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Virtual Reality Gaming System Tests for Telepathy

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the grumbling-from-the-cynic's-corner dept.

649

Big Ben writes "UK scientists have built a virtual computer world designed to test telepathic ability. Approximately 100 participants will take part in the group gaming experiment at the University of Manchester which aims to test whether telepathy exists between individuals using the system. The project will also look at how telepathic abilities may vary depending on the relationships which exist between participants." Note: for their sakes, I hope they succeed in proving anything paranormal's going on — if they can reproduce such a result, it could earn them the $1 million prize long offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation.

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Odd feeling (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734516)

Something tells me this isn't going to work.

Re:Odd feeling (0)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734571)

There is more to this world than meets eye or any other 4 senses for that matter. Just google "esp tests" and take a couple you might be surprised.

Re:Odd feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734628)

Yep. I'm currently practicing PsiBalls (see www.psipog.net) to earn a million easy bucks from Randi.

Re:Odd feeling (3, Funny)

nuzak (959558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734638)

> There is more to this world than meets eye or any other 4 senses for that matter.

Prove it. But hey, I bet you predicted that response.

Re:Odd feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734573)

Something tells me this isn't going to work.

It depends. The researchers' goal is perhaps 'getting tax-funding for a useless project so we can slask off for some years wanking off to gay porn', it obviously worked well for them.

Re:Odd feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734574)

That odd feeling is you emitting skeptic vibes, which nullify paranormal happenings. Someone should enter Randi's challenge as a skeptic detector!

I know what you're thinking (5, Funny)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734521)

You're thinking that nobody will ever win that $1 million. I think I might be on to something...

Re:I know what you're thinking (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734564)

> You're thinking that nobody will ever win that $1 million. I think I might be on to something...

As a matter of fact, Brain, I am pondering what you're pondering! Brilliant! We do the same thing we do every night, trying to take over EarthGov! The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father, 'n' all that rot! NARF!

Re:I know what you're thinking (4, Funny)

raehl (609729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734708)

It won't work. The James Randi Educational Foundation has psychics on staff who have all forseen that the prize won't be claimed.

Re:I know what you're thinking (2, Funny)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734728)

I think I might be on to something...


I sense that you were thinking that you were onto something around the time of Monday July 17, @05:24PM.

Not only am I psychic, I can read thoughts from other points of time!

AC Posting System Tests for Frostpostathy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734524)

FP is mine, beaches, so stick that in your hat and wear it

Tax payer money at work (4, Insightful)

denoir (960304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734527)

Now let's invest some more tax money on finding UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster and inventing the perpetuum mobile!

Re:Tax payer money at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734575)

I misread that as the Pentium Mobile and laughed for a long while.

Re:Tax payer money at work (2, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734648)

I'm always been surprised at the kind of reaction anything labeled "paranormal" gets from rational people. Why exactly couldn't telepathy exist? Is there some fundamental law of nature which states that two people cannot communicate over a distance without sound or visual cues? Obviously, you'd have to identify a mechanism for the communications. If telepathy exists, it isn't magic.

If you had told someone from 200 years ago that you could communicate with people across the globe in real-time, they'd probably think you were some kind of sorcerer. But since then we've discovered radio waves...

-matthew

Re:Tax payer money at work (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734763)

If you had told someone from 200 years ago that you could communicate with people across the globe in real-time, they'd probably think you were some kind of sorcerer.

No, they wouldn't have. They had telescopes, so they knew light could be amplified, and they knew that there was invisible light. They would have believed easily that invisible light could be used for communication given the proper scientific advances.

But that's not a good argument anyway. The fundamental law of nature which states that two people cannot communicate over a distance without sound or visual cues is the law that given the same circumstances, the same action produces the same result. Nobody claiming psychic powers has reproduced their results under close, reliable observation. All verified phenomena HAVE been reproduced. You can waste away your live oohing and aahing over bent spoons; I'm putting my money elsewhere.

Re:Tax payer money at work (5, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734773)

Why exactly couldn't telepathy exist? Is there some fundamental law of nature which states that two people cannot communicate over a distance without sound or visual cues?


Two hundred years ago such questions would have made sense. Today we know there isn't any mechanism for that. We may not know everything there is to know about the human body, but we do know more than we did two centuries ago [wikipedia.org] .


The fundamental law of nature that will not allow any communications without a physical channel is the theory of information [wikipedia.org] . If you could store or send information without passing through a physical medium and without spending energy doing it, the second law of thermodynamics would be violated, time would not be unidirectional.

Re:Tax payer money at work (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734833)

The fundamental law of nature that will not allow any communications without a physical channel is the theory of information [wikipedia.org]. If you could store or send information without passing through a physical medium and without spending energy doing it, the second law of thermodynamics would be violated, time would not be unidirectional.


Who said telepathy has (if it is exists) no physical channel and spends no energy?

-matthew

Re:Tax payer money at work (5, Insightful)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734860)

Telepathy doesn't need to violate any natural laws. What if a very small amount of people had a gene that makes them able to send and receive radio signals? Or better yet, how about in the future when we can have these abilities implanted with the help of technology, wouldn't that be telepathy? I guess if you want to think of telepathy in terms of "communications without a physical channel" then yeah, telepathy is impossible and this experiment is useless.

Re:Tax payer money at work (4, Insightful)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734785)

Is there some fundamental law of nature which states that two people cannot communicate over a distance without sound or visual cues? Obviously, you'd have to identify a mechanism for the communications.

It's because the mainstream scientific community can't think of any obvious mechanism that would work at a distance given our current understanding of physics, plus the lack of hard empirical evidence, that causes most reasonable people to think there is a very low probably of ESP claims being true.

We haven't been able to find focussed point-to-point radio transmitters in our brains, and the generalized EM "chatter" given off by our brains seems so weak compared to the threshhold voltages required to make neurons fire (esp. taking into account distance) that it seems highly unlikely that any kind of EM effect would be responsible for such an effect.

There aren't too many other options in our current understanding of physical "law" that could account for a significant ESP effect, so if it can be empirically determined that there _is_ such an effect, discovering its cause would probably cause mainstream science to react like it had collectively gone on a Pan-Galactic Gargleblaster bender...

Re:Tax payer money at work (5, Insightful)

StarkRG (888216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734849)

Real scientists don't deny that anything is possible. They will investigate the existance of something, find nothing, and say that it probably doesn't exist. Is there life on Mars? Possibly. Is there intelligent life on Mars? Probably not. Is there intelligent life on Mars who travel to Earth and abduct drunk farmers? Highly unlikely. But impossible? No. The only people to say that something absolutely isn't true are Polititians, the Media, and ignorant people. Any "scientist" who tells you that telepathy/God/intelligent martians/intelligent polititions don't exist is either being paid to believe that (in one way or another) or isn't a very good scientist.

A couple hundred years ago people thought that you could change lead into gold with chemicals and herbs. Then people began to realize that you couldn't change lead into gold with chemicals and herbs. People soon picked up on this and called alchemists idiots and kooks, and rightly so. Is it possible to change lead into gold? Absolutely, you have to rearrange the nucleous and electrons, but it's possible, just not feasible. We routinely make new elements out of other elements.

So, yeah, a couple hundred years ago people tought that telepathy was possible, then people began to believe that it wasn't. Does this mean it's impossible? Just because we don't know how it might work doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Perhaps it uses some kind of vibration in the fabric of space-time, perhaps it uses tiny particles that permiate everything.

Saying that there is no doubt that it doesn't exist is stupid, and would only show your ignorance.

Re:Tax payer money at work (1)

Shajenko42 (627901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734787)

If you had told someone from 200 years ago that you could communicate with people across the globe in real-time, they'd probably think you were some kind of sorcerer.
Or a drunkard.

Re:Tax payer money at work (1)

mindbuilder (960119) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734790)

Scientists are often very open minded(and often not), but credulous people think scientists and skeptics are close minded because they don't understand what constitutes good evidence. As a person learns about the world they have to learn how to tell the difference between what's real and whats imaginary. Some things are easy to tell like dowsing and telepathy. Dowsing and telepathy should be easy to demonstrate in a well controlled study. Basicly the fact that they haven't been established after extensive study, means they can be dismissed as imaginary (though not proved so). There are some harder things to figure out if they're real. It's obvious that most UFO sightings are imaginary or mistakes or such, but you can't easily dismiss them all. And though it would be difficult to pull off, the government could be covering them up. Also it seems perfectly plausible that some intelligent civilization would send probes to explore. But after refining your judgment on easier cases like telepathy, dowsing, astrology, and such, you learn to spot the telltale characteristics of garbage like UFO sightings (if you have a rational mind you do). The saying is that you shouldn't be so open minded that your brains fall out, which means that you can't waste your time being open minded about everything. If I swear I saw a purple pig flying through the sky yesterday, you would be wasting your time doing an extensive investigation. Telepathy has been investigated extensively. You're wasting your time if you investigate it more.

I knew it (2)

JuzzFunky (796384) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734530)

I knew they were trying to do that...

Re:I knew it (1)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734579)

Congrats. You just passed the Official Slashdot "clairvoiance test". care to take a guess on the outcome of this experiment.

1 word! (1, Funny)

GroinSniper (643086) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734536)

Scanners! How long before Daryl Revok enters?

Do you think telepathy exists? (1)

A Dafa Disciple (876967) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734542)

A thought provoking blog [darksideprogramming.net] I read at times recently linked to a research thesis on programming with thought [eurekalert.org] .

While we're on the subject, I'll toss out some informal guiding questions and share a thought or two:

If you knew telepathy existed, how exactly would that change your life? What would you be willing to give [up] for that ability? If you were told that the only way you could have an ability such as telapthy would be to eliminate your attachments and improve your moral quality (given a moral standard of course), would you set out in achieving it?

The way I see it, the interesting part of giving up attachments is that, in the process, you wouldn't care anymore if you had an ability such as telepathy. Now consider that you would have transcended a certain part of humanness and would have gained telepathy and much greater abilities and be well on your way to a better you.

Eh, just some thoughts. At any rate, I invite you to point out anything you see wrong with my thoughts and share your own as well, as this sort of stuff interests me.

Re:Do you think telepathy exists? (4, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734549)

If you were told that the only way you could have an ability such as telapthy would be to eliminate your attachments and improve your moral quality (given a moral standard of course), would you set out in achieving it?

        Of course! Attachments are evil and lead to viruses on your computers.

Re:Do you think telepathy exists? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734583)

If you were told that the only way you could have an ability such as telapthy would be to eliminate your attachments and improve your moral quality . . .

I would know the person making the statement had a morality that allowed lying through his fucking teeth.

I could live with that.

KFG

Re:Do you think telepathy exists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734593)

What would you be willing to give [up] for that ability?

Would you be willing to let some crazy guy cut off your leg? Would you want anaesthesia?

How about for a flying car?

Re:Do you think telepathy exists? (1)

ijakings (982830) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734610)

Yes mr spock, very interesting.

Science Fiction (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734544)

>if they can reproduce such a result, it could earn them the $1 million prize long offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation.

Won't happen. Nope. No chance. Randi's money is as safe as if it were in the bank. Safer really, if you think about banks.

Re:Science Fiction (4, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734592)

Even if this experiment doesn't pan out, there are other viable challengers to The Amazing Randi. Behold, the Power of the Vagina [mcsweeneys.net] !

Re:Science Fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734655)

Randi's so-called skepticism is anything but. Its pretty clear the man has an axe to grind. While I don't exactly disagree with him, I don't consider his interest or methodology particularly objective either. The man's arrogance bothers me. His offer of $1 million bothers me. His beard bothers me.

Re:Science Fiction (2, Insightful)

shar303 (944843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734779)

Find some evidence of the kind of nonsense that Randi refutes and your belief that he's arrogant will make some sense.

His dismissive attitude towards the "supernatural" is well founded.

By the way, why do you say "so-called skepticism."

Axe to grind? He resents pseudo-science and the load of crap that is the occult. What is wrong with that?

Virtual Testing (2)

Orinthe (680210) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734545)

For a study of this nature, it seems like this kind of testing could help remove the possibility of unintentional cues from the tester that could result in statistically significant false positive results. Of course, I think it's more likely to disprove the existence of telepathy than to reveal evidence of psychic phenomena.

Re:Virtual Testing (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734755)

Of course, I think it's more likely to disprove the existence of telepathy than to reveal evidence of psychic phenomena


Is that a prediction I spy? If they disprove telepathy, then it was forseen by you which in turn proves clarivoyance!

Re:Virtual Testing (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734825)

I think it's more likely to disprove the existence of telepathy

Since the process is statistical in nature it cannot disprove anything. All it can do is fail to demonstrate an effect of statistical significance.

And herein lies a certain amount of danger, because most people haven't an inkling about statistical significance.

Assuming there is, in fact, no such thing as telepathy, if you ran a series of tests what you would expect to see is a small number of inconslusive runs, a number of positive runs and a roughly equal number of negative runs. What's more, the more runs you make the more likely you are to see stronger "effects" in an individual run, but the average of the aggregate number of runs will get closer and closer to 1.0, i.e., pure chance results.

What the pro TP people like to do is cherry pick one of the strong positive runs and hold it up as "proof" of TP. This is not valid, because this strong positive run is expected by chance and is balanced by a strong negative run.

You can demonstrate this for yourself by making a series of coin flip tests, say a dozen flips per run, to determine whether the coin is "fair." If you cherry pick just one run you can "prove" any damned result you want, up to and including that the coin will always land heads, even though it's fair.

In fact it's now known that Rhine discarded negative runs in order to put forward his "proof" of TP. This is the sort of thing this current test is designed to avoid.

But wait, don't order now, it gets worse!

The pro TP people have wised up to the fact that they can't get away with only pointing out the positive results at one end of the curve anymore, so what they have started doing is pointing at the extreme negative results and calling them a sort of "positive negative." i.e., since the result couldn't have been achieved by chance it must have TP working to inhibit TP.

But of course these negative extremes are just as expected as the positive extremes and in the average cancel each other out.

So why make the test in a series of runs? Why not just do a straight series of a million tests?

Because we're testing people. People need to take breaks, to eat, piss, sleep or just relax for a bit. So long as the test tracks the individual runs and not just the aggregate it will be prey to cherry picking desired results from amoung the runs by people who wish to lie with numbers to promote a personal agenda.

Think about all of this the next time you read about a new epidemiological study in the papers, especially if the variance (in this case called the relative risk) is 1.Somthing or Other, or very close to no effect. You'll want to see this test repeated many times more before you can even begin to believe the results, and you will need to see all of the tests, not just the published ones (publication bias; the tendency to only publish extraordinary results, thus eliminating from view all those results that statistically would aggregate to no effect).

There is an additional lying with numbers effect in this case as well, because a relative risk of 1.5 (very close to no effect) will be reported as a "50% increase in risk."

Which is, technically, true, but leaves out the explanation that a "50%" increase in risk means "very close to no effect" statistically speaking.

Take a revolver with 1000 chambers in it. Now load 10 chambers and play one round of Russian Roulette. Now (assuming you're still alive, which would be the way to bet) load five more chambers for one more round.

That is what is meant by a "50%" increase in risk. 15 out 1000, rather than 10 out of 1000.

A very small increase of actually shooting yourself, because the initial risk was already quite small. The relative risk is a percentage of the risk.

Just as I may increase your net worth a thousand fold, and yet leave you unable to buy dinner out, because all you had was a penny to your name.

KFG

Try the ESP Game (5, Informative)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734556)

The ESP Game (http://www.espgame.org) has been on the web for a couple years now. It pairs you up with a random partner, and your goal is to type the same words as your partner in response to a series of pictures. It's a rather fun game that has convinced some users that they really do have ESP. (The real purpose of the ESP Game is not to discover users' latent psychic abilities, but to utilize human processing power to label images on the Web.)

Re:Try the ESP Game (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734794)

You would have to be some kind of spectacular idiot in order to think you are telepathic based on this game. Wow!

Buzzwords are cool (1)

mepex (687816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734557)

Once inside participants view a random selection of computer-generated objects. These include a telephone, a football and an umbrella.
Do you really need a virtual reality football? Why not use, I dunno, a football? Computers can be useful for this, buy why not have a box of objects, and a computer that does the selection for administrators in both rooms? Double-blind, anyone?

The real question is, can you play Mike Tyson's Punch-Out when you're done?

Abusing grant money (1)

LuminaireX (949185) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734559)

An hour a day for research, the remaining seven go to World of Warcraft. At least his research grants bought him a nice computer system.

all good until someone loses a brain. . . (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734565)

Sounds cool, but I hope they don't come crying to me when one of them gets headcrabbed in the game and gets zombie'd IRL.

Hoping they win the Randi prize?!?! (4, Insightful)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734569)

I'd rather not have a paranormal outcome. It is likely that if telepathy is possible, it is not paranormal; rather, certain theories and hypotheses previously thought true would need a little tweaking. If telepathy were possible, and explainable in scientific terms, that would be cool.

Hoping they win the quark prize?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734695)

Quantum Entanglement.*

Of course there's still a great deal we don't know about quantum mechanics. Also biology interfacing with the physical world is quite common. Remember birds have built-in compasses.

Re:Hoping they win the Randi prize?!?! (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734712)

Ah, so you're saying that if a specific paranormal event is observed, then we need to revise our definition of paranormal to exclude it?

Re:Hoping they win the Randi prize?!?! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734761)

sounds like AI.

Re:Hoping they win the Randi prize?!?! (1)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734777)

I am saying if an event, previously thought paranormal, occurs and is not paranormal, there is no need to revise the definition of paranormal.

Paranormal is by definition outside the realm of science, so scientific inquiry into particular topics that are now considered paranormal would not change the definition, merely the subset of topics it encompasses.

Re:Hoping they win the Randi prize?!?! (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734714)

If telepathy were possible, and explainable in scientific terms, that would be cool.
What, if it was possible and was not explainable in scientific terms, it wouldn't be cool?

Hoping they win the Randi prize?!-Telepathy ID'ed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734742)

You're talking about a forum that hates ID. What do you think?

Re:Hoping they win the Randi prize?!?! (2, Insightful)

klaun (236494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734807)

If telepathy were possible, and explainable in scientific terms, that would be cool.

What, if it was possible and was not explainable in scientific terms, it wouldn't be cool?
There are lots of things that are possible and not yet explainable in scientific terms. Otherwise, what would scientist spend there time doing?

Fakes, Crooks, & Liars (3, Insightful)

FurryOne (618961) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734594)

That just about sums up the paranormal. It's a cute stage act, but anyone who thinks its anything more is reaching for straws. Randi has had his prize out there for how many years, and not even a dowser has been able to prove they can do better than dumb luck. Look at that faker Sylvia Brown - she's so scared of Randi exposing her that she won't go near his tests.

Do they really need a computer? (2, Funny)

MrNash (907751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734600)

I guess this is somehow more affective than playing a game of "Pick a number between one and ten"..."Seven".."OMG! You're we're telepathic! Yay!" :p

Randi is viewed as a fraud by 'people who can'... (0)

nido (102070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734609)

... a fraud with an agenda. He's no different that a bible-thumping jesus freak, except he beats the "materialist" drum.

But as one "super-psychic" points out, even scientists now say that matter-as-we-know-it only makes up between 4 and 7% of the universe. The rest is labeled as "dark matter" and "dark energy". They don't know what exactly it is, but that plain matter is inadequate to explain the measurements taken by cosmologists.

See Ingo Swann's Telepathy - The Opening Up Of (Part 1 of 3) [biomindsuperpowers.com] for more on the new understanding of the biological basis behind telepathy.

I road-tripped to Vegas to hear Ingo's talk earlier this summer. He's a very smart man. "I only work with scientists" (he's now retired). He'd prepared some notes, and held up his copies of Scientific American and other mainstream sources... And pointed out that "dark energy" interpenetrates everything, and is the carrier medium for experiences previously labeled "extra-sensory".

(the basis of his talk was that "we need new words, because there are experiences that don't have a label, and the words we do have limit us to concepts that are 200 years out of date" Or something like that...)

Re:Randi is viewed as a fraud by 'people who can'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734632)

Nah, I think the old words work just fine. In fact, we had all the terms we need to describe your post in medieval times. They were used in different contexts, of course -- mostly agricultural.

Re:Randi is viewed as a fraud by 'people who can'. (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734658)

Okay buddy, I'm not James Randi, I'm some random schmoe. And I think you are absolutely full of shit if you claim you or anyone else has "paranormal" powers.

Prove me wrong then: I don't need a negotiated protocol. Just give me a demonstration that's videotaped by two different cameras. If you doctored it, I'll find out, and if you're for real then I trust you'll be able to reproduce your results.

Prepare to amaze me.

i don't need to prove anything for you (1)

nido (102070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734700)

My beliefs about the nature of the universe have been shaped by the experiences I've had, the sources I've read, and the people with amazing skills I've encountered. I interpreted them as I do, in a manner that I find constructive, and they allow me to work towards the goals I have.

You have your beliefs, and ask me to prove them wrong for you. Why should I bother? If your beliefs work for you, who am I to challenge them? Good luck to ya. :)

Re:i don't need to prove anything for you (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734727)

That's right, prove my beliefs wrong. Show me your phenomena. I need people to point out where I'm wrong. My belief system really does require that, because it really just doesn't work for me when they're inconsistent.

Perhaps I'm not the one in need of luck.

Re:Randi is viewed as a fraud by 'people who can'. (5, Insightful)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734689)

... a fraud with an agenda. He's no different that a bible-thumping jesus freak, except he beats the "materialist" drum.

Well, there's also the slight difference that he has facts on his side. None of these so-called "people who can" have ever been able to demonstrate their alleged abilities under controlled conditions. Until they can do that, they're nothing more than "people who lie to others", or at best, "people who lie to themselves".

But as one "super-psychic" points out, even scientists now say that matter-as-we-know-it only makes up between 4 and 7% of the universe. The rest is labeled as "dark matter" and "dark energy". They don't know what exactly it is, but that plain matter is inadequate to explain the measurements taken by cosmologists. ... [some "super psychic"] pointed out that "dark energy" interpenetrates everything, and is the carrier medium for experiences previously labeled "extra-sensory".

I see. It's a pity that there's no evidence that these experiences actually took place in reality, not just in the participants' imaginations, don't you think? Because if there were evidence, someone would be a million dollars richer.

Re:Randi is viewed as a fraud by 'people who can'. (1, Informative)

nido (102070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734774)

I see. It's a pity that there's no evidence that these experiences actually took place in reality, not just in the participants' imaginations, don't you think? Because if there were evidence, someone would be a million dollars richer.

The U.S. government financed development of 'remote viewing' for over 20 years. It's said that the spooks hated the program, but because they got results, right from the start, they allowed it to continue until the soviet union broke apart.

Of course, when evidence conflicts with beliefs, beliefs usually win, even by those who fancy themselves of a "scientific" mindset. See The Structure of Scientific Revolutions [emory.edu] :

A scientific community cannot practice its trade without some set of received beliefs. These beliefs form the foundation of the "educational initiation that prepares and licenses the student for professional practice". The nature of the "rigorous and rigid" preparation helps ensure that the received beliefs are firmly fixed in the student's mind. Scientists take great pains to defend the assumption that scientists know what the world is like...To this end, "normal science" will often suppress novelties which undermine its foundations. Research is therefore not about discovering the unknown, but rather "a strenuous and devoted attempt to force nature into the conceptual boxes supplied by professional education". (emphasis added)


For your consideration, concerning the facts about individuals being "able to demonstrate their alleged abilities under controlled conditions":

**

From the top of our system on down, there are many who could stand up and be counted regarding the efficiency of developed remote viewing, and even regarding superior natural psychics. It has been circulated in the intelligence community that successful remote viewing sessions probably saved the nation a billion-plus dollars in what otherwise would have been wasted, or misdirected, activities. Not a bad payback for the $20 million.

Why do they not stand up and be counted? For the most part, they are afraid of being taken apart in the press, afraid of being ridiculed for doing their duty in an area of threat analysis which was completely justified. This fear is not their fault. It is the fault of our unthinking and irresponsible popular culture.

**

I now direct your attention to "successful remote viewing," and ask you to wonder if it can exist. Begin by considering psychics who successfully help the police. Add to that success some quite good remote viewing training. Then consider that what is a bit possible in natural psychics might be understood, developed, and then trained.

Now assume that a "little-bit-psychic" can become a "whole-lot-psychic" -- and you come up with the "eight martini result."

Those of you who witnessed the Nightline TV show of 28 November 1995, will recall an individual said to be from the CIA, but identified only by the name "Norm."

Mr. Robert Gates had just finished saying that remote viewing was unpromising. But when it came "Norm's" time to talk, he began saying something like, "Well, if it's the Eight-Martini Results you want to talk about, I won't talk about them."

What, then, is an "eight-martini" result? Well, this is an intelligence community in-house term for remote viewing data so good that it cracks everyone's realities. So they have to go out and drink eight martinis to recover. Remote viewing does have its amusing aspects, you know.

**

-http://www.biomindsuperpowers.com/Pages/Stateme nt .html [biomindsuperpowers.com] (emphasis added)

Re:Randi is viewed as a fraud by 'people who can'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734731)

Dude, congratulations. That's the best troll I've seen all day.

Re:Randi is viewed as a fraud by 'people who can'. (5, Insightful)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734745)

Are you for real?

About 4 years ago, I went to a local music venue for the weekly talk show hosted by musicians and some pathetic psychic was there claiming "quantum physics proves crystals can heal you". Every other claim she made was punctuated with a bunch of keywords about quantum mechanics (esp. strange action at a distance and observability).

I finally got the mic and asked her opinion of Schrodinger's dissent and if she could respond to one of the founder's main gripes, and she had never even heard of Schrodinger. I asked how she could possibly quote QM every other sentence and never had heard of it's primary founder. She brushed it off with some analogy about knowing how to hit a baseball without understanding all that complicated math.

Don't fall for people who pick a hole in scientific understanding and try to defend pseudoscientific babble while hiding behind things they don't understand.

Re:Randi is viewed as a fraud by 'people who can'. (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734775)

I still would keep those crystals away from cats in boxes.

thats very common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734793)

All these quacks and "paranormal" frauds, (chi-gong, etc), include references to advanced physics. This is designed to give them an air of scientific authority, and confuse the uneducated people who fall for their drivel.

Re:Randi is viewed as a fraud by 'people who can'. (0)

nido (102070) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734816)

Don't fall for people who pick a hole in scientific understanding and try to defend pseudoscientific babble while hiding behind things they don't understand.

You might benefit from consideration of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions [wikipedia.org] . Paradigm Shift, and all that.

People don't pick holes in "scientific understanding". The holes exist, and people just point them out. There is no accepted "theory of everything" yet, and there are many observations that don't make sense [newscientistspace.com] when looked at from a materialist overview.

There are good "psychics" and not-so-good "psychics". If you happen to cross paths with a good one, you might have your own paradigm shift. :)

Re:Randi is viewed as a fraud by 'people who can'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734759)

Whether these 'people who can' are for real or not, I sincerely hope someone *does* win the money from Randi; he's a narcissistic pillock desperate for adoration, perhaps suffering from some kind of Napoleon or Jesus complex. I notice he hasn't tried his debunking methodology on anything that might offend a major religion.
Hey, I have a paranormal skill; I can tell you where Randi's head will be at any given time: up his own backside. Do I win one million USD?

Still not quite perfect (2, Insightful)

Inistari (989474) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734611)

They've gone to great lengths to keep the first subject from marking the objects in any way to indicate which one was chosen, but this won't completely eliminate false positives.

The first subject still has to make an entirely subjective choice of objects. If the second subject knows the first subject extrememly well, it may still be possible for that person to guess which object was originally chosen just because he or she knows which object would grab the attention of the first subject.

More cynically, there's nothing to stop the subjects from creating some kind of heuristic before the test. For example, always choose the larger object or the one with the name that comes first alphabetically. Of course, I suppose you prevent this by refusing to reveal the details of the study to either participant before they are separated.

Re:Still not quite perfect (2, Insightful)

un.sined (946837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734828)

I think you misread it. Subject A is presented with an object that he can interact with. Subject A is instructed to transmit to subject B which object he was presented with. Subject B will then select from a group of objects which object Subject A was trying to transmit.

Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (5, Insightful)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734615)

Can someone tell me why this isn't as outragious as spending tax money to research "intelligent design"? I mean, there is no real scientific theory that describes how telepathy would work, and virtually all scientific evidence says that telepathy doesn't exist. Telepathy is pretty much to fortune telling what Intelligent Design is to creationism - turning superstition into pseudo-science to make it palatable to the modern audience. I realize that England doesn't have the same strict legal seperation between religion and state as other countries, but even if research into the mystical and supernatural isn't strictly illegal it is certainly a questionable use of taxpayer money, no?

Why are people outraged over Intelligent Design but not this kind of stuff?

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734661)

Because you put the quantity of God in there and people hate it...

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734737)

>> Why are people outraged over Intelligent Design but not this kind of stuff?

> Because you put the quantity of God in there and people hate it...

Is that the way you see it? Maybe it's because no one is trying to get telepathy taught in schools. Even so, God or not, some people here think telepathy is bullshit too. Other paranormal matters don't get a free pass from scrutiny any more than intelligent design.

P.S. the ID folks saying ID isn't about God is pretty much a joke now, huh?

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (1)

mythosaz (572040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734662)

...and virtually all scientific evidence says that telepathy doesn't exist.
No. ALL scientific evidence says it doesn't exist. ANY scientific evidence would get the $1M Randi prize.

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734668)

Telepathy like most paranormal things are unprovable but that does not make them false. Just look at Goedel's theorems for examples of very basic true but unprovable things. Do you BELIEVE?

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734680)

Because ID is more of a political agenda than mere junk science? Because stuff like this involves actual experiments? There are probably a few more good reasons too...take your pick.

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734683)

Well, I agree it's outrageous. But Intelligent Design is an order of magnitude more outrageous. I mean, suggesting that there may be some subtle undiscovered connections between human minds is one thing (for example, people might not have predicted the existence of pheromones a few decades ago), but claiming that the universe was created, to look like it was 12 billion years old, by an old guy, with multiple personalities, with a predilection for Middle-Eastern virgins, in 6 days, 6,000 years ago, is stretching the imagination a little too far.

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (5, Insightful)

Pyromage (19360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734703)

Because it's possible to devise an experiment that could provide scientific evidence in its favor.

Such an experiment does not - even in theory - exist for ID.

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734713)

Can someone tell me why this isn't as outrageous as spending countless dubloons on this proposed Columbus expedition? There is no real theory as to how the world can be anything other than flat. Surely, India is as unreachable by attempting to go 'around' the world as rats are spawned from dust balls. I realize that Spain isn't the same authority Rome might be, but even if research into this malarky isn't strictly ilegal it is certainly a questionable use of taxpayer money, no?

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734839)

1. It was common knowledge for educated people at the time of Columbus to know the world was not flat.
2. The Columbus expedition pretty much was the cause of wholesale genocide and 500 years of oppression.

So maybe Columbus isn't the best analogy to choose.

A little off topic: No doubt the Americas would be discovered by Europeans at some point - but I would think America being discovered by pacifist pilgrims escaping forced military service in Europe, or perhaps merchants looking to trade with foriegn people, or even just crazed pirates, instead of an envoy for a government looking to conquer new lands, would have been better.

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734719)

Why are people outraged over Intelligent Design but not this kind of stuff?


Because you can actually test for telepathy. You can't test for ID.

-matthew

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734746)

Why are people outraged over Intelligent Design but not this kind of stuff?
Because the fight over evolution/intelligent design has more to do with politics than science. Belief in telepathy is probably not strongly correlated with political affiliation, and is certainly not considered to be a common characteristic of any large, politically active group of people.

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (1)

GTMoogle (968547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734750)

Because no one's forcing schools to teach telepathy to children, in preference to researched scientific information.

I wouldn't mind at all if the government spent a little money scientifically testing Intelligent Design. I'm pretty sure I can guess the outcome, but I'd love to hear an ID believer come up with a testable hypothesis. That's pretty much the one thing they can't do. At least telepathy can produce negative (or positive, but I'd be surprised) results.

You can't just test the things you don't know. If you don't test the things you think are obvious, you might never learn if you're wrong.

i wish..... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734808)

i wish my highschool had tought me telepathy

then again they would ban it as a threat to exam security any telepaths would be prohibited from seeing secret documents and we would end up eventually rounding "them" up and putting them in "internment" camps

Re:Telepathy Vs. Intelligent Design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734810)

Because nobody believes in telepathy ;]

I think it happens but is currently unprovable (2, Interesting)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734657)

There are many times where my daughter says something that I am thinking or vice versa, or someone is searching for a word and it pops into my head, or my wife and I thought about something at the same time of day (within minutes of each other) but being miles apart.

Too many times to be coincidence has things like this happened. But trying to force it never has produced any results...

It will be interesting to see if this experiment can "prove" anything...

Re:I think it happens but is currently unprovable (1)

zephc (225327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734684)

Still just coincidence.
Mentok has spoken!

Re:I think it happens but is currently unprovable (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734744)

I heard a story on NPR about a writer whose dog would sleep under the table while the writer worked. The moment he thought about taking the dog out, the dog would get up and head towards the door. The writer couldn't decide who was reading whose mind ;)

Re:I think it happens but is currently unprovable (3, Insightful)

bstadil (7110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734768)

Yes obviously this is mind reading and not some subtle body language that the dog picks up. Why adhere to the principle of Occams razor? It takes all the fun out of making shit up. .

Re:I think it happens but is currently unprovable (4, Insightful)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734800)

How can it exist but be unprovable? If you and your family have a super-natural connection, or at least one that is not currently explained by science, it can be tested.

Too many times to be coincidence has things like this happened. But trying to force it never has produced any results...

That statement implies that you've done the statistics. Let's see them. How many times have you guys not thought the same thing at the same time vs. how many times have you thought about the same thing? Keep in mind that because you are in the same family, some of the things you think about will inevitably be related. I mean if you're thinking about your mother, it's pretty reasonable to think your daughter might also think about her grandmother at some point during the day.

There is a wealth of literature on what is likely going on. You are only noting the times it happens, rarely or never the times it doesn't. So when you "think back on it" the hits greatly outnumber the misses in your memory when in reality the hits are just coincidences amidst a sea of misses.

Re:I think it happens but is currently unprovable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734851)

It's probably not coincidence, but I wouldn't say it's telepathy. It's most likely the fact that as a family, you know the other people involved well enough that you can guess what they're thinking, given the same stimulus.

I've experienced the same phenomena both with family and with close friends. I don't believe it's telepathy, just a sign of how close/similar we are

Paranormal research also at respected institutions (5, Interesting)

mdkemp (720790) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734669)

Research into this stuff isn't just for cooks and crazies -- even Princeton has a small lab the goal of which is to experimentally gather a "better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality". It's called the "Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research" (PEAR) lab, and its web page can be found at http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/ [princeton.edu] -- Martin

Re:Paranormal research also at respected instituti (2, Funny)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734799)

By your definition, the difference between kook and scientist is the amount of funding they get.

Many Coloured Land (1)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734672)

Did you guys ever read that series by Julian May that started with the book "The Many Coloured Land"? Another book in the series called "Intervention" which deals greatly with the moral/social impact of telepathy and other pyschic things. In it, there is are many galactic civilisations that have acheived enlightenment and they are waiting to see how the Earth handles the growing number of cases of psychic abilities. Very interesting read. I personally believe psychic powers are possible and is the next stage in our evolution. Imagine being able to communicate without boundaries, being able to get your point across perfectly and without ambiguity.

need an icon for crank science (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734706)

Please let's not associate the Einstein icon with this crank science garbage.

How about a picture of a perpetual motion machine? Any of the zillions of diagrams out there would suffice. Something like the logo at the top of this page [jnaudin.free.fr] would be pretty good. And for added kicks, this device is actually patented.

Otherwise, I suppose a picture of a hand crank would work about as well.

(and let's tag this article as "crankscience")

Re:need an icon for crank science (3, Interesting)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734854)

Funny that you should say that about the Einstein icon. Einstein wrote the preface for Upton Sinclair's Mental Radio [amazon.com] which was a book about remote viewing/telepathy.

I for one... (1)

Poohsticks (921205) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734707)

Salute... wait, you knew that already. Didn't you?

Negative Proof already... (1)

seven of five (578993) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734710)

If telepathy were real and useful, the multi-billion-dollar cell phone industry would not exist.

As always, if you know the loopholes you can win (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734715)

But if I just go out and hire some mind farmers to play for me, like say Neo, I can totally rule!

There is no spoon.

No, really.

It's a fork.

Calling bullshit (2, Interesting)

bananaendian (928499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734721)

it's more likely to disprove the existence of telepathy than to reveal evidence of psychic phenomena.

I'm sorry but as much as anyone would like it to be, it isn't possible to disprove that something doesn't exist. You can merely point out the continuing lack of credible proof that something does exist.

However one can estimate the likelyhood of the existance of so-called psychic phenomenon sphere by simply testing out if it holds up a test of internally consistent and logical structure. Indeed we do not know exactly how our brain functions and if it can send and receive signals. However such a possibility becomes ever less likely as our understanding of physics deepens. For such phenomenon to exist would mean so many ramifications that it would be highly unlikely that our scientific knowledge and measurement abilities wouldn't have stumbled on atleast a few of them by now...

PS: sorry, no references or links at this time of the night - just my own ramblings...

detectability (1)

disturbedite (979015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15734730)

i wonder if it is able to detect activity in the dead zone....

Scientologists call it auditing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15734756)

Help me Tom Cruise! Use some of your voodoo to get this fire off me!
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