What if that psych paper on precognition is right?

by phil on Monday Nov 15, 2010 3:17 AM

This is all going to look foolish when this gets debunked, but there is a study showing that somehow our actions are influenced by the future. This study is going to be published by the leading psychology paper, and it has been peer-reviewed thoroughly for flaws. I looked at the paper myself, and the experiment looks sound.

Basically, students are given a list of words to memorize. They then write down a handful that they recall. And then the computer spits out a random selection of words. The result is that somehow the randomly generated words are similar to the recalled words. Now you could say that their random number generator was probably busted, but there was a control for that. And you could say that the sample size was too small, but this included thousands of students.

Assuming this is true, this is how I postulate the universe works. First, try to unlearn how you think of time. Instead, consider time to be like a movie reel, with each frame an instance of "now." Imagine that the movie reel for the entire universe has already been produced, and that it's sitting somewhere in storage wound up. If you look at an individual frame, you will notice that it is sitting on top of a frame that is later in sequence, and it is sitting underneath a frame that is earlier in sequence. Because the frames are translucent, if you were to shine light through one of the frames, it'd probably touch a handful of layers neighboring it. And so our concept of "now" which may be one frame on the movie reel, has some interaction with frames in the near future and near past, fading in intensity the further backwards and forwards you go.

But if this is true, how come we haven't evolved the ability to read minds or see the future? Surely, the fingers of evolution would've already captured the utility of it, right? But, maybe the sensation is so weak to be of very little evolutionary value to us. Except in one very anecdotal case: when a mom gets a tingling sensation when her child is in danger. Or maybe when we feel like we're being watched, a precursor to being murdered.

Paranormal adherents like to refer to "psi" as the capacity for ESP. If this study is correct, then what will proceed will be an avalanche of studies showing all the nuances of psi. The likely questions will be: How much and what kind of information can be transferred backwards in time? And over what span?

Most likely, we'll initially find out psi is very limited, but it will spawn dedicated psychic-scientists who will try to harness extra power from it. I imagine them trying to see if they can create an psi-bond between people other than mothers and their children.

Anyway, it's fun to speculate.

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