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Author Topic: Is telekinesis possible?  (Read 12011 times)

Offline Professor Gaarder

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Is telekinesis possible?
« on: 02/03/2008 00:36:57 »
I think I need a second opinion on this, because I am writing a sci-fi novel about this very topic:

If by radiation/mercury fumes/something else your brain was affected but it actually gave a radioactive quality to your parietal lobe so that with your brain you could control expanses outside of your muscular system, would it be possible? I don't mean is it likely or has it ever happened, but is it plausible?
« Last Edit: 04/03/2008 23:17:07 by chris »


 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #1 on: 02/03/2008 15:42:07 »
"but is it plausible?"
No
 

Offline Professor Gaarder

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #2 on: 02/03/2008 15:43:38 »
so there's no way that radiation could somehow only affect the parietal lobe of their brain?
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #3 on: 02/03/2008 19:27:32 »
Quote
so there's no way that radiation could somehow only affect the parietal lobe of their brain?



Yes i believe there is a way if you had cancer in that part of the brain which was then targeted using the treatment called radioimmunotherapy. I have no idea if that form of treatment has ever been used for brain cancer but hey its a book.

Sounds like a good story line for a film ,cure the cancer and lose the special abilities

What made you decide on that part of the brain.?


http://www.cityofhope.org/rit/
« Last Edit: 02/03/2008 19:51:50 by ukmicky »
 

Offline Professor Gaarder

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #4 on: 02/03/2008 19:55:30 »
I picked the parietal lobe because it is the part of your brain that controls your physical actions. I figured if it was affected by radiation, something similar to telekinesis would occur, even without all the psychic/spiritual stuff.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #5 on: 03/03/2008 09:08:18 »
I think that you have been reading too much fantasy literature.  Real science just isn't like that.  The laws of physics notably the conservation of energy completely forbid telekinesis and most other "magic" on the scale of human beings. These laws are absolutely NEVER broken although on the scale of individual atoms Quantum mechanics does allow some pretty wild things to happen.  like particles tunnelling through potential barriers that they can't get over.  but these always work on a probability basis and so you just can't get a lot of atoms to do precisely the same thing at the same time like that.
 

lyner

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #6 on: 03/03/2008 09:28:05 »
If you introduce 'radiation' into a working system like a brain you are more likely to produce disfunction rather than improved function. It is, after all, like firing a shotgun into a system. Improved facilities in organisms can result from incremental changes due to mutation, I agree, but the essential word is 'incremental'. Most mutations are losers and it is only after a long time that an individual mutation selects  itself in a population by being beneficial.
'Mutation' is a favourite idea in Science fiction but it operates on  different scales of population and time from the Peter Parker / Spiderman thing. Your great great ..... great grandson could develop some power that you don't have but that wouldn't make much of a story.

And, as for the telekinesis bit; show me just one piece of irrefutable evidence that it has ever happened. Meanwhile I have to go with conventional Science and say it's nonsense, I'm afraid. (Much as I would love to be able to do it)
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #7 on: 03/03/2008 18:49:37 »
Mutation can do some interesting things- (eventually, it can turn slime into people). But, violating the laws of physics isn't one of them. Without a plausible mechanism for "action at a distance" telekinesis is doomed from the start.
 

lyner

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #8 on: 03/03/2008 19:28:39 »
Quote
eventually, it can turn slime into people)
and back again, in some cases.
 

another_someone

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #9 on: 03/03/2008 20:03:44 »
If you introduce 'radiation' into a working system like a brain you are more likely to produce disfunction rather than improved function. It is, after all, like firing a shotgun into a system. Improved facilities in organisms can result from incremental changes due to mutation, I agree, but the essential word is 'incremental'. Most mutations are losers and it is only after a long time that an individual mutation selects  itself in a population by being beneficial.
'Mutation' is a favourite idea in Science fiction but it operates on  different scales of population and time from the Peter Parker / Spiderman thing. Your great great ..... great grandson could develop some power that you don't have but that wouldn't make much of a story.

And, as for the telekinesis bit; show me just one piece of irrefutable evidence that it has ever happened. Meanwhile I have to go with conventional Science and say it's nonsense, I'm afraid. (Much as I would love to be able to do it)

I don't think you actually need your great, great, ... great grandson in order to show an effect.

The problem in the first place is not that mutations are good or bad, but are good or bad in what context.  In a world which expects everybody to have 2 arms, being born with one arm, or with 3 arms, is seen as dysfunctional.  There is no logical reason why it should be, except that our society was developed for people with 2 arms, and does not work well with people with one or three arms.  But, ofcourse, if we have people being born with three arms, and increasing numbers of them around, then by the time we get to your great, great, ... great grandson, society would probably have changed to make having three arms more advantageous than two arms.

That having been said, to be able to create a properly functioning mutation, that mutation has to be introduced into a growing organism (e.g. into an early stage embryo) rather than a full grown organism.  A full grown organism already has all the support structures in place for it to function the way it is, and making massive changes to the structure of the organism at this point will mean that it does not have the support structures (e.g. blood supply, external nervous system connections, etc.) to take advantage of the changes, while not being able to function in the way it has grown up to function.
 

another_someone

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #10 on: 03/03/2008 20:10:30 »
Mutation can do some interesting things- (eventually, it can turn slime into people). But, violating the laws of physics isn't one of them. Without a plausible mechanism for "action at a distance" telekinesis is doomed from the start.

Einstein said the same about "spooky" action at a distance, and the EPR paradox - nature so far seems to be proving Einstein wrong on that count.

I am not trying to argue in favour of telekinesis, only to suggest that saying we don't know how it could work is not proof it does not work.
 

lyner

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #11 on: 03/03/2008 21:54:03 »
'Good or bad' are not relevant descriptions of mutations. What counts is viability, first, then some sort of advantage. That's simple Darwinism. My point is that you don't suddenly mutate in mid life. Some cells can be changed successfully with gene therapy these days but that is a different process; I am not sure but I don't think that the characteristics get passed on unless the gametes are modified.
Is there any evidence of a major mutation - like your three arms example - which is of benefit (or even otherwise) and which immediately gets into the gene pool?
The 'spiderman' scenario, beloved of Sci Fi is just never seen.

As for telekinesis, just saying that it hasn't been disproved is no argument for its existence. I still await a convincing demonstration on anything but the Quantum level. Without a demo, it's no more real than other forms of magic.
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #12 on: 03/03/2008 21:58:03 »
Quote
If you introduce 'radiation' into a working system like a brain you are more likely to produce disfunction rather than improved function.



There getting clever these days

radioimmunotherapy.
 
Quote
In a study to determine safe dosages of the isotope astatine-211 for treating patients with recurring brain tumors, researchers were pleasantly surprised to find that not only was the isotope's potency sufficient to kill residual cancer cells without damaging sensitive healthy brain cells, but the patients experienced longer survival rates.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080130161750.htm


Quote
Astatine-211 emits alpha particles that travel through only a few cells, instead of the more penetrating beta particles emitted by Iodine-131. In addition, Astatine-211 produces much lower levels of radioactivity outside the body, eliminating the need for patients to be isolated in a lead-lined room for the week or so required after Iodine treatment.

However, the most important therapeutic advantage of Astatine-211 is its far greater efficiency as a killer of cancer cells, with only one or two radioactive atoms needed to kill a cell. Preliminary results from clinical trials show that only a few millicuries of Astatine-211 on the antibody can deliver a radiation dose to tumors the equivalent of that delivered by 100 millicuries of Iodine-131, said the researchers.

According to Henry Friedman, both Iodine-131 and Astatine-211 will likely find a role in future cancer therapies, with Astatine-211 effectively attacking the thin layer of highly cancerous cells immediately surrounding the resection cavity, and Iodine used to penetrate more broadly. Such treatments could eliminate the need for beam radiation, he said.

Although the potential advantages of Astatine-211 for cancer therapy have been known for some time, the lack of efficient methods for its production and attachment to antibodies have prevented clinical investigations, said the Duke medical center researchers.

http://www.dukemednews.org/global/email.php?context=/news/article.php&id=573
« Last Edit: 03/03/2008 22:03:43 by ukmicky »
 

another_someone

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #13 on: 03/03/2008 23:09:15 »
'Good or bad' are not relevant descriptions of mutations. What counts is viability, first, then some sort of advantage. That's simple Darwinism. My point is that you don't suddenly mutate in mid life. Some cells can be changed successfully with gene therapy these days but that is a different process; I am not sure but I don't think that the characteristics get passed on unless the gametes are modified.
Is there any evidence of a major mutation - like your three arms example - which is of benefit (or even otherwise) and which immediately gets into the gene pool?

Agreed - thalidomide has caused inheritable mutations, but it was not originally caused my mutation of the adult being passed on to the young (that is more the Lamarckian model of inheritance, that is no longer accepted).

As for telekinesis, just saying that it hasn't been disproved is no argument for its existence. I still await a convincing demonstration on anything but the Quantum level. Without a demo, it's no more real than other forms of magic.

OK, I believe it does exist, although not in the magical way people think of.

I may be wrong, I believe dolphins can use telekinesis.  OK, it is taking maybe a somewhat particular notion of telekinesis, to be able to move things without being in physical contact with it, which they can do by projecting sound waves.

True, dolphins are big creatures, with big lungs, and they can move small fish, not other dolphins.  It is also true that dolphins have the advantage of living in water, and water is a better conductor of sound than air.  Nonetheless, it is telekinesis.

Yes, the mechanism dolphins use is well understood, so the process is demystified, and it is not regarded as magic.  On a superficial level, one does not associate it with what people like Ryan talk about, because that kind of 'telekinesis' has its attraction just because of its supposed mysteriousness, and anything that makes the mysterious simply mundane somehow does not seem to be talking about the same thing.
 

lyner

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #14 on: 04/03/2008 09:38:47 »
To say that dolphins can 'do' tk is the equivalent of saying that humans can blow a match out so they can do tk, too.

Surely tk implies a lot more than simple action at a distance.
 

lyner

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #15 on: 04/03/2008 09:46:10 »
Radioimmunotherapy is an interesting idea and could be a counter argument to my statement. But I would say that a well targeted treatment at the cellular level is a far cry from some random blast of radiation producing a modification to the capabilities of an individual. The shotgun analogy is still going to apply to 'accidental' events. The example you give is only a way of selective cell destruction, after all(?). It's not a method of gene modification

There is a Darwinian based argument against the possibility of humans developing tk. Being able to do it is clearly and advantage, overall, so why hasn't that characteristic already expressed itself in a very obvious way if it's possible?
« Last Edit: 04/03/2008 09:49:45 by sophiecentaur »
 

another_someone

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Re: Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #16 on: 04/03/2008 12:33:26 »
To say that dolphins can 'do' tk is the equivalent of saying that humans can blow a match out so they can do tk, too.

Yep - I thought about that afterwards as well.

Surely tk implies a lot more than simple action at a distance.

Clearly, the original question did imply some sort of novel action at a distance, but I suppose it is now up to the 'professor' to explain exactly what parameters of action at a distance he was thinking of.

Technically, all that telekinesis means literally is 'action at a distance', but (as we have both noted) it also carries all sorts of imagery that implies something other than the narrowest literal definition, but it is not for us to assume what imagery the 'professor' had in mind, but for him to tell us what imagery he had in mind.

All I was saying was that in its narrowest definition it is clearly possible.  The problem is, as I indicated, the conflict between the romance of the idea of the supernatural, and at the same time the desire to have things validated as scientifically natural.  You cannot have both, but if you want something validated as scientifically natural, then you have to lose some of the romantic notions of being beyond scientific explanation, and deal with the more earthy, and even mundane, realities of science.  The bridge to be crossed is usually more psychological than physical.
 

Offline Professor Gaarder

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Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #17 on: 07/03/2008 02:59:10 »
If you introduce 'radiation' into a working system like a brain you are more likely to produce disfunction rather than improved function. It is, after all, like firing a shotgun into a system. Improved facilities in organisms can result from incremental changes due to mutation, I agree, but the essential word is 'incremental'. Most mutations are losers and it is only after a long time that an individual mutation selects  itself in a population by being beneficial.
'Mutation' is a favourite idea in Science fiction but it operates on  different scales of population and time from the Peter Parker / Spiderman thing. Your great great ..... great grandson could develop some power that you don't have but that wouldn't make much of a story.

And, as for the telekinesis bit; show me just one piece of irrefutable evidence that it has ever happened. Meanwhile I have to go with conventional Science and say it's nonsense, I'm afraid. (Much as I would love to be able to do it)

Out of everything that has been posted, I cite two words: most likely.

I want to know if the less likely event of radiation to the parietal lobe has ever increased the range of the brain.

I know this is a very farfetched theory to throw into a ring with a bunch of science buffs, but I wanted to see what someone who knew what they were talking about did with it.
 

Offline Professor Gaarder

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Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #18 on: 07/03/2008 03:03:01 »
Clearly, the original question did imply some sort of novel action at a distance, but I suppose it is now up to the 'professor' to explain exactly what parameters of action at a distance he was thinking of.

Technically, all that telekinesis means literally is 'action at a distance', but (as we have both noted) it also carries all sorts of imagery that implies something other than the narrowest literal definition, but it is not for us to assume what imagery the 'professor' had in mind, but for him to tell us what imagery he had in mind.

All I was saying was that in its narrowest definition it is clearly possible.  The problem is, as I indicated, the conflict between the romance of the idea of the supernatural, and at the same time the desire to have things validated as scientifically natural.  You cannot have both, but if you want something validated as scientifically natural, then you have to lose some of the romantic notions of being beyond scientific explanation, and deal with the more earthy, and even mundane, realities of science.  The bridge to be crossed is usually more psychological than physical.

Quote Era Demonstratum

Thus it is proved, or in this case, disproved.

I've always been into this whole supernatural thing, in trying to find facts that give it a basis. Apparently this one is just too much of a stretch to prove, and you really have to be eager to believe it in order to.
 

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Is telekinesis possible?
« Reply #18 on: 07/03/2008 03:03:01 »

 

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