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Zaku's avatar

Why do you suppose that so many people who say they don't believe in psychic abilities, assume that they know what the limits and nature of psychic abilities would definitely be?

Asked by Zaku (30478points) 2 weeks ago

Such as, they will say that if psychic abilities existed, that people with it would have infallible complete knowledge of everything?

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60 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

The scientific method taught us to question notions that were once thought sacred. We want facts that demonstrate things are real. So far, paranormal phenomenon have not demonstrated they can be reliably replicated in experiments.

Yet, I have seen things that cannot be explained rationally. I sat in a crowded room with a psychic giving information, and she accurately described my grandmother’s watch in my bedside table even telling me where it was.

Dr. Brian Weiss has some good books about past lives that are good reads.

I believe that reality is more complex than can be described with our 5 senses. There is more, but I don’t label it. It just is. I don’t worry about it, and I’m happy.

seawulf575's avatar

There have been a number of efforts to prove or disprove the existence of psychic abilities. These have been slammed as being of poor design, low population, or not actually focusing on what the study was to be about.

The CIA did have the Stargate Project. There were a number of books written by some of the participants. Psychic Warrior by David Morehouse and The Men Who Stare At Goats by Jon Ronson (also a movie), though I’m not sure they used the name “Stargate Project” in these books. This project had a number of names over the years. It was never very big and eventually got cut from the budget. They did get some results but they were not consistent and couldn’t be counted on as actual intel for the CIA.

But that doesn’t stop people from making assumptions about something they don’t believe in. It’s much like left-wingers telling you all about how a Trump supporter thinks. They have no clue but don’t mind speaking.

canidmajor's avatar

Arrogance. There is an enormous amount of arrogance going on that assumes that because one is extremely learned in one or more scientific areas, they know most, if not all things; seemingly forgetting that science, scientific method, and scientific principles are about discovery. “If I don’t recognize something as evidence, then it is not evidence” is used to support this, way too often.

People, especially academics, are loath to even entertain the thought that we haven’t figured out everything and how to measure and quantify everything. Therefore, any psychic abilities that may rely on purely random occurrences to manifest will be mocked and refuted by many.

Caravanfan's avatar

There is no such thing as having psychic abilities.

Demosthenes's avatar

I think they want the existence of such abilities to be proven, and “infallible complete knowledge of everything” would provide a very easy means of proving or disproving their validity. But since that doesn’t seem to happen, we can rule out psychic abilities as being characterized by such infallible knowledge. If psychic abilities exist, there’s not going to be an easy means of proving or disproving their existence, and that’s unsatisfying to many.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Demosthenes I disagree. Setting up a test to prove a psychic ability is almost a trivial affair. Let’s say someone says they can make a chair rotate. You bring the person into a hermetically sealed controlled room and place them in another room with a window. The chair, the room, and the conditions are agreed upon by both parties, and the chair is shown to freely rotate. Then you set the subject down and give them three tries to try to move the chair, say, 10 degrees in a controlled condition.

janbb's avatar

Tehre are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

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canidmajor's avatar

So, @Caravanfan, you define “psychic” as someone capable of telekinesis? How very flat-earther of you. Pick the least likely to manifest event and say “prove it”. Least likely, because it would require exerting force on a physical object.

Telepathy? Why not. You accept radio as an absolute, because, well, there it is. Thoughts are electrical impulses, get the right wavelength, who knows what could happen?

Precognition? Why not? When I was in college, 50 years ago, my wacko physicist friends were positing that time was not necessarily linear, and an instrument sensitive to that could detect anomalies and predict outcomes. That concept and discussion hasn’t left the building.

And weather. The ability to accurately, within five days, predict weather, has only been around in my lifetime, thanks to the development of devices and advances in long distance communication for the processing of data. And even now, they can’t go further out than that. Weather is pretty random, maybe psychic abilities are, too.

Maybe the science just hasn’t caught up with this yet. You just don’t know.

So you relegate it all to the same folder that contains the discussions of manatees/mermaids and the like.
Then take a moment to think just how unlikely it is that someone would have figured out that data can be transmitted through the air, and with a special device, interpreted as recognizable sound patterns at the other end at any distance from the origin.

Maybe stuff can be proven, maybe we just don’t know how yet. Maybe telekinetic abilities absolutely don’t exist, maybe telepathic abilities do.
But lordy, how absolutely arrogant to assume that something doesn’t exist because you have decided so.

Caravanfan's avatar

@canidmajor No, I was just using telepathy as an example.

Caravanfan's avatar

@canidmajor I assume nothing and I “believe in” nothing. Show me irrifutable evidence that psychic phenomena exist and I will happily change my mind. That’s how science works.

Demosthenes's avatar

My precognitive vision for this thread: no one is going to change their mind or be convinced of anything. :)

Caravanfan's avatar

@Demosthenes Probably. But I’m totally willing to be convinced about someone being psychic. I just need demonstrable proof.

Caravanfan's avatar

Here’s another experiment. Let’s use telepathy as an example. The subject is in a room and separate the subject and the experimenter by a barrier where they can’t see each other but can hear each other easily. The experimenter shuffles a deck of cards and silently looks at each card individually. The subject tells what card is being held up. An independant observer marks down both the card and the subject’s response. If someone has telepathy, they should be to correctly state each card.

Here is a skeptoid that talks about Project Stargate
https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4044

Caravanfan's avatar

In terms of weather, there is a large body of science behind studying weather and doing weather predictions in a field called “meteorology”. It has nothing to do with being psychic.

Zaku's avatar

Thanks, everyone!

Please notice that I wasn’t asking whether you believe in psychic abilities or not, or to try to convince anyone of anything.

I was interested what people might think about why so many people who don’t believe in psychic abilities, assume that they know what those abilities are, and tend to assume those abilities would be very reliable, powerful, obvious, etc?

For example, that:
* psychic people should always know if anyone’s about to try to kill them
* psychic people should be able to win lotteries and always win games of chance
* psychic people should be able to completely read anyone’s mind, know others’ thoughts and memories, etc, or just be able to always know anyone’s surface thoughts very reliably

In contrast, I’ve known quite a few honest smart people who seriously assert that they have some psychic abilities, but zero of them have claimed anything like those abilities. Instead, they each say they have different types of ability, and it’s never works all the time or with everyone, and the way it works is generally not like a comic book super-power – they tend to be more intuitive senses, and such abilities as:
* strong intuitive abilities
* ability to get impressions from things
* ability to connect with spirits of various types, and have limited communications with them, and introduce them to each other, and/or let them speak using the person’s voice
* ability to get some impressions about other people, places, or events
* ability to see auras
* ability to perceive and work with people’s energy

flutherother's avatar

It’s like atheism. First you invent a deity to disbelieve in then you disbelieve in it. At the same time, it is impossible to discount psychic abilities altogether or there would be no point in asking this question as there could be no meeting of minds and it would be completely ineffectual.

Telekinesis is another example, it happens every time I pick up the pen on my desk. How did the thought translate into action in the physical world?

canidmajor's avatar

@Caravanfan you completely missed the intent of my post. It was not to prove the existence of anything, I was pointing out that your absolute statement is just silly and arrogant when you assume that science will never have the means to measure or quantify something. Accurate weather prediction and radio were just examples of things that were once considered unmeasurable, or impossible.
This is not the first time you have done this.

ragingloli's avatar

Because there is no evidence that it actually works.
On the contrary, James Randi made a living out of exposing self-proclaimed psychics.

Why do you assume that people that do not believe in psychic powers think they “know”?
It is the same accusation theists level at atheists, claiming we assert to “know” that god does not exist.
I do not “know” that gods are not real. Neither do I “know” that psychic powers are not real.
There simply is no evidence for either. It is not my responsibility to justify my disbelief. It is yours to justify your belief.

ragingloli's avatar

As for the hypothetical limits of psychic powers: The more potent the alleged psychic powers, the more obvious their existence becomes. The stronger the evidence becomes.
Setting people or objects on fire just by thinking about them. Taking over their bodies and puppetteering them. Levitating boulders. Manifesting yourself somewhere else as a ghostly apparition. Anyone being able to do any of these things would have no trouble repeatedly doing it in a controlled environment.
“slightly moving a pencil with your mind” can easily be dismissed by you cheating by clandestinely creating a small air movement like your run-of-the-mill stage magician. You raising up a truck and throwing it through the air like you are fucking Magneto, not so much.

Demosthenes's avatar

@ragingloli I generally agree, but as a counter: in the story I wrote about a boy with psychic abilities, one of his abilities is manifesting himself as a ghostly apparition somewhere else (i.e. bilocation or astral projection), but it happens beyond his control, and mainly when he’s in some kind of distress. So I don’t know about the “controlled environment” guaranteeing proof of such abilities when they are tied to emotions (figuring out the exact nature of his admittedly vague abilities are is part of the story)...but this gives me food for thought for developing it further.

Otherwise, yeah, not believing in something due to lack of convincing evidence is not the same as claiming to know for a fact that something doesn’t exist, and skeptics are often accused of that. I’m open to the possibility of psychic abilities being real, and when I first thought of them, I was thinking of abilities more along the lines of what @Zaku describes, not “magic knowledge of everything”. I don’t have any current active belief in their reality, though.

Caravanfan's avatar

@canidmajor Okay, so you’re arrogant to think that absolutely every time you jump up that you will come back down. Maybe sometime in the future when you jump up you’ll keep going and fly off into the air. Maybe if you jump off a building you won’t go crashing to the sidewalk but you’ll be able to fly around like Homelander and laser beams will come out of your eyes. You can’t prove you won’t!

Caravanfan's avatar

@ragingloli Randi was a hero. I got to meet him in person twice.

KNOWITALL's avatar

The path of least resistance is much easier for most people, which is not believing in anything that can’t be proven.

Caravanfan's avatar

@KNOWITALL I disagree. I find it quite difficult. It would be FAR easier for me to believe in God and spirits and ESP. I find that questioning everything and looking for evidence to be exhausting at times.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan I, too, believe in questioning and looking for evidence. I think the difference is that I look at the “what if?” and you focus more on “what is?” You tend to look at things as they are and start from the “That’s all there is” position. You never move past that and just try to prove things using known stuff. But that is not how things progress. You are, I suspect, purposely ignoring @canidmajor‘s example because it doesn’t help you in the current debate. She is pointing out that for the longest time science didn’t have the ability to predict the weather or to send and receive radio signals. At one time science was sure the Earth was flat. If everyone just said “You can’t prove the Earth is round because science says it’s flat” we’d still believe it was flat. Going back now and claiming it isn’t flat is defeating your own attitude. You are taking science that has long since been proven to disprove something that was already disproven. But you refuse to admit that science could eventually come up with new discoveries that could make current thinking obsolete.

Let me ask: Are you a believer in evolution? If you are, then isn’t it possible that mankind could still be evolving and psychic abilities may be part of that? Or can you tell me all the ways man might evolve in the future?

seawulf575's avatar

Here’s a concept: what if there are a couple people that do have psychic abilities, but they are lost in the billions on Earth? Perhaps they aren’t fully developed and only work once in a while? Perhaps they are part of an obscure tribe that grew up doing lots of hallucinogens? After all, there is a growing interest in studies of hallucinogens and they are finding all sorts of amazing things about how it changes your brain.

If there are such people, they may not have the ability to see and know everything, but are able to periodically get glimpses of what others are thinking or what the future holds or they may periodically be able to move something with their mind. So to tie it back to the original question, it would still be hubris to make claims about what these people can do and what they would use that power for.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 Okay, let me try to break down what you wrote. Forgive me for annotating, but I don’t see any other way.

“I think the difference is that I look at the “what if?” and you focus more on “what is?”
I don’t really understand what that means. I read science fiction all the time.

“You never move past that and just try to prove things using known stuff. But that is not how things progress.”
That doesn’t make any sense. Science is pretty much by definition exploration of what is not known in order to make it known using verifiable experimental data. That’s what I’m saying.

“science was sure the Earth was flat. If everyone just said “You can’t prove the Earth is round because science says it’s flat” we’d still believe it was flat. ”
Science is not a person. Science is not sure or unsure of anything. Science is a process not a monolithic thing with thoughts. And just so you know a spherical Earth was accepted even in Ancient Greece. It was just the churth who was suppressing knowledge later.

“You are, I suspect, purposely ignoring @canidmajor‘s example because it doesn’t help you in the current debate. She is pointing out that for the longest time science didn’t have the ability to predict the weather or to send and receive radio signals.”
Is that what she was doing? It was not clear. But it doesn’t change the fact that weather detection and radio signals have nothing to do with psychic abilities.

“You are taking science that has long since been proven to disprove something that was already disproven”
What?

“But you refuse to admit that science could eventually come up with new discoveries that could make current thinking obsolete.”
Not at all. Above I proposed trivial experiements to prove psychic abilities are real. I’d be completely open to a different controlled experiment.

“Let me ask: Are you a believer in evolution?”
I’ve already established that I don’t “believe” in anything. Something is either established as a scientific theory or it is not. Evolution is an established scientific theory, just as gravity is an established scientific theory. I don’t “believe” in gravity either.

“isn’t it possible that mankind could still be evolving and psychic abilities may be part of that?”
This is the most interesting question you wrote, and the most instructive. The mistake people make is that things “evolve into” other things. That’s not how evolution works. They way it works is that a population of living organisms using expressed phenotypes adapt into enviromental niches. As the enviromental niche changes, less environmentally fit members of the population will produce fewer offspring than more environmentally fit members. This change may or may not be caused by phenotypic expression of genetic or epigenetic changes. The organisms with favorable phenotypical expressions that adapt to the environmental change will be more likely to reproduce than the organisms without, causing a change in the overall population. However, all the phenotypical changes must abide by the laws of thermodynamics meaning that they have to follow the laws of physics. So even assuming that psychic abilities do not break the laws of thermodynamics and physics, there would need to be an environmental change that would push the human population towards psychic abilities.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Its also odd that the government certainly believes as evidenced by the Stargate Project. Some also help law enforcement agencies regularly with proven results.

Caravanfan's avatar

@KNOWITALL The Stargate Project was stopped 30 years ago because it was found to be a useless waste of time.

ragingloli's avatar

The government also tried to put bombs on dolphins and bats.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan Yes, you talk like you want to believe in “what if?” but you don’t. Your answers are way too dismissive with the tone that what is not can never be. Yes, science continues to push boundaries. That is “What if?”. You don’t waste time and money unless you have an idea of what could be. That is what you always stop at. Look at what you tried doing here in your response to me. You don’t believe in evolution yet you can give a really good explanation of it. Then you go off the rails hiding behind the law of thermodynamics. Which law of thermodynamics are you referring to that might have a bearing on this discussion? I’d be interested to hear your response to that. I suspect you are talking about conservation of energy.

So let’s go a little deeper. You’re a doctor. Ever done an EEG? An EEG is used to measure electrical impulses inside the brain. Electrodes are placed on the scalp to do this. But the electrical impulses are in the brain which is behind a layer of skin, tissue, the meninges, and the skull. So how do the electrical impulses reach the electrodes? That means the electrical impulses have to travel about what…a quarter inch? So electricity in the brain can get outside the head. Isn’t that what we are talking about with psychic abilities? Energy from the brain getting out OR energy from other objects or electrical systems getting in and being interpreted? None of that violates the Laws of Thermodynamics. It just does something with energy we’ve not truly documented…yet.

In the end, you come off as dismissive of anything that is outside of what you feel comfortable with.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 You entirely missed the point of my point that I don’t “believe” in anything. Belief requires faith in something that has a lack of evidence. Evolution has plenty of evidence and has been proven innumberable times. Therefore, accepting the theory of evolution does not take any faith, ergo it does not take any belief.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan And your answers are dismissive which says you have no imagination to consider what might be. You talk about scientific proof, but no one, not a single scientist, has ever proven anything without considering what might be. But you don’t. You stop at “can’t be, isn’t proven”.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Caravanfan Mmm not really, Rosemary Smith found a lost Soviet aircraft.
But for the intended study and intent of mind control against Russia, it was deemed too inconsistent, yes.
Dean Radin at the Institute of Noetic Sciences is convinced precogs exist in various levels of talent.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 Not sure what that means. I read science fiction and fantasy all the time and I am a huge Star Trek fan. I think about what “might be” all the time. I just know the difference between fantasy and reality.

@KNOWITALL Do you mean this Dean Radin?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Caravanfan Seems likely. Shrug.

hat's avatar

I think this conversation could benefit from some details. Start with an example of a psychic ability (and a specific example/person). Then it might help to ask why or why not someone would accept the psychic explanation for the phenomenon. This would help those who believe in such things understand what a skeptic might consider to be compelling evidence, and what it would take for them to accept it. So much of this conversation is going on the assumption that we have any idea what a psychic ability even is.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan Yes, you like Sci-Fi as a genre for entertainment. It is fiction and safe for you. Yet when someone suggests something from Sci-Fi that could be either now or in the future, you immediately slam down on that, doing like you did here…trying to hide behind what is only possible with what we know of science in this moment. But let me point out some things that Sci-Fi led to in the world, even though the science didn’t support it: Nuclear power, Nuclear powered submarines, battery powered submarines, cell phones, watch computers, space exploration, going to the moon, space stations, Artificial intelligence, prosthetics and implants like pacemakers, credit cards, the internet, 3-d printing, video calls, driverless cars, universal translators, 3-d holograms, digital billboards, hoverboards, and many, many more. But at the time these things were considered, the science swore we knew would have said they were impossible. So while you enjoy the novelty of sci-fi, you don’t see it as a potential for what could be. You stop by looking at what you know of science and say “it’s impossible”. Actually it’s worse than that, you say “It’s impossible and it could never be possible.”

hat's avatar

I’m now more confused. Are we talking about technology or something called “psychic ability”?

Caravanfan's avatar

@hat Yeah, I’m confused also.

Caravanfan's avatar

Getting back to the original topic. The OP is correct. I do not believe in psychic abilities (I’m not going to relitigate what I mean by the word “believe”). But as a skeptic I’m perfectly willing to accept psychic abilities as true but I just need to see a few things first.

1) I need to see a successful well designed, fully controlled experiment with good results
2) The experiment must be reproducible
3) There needs to be a mechanism of action that is explainable.

Until then, shrug, you are welcome to your beliefs. Don’t expect me to accept them.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Caravan Agreed. I presume some must be legit because they produce the desired results for law enforcement to continue using them. But I think its fairly rare.

Caravanfan's avatar

@KNOWITALL The rarity shows that it’s actually not a thing. It’s like the adage “A stuck clock is correct twice a day”.

Here’s a somewhat related example. Here is an example of Derrin Brown in the UK flipping a coin and getting heads 10 times in a row. It’s a legit video and he actually did it. The experiment was controlled and coin was not weighted. It actually had a heads and tails. Was it psychic power? Absolutely not. See if you can figure out how he did it. I’ll tell you the answer tomorrow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzYLHOX50Bc&ab_channel=ThinkSceptically

seawulf575's avatar

@hat we WERE talking about psychic abilities until @Caravanfan side-lined it by stepping on any suggestion of psychic abilities because science hadn’t established it’s real. When this was pointed out to be a limited way of thinking, he then started into trying to defend and expand his dismissive statements.

I gave my statements to point out that all those things would have been considered nutty at they time they were first suggested because science hadn’t established they were real. Or even that they could be.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan You sort of missed the question…again. It wasn’t “Do you believe psychic abilities exist?” It was “Why do you suppose that so many people who say they don’t believe in psychic abilities, assume that they know what the limits and nature of psychic abilities would definitely be?” The question isn’t about the truth or falsity of psychic abilities…it is about the attitudes of those that want to scoff at it and how they present themselves.

hat's avatar

@seawulf575: “I gave my statements to point out that all those things would have been considered nutty at they time they were first suggested because science hadn’t established they were real. Or even that they could be.”

That’s where I think you left the conversation. At no point did “science” have anything to say about future technological advancements. But if someone were to assert in 1910 that they owned a smartphone that connected to the internet, nobody would be required to take this person seriously without sufficient evidence.

Whatever “psychic abilities” could possibly mean, it would be on the believer of such a thing to define what it is, how it works, the reasons they know it works, and the proposed mechanism. It might turn out that there may be agreement on one part of it, but complete disagreement on the mechanism behind it. If believers and skeptics (for lack of better terms) are to try to understand each other, it requires some clear definitions of what we are actually talking about. So far not a single person has made an attempt.

And if your point is: “anything is possible, and nothing should be taken more seriously than anything else”, then you’ve just told me that you believe me when I tell you that my refrigerator occasionally shuffles out to the middle of my kitchen to sing show tunes with a fake Spanish accent.

seawulf575's avatar

@hat “Whatever “psychic abilities” could possibly mean, it would be on the believer of such a thing to define what it is, how it works, the reasons they know it works, and the proposed mechanism.” Welcome to the actual question. The question was why someone who doesn’t actually believe in psychic abilities suddenly has all the criteria of what should be or how people would use it.

Belief in psychic abilities could be from something the person believing, or someone they trust, have seen (anecdotal) or it might be something they read about, or it could even just be that they want to believe it is true. That in no way means they fully understand what the extent of those abilities might be, or that they might not know how it works. Can you explain how a superconductor works (without Googling it right now)? You believe they exist, see the examples all the time, but you can’t actually state how they work. Does that make them less real or your belief wrong? So stating the mechanism is a bullshit need to justify belief.

But using your own logic, what the question asks is about the people that DON’T believe. If they don’t believe in it, why do they think they know what the abilities are, what the extent of the abilities is, what the mechanism of operation and all that is? How is it that someone that doesn’t believe at all can answer all these questions? They don’t believe they exist. Therefore they can’t really explain the simplest of things about them. Let’s take telepathy as a perfect example. The believer says “wow, I think this is real. I saw someone that could do it.” The disbeliever says “Hogwash. If they could read minds, why wouldn’t they just use that ability to get someone’s ATM PIN number to take all their money?” In that example, the person that believes states they believe and why they believe. The disbeliever sets the criteria for what the ability is, how strong it is, how reliable, what that power would be used for, etc. And all that is used for no other purpose than to ridicule the believer and shut down conversation.

And my point has been that anything may be possible, despite current science. Our history has shown how settled science has been upended again and again. To believe it could never happen again seems illogical to me. To shut down (or attempt to) conversation is arrogant and dismissive on a question like this. It is a perfect example of what the OP was asking.

hat's avatar

It’s one of those circular things again. I’m about to bail. I hardly even care about this question, but was attempting to be a mediator and get people to define what they meant. Spolier: still hasn’t happened.

@seawulf575: “The question was why someone who doesn’t actually believe in psychic abilities suddenly has all the criteria of what should be or how people would use it.”

And I said it would be helpful if someone here would define what “psychic abilities” means.

This is what I suspect. is going on. There are people here who understand what “psychic abilities” means, and are puzzled that those who don’t know what that means are confused. Make them understand. Start with a definition.

@seawulf575: “Can you explain how a superconductor works”

No

@seawulf575: “You believe they exist.”

No, I don’t.

@seawulf575: “If they don’t believe in it, why do they think they know what the abilities are, what the extent of the abilities is, what the mechanism of operation and all that is? How is it that someone that doesn’t believe at all can answer all these questions? They don’t believe they exist.”

I don’t even know what I supposedly don’t believe doesn’t exist. Not a single person here has defined what it is they think I don’t believe in.

Why don’t you believe in HY345x? You seem to live your life in a way that assumes you know everything about HY345x. You don’t know anything about it, but assume to know its limits. Why?

@seawulf575: “Let’s take telepathy as a perfect example. The believer says “wow, I think this is real. I saw someone that could do it.” The disbeliever says “Hogwash. If they could read minds, why wouldn’t they just use that ability to get someone’s ATM PIN number to take all their money?”

Someone who doesn’t believe might ask what “telepathy” is, how it works, and asks for evidence. Your example is not how this works. The conversation ends (and apparently has ended in this thread) when someone asks basic questions.

@seawulf575: “And my point has been that anything may be possible, despite current science. Our history has shown how settled science has been upended again and again. To believe it could never happen again seems illogical to me. To shut down (or attempt to) conversation is arrogant and dismissive on a question like this.”

This has been a regular feature of your misunderstanding of what science. Science is not a project that closes doors to possibility. It’s not a stifling, anti-creative effort to seal current understanding as the final word on everything. Quite the opposite. It’s one of the only areas of inquiry that constantly seeks to expand on (and disprove) current understanding of everything.

All I was asking for was a definition of “psychic abilities”, and now I have to defend HY345x (and my singing refrigerator) from nonbelievers. This is a perfect example of people potentially arguing with people over different things. The original question itself was inherently confused about disagreements and was seeking input on this confusion. The resulting dialogue here has been an exercise in making sure the original question goes unanswered.

seawulf575's avatar

@hat you don’t believe superconductors work? They are used in so many facets of your life, you ought to know. They can be used in computers and electronic, used to make electricity transmission much more efficient, they are used in MRI machines, they are used in all sorts of scientific equipment…the list is long.

“Someone who doesn’t believe might ask what “telepathy” is, how it works, and asks for evidence.” That is absolutely true. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen very often which is what this question was asking about. They hear “telepathy” and the old ridicule genes kick into high gear. They don’t ask what it is, they don’t ask how it works. They do one of a couple things more often than not: they make ridiculous statements about what it could do and how someone would use it or they become very dismissive, saying there is no evidence. Sometimes they combine this saying that if it existed that is what someone would use it for. Please note, I’m not suggesting it does or doesn’t exist. I’m firmly in the “it might” camp. I’ve never scene any solid evidence first hand so I won’t say it does exist, but then I haven’t seen everything nor am I foolish enough to believe it couldn’t exist.

“Science is not a project that closes doors to possibility. It’s not a stifling, anti-creative effort to seal current understanding as the final word on everything.” This is what I have been saying. I’m not the one saying “It can never exist because our science says so.” Science is never settled. It is always looking for the “what if?” in the world/universe/microcosms. Someone asks a question and the game starts…science wants to give an answer and is never satisfied with “No”. It is, at best “Not Yet” and they keep studying if the topic is of significant enough interest.

As for psychic abilities, there are a litany of potentials that could be talked about. Telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, hydrokinesis, prophecy, remote viewing, Out of Body experiences…there are many things that fall under the label of “psychic abilities”. The question, again, wasn’t about a specific one, just in general because people tend to be in either the camp of believing and sure it is real, the camp of it is total crap, and the camp of it might be.

hat's avatar

@seawulf575: “you don’t believe superconductors work? ”

No, I said I don’t believe in superconductors. I don’t have to believe anything. If I want to understand the science, I know that I can look into it.

@seawulf575: “They hear “telepathy” and the old ridicule genes kick into high gear. They don’t ask what it is, they don’t ask how it works. They do one of a couple things more often than not: they make ridiculous statements about what it could do and how someone would use it or they become very dismissive, saying there is no evidence. ”

Ummm…I asked what the hell it is, and nobody has even attempted to tell me what it means. You still haven’t explained why you’re so dismissive of HY345x.

@seawulf575: “As for psychic abilities, there are a litany of potentials that could be talked about. Telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, pyrokinesis, hydrokinesis, prophecy, remote viewing, Out of Body experiences…there are many things that fall under the label of “psychic abilities”. The question, again, wasn’t about a specific one, just in general because people tend to be in either the camp of believing and sure it is real, the camp of it is total crap, and the camp of it might be.”

Nope. There is another camp: those of us who have no idea what those things mean or why we should.

seawulf575's avatar

@hat “No, I said I don’t believe in superconductors. I don’t have to believe anything.” So you use something every day but you don’t believe in it. Huh. Interesting. Do you believe in gravity? How about sunlight heating things? Do you know how the science works on those things? How about how an internal combustion engine works? How about how a battery works? Just trying to figure out where your limits are on not believing in things.

As for your other responses, I have a very simple question for you: You say you have no idea what psychic abilities are, yet you joined in on a conversation about them. Why would you join in on such a conversation? Why not just look it up on Google or even in a dictionary to get at least an inkling of what it is all about?

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 Once again you’re deliberately missing his point. You CAN’T be this dense. See my post above about the meaning of the word “belief”.

Honestly, I think you do understand it but you’re just being deliberately argumentative and reductive.

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan This question isn’t about whether you believe or not, it’s about why people that don’t are often so sure of all the abilities and what they would be used for. You can’t be that dense. I know you say you are a doctor but do you really have that little reading comprehension? OR are YOU just being deliberately argumentative? Trolling even?

You went out of your way to purposely ignore the question, spew an opinion that, if anyone dared to contradict you on or even to try getting you back on track with the question. Then you started the very predictable “prove it” debate which was not the question either. You want to show everyone how logical and scientific you are. Yet you ignore the basic stricture of science and that is to keep questioning. @hat understood that entirely, why didn’t you?

Your arrogance and dismissiveness get in the way of you being reasonable.

hat's avatar

@Caravanfan: “Honestly, I think you do understand it but you’re just being deliberately argumentative and reductive.”

This is the only reasonable explanation.

Caravanfan's avatar

@ragingloli I want to hear more about the dolphin and bat bombs.

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