[ExI] Psi (no need to read this post you already knowwhatitsays )

spike spike66 at att.net
Fri Jan 8 04:14:46 UTC 2010


> -----Original Message-----
> From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org 
> [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of 
> Damien Broderick
> Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 7:32 PM
> To: ExI chat list
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Psi (no need to read this post you already 
> knowwhatitsays )
> On 1/7/2010 9:18 PM, spike wrote:
> > ...
> >
> > Regarding the phrase "...was filmed for television..." that 
> makes me 
> > suspicious right up front, because it forms a filter: in such a 
> > medium, only noteworthy stuff is worthy of note.
> If you're assuming a lack of probity in the experimenter, why 
> not just say the whole thing was scripted or made up and have 
> done with it? This is the bottom line with most skeptical 
> retorts. What would it take to dispose of this canard? Sworn 
> statements from everyone involved? No, people like that, 
> they'd lie for profit, right? Or just because they're deluded 
> loons. Or maybe I just invented it to sell my books.
> Damien Broderick

Far too modest are you, Damien.  Your books sell themselves, by the
outstanding nature of the content.

Regarding the experimenters, did they actually claim to have no other groups
than the Nolans?  I am not accusing them of trickery.  I may be willing to
accuse the TV producers of amplifying the strangeness, but they should have
no heartburn from this, for the job of TV people is to entertain.

I had an idea which may have contributed to the remarkable outcome of the
Nolan sisters experiment.  The sisters would know each others' sleep
patterns: who stayed up late, who was the early riser.  If the call came in
early or late, it may reduce the likely pool by a sister or two in some
cases.  The experimenters could have been unaware of this themselves, so
there is no need for accusations.

Another possibility is that family chatter would tip off the sisters if one
was temporarily absent from the game: off to her father-in-law's hospital
bed for instance, reducing by one the pool of possibilities.  The remaining
sisters may not think to suspend the game until rejoined by the fifth
singing beauty.

Dunno Damien.  It might be something weird going on, but the proof is
terriby elusive almost by design.  In engineering, when one gets a greater
than 3 sigma result in a measurement, the experiment is assumed flawed and
often discarded, thus the footnote often being seen "3 sigma clipping."

What the field needs at this point is not more weird experimental results
but rather some plausible theoretical basis.  Consider cryonics.  No one
took that seriously until 1986, when St. Eric of Drexler proposed
theoretical nanobots which might some day read the configuration of a frozen
brain, allowing it to be recreated in a non-frozen medium.  With that
theoretical basis, the whole notion gained a following, even if still small
and fringy.

The closest I can come to a theoretical explanation for precognition would
be hordes of nanoprocessors (midichlorians?) which live within the body of
the human, which communicate among themselves and could theoretically pass
information around.  Michael gets in an accident, his nanobots contact the
nanobots in his sister's body, by physically understandable means.  That
they would do so if they exist should not be so very extraordinary, for
things in the meter-scale world happen very slowly from their point of view.
Their being involved in a tire screech and a bone-crushing impact would be
analogous to humans watching an infestation of pine beetles devouring a

Damien, your being a creative SF writer qualifies you to come up with
something better than midichlorians.  The point is that for the psi notion
to advance any further, its needs a plausible, even if unlikely, explanation
more than it needs more experimental data.  Lacking that explanation, all
weird experimental outcomes will always be dismissed.


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