ESP and related abilities

So do you think things like ESP really exist? If so, what do you believe causes it?

Some friends and I were talking about it the other day and it’s odd how one of them is able to tell when people are about to call his house or can tell if someone is staring at him from behind (first-hand experience, no mirrors).

There was speculation on EM fields and a latent ability to sense such fields. Also, it could be a brain chemical fluke or “evolution” of the human brain, which is currently not “wired” to correctly or safely make use of such abilities.

what do you think? Utter crap? A slight possibility?

I think utter crap.

Having said that, if you believe in free will, then, in some very small way, psychokinetic power exists - at the molecular level.

When one moves by choice, it’s because messages from the brain are sent in the form of electrical impulses. Within the brain (IIRC), those impulses are caused by the brain setting up an electrical imbalance by moving chemicals to one side of a gap or another. Those chemicals are moved - how? Maybe some force they’ll identify sometime or maybe not - but at some point, if one believes in free will, some physical maifestation of one’s will occurs.

If one doesn’t believe in free will, then it’s not so freaky.

I’m with the ‘utter crap’ crowd. No EM fields are necessary, just an imperfect brain. Your friend remembers the times he thought someone was going to call and someone did because the event is significant to him. He doesn’t remember the (more often) times when someone called without him thinking it or when he was thinking someone would call and they didn’t.

If I tell you that the number 14 has mystical connections and has been eerily integrated into everyday society, you will suddenly start to really notice number 14s around you - because you’re selecting for them as being “meaningful”. You won’t notice the countless other numbers around you because you’re not looking for them.

The “people staring at you” idea has been tested and has never proven to be anything in a controlled environment.

There just isn’t any evidence out there that anything like ESP exists. And it’s not for lack of being studied.

I don’t think esp exist as most people think of it. Psychics will tell you they can read minds and move objects, yeah right.
However some types of exp are possible without extraordinary mental abilities.
For example, humans are known to give off a very slight EM field. Have you ever rubbed a balloon across your hair and made it stand on end? Same thing, your hair may somehow rise slightly and it lets you known that either someone is close by or your to close to a generator. Or more simply, he can hear you breathing or moving.
As for phone calls, on occasion I have noticed a sort of pre ring from some phones. Its not very loud and you have to know what to listen for but it is detectable. It could be possible your friend is just hearing that and assuming its something else.

Put me down for utter crap…you know what I mean, stop sniggering.

I understand the notion of being able to tell when somebody is about to call, but I think if you asked your friend to do an experiment in which each time s/he had that feeling s/he made a note of it in a journal, then timed how long it was until the phone rang, it might reveal that s/he is only remembering the hits and forgetting the misses, a very common occurrence.

Utter crap.


Utter crap. And in order to maintain my sanity, I have to tell myself that people who believe otherwise just haven’t thought it through thoroughly, though.

I had an ESP experience once, (telepathic type) so I won’t say Utter Crap.

No, I can’t repeat it. No, I can’t prove it. No, it never happened
And: No, there is no other “reasonable explanation” for the incident.

I wouldn’t tend to mark down something with so much apparent anecdotal evidence as impossible. Still haven’t seen proof, though.

No, you couldn’t think of a reasonable explanation. That’s not to say that you’re thick. Hell, it took Ben Franklin to come up with a reasonable explanation of lightining.

I think you’ve made the mistake of shifting the burden of proof. To conclude that it was a psychic experience, you need to prove that it was a psychic experience. Merely showing that the set of reasonable explanations that you can come up with doesn’t work only establishes that something happened that you can’t explain. No sin there.

As to the OP, the brain is a use-it-or-lose-it operation. Aside from death, the most brain cells you’re going to lose will be during early childhood. That’s when your brain pathways are culled and reinforced. If we had psychic powers, then there would be psychic organs in the brain. But if we don’t use an extant organ, it either atrophies and dies, or it is taken over by some other function. For example, if you tie an ape’s arm to its body so that it cannot use it, the neurons that go to controlling that arm get called to another function and are no longer really associated with that arm. If we had a psychic organ in our brains, but we only had psychic experiences once in a great while, then the organ would either die or be used up by some other function.

To put it another way, psychic powers would have huge survival advantages. If psychic what’sits were extant, and if we could detect them, then our powers of perception would be very strong–like sight, hearing, and touch. Of course, there are alot of things we can’t detect, e.g. UV radiation & the Earth’s magnetic polarity, so an inability to detect psychic what’sits doesn’t prove that they don’t exist. However, the fact that we don’t have a well defined and universal psychic sense constitutes pretty clear evidence that humans wholly lack any psychic ability.

Posted by js_africanus: “I think you’ve made the mistake of shifting the burden of proof. To conclude that it was a psychic experience, you need to prove that it was a psychic experience. Merely showing that the set of reasonable explanations that you can come up with doesn’t work only establishes that something happened that you can’t explain. No sin there.”

Agreed, in general. However, there was no way to “prove” the telepathic experience happened. I have stated that this was a one time event.
I am personally convinced that there’s no other explanation, thus my statement to the OP that I can’t say ESP is “utter crap”.

Do I expect anyone else to accept what I say when I’m unable to provide any evidence? No, because if it hadn’t happened to me, :eek: I wouldn’t believe it either.

So what happened?

Yeah Uncle John, tell us a story. :slight_smile:

I’ll bring the smores!

If you can’t repeat it, it only happened once, and there’s no explanation for it, then it’s most likely just a coincidence.

Or the 2000 General Election. Your choice.

I would like to believe that such a thing was possible, but I don’t think it is. If it was the evidence would be easy to ascertain, I would think.

By kasuo “I’ll bring the smores!”
Ummmm, smores!

Anything can always be coincidence. This incident, however, would be one of the damndest world class coincidences ever.

The only explanation is ESP, or the unlikely coincidence.

Now, I don’t think this can be written quickly. Many years have passed and I’ve never mentioned this to another person. I’m not sure if I really want to “talk” about it or not. On the other hand, perhaps the teeming millions will fight my ignorance.

Give me until tomorrow night to either write this up or decide not to post it. Either way, I’ll check back into this thread then.

In the meantime, keep the smores hot, the wine cool, and don’t leave the edges of your seats. :slight_smile:

Exactly! Those are the possibilities:[list=1][li]ESPcoincidence[/li][/list=1]When you calculate the odds, you have to calculate them for both possibilities. You’re not entitled to say “The odds of (2) are a zillion to one, therefore it has to be (1)”

What are the odds of (1)? I know that if I had any sort of ESP, I’d be demonstrating it on TV left and right. I’d be a rich man. What are the odds that a number of people have ESP, and that none of them have demonstrated those powers to an impartial, skeptical, observer? Those are very very very long odds!