Well, of course it doesn’t prove anything. Everybody knows that psychic powers don’t work in front of skeptics, they give off too many psychic-power-destroying mental vibes.
ETA: HAH! I posted that before looking at the article. Nailed it!
People who believe in psychic ability (the psychics, their followers) are not going to be talked out of it by any scientific study, no matter how rigorous. Many people are just naturally credulous, and no amount of research can counter human nature.
I’m just sorry they’re continuing to waste valuable research dollars on this bullshit.
Here’s the thing about psychic ability … some people really do have it, but not a single one of them is hawking it for $5 with a fake crystal ball. They’re just quietly living their lives and being amazed that sometimes they just “know” things or “see” things that couldn’t have otherwise been known or seen, which are too accurate, or too detailed, or happen too frequently, to be chalked up to coincidence. But they can’t call it up on a whim and they don’t go around predicting things. That’s just not how it “works,” so no scientific test is going to either prove or disprove its existence.
A guy named Frank Robson in New Zealand helped create a dolphin-show park in NZ (maybe the first such park there) and became the head trainer, and wrote a book about it. (See Thinking Dolphins, Talking Whales, Frank Robson, 1977.)
He claimed to have natural telepathic powers, and gave several anecdotes from his life to “prove” it. Once he got into the dolphin training business, he claimed that he trained the dolphins telepathically! He wrote this with the sort of tone like he was saying “It’s so easy, anybody could do it!” – Even though he seemed to acknowledge that his self-perceived telepathic skill was hardly typical. It struck me as an odd inconsistency in his thinking.
How do you know this if they are being so quiet about it? And if you actually do have any good evidence for this then feel free to post your cite.
Or are the people being so quiet about it that no-one ever gets to know about it at all and their predictions never have an impact on the real world? In which case…not really much of a useful gift is it?
You have the premise of a SF story there. A secret CIA plan fronted by a university to study psychics. But any psychics that are found will be taken off to a secret government base for further “testing”.
The program would be a complete failure. The CIA would assume this showed that psychics weren’t real. But the punchline would be that all the real psychics knew not to show up for the study.
I have never seen anyone conciously control psychic ability but far too often to call it a coincidence one member of a couple will answer their mate before they brought a subject up, even when the subject is the most unlikley thing that might come out of their mouths. My long time girlfriend does this to the point that I am afraid to think around her.
A couple of times in my life I have recieved phone calls from someone who has not even crossed my mind in over a decade just minutes after I thought about them.
I was 86ed out of a bar in my early 20’s, I went back to the same bar 20 years later and the bartender told me I wasn’t allowed to drink there and asked me to leave. I explained to him I had not even been there for 20 years and he looked at me funny and said he could swear someone told him I was 86ed.
Things like this happen all the time, they could and may be all coincidence but they happen frequently enough to raise serious questions.
Whoah! Left me stop you there. How often is “far too often”? And on what do you base that?
Do they now? When a perfectly reasonable answer suffices (chance, coincidence and confirmation bias) why invoke the supernatural? What does that explain that known concepts do not?
I think that your real question should be “how often should we expect seemingly incredible coincidences to occur?” And start from there. Consider that we know hundreds of people with which we have millions of potential interactions each day and then multiply that by the number of days in a year and the number of years we live and the number of people in the world…etc etc.
It would be supernatural if strange coincidences didn’t happen.
More herein the Guardian, which was involved with the testing. Unsurprising to note that the “psychics” signed:
Also note that
Of course after the test Pat said it wasn’t a fair test of her abilities. Not only that but apparently the same people have tested Pat before and she failed last time also. For all that Pat is misleading people, it’s hard to feel much animosity when it’s pretty clear that she is guileless and not terribly bright.
The quote of Pat’s reading of one test subject is very telling. It’s basically a shopping list of guesses based on what you would expect of any young college person. Pat is just moderately good at knowing about people’s hopes and fears but isn’t smart enough to realise it’s based on experience, not being psychic.