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the seeker
New Member

USA
14 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2008 :  18:55:47  Show Profile Send the seeker a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Does anyone know any scientific theories that explain telepathy, telekinesis, and all that jazz? So far on my own, I have the butterfly effect on how a flap of a butterfly's wings can effect a hurricane on an opposite coast--I figured that it basically says that the Universe is connected to each other.

It's a start, but it's close to nothing.

Can anyone else help me on this?



[Moved to the General Skepticism folder - Dave W.]

My signature consists of my not having a signature.

recurve boy
Skeptic Friend

Australia
53 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2008 :  19:16:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send recurve boy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by the seeker

So far on my own, I have the butterfly effect on how a flap of a butterfly's wings can effect a hurricane on an opposite coast--I figured that it basically says that the Universe is connected to each other.


No. That famous analogy has nothing to do with the super natural. It is a statement about Chaos Theory. Basically, the study of how small changes in initial conditions can have large effects later. A good example is a pendulum with a "disk break". With no friction on the break, you get the regular swinging motion you expect. Add a little pressure and you'll see that the pendulum develops a bifurcation. Not what you'd expect.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2008 :  19:50:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome to SFN, the seeker!

There really is no theoretical scientific basis to these claimed "psi" powers, nor is there any scientific evidence that they exist. That hasn't stopped millions from believing in them, nor dozens of scholars from trying to justify the belief by applying various fig-leaves, such as mumbo-jumbo versions of quantum theory.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 01/21/2008 19:51:02
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2008 :  19:54:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by the seeker

Does anyone know any scientific theories that explain telepathy, telekinesis, and all that jazz?
Yes: they are the results of people fooling themselves or fooling others. Happens all the time. That explains them quite neatly.

Really, a scientific theory explains observed phenomena. In over 150 years of trying, nobody has yet been able to provide rock-solid repeatable demonstrations of any telepathic, telekinetic or other paranormal abilities. The only thing to explain is why people believe that such powers exist.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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the seeker
New Member

USA
14 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2008 :  20:26:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send the seeker a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I suspected as much. This explains why whenever something about the paranormal comes up in TV shows or in books, they normally don't go to great lengths to try to analyze the reason for those paranormal persons or events, they just simply state it.

Can someone explain the quantum theory/entanglement to me?

My signature consists of my not having a signature.
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2008 :  20:28:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by the seeker

I suspected as much. This explains why whenever something about the paranormal comes up in TV shows or in books, they normally don't go to great lengths to try to analyze the reason for those paranormal persons or events, they just simply state it.

Can someone explain the quantum theory/entanglement to me?
I'm reading a book on quantum theory, and I'm afraid I still don't get it. At least, not on the layman's level that I get big bang cosmology or relativity. Gimme a few days and I might be able to put something together. Or one of the smarter SFN members may be able to say something.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2008 :  21:10:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Just about all I "get" about the spooky quantum stuff is that it operates on a very tiny (sub-atomic) scale. Einsteinian rules apply in the macro universe. The search for a "Theory of Everything" to reconcile the two realms is probably the hottest topic in theoretical physics.

The spooky stuff of the micro quantum world doesn't seem to have much if any application or implication in our everyday world. It's only trotted out to "explain" psi and other woo-woo because it seems "sciency" and confuses even intelligent laymen (and certainly my order of laymen).


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 01/21/2008 21:10:58
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2008 :  21:59:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Seeker.....

You ask:
Can someone explain the quantum theory/entanglement to me?

A very good and not too technical or mathematical start on understanding quantum mechanics can be found here on the Wikipedia. Specifically, quantum entanglement here!

If you want more, I have just finished an excellent book on Einstein (Einstein by Walter Isaacson) which gives a good layman's explanation of both relativity and quantum mechanics. It's fresh in my mind and I can probably answer simple questions on both, however I am not trained academically in particle physics, only what I have been able to absorb in a lifetime of reading.

Unless you have a pretty thorough background education in higher mathematics, you get to a certain point where the concepts cannot be explained in English alone. I finished two years in calculus and differential equations when I was in college many years ago, but even that does not suffice to really get one's head around the basics of particle physics. Much of it is explicable only in mathematical terminology, and one must be fluent in that language to understand the symbolic representation of the ideation.

Stephen Hawking tries very hard to put many of these concepts into understandable English, but only partially succeeds; as anyone who has tackled A Brief History of Time or The Universe in a Nutshell can attest. Both are fairly tough going, but well worth it if you will chew at it until the ideas begin to make sense!
Edited by - bngbuck on 01/22/2008 10:05:12
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Cuneiformist
The Imperfectionist

USA
4954 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2008 :  22:04:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Cuneiformist a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck
Unless you have a pretty thorough background education in higher mathematics, you get to a certain point where the concepts cannot be explained in English alone. I finished two years of calculus and differential equations when I was in college many years ago, but that does not suffice to really get your head around the basics pf of particle physics.
I think this is the right assessment, bngbuck. And certainly correct for anyone who wants to dabble in string theory. I've tried for YEARS to find a good book to explain that to me, and nothing has worked. Same goes (to a large extent) for quantum theory. I get it to a point, but that point isn't enough. Unfortunately, for me to get to that "enough" stage, I'm going to have to spend a few years catching up on very complex math. And I don't think I can do that.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26009 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2008 :  22:24:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
And there's Wikipedia's entry on entanglement.

Don't forget Feynman's adage, "if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2008 :  02:25:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave_W said:
Don't forget Feynman's adage, "if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics."

So true.

I don't think I understand quantum mechanics, in fact, I'm pretty confident that I don't.

The very concept that a single electron, fired at a double slit, is capable of interfering with itself... can hurt your brain.

I did read an interesting paper in Science last year (one of the november issues) that showed a 2 proton hydrogen molecule's nucleus behaving by classical physical rules.

Its very interesting that there is some seemingly arbitrary size/mass limit that separates the quantum and classical realms. If I were a physicist it is that intersection where I'd be looking for answers.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2008 :  05:27:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The mathematics behind quantum physics and relativity require high levels of calculus, vector calculus, differential and partial differential equations, pure linear algebra, abstract algebra, and topology. I've taken over 60 hours of university mathematics and I'm still not close to understanding it. Mostly this because I have not taken the mathematics in a physics environment. However, I don't see a chance of understanding the mathematics behind something like a Lie (pronounced "Lee") Algebra or Minkowski space without the pure mathematical background.


Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2008 :  05:32:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The problem isnt the details of Quantum mechanics, the problem is that quantum mechanics is so strange and not well known that these goofballs run around saying that QM helps explain their particular delusion.

Essentially QM is this, at certain mircoscopic size the power of the Strong and Weak forces overcomes the power and effects of Gravity thus making relativity moot at this tiny size. Until God's perfect plan is revealed to us anyway.

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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recurve boy
Skeptic Friend

Australia
53 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2008 :  07:01:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send recurve boy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner
The spooky stuff of the micro quantum world doesn't seem to have much if any application or implication in our everyday world. It's only trotted out to "explain" psi and other woo-woo because it seems "sciency" and confuses even intelligent laymen (and certainly my order of laymen).


Sure it's useful! You'd need some quantum mechanics to explain the function of the computer you're using!
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2008 :  11:07:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
recurve said:
Sure it's useful! You'd need some quantum mechanics to explain the function of the computer you're using!

Yeah, our high capacity hard disks are possible only because we figured out how to exploit a quantum principle.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2008 :  15:09:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Seeker.....

You ask:
Does anyone know any scientific theories that explain telepathy, telekinesis, and all that jazz?
Helen, I would like to respond to your initial question. The subject matter is reasonably close to the profession and social science that I chose as my major in college and pursued into graduate work,
Clinical Psychology. When I was in graduate school many years ago, parapsychology was a seriously treated subject, and the work of J. B. Rhine at Duke University was held in reasonable repute.

Today, that is no longer true for several reasons, some good and some not so good. The spectacular successes of the "hard" sciences has eclipsed the work of most of the social sciences and many of those disciplines are not held worthy of even bearing the name Science by some physicists, chemists and biologists. Some condescend to use the term "soft science" when speaking of Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Political Science, and the like.

Most recently however, and I quote:
"Currently, it is a matter of fact that some social science subfields have become very quantitative in methodology. Conversely, the interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary nature of scientific inquiry into human behavior and social and environmental factors affecting it have made many of the so-called hard sciences interested on some aspects of social science methodology." (WIKI Social Sciences.)

This is certainly true in the field of psychology, and, remarkably enough; there is evidence that the revered Scientific Method has produced some at least interesting results in the study of a distinctly parapsychological field, the phenomenon known as telepathy.

The Ganzfield Experiment methodology is at least a legitimate attempt to apply rigorous investigational methodology to a subject that is usually dismissed out of hand by scientists and skeptics alike as not worthy of serious discussion. There is other work ongoing and reported regularly in The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. This is a serious publication, these folks are not crackpots; and although they have yet failed to produce any irrefutable evidence that such "psychic" phenomena exists, neither is there any reason to conclude that telepathy is so improbable that it might as well be considered impossible.

Helen, you are a young person and are not yet encrusted with the hard shell of cynicism and disdain that comes with repeated exposure to the mistakes, credulity, ignorance, superstition, and general woo-woo (James Randi's delightful term) that has been associated with most of the exploration and exposition of so-called "parapsychological phenomenona". Nor, I would hope, are you imbued with the all-too-common intellectual's PC mindset that can only properly be described as scoffing. The boneyards of science are littered with the remains of self-evident assumption; i.e. the geocentric model of the solar system to mention just one! Galileo produced evidence to the contrary, and almost lost his life as a result!

Yes, there has been a great deal of chicanery and even charlatanism attendant to "parapsychology", and it rightfully has a bad name. I certainly would not deign to label it a Science! A great deal more application of the SM to a great deal more experimental data must be done before anyone with common sense could even sensibly acknowledge parapsychology as a subset of the {Science/Art/Craft} known as Psychology!

But that is not to say that the existence of such a thing as telepathy has been conclusively proved to be a chimera.

One cannot prove a negative unless it is a logical contradiction. Consequently, it cannot be proved that God does not exist, although there have been innumerable attempts to prove that He/She/It does, in fact, exist. All have failed, largely due to insufficient (supernatural) evidence. This is not the case with a construct such as telepathy. Sufficiently sophisticated testing coupled with exhaustive statistical analysis may well yet eventually demonstrate the viability, or non-viability, of this long-debated phenomenon.

________________________________________________________________________________________


On a personal note, I must confess that my own view of this subject has been colored by an extremely powerful personal experience that I had a number of years ago. This event was so extraordinarily remarkable, devoid of any possibility of conventional explanation that I can conceive of, and unlikely to be a coincidental event; that I completely changed my perspective on the subject of telepathy from extreme skepticism to one of serious consideration that such a thing as telepathy may exist.

It is one thing to read of other's allegedly parapsychological experiences, as there always is the possibility of hallucination, defective memory, outright falsehood, and many other factors that apply to anecdotal evidence. However, it is quite another to have such an experience yourself which is corroborated by many others! Almost enough experience to become a True Believer! It made me a True Agnostic with respect to the possibility of telepathy!

If anyone is curious and feels that they might be able to offer a sensible, rational explanation - that is not telepathy - for an experience that I and several others had years ago, I would be glad to share it with you!
Edited by - bngbuck on 01/22/2008 15:25:51
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