Of Time and Telekinesis

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I’ve been distracted lately.

My small amount of blogging time has, in the past couple of weeks, been soaked up responding to comments following the little article I wrote about the MyTelekinesis site.

That article, and the followups (here, here and here), are easily the most commented on articles, so passions have certainly been aroused. The ElmoreBots don’t even come close.

It all started when I ridiculed the MyTK site (as its followers call it). I didn’t actually set out to ridicule it, but just to have some fun examining some of the way out claims made on it. But the more I looked, the more it deserved ridicule, sorry.

The curious thing was that, is that in addition to the ‘you’re so closed-minded, man’ comments, there were also comments from MyTK members who AGREED that there’s a lot of rubbish on their site, and that moderators needed to clean things up. So, I guess I feel vindicated in drawing attention to some of the more obvious nonsense on the site.

The comments also had a nice mix of polite and abusive comments. For those who haven’t been following the exchanges, there is quite a nice series of comments back and forth after the articles to which I linked earlier, from a well-meaning correspondent known as Fro-G-irrafe, (whose peudonym sounds a bit like that other evolutionary myth, the croc-o-duck, doesn’t it? If it’s not a pseudonym, my apologies go to Mr. Irrafe).

Anyway, Fro seems very keen for me to believe, and has been been sending me video as proof, as well as quotes from people like Einstein, just to make sure I pay attention.

In one exchange in this article, Fro presented two videos which were particularly lame, so I tried to explain how I would do them. I then decided to actually do one myself, and proceeded to present the remarkable demonstration you see in that article.

But Fro is not deterred. He insists it is up to me to prove that telekinesis doesn’t exist.

And my response has been consistent –  here is an excerpt from that thread:

As I’ve said before, the challenge is for you to prove tk exists, not for me to disprove.
In the absence of ANY information to the contrary, I can only conclude that someone made it up – wishful thinking. How do I conclude this? After decades of research there is not even one confirmed effect or demonstration. Not one. So what are you asking me to believe in, or even disprove? Are you asking me to disprove what people claim they can do in private but not in controlled conditions? Are you asking me to explain how the videos are done – I can do that. So what’s left to disprove?

Thanks for touching on astrophysics. Yes, there are billions of things we don’t know, not just in astrophysics, but every discipline. Now listen closely.
When we don’t know, we investigate. We make observations.
When we have enough observations, we construct a hypothesis, which we test. Over and over again.
And we refine it. If it fails, we discard it, or modify it.
Eventually, the hypothesis may become a theory. And we keep testing – just like the theory of relativity, and gravity, and germ theory etc.
Yes, we don’t know if parallel universes exist, or how the big bang happened, but, instead of just being lazy and saying ‘god did it’ for example, we construct a hypothesis and test it, even if it’s only thought experiments – at least we are proposing something and comparing that to our experience.

The difference with tk is that there are no observations. I ask you a simple question: what prompted man to hypothesise tk as a phenomenon?
Did they observe things moving with no explanation? If so, tell me when this happened and who identified it.
If not, IT WAS JUST INVENTED, because is sounds fun and romantic.

You can play around with words like closed-minded all you like – call me whatever you like. What you call ‘closed-minded’ is just me saying that I can’t believe something for which there is not even a phenomenon which can be explored. And that’s just boring.

So, until we have some killer demonstration of telekinesis, I’m afraid it’s case closed. If and when that killer evidence happens, I’ll be glad to say I was wrong. But I’m prepared to say that if I had to bet my life one way or the other, I’m betting against telekinesis.

But I will no doubt continue to have conversations with Fro. At least it helps me refine my thoughts on pseudoscience.


One thought on “Of Time and Telekinesis

    Dan Rea said:
    May 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Well I’m not sure I agree with the idea that telekinesis could not have been ‘hypothesised’ (if we can call it that in this case) based upon witnessing a natural event. A lot of crazy stuff is. I mean if you were some poor sod born a few thousand years ago the Northern Lights would certainly get some mystical thoughts going on in your head.

    I mean there could be some (incorrectly) perceived pattern of some person who noticed something like…. like….
    Like a FroG. Consider a person who sees frog, small and scared of this big human observer. The frog remains frozen; as does this person who watches with bated breath. The person exhales after a moment and the from zips off. This happens every time the person sees a frog. The person notices a pattern and incorrectly feels their exhalation is the outflow of some psychic power which causes the frog to flee. This person is convinced, and tells the next fool that walks along of their psychic ability. This second person irrationally perpetuates this irrational and unproven claim because “it sounds fun and is romantic”.

    Bah… More likely it was invented by a street-corner illusionist who used tricks to entice coins out of bemused travelers. I think on a deep psychological level every human has a desire to be superior to others; to be better-than someone at something else. I find this an entirely healthy drive when the ‘than’ is something real, and the ‘drive’ is not obsession. It’s why we play games. It’s why we appreciate Nobel Prizes. We all wish we had special powers, but as far as science can prove, it seems we’re all so horribly normal in out physical ability (Oh how I wish I could do the X-Men Magneto car-crush thing…).

    But the thing is we *can* aim at super-human abilities in our mental pursuits. The discovery of radiation; the formulating of the theory of evolution; proving the theoretical concepts in quantum mechanics; these pursuits and their fruits DO make us *almost* super-human. If anyone wants to be amazed or do amazing things I encourage you to exercise your ears and the potential near-superpowers of the grey stuff between them!
    All you need is a humble and rational thought process and disposition.

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