СодержаниеESP and Luck → Часть 1

“Do you believe in extrasensory perception—ESP? ” I asked.

“That depends how you define it, ” he said. “Skeptics try to make ESP go away by defining it so narrowly that it can’t be demonstrated in controlled experiments. Believers hold a more expansive view of ESP, focusing on its utility in daily life. ”

“So you’re a believer? ” I prodded.

His expression said no. “There are billions of people on earth. Some of them will have miserable lives from the time they are born until the day they die. Others will have incredibly good fortune in every facet of their lives. They will be born to loving parents in well-to-do homes. Their brains and bodies will be efficient, healthy, and highly capable. They will experience love. They will never be shy or fearful without reason. Some might win lotteries. In a word, they will be lucky over their entire lives, compared to other people.

“Luck conforms to normal probability curves. Most people will have average luck and some people will experience extra good luck or extra bad luck. A handful will have good luck so extraordinary that it will be indistinguishable from magic. The rules of probability guarantee that such people exist. ”

He continued. “And luck will be compartmentalized in some people, confined to specific areas of their lives. Some people will be extraordinarily lucky gamblers and some people will have amazing business luck or romantic luck.

“Now imagine that you find the one person on earth whose specific type of luck involves the extraordinary ability to guess random things. Such a person is very likely to exist somewhere on earth. What do you think the skeptics would conclude about this person’s ESP? ”

“If they tested him with controlled experiments and he repeatedly passed, I think they would conclude he had ESP, ” I said.

“You’re wrong. They would conclude that their tests were not adequately controlled and that more study needed to be done. They would say that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. And they would keep testing until they either got a negative result or lost interest. No skeptic would take the chance of declaring someone to have ESP if there were any risk of later being proven wrong. Their cult does not promote that sort of risk.

“To be fair, in all likelihood, the skeptics have never been wrong when debunking claims of alleged extraordinary powers. They believe their methods to be sound because, excluding missteps in individual tests, their methods have never provided a wrong result in the long run, as far as anyone knows. But never being wrong is no proof that the method of testing is sound for all cases. ”

“Then you think luck is the same as ESP? ” I asked.

“I’m saying the results are indistinguishable. ”

“But it’s different because ESP is caused by thoughts traveling through the air or something like that. ESP has to have some cause. ”

“If you define ESP narrowly to include only the transfer through the air of information, then skeptics will never detect it, ” he said. “But if you accept luck as being the same as ESP, then ESP exists and it can be useful, though not reliably so, since luck can change in an instant. ”

“I think scientists have proven that thoughts don’t travel through the air because they can’t detect anything coming from people’s heads when they concentrate, ” I said, trying to agree. I should have known it would be a waste of time.

“But your thoughts do travel across space, ” he said. “The question is whether another person can decode the information. ”

“How do thoughts travel across space? ”

“When anything physical moves, it has a gravitational impact on every other object in the universe, instantly and across any distance. That impact is fantastically small, but it is real. When you have a thought, it is coupled with a physical change in your mind that is specific to that thought, and it has an instant gravitational ripple effect throughout the entire universe.

“Can people decode these fantastically weak signals, mixed with an unbelievably large amount of other gravitational noise? No. But the signals are there. ”


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