Re: Psi and Science Fiction

Damien Broderick (
Fri, 06 Aug 1999 13:24:42 +0000

At 03:54 AM 6/08/99 +0100, Bryan wrote:
>Say I do some
>experiments concerning the ability to predict symbols drawn on cards and my
>data suggests that certain subjects are correct more often than probability
>would suggest. Where do I go from here? What field of science does this

Say those experiments are as water-tight as you can make them, and your data show some subjects making calls that correlate with *future, non-inferable* states of the symbols. (This is in fact often done in ganzfeld and similar set-ups.) Obviously this has implications for cognitive science, since a human being is making the choices. But gosh, doesn't it also have astounding impact on physics in general? Veridical data from outside the light cone? That's probably why the PEAR team and others do include physicists and materials scientists, as well as statisticians. (Alas, I find some of the metaphysics of the PEAR researchers tiresome, but maybe that's an occupational hazard, given the results they get.)

>The study of the *paranormal* can, by definition, only tell us
>that science does not account for everything. This is not news.

That's weak. If the claims for precognition are valid, extant science is failing very badly as a deep level of explanation. This is good news, of course, since it opens up all kinds of yummy opportunities for people who prefer rigorous intelligence to superstition.

Damien Broderick