EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION DECLARED (FAIRLY) DEAD

This entry was posted by Friday, 24 June, 2011
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CAN YOU READ HIS MIND?

MIND READING

Extrasensory perception is “thought talk”. With ESP you can toss your ideas to someone like a Nerf Ball. Mind-to-mind. No talking needed.

Handy.

But, according to Jeffrey Rouder and Richard Morey (Psychonomic Bulletin & Review) ESP’s not happenin’. They didn’t like the claim by a rival scientist (Daryl Bem of Cornell) that he’d nailed the case for ESP with all kinds of seemingly scientific experiments. Rouder and Morey were “Right back at you” with all kinds of advanced statistical methods.

It’s like Law And Order. Competing experts. Blizzards of papers.

Who’s right?

Look at it this way. If ESP abilities exist, wouldn’t natural selection pressures enhance them? ESP would get better and better, right? Very refined.

By now, ESPers would be getting all the poker chips. Literally.  They would have such an edge that the rest of us would be standing around looking stupid – well, let’s face it, BEING stupid – while THEY would be trading stock secrets, doing espionage, and telling jokes at our expense. We’d never even know they were making fun of us.

Darwinian selection would pop us mouth-talkers down the stack so low we couldn’t see sunlight.  Maybe, with luck, we would live in “Homes For The ESP Blind” till the last of our kind were gone.

Luckily for us, MISTERScienceAintSoBad knows of no superior ESP race and poker cheats are still doing it the old fashioned way. This makes me think Rouder and Morey are on the right track and Dr. Bem’s deluding himself. Maybe others.

Sorry to be a moist blanket.

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