ESP. Starting with a working definition.

BrachioPEP

Moderator
ESP, is a perfectly acceptable and demonstrable thing.

With ESP (Extra Sensory Perception), one’s usual understanding of this term is related to psychic or supernatural phenomena. But many people have heightened sensory organs or (perhaps due to a lack of other senses) utilise the ones they have, beyond what we ordinarily do, and they may seem to be more sensory (or, ‘gifted’). Also, there are more than 5 senses, so if the (ESP) term did or does relate just to the primary 5 senses, then we are merely referring (ESP) to the natural senses outside of the common ones talked about. And of course there are magicians who do tricks to make people believe that something is happening by unknown means, perhaps with the deliberate implication that it is not of this world or unexplained to science. And if it makes them some money or fame or trick society or the media, it’s a bonus. Mind reading or moving objects with the power of the mind are of course well know magicians tricks.

It might do well to define for the purposes of this forum/discussion, as we probably are not interested in something that is known and natural (like a known sense or charlatan).

With that in mind, and aside from dictionary definitions, perhaps we could use something like the following description:

ESP:

An act or ability that exceeds scientific understanding (or known sensory knowledge) but that can be tested under double blind test conditions with ruling out certain options.

So, if a test were undertaken on a blind or properly blindfolded person to ascertain whether they could read or see something without seeing, with all trickery ruled out, then this would pass the test of ESP, even though it could simply be a sense as yet unknown or a trick.

Whilst charlatans are widespread, they are magicians and do not belong here, but ones of particular interest may be considered for novelty sake, e.g. popular talked about videos. Things like moving book pages or match boxes on a table or seeing through a blindfold are typical examples.

So, anyone have evidence of ESP?
 

Sparhafoc

Active Member
ESP, is a perfectly acceptable and demonstrable thing.

With ESP (Extra Sensory Perception), one’s usual understanding of this term is related to psychic or supernatural phenomena. But many people have heightened sensory organs or (perhaps due to a lack of other senses) utilise the ones they have, beyond what we ordinarily do, and they may seem to be more sensory (or, ‘gifted’). Also, there are more than 5 senses, so if the (ESP) term did or does relate just to the primary 5 senses, then we are merely referring (ESP) to the natural senses outside of the common ones talked about.
That doesn't really stand to reason: in both cases, you're talking about biochemical senses common to all people, so ESP would then denote senses apart from those common senses, and not employing those biomechanical components, i.e. 'extra-sensory'. Someone hearing better than others is not 'ESP', and the ability to sense the space your body is occupying, while not one of the '5 basic senses' is still a normal sense available to all.

If anyone had evidence of ESP, then ESP would be accepted as fact. There is no evidence of ESP and double-blind experiments repeatedly debunk claims to the contrary.
 

BrachioPEP

Moderator
I think you might be preaching to the converted here, Spahafoc.

My points were:

Let’s establish a working definition for ESP (to eliminate a lot of time wasting and then to decide upon whether we are going to include natural phenomena that we simply do not know of or understand yet. In that case, ESP can include natural phenomena.

But I think a lot of people like to clump natural, (or as yet, not fully understood) phenomena into the same camp as beyond the natural and therefore the, ‘beyond natural’ bandwagon get something (publicity or a wrong/unfairly placed diagnosis in their camp) for free.

There are many instances of ESP. The overlap of senses in people (synaesthesia) or additional (to the 5) senses. They are both examples of extra to the norm. I was more trying to establish a working definition for a true test and establish the boundaries of agreement. I.e. Are we just talking about supernatural or are we including such natural phenomena? And what constitutes anything not natural from something we simply don’t know or understand yet?

The focus for me are claims of mind reading, predicting cards, reading auras or similar. There is technology around today, that if used a few decades ago, would have fooled anyone, because we did not know it existed and therefore would not know what to look for in deception. Richard Dawkins has pointed out to James Randi that he is too generous with his double blind tests as to open himself up to deception (to which he agreed).

I am more interested in weeding out the deceivers from the genuine, which was my motive for this post.

But beggars can’t be choosers, and with a relatively small uptake on posts here, I guess we’ll take anything going.
 

Sparhafoc

Active Member
I think you might be preaching to the converted here, Spahafoc.

My points were:

Let’s establish a working definition for ESP (to eliminate a lot of time wasting....
That's precisely what I was doing with my post above and it was quite specifically intended to remove this kind of distraction below from the thought processes:



There are many instances of ESP. The overlap of senses in people (synaesthesia) or additional (to the 5) senses. They are both examples of extra to the norm.
Synasthesia, proprioception, nocioception etc. etc. are not extra-sensory - so they're not relevant. They are explicitly sensory; that is, there are detectable pathways of electrical stimuli signals being sent to the brain.

For something to be 'extra-sensory' it has to not involve those 'standard' senses.

So if we were to talk about telekinesis, for example, that would be 'extra-sensory' because there are no senses involved - it is outside of the realm of the senses - and there's no sensory network logically relevant as no biochemical pathway that we know of or can imagine links one's mind to the object being moved.

I think the word 'supernatural' doesn't carry much informational content. I expect it's one of those words where people can hold a discussion while holding a working meaning of the term that is entirely different to their interlocutor. For me, the best definition of 'supernatural' is 'something not supervened on the material world' so were we to find some biochemical / physical mechanism by which people could move objects with their minds, then telekinesis would remain extra-sensory but not be considered supernatural, whereas ghosts for example, on the other hand, are explicitly supernatural, as in their purported existence is not consequent on the existence of the physical world.
 
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