Is the physicist Russel Targ right about precognition?

Moonbeam

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Nov 24, 1999
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I heard an interview with Russell Targ a physist who worked with the government investigation of psychic phenomenon. He said that the most profound discovery of the 20th century is the discovery that people can know things before they happen. People were hooked up to some kind of machine that could measure emotional response and shown a bunch of pleasent scenes with an occassional horror scene thrown in. The pictures were suppossedly selected by a computer random generator, but the results showed that people would react to the negative scene before the coumpute had selected it.

Targ claims this is a major finding because it says there is something wrong with our understranding of causality. I would have to see this personally to believe it, and even then I'd be looking for other explanations. What's your thoughts on this?

 

WombatWoman

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Feb 19, 2000
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Targ, while a respected physicist, is apparently easily taken in by psychic hooey. He was one of several respected scientists to be duped by Uri Geller in the 1970s. James Randi has called Targ and Harold Puthoff "the Laurel and Hardy of Psi."

While I have had personal experiences that hinted at precognition (as most of us have,) there is no hard scientific evidence that would satisfy scientists who are outside the parapsychology camp. Targ and others throw the scientific method right out the window in their quest for mystical truths. Well-meaning, intelligent men like Russell Targ remind me of the poster on the wall of Fox Mulder's FBI cubbyhole. It says "I Want to Believe."
 

drboogie

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WombatWoman - that's why all I could do is post the link to Randi's site. He says it all ...
 

dennilfloss

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I heard that if Uri Geller keeps stroking something else than a spoon, instead of bending in half, it actually gets straight, at least for a while, before releasing ectoplasmic projections. That happens when he has Randi thoughts or Richard Simmons is nearby. :p

On a more serious note, the best book about cryptic human abilities I have read is a 785p. tome from 1993 called The Future Of The Body by Michael Murphy, published by Jeremy P. Tarcher/Perigee, Los Angeles. Writings that make you go mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. ;)

Heaven & Hot Rods (Stone Temple Pilots)

 

Moonbeam

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One thing that bothers me about this is that if one actually did such experiments and proved them to be scientifically verifiable, I doubt that the scientific community would even bother to check. We don't believe what we see, we see what we believe.
 

dennilfloss

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There have been real experiments on how the human mind can affect outcomes of, for example, balls falling through a network of pins so that the final result is not a centered bell curve but is skewed to one side or the other as requested. The US armed forces are still conducting research on the phenomenon because the mind of the operator or pilot could affect onboard sensors or computers and give false readings. This was extremely troublesome to high-ranking generals at NORAD in the 80s and now to Air Force designers as more planes operate with fly-by-wire controls.

It would appear that thought is one aspect that will be integrated in the new physics to emerge within the next 50 years. The Discovery Channel has had some intriguing interviews with leading physicists, including old farts like Richard Feynman, ;), about this 'new frontier'. At least, some serious research is currently being designed about it.

Mind over matter. ;)

Given To Fly (Pearl Jam)
 

OS

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Oct 11, 1999
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Would someone mind explaining the uri geller story a bit more to me? All I know was the he was allegedly capable of telekinesis, so what's the whole story?
 

Athanasius

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Nov 16, 1999
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If this kind of thing is intriguing to you, consider The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot. I don't personally agree with much of the book, but it does, as dennillfloss alluded to, begin to intergrate some preliminary theories of thought with the realms of physics and psychology.

In my opinion, the "minimal precognition" that seems latent in many people is probably caused more by a delay in "brain processing" than by anything else. Since I am a theist and I believe that the human being has a spirit, and that therefore "mind" is not located in the brain, I don't consider minimal precognitive abilities to be "supernatural" at all. I would agree with Augustin:



<< Miracles happen, not in opposition to Nature, but in opposition to what we know of Nature >>



As far as well-documented, seemingly legitimate cases of precognition go, I would say that &quot;spirit&quot; is greater than this space-time continuum and that it therefore processes linear time faster than our brain can. Hence it can respond to stimuli before the brain, slowed and clogged by matter, can process it.

The spirit is the &quot;world of internet.&quot; The brain is the modem that is never nearly fast enough to download all the data in a way our senses can easily order and process.

Of course, there are &quot;bad websites&quot; in the &quot;spiritual internet&quot; that are malevolent and destructive to human thought, growth and development. &quot;Beloved, trust not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of the Good Absolute (God), because many destructive sources of knowledge have gone out into the cosmos.&quot; (modern paraphrase of 1 John 4:1)

(Edited for typos. I probably still missed some) :p
 

Double Trouble

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Oct 9, 1999
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It's a bunch of baloney...... WW and drboogie pointed to the randi website (which does a great job of debunking this nonsense).

Dennil: <<There have been real experiments on how the human mind can affect outcomes of, for example, balls falling>>

I have yet to see any real, documented study that indicates that this, in fact, is the case. The only 'studies' you see on the matter are done by 'believers', and they don't follow procedures to ensure that the results are accurate. If there are any legit studies out there, I'd love to see them. Last I heard, there has yet to be ANY study (that can be verified) that proves any paranormal activity.

Moonbeam: What you're saying is true, we do see what we believe. That's why we try and find ways to measure and study things that do not depend on our perception. The cornerstones of our modern scientific studies are 'recreateability' and 'independently verifiable'. That's not always entirely possible, but even a skeptic like myself would be willing to take a look at legitimate research done in a certain area.
 

Athanasius

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tagej

To support dennillfloss's point, consdier the findings of Robert G. Jahn, who at the time of these experiments was a professor of aerospace sciences and dean emeritus of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University. Jahn, a non-believer in any kind of &quot;mystical&quot; phenomenon, reluctantly agreed to experiments with Random Effect Generators to see if thought could influence matter. His co-worker in the experiments was Brenda Dunne, a clinical psychologist.

Jahn is the author of Physics of Electric Propulsion, a textbook on deep space propulsion. His experiments with the effect of mindfulness on REG's was so shocked him that he founded the Princeton Enginneering Anomalies Research (PEAR) lab in 1979.

In a series of experiments, Jahn and Dunne were almost forced to admit that at least at times consciousness could produce what they called &quot;remote influence effects.&quot;

Some of their findings were published in the book, Margins of Reality: the Role of Consciousness in the Physical World (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987).

Furthermore, there is tremendous evidence for out of body experiences. This would suggest that the &quot;mind/consciousness&quot;, the real individual, is far more than just the space-time-matter configuration of the physical body. If you are interested, I can give you several well-documented and published reasearch studies on such phenomenon.

Keep in mind, I am not endorsing &quot;hook, line, and sinker&quot; all of these studies. But the anomalies that point to a level of consciousness or reality that is not matter-based are tremendous. They are too numerous to be ignored if we truly want open-ended, scientific inquiry. If consciousness is not matter based, it might be able to distance itself from the entire space-time continuum.
 

Pennstate

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Oct 14, 1999
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Going a bit off topic. People like James Randi are not true scientist in the sense that he does not recognize the limitations of science. Scientific instruments are limited in their scope and abilities. Therefore, science can only test only things that respond to scientific instruments. Looking at science 50 years back, it has evolved greatly. 50 years from now, we will realize how little we know right now. However, the universe will still be the same.

If Randi was alive millions and billions years ago, he would have a hard time believing the paranormal phenomenon that billions of tiny cells can work together to constitute a human capable of thought.

I think most physicists (like our own Gustavus) would agree that Physics, at its micro and macro extremes, is paranormal.
 

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