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The Crumbling Wall of Skepticism



Written By: Danielle Graham

It’s a blustery fall evening. The wind is screaming outside while I sit comfortably in front of my computer screen watching a video over and over. In the background, a repeating loop plays Puddle of Mudd’s hard rock Blurry, with its bellowing refrain “Can you take it all away?” Over a span of only fifteen minutes, the creator of the video does just that – he takes what are commonly accepted as the constraints of physical law “away.” [www.spin-geek.com – the third telekinesis video]

The Crumbling Wall of Skepticism

Slowly and steadily the top two poker chips of a stack of thirty-two come spinning off, then drop onto the hardwood tabletop. Additionally, the video clearly shows that he (the muscular arms definitely belong to a man and the hands to one who is no stranger to physical labor) never once touches the stack. Regardless, they gyrate, spin, shear and fall off without any direct physical contact.

Western science would refer to this accomplishment as “telekinesis” but if you journeyed to China that term would be considered a misnomer. In fact, if you were even afforded the opportunity to connect with the researchers there who have studied innate human ability, you would find that in the “mysterious east,” Chinese scientists call it as they see it: Non-locally moving clay poker chips from one physical location to another. What is notable in both cases is the fact that this skill is known, named, and studied in many locations around the world.

Telekinesis and Scientific Inquiry

Historically, there has been much interest in extraordinary human ability and its study has been well documented. In the late 1800’s, groups of scientists and other critical thinkers began to form organizations like The Society for Psychical Research in London and the American Society for Psychical Research in New York. In the early 1900’s Stanford and Duke Universities began formal inquiries of telekinesis in controlled laboratory settings. Many more projects would emerge throughout the 20th century, all with the similar objective of separating fact from fiction, and evidence from superstitious hearsay.

Despite significant documentation of witnessed psychokinetic occurrences by many highly respected professionals and notable scholars, the news media latched onto the quotes of a couple of celebrity scientists who did not impeccably voice a clear distinction between valid anecdotal evidence and “parlor tricks for profit.” Instead of supporting the continuation of open-minded rigorous inquiry, popular astronomer Carl Sagan and nuclear physicist Richard Feynman (both now deceased) publicly voiced their own biased perspectives from which a very clever magician built a profitable empire as a “pseudo-skeptic.”

After the height of world wide scientific inquiry into innate human ability during the 1970’s and 80’s, which had been encouraged and supported by some of the world’s most innovative minds from Russia, China, the United States and elsewhere, momentum began to subside. The world was changing rapidly and the emergence of exciting technologies captivated our attention. With no public spokesperson to maintain media presence on the subject of innate human abilities, any occasional reports would be quickly dismissed as magic trickery or spiritual mythology. The very idea that the human body inextricably connects and interacts in inexplicable ways with the surrounding environment lost its momentum within the whole of research. Even today, only a few underfunded pockets remain.

Pseudo-Skepticism

In the meantime, the self-promoting, very un-amazing Randi, created a harsh and divisive environment. Instead of voicing objective lines of reason, Randi is known for his torrential bullying, personal attacks and antagonistic sarcasm. Michael Prescott in Skeptical Investigations observed, “Randi pictures psychic researchers as medieval fools clad in ‘caps and bells’ and likens the delivery of an announcement at a parapsychology conference to the birth of ‘Rosemary’s Baby.’ After debunking all manner of alleged frauds, he opens the book’s [Flim-Flam] epilogue with the words, ‘The tumbrels now stand empty but ready for another trip to the square’ - a reference to the French Revolution, in which carts (“tumbrels”) of victims were driven daily to the guillotine. Randi evidently pictures himself as the executioner who lowers the blade. Two points might be made about this metaphor: the French Revolution was a product of ‘scientific rationalism’ run amok ... and, most of its victims were innocent.”

The Crumbling Wall of SkepticismIt might superficially appear that the basis for Randi’s taunts is to encourage investigation of paranormal claims for the purposes of generating rigorous data, but in fact, his form of self-promotion does not advance human knowledge. The infamous One Million Dollar Challenge is pure media-grabbing showmanship without any scientific basis. His logic: If you don’t play his game on his terms, then you are a fake. The fact is, public challenges do not “prove” anything. If someone were to accept the challenge and win the million dollars, the “winner” would indeed be a million dollars richer, but the world would not be any closer to understanding or accepting that innate human potential is developable by everyone.

The Future Now

A single “test” is incapable of establishing broader acceptance except, of course, for the person who “passes the test,” and therein lays the rub. On one hand, it’s easy to understand why investigators would be hesitant to engage in formal study within a hostile media environment. But a more critical problem exists for scientists who limit their exploration of innate human ability through “show me.” Insomuch that telekinesis violates several well-established laws of physics, its full comprehension will require much more than adding a few new paragraphs to existing theory. Furthermore, if a researcher were to actually study and develop those disciplines for themselves, the inevitable theorems that emerge would be imbued with an understanding and authority much greater than that obtained through observation and testing only. And until physicists themselves step into the opportunity to develop those skills, the physical sciences will remain in the shadows of the driving force of human evolution.

And, what is that driving force? People all over the world who, like ~Spin~ , are after neither fame nor notoriety, and are focused on developing that greater potential within themselves. Hidden from public scrutiny or the scorn of disbelieving minds, individuals everywhere are pressing themselves into the unknown of their own innate abilities. And tonight, while watching this video over and over, it is not scientific inquiry at the heart of my attention, but a gnawing hunger that emerges from within me. I am focused on the answer to a single question: “What does this person know that I don’t know – yet?”

Danielle Graham Science and Spirituality Blog Author Bio

About the Author:
Danielle Graham is a founding editor and current Editor-in-Chief of SuperConsciousness Magazine, and is a published (American Institute of Physics) experimental researcher. She is primarily interested in contributing to and advancing scientific understanding generally, and evolving the field of physics specifically — relational to human mind.

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