[extropy-chat] About ESP, etc.

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Mon Apr 30 17:49:34 UTC 2007

At 09:10 AM 4/30/2007 +0100, BillK wrote:

>The obvious solution is to claim that anybody who is successful at
>anything is using unsuspected psi powers. Unsuspected because is many
>cases the psi is so weak that it just gives him a slight edge over
>non-psi people. And this edge accumulates over time. Or maybe the psi
>power just came into play once, when he had to make a major decision
>which led to all the future success.

This is exactly right. It's similar to the way people flourish who 
have a particular skill, often one they are unconscious of, for 
detecting inadvertent signals of deceptions etc in those they're 
making deals with.

>A claim which you can believe, but no one can disprove.

Not at all. Such claims have a corollary, that such marginal effects 
will probably reveal themselves--at the usual small scale--if 
suitable lab tests or simulations are contrived. But the tests 
obviously have to replicate the salient features of real-world 
application, and many traditional ESP tests have failed to do that. 
Tests that start out being interesting and novel, and tending to 
elicit liminal abilities for that reason, turn into extinction 
paradigms when repeated relentlessly. "In the wild," such abilities 
presumably operate far more naturally/situationally. Is a casino an 
instance of life "in the wild"? Perhaps not.

My pal Dr. Edwin May, former scientific director of the research end 
of he US government project Star Gate, comments:

"If hitting a baseball were really possible, then batters would have 
hitting averages greater than 900!

"One other point is information transfer bit rate.  Roughly it 
appears to be in the millibit/sec range.  So if you compute how many 
bits of info it take to win the lottery, you discover
you are many orders of magnitude off.  Thus you cannot win the 
lottery by just sitting down and
being psychic.

"(By being clever with coding you can trade bit rate accuracy for 
time.  Ryzl working with Stepanek "sent" by ESP 400 bits of info 
without a single error!  But it took 9 months.)"

Dr. Milan Ryzl's repeated guessing/majority vote work is discussed in 
my 1992 book THE LOTTO EFFECT, where I showed that I could enhance 
his successful results even more by using elementary information theory.

Damien Broderick

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