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Funniest line today ! February 10, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in humor, weird.
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PEAR is a lab at Princeton that for the last 30 years has studied paranormal phenomenon. And is now closing down.

Analyzing data from such trials, the PEAR team concluded that people could alter the behavior of these machines very slightly, changing about 2 or 3 flips out of 10,000. If the human mind could alter the behavior of such a machine, Dr. Jahn argued, then thought could bring about changes in many other areas of life — helping to heal disease, for instance, in oneself and others.

This kind of talk fascinated the public and attracted the curiosity of dozens of students, at Princeton and elsewhere. But it left most scientists cold. A physics Ph.D. and an electrical engineer joined Dr. Jahn’s project, but none of the university’s 700 or so professors did. Prominent research journals declined to accept papers from PEAR. One editor famously told Dr. Jahn that he would consider a paper “if you can telepathically communicate it to me.”

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1. Abhinav - February 10, 2007

Hi there,

WordPress suits you better. Congrats on the move!

And yeah I read about PEAR. Do you believe in ESP? I think sometimes our thoughts do alter events. The scale varies, though.

2. raosharath - February 10, 2007

No I do not. I haven’t seen any demonstrable evidence that these predictions are any better than random chance. You have to count misses as well, not just hits. Not just when you get it right, but also how often you get it wrong. That is the most important thing.

For eg : Lets say you play you the sound of a car passing by and ask me to guess what is the color of the car it is. Now the sound of a car doesnt possibly depend on its color. But I assert that I have a supernatural power to tell you the color from its sound. And lets say after a sound of guessing 100 sounds, I get it right 50 times. Now if the cars come in only 2 possible colors, anyone with no power can get it right 50 times because that is what you expect by chance !!

So unless someone can get it right say 75-80% of the times consistently, I will not consider it as a significant.

3. Abhinav - February 10, 2007

Hmm. I see. And once again a comment turns into a post! Haha.

I understand that most of such happenings can be attributed to mere chance. But sometimes, certain things do happen which can set you thinking if ESP might exist. For example, I remember once I was reading about Ronald Reagen at night. I turned on the TV later and I watch the news flash on CNN that he is dead. Such incidents can freak you out! Momentarily at least. I remember doing so much research on ESP and paranormal activities in my early teens before I became a skeptic. Because most of these things never seem to happen to you or your friend but always to a third person about whom you hear from your friends/relatives. At least for me. But still, ESP makes a fascinating topic.

p.s.- Just for the fun of it, what if someone DOES have supernatural power? It can’t be determined/denied can it? If an 11th dimension can exist, why not ESP?

4. raosharath - February 10, 2007

I am sure there must have a few 100 people who you read about a certain evening, but none of them died the next day !! That didnt bother you, did it ? My point is that the human mind is evolved to find reasons, causes and effects, connections- so we tend to see and build these connections.

As for your question about

“Just for the fun of it, what if someone DOES have supernatural power? It can’t be determined/denied can it? If an 11th dimension can exist, why not ESP?”,

Fair enough. We cannot prove the non-existence of anything – ESP/God etc. The burden of proof is on the believers to show that ESP exists beyond doubt, not on the non-believers.

So I would generally tend to say that – we don’t know, we have no evidence yet. We have no reason to believe something like that. There is no effect we see whose cause could be attributed to something like ESP beyond doubt. Therefore, under current circumstances, we can say it most likely (99%) does not exist.

5. Abhinav - February 11, 2007

Quoting you: May the nearly non-existent god save you. 😉

Yeah, 99% non-existant! Thank you!

You never know what that 1% of existance might do.Haha..


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