[extropy-chat] About ESP, etc.
thespike at satx.rr.com
Mon Apr 30 19:49:48 UTC 2007
At 02:05 PM 4/30/2007 -0400, gts wrote:
>Yes. An infallible clairvoyant would know the dealer's hole card and the
>next cards in the deck and have a huge advantage, probably on the order of
>something like 30%, whereas the card-counter has an advantage of only
>about 1% to 1.5%, depending on rules and other conditions. The clairvoyant
>would need to lose purposely on a large fraction of hands to avoid
>suspicion of being an out-right cheat.
I blame science fiction for this absurd counterfactual of an
"infallible clairvoyant." The general notion that skeptics are quick
to ridicule is of the one-eyed man in the country of the blind.
Telepaths in THE DEMOLISHED MAN, Alfred Bester's classic ESP novel,
read each other's thoughts as if listening to speech, but in addition
detect and weave wonderfully elaborate multi-sensory patterns. There
is absolutely no known real world basis for this sort of thing.
In ordinary life, and in the lab, as mentioned, probability of
success is modified by a few bits per 10,000. This can be enough to
tip the choice between one stray mental option and another, enhancing
the effectivity of the process, but obviously training and rigorous
protocols of interpretation will help wring as much as possible from
this meager trickle.
The notion that a gambler could sit down and make one correct guess
after another is not only psychologically implausible but too
ambitious. When Joseph McMoneagle or other trained remote viewers do
a remote viewing exercise, they usually spend 20 minutes or half an
hour in a carefully prepared state of watchfulness, annoting various
elements of their imaginal field: colors, shapes, number,
relationships, all manner of binary oppositions, and slowly accrete a
composition. But, of critical importance, it is usually the double
blind judge who assesses which of the possible targets best matches
The mind has an inescapable tendency to chunk cues and imagined
elements into a provisional gestalt, and half the process of learning
remote viewing (I'm informed) is mastering this impulse on premature
foreclosure. "In the wild" where the dangers are more or less known,
an excellent psychic soldier might well register the presence of a
tiger or a Tamil Tiger in time to counter the threat--but I don't
suppose he'd be especially likely to notice the ten ton safe falling
out of a passing blimp... until it hit him on the head.
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