Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Scientific investigations of the paranormal?

Rate this topic


srschirm
 Share

Recommended Posts

So, I realize that us calling at different times happens far more often, but the simultaneous calling thing happens more than one would expect to happen by random chance. So, it just makes me wonder.

Our only point is that it is not anything "paranormal" and that there are good explanations for it. Nonetheless I wouldn't for that reason denigrate the experience. It does suggest that you two are very much "in sync" and I would guess that it manifests itself in other ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our only point is that it is not anything "paranormal" and that there are good explanations for it. Nonetheless I wouldn't for that reason denigrate the experience. It does suggest that you two are very much "in sync" and I would guess that it manifests itself in other ways.

Indeed, you and your girlfriend are clearly quite in sync Moose, at least in this regard. It would seem that for instance you have very similar ideas as to when it is the right time to call each other. Probably this is partially something that part of you has been trained to do though?

It sounds like it is a good thing. This is not one of the 'seeminly paranormal' things I would complain about.

It is good to hear that you seem to have sorted out at least some of the more major problems you were havingt in the relationship, I hope it works out for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Look, ESP can't exist if it's defined as "extra sensory perception," because in order to percieve something, you must sense it. However, to say that the conventional five senses are the only ones that exist is naive. For example, sharks can perceive electrical impulses from fish.

There was a horse called Clever Hans who could sense anticipation. Read about it elsewhere if you haven't heard of it, I don't feel like telling the story. The point is, our bodies express all sorts of things that we don't necessarily think about.

Brain waves are electrical impulses traveling throughout our brains. In times of stress, our brain activity rises to heights unknown in normal states. It's possible that an individual would be able to sense these electrical disturbances. I'm not saying that telepathy is or is not real, just that it isn't an irrational concept. Someone might conceivably be able to sense brain activity, and if their brain was able to decode the meaning of someone else's brain activity, they could possibly be able to "read their mind." Again, I'm not saying that this happens, just that it could.

Could someone have telekenetic powers? I don't see why "absolutely not." Electrical fields are produced within the brain, and so it wouldn't be absolutely impossible for someone's brain to be able to create an exceptionally strong field. To focus this field would require some faculty that I don't believe humans have, but it's not impossible.

As for ghosts and disembodied spirits of any kind, I can't necessarily figure out any way that the phenomenon would work. Not to say that there is no way, just that I can't figure it out. Upon dying, all sorts of brain activity goes on, and there could technically be some emission of an electrical impulse during that time. However, the impulse would not have a brain of its own, and therefore would be incapable of cognition of any sort, since it's not actually a being. That kind of ruins the idea of a ghost. I mean, in dying, I could see someone being able to do just about anything as being technically possible, but for them to be able to do anything after death just seems kind of mystical.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You make a good point about ESP in that first sentence. However there is absolutely no reason to suppose that humans have more than the five senses we all know and love. Have you ever been able to use any of these theoritical extra senses? Do you know of anyone else whom has been able to?

Granted animals such as sharks have senses that we do not, but there is no evidence humans have as well, and plenty of evidence that they do not (where for instance are the sensory organs for these senses?).

Infering that we might have extra senses based on the fact that animals have senses we do not it jumping to conclusions based on nothing sensible at all...

As far as I can tell, the human mind has no way of sensing the electrical disturbances, or indeed the electricial impulses generated by any mind at any time. Do we have an organ that allows us to gauge minute electrical disturbances? And how the heck would we be able to interpret them at all accuretely even if we could? It all sounds rather impossible to me, abit like a sceince-fiction trying to justify parts of their fiction with pseudo-science.

Upon dying ,ones consciousness is llost, destroyed, negated, gone. There is no way for ones conscioussness to survive the death of the brain, as it relys on the functioning of the brain in order to exist. The conscioussness cannot 'drift away' somewhere, it is totally gone, it does not just fly out of the body in retreat.-

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Prometheus, humans have no known organ that can sense electrical or magnetic fields. Although, it's interesting that we can sense electromagnetic waves in a certain range called "visible light" with our eyes.

I think the Clever Hans story is about the horse that could hear heartbeats. So the horse would waver between multiple choice answers for difficult math problems, and the audience's heartbeats told him which one to choose. So people thought the horse had ESP. Thats how I remember it, anyways. As mentioned, the definition of ESP defeats itself.

Oh, and consciousness after death is just wishful thinking. There is no evidence for it, it's that simple.

Edited by xavier
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, you and your girlfriend are clearly quite in sync Moose, at least in this regard. It would seem that for instance you have very similar ideas as to when it is the right time to call each other. Probably this is partially something that part of you has been trained to do though?

It sounds like it is a good thing. This is not one of the 'seeminly paranormal' things I would complain about.

It is good to hear that you seem to have sorted out at least some of the more major problems you were havingt in the relationship, I hope it works out for you.

Oh, I never thought it was paranormal. But I think it could possibly be a form of telepathy. The whole "patterns" thing doesn't really work, because both of our schedules are very erratic...our schedules one week are never the same as the previous week.

I don't know anything about the scientific possibilities of telepathy. If it's a crap idea, then so be it. And I'm not saying I believe that my fiancee and I have a telepathic connection...I just think that it's one possible explanation.

Anyway, yeah our problems seem to be worked out, so thanks for the advice in the other thread.

EDIT: Okay, you didn't even post in that thread. But thanks for your concern, nonetheless.

Edited by Moose
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, I never thought it was paranormal. But I think it could possibly be a form of telepathy. The whole "patterns" thing doesn't really work, because both of our schedules are very erratic...our schedules one week are never the same as the previous week.

I don't know anything about the scientific possibilities of telepathy. If it's a crap idea, then so be it. And I'm not saying I believe that my fiancee and I have a telepathic connection...I just think that it's one possible explanation.

Anyway, yeah our problems seem to be worked out, so thanks for the advice in the other thread.

EDIT: Okay, you didn't even post in that thread. But thanks for your concern, nonetheless.

Telepathy is paranormal. Let me remind you what paranormal means:

paranormal: Beyond the range of normal experience or scientific explanation: such paranormal phenomena as telepathy; a medium's paranormal powers.

See, according to dictonary.com, telepathy is a good example of the paranormal :) .

Telepathy is outright impossible, it requires humans to have abilities that we clearly do not have in order to work, abilities that not only do we not have, but abilities it would be irrational to expect humans (or any animal ) to possess. I mean, even if we could pick up on the electrical impulses that are thought, I think it is silly to assume that the electricial signal would not be too distorted to make sense of, and anyway how would we get the signal to the part of our brain that would be capable of making any sense of it?

It justs seems a totally infeasible idea from a scientific point of view.

However if perhaps my suggestions as to possible explanations fail, then well Im not sure what it could be. Partially chance? But there might be something else noone on this thread has yet thought of, its much more rational to assume that. :)

I forgot to follow that other thread, I might go back and see what happened with all that. You are welcome for the advice by the way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I've always been skeptical of people saying that anything is "scientifically impossible." If telepathy is assumed to be some sort of mystic communication, then I'd agree it's impossible. But, as far as the scientific possibility goes...if the history of science has taught us anything, it's that anything that is considered to be impossible may some day be a reality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I've always been skeptical of people saying that anything is "scientifically impossible." If telepathy is assumed to be some sort of mystic communication, then I'd agree it's impossible. But, as far as the scientific possibility goes...if the history of science has taught us anything, it's that anything that is considered to be impossible may some day be a reality.

Ok, science has shown that it can get things wrong when it comes to what is possible. But think about it, telepathy is just so fundamentally impossible on so many levels. Science (not to mention 'common-sense') states man cannot fly by flapping his arms. Beleiving in telepathy is almost as silly as far as I am concerned.

Telepathy contradicts basic facts that have stood the test of changing scientific understanding. Scientists today will tell you that the human mind has no way of receiving someone elses thoughts or making sense of them. They would tell you the same if you were to ask them a thousand years in the future.

The beleif in telepahty contradicts facts about the human mind which noone has has managed to discredit over thousands of years, that the brain can only process its own thought, noone elses. There is no way to explain around this, for this is part of the fundamental nature of the brain.

When you find a contradiction in your understanding of reality, check your premises, you will find there is a mistake there, for such a contradiction cannot exist. Your mistake is beleving in telepathy, as it clashes with proven, definite fact.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dude, I never said I believed in telepathy. I said that, given my knowledge of science, I thought it was a possibility. If you know more about the subject, which you seem to, then I'll defer to your expertise.

I don't know anything about electrical activity in the brain or whether or not the brain can pick-up outside electrical signals or anythign like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dude, I never said I believed in telepathy. I said that, given my knowledge of science, I thought it was a possibility. If you know more about the subject, which you seem to, then I'll defer to your expertise.

I don't know anything about electrical activity in the brain or whether or not the brain can pick-up outside electrical signals or anythign like that.

I know what you said. I was attempting to demonstrate that it is NOT a possibility, at least according to the information I have available to me. If you can find anything that seems to suggest otherwise, please present it to me... it would be interesting at the least. :D

Heck, I don't know all that much about electrical physics at this stage (this will change once I study it as part of my major), but if you think about as I do, you should realise that it is just silly. My assertion that telepathy is impossible is based on what relatively little I know of the science, and a series of rational analysis.

Sorry if it sounded like I was lecturing, I come off that way sometimes, but I was merely trying to point out what I think is obvious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Moose, I can appreciate your stories about coindences between you and your fiance. I and my wife sometimes feel like we're reading each others' minds (which is sometimes fun, and sometimes not! :D )

Over our 15 years, we've had some truly paranormal-sounding coincidences. And if I were you, I would critically consider the issue of telepathy, etc.

That said, I'm certain you'll arrive at the conclusion that there's nothing paranormal about your "synchronicity". In fact, I have found that whenever something strangely coincidental happens between me and my wife, I can often look at the event very closely and find the common event that inspired us both to mention "peanut butter", out of the blue, or whatever. Further, after you find this common event, and then work your way through your thought processes to how you both arrived at the same point, you've incidentally learned a little epistemology, some introspection skills, and grown a little closer to your fiance/wife.

Better than telepathy any day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a sidebar, humans do have more than five senses - they have (at least) seven. The other two (vestibulation & proprioception) are often overlooked because they deal with perceiving the body itself and its position in space instead of the perception of other entities. Vestibulation is responsible for balance and determining which way is up relative to gravity, and proprioception is responsible for perceiving the body's relative position to itself, ie the position of limbs relative to the torso, or relative to one another. These two senses are distinct, but related, and are very sensative to internal chemistry. They can be affected by drugs (ketamine, a dissociative tranquilizer popular as a club drug, causes loss of proprioception, and alcohol can cause loss of vestibulation.) Dr. Oliver Sacks' book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat details a case study of a woman with proprioceptory disfunction ("The Disembodied Woman").

Part of the reason that scientific inquiry into the 'paranormal' is difficult is that all science requires that we start from what we perceive. Proprioception, for example, is such a primary sense that it barely involves the brain at all (sensory apparata include somatosensors in muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as the cerebellum), and its function is thus only realized by the person consciously when he has first been deprived of it. The same would be true for any other undiscovered or unstudied senses humans may have - scientific inquiry into them would presuppose that we already know exactly what we're looking for. Vision, somatosensation and audition (and to a lesser, but still substantial degree gustation and olfaction) are directly involved in conception (they provide sensations which are automatically integrated into perceptions of entities), so their workings are more readily accessible to inquiry. But the more fundamental senses like vestibulation and proprioception (and again, to a degree, gustation and olfaction, which are less conceptual than emotional) are less accessible by the conscious mind because either a) their function is so basic that we take it for granted, or B) their effects on physiology are so weak that they elude detection.

In conclusion, while sensation beyond the five 'traditional' senses does in fact exist, it is improbable, but not impossibe, that science will be able to discover any other forms of sensation beyond vestibulation and proprioception, as any such forms would be either too fundamental, or too weak, to be detected.

-Q

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The other two (vestibulation & proprioception) are often overlooked because they deal with perceiving the body itself and its position in space instead of the perception of other entities.
Is there a reason why at least proprioception isn't classified as a specific example of the sense of touch?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there a reason why at least proprioception isn't classified as a specific example of the sense of touch?

Proprioception differs from somatosensation in both structure and processing. Somatosensors are located in the dermis and detect pressure and temperature. Propriosensors are located in muscles, joints and tendons and measure flexion and tension. These sets of data are integrated differently by different structures - somatosensation by the cortex (hence its applicability of conceptualization) and propriosensation by the cerebellum. Also, patients can lose proprioception with no effect on somatosensation, and vice versa.

As an example, several years ago I had a surgery on my mandible, which bilaterally aggrivated the intramandibular inferior alveolar nerve, which supplies sensation to, among other things, the lower lip. While the right side healed perfectly, the left did not, so I experience almost no somatosensation in a portion of my lower lip, yet this does not impair my ability to drink from a glass, for example, because I am fully aware of its position.

For an example of loss of proprioception with retention of somatosensation, I refer you to Dr. Sacks' book.

-Q

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Using natural laws to study the supernatural makes no sense. For that matter the supernatural makes no sense. "supernature" is a contradiction in terms.

Not to be insulting but I find it all quite silly.

I do not consider extra senses supernatural though, because they deal with existance. But as a hypothesis I don't really consider them worth much attention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is my first post and good to be here. I'm curious about bouncing this off of your ideas, especially those who consider themselves hard core Atheist Objectivists. I am referring to what is known as the SPIRICOM project, which provides evidence of taped conversations between a scientist who built a machine to contact those who live in a "spirit dimension". The results apparently were successful and a two way conversation was established for some time. I also provide a link to others who are experimenting using similar results, and claim to have contacted a scientific "spirit team" from the "other side". Now my question is- is this science or not? They have built a machine, and have despite a patent, given permission for anyone to replicate what they have done and we have scientists elsewhere who have successfully done so. Does this not fit the Objectivist criteria for the use of the scientific method and supporting assertions and ideas with relevant facts? If it does- what does this do to the formalist objectivist position of atheism? I submit the two links here:

http://www.ghostpix.com/spiricom/spiricom.html

http://www.worlditc.org/

www.victorzammit.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its certainly possible to investigate supposed 'supernatural' phenomenon in a scientific manner, but I would be highly sceptical about any alleged positive findings unless they had been verified by other teams, preferably including trained magicians. James Randi's hilarious involvement in Project Alpha should provide a warning about the second-rate research which goes on in a lot of supernatural investigations.

That website is very poorly organised, and I'm finding it difficult to work out exactly what theyre doing, and what (verifiable) experiments they are claiming to have performed.

Edited by Hal
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its certainly possible to investigate supposed 'supernatural' phenomenon in a scientific manner, but I would be highly sceptical about any alleged positive findings unless they had been verified by other teams, preferably including trained magicians. James Randi's hilarious involvement in Project Alpha should provide a warning about the second-rate research which goes on in a lot of supernatural investigations.

That website is very poorly organised, and I'm finding it difficult to work out exactly what theyre doing, and what (verifiable) experiments they are claiming to have performed.

In the case of SPIRICOM it was the building of a machine which allowed them to converse with a scientist beyond the grave. You can find the technical manual recording all of the results of their findings here:

http://www.worlditc.org/h_07_spiri_000_007.htm

And the link I already posted in the first message give you links to their tape presentation of what they found, with actual recordings of the spirit of Dr. Mueller contacting and conversing with them from "the other side."

Finally, the World ITC mainpage surveys more modern researches who have worked with the spirits to produce images on their computer screens, television sets, and who have received phone calls and communications via similar "Spiritcom" type equipment.

Their ITC Introduction Link might help you see whats going on.

I'm not sure what to make of this yet, but it does seem to abide by the general principles of the scientific method and unless this is a humongous elaborate hoax or hoaxes on the part of many researchers over many years to the same effect, the results are "interesting" to say the least.

The experiments obviously should be repeatable and verifiable.. and they seem to have fulfilled this criteria to an extent.

Edited by Philosophiser
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The experiments obviously should be repeatable and verifiable.. and they seem to have fulfilled this criteria to an extent.

Well then it's just a matter of time until this takes to the mainstream. And yet this crew has been working for some time now.

What EVP I've heard on Art Bell's show strikes me as hoax work. Ghost voices should routinely plague recording engineers, radio operators, video editors, and everyone working with nearly any sort of equipment!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps I have little patience today, but searching for evidence of an "outer dimension" of some sort is the height of absurdity. "Spirit" is all that which pertains to consciousness, and consciousness is a faculty of the human animal; it is a component of the integrated whole of the human body. No consciousness is possibly without life.

Edited by Felipe
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...