the science vs. psience problem
From: rwhite@nu3b2.UUCP (Robert C. White Jr.)
Subject: Re: The Nature of Reality
Summary: .... And the problem is!?! ....
Keywords: repeatable science
Date: 23 Jul 87 16:13:40 GMT
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Organization: National University, San Diego
A centroid issue in all the science vs. psience is the repeatability
problem, at least we all seem to think so. I am a great fan of science
and beleive in it's scope and reach, however, (-: and oddly there always
seemes to be a however :-) the scientific method is as totaliltarian
as the belief sets it was intended to supplant. Sci vs. Psi can be
reduced to a simple issue:
In science EVERYONE should be able to repeat EVERY result with
exactly the same results. If ten people get the same results, but the
eleventh can not, and it can be shown that the eleventh did NOT make
any mistakes, the finding is left in "question" until such time as the
"missing variable" can be accounted for.
Psi is exclusionary. The ultimate impartiality of the scientific
method is absent. While all the "practitioners" of this[these] skill[s]
claim that just about everyone has an equal potental to perform, many
never can or will. Just like the equalities [racial, ethnic, sexual,
moral, etc ad infinitum], no matter how you legislate, study, and
propagandize, the "do" and the "not do" of it all rests squarely on
the head of the individual who is doing the "do" and "not do".
As with the equalities, their absence or abuse reviles the
excluded and those others who work towards these ends. The problem is
that there will always be those who can not "do" and unlike the socal
truths these abilities SIMPLY CAN'T BE legislated or harrassed into
a "fair" state. The distributions are, by nature, somewhat random
and hard to quantify.
It is this violation of everyones sense of what is fair and
just that rallies the opponents of the "reality" of psi. "If you
can't make me able to do it, or at least do it on command so that I
can take an absolute measurement of it's potential [danger?] I will
not cede it's existance." This is a relatively effective method of
blocking the phenomena [or perception thereof] from general acceptance.
It is odd, an somewhat axiomiatic, that the conties that do
not practice and demand the social equalities recognize [somewhat] the
validity of the psi event. [i.e. the phenomia is studied in Russia
and some similar circumstances. This is not necessarily an insult,
the Russian studies could just be a bit of featherbedding by some
I just thought I would point out the "social reality" that
is part of the foundation of the scientific method. I like and
appricate science in general but I find the "I have seen sufficient
proof and I am now a true believer, so you can discount my findings
as biased" attitude a little trying sometimes.
Disclaimer: My mind is so fragmented by random excursions into a
wilderness of abstractions and incipient ideas that the
practical purposes of the moment are often submerged in
my consciousness and I don't know what I'm doing.
[my employers certainly have no idea]
From: email@example.com (Elisabeth Cuddihy)
Subject: Re: Pre-cog
Keywords: de ja vous, pre-cog
Date: 24 Jul 87 05:33:34 GMT
Reply-To: Elisabeth Cuddihy
Organization: SUNY/Buffalo Computer Science
Pre-cog happens to me at the most unnoticable times in easily forgotten
ways -- a good and reccuring example: often when I am really in the mood
to phone some one but I don't really want to pay the cost of AT&T's long
distance rates, I will often get a call from that very person within a
few minutes. It seems as if i know they are thinking of calling me and
looking around for my phone number and during that time I interperet my
anticipation (pre-cog) of the call as me wanting to talk to that person.
As for deja vous (sp?!?!), I have to keep checking my watch (giving time,
day, and date) all the time just to make sure that I am HERE NOW when
suddenly things resemble some timeless (timeless == I just can't place the
time) THERE THEN.
Elisabeth Cuddihy --- SUNY @ Buffalo Computer Science undergraduate
Internet: ugcuddih@cs.Buffalo.EDU Bitnet: ugcuddih@sunybcs.BITNET
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Fred Flintstone)
Subject: deja vu
Date: 27 Jul 87 22:34:50 GMT
Organization: STC Telecoms, London N11 1HB.
The deja vu's I've read here all seem to last over a minute.
I only get a very strong feeling that I've been there before
or I've seen it in a dream. When I try to remember the dream
and predict what happens next, nothing happens. They only
seem to last 10-15 seconds.
What can I do? It is so frustrating !!!!
From: harvard!ames!drivax!macleod@wanginst (MacLeod)
Subject: Telepath explains all - film at 11
Date: 29 Jul 87 17:40:06 GMT
Reply-To: macleod@drivax.UUCP (MacLeod)
Organization: Digital Research, Monterey, CA
Xref: killer talk.religion.newage:704 misc.psi:70
David Kirsten writes:
>So, to those of you who have asked me to deliver
> physcial proof of the existance of psychic phenomena, all I can
>truly say is, that if you want it, you'll have to be the one to create it.
>If you are supposedly really looking for proof, and yet not finding any,
>then you don't REALLY want to find it. If you REALLY want to find it,
>just head on down to the Berkeley Psychic Institute in Berkeley, CA,
>and enroll in their classes, or ask for a psychic reading. When you're
>prepared to believe, you will receive. The traditional "scientific" attitude
>of: "Show me proof, then I'll believe" will only ever confirm what you
>already believe, or hold within the realm of possibility and probability.
>If you were TRULY scientific, you would approach ALL of life with the
>attitude: "I'm prepared to believe that anything is possible", and
>"I realize that the only limits are my own beliefs".
I am going to come out of the closet here and wreck the remnants of my
reputation by identifiying myself as a telepath and speaking out about it.
Unfortunately, my experience of telepathy is pretty mundane and has nothing
to do with David's postulates as stated above.
For as far back as I can remember I have experienced several forms of
telepathic phenomena. In all of these cases, the most important fact
is that for a good part of my life, and even today, occaisionally, I
>never noticed< that I was literally hearing or seeing people's thoughts.
In >my< experience, I do not "hear" somebody's thoughts as if I picked up
a telephone and perceived the tinny sound of another voice. Rather, I
have a thought - seemingly, as I think it, like any other - but if I look
back at it I will notice that it has a slightly different "signature" than
one of my thoughts. It will be outside the cause-and-effect thoughtflow
that burbles along in Western man so effusively. Sometimes it is so
jarring that it's immediately obvious, but that is rare. And sometimes
I will see a visual image from another, such as the time I asked a friend
what she did on her vacation, and immediately saw her waterskiing on Lake
Mead, as she proceeded to tell me about waterskiiing on Lake Mead.
This phenomena is much more pronounced if I have a great deal of affinity
for another. I have a friend, a powerful telepath, with whom I can >reliably<
send and receive visual images, and I often detect it when she is thinking
about me. On another occaision, I worked with another technical writer who
knew far less about the software we were documenting, and who asked me
periodic questions. I would be lost in thought, and he would say, "Mike?"
and I would hear him frame the question in his own mind, and I would answer
it as if I had heard him speak. And I had - in my own mind. What was
amazing was that this continued for several weeks, on and off, before he
realized that I was answering questions before he asked them. I was absorbed
in my work and oblivious to the whole thing.
Usually, when I'm explaing all this to others, they say at this point,
"But I do that too..I know when my wife wants me to call her before I get
home, or what my girlfriend is going to say while she's watching the news..."
This is my point exactly. Telepathy is everywhere. What is not everywhere
is wierd, off-the-wall psionic abilities that science fiction novels have
conditioned us to pine for. The truth is that telepathy is common, natural,
useful, and pleasant; it is also a threshold phenomena, and if you are taught
to ignore your feelings, intuitions, "odd thoughts", hunches, and so on,
you will throw the signal - real telepathy - out with the noise (random junk).
Of course, in our civilization we are taught to toss out all that, and to that
extent, I agree with David. If you believe that heavy metal music is not
music but just noise and you hear it you won't detect music in it.
If things are going badly in my life this faculty shuts down immediately.
I have gone for months without beging aware of picking up any thoughts from
my environment. And I can't reproduce results on demand, like a trained seal,
or I'd march into laboratories and announce that their classic subject had
arrived (although Ingo Swann can and does manipulate EM fields at a distance).
>I< know what I see and hear.
From: steinmetz!barnett@vdsvax (Bruce G Barnett)
Subject: Current Doings in Parapsychology
Date: 30 Jul 87 18:16:20 GMT
Reply-To: Bruce G Barnett
Organization: Wizards, Inc.
I attended a rather specialized convention, and one of the
speakers was George Hansen of the Psychophysical Research Laboratory
He gave a talk on the `Current doings in Parapsychology'.
I thought the readers of misc.psi would be interested in some of my
notes. Please excuse the errors. This is all second hand knowledge,
and I am not current in the field. If you have any corrections or
additions, I would like to have them.
Current labs doing research are:
PRL ( Parapsychological Research Lab),
PEAR (Princeton Anomaly Research) SRI International,
FRRM ( Foundation for the Research of the Mind),
(Formerly the Rhine Institute)
The Mind Science Foundation,
SURT (Science and Research Foundation).
The basic divisions of Parapsychological are, in George's view:
Forced Choice ( 1 of n)
Free Choice (e.g Remote Viewing, etc.)
Micro ( Only noticeable with statistical analysis)
(Usually using random number generators)
Most of the results are in the `micro' category, where the results are
better than chance.
Example of good ESP is 71 out of 3000 right, when it should be 17.
Some people can produce good results in a repeatable nature.
They often use a special board with random numbers generated with
radioactive decay. These boards are plugged into an Apple II, and
generate TRUE random numbers.
They also analyze the numbers to make sure they are random before they
They use computer games as a way of measuring ESP. Anyone who can
improve their chances of winning is psychic.
They have determined that certain states are bad for ESP. Anxiety and
nervousness worsen people's ability. The personality profile of
people who do well in tests are extroverts, people who have had
psychic experiences, people who meditate, or take self-development
courses. People who use feeling instead of thinking.
The two people who have theories on ESP (based on Quantum Mechanics) are
Evan Harris Walker and Helmutt Schmitt.
The researchers have learned a lot in the last few years on detecting
cheats. First of all, all questions on how the tests will be done are
specified in advance. The number of trials, the questions, etc. They
also start measuring the psychics with very loose procedures, in order
to gain the confidence, relax, etc. the psychic. Then they tighten
the controls and see if the effect is still present.
Good books to read are `ESP: the new technology' by Dan Cohen, and
another book by Susan Blackwood - a discouraged former researcher.
Another good Pro-ESP book is `Foundation of Parapsychology: Exploring
the Boundaries of the Human Condition' edited by Hoyt L. Edge, Robert
L. Morris, John Palmer and Joseph H. Rush ($22.50).
Good journals are
Parapsychology Foundation Inc,
228 East 71st St.
New York, NY 10021
$9 for 6 issues
Journal of Parapsychology
Foundation for the Research of the Nature of Man
Durham, NC 27708
$20 for 4 issues
Journal of the American Society for Psychological Research
American Society for Psychical Research, Inc.
5 West 73rd St.
New York, NY 10023
$20 for 4 issues
The most impressive results have been (according to George) the
Notable researchers in the field are:
Robert Jahn (Princeton U)
Ian Stevens (Reincarnation)
Karliss Ossis (Hauntings)
Bill Roll (Poltergeist)
Dr. Harvelick (Dowsing)
Bruce G. Barnett
barnett@ge-crd.ARPA, barnett@steinmetz.UUCP, uunet!steinmetz!barnett