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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Thursday, March 30, 2023

They Claimed Permanent Physical Evidence of the Paranormal

It is amazing how successful the mainstream has been in limiting the public's knowledge of some of the main types of paranormal phenomena.  One of the main types of paranormal phenomena is called materialization. Materialization is the alleged appearance of physical objects in a way that defies all explanation. You will read accounts describing such a phenomenon very often in the literature of the paranormal. But mainstream sources will scarcely say a word about such a topic. So when the average person reads an account of paranormal materialization, he will be extremely surprised. It's kind of the situation that would exist if scientists had a taboo against discussing meteors, leading to a state where anyone who discussed meteor sightings might sound like some fantasist. 

Phenomena of materialization are discussed in my posts below:

(1) The case of the "Katie King" materialization produced by Florence Cook is discussed here, a case involving many observations made by the world-class scientist William Crookes. 

(2) Various observations of materialization are discussed here and here

(3) The case of very many materializations observed in the presence of the medium Marthe Beraud (referred to in a book as Eva C.) is discussed here

(4) Materialization reports by the distinguished science Alfred Russel Wallace (co-founder of the theory of evolution) are discussed here

(5) Materialization reports by the 19th century writer Emily Katherine Bates and the 20th century professor C. J. Ducasse are described here.  

One of the best examples of evidence for materialization is the 1922 book "Materialisations-Experimente mit M. Franek-Kluski" by physician Gustave Geley and Albert von Schrenck-Notzing M.D.  The title can be translated as "Materialization Experiments with M. Franek-Kluski." The book is in German, but with the help of Google Translate it is fairly easy to get an English translation of any page. 

After giving some background information about M. Franek-Kluski (a male medium), on page 19 the book mentions getting permanent physical evidence of a materialization: "Now indeed we obtained casts of materialized hands, a process of an extremely delicate nature since it requires a complete materialization of the organ, that of the momentary creation of a human living hand."

Witnesses said that during materialization a full human-like form may appear. During the materializations reported to occur from Florence Cook, the result was a full human form (referred to as Katie King) that might even appear to walk around. On page 24 the authors give this interesting discussion of how such materialization looks to the eye:

'The process by which materializations come about is well known today, since it is known that the materialized organs and tissues are formed at the expense of a primordial substance, which is formed largely by the medium and also to a lesser extent by those present. The primordial substance appears mainly in two forms: as a solid or liquid substance or in gaseous form. In the experiments with Eva C., the solid substance prevailed. The opposite is the case for the majority of other well-known media. The primordial substance almost always develops in a gaseous form or as a vapor, the solid matter was observed only exceptionally in Franek's case. In general, the phenomena take place as follows: First, a strong smell of ozone is noticed....This announcing symptom was never absent from our experiments. The smell comes on suddenly and goes away as well. One sees (in very dim light) faintly phosphorescent vapors, a kind of fog around the medium hover, especially above his head. This fog gradually rises higher like light smoke. At the same time lights appear, apparently foci of compaction. These were generally numerous, delicate, and fleeting, but sometimes they showed themselves to be stronger and more permanent, and gave the impression of luminous parts of otherwise invisible organs, especially the fingertips and parts of the face. Finally, when materialization was complete, fully formed hands or faces, often self-luminous, were seen, as were sometimes the materialized tissues. As is well known, M. le Cour compared the formation of these structures, materialized from a phosphorescent mist, with the formation of the celestial bodies from mists."

On page 20 the authors note methods they took to rule out any trickery such as perhaps someone pulling out of his clothing some object that might be mistaken for a materialized form. We read this:

"The medium sat on a simple chair in front of the black cabinet, the curtains of which generally remain open behind him... Actually, a cabinet seemed superfluous to Franek. The control under these circumstances was very simplified, for it essentially consisted in the holding of Franek's two hands by two experimenters, one on his right and the other on his left. The contact between the experimenters and the medium was also secured by the knees and legs in such a way that Franek could not make any movement without being noticed."

We read on the next page and the page after it of some facts making it hard to imagine the medium smuggling in some foot-sized or hand-sized items to be used in trickery:

"We never undressed the medium. The reader will understand that such a means of control was not appropriate for Franek. However, several times before and after the sessions, unexpected medical examinations of the medium gave me the opportunity to examine his body closely without ever seeing anything suspicious... Franek was in the habit, for reasons of convenience, of emptying his pockets completely before meetings. The clothes hung on his body without showing a bulge....The best sleight of hand would have felt powerless if he had been put in the same position that Franek found himself in during the sessions: in an unprepared room to which he had not been permitted access in the meantime, without the possibility of assistance and both hands immobile!"

Under such conditions,  the witnesses reported observing gradual materializations of what looked like human limbs, accompanied by dramatic mysterious luminous phenomena such as reported for the December 27 session: "nebulae, phosphorescent haze, bright luminous points, large luminous spheres, etc."

On page 36 the authors discuss a method they used to obtain permanent physical evidence of materialization, using paraffin (a type of hot wax):

"The paraffin casts are obtained as follows: A bucket containing molten paraffin floating on warm water is placed next to the medium during the session. The materialized 'being' is now asked to dip a hand, foot, or even part of its face into the paraffin one or more times. A mold is then immediately formed on the limb, which hardens immediately in the air or when immersed in cold water standing nearby. The organ in question then dematerializes and leaves the glove to the experimenter. Later you can pour plaster of paris into the glove and then get rid of the paraffin by placing the mold in boiling water. What remains is a plaster cast showing all the details of the materialization. We used this method but did not use the cold water to set the molds for simplicity and to ensure control."

On page 58 we have this remarkable account, which may be of great interest to anyone getting mysterious orbs in photos:

"I asked him if he could see my sister in the 'Astral' who has been dead for 3 years. Answer: Yes. At the same moment I felt a woman's hand gently placed on my forehead, making the sign of the cross there and encircling it with a circle, as my sister always did when she was alive when she said goodbye to me. I recognized her hand, dimly lit, against the edge of the fluorescent screen that lay on the table in front of me. It moved several times before my eyes, and more and more I thought I recognized it. She squeezed my hand, patted my face. I can no longer doubt that it is her hand that I feel. A short time later a glowing orb forms in front of my face and moves away; then she comes very close to my face and to my great astonishment and also to my great joy I notice the fully recognizable facial features of my sister, who smiles at me as in real life. However, she seems much younger to me, about the way she was when she was 25. She died at the age of 54. The upper part of the head is surrounded by cloudy veils."

Following pages 72 we have some photos of the plaster molds that were made using the technique described above. They include the photos below (on the pages here, here, here and here): 

Kluski molds

These photographs seem to rule out all explanations such as that the observers were suffering from some hallucination when they reported the materializations they claimed to see. Hallucinations cannot be photographed. Referring to these plaster casts, the modern-day writer Leslie Kean tells us "they remain to this day in the Institut Metapyschique International in Paris," and on the page here she shows some photographs of such casts stored at this institute.  The photo of a plaster foot she gives here matches the plaster cast foot shown on this page of Geley's 1922 book. The photo she gives of interlocking plaster hands matches the photo below of interlocking plaster hands.  In 1923 Scientific American published an English account of how these casts were obtained. The account (entitled "Materialized Hands") can be read at this link.

scientific account of paranormal

This was before publications such as Scientific American adopted their "head in the sand" ostrich policy of ignoring and censoring a hundred and one types of extremely important evidence about minds and psychic realities, basically choosing to never fairly discuss evidence conflicting with materialist dogmas. 

Baron Ludwig von Guldenstubbe (1820-1873)  was a Scandanavian nobleman of the 19th century who claimed to have observed a phenomena of spirit writing. You can read his main work on the topic
here, but it is available only in French. So  reading the book ("Pneumatologie positive et expérimentale. La réalité des esprits et le phénomène merveilleux de leur écriture directe") will require the English reader to use Google Translate. 

Early in the book Guldenstubbe makes this claim:

"More than fifty people were able to observe the astonishing phenomenon of the direct writing of invisible geniuses, giving their paper themselves.

Here are the names of some eyewitnesses, most of whom witnessed several experiments:

M. Ravené, senior, owner of a fine picture gallery in Berlin;

Prince Leonide Galitzin, of Moscow;

Mr. Prince S. Metschersky;

Dr. Georgii, disciple of the illustrious Ling, now in London;

Colonel Toutcheff;

Dr. Bowron, in Paris;

M. Kiorboë, distinguished artist, in Paris, residing rue du Chemin de Versailles, 43;

Colonel de Kollmann, in Paris;

M. le Baron de Voigts-Rhetz;

Mr. Baron Borys d'Uexkull."

The first seven chapters of the book can be skipped over, since they do not deal with Guildenstubbe's observations. Finally in Chapter VIIII the Baron starts discussing his own observations. The author makes a specific claim about when such marvels started:

"No. 1. Figure traced on August 13, 1856, an ever-memorable day, when the author observed, for the first time, the marvelous phenomenon of the direct writing of spirits. This figure was drawn by a spirit in the author's dwelling, 74, rue du Chemin de Versailles on the Champs-Elysées, at three o'clock in the afternoon." 

On the next page the Baron claims to have got on various dates writing "in lapidary Latin," "in lapidary ancient Greek," and also hieroglyphs. On page 80 the Baron claims to have got on various dates writing in English, writing in Estonian, and writing in Greek and Latin.  Many similar pages follow. They keep describing various "spirit writings" which are numbered. At the back of the book, we see facsimiles of these writings. 

In an article at Encyclopedia.com we read this about Guildenstubbe:

"In August 1856 he began to experiment in the phenomenon of direct writing without the intervention of a medium. He placed paper and pencil in a small locked box, carrying the key with him. After 13 days he opened the box and found some written characters on the paper; the experiment was repeated successfully ten times on the same day."

Much later on page 210 the Baron declares this in a triumphal fashion: "It seems that our task is fulfilled; we have proved in the first part of this volume, the reality of the supernatural world of the Spirits, by the experimental way, that is to say by a great number of repeated experiences of the direct writing of the Spirits, in the presence of fifty witnesses of sound mind and body."

You would think that if the Baron had such experiences, that no one in his family would claim to have seen something as astonishing. But according to the article here, the Baron's wife claimed to have seen something even more astonishing: the bilocation of Emilie Sagee. We read this:

"The Baron's wife, Mme. von Guldenstubbe was a witness of the extraordinary phenomenon of the bilocation of Mlle. Sagee, a French school mistress in Livnoia. At the time, Mme. von Guldenstubee was thirteen years old and one of the pupils of the school. It seems that the pupils sometimes saw two Mlle. Sagees side by side, exactly resembling each other and making the same gestures."

On page 40-43 of his book Death and Its Mystery by the astronomer Camille Flammarion, we have a more detailed account of this case. According to Flammarion's account, 13 girls saw an apparition of a school teacher named Emilie Sagee, right next to her physical form, so that there was "one beside the other." "They were exactly alike, and going through the same movements," according to Flammarion, who states, "All the young girls, without exception, had seen the second form, and agreed perfectly in their description of the phenomenon."   Later, according to his account, 42 pupils saw an apparition of Sagee in a school at the same time Sagee was also observed picking flowers in a garden -- as if there were two copies of Emilie Sagee. According to the pupils, the apparition "gradually vanished."  Flammarion reports, "The forty-two pupils described the phenomenon in the same way." Such an observation may possibly be evidence for the idea that each of us has an "astral body" different from our physical body.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Space Research Offers No Real Encouragement for Abiogenesis Believers

There they go again: telling us baloney about the origin of life. Among the phony or only half-true headlines written this week by our science journalists were these :

  • "Key building block for life discovered on distant asteroid Ryugu — and it could explain how life on Earth began" (LiveScience.com)
  • "Asteroid discovery suggests ingredients for life on Earth came from space"  (Yahoo News)
  • "Asteroid discovery suggests life on Earth came from space billions of years ago." (Fox News)

These headlines refer to a claimed discovery of a negligible amount of a chemical called uracil in soil retrieved from the asteroid Ryugu. None of the three stories above mention the amount of uracil that was reported. The amount reported in the scientific paper was about 13 parts per billion. The paper states: "the concentration of uracil before acid hydrolysis is estimated to be 7 ± 4 and 21 ± 6 ppb in the A0106 and C0107 samples, respectively."  Unfortunately, when something is reported in concentrations so low, you can't have very much confidence in the reliability of the result. 

For example, in 2020 some scientists reported they detected phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus, at a level of 20 parts per billion. But other scientists who analyzed the same data said that it provided no clear evidence of phosphine. It seems that claims of finding things at barest trace levels such as 20 parts per billion are not very reliable. Moreover, there is a chance of terrestrial contamination, which is what would have happened if a tiny trace of the Earth's uracil (found in all living things) managed to contaminate the soil sample from the asteroid Ryugu. 

Even if the reported amount of uracil is correct (a very big "if"), an amount so negligible would do nothing to "explain how life on Earth began," and does not at all suggest "life on Earth came from space" or that "ingredients for life on Earth came from space."  Making such claims are sillier than claiming that moon dust can feed astronauts after finding that moondust has 20 parts per billion of sugar. We can imagine some manufacturing process that might extract such microscopic traces of sugar if they existed in moon dust, but we can imagine no natural process that would extract uracil from some asteroid dust that was 99.99999999% biologically irrelevant stuff. 

One problem in explaining the origin of life is the difficulty of explaining the origin of all the necessary building blocks. The table below shows the various types of the lowest building blocks of life. As indicated below, there are reasons for doubting that the amino acids, ribose sugars, purines, and nucleotides would have existed in sufficient quantity for DNA, RNA and proteins to originate.

Ribose sugars.

Harvard science web site: "In experiments ribose could not be made at the necessary quantities that would explain its abundance on early Earth because it was highly unstable."

 A scientific paper says this:

Sugars are known to be unstable in strong acid or base, but there are few data for neutral solutions. Therefore, we have measured the rate of decomposition of ribose between pH 4 and pH 8 from 40 degrees C to 120 degrees C. The ribose half-lives are very short (73 min at pH 7.0 and 100 degrees C and 44 years at pH 7.0 and 0 degrees C)... These results suggest that the backbone of the first genetic material could not have contained ribose or other sugars because of their instability.

A NASA press release notes "sugars and nucleobases (components of DNA and RNA)...have not yet been identified in samples returned from Ryugu,” referring to samples returned from an asteroid, by a Japanese space mission. Ribose sugar was reported in three meteorites, with abundances between 4 and 25 parts per billion. Terrestrial contamination is a possible source of such reports. 
PhosphatesA simple chemical with one phosphate atom and four oxygen atoms. Types of phosphates may have been detected in a subsurface ocean of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. 

Pyrimidines (type of nitrogenous base): cytosine, thymine, and uracil

A 2023 paper reports uracil in parts of only about 12 parts per billion in a sample returned from an asteroid.  Cytosine and thymine have not been detected in samples returned from an asteroid. 
Purines (type of nitrogenous base): adenine and guanine.

More complex than pyrimidines. According to this paper, it is hard to explain an abiotic origin, in a way compatible with formation of ribose sugars. A paper says that  "gas-phase adenine and uracil will be destroyed within hours in the Earth's vicinity," because of sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation. No adenine or guanine was found in samples returned from the asteroid Ryugu.
Nucleosides (combination of ribose sugar and pyrimidines or purines) and nucleotides (a nucleoside plus a phosphate)Wikipedia article: “No known chemical pathways for the abiogenic synthesis of nucleotides from pyrimidine nucleobases cytosine and uracil under prebiotic conditions." Nucleosides have not been found in space. 

Amino Acids. The twenty amino acids used by living things are: Alanine, Asparagine, Aspartic acid, Arginine, Cysteine, Glutamine,
Glycine, Glutamic acid, Histidine,
Lysine,Leucine, Phenylalanine, Methionine, Serine, Proline,
Tryptophan,Threonine, Tyrosine, and Valine.

None of the amino acids used by living things have ever been produced in any experiment realistically simulating early Earth conditions. The famous Miller-Urey experiment was not any such thing. As discussed at length here, the Miller-Urey experiment failed in multiple ways to realistically simulate early Earth conditions, with the failures including (1) use of an enclosed glass apparatus that would not have been available; (2) excessive bombardment of electricity (continuous bombardment every other day), unlike anything that would have occurred in the early Earth; (3) an incorrect mixture of gases not matching the atmosphere of the early Earth.

The only claims of detecting an amino acid on another planet or moon is a dubious claim of detecting the simplest amino acid (glycine) in a very tiny trace amount (1 part in a billion) in the atmosphere of Venus.  Made by one paper, the claim has not been replicated by another paper. Since a claim recently of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus in the trace amount of 20 parts per billion was disputed by several other scientific papers (here, here and here), we can have little confidence in the claim of a much smaller 1 part per billion abundance of glycine in the atmosphere of Venus. 

No amino acids or sugars have been found on Mars or on Saturn's large moon Titan (where about 20 other chemicals have been detected) or an Enceladus (another large moon of Saturn where some chemicals have been detected, but not amino acids or sugars).  A claim has been made that some amino acids existed in a meteorite (Nakhla) reputed to have come from Mars, but the paper making that claim says, "The amino acids in Nakhla appear to be derived from terrestrial organic matter that infiltrated the meteorite soon after its fall to Earth."

One paper claimed to have found glycine, alanine and valine in a sample from the asteroid Ryugu, but the abundances found were negligible, only about one nanomole per gram, way, way too small to be seen with the naked eye. This is an abundance of about 1 part per billion..

The Stardust mission returning a dust sample from a comet found only one of the twenty amino acids used by living things: glycine, the simplest of these amino acids. The abundance was only about 1 part per billion. 

The table below clarifies the relation between the complexity of these chemicals and whether or not they have been found in space. The relation is a simple one. None of these chemicals with a molecular weight greater than about 112 has been found in space. 



Molecular weight

Found in space?


Amino acid




Amino acid


Yes (?)


Amino acid




Amino acid




Amino acid


Yes (?)


Amino acid




Amino acid










Yes (?)


Amino acid




Amino acid




Amino acid



Aspartic acid

Amino acid




Amino acid
















Amino acid



Glutamic acid

Amino acid




Amino acid




Amino acid




Amino acid




Amino acid




Amino acid




Amino acid




Amino acid



Below is a good analogy for the people trying to take comfort in the discovery in space of the tiniest trace amounts of a few of the lowest building blocks of life. Let us imagine a person who gets the extremely ridiculous idea that well-written books can arise from chance arrangements of falling leaves. The person might examine natural piles of falling leaves, looking for something that looks like letters of the English alphabet. He would no doubt be able to find a few very rare examples of something in a natural leaf pile resembling a letter of the alphabet. But it would be extremely absurd for the person to announce that finding a few such cases would do anything to substantiate the idea that falling leaves can write well-written books. It would be very ridiculous for the person to make a statement like the one below:

origin of life absurdity

This is a fair analogy regarding abiogenesis claims (claims that life can arise from mere lifeless chemicals), for three reasons:
(1) The information complexity of even the simplest living thing is comparable to the information complexity of a book. Trying to strip down the simplest living cells so that they are left with the simplest self-reproducing cell, scientists are left with a cell still requiring hundreds of proteins, most of which require hundreds of well-arranged amino acids. Just as even the simplest adult book (having only about 30 pages) requires about 30,000 well-arranged characters or letters, the simplest one-celled living thing requires about 30,000 well-arranged amino acids. 
(2) Just as there are 26 letters in the English alphabet, each with a different appearance, there are 20 amino acids used by living things, each with a different structure. 
(3) Just as within piles of leaves the vast majority of material consists of that which does not look like any building block of a book (a letter of the alphabet), the matter in asteroids and comets is 99.9999999% chemical material that is not any of the lowest building blocks of life. Just as there would be no way for natural processes to extract rare parts of leaf piles that looked like letters, and make such rare parts into books,  there would be no way for natural processes to extract trace parts of asteroids or comets that consisted of any of the building blocks of life listed above, and to make a living thing from only those extracted parts.

So the chance of chemicals accidentally forming into a self-reproducing cell is roughly comparable to the chance of falling leaves producing a well-written book of about 30 pages. Just as we would never expect any pile of leaves to result in a well-written book (even if there were a billion trillion quadrillion trees in the universe), we would never expect the accidental appearance of life from random chemical combinations to ever occur even if there were a billion trillion planets scattered across 100 billion galaxies. Extraterrestrial life could still be abundant in the univere, but only if there is some purposeful agency causing such abundance. 

In scientific papers we can find many confessions that totally conflict with common achievement boasts of biologists. For example, a 2022 paper ("Toward a theory of evolution as multilevel learning") makes this little confession: "Modern evolutionary theory gives a detailed quantitative description of microevolutionary processes that occur within evolving populations of organisms, but evolutionary transitions and emergence of multiple levels of complexity remain poorly understood."  Which is another way of saying biologists do not actually understand how our planet got  organisms such as birds, bears and humans. In the same paper we read this: 

"Modern evolutionary theory, steeped in population genetics gives a detailed and arguably, largely satisfactory account of microevolutionary processes: that is, evolution of allele frequencies in a population of organisms under selection and random genetic drift. However, this theory has little to say about the actual history of life, especially the emergence of new levels of biological complexity, and nothing at all about the origin of life."

So why on Earth have he heard a hundred and one evolutionary biologists speaking as if evolutionary theory was some explanation of biological complexity? It sounds like our evolutionary biologists  jumped the gun and crowned themselves as grand Lords of Explanation,  pinning on their chests self-devised merit badges boasting of things never actually done.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Multiverse Is the Rabbit Hole Bunker of Materialists

Way back when, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the organization that issues the Academy Awards or Oscars) would often give awards for films that were morally uplifting. The Academy gave its Best Picture award to the following morally uplifting or morally inspiring stories:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird, mainly a story of a lawyer fighting racial prejudice in the southern US.
  • Gandhi, the story of a man's lifelong effort to combat colonialism in a nonviolent way.
  • Schindler's List, the story of a man bravely striving to save Jews from the horrors of Hitler's Holocaust.
  • 12 Years a Slave, the story of a man surviving the horrors of slavery and racial prejudice.
  • Dances With Wolves, the story of a man teaming up with American Indians to resist their oppression by land-grabbing expansionists.
But what is the latest picture to win the Best Picture award from the Academy? Alas, it is a picture called Everything Everywhere All at Once, promoting the morally corrosive nonsense of parallel universes theory. That type of thing is the opposite of something morally inspiring. Anyone who believes in the crazy notion that there are an infinite number of copies of himself in parallel universes is a person who should not be expected to act in a moral manner.  For example, if such a person is driving along a road and spots a freezing child lying on the road, he may say, "It makes no difference what I do now, for there will be an infinite number of parallel universes in which the child freezes to death, and an infinite number of parallel universes in which the child lives." 

Besides the fake physics multiverse nonsense of infinite parallel universes, there is also the fake physics nonsense of claiming an infinity of universes, each with a different set of laws or fundamental constants. Using the term "rabbit hole" stemming from the story of Alice in Wonderland in which Alice enters a world of fantasy after going down a rabbit hole, we can say those who advance such multiverse nonsense have gone way down into a rabbit hole bunker. When a person finds himself  in such a bunker, it's a sign that things have gone very wrong. One spring long ago some government leaders found themselves hiding down in a bunker, and they had hoped at such a time they would instead be strutting around triumphantly in Moscow, Paris and London, not hunkered down in that bunker. Similarly the scientists of the Cold War era hoped that by the early twenty-first century they would end up in some grand state of explanatory triumph, with some elegant  sensible-sounding "theory of everything," not in some crazy multiverse "last resort" hideout where they had to resort to loony-sounding appeals to some infinity of universes. No scientist around 1960 wanted to end up down some rabbit hole of claiming some infinity of universes. 

multiverse rabbit hole

The visual above gives you a little idea of why physicists went down the rabbit hole of the multiverse. It was a desperate futile measure they took to escape evidence they had found that the laws and fundamental constants of our universe have very precise fine-tuning to allow for the existence of intelligent beings, civilizations and long-lived stable stars like our sun, the kind of fine-tuning that would be incredibly improbable in any random universe. 

It seems that some of our multiverse claimants may be losing the fawning approval they once enjoyed in the mainstream. Consider the case of a recent interview with physicist Leonard Susskind, appearing in the CERN Courier, a publication of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, a large international group in charge of some of the world's biggest particle accelerators. Susskind spouts the same old multiverse baloney he's been pushing for decades. Susskind calls his version of the multiverse "the landscape," a term he introduced in a book that made it very clear his multiverse was all about trying to escape evidence the universe was well-designed.  Susskind makes this groundless claim: "I would say the best explanation for the patterns we see in cosmology and particle physics is a very diverse landscape of possibilities and an extremely large universe – a multiverse."  

Among many other cases of cosmic fine-tuning, physicists had discovered what looked like very precise fine-tuning regarding the Higgs Boson or Higgs mass, which I discuss in my post here. Physicists tried to evade this fine-tuning with a wildly speculative theory called supersymmetry, which was the "foundation of sand" for an even more wildly speculative family of theories called string theory. All of the predictions of supersymmetry failed, and the particles it predicted were never found. To try to sweep under the rug this failure, the string theorist Susskind gives us this bit of hair-splitting:

" I call that string theory with a capital 'S', and I can tell you with 100% confidence that we don’t live in that world. And then there’s string theory with a small 's' – you might call it string-inspired theory....The string landscape is one such guess. It’s not based on absolutely precise capital-S string theory, but on some conjectures about what this expanded small-s string theory might be."

You get the idea? Susskind is trying to preserve his string theory landscape multiverse fantasy by telling us that it is only string theory with a capital "S" that has been ruled out, not string theory with a small "s." This hair-splitting is like when a wife finds her husband naked in bed with his naked mistress, and the husband says, "Don't worry, darling: this merely shows that I have been unfaithful with a small 'u,' not unfaithful with a capital 'U.' " 

Alas our interviewer fails to ask Susskind a single tough question, and lets him get away with trying to sell a totally failed theoretical program (multiverse theory and string theory) as some kind of success, even though not one particle of evidence supports it. It's the same old deal in which some editor or science journalist pitches nothing but the softest of softball questions instead of asking tough questions to scientists who are telling us tales that an astrologer would blush when telling. But at least someone at the CERN Courier has done his or her job properly. That person has titled the interview "Lost in the Landscape." The very mainstream CERN Courier thereby signals to us that it has no confidence in the explanatory snake oil Susskind is selling. 

Multiverse theorists have tried to sell their fantasies as some kind of new-fangled stuff. But thinking like multiverse theory is older than the Colosseum of Rome. The idea that special and fantastically improbable arrangements can be explained by imagining some infinity of combinations dates back to the materialism of the Epicureans. Epicureans such as Lucretius (who died about 50 BC) tried to explain how humans exist on a planet with such enormous biological order.  The explanation was simply that order had arisen from incredibly lucky combinations of atoms,  combinations that we would never expect to occur in, say, a trillion years of time, but which we might expect to occur if the universe had existed for an infinite length of time.  Lucretius stated the doctrine on this page of his De Rerum Natura:

"So much can letters by mere change of order

Accomplish; but these elements which are atoms

Can effect more combinations, out of which 

All different kinds of things may be created."

The "infinite atomic combinations" idea of the Epicureans was never a credible explanation for the order humans observe, because it never explained human reproduction and morphogenesis: the marvel of how a speck-sized zygote is able to progress to become the trillion-times more organized state of the human body. With an infinity of atomic combinations, you might end up (maybe once in a gazillion octillion of eons) with a planet full of human bodies arising from random combinations of atoms. But such combination luck in the past could never explain why there constantly occurs in the present throughout the human species an enormous organizational effect in which speck-size zygotes lacking any specification for making a human body gradually progress to become the vast hierarchical organization of a human body. You can never explain such a thing through any theory of cosmic luck in the past. You need something gigantically more: a theory of why there occurs vast organizational effects in the present, over a time scale of only nine  months.  The atomic combinations theory of the Epicureans was no such theory, and multiverse speculations are no such theory.  Theories of luck in the past cannot explain gigantic organizational effects occurring so abundantly in the present. 

Postulating a multiverse to explain our fine-tuned universe is futile, because such a speculation does nothing to make our universe more likely.  The relevant ratio here is the ratio between successful universes (allowing civilizations such as ours) and unsuccessful universes (ruling out such civilizations), and you do not make any change in such a ratio by imagining more universes. As an explanation for why our universe is so fine-tuned, the multiverse is both bunk with a small "b" and bunk with a capital "B."

There is zero evidence basis for believing in any idea of parallel universes, and no logical basis for believing in any such fantasy. So why do we keep reading about such nonsense? Largely because it serves as clickbait. We must remember that nowadays science journalism is all thoroughly entangled with an economic profit system in which bunk stories that are interesting-sounding are rewarded because they serve as clickbait that helps generate profitable revenue from ads that appear on online sites. Interesting-sounding nonsense is incentivized under such an economic reality. Follow the money, and you may understand why this toxic rubbish is being foisted on us. 

Saturday, March 18, 2023

How to Test ESP or Telepathy Using Your Friends or Family Members

The experimental evidence for telepathy (also called extra-sensory perception or ESP) is very good. We have almost two hundred years of compelling evidence for the phenomenon of clairvoyance, a type of extrasensory perception occurring when a person is asked to describe something he cannot see and does not know about. It is not correct that serious study of this topic began about 1882 with the founding of the Society for Psychical Research in England, as often claimed. Serious rigorous investigation of the topic of clairvoyance dates back as far as 1825, with the 1825-1831 report of the Royal Academy of Medicine finding in favor of clairvoyance. Serious scholarly investigation of clairvoyance occurred many times between 1825 and 1882.  Such investigations often involved subjects who were hypnotized, with many investigators reporting clairvoyance from hypnotized subjects or subjects who were in a trance.  Experimental investigation of telepathy occurred abundantly in the twentieth century, with many university investigators such as Joseph Rhine of Duke University reporting spectacular successes. 

You can read up about some of the evidence for such things by reading some of my posts and free online books below:

There is a simple way for you to test this subject yourself, by doing quick tests with your friends and family members. I report here on a quick and simple way of doing such tests that I have in recent months found to be highly successful, as I report in another post here. I have no idea whether you will get similar success yourself, but I would not be surprised if you do. Below are some suggestions:

(1) Test ideally using family members or close friends.  I don't actually have any data showing that tests of this type are more likely to be successful using family members or close friends, but I can simply report that I have had much success testing with family members.

(2) Ask the family member or friend to guess some unusual thing that you have seen with your eyes or seen in a dream.  Announce this simply as a guessing game, rather than some ESP or telepathy test. For example, you might say something like, "I saw something unusual today -- I'll give you four guesses to guess what it was."  Or you might say, "I dreamed of something I rarely dream of -- I'll give you four guesses to guess what it was." 

(3) Do not give any clues about your guess target, or give only a very weak clue. Your ESP test will be trying to find some case of a guess matching a guess target, with such a thing being extremely improbable.  You will undermine such an attempt if you give any good clue, such as "I'm thinking of an animal" or "I'm thinking of something in our house." If you give a clue, give only a very weak one such as "I saw something unusual on my walk today, can you guess what it was," or "I had a dream about something I rarely dream of, can you guess what it was." 

(4) Be sure to suggest that the person try three or four guesses rather than a single guess. In recent months I have noticed a strong "warm up" effect when occasionally trying tests like this, which I have done about every two weeks. I have noticed that the first guess someone makes usually fails, but that the second or third guess is often correct or close to the answer. For example, not long ago I said to one of my daughters, "You'll never guess what I saw down the street." I gave no clues, but asked her to guess. After a wrong guess of an orange cat, her second guess was "a raccoon," which is just what I saw. No one in our family has seen such a thing on our street before. Later in the day I asked her what I saw in a weird dream I recently had, mentioning only that it involved something odd in our front yard. After a wrong first guess of a snowman, she asked, "Was it a wild animal?" I said yes. Then she asked, "Was it an elephant?" I said yes.

(5) After the person makes the first guess, suggest that the person take 10 seconds before making each of the next guesses. Throughout the entire guessing session, you should be trying hard to visualize the thing you are asking the person to guess. Slowing the process down by suggesting 10 seconds between guesses may increase the chances of your thought traveling to the subject you are testing. 

(6) Only test using a guess target that is some simple thing that you can clearly visualize in your mind.  Do not test using a guess target of some complicated scene involving multiple actions or interacting objects.  For example, don't ask someone to guess some scene you saw that involved someone dropping his coffee and spilling it on his feet. Use a guess target of some single object or a single animal or a single human. Testing with types of animals seems to work well. If the test object or animal has a strong color or some characteristic action, all the better. Do not test using some extremely common sights such as your family dog. Success with such a test will not be very impressive. It's better to use a rarer sight, maybe something you see as rarely as a donkey or a racoon. 

(7) Answer only yes or no questions, counting each question as one of the three or four allowed guesses.  You can include a single "You're getting warm" answer instead of a "no" answer, but no more than one.  

(8) Very soon after the test, write down the results, recording all guesses and questions, and any responses you made such as "yes" or "no."  With testing like this, the last thing you want to rely on is a memory of some event happening weeks ago.  Write down the results of your test, positive or negative, within a few minutes of an hour of making the test. 

(9) Do a single test (allowing three or four guesses) only about once every week or two weeks. There may be a significant fatigue factor in such tests. A person who does well on such a test may not continue to do well if you keep testing him on the same day. To avoid such fatigue and to avoid annoying people with too many tests, it is good to just suggest a casual test as described above, once every week or two weeks. Keep a long-term record of all tests of this type you have done, recording failures as well as successes. 

(10) It's best not to announce the test as an ESP test or as a telepathy test, but to describe it as a quick guessing game or a test of chance. Our materialist professors have senselessly succeeded in creating very much unreasonable prejudice and bias against psychic realities that are well-established. So the mere act of announcing an ESP test may cause your subject to raise mental barriers that may prevent any successful result. To avoid that, it is best to describe your test as a quick guessing game or a test of chance.  

(11) It's best to choose a guess target that you personally saw either in reality or in a dream.  The more personal connection you have with the guess target, the better. Something that you personally saw recently (either in reality or a dream) may work better than something you merely chose randomly. The more your recent sensory experience of the guess target, the better it is. Choosing a guess target of something you both saw and touched may work better than something you merely saw. The more you have thought about the guess target, the better. It's better that the object have one or two colors than many colors, and the brighter the color is, the better. 

(12) Be cautious in publicly reporting successful results.  I would wait until you get three or four good successful tests before reporting anything about such tests on anything like social media. Also, avoid reporting your results as evidence of anything, unless you have something very impressive to report. Social media has a horde of skeptics ready to attack you if you claim evidence for ESP based on slim results. A good rejoinder to such attacks is if you can say, "I'm not claiming anything, I'm just reporting what happened.

ESP test

Above we see some guess targets that were successfully guessed after only a few guesses, in trials in which the guesser was not told that the item was an animal or anything living.  There were about nine trials, with one or two other trials being unsuccessful, and one being a partial success.  The guess targets were only in my mind, and I compiled the visual above only after these items were guessed correctly. 

Tests that you do of this type will be unlikely to ever constitute any substantial contribution to the literature of parapsychology. But they may have the effect of helping you to realize or suspect extremely important truths about yourself and other human beings that you might never have realized. A person might read a dozen times about experiments suggesting something, but the truth of that thing may never sink in until that person has some first-hand experience with the thing.  

Whether ESP or telepathy can occur is something of very high philosophical importance. There is a reason why materialists show a very dogmatic refusal to seriously study the evidence for telepathy. It is that if telepathy can occur, the core assumptions of materialism must be false. Telepathy could never occur between brains, but might be possible between souls. So any personal evidence you may get of the reality of telepathy can be a very important step in your philosophical journey towards better understanding what humans are, and what kind of universe we live in. 

Using a binomial probability calculator it is possible to very roughly estimate the probability of getting success in a series of about nine tests like the one above. To use such a calculator, you have to have an estimate of the chance of success per trial. With tests like those I have suggested, it is hard to exactly estimate such a thing, because you are choosing a guess target that could be any of 100,000 different things.  One reasonable approach would be to assume 100,000 different guess possibilities. The chance of a successful guess in only four guesses can be calculated like this, giving a result of only .00004.

probability calculation

The screen above is using the StatTrek binomial probability calculator, which doesn't seem to work whenever the probability is much less than a million. A similar calculator is the Wolfram Alpha binomial probability calculator, which will work with very low probabilities. I used that calculator with the data described in my post here. The situation described in that post was:

  • Each correct guess had a probability no greater than about 1 in 10,000, as I never mentioned the category of what was to be guessed, but always merely asked a relative to guess after saying  something like "I saw something today, try and guess what it was" or "I dreamed of something today, try to guess what it was."
  • Counting all questions asked (which were all "yes or no" questions) as a guess, there were in about nine guessing trials involving nine targets a total of about 37 guesses. 
  • Six times the guess target was correctly guessed within a few guesses, and one time the answer was wrong but close (with a final guess of a red bicycle rather than a red double-decker bus, both being red vehicles).  
Counting the close guess as a failed attempt, I entered this data into the Wolfram Alpha binomial probability calculator, getting these results (with this calculator the "number of successes" is referred to as the "endpoint"):

ESP test result

Having a probability of less than about 1 in .00000000000000001, it would be very unlikely for anyone to ever get a result as successful by mere chance, even if every person on planet Earth were to try such a set of trials. You can use the same 
Wolfram Alpha binomial probability calculator to get a rough estimate of the likelihood of results you get. 

I mention using a binomial probability calculator above, but just ignore such a thing if you find it confusing, because the use of such a calculator is just some optional "icing on the cake" that can be used after a successful series of tests. The point of the tests I suggest here is not to end up with some particular probability number, but mainly to end up with an impression in your mind of whether you were able to get substantive evidence that telepathy or mind reading is occurring. Such an impression may be a valuable clue that tends to point you in the right direction in developing a sound worldview. Some compelling personal experience with telepathy may save you from a lifetime of holding the widely taught but unfounded and untenable dogma that you are merely a brain or merely the result of some chemical activity in a brain.  Getting such experience, you may embark on further studies leading you in the right direction. Keep in mind that a negative test never disproves telepathy, just as failing to jump a one-meter hurdle does nothing to show that people can never jump one-meter hurdles. 

In the academic literature of ESP testing, we often read about the use of Zener cards, cards in which there are five abstract symbols. While using such cards has the advantage of allowing precise estimates of probability,  there is no particular reason to think that better results will be obtained when using such cards. To the contrary, it may be that impressive results are much less likely to be obtained using such cards, and that ESP tests work better when living or tangible guess targets are used such as a living animal or a tangible object. 

A very important point I must reiterate is that when trying tests such as I have suggested, it is crucial to allow for a second, third and fourth guess, with at least ten seconds between guesses (during which the person thinking of the guess target tries to visualize the guess target).  In my testing the correct guesses tend to come on the second, third or fourth try. 

The results mentioned above are not by any means the best result I have got in a personal ESP test. The beginning of my very interesting post "Spookiest Observations: A Deluxe Narrative" describes a much more impressive result I got long ago, in a different type of test than the type of test described above.