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Author Topic: Does science recognise psychic abilities?  (Read 5894 times)

Offline latebind

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Does science recognise psychic abilities?
« on: 08/04/2010 19:30:30 »
I think the question says it all, but in other words I am asking if any forms of psychic phenomena are acknowledged by science as plausible...

I do hear the odd story of psychic'c cracking cases in police work, and I still don't know how John edwards does his thing, so personally I would not rule it out, but I would be pretty doubtful since I dont think anyone could do something really psychic like predicting lotto numbers or the world cup winner...



« Last Edit: 08/04/2010 19:34:59 by latebind »


 

Online Bored chemist

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Does science recognise psychic abilities?
« Reply #1 on: 08/04/2010 20:48:24 »
Science will only accept things for which there is some reasonable evidence.
If I were a genuine psychic and could provide the evidence then, to be honest, I'd not bother with the scientific community.
I'd go here
http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge/challenge-application.html
and pocket the million dollars.

I don't know who John Edwards is (unless it's my old French teacher from school which would seem odd) but if he has some "gift" I can't help wondering why he hasn't picked up the $1M. Is he an idiot?

There's another solid reason to think it's all bullshit.
If some people had some weird ability like this, say telepathy, it would be useful to them and they (and their progeny) would soon end up ruling the world with the rest of us extinct or an underclass.
 

Offline SeanB

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Does science recognise psychic abilities?
« Reply #2 on: 08/04/2010 21:10:14 »
Science depends on being able to reproduce an experiment made by others, and to get the same results. Agreement with some theory that is logical helps too, but if the theory does not agree with the experiment, and is replicated by others, then the theory is looked at and updated.

Psychic takes a theory and tries to match the world to it, and rejects the experimental data if it does not agree with the model, and only shows the data that agrees with the model chosen. Thus you choose the one point, and ignore all other evidence that the scientific method gives.
 

Offline JP

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Does science recognise psychic abilities?
« Reply #3 on: 09/04/2010 04:05:52 »
...I still don't know how John edwards does his thing...

I assume you mean John Edward, since John Edwards is a US politician (although they both make a career of telling people what they want to hear). 

TO answer your question about how John Edward does his thing: cold reading and hot reading.  Hot reading is looking up information on your audience ahead of time.  That's easy to do when you have a TV show since presumably you at leas know the names and contact info of your guests.  Cold reading is the technique of gaining information about a person without having that information previously.  There are a lot of ways to do it, but one that John Edward uses a lot is shotgunning the audience with a lot of vague statements.  When he sees someone respond to one of them, he pursues it until it seems like he knows intimate details of their lives.  He does this professionally, so he's very good at it and no doubt has an incredible talent for reading people's emotions from their body language. 

The other important point is that no one really remembers all the incorrect guesses or failures to demonstrate psychic powers.  The things that get publicity are those that seem amazing to us, so we self-select the evidence to support psychic powers. 


Here's some more info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_reading
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_reading

If you know what cold reading is, it's pretty evident that's what John Edward is doing.  For example, see:

Here's James Randi explaining cold reading:
 

Offline Shadec

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Does science recognise psychic abilities?
« Reply #4 on: 14/04/2010 03:21:28 »
I like this:
http://xkcd.com/373/ [nofollow]
 

Offline quibitheed

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Does science recognise psychic abilities?
« Reply #5 on: 18/04/2010 10:53:10 »
 I know from studies conducted at the University of Edinburgh using a set of 5 cards the test taker must choose from there is a small yet statistically unexplainable weight in favour of some small measure of remote viewing. I believe this test, the name of which escapes my foggy sunday morning head, has now been carried out many 1000's of times and the statistical anomaly persists. Perhaps, if you are interested, I am not, you can find out more at the link below.

newbielink:http://www.koestler-parapsychology.psy.ed.ac.uk/index.html [nonactive]
 

Offline odysseus

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Does science recognise psychic abilities?
« Reply #6 on: 06/06/2010 00:08:37 »
Outside of a few ‘Predict the outcome tests’ which appear to show some statistical evidence for significance, (as already mentioned by other readers of your thread), I am not aware of any tests conducted under laboratory conditions that provide statistical evidence to prove psychics have a particular ability.  Even in the cases where outcomes have proved to be significant, the way statistical tests work is that they attempt to measure the likelihood of gaining as significant a result as that observed, merely by random chance.  Clearly, if you repeat any prediction test often enough, you will always find examples that appear to sit outside of random chance, even though they are still actually random.

In the case of John Edward and for that matter Colin Fry (UK equivalent of John Edward).  Their shows on the face of it can sound pretty compelling and difficult to see how they can do what they do.  However at a later date I did see a show which revealed a number of the tricks of the trade of illusion.  Included in this, was a scenario of how you might get a similar result to that observed in such shows.  The method was simple.  It required you to make the audience queue up for a long period of time prior to letting them in to the studio.  A small team of individuals could then be included in the queue who’s role is to get chatting to individuals and inform them of their own personal experiences.  Typically this would be reciprocated and the outcome would be passed on to the show organisers.  This could then be coupled with a knowledge of the general seating plan to pick these people out of the crowd.  I am not saying that this is how John Edward and others do what they do, but it is one method that could be used in shows like these.

Having said that, I have also watched a number of shows which report that psychics have provided very specific details about crimes, that they could neither know or guess.  Some of the programmes appear to be very plausible, including senior police officials who testify to the accuracy of the report.  In addition, one of these psychics was reported to have been invited to provide evidence in a courtroom in the U.S.  If this, and similar reports are accurate, then the chances of using cold reading or guesswork to achieve similar results would be practically zero.  So while no one has managed to prove a psychic ability in the lab, there does potentially appear to be some significant evidence of an effect.

Personally, if these shows can be verified as accurate then I feel that further work should be conducted to investigate the potential mechanisms through which these individuals might achieve such results.  In my view, a possible mechanism for psychic ability, (should it actually exist), would be quantum entanglement (action at a distance), or ‘Spooky Action’ as Einstein dubbed it.
 

Offline Rozer

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Does science recognise psychic abilities?
« Reply #7 on: 29/11/2011 10:49:43 »
Today, with practical proofs that I can display anytime, I have convinced all that did not believe in my psychic powers. Proofs as imperative as sensing that a friend is in danger and incapable of calling out for help; and proofs as trivial as knowing where my son hid the remote to the television.
There is a common advice that I give to all beginners who are interested in recognizing their psychic powers. You have to be calm and clear headed to detect the phenomena of the paranormal. Learn to believe yourself when you perceive these phenomena, even if you cannot explain them logically; never give room for doubt.
 

Offline grizelda

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« Reply #8 on: 29/11/2011 12:41:42 »
I think the biggest ability they have is to convince you that they don't already know the answer beforehand, so it looks like magic when it is revealed.
 

Offline Gordian Knot

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« Reply #9 on: 29/11/2011 17:00:06 »
I saw a fascinating bit related to this subject, although I am not 100% about all the particulars. In essence a "psychic" talked to 10 people on camera. He then went to a private room and wrote all about each person.

When he came out he gave everyone their report and they were asked how accurate he was. The smiles and laughs and utter astonishment of the group was huge. They all said he had hit them spot on.

The "psychic" then took everyone's paper and placed them upside down, shuffled. He asked everyone to pick a report at random (and to put it back if they picked their own). Thus everyone was reading someone's else's report

There was more laughing, this time a bit sheepishly. It turned out that ALL the reports were completely identical. This is a trick used by cold readers to great success. They make vague statements that "appear" to be very person centric, but are in reality they are generalities.
 

Offline RD

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« Reply #10 on: 29/11/2011 17:51:56 »
... It turned out that ALL the reports were completely identical. This is a trick used by cold readers to great success. They make vague statements that "appear" to be very person centric, but are in reality they are generalities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forer_effect
 

Offline Geezer

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Does science recognise psychic abilities?
« Reply #11 on: 29/11/2011 18:19:07 »
Today, with practical proofs that I can display anytime, I have convinced all that did not believe in my psychic powers. Proofs as imperative as sensing that a friend is in danger and incapable of calling out for help; and proofs as trivial as knowing where my son hid the remote to the television.
There is a common advice that I give to all beginners who are interested in recognizing their psychic powers. You have to be calm and clear headed to detect the phenomena of the paranormal. Learn to believe yourself when you perceive these phenomena, even if you cannot explain them logically; never give room for doubt.


Using my psychic ability I was able to determine that this post is a clone of a post on another website. I am having a premonition that you (or your bot) will be banned from this website if you do that again.

 

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Does science recognise psychic abilities?
« Reply #11 on: 29/11/2011 18:19:07 »

 

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