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Psychic Abilities: Fact or Fiction?


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#1    Disinterested

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Posted 26 April 2005 - 11:47 PM

Are psychic abilities real? Can certain people really tell the future, or communicate with people from beyond the grave?

I am looking for two debate participants. One to debate that psychic abilities are real, and one to debate that they are not real.

This will be a formal, 1 vs 1 debate and will consist of one introduction, five body posts and one conclusion. Sources will need to be referenced, discussions kept civil and please keep the 7 day time-frame in mind, or points will be deducted from your final score.

Any questions, please PM me.   thumbsup.gif

Edited by Lottie, 03 June 2005 - 08:52 AM.


#2    aquatus1

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 07:49 PM

I am interested in debating against their existance, however my record in debates is not very encouraging.  If no one else is interested, and they are willing to occasionally wait for a response, I will volunteer.

I will, of course, understand if I am not chosen, however.


#3    Disinterested

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 07:55 PM

aquatus, I have absolutely NO problem if you want to join this debate. I will understand if you disappear for a little while and I won't penalize you for it since I understand your situation, and also because you let me know in advance that delays may occur. As long as you're confident that you'll finish the debate, you're in. wink2.gif




#4    Irish_Vixen

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 01:09 PM

If it is ok, I would like to join in the debate on the point that there existence is real. This is the first for me so be nice?!?!?! lol

Edited by Irish_Vixen, 02 May 2005 - 01:11 PM.


#5    Disinterested

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 03:27 PM

Great!!!

We now have our 2 participants.

aquatus1 will debate against the possibility of psychic abilites;
And Irish_Vixen will debate that they do exist.

You may begin whenever you're ready!!! Any questions, please send me a PM.  thumbsup.gif


#6    aquatus1

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Posted 02 May 2005 - 09:38 PM

Psychic abilities.  If one is to take the UM forum as an example, the great majority of youths aged 13-19 are possessors of one or more of these distinct abilities.  One cannot swing the proverbial cat without striking at least a dozen who claim the ability to change the temperature with the power of their mind, or bend spoons, or manipulate the wind.  There are those dedicated, passionate, some slightly obsessed, people who are willing, at the drop of a hat, to provide methods and teachings guaranteed to give specific guidance to the development of these amazing powers.

And yet, despite this amazing community of people with the ability to bend the laws of physics, we can never seem to find any who share the baser aspects of humanity; that is, none are eager for the fame and fortune 98% of us crave, nor willing to try and earn the famous Randi Million for proof of psychic powers, even if simply to donate the money to a charitable cause.  In short, whenever anyone who claims to have a psychic ability they practice on a daily basis is called out to show some evidence...well, suddenly events conspire to hide away these abilities.  Perhaps the stars aren't right.  Perhaps the negative energy of the skeptics interferes.  Perhaps it is simply bad karma to prove the powers exist (although, apparently, karma doesn't really care if all you do is brag about having the powers).

There is a fairly simple reason why these powers have never been brought to bear.  They don't exist.

Now, those who know me will probably raise an eyebrow at this.  Since when do I, the ultimate believer in the possibility of anything, the one who continuously claims that science never exists to disprove, make such absolute claims?  Yes, it is true that it is simply my belief, however, by the end of this debate, I will explain to you exactly why not only is there no scientifically plausible evidence that these powers exist, let alone how they work, but there is actually evidence that would indicate that they do not, in fact, cannot exist without violating existing theories of physics.  In short, unlike some mysteries which can claim that we simply do not know how they work, the energies involved in the creation of the effects psychic abilities claim to have are not only throughly known and studied, they are even capable of showing when a particular phenomena will ]I]not[/I] work.  In other words, psychic abilities are not simply something we don't understand; they are something that actively violates theories that we know to function in every scenario they have been tested in.

This, ultimately, is what separates the paranormal from the supernatural.  The supernatural is external to Man.  It involves the mysteries of the world, and how they work.  The supernatural, on many occasions, has been explained by science.  Where lighting was once thought to be the wrath of God, it is now known to be mere electrical energy.  Where plague was once thought to be evil spirits, it is now understood to be medical in nature.  The supernatural, however, is born not from a lack of understanding of natural law, but rather from the inherent conceit of Man, from the desire to separate oneself from the common rabble and become something greater, something that cannot be understood by the common rabble.  Psychic abilities are man's instinctual grab at the power of the unexplained, at the ultimate excuse for power without effort, and authority without responsibility.  Psychic abilities, ultimately, are nothing more than an interesting and common, psychological phenomena, and not any sort of unexplained power over nature possessed by any single person.

I would like to thank Disinterested for setting up this debate, and Irish Vixen for agreeing to participate in it.  I look forward to a lot of fun.



#7    Irish_Vixen

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Posted 03 May 2005 - 01:42 PM

Psychic ability, does it exist? A topic that has been debated over the years and still no final results.

Western culture over the years has conditioned us to refute anything that cannot be proven or measured by rigorous scientific analysis. Although there are very few who actually come forth in announcing their ability there are also many who do not know exactly what Psychic Abilities actually consist of. Although as mentioned there are several large cash rewards for proof of psychic ability is all that money worth become a lab rat to scientist who want to find reasoning behind these abilities, or being shunned out of society. Yes, for the most part people can be understanding and have grown out of the whole "She a witch....burn her at the stake!" era. People do not understand the depths and workings of the ability and will shy away thinking that you can read their thoughts.


Psychic abilities have been misunderstood as to their degree of "power". Everyone has a psychic ability, it just varies on the intensity of your individual abilities and if you have harnessed them and work to strengthen them.  In this debate I will attempt to prove that these abilities do exist by actually explaining the misunderstandings surrounded by psychic abilities.



#8    aquatus1

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Posted 04 May 2005 - 02:28 PM

Scientific methodology is a very firm thing.  It has particular guidelines that must be met by absolutely anything that wishes to be refered to as scientific.  It has a procedure that must be met with astoundingly anal precision before something can claim to be credible.  It absolutely must.  It must for the very simple reason that science has an authority the likes of which has never been seen on this planet before.

Unfortunately, people unfamiliar with the workings of science tend to make assumptions about it.  First among them is the black and white idea that if science says that something has no support, science is saying that it doesn't exist.  This is most emphatically not the case.  Science is fully aware of the limits of human knowledge, and is more than capable of admitting that it simpl;y doesn't know enough to make a decisive claim just yet.  When it comes to fringe science, this is of the utmost importance.  The line between a science and a pseudo-science is tenous, and the slightest slip is enough to destroy that most valuable of scientific commodities, credibility.

So, what does science, at the very minimum, require of an effect?  Simple.  Just one, single, repeatable phenomena.  That's all.  Just one.  Repeatable.

That last part is crucial.  Anything can happen one, twice, three times.  Heck, with 290 million people living in the U.S., one-in-a-million shopts occur at a minimum 290 times a day.  Repeatable is the ability of a phenomena to occur beyond the statistical probability.  Let's say that you get ten people to guess at the famous star, circle, wavy line, cards test, the one where you have to guess which card is up without looking at it.  Through statistical randomness, what you will get is a bell curve; you will get most people at the peak of the curve, with average guesses, you will get people at the extreme end with exceptional correct guesses, and people at the other end, with more wrong guesses than normal.  It would be very easy to take on of these extreme cases of good guessing and use it as an example, as people advocating psychic abilities usually do, however, statistically, it is inevitable that someone out of the entire group is going to get more right than everyone else.  What would be needed as proof is not the one example, but the repeated ability to guess correctly by the same person.

Because of this, any example presented must also present a full disclosure of the data involved.  This is so crucial that, during a peer review of data (part of the process of scientific verification), if the data is not fully disclosed, it immedeately raises a skeptical eye.  There has yet to be a single case of a study supporting psychic abilities that has had a full disclosure of data that was not found to correlate to simple statistical variation.


#9    Irish_Vixen

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 02:09 PM

The main mistake people make in trying to understand psychics and their ability is to think it needs to be an Earth shattering spiritual event. As I have said before everyone has psychic abilities you just have to harness them. This ability manifests as subtleties. The universe is full of this unlimited energy that can be tapped by almost anyone who is willing to make the effort to focus & tune themselves to its subtle vibrations.

It is easier for our logically trained minds to accept that it does not exist. Rather than a booming voice in your head predicting the next major, it’s actually that odd little nagging sensation that says “maybe I should/shouldn’t ...” These abilities are not superhuman powers they are just simply acute sensitivity to the subtle energies surrounding all living things

Simple coincident such as intuitions, déjà vu, or out of body experiences are said to be directly related to psychic ability. For example:
• You have dreams that repeatedly come true
• You think about the phone ringing or you are about to call someone and the phone rings….amazingly enough it’s THEM!!!!
• Gut feelings, instincts or intuitions that worked out just as planned.
• You change a regular routine due to a “bad/gut feeling” and it turned out to be the right choice. Example:  Everyday you take the same route home from work and one day you end up missing a 13 car pile up or another accident.
• You know what someone is about to say before they say it.
• You know how someone really feels no matter what façade they put on the outside.

.‘The American Journal’ 1994 – Psychological Bulletin

• 34% success rate during an extensive experiment into ESP and other paranormal activity over the course of several years.

In 1984 a national survey revealed 75% of all Americans claimed to have had some form of psychic experience.





#10    aquatus1

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Posted 05 May 2005 - 02:41 PM

Another unrelated poll found that 85% of all polls were made up on the spot and 60% of people believed them.

Why did they believe them?  Because they sounded good.  They hinted at something better.  They indicated there might be something more to you, and the best part was that you wouldn't need to do anything to be apart of it!

Belief, however, does not equate to reality.  You can claim that the univese abounds with mystical energy, that all it takes is time and effort, and that what we know as coincidence is actually evidence of psychic abilities, but none of that will make something that doesn't exist any closer to reality.

Great, so you get a dream that comes reasonably close to coming true.  How many dreams do you have in a night?  A week?  A year?  If you have one dream in a thousand that comes reasonably close (heck, I'm not even going for exact) to coming true, is 1 in a 1000 something that you want to base your belief on?  Wouldn't it make more sense that, considering that your brain is what you use to predict all possible scenarios anyway, that it was the simple coincidence you happened to twig onto the right one?

Coincidences happen.  Frequently.  Frankly, not to many of them are as fantastical as people seem to think they are.  Your driving home on your regular route.  The traffic is just a bit heavier than normal, so you don't even think about it, you just take your alternate route home.  Later on, you hear that a 13 car pile-up blocked your normal route.  Do you even remember the mild increase in traffic?  That one car that was going just a tad too fast?  Heck no, you immediately jump to the conclusion that you must have some sort of mystical power.

A belief is just that: a belief.  A postulate is nothing more than a claim that a belief is true.  A claim does not, however, confer reality.  In order to show that something is real, we need, at the very least, proof that it is not a coincidence.  If something happens at no greater rate than we would expect from mere chance, why should we consider it as anything else?  How can one justify calling a coincidence a psychic ability, if there is no evidence that it is behaving in any way, shape, or form, unlike a coincidence?


#11    Irish_Vixen

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 02:39 PM

Evidence suggests that we only use about 10% of our brain. The brain is divided into two parts. The left logical side, which produces rational thought, and the right, creative side where imagination and intuition reside. Most of our time is spent in the left logical mode. It is believed that if we balance the left and right sides of the brain, it opens up a pathway to the 90% part of the brain that we don't use. It is in this part of the brain where psychic ability and the ability to self-heal exists. Recent scientific studies are now coming to light which support acceptance of this theory.

Prolonged use, trust, and discernment of intuition lead to psychic ability. It is usually takes a long, arduous process of development and growth, on a total mind-body-spirit level, to understand and use it correctly and wisely.

There are many different kinds and levels of psychic ability which vary per individual. There are some predefined categories of abilities and these are:

Automatic Writing -the art of writing through the subconscious mind without conscious thought, or through guided writing from the unknown.
Channeling -the act of receiving information from an outside source.
Clairaudience -the ability to hear or perceive sounds which are not normally audible.
Clairsentience -an energy of knowing an event, past, present or future through a feeling.
Clairvoyance -extrasensory perception of an event which is not present to the five senses.
Divination -a prophecy, prediction or foretelling the future by the act or practicing the occult arts.
ESP -is a sense of perception outside or apart from the normal senses.
Hiero-Scripting ñ automatic painting or drawing. The graphic version of automatic writing.
Intuitive -knowing, learning, acting or perceiving by intuition.
Medium -a person who channels by relaying information from an outside source.
Precognition -seeing ahead in time, a premonition of an event or something that will happen in the future.
Prophesy -to predict a future event under the influence of divine guidance.
Psychometry -divining knowledge about an object or a person connected with it through contact with the object.
Psycho kinesis -ability to move objects with the mind.
Remote Viewing -to be able to see, describe a person, place or thing without being in their presence.
Telepathy -mind to mind communication.
Trans-Medium Channel -a consciousness enters into the human being and communicates through that person

James Van Praagh, the world’s most famous medium…for now anyway. He appeared three times, unopposed, on Larry King Live. He was featured on NBC’s Dateline, The Today Show, and on ABC’s 20/20. He made the talkshow rounds, including on Oprah (who was mildly skeptical) and Charles Grodin (who was not skeptical at all), and even had Charles Gibson on ABC’s Good Morning America talking to his dead dad. Cher met with him to talk one last time with Sonny. Denise Brown received a reading to make a final connection with her sister, Nicole Brown Simpson. What is going on here? Who is James Van Praagh, and why do so many people believe in him?
Van Praagh is a survival evidence medium, meaning that he is able to bridge the gap between two planes of existence, that of the living and that of the dead, by providing evidential proof of life after death via detailed messages.” Van Praagh calls himself a “clairsentient,” or “clear feeling,” where he can allegedly “feel the emotions and personalities of the deceased.” His analogue, he says, is “Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost.” He claims that the “spirits communicate by their emotions,” and even though they do not speak English or any other language, they can tell you, for example, “that you changed your pants because of a hole in the left seam or that you couldn’t mail letters today because the stamps weren’t in the bottom right desk drawer.” He readily admits that he makes mistakes in his readings (there are so many he could hardly deny it), rationalizing it this way: “If I convey recognizable evidence along with even a fraction of the loving energy behind the message, I consider the reading successful.” In other words, if he can just get a few hits, then “convey” the all important emotional stroking that your loved one still loves you and is happy in heaven, he has done his job. From the feedback of his clients, this is all most people need.



#12    aquatus1

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 08:49 PM

QUOTE
Evidence suggests that we only use about 10% of our brain. The brain is divided into two parts. The left logical side, which produces rational thought, and the right, creative side where imagination and intuition reside. Most of our time is spent in the left logical mode. It is believed that if we balance the left and right sides of the brain, it opens up a pathway to the 90% part of the brain that we don't use. It is in this part of the brain where psychic ability and the ability to self-heal exists. Recent scientific studies are now coming to light which support acceptance of this theory.


The essential error with the great majority of psychic research is that it lacks an integral and absolutely essential component, namely, research itself.

There is absolutely no evidence at all whatsoever that we only use 10% of our brains.  This story was flying around back when I was in high school, and even then it was inaccurate.  The closest that we could come to making that claim is that (a decade and a half ago) we only knew what 10% was for, and even that would be a stretch.  The human brain has been throughly mapped, and while we may not know exactly what every little neuron does, we have an extremely good idea what every major section and most of the minor ones are generally assigned to accomplish, and none of those are devoted to being active for the sake of being active.  The simple fact of the matter is that we use 100% of our brain, and that we have a pretty good idea what the great majority of that is used for.

This is a very common type of support for psychic abilities.  This goes back to that getting something for nothing concept I pointed out earlier.  Yes, psychic abilities exists, and they work in an unexplained way through an unexplained portion of the human brain.  This argument fails both logically, in that an unknown cannot be used to prove an unknown, and factually, in that there is no hidden, or lost, or unused 90% of your brain (heck, you lose 10% of your neural functions and you become medically brain-damaged).

Now, the purpose of this debate is to decide whether psychic abilities are either fact or fiction.  As I have pointed out, facts are lacking.  What is not lacking is abundant descriptions and categories and exercises, and various other labels which lend an air of respectability to the field.  Pretty clothes, however, do not make the man, and scientific titles do not confer reality.  You can refer to something as telekineses, and indeed that might well define the ability to move things with the human mind, however, that does not in any way, shape, or form prove or demonstrate that telekineses exists.  The Lord of The Rings trilogy has some incredibly detailed descriptions of alternate species, including entire languages, cultures, and customs, yet no one would argue that this is evidence that orc, dwarves, and talking trees exist.

Concerning mediums, there is a plethera of information that explains the techniques that they used, consciously or otherwise, and none involve the use of supernatural forces (which, incidentaly, is not the subject of this debate.  Psychic abilities are paranormal, not supernatural.  They are inherent to an individual, not external.)  I myself, several years ago, spent nearly five hundred dollars in personal research conerning mediums, and I found that seeing mediums during the same day, i.e. when I was wearing the same articles on my person, resulted in similar readings with similar details, however the readings of seperate days did not correlate to each other.  In other words, when I was wearing one set of garmets and accessories, I got one set of stories, all similar, then when I wore another, I got another set of stories, similar to each other, but not to the first set.  This would indicate that the source of variation is not any sort of supernatural contact, but rather the single variable on my person that changed, namely the clothes and articles the mediums were able to see.

Van Praagh rates his success with the happiness of his customers, rather than with his ability to contact the departed, which makes good business sense; a happy customer will return, wheras the undead are notoriously unreliable.  I will leave aside the ethical implications of taking money for claiming to hear you dearly departed speaking, when you know you are making a mistake, aside; If the man want's to make people happy by lying to them, well, he certainly won't be the first.  Again, though, lying about being able to contact the dead does not provide a great deal of support for the argument that psychic abilities are fact, not fiction.


#13    Irish_Vixen

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 04:06 PM

It is certainly true, that as science has advanced, and old beliefs have fallen by the wayside.

It is only within the last few years that methods have been devised for visualizing the functions of the brain at work. These studies have already had a significant impact in determining the locations in the brain where specific functions are carried out. But this knowledge is at a very general level. Although we may know that a specific portion on the left side of the brain is associated with language processing, it is still not known what happens within this part of the brain in detail. We may never be able to completely determine this because like every fingerprint, each brain is unique, and what is true for one person may not be so for another.

Neither scientist nor the general public are ready to accept the hearing of voices or the seeing of visions as a desirable skill comparable to the ability to solve mathematical problems. Carl Jung, who was one of the fathers of analytical psychology and who had great interest in the paranormal, wrote his doctoral thesis "On the Psychology and Pathology of So-Called Occult Phenomena". In general, people who claim to have paranormal powers are treated not as prophets or seers, but as deranged individuals in need of psychotherapy or medical treatment.

Since psychic experiences occur within the mind of the psychic, other people have to rely on the psychic's own statements for the revelations, insights, predictions, etc. Nothing can be verified. But what if a psychic's predictions come true? Is this proof? Some researchers in parapsychology are making an honest effort to find out if there is any verifiable evidence. They have the gruesome task of screening the crazies and charlatans from the "normal" people who report psychic experiences or psychic "powers". One account indicates that 60% of psychic experiences occur in dreams, 30% are waking impressions and a portion of the remainder appear as hallucinations such as seeing visions or hearing voices that appear to be real

There is little benefit to continuing experiments designed to offer proof."


http://www.angelfire.com/zine/secondsight/ESP.html

Above is a partially unrelated website that claims to have found proof of ESP. It goes to prove that it is still possible to prove these abilities if we found the correct methods.

QUOTE
Gordon Smith, "The Psychic Barber," was one medium involved in the experiments. He believes that the research proves that, while some of his work can be explained by his interpretation of normal sensory phenomenon, he is also using senses that we don't understand.” "Basically you are using a heightened sense. It is just like radio waves. If there is an emotional tie with the person you want to contact a medium can pick up the signals," Smith said.
"There's not always a spirit contact," Smith continued. "If you were very emotional you'd give off a lot of feeling and I would be able to pick up the fact that you were going through a crisis time. However with a lot of the work I've done with Archie Roy I can't even see the audience and so I can't fall back on body language."
"It is totally different from the way you might see people on TV just trawling for information with general statements like 'I can feel someone over here has lost someone'," Smith said.




#14    aquatus1

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Posted 14 May 2005 - 03:12 PM

As my opponent pointed out, we have a full knowledge of what the brain regions in general are responsible for, and even where many specific functions can be found.  Nowhere is there a region that shows any sort of unusual activity that cannot be accounted for.  Neural activity, in fact, is the most commonly used indicator of what region governs which activity.  An action is performed, we measure which section of the brain was most active, and narrow down our search in that manner.  What is the signifigance of this?  It concerns generality vs. specificity.  Simple because we do not have a full working model of the neural map, no neural version of the Genome Project just yet, does not mean that we can freely speculate as to what the unknowns can be.  If you have a cluster of neurons that govern your arm movements, and you only know how to get 50% of them to activate at will, that doesn't mean you can speculate that the remaining 50% might give you the power to cast flames from your fingertips.  You might speculate that they increase blood flow, or mineral formation, and back that up with objective data that you collect, but anything that has nothing to support it is nothing more than fiction.

My opponent claims that "There is little benefit to continuing experiments designed to offer proof.".  Nonsense.  This is lazy thinking.  Anything that interacts with our reality has to, by definition, affect our reality, and thusly, must have a manner in which it does so which can be measured and replicated.  The standards and methods used for scientific testing and verification apply to absolutely every single study and test that exists or has existed, even to the ones that were done prior to the guidelines being extablished (there is no 'grandfathering" in science).  If my opponent wishes to make a case for a special excception being made in the case for psychic abilities, there must first be evidence that psychic abilities share some sort of property which would make them ineligable to compete with every other force that affects the natural world.  Frankly, there isn't even a case that this force exists to begin with.

Basically, my opponent is attempting to create some sort of force that is: A.) unique to humans, B.) completely dependent on human belief and emotion for power, and C.) able to affect the physical world, yet not be measured of felt in any manner.  There is absolutely not force in nature that works anything like this.  It is utter human arrogance that there is some sort of power that exists only at our whim, and dies with us, and is stronger when our faith is stronger.  Basically, it is nothing more than the desire to aggrandize ourself, to make ourself into these mysterious and powerful beings, seperate from our fellow animals, and beyond the laws of nature.  When all is said and done, however, we are left with nothing more than stories.  Stories of strong men who braved dangers, strong women who loved enough to save their children, stories of men and women who were able to go beyond their limits, to cheat death itself, and to claim powers reserved for the divine.  In short, we have nothing, but fiction.


#15    Irish_Vixen

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Posted 17 May 2005 - 05:05 PM


Scientific proof is what this all seems to be coming down to. I will agree with my opponent at this time that there is no scientific evidence that yet supports the existence of psychic ability. There are plenty of experts that are now still attempting to provide the world with proof.  BUT just because as of yet we can not prove it scientifically, it does NOT mean that these abilities do not exist.

It is just a matter of trying to understand the workings of it! To this day no one is sure where exactly you are able to gain psychic ability. Some say you are born with it and need to harness you abilities others say that it is only inherited through family blood lines. Others say that there is no knowing who or when and random people are “given” these abilities. Either way we cannot prove something that we don’t completely understand where it comes from. Take any scientific experiment, you need to know the workings of what you are trying to prove before you can determine how to prove it and what experiments you will need and then from there go through scientific controlled methods of testing. Through out history science has told us that things no longer exist or are impossible and have turned out wrong.

Just because the scientific society hasn’t figured it out yet, doesn’t mean that there is no possibility that it could exists. Take this site for example. There are thousands of unexplained things, creatures or phenomenon that no one can explain. In some cases there are plenty of sightings or occurrences and still they have gone unsolved. Is that what is trying to be said?  The only way the world can accept some thing as real is scientific proof?

As time passes science evolves as well. Years ago the common cold was a large cause of death, now through the advance of science it is nothing but a mere inconvenience to most. Our problem now is that our scientific methods and understandings have not evolved to the point in which we can prove psychic ability.






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