Do you believe in any paranormal or supernatural abilities?

Which of these do you believe exists, in the supernatural sense?

  • Psychokinesis - the ability to move or manipulate objects with the mind

    Votes: 7 11.5%
  • Extra Sensory Perception - the ability to gather information without the use of the 5 senses

    Votes: 11 18.0%
  • Telepathy - the ability to communicate with others with the mind

    Votes: 9 14.8%
  • Clairvoyance - the transfer of information without the use of the senses

    Votes: 7 11.5%
  • Pyrokinesis - the ability to ignite or extinguish fires with the mind

    Votes: 2 3.3%
  • Psychometry - ability to psychically “read” information from objects

    Votes: 5 8.2%
  • Precognition - the ability to foresee events.

    Votes: 9 14.8%
  • Bilocation - ability to be in two places at the same time

    Votes: 4 6.6%
  • Postcognition - ability to see an event after it has occurred

    Votes: 5 8.2%
  • Astral Projection - the ability to travel distances with the mind alone

    Votes: 6 9.8%
  • Reincarnation - being born again after death

    Votes: 7 11.5%
  • Afterlife: Survival of consciousness after permanent bodily death

    Votes: 12 19.7%
  • Near-death experiences of a none-hallucinating nature

    Votes: 9 14.8%
  • None of the above

    Votes: 45 73.8%

  • Total voters
    61

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Do you believe that any of these unusual abilities or experiences exist?

(Please interpret the description in the usual paranormal sense, and not literally. For example I have the ability to foresee I'm going to have dinner, but that's not a all paranormal, whereas if I was to consistently foresee the lottery numbers, then that would be)

If you do believe in any, then please discuss.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Do you believe that any of these unusual abilities or experiences exist?

(Please interpret the description in the usual paranormal sense, and not literally. For example I have the ability to foresee I'm going to have dinner, but that's not a all paranormal, whereas if I was to consistently foresee the lottery numbers, then that would be)

If you do believe in any, then please discuss.

Thanks Mick for setting up the Poll . . . I guess we wait and watch to see how many people vote . . . I would like to see if your readership is disinterested or is interested in the issues regarding the study of these ideas . . .
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
My readership is mostly irregular (i.e. they arrive via search to look at a particular page, then leave), so not many people will look at this page.

I don't think this is a measure in interest or disinterest - if it were, you should have asked THAT question. I'm very interested in unexplained phenomena, I subscribed to "Unexplained" magazine when I was about 13, and have regularly read Fortean Times. I just don't think any of the things on your list have any good evidence to support them.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
The Poll so far seems to suggest that the hardcore skeptics on the forum have no thought that paranormal activities exist at all . . . interesting . . . yet, I thought there would be some deviation from the expected outcome . . . either most of you simply think alike or you are afraid to deviate from the established mind-think . . .
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The Poll so far seems to suggest that the hardcore skeptics on the forum have no thought that paranormal activities exist at all . . . interesting . . . yet, I thought there would be some deviation from the expected outcome . . . either most of you simply think alike or you are afraid to deviate from the established mind-think . . .

I think the former seems most likely.

Describing a lack of belief in things for which there is no evidence as "afraid to deviate from the establish mind-think" sounds a little silly.

Belief for a scientific skeptic is always contingent upon evidence. Show some evidence that any of those things exists, or evidence that the laws of nature they violate are wrong, and I (and I suspect the others) will change their position as soon as the evidence is verified.

Describing this as being frightened, peer pressured, and closed minded is, quite frankly, insulting.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
I think the former seems most likely.

Describing a lack of belief in things for which there is no evidence as "afraid to deviate from the establish mind-think" sounds a little silly.

Belief for a scientific skeptic is always contingent upon evidence. Show some evidence that any of those things exists, or evidence that the laws of nature they violate are wrong, and I (and I suspect the others) will change their position as soon as the evidence is verified.

Describing this as being frightened, peer pressured, and closed minded is, quite frankly, insulting.

I did not intend to insult . . . should have used different terms . . . all groups exert peer pressure . . . it is part of being an accepted member of a group of people . . . it is simply human nature to want to be part of a large group and fitting in . . . while you might be as logical as humanly possible . . . human nature is a given and may have an influence . . .
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think human nature has vastly more of an influence in groups that believe in the paranormal, pseudoscience, and "new-age" theories. Scientists are trained to critically examine claims. New-agers have grown accustom to accepting claims without question.

Take chemtrails. It's claimed there are test results that prove spraying, it's claimed contrails "normally" dissipate in seconds, it's claimed the government has admitted to spraying chemtrails. None of this is true. It's been shown not to be true over and over again. Yet groupthink in the chemtrail world prevents them from stepping outside perceived wisdom. The thing that stops them is precisely the thing that allows scientists to continually change their minds - the scientific method (or lack thereof).

It's funny that science is portrayed as rigid, unyielding, afraid of new ideas, and simultaneously people are always complaining that medical advice on nutrition is always changing (like: "chocolate now good for you!"). It changes because science is NOT rigid. It's just giving you the best advice based on the evidence. When new and contradictory evidence arrive, then science WILL change.

I lack belief in your list because there's no evidence that the things on the list exist.

In some cases I'm fairly neutral, some kind of very weak near-field telepathy of some nature does not seem entirely implausible.

But in other cases I've a pretty strong belief that the thing doe not exist, because it would shake the very foundations of our current understanding of the universe (like being in two places at the same time). For such a claim, I would would need at least a little good evidence.

For the pseudoscientists, they just need someone to tell them their friend knows someone who saw it happen.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
I think human nature has vastly more of an influence in groups that believe in the paranormal, pseudoscience, and "new-age" theories. Scientists are trained to critically examine claims. New-agers have grown accustom to accepting claims without question.



Take chemtrails. It's claimed there are test results that prove spraying, it's claimed contrails "normally" dissipate in seconds, it's claimed the government has admitted to spraying chemtrails. None of this is true. It's been shown not to be true over and over again. Yet groupthink in the chemtrail world prevents them from stepping outside perceived wisdom. The thing that stops them is precisely the thing that allows scientists to continually change their minds - the scientific method (or lack thereof).

It's funny that science is portrayed as rigid, unyielding, afraid of new ideas, and simultaneously people are always complaining that medical advice on nutrition is always changing (like: "chocolate now good for you!"). It changes because science is NOT rigid. It's just giving you the best advice based on the evidence. When new and contradictory evidence arrive, then science WILL change.

I lack belief in your list because there's no evidence that the things on the list exist.

In some cases I'm fairly neutral, some kind of very weak near-field telepathy of some nature does not seem entirely implausible.

But in other cases I've a pretty strong belief that the thing doe not exist, because it would shake the very foundations of our current understanding of the universe (like being in two places at the same time). For such a claim, I would would need at least a little good evidence.

For the pseudoscientists, they just need someone to tell them their friend knows someone who saw it happen.

So your theory is Chemtrail advocates lack discernment because when they have been given new facts and concepts they ignore it based on their group beliefs. . . . Hmmmmm. . . . Scientists do much the same thing . . . when new research is published establishing different findings, contradicting previous held concepts and theories it often takes months, years, or even decades for a new consensus to be established. . . .
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
And rightly so.

The problem with some chemtrail theorists is that consensus is established instantly.

A bit of caution with new ideas is a good thing. Sure you can go to far into dogma, but I think that is generally an overblow charge by the anti-science brigade. Science is constantly changing. That's what it does.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
1) Chemtrail advocates are not an homogenous group. . . .2) There is no single leader recognized to give direction or unify concepts . . . 3) Most advocates are not versed in atmospheric or aeronautical sciences . . . 4) Many are disheartened by the state of the world and established leadership . . . 5) Scientific sophistication is not at the top of their list of activities . . . 6) They generally accept intuition as an important guide in their existence. . . .7) They generally fixate on the visual shock of persistent trails and cirrus cloud banks and are convinced they were not found in such numbers and frequency as are now found. . . .8) Since they generally distrust authority they see the scientific community as part of the establishment and thereby part of the problem. . . .
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
1) Chemtrail advocates are not an homogenous group. . . .2) There is no single leader recognized to give direction or unify concepts . . . 3) Most advocates are not versed in atmospheric or aeronautical sciences . . . 4) Many are disheartened by the state of the world and established leadership . . . 5) Scientific sophistication is not at the top of their list of activities . . . 6) They generally accept intuition as an important guide in their existence. . . .7) They generally fixate on the visual shock of persistent trails and cirrus cloud banks and are convinced they were not found in such numbers and frequency as are now found. . . .8) Since they generally distrust authority they see the scientific community as part of the establishment and thereby part of the problem. . . .

Agreed.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
1) Chemtrail advocates are not an homogenous group. . . .2) There is no single leader recognized to give direction or unify concepts . . . 3) Most advocates are not versed in atmospheric or aeronautical sciences . . . 4) Many are disheartened by the state of the world and established leadership . . . 5) Scientific sophistication is not at the top of their list of activities . . . 6) They generally accept intuition as an important guide in their existence. . . .7) They generally fixate on the visual shock of persistent trails and cirrus cloud banks and are convinced they were not found in such numbers and frequency as are now found. . . .8) Since they generally distrust authority they see the scientific community as part of the establishment and thereby part of the problem. . . .


In view of these characteristics. . . .I find myself a kindred spirit . . . I have much sympathy for their position and feelings. . . .while I may have a better understanding of science and the research surrounding contrails, etc. . . .I share their deep distrust for the way the world is being managed by those in power and the state of the world in general. . . I find it easily within the history and behavior of those self-appointed to engage in activities they choose to keep secret. . . .therefore an intentional aerosol injection program is quite possible in my opinion . . .
 

MikeC

Closed Account
I have some sympathy for the lack of Govt/Powers that be, and I also think that an intentional aerosol injection programme is quite possible - technically we have had the means to do it for at least 80 years IMO.

However I quickly lose my sympathy for the connection between the 2 when people repeatedly reject basic factual information, and show me supposition, assertion, "incorrect evidence", and the like and say that therefore the aerosol programme is happening and has been for "x" years and that I am a sheeple, a (usually paid) disinfo agent, a shill, a multiple poster (ie just one name used by a single person to make it look like there are several people posting), etc..
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Human nature is funny. . . Many people with deeply held positions/beliefs project the rejection or criticism of their position as a personal attack and react accordingly. . . why? . . . I can't say but it happens every day . . . Excuse the rhyme . . .
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
*Pyrokinesis*- the ability to ignite or extinguish fires

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAV5avfDBiw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Just magician's illusions. I'd be delighted if it were true, but it would need to be demonstrated in a controlled environment, with professional observers (i.e. other magicians).

Any good magician could duplicate those tricks, just most of them don't claim it's actual magic. Chi "healers" seems to be a common scam in some parts of the world. They use small electrical devices to generate the shocks, and there's obviously a million ways you can light something on fire.



You might find some of the other Science of Scams videos interesting too.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Mick, I don't doubt your assessment. . . .I included the vido to show how well some of these capabilities can be presented in a slick and convincing manner . . .
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Some responses from the gang at GLP. . . . .POLL: Which of items listed below exist?1) All of the items listed below exist **54.2% (13)3) Three or less of the items below exist **12.5% (3)4) Six or less of the items below exist **12.5% (3)2) None of the items below exist **8.3% (2)5) Nine or less of the items below exist **8.3% (2)6) Twelve or less of the items below exist **4.2% (1)Blank (View Results) (3)Non-Blank Votes: 24Paranormal Capabilities and Realities . . . Do they exist? *. . . What do you think?Which of items listed below exist?1) All of the items listed below exist2) None of the items below exist3) Three or less of the items below exist4) Six or less of the items below exist5) Nine or less of the items below exist6) Twelve or less of the items below exist1) Psychokinesis - the ability to move or manipulate objects with the mind*2) Extra Sensory Perception - the ability to gather information without the use of the 5 senses*3) Telepathy - the ability to communicate with others with the mind*4) Clairvoyance - the transfer of information without the use of the senses*5) *Pyrokinesis*- the ability to ignite or extinguish fires with the mind*6) Psychometry - ability to psychically “read” information from objects*7) Precognition - the ability to foresee events. 00%8) Bilocation - ability to be in two places at the same time*9) Postcognition - ability to see an event after it has occurred*10) Astral Projection - the ability to travel distances with the mind alone*11) Reincarnation - being born again after death*12) Afterlife: Survival of consciousness after permanent bodily death*13) Near-death experiences of a none-hallucinating nature*[link to listverse.com]
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It's not my video, but feel free to repost anything I post.

The magician perspective is very interesting. We've all seen magic shows where we can't figure out how they did something, but usually we don't think it's actual magic.

But if someone does the same thing, and claims it's magic, then some people wil believe it.

The best people to debunk these charlatans are other magicians, that's why Randi is so good at it. That's why Uri Geller failed on the Johnny Carson show (Carson was a magician). That's why Houdini was a great debunker.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
And more particular to the things that your believe are true, things like mind-reading and talking to the dead (cold readings) are actually magician tricks. Perhaps it is real sometimes, but seeing as it can be done by trickery, it seem like that's by far the most likely explanation in the absence of any real evidence.

 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This is an excellent example, because it's very hard to figure out how it might be done.



But it's still just a trick. It demonstrates that not being able to figure out how something is done is not particularly good evidence for something. It's kind of like the argument from personal incredulity.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I like his advice to skeptics, in his slightly, but understandable impolite explanation.

 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
A most interesting narrative . . . In essence don't be too easily lead by your own confidence. . . Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. . . Don't out think yourself. . . .
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think the lesson is not to simply assume that the first reasonable explanation you think of is the correct one. One should always treat explanation as provisional, and assign some degree of probability to them. People are too quick to yell "photoshop" or "magnets", when that might not be the explanation - even if it is a plausible one.
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member.
On second thought, I'll still try to find a rounded glass dome to test my initial guess. It occurred to me that his claim of not using convection is just a claim. If his results can be reproduced with a hair dryer and a some kind of cake cover, maybe he's lying about his claim of not to use convection.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Children and Adults see a light during NDEs, this is very common.

This suggests that that physiological experience of the brain shutting down is similar for humans. Like, for example, the "tunnel vision" experienced under high g-force, or the brightness in vision from dilated pupils, those are common responses.

It's very hard to experiment with though, as the subjects tend to die.

NDEs are also NOT all consistent. This one was amusingly bucking the trend:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_experience
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Much of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) is in the ear of the beholder. Different people will hear radically different things when listening to the same ambiguous recording. There's also obvious potential for hoaxes, and accidental radio reception by recording equipment.

There's an article on an EVP study in the current (Vol 17, no 2) issue of Skeptic. The results showed very strong observer bias, and very little (if any) correlation between observers.
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
I guess my answer "none of the above" is reflected in my "sig(nature)" below.

A person's view on the world is a subjective reflection and reaction of how the world views them...at least most of the time.
Some people acting as empirical leaders.....pretend they are the end (or start) of their views....but they are not so_____.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Essentially dreams, and implanted memories. Plus Jerry Springer is a showman, so I'd not trust anything on his show.

I highly recommend watching this.

 

Leifer

Senior Member.
Not all people are "susceptible" to hypnosis .....as why public on-stage hypnotists usually filter out subjects (people) whom they determine will not work, in their act, keeping those people that will act-out under hypnosis.
Derren Brown is very good at reading these people....and pointing the willing subjects to the power of suggestion.

 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
How about this one . . .
[video=youtube_share;SF3KqGpxXvo]http://youtu.be/SF3KqGpxXvo[/video]
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/07/reincarnation_a.html

[/FONT]

[FONT=Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]Implanted memories, and focussing on any lucky coincidence. They basically (deliberately or not) schooled him into believing he was reincarnated. [/FONT]​
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
False Memory Syndrome is especially easy to achieve with children, but even adults are very susceptible:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_in_the_mall_technique

 
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