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Virtual Reality Gaming System Tests for Telepathy 649

Posted by timothy
from the grumbling-from-the-cynic's-corner dept.
Big Ben writes "UK scientists have built a virtual computer world designed to test telepathic ability. Approximately 100 participants will take part in the group gaming experiment at the University of Manchester which aims to test whether telepathy exists between individuals using the system. The project will also look at how telepathic abilities may vary depending on the relationships which exist between participants." Note: for their sakes, I hope they succeed in proving anything paranormal's going on — if they can reproduce such a result, it could earn them the $1 million prize long offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation.
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Virtual Reality Gaming System Tests for Telepathy

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  • Odd feeling (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:24PM (#15734516)
    Something tells me this isn't going to work.
    • by Dareth (47614)
      In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king!

      A story my mother told me as a child was about a group of blind women. Everyone they ever knew was blind. But one of them had just partial peripheral vision in one eye. She would tell the others, "Sometimes I just seem to know something is there, it is blurry and off to the side, but I just know it is there." The other blind women would mock her and make fun of her. The whole idea that someone could "see" was simply ludicrous.

      Imagine if there are sense
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:07PM (#15737189)
        The same argument can be made for the existence of unicorns, dragons, and pretty much anything else. "Just because I can't *prove* it doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't exist" is nothing but a lame excuse to ignore your obligation to demonstrate that it *does* exist in favor of tasking the opposition with the impossible job of proving nonexistence.

        -Eric

  • by Digitus1337 (671442) <lk_digitus@@@hotmail...com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:24PM (#15734521) Homepage
    You're thinking that nobody will ever win that $1 million. I think I might be on to something...
  • by denoir (960304) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:26PM (#15734527)
    Now let's invest some more tax money on finding UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster and inventing the perpetuum mobile!
    • I'm always been surprised at the kind of reaction anything labeled "paranormal" gets from rational people. Why exactly couldn't telepathy exist? Is there some fundamental law of nature which states that two people cannot communicate over a distance without sound or visual cues? Obviously, you'd have to identify a mechanism for the communications. If telepathy exists, it isn't magic.

      If you had told someone from 200 years ago that you could communicate with people across the globe in real-time, they'd probab
      • by mangu (126918) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:15PM (#15734773)
        Why exactly couldn't telepathy exist? Is there some fundamental law of nature which states that two people cannot communicate over a distance without sound or visual cues?


        Two hundred years ago such questions would have made sense. Today we know there isn't any mechanism for that. We may not know everything there is to know about the human body, but we do know more than we did two centuries ago [wikipedia.org].


        The fundamental law of nature that will not allow any communications without a physical channel is the theory of information [wikipedia.org]. If you could store or send information without passing through a physical medium and without spending energy doing it, the second law of thermodynamics would be violated, time would not be unidirectional.

        • by misleb (129952) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:32PM (#15734833)
          The fundamental law of nature that will not allow any communications without a physical channel is the theory of information [wikipedia.org]. If you could store or send information without passing through a physical medium and without spending energy doing it, the second law of thermodynamics would be violated, time would not be unidirectional.


          Who said telepathy has (if it is exists) no physical channel and spends no energy?

          -matthew
          • by Anonymous Coward
            Matt,

            I agree with you. I'm not saying we're right,... I'm just saying I agree with the general premise that ruling it out might be equivalent to folks who are color blind questioning the absurdity of other colors that they can't see.

            There are times when I half-believe that speech is a "cover up" for telepathy.

            It begs the question of what's being communicated, images or language,... and, if images, does that mean that a blind person would be at a disadvantage. It's worth a moment to ask what we're really s
          • by tacokill (531275) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @12:24PM (#15737358)
            If it existed, had a physical channel, and spent energy - we would see it. Or at least some artifacts of "it".

            It's like the flatlander story and what it would be like to see a sphere. [sciencenews.org] (forget the rest, just look at that part) While we may not be able to understand what is going on (3D sphere being inserted into flatland), we most certainly see elements of SOMETHING going on (changing diameter circle appearing out of nowhere). Like the flatlander example of a changing diameter circle just appearing out of nowhere -- if telepathy really exists, then we would see some derivative of it show up in a meaningful pattern of somekind in this world.

            Right now, we see none of the above when it comes to telepathy.
            • if telepathy really exists, then we would see some derivative of it show up in a meaningful pattern of somekind in this world.

              If we had the knowledge to know what to look for and the technology to be able to see it, yes. For all we know there are supra-intelligent beings in another dimension (like the Sphere is to A. Square) which can know our minds via some extra-dimensional energy fluctuation (think string- or m-theory) given off by the quantum particles in our brain (we still don't understand how c

        • by ichigo 2.0 (900288) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:38PM (#15734860)
          Telepathy doesn't need to violate any natural laws. What if a very small amount of people had a gene that makes them able to send and receive radio signals? Or better yet, how about in the future when we can have these abilities implanted with the help of technology, wouldn't that be telepathy? I guess if you want to think of telepathy in terms of "communications without a physical channel" then yeah, telepathy is impossible and this experiment is useless.
      • by mOdQuArK! (87332) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:18PM (#15734785)
        Is there some fundamental law of nature which states that two people cannot communicate over a distance without sound or visual cues? Obviously, you'd have to identify a mechanism for the communications.

        It's because the mainstream scientific community can't think of any obvious mechanism that would work at a distance given our current understanding of physics, plus the lack of hard empirical evidence, that causes most reasonable people to think there is a very low probably of ESP claims being true.

        We haven't been able to find focussed point-to-point radio transmitters in our brains, and the generalized EM "chatter" given off by our brains seems so weak compared to the threshhold voltages required to make neurons fire (esp. taking into account distance) that it seems highly unlikely that any kind of EM effect would be responsible for such an effect.

        There aren't too many other options in our current understanding of physical "law" that could account for a significant ESP effect, so if it can be empirically determined that there _is_ such an effect, discovering its cause would probably cause mainstream science to react like it had collectively gone on a Pan-Galactic Gargleblaster bender...

        • by StarkRG (888216) <starkrg AT gmail DOT com> on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:36PM (#15734849)
          Real scientists don't deny that anything is possible. They will investigate the existance of something, find nothing, and say that it probably doesn't exist. Is there life on Mars? Possibly. Is there intelligent life on Mars? Probably not. Is there intelligent life on Mars who travel to Earth and abduct drunk farmers? Highly unlikely. But impossible? No. The only people to say that something absolutely isn't true are Polititians, the Media, and ignorant people. Any "scientist" who tells you that telepathy/God/intelligent martians/intelligent polititions don't exist is either being paid to believe that (in one way or another) or isn't a very good scientist.

          A couple hundred years ago people thought that you could change lead into gold with chemicals and herbs. Then people began to realize that you couldn't change lead into gold with chemicals and herbs. People soon picked up on this and called alchemists idiots and kooks, and rightly so. Is it possible to change lead into gold? Absolutely, you have to rearrange the nucleous and electrons, but it's possible, just not feasible. We routinely make new elements out of other elements.

          So, yeah, a couple hundred years ago people tought that telepathy was possible, then people began to believe that it wasn't. Does this mean it's impossible? Just because we don't know how it might work doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Perhaps it uses some kind of vibration in the fabric of space-time, perhaps it uses tiny particles that permiate everything.

          Saying that there is no doubt that it doesn't exist is stupid, and would only show your ignorance.
      • by kfg (145172) * on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:51PM (#15734898)
        Why exactly couldn't telepathy exist?

        I am, at least nominally, a physicist.

        You wouldn't catch me saying any such thing as "telepathy can't exist."

        However, you first need to demonstrate that it does exist if you expect me to do work on that basis. If and when that happens I will not posit any "paranormal" event, but rather that there is a quite normal mechanism at work. Then it will be my job to find it, because, at the moment, there is no valid theory of such a mechanism ("Well, maybe it could be. . ." is not a theory. A theory is model that is concordence with data.

        Which brings us back to the need to show me it exists, particularly since everything I have ever seen so far indicates that the world works just spiffily in accordance with the rules of chance.

        KFG
      • I'm always been surprised at the kind of reaction anything labeled "paranormal" gets from rational people. Why exactly couldn't telepathy exist? Is there some fundamental law of nature which states that two people cannot communicate over a distance without sound or visual cues? Obviously, you'd have to identify a mechanism for the communications. If telepathy exists, it isn't magic.

        You're confusing the question. The question you ask, "Couldn't it exist?" is a pretty boring question with the obvious answe
      • by Wavicle (181176) on Monday July 17, 2006 @09:13PM (#15734974)
        I'm always been surprised at the kind of reaction anything labeled "paranormal" gets from rational people. Why exactly couldn't telepathy exist?

        While there may be some out there shouting paranormal things couldn't possibly exist, most of us are just pissed. Pissed that for every genuinely deluded person who believed they had witnessed a paranormal event, there are 20 others out there looking at using it to scam people out of money.

        We have looked, and looked, and looked and come up empty handed EVERY TIME. The vast majority of the people who have said they had special powers were LIARS. The rest were just wrong. Nobody has ever passed muster. There are people out there doing genuine harm to others under the veil of paranormal abilities.

        For example EVERY instance of "psychic surgery" (where someone performs surgery with just their hands, leaving behind no scar or wound) has been a scam for money.

        James Randi has a web site with a forum that documents applicants for the $1 Million Challenge. Go follow those threads and watch how people weasel out of taking the test. Like the most recent guy who said he had a computer program that could produce accurate horoscopes for people. So accurate that their wives would confirm that the horoscope was indeed that of their husband. The JREF people said "fine, we'll give you 8 people, produce 8 horoscopes, we'll give the 8 to the wives and ask the wives to tell us which of the 8 is her husband." Apparently that was a ridiculous requirement to him. I don't see why. If the horoscopes are specific to the person, and not just general feel-good crap, why would someone's spouse be unable to determine which was for his/her partner?
        • by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Monday July 17, 2006 @09:44PM (#15735074) Homepage

          We have looked, and looked, and looked and come up empty handed EVERY TIME.

          Ahh, but thats what THEY want you to believe. These are not the telepaths you are looking for... *waves hand*

          In all seriousness, and snake oil salesmen aside, I don't know why so many people feel personally threatened by the possible existence of "powers". Well okay, maybe its the extraordinary quantity of snake oil salesmen out there, I can see that. For myself, I don't want to believe (those posters with a picture of flying saucers, "I want to believe", are the height of ignorance- if there are flying saucers we are pw3nd six ways from Sunday- now thats scary), but I remain clinically open to the idea of telepathy, or numerous other extra-sensory abilities. The line from Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" has always resonated with me...

          The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

          The fact of the matter is that we as a race and species are in our infancy, having just crawled down from the trees an eyeblink ago in terms of the age of just about anything. Our technological prowess is counterpointed by our social retardation, the surging fight or flight chemicals that serve almost no purpose in a modern world, but influence everyone up to and including our elected leadership. We know very very little about the universe, having just barely chipped off enough knowledge to make some of us reasonably comfortable for the time being.

          There are a lot of unanswered questions, and a lot of peculiar occurences that we cannot simply brush under the carpet. Things like near death experiences (before I get dogpiled, yes I know there are more merchants of dubiousity in that than anything else, but I have learned a lot about it, and there do seem to be some genuine cases of patients noting conversations after brain death occurs), concurrence, where two unrelated individuals have the same ideas at the same time, even the simple mystery of dreams or music, to name but a few. And don't leap in with links flailing telling me someone solved what dreams are, because they haven't.

          The urge to confine humans to being just meat machines is almost as dangerous as the urge to praise the sky wizard of your choice; it reduces people to little more than automatons in the eyes of rational men, and it is my firm belief that we are far more than the sum of our parts. Not that I have any particular evidence for that. Yet.

          Lets not forget, as one poster above pointed out, just a short time ago, radio was believed to travel over the lumineferous ether.

          As for the Randi foundation, I have zero confidence in their ability to make an unbiased report on anything they might find. Why? Because if they do find real, actual psychic powers, thats a million they owe. And I don't know about anyone else here, but if I can avoid forking over a million, I will, and thats not even considering the knock-on effects. Some people have pointed out to me that they would get super rich from the merchandising or something. Sorry, try again, the psychic gets super rich. They get to cease existing. Just because you find someone with some sort of powers doesn't mean they owe you anything more than a receipt for a cool million. Oh yes, and you are out of a job.

          • by Wavicle (181176) on Monday July 17, 2006 @10:31PM (#15735259)
            As for the Randi foundation, I have zero confidence in their ability to make an unbiased report on anything they might find. Why? Because if they do find real, actual psychic powers, thats a million they owe. And I don't know about anyone else here, but if I can avoid forking over a million, I will,

            Before addressing anything else in your post, I wanted to address this because this is by far the most often used excuse for arguing against the JREF's million dollar prize. They have this one nicely covered:

            Both sides must agree before the test is administered what will constitute a positive result.

            If what you say is true, then please find several examples of JREF making the challenge impossible to complete with a positive result assuming the person under test has the ability as they claim. JREF publicly posts all the properly presented challenge applications.

            This argument that they will somehow weasel out of it after the fact is nonsense. I know that is not the specific charge you made, but it sure seemed implicit to me. It does not work that way. Before you take the challenge all the ground rules are laid out including what must happen for you to get the million. There can be no alteration after both sides have agreed.
          • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 17, 2006 @11:24PM (#15735421)
            They money is in a trust already, he doesn't have access to it so the payment of the funds is not a problem. Also, as others have pointed out, find a case where he shot someone down who was legit. What I mean is show where someone proposed conditions that were testable, repeatable, and didn't have a way to cheat, but Randi said "no". The conditions he enforces are such as to make the experiments empiricly valid. They have to be setup such that chance is eliminated, that there isn't any possibility of the participants cheating or influencing the results, and such that it can be repeated by other researchers. In other words, thigns you need to do a real scientific experiment.

            Thus far, any time psychic powers of any kind are tested under proper scientific conditions, it is found to be nothing but random chance. This has been studied for a while too, 50 years or so, with no evidence. Thus you are in a hard position to claim they havne't done their job.
      • by Alsee (515537) on Monday July 17, 2006 @10:26PM (#15735234) Homepage
        I'm always been surprised at the kind of reaction anything labeled "paranormal" gets from rational people. Why exactly couldn't invisible pink unicorns exist? Is there some fundamental law of nature which states that invisible pink unicorns cannot exist? Obviously, you'd have to identify a mechanism for invisible pink unicorns. If invisible pink unicorns exist, it isn't magic.

        Telepathy, invisible pink unicorns, elves, Zeus, telekenesis, Narnia, rain dances, flying potions, the Tooth Fairy, I'm always surprised at the reaction of rational people when they think that these things do not exist.

        I mean, just because there is absolutely no reason to think that they *do* exist is not a reason to think that they don't. I really don't get rational people. They are so screwed up like that. Thank god I'm not a rational person.

        -
  • I knew they were trying to do that...
    • Congrats. You just passed the Official Slashdot "clairvoiance test". care to take a guess on the outcome of this experiment.
  • A thought provoking blog [darksideprogramming.net] I read at times recently linked to a research thesis on programming with thought [eurekalert.org].

    While we're on the subject, I'll toss out some informal guiding questions and share a thought or two:

    If you knew telepathy existed, how exactly would that change your life? What would you be willing to give [up] for that ability? If you were told that the only way you could have an ability such as telapthy would be to eliminate your attachments and improve your moral quality (given a moral standard o
    • by gardyloo (512791) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:30PM (#15734549)
      If you were told that the only way you could have an ability such as telapthy would be to eliminate your attachments and improve your moral quality (given a moral standard of course), would you set out in achieving it?

              Of course! Attachments are evil and lead to viruses on your computers.
    • If you were told that the only way you could have an ability such as telapthy would be to eliminate your attachments and improve your moral quality (given a moral standard of course), would you set out in achieving it?
      Or what if you were told that the only way you could have that ability would be to maximize your attachments and jettison your sense of morality completely?

      About equally likely in my opinion.

  • >if they can reproduce such a result, it could earn them the $1 million prize long offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation.

    Won't happen. Nope. No chance. Randi's money is as safe as if it were in the bank. Safer really, if you think about banks.

    • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:40PM (#15734592) Journal
      Even if this experiment doesn't pan out, there are other viable challengers to The Amazing Randi. Behold, the Power of the Vagina [mcsweeneys.net]!
  • by Orinthe (680210) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:30PM (#15734545) Homepage
    For a study of this nature, it seems like this kind of testing could help remove the possibility of unintentional cues from the tester that could result in statistically significant false positive results. Of course, I think it's more likely to disprove the existence of telepathy than to reveal evidence of psychic phenomena.
    • Of course, I think it's more likely to disprove the existence of telepathy than to reveal evidence of psychic phenomena


      Is that a prediction I spy? If they disprove telepathy, then it was forseen by you which in turn proves clarivoyance!
  • Try the ESP Game (Score:5, Informative)

    by Falkkin (97268) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:32PM (#15734556) Homepage
    The ESP Game (http://www.espgame.org) has been on the web for a couple years now. It pairs you up with a random partner, and your goal is to type the same words as your partner in response to a series of pictures. It's a rather fun game that has convinced some users that they really do have ESP. (The real purpose of the ESP Game is not to discover users' latent psychic abilities, but to utilize human processing power to label images on the Web.)
    • Dang, and I thought I was a psychic when I was able to confirm that my friend was typing "EC34J8" when I was presented a grainy scratchy .gif of those very letters! It just captchas the imagination, don't it?

  • by paulthomas (685756) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:33PM (#15734569) Journal
    I'd rather not have a paranormal outcome. It is likely that if telepathy is possible, it is not paranormal; rather, certain theories and hypotheses previously thought true would need a little tweaking. If telepathy were possible, and explainable in scientific terms, that would be cool.
  • by FurryOne (618961) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:40PM (#15734594)
    That just about sums up the paranormal. It's a cute stage act, but anyone who thinks its anything more is reaching for straws. Randi has had his prize out there for how many years, and not even a dowser has been able to prove they can do better than dumb luck. Look at that faker Sylvia Brown - she's so scared of Randi exposing her that she won't go near his tests.
  • I guess this is somehow more affective than playing a game of "Pick a number between one and ten"..."Seven".."OMG! You're we're telepathic! Yay!" :p
  • They've gone to great lengths to keep the first subject from marking the objects in any way to indicate which one was chosen, but this won't completely eliminate false positives.

    The first subject still has to make an entirely subjective choice of objects. If the second subject knows the first subject extrememly well, it may still be possible for that person to guess which object was originally chosen just because he or she knows which object would grab the attention of the first subject.

    More cynically,

  • by RexRhino (769423) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:44PM (#15734615)
    Can someone tell me why this isn't as outragious as spending tax money to research "intelligent design"? I mean, there is no real scientific theory that describes how telepathy would work, and virtually all scientific evidence says that telepathy doesn't exist. Telepathy is pretty much to fortune telling what Intelligent Design is to creationism - turning superstition into pseudo-science to make it palatable to the modern audience. I realize that England doesn't have the same strict legal seperation between religion and state as other countries, but even if research into the mystical and supernatural isn't strictly illegal it is certainly a questionable use of taxpayer money, no?

    Why are people outraged over Intelligent Design but not this kind of stuff?
  • by Some_Llama (763766) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:53PM (#15734657) Homepage Journal
    There are many times where my daughter says something that I am thinking or vice versa, or someone is searching for a word and it pops into my head, or my wife and I thought about something at the same time of day (within minutes of each other) but being miles apart.

    Too many times to be coincidence has things like this happened. But trying to force it never has produced any results...

    It will be interesting to see if this experiment can "prove" anything...
    • Still just coincidence.
      Mentok has spoken!
    • I heard a story on NPR about a writer whose dog would sleep under the table while the writer worked. The moment he thought about taking the dog out, the dog would get up and head towards the door. The writer couldn't decide who was reading whose mind ;)
    • by Wavicle (181176) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:22PM (#15734800)
      How can it exist but be unprovable? If you and your family have a super-natural connection, or at least one that is not currently explained by science, it can be tested.

      Too many times to be coincidence has things like this happened. But trying to force it never has produced any results...

      That statement implies that you've done the statistics. Let's see them. How many times have you guys not thought the same thing at the same time vs. how many times have you thought about the same thing? Keep in mind that because you are in the same family, some of the things you think about will inevitably be related. I mean if you're thinking about your mother, it's pretty reasonable to think your daughter might also think about her grandmother at some point during the day.

      There is a wealth of literature on what is likely going on. You are only noting the times it happens, rarely or never the times it doesn't. So when you "think back on it" the hits greatly outnumber the misses in your memory when in reality the hits are just coincidences amidst a sea of misses.
  • by mdkemp (720790) on Monday July 17, 2006 @07:55PM (#15734669)
    Research into this stuff isn't just for cooks and crazies -- even Princeton has a small lab the goal of which is to experimentally gather a "better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality". It's called the "Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research" (PEAR) lab, and its web page can be found at http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/ [princeton.edu] -- Martin
  • Please let's not associate the Einstein icon with this crank science garbage.

    How about a picture of a perpetual motion machine? Any of the zillions of diagrams out there would suffice. Something like the logo at the top of this page [jnaudin.free.fr] would be pretty good. And for added kicks, this device is actually patented.

    Otherwise, I suppose a picture of a hand crank would work about as well.

    (and let's tag this article as "crankscience")
  • If telepathy were real and useful, the multi-billion-dollar cell phone industry would not exist.
  • Calling bullshit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bananaendian (928499) on Monday July 17, 2006 @08:04PM (#15734721) Homepage Journal
    it's more likely to disprove the existence of telepathy than to reveal evidence of psychic phenomena.

    I'm sorry but as much as anyone would like it to be, it isn't possible to disprove that something doesn't exist. You can merely point out the continuing lack of credible proof that something does exist.

    However one can estimate the likelyhood of the existance of so-called psychic phenomenon sphere by simply testing out if it holds up a test of internally consistent and logical structure. Indeed we do not know exactly how our brain functions and if it can send and receive signals. However such a possibility becomes ever less likely as our understanding of physics deepens. For such phenomenon to exist would mean so many ramifications that it would be highly unlikely that our scientific knowledge and measurement abilities wouldn't have stumbled on atleast a few of them by now...

    PS: sorry, no references or links at this time of the night - just my own ramblings...

    • by Tim Browse (9263)

      I'm sorry but as much as anyone would like it to be, it isn't possible to disprove that something doesn't exist.

      Can't you just prove that it does exist? :-)

  • by exley (221867) on Monday July 17, 2006 @09:07PM (#15734951) Homepage
    If all of the people who are found to be "telepathic" are hot girls, I'm gonna have to call bullshit on this one.

    Wait, gaming? Okay, what I said above probably won't be an issue.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Monday July 17, 2006 @09:07PM (#15734954) Homepage
    Are they planning to strip-search the participants for hidden transmitters and receivers?

    To test and debug the system, have they hired a couple of good magicians skilled at "mentalist" acts, with a promise to pay them well for their time if they can successfully cheat?

    Or, like most scientists, are they just protecting against unconscious cheating by honest, good-faith participants?

    I find it disappointing that TFA doesn't really discuss the possibility of conscious, clever cheating... or implies that it's impossible because, well, gee, the system is so high-tech.

    People have smuggled transmitters and receivers into casinos, where the management is probably far more savvy, cynical, and experienced at detecting cheating... and financially motivated to do so... than these scientists.

    I predict that this will have the same outcome as all other parapsychology experiments: a very slightly better-than-chance statistical outcome, and endless ambiguity and debate about whether the statistics were done in a valid way.
  • by geekwithsoul (860466) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (luoshtiwkeeg)> on Monday July 17, 2006 @09:20PM (#15735001)
    Just go to console and type:

    sv_cheats 1

    enable telepathy

    duh!
  • Ahem... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Monday July 17, 2006 @09:27PM (#15735022)
    Has anyone maybe considered that maybe this isn't an experiment for testing telepathy, but maybe is a psych study on something else? I mean, wouldn't this kinda taint the group by telling them that they are trying to do telepathy. I think its just a cover for some other expermint.
  • by Sesticulus (544932) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @07:15AM (#15735443)
    I've never been slapped walking down the street, sitting in a meeting, etc., etc.

    Invariably if I'm in a public place, there will be someone I find attractive and I will think "hey now". I've never had someone come up and slap me for thinking rude thoughts, so at the very least, women I find attractive, as a rule, do not have telepathy.
  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @07:37AM (#15735498) Homepage Journal
    Instead of thinking about telepathy from a present perspective, as in "we have/use it now", consider it from an evolutionary standpoint.

    Prehistoric humans with even a little telepathy would have enormous survival advantage. You'd be able to tell whether a predator was hiding behind the next rock, or whether it's an animal you're hunting for food. Or nothing, in which case you go off and hunt somewhere else.

    In that case, natural selection would at the same time pressure animals, both predators and prey, to evolve to a form where they could block the effect so that their adversary (human or other) would have no idea where they were hiding.

    Even if we can't tell where animals are hiding, even a little telepathy between humans could be used in group hunting and teaching offspring, or summoning help in a dire emergency. Even a brief feeling which influences your actions based on information from another human would confer enormous advantage.

    Some people have reported that they have gotten "feelings" that some loved one is in trouble, but frankly there is an overwhemingly enormous number of dire incidents throughout human history, each one of which would select for having the telepathic trait. Something as simple as children having the ability to alert their parents that they are in trouble would still confer enormous survival advantage.

    From an evolutionary perspective, telepathy is a strong survival trait. Since we don't see it in the gene pool, it's unlikely that it's even possible.

    Circumstantial I know, but it's hard to prove that something doesn't exist...

  • A prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seanellis (302682) on Tuesday July 18, 2006 @08:27AM (#15735682) Homepage Journal
    Here's my prediction of what will happen.

    This experiment is very poorly controlled (who's to say that two people aren't also on the phone to one another, for example), and some startlingly accurate correlations will occur. These will be debunked as the players come under scrutiny and the communication channels between players are detected.

    However, after these have been removed, some correlations between players will still remain, below the level of staistical significance. Rather than being dismissed as insignificant, the woo-woo crowd will seize on these random correlations as "proof of need of more research".

    This prediction is not the result of clairvoyance, rather it is an educated guess based on previous observations of this kind of setup.

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." -- Karl, as he stepped behind the computer to reboot it, during a FAT

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