax your memory any further because that’s not fair. I’ll just say that I remain highly skeptical.

  • “Bobby said he’d pull out. Bobby stayed in” = Bobby raped her. A trigger warning would really have been appreciated.

  • Kyle Bunn

    The evidence is readily available and uncontroversial. Evanier and Swenson are not obliged to re-debunk psi or re-establish that the field has always been rife with charlatans before they are allowed to tell an interesting story.

  • Jurgan

    Regarding the Pastors of L.A.: These are some conflicted people, no doubt. They seem like they’re trying to do good and genuinely care about their parishioners. On the other hand, they are promoting the prosperity gospel and saying they deserve to be rich, which is a pretty vile heresy. My concern, though, is that these preachers are almost all black or Hispanic and they are shown with somewhat stereotypical possessions. If there is a backlash against this show, I can easily see it being racially motivated, and that’s not what the problem is. But can’t you picture criticisms of ghetto preachers with their blinged out cars? I don’t know if that will happen, but it seems likely.

  • Jurgan

    That can happen by accident. That’s why withdrawal is not a recommended method of birth control- some men have less self-control than they imagine.

  • You call it telling an interesting story. I call it rank sensationalism.

  • Meh, I’m already triggered as hell at the moment. But I’ve never been with a man, even when I was an 18-year old with another 18-year old, who could not pull out. I think the “oh I just couldn’t help myself” thing is bs.

  • Veylon

    Wait a minute! Are we really just one divorce away from the Ryanverse being reality?

  • Veylon

    Argh! Forgive the double post. The link is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Ryanverse

  • Yeah, I have to go with Llira on this one. Also, trying to say something is an “accident” and then attributing it to “men having less self-control than they imagine” strikes me as somewhat contradictory.

  • J_Enigma32

    Well, not to press the issue, but if it does exist and if it is real, depending upon what it is, imagine what doors you could open up for future scientific research.

    I detailed some that I recalled above. Most psychic powers violate known laws of the natural science. For instance, precognition violates causality (which is a serious no-no, because once you violate causality, you run the risk of throwing out everything associated with reality as we know it). Psychokinesis violates the law of conservation of energy, since the human body doesn’t produce enough energy available as work to preform the task of manipulating objects, and it doesn’t have any broadcasting tools involved. It also violates Newton’s laws of motion, as is traditionally presented. Mind-reading is not likely because of how the human brain operates – you don’t have a complete thought until you think it, otherwise, thoughts are swimming around in there half formed, disorganized, off-kilter, and in the constant process of writing and rewriting. Clairvoyance may also violate relativity, since it seems to me like Clairvoyance is presenting us with an absolute frame of reference, something that the Theory of Relativity says doesn’t exist outside of Light Speed.

    If you have a psychic power, imagine what we could do with that if it did indeed exist. If we were able to prove that Causality did *not* exist, or there were exceptions to causality, it’d open up the door for Faster-than-Light travel and prove Old Man Einstein wrong, in addition to a whole new field of … well, every natural science. Our very notion of reality would be shaken down to its core – but in the long run, it’d help *so* many people.

    If Telekinesis existed, then that’d open the door to whole new ways of looking at thermodynamics, neurology, and classical, mechanical physics. Newton’s laws would either be rewritten or we’d figure out there’s an unknown force out there we’re capable of manipulating. And even if it was genetic, we could hunt down the gene involved in the mutation and open source it so everyone could benefit from it. Once we understood the effects of it, we could possibly replicate the effects in machinery and generate what would effectively amount to anti-gravity.

    Mind-reading would for entirely new ways of understanding the human brain, and open up all sorts of new doors to neurology. This includes medicine; if I can read your mind, and see what’s going on up there, I no longer have to rely on imprecise language to get through what I’m experiencing. You could also use that on patients who are comatose to figure out what they need. I mean, the potentials here are endless.

    I think Randi’s prize of a million dollars is so much chum to the major changes that the revelation of these powers actually existing, and more, would inflict on science, society, and our understanding of reality. I mean, it could push us forward *centuries*.