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Is ordinary perception built on top of "paranormal" perception?

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  • Is ordinary perception built on top of "paranormal" perception?

    On another thread they are discussing a theory by James Carpenter, and a book I don’t profess to know much about at this point. However, reading a few brief descriptions of the thesis here and there, it reminds a lot of similar viewpoints held by others up to more than a hundred years ago. For instance, William James idea of the eruption from a subliminal threshold, expressed in “On Immortality” I believe, though it’s a long time since I read that, and it may be another essay. More recently, Charles Tart expressed the view that ordinary perception in the living organism may be a form of ‘ESP’ and motor action of the limbs a form of ‘PK’. Additionally, an author whose name I can’t remember, in the late 19th century or the early 20th proposed, similarly, that our senses and motor actions evolved from a basic but nonspecific “spherical” sense. it is this last that I'd like to deepen from here.

    I should emphasize that I am not “sold” on the existence of ESP or PK, but I like to think that I am open enough to contemplate the possibility of them. As I mentioned on the other thread, there are fairly strong evolutionary questions why, if these things exist, nature hasn’t selected them more powerfully than it has. The reasons for this are not difficult to see, I think. Any prey animal that could (reliably) discern its predator’s position in space relative to itself by distance-exempt nonlocal means would be at an enormous advantage over those constrained to using boring old eyes and ears. Reciprocally, any predator that could discover its prey’s whereabouts by nonlocal sensing would have an equal advantage. This, additionally, is usually the kind of situation that leads to an evolutionary ‘war of arms’ unless there is a strong counter reason to offset it.

    I think it is possible to conceive of a “basic sensing aptitude” in nature, which has become canalized or forced into chreodes of development by evolution into the patterns of motor and sensory systems that animals (and plants) are now observed to possess. Let us float for a moment with the idea that this may be true. If that is the case, the question is why nature has forced the basic sensing mode into these obviously space-time local and relatively easily damaged biological structures. I think the most likely explanation has to be that they are many times more efficient. This would also have the consequence that the residual basic mode, in its native element, would be unmasked most usually when the elaborate wrappers that have evolved around it are compromised, down, suppressed, damaged, offline, etc, as in sensory deprivation, near death, borderland sleep states etc.

    The whole idea of ESP and PK strikes me as not nearly as problematic in a monistic system as in a dualistic system. That nature has a basic ability to sense manifestations of itself is hardly a Copernican revolution. It is not so terribly implausible that there may still exist weak and intermittent leakage around the edges of the evolved or canalized forms of this perception, and which we refer to as “paranormal phenomena”.

    However, I would also say that for the most part their relative degree of suppression by the organism (again, if they exist) indicates that they are not biologically useful for the most part when set beside the (canalized?) sensory and motor systems. This may not only be because the basic sense is weak and undifferentiated (though I also think it is that) but because the basic sensory mode may be outright antagonistic to life and survival as an individuated organism (the predator whose “self” is blurred by too much identification with its prey via “empathic information systems” is no longer an effective predator, just to take one example).
    Last edited by Kai; April 23rd, 2012, 08:36 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Kai View Post
    ..."This would also have the consequence that the residual basic mode, in its native element, would be unmasked most usually when the elaborate wrappers that have evolved around it are compromised, down, suppressed, damaged, offline, etc, as in sensory deprivation, near death, borderland sleep states etc..."
    Or illness. I think you've hit on something here. Not always, but very often, psi appears to manifest more strongly under circumstances where there is some kind of impairment or physical trauma.

    I know how everyone here loves the anecdotal, but it's what I've got. I live with an empath. There is a clear correlation we can observe between strong empathic events and physical health. The more impaired he is /was, the stronger and more intense the experiences.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Kai View Post
      On another thread they are discussing a theory by James Carpenter, and a book I don’t profess to know much about at this point. However, reading a few brief descriptions of the thesis here and there, it reminds a lot of similar viewpoints held by others up to more than a hundred years ago. For instance, William James idea of the eruption from a subliminal threshold, expressed in “On Immortality” I believe, though it’s a long time since I read that, and it may be another essay. More recently, Charles Tart expressed the view that ordinary perception in the living organism may be a form of ‘ESP’ and motor action of the limbs a form of ‘PK’. Additionally, an author whose name I can’t remember, in the late 19th century or the early 20th proposed, similarly, that our senses and motor actions evolved from a basic but nonspecific “spherical” sense. it is this last that I'd like to deepen from here.

      I should emphasize that I am not “sold” on the existence of ESP or PK, but I like to think that I am open enough to contemplate the possibility of them. As I mentioned on the other thread, there are fairly strong evolutionary questions why, if these things exist, nature hasn’t selected them more powerfully than it has. The reasons for this are not difficult to see, I think. Any prey animal that could (reliably) discern its predator’s position in space relative to itself by distance-exempt nonlocal means would be at an enormous advantage over those constrained to using boring old eyes and ears. Reciprocally, any predator that could discover its prey’s whereabouts by nonlocal sensing would have an equal advantage. This, additionally, is usually the kind of situation that leads to an evolutionary ‘war of arms’ unless there is a strong counter reason to offset it.

      I think it is possible to conceive of a “basic sensing aptitude” in nature, which has become canalized or forced into chreodes of development by evolution into the patterns of motor and sensory systems that animals (and plants) are now observed to possess. Let us float for a moment with the idea that this may be true. If that is the case, the question is why nature has forced the basic sensing mode into these obviously space-time local and relatively easily damaged biological structures. I think the most likely explanation has to be that they are many times more efficient. This would also have the consequence that the residual basic mode, in its native element, would be unmasked most usually when the elaborate wrappers that have evolved around it are compromised, down, suppressed, damaged, offline, etc, as in sensory deprivation, near death, borderland sleep states etc.

      The whole idea of ESP and PK strikes me as not nearly as problematic in a monistic system as in a dualistic system. That nature has a basic ability to sense manifestations of itself is hardly a Copernican revolution. It is not so terribly implausible that there may still exist weak and intermittent leakage around the edges of the evolved or canalized forms of this perception, and which we refer to as “paranormal phenomena”.

      However, I would also say that for the most part their relative degree of suppression by the organism (again, if they exist) indicates that they are not biologically useful for the most part when set beside the (canalized?) sensory and motor systems. This may not only be because the basic sense is weak and undifferentiated (though I also think it is that) but because the basic sensory mode may be outright antagonistic to life and survival as an individuated organism (the predator whose “self” is blurred by too much identification with its prey via “empathic information systems” is no longer an effective predator, just to take one example).
      This is a common argument made by people who know little about psi but feel somehow qualified to speculate about it. I'm being harsh about this because you're asking the wrong question based on your biases. The question you need to be asking is what would hold psi back from being utilized by all creatures all the time??

      Aggression is also a highly successful evolutionary trait. By your reasoning we should all be extremely aggressive and there should be some sort of aggression arms race with the most aggressive beings on the planet taking over and being more and more aggressive to one another.

      Yet that doesn't happen. Somewhere along the way, too much aggression becomes a liability. It's hard to breed if you're killing your mating partner.

      I could spoon feed you the answer here, but I want you to ask yourself that question. What sort of liabilities does psi pose to survival?

      Comment


      • #4
        This is a common argument made by people who know little about psi but feel somehow qualified to speculate about it. I'm being harsh about this because you're asking the wrong question based on your biases. The question you need to be asking is what would hold psi back from being utilized by all creatures all the time??
        Gee whiz, can you guys really not conduct a debate without resorting to ad hominem? You neglected to mention why that needs to be the question we should all be asking. I look forward to that in your next post.
        Aggression is also a highly successful evolutionary trait. By your reasoning we should all be extremely aggressive and there should be some sort of aggression arms race with the most aggressive beings on the planet taking over and being more and more aggressive to one another.
        In fact, aggressive defense strategies (as well as inter-community aggressive behaviors) **are** strongly selected for in many species. The hippopotamus just to take one example. The Siamese fighter fish for another. Aggression is part of the matrix involved in predating and involved in fending off predation. Territorial aggression as well.
        Yet that doesn't happen. Somewhere along the way, too much aggression becomes a liability. It's hard to breed if you're killing your mating partner.
        Correct. In sexual selection most aggression is involved in fighting *for* a mate, not *with* one.
        I could spoon feed you the answer here, but I want you to ask yourself that question. What sort of liabilities does psi pose to survival?
        I take it you mean the survival of the individual? I don’t think the “individual” could survive if there were too much psi-awareness, but this fails to explain why psi is not fed into the conscious mind most of the time instead of relying on sensory data for threat avoidance. Now having said that please go ahead and "spoon feed" - because I'd like to know what it is you are holding on to that seems so obvious to you.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Kai View Post
          Gee whiz, can you guys really not conduct a debate without resorting to ad hominem? You neglected to mention why that needs to be the question we should all be asking. I look forward to that in your next post.
          It's the question you have to ask if you're serious about understanding the role of psi in evolution. I thought my further explanations would be enough of an explanation.

          In fact, aggressive defense strategies (as well as inter-community aggressive behaviors) **are** strongly selected for in many species. The hippopotamus just to take one example. The Siamese fighter fish for another. Aggression is part of the matrix involved in predating and involved in fending off predation. Territorial aggression as well.
          You were talking about a psi arms race. These are a handful of aggressive species. If aggression is so wonderful, why aren't ALL creatures aggressive?
          Furthermore, as I mentioned, it's been demonstrated in various studies that aggression is not a trait that individual creatures can turn off. If they're aggressive it carries over into all aspects of their lives.

          An aggression arms race would create hyper aggressive creatures. We don't see that. What we see is that creatures only have as much aggression as they need, but no more. Clearly this trait has its limits of usefulness.


          Correct. In sexual selection most aggression is involved in fighting *for* a mate, not *with* one.
          Hyper aggressive creatures end up fighting with their mates which reduces or eliminates mating. This was demonstrated in studies on birds.

          I take it you mean the survival of the individual? I don’t think the “individual” could survive if there were too much psi-awareness, but this fails to explain why psi is not fed into the conscious mind most of the time instead of relying on sensory data for threat avoidance. Now having said that please go ahead and "spoon feed" - because I'd like to know what it is you are holding on to that seems so obvious to you.
          Now that you know that these traits such as aggression and psi ability cannot be turned off at will, do you want to take another try at this?

          Comment


          • #6
            It's the question you have to ask if you're serious about understanding the role of psi in evolution. I thought my further explanations would be enough of an explanation.
            Not that I can see. But again, if you can, please point to the portion of your previous post which (in your view) explains the need.

            You were talking about a psi arms race. These are a handful of aggressive species. If aggression is so wonderful, why aren't ALL creatures aggressive?
            Furthermore, as I mentioned, it's been demonstrated in various studies that aggression is not a trait that individual creatures can turn off. If they're aggressive it carries over into all aspects of their lives.
            What studies are you talking about? Most aggression in animals is limited to attack for feeding / defense / territoriality and mating contest. Yes, I mentioned a psi arms race in exactly the same way that you have an arms race between many dyads of predator and prey.
            An aggression arms race would create hyper aggressive creatures. We don't see that. What we see is that creatures only have as much aggression as they need, but no more. Clearly this trait has its limits of usefulness.
            I haven’t disagreed with that. This is why stags, ibex etc have antlers and ritualized behavior, to try to moderate the degree of death by aggression in mate contests. There is still no shortage of death by aggression in their mate contests though…just less than there would be without the antlers and the ritualized behavior. But again, this does not explain why psi is not much more prominent in nature than it is, unless it is ultra-weak and too diffuse to be of much use.

            Hyper aggressive creatures end up fighting with their mates which reduces or eliminates mating. This was demonstrated in studies on birds.
            Please provide references to studies that you mention when using them as support for an argument. At any rate, “arms races” in terms of aggression / defense can be seen all over nature. Where are the psi arms races? And if they are not there, why are they not there?
            Now that you know that these traits such as aggression and psi ability cannot be turned off at will, do you want to take another try at this?
            I don’t jump through hoops for people Craig. Can you please source your references so that I can see what you are talking about when you use them in an argument, and also please tell me what your view is on why psi is not much more evidently present in the natural world. You do have a view on this, yes? Instead of bluffing me that you are holding onto a Big Argument, just come out with your case and we'll address it from there.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kai View Post
              I haven’t disagreed with that. This is why stags, ibex etc have antlers and ritualized behavior, to try to moderate the degree of death by aggression in mate contests. There is still no shortage of death by aggression in their mate contests though…just less than there would be without the antlers and the ritualized behavior. But again, this does not explain why psi is not much more prominent in nature than it is, unless it is ultra-weak and too diffuse to be of much use.
              I think it is pertinent to realize that evidence already exists to suggest that psi is indeed very strongly developed within animals - far more so than in humans. Of the few parapsychology studies conducted with animals like dogs, cats, parrots, and others, results indicate a significantly higher ability to perceive extra-sensory information compared to trials conducted with human subjects. Rupert's Sheldrake's experiments, for example, point to a superiority of at least 10%-20% - sometimes even as high as 30% - accuracy over us. The causes for these advantages are not well explained, but it is possible to speculate.

              From an individually-oriented natural selection standpoint, the question of why psi is not strongly developed in humans is similar to the question of why other significant abilities have not been cultivated by evolution. Genius-level intelligence, for example, is a trait many think should be more prominent. Why do we not have higher IQs? A first objection to this might be that we are actually all geniuses, metaphorically speaking; it is just that, occasionally, when someone pops up amongst us with a higher IQ, we give them that status, thereby elevating the expectation of what a "genius" is to higher and higher levels. From this standpoint, it is a meaningless question - equivalent to asking "why are we not taller, stronger, faster, and less diseased?" Another argument is that traits like genius - and psi ability - are interesting, but do not greatly benefit the survival of the organism. For many people, genius is uncomfortably close to madness, and so it is possible that those with higher level intelligence would have been shunned from their primitive societies. In addition, traits like ability with psi have a positive correlation to mental and psychological "disorders", and these are known to be, in most primitive cultures, non-advantageous to a person's survival.

              It is even possible, as Rupert Sheldrake has suggested, that some forms of psi are extremely potent in nature, and that some extraordinary abilities of animals may have psi origins. For example, the highly synchronized behavior displayed in flocks of birds, schools of fish, etc, may be the consequence of a form of group consciousness, or mental field. In addition, food gathering and mound construction among ants and termites - usually attributed to chemicals like pheromones - may be the abilities of a larger group organism. In particular, Sheldrake says that it is possible to stick a metal wedge into a termite mound such that both halves are isolated from each other, destroy one half, and then allow the termites to rebuild it. According to demonstration, an exact, matching replica of the previous one will show up, such that the tunnels from each side match nearly identically.

              From these phenomena - coupled with the morphic resonance/group soul hypothesis - we can derive a prediction, namely that the more individual an animals is (and by that I mean the more individual it is feels itself to be), the less psi ability it is likely to have. Evidence of even stronger primary perception in plants lends credibility to this idea.

              - Johann
              Last edited by Johann; April 24th, 2012, 01:45 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                From an individually-oriented natural selection standpoint, the question of why psi is not strongly developed in humans is similar to the question of why other significant abilities have not been cultivated by evolution. Genius-level intelligence, for example, is a trait many think should be more prominent. Why do we not have higher IQs? A first objection to this might be that we are actually all geniuses, metaphorically speaking; it is just that, occasionally, when someone pops up amongst us with a higher IQ, we give them that status, thereby elevating the expectation of what a "genius" is to higher and higher levels. From this standpoint, it is a meaningless question - equivalent to asking "why are we not taller, stronger, faster, and less diseased?" Another argument is that traits like genius - and psi ability - are interesting, but do not greatly benefit the survival of the organism. For many people, genius is uncomfortably close to madness, and so it is possible that those with higher level intelligence would have been shunned from their primitive societies. In addition, traits like ability with psi have a positive correlation to mental and psychological "disorders", and these are known to be, in most primitive cultures, non-advantageous to a person's survival.

                It is even possible, as Rupert Sheldrake has suggested, that some forms of psi are extremely potent in nature, and that some extraordinary abilities of animals may have psi origins. For example, the highly synchronized behavior displayed in flocks of birds, schools of fish, etc, may be the consequence of a form of group consciousness, or mental field. In addition, food gathering and mound construction among ants and termites - usually attributed to chemicals like pheromones - may be the abilities of a larger group organism. In particular, Sheldrake says that it is possible to stick a metal wedge into a termite mound such that both halves are isolated from each other, destroy one half, and then allow the termites to rebuild it. According to demonstration, an exact, matching replica of the previous one will show up, such that the tunnels from each side match nearly identically.

                From these phenomena - coupled with the morphic resonance/group soul hypothesis - we can derive a prediction, namely that the more individual an animals is (and by that I mean the more individual it is feels itself to be), the less psi ability it is likely to have. Evidence of even stronger primary perception in plants lends credibility to this idea.
                Hello Johann. Thank you for your interesting post, and also for the civility with which it was shared. I won’t address everything in it here, for some things stand out to me more than others. I had the Sheldrake experiments in mind when I made my comments about psi in nature. Although these results are fascinating, and there may well be something to them, compared to the normal sensory modality of these organisms, we are still talking about a much, much weaker effect. To illustrate: you create a loud, surprising noise in a guard dog’s territory, it will bark nigh *every* time. You show food by smell or visually to a hungry animal, it will respond nigh *every* time. No such situation even approximately exists for psi. The other thing about the Sheldrake experiments is that the animals that show these abilities (especially thinking of the dogs and the parrot N’Kisi) are isolated "talented" individuals (much as with human subjects). Therefore this does not appear to be a strong species-level trait, and if it is a species-level trait at all, it is *very* diffuse within the species population. This would tend to suggest that it has more to do with the fortuitous emergent phenotype of those individuals, rather than genotype and hence passed by inheritance and evolution (though more work would need to be done on that). But even if it is a species trait to a low degree, it still does not answer the more serious question, which (as I expressed in my previous post) is why sensory and motor modalities of the organism are so many orders of magnitude more efficient than psi, and why they are selected for with extraordinary specificity and complexity of physiological structure.

                I am very familiar with Sheldrake’s work, ideas and books and yes, the flocking abilities of birds and the shoaling abilities of fish are interesting - it is possible that there may be a nonlocal effect there. But that is also the kind of situation in which I would expect a primitive, very weak underlying sensing mode to surface…in other words in situations of extremely low information “bandwidth” in crowd behavior of simpler, social organisms. To the best of my knowledge the Eutermes mound division experiment carried out by Eugene Marais and described in The Soul of the White Ant has never been successfully replicated, though I’m not sure anyone has tried. It needs to be replicated, as this was research from the 1920s. I am not saying this to dispute its possibility. In fact, such a phenomenon would also be coordinate with what I have said above…simple, social organisms communicating extremely basic spatial information. We would still be left with the conundrum that even the social insects communicate most of their interactions through chemical exchange, pheromone diffusion, and vibrational sensing. Again, why do they have these elaborate communication systems if psi would do? It’s a very important question.

                I can also express the problem in alternative words, as follows. Let us say there is a lion standing on an outcrop. In the grasslands or scrub below he sees a gazelle or other prey animal flit between two concealment areas, with other concealment around. The lion is low on resources, having not eaten in several weeks. We will imagine that there are two possible strategies open to him. The first strategy is to descend the hill, stalk the prey slowly and cautiously with maximum skill, keen awareness of wind direction, surrounding land, the prey animal's own vigilance, etc. The stakes are high. Considerable time and hence energy may be expended getting close enough to the prey animal (concealed and upwind) for a chase and pounce. So we can summarize that situation as follows.

                Cost: significant – win situation only if the hunt is successful.
                Risk: substantial – if the hunt fails the lion will be a lot worse off than if it had remained resting.

                Let’s consider the second scenario as follows. The lion stands on the outcropping and in a primitive way is able to will for the death of the prey animal on the plain below. Deep within the brain of the prey animal a weak point in a blood vessel in the brain stem ruptures, or a tiny but sufficient arythmia in the heart’s electrical control is induced…well, you get the idea. It is possible to kill an animal (or a human) with an exceptionally small influence if it were targeted correctly. We can summarize this situation as follows:

                Cost: infinitesimal (unless this kind of act is grossly inefficient in terms of energy).
                Risk: again negligible to the predator unless on the above and similar terms.

                The lion then simply has to stroll down the hill and devour the prey at its leisure. So again, the question has to arise why nature bothers to do it the first way, given the substantial cost-benefit risks, and has taken millions of years to hone those methods if there exists a (significant) potential (“psi”) by which it could monitor its prey and/or dispatch them.

                In my view (and there has to be an important answer) any channel such as this is too weak and too primitive to be sufficiently canalized by evolution to the task. Instead, the rendering efficient of the basic sensing mode can be seen AS the sensory and motor systems which have been preferentially privileged by evolution. I think all the information in your above post that I see as germane to the case can be successfully constellated to this picture without difficulty. They would not be given that privilege unless they won out very strongly over the other mode. There are no animals anywhere in nature that communicate predominantly by psi, even if we allow for its existence. Contrast this with the fact that other, in some cases even quite exotic physical sensory modes, are found dominant in particular species…ultrasonic sonar in bats, chemical sensing in moths that can detect tiny molecule discrepancies in the direction of another moth many miles away, and electrical sensing in sharks, to name but a few. Thus, while I enjoyed your post, I don’t myself think that it answers to the point sufficiently. If PSI is background-potent in nature, then we have a major conundrum to solve. If it is background-ultraweak (as I think it is), and the crude plinth upon which elaborate sensory and motor systems have been buit, then psi may still be extraordinary, but the conundrum becomes a lot more understandable, imo, as well as the picture presented to us by evolution in the natural world.

                Kai
                Last edited by Kai; April 24th, 2012, 03:16 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Guys, I am only going to weight in with my own thinking that while not paranormal, I think human behaviour is immensely subtle, in ways in which we do not yet understand.

                  A simple experiment for you:

                  While walking along a crowded street and approaching a randon stranger, as you approach, look to their left (or right) and then move to avoid them in the opposite direction.

                  If you don't bump into them, you will at least find yourself in the mexican street standoff. Excuse me, no excuse me...etc.

                  (My theory) Your eyes are unconsciously picking up "tells" that predict crowding motion and your brain is unconsciously directing you to walk appropriately to avoid collision.

                  Further, on flocking behaviour, this can now be very spookily simulated with all sorts of robots, computers, etc. I don't expect the underlying algorythms to be susceptible to morphic fields, do you?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Kai,
                    You don't understand how aggression works, even though you think you do. It makes it very hard to move on to a discussion of how psi works on an evolutionary scale.

                    None of your examples speak to an aggression arms race. You have not properly conceptualized it. It's not about species behavior patterns, it's about individual creatures with predispositions to either heightened or reduced levels of aggression.

                    Not all stags have the same level of aggression in their behavior, for example. Some are far more aggressive than others. There are upper and lower limits to this behavior. An extremely aggressive stag might be successful in its fights, but be too aggressive towards the does or be too aggressive towards predators and get itself killed.

                    So there is a limit to how aggressive a creature can be before it turns into a liability. In nature, that's how it works and there is no "arms race" with such traits.

                    Likewise, psi ability requires heightened sensitivity. It is not selective in this sense. The more psi sensitive you are, the more sensitive you are in all of your senses. I'm sure you can see the problems that this creates if you dial the psi up too high.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kai View Post
                      Hello Johann. Thank you for your interesting post, and also for the civility with which it was shared. I won’t address everything in it here, for some things stand out to me more than others. I had the Sheldrake experiments in mind when I made my comments about psi in nature. Although these results are fascinating, and there may well be something to them, compared to the normal sensory modality of these organisms, we are still talking about a much, much weaker effect.
                      I am not sure they are that much weaker - they showed a much more marked effect than those seen in - say typical human ESP experiments. Remember that these experiments were as a result of reports by pet owners. One case stands out - that of a mother (or possible wife) of a seaman in the days before easy communications. She noticed that the man's cat would wait at the door when the man was returning after months at sea, and she was sure enough to prepare his meal!

                      The question as to why we have not all evolved super psi capabilities may be that posessing psi is a two-edged sword - that a person receiving psi also transmits something of use to a potential predator. TV sets do this too - which is why in the UK detector vans go round looking for TV reception in houses with no license!

                      This idea might also explain why people seem to have an inbuilt fear of psi. If one member of a group had this ability, it could be very bad news for all if it attracted predators!

                      David
                      Last edited by David Bailey; April 24th, 2012, 01:58 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        (My theory) Your eyes are unconsciously picking up "tells" that predict crowding motion and your brain is unconsciously directing you to walk appropriately to avoid collision.

                        Further, on flocking behaviour, this can now be very spookily simulated with all sorts of robots, computers, etc. I don't expect the underlying algorythms to be susceptible to morphic fields, do you?
                        Hi Porker. It’s an empirical question at the end of the day. I agree that it would be premature to conclude that anything nonlocal is involved in flocking / shoaling behavior. However, reaction times are testable, and it is part of Sheldrake’s original claim that these reaction times propagate too fast for convention cueing. However, I certainly think that not everyone involved in studying flocking behavior agrees with him. So it’s an open question, imo.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So there is a limit to how aggressive a creature can be before it turns into a liability. In nature, that's how it works and there is no "arms race" with such traits.
                          Hi Johann. Again, thank you for replying. No that’s not really correct, unfortunately. Also, I understood from the beginning of your piece the point you were trying to make. The first problem is that the way you are using the word “aggression” is not really zoologically useful (evolutionary genetics was my original speciality) There is no such single thing as “aggression” in nature, or in evolutionary terms. What you have is behaviors that are canalized to particular contexts in the ethology of the animal. Thus, what can be called “territorial aggression” is a different thing entirely, with a different canalized context from “aggression” in mate contests, or “aggression” in predator-prey encounters, etc. These things cannot be successfully abstracted out of the particular stimulus-reponses matrices they are embedded in, and hence the evolutionary pathways they have developed along. Second, there is a large literature on evolutionary arms races, or coevolution as it is more correctly called…such situations are found all across nature.


                          That’s precisely how weapons and defense strategies have evolved to their level of elaboration in the first place, otherwise natural selection would not have been able to hone them. Creatures under the strongest selection pressure develop the most elaborate responses to that pressure, and under laddered co-evolution here. As with any adaptation, it can become over-represented and thus become a net liability to survival. For instance, a sexual display that is so heavy or large or requires so much maintenance that it negates all its function in attracting mates. This does not mean that there hasn’t been a stepladder evolution of sexual display and stimulus-response up until that point. There has been. The same applies to co-evolved aggressive-defense complexes, especially predator and prey encounters where backoff is less of an option. There is, in the field, no essential dispute about this at all, so I think we can move past it. If you like, I can provide you with a bunch of zoological sources on the evolution of these patterns.

                          Likewise, psi ability requires heightened sensitivity. It is not selective in this sense. The more psi sensitive you are, the more sensitive you are in all of your senses. I'm sure you can see the problems that this creates if you dial the psi up too high.
                          Well, if psi really behaves like this (I’m not sure you’ve persuaded me that it does, as most of it seems to fit better with temporary “eruptions” into the conscious mind) this is really just an alternative way of saying that psi is diffuse and cannot be canalized or operationalized by evolutionary processes effectively. If a background-strong psi force exists, then the brain must be acting as a filter or Huxley’s ‘reducing valve”. One of the unrealistic aspects of this notion is that any system like that, any filtering or valve process, would fail catastrophically in a given percentage of persons due to unusual categories of brain damage or disease. Such persons exposed to “catastrophic psi” (especially if its information field is a melt and has global character as you imply above) would be Eighth World Wonders I think. The fact that these people don’t exist, and this scenario in general, is a pretty robust argument against background-strong psi, I think.

                          By the way, you mentioned the slightly larger representation of psi accuracy in some animals relative to humans. I would suspect this also to be coordinate with what I said earlier…namely their architecture of neurology and consciousness is less built up from the plinth. They are not burdened with our massive layers of language processing, abstract reasoning, and internal imagination. Of course, the idea that they are actually performing better than us quantitatively would need to be established on the same protocol between humans and animals, which may in itself be problematic.
                          Last edited by Kai; April 24th, 2012, 06:02 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kai View Post
                            Hi Johann.
                            Ah, you mean Craig right?

                            - Johann

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kai View Post
                              Hi Johann. Again, thank you for replying. No that’s not really correct, unfortunately. Also, I understood from the beginning of your piece the point you were trying to make. The first problem is that the way you are using the word “aggression” is not really zoologically useful (evolutionary genetics was my original speciality) There is no such single thing as “aggression” in nature, or in evolutionary terms. What you have is behaviors that are canalized to particular contexts in the ethology of the animal. Thus, what can be called “territorial aggression” is a different thing entirely, with a different canalized context from “aggression” in mate contests, or “aggression” in predator-prey encounters, etc. These things cannot be successfully abstracted out of the particular stimulus-reponses matrices they are embedded in, and hence the evolutionary pathways they have developed along. Second, there is a large literature on evolutionary arms races, or coevolution as it is more correctly called…such situations are found all across nature.


                              That’s precisely how weapons and defense strategies have evolved to their level of elaboration in the first place, otherwise natural selection would not have been able to hone them. Creatures under the strongest selection pressure develop the most elaborate responses to that pressure, and under laddered co-evolution here. As with any adaptation, it can become over-represented and thus become a net liability to survival. For instance, a sexual display that is so heavy or large or requires so much maintenance that it negates all its function in attracting mates. This does not mean that there hasn’t been a stepladder evolution of sexual display and stimulus-response up until that point. There has been. The same applies to co-evolved aggressive-defense complexes, especially predator and prey encounters where backoff is less of an option. There is, in the field, no essential dispute about this at all, so I think we can move past it. If you like, I can provide you with a bunch of zoological sources on the evolution of these patterns.



                              Well, if psi really behaves like this (I’m not sure you’ve persuaded me that it does, as most of it seems to fit better with temporary “eruptions” into the conscious mind) this is really just an alternative way of saying that psi is diffuse and cannot be canalized or operationalized by evolutionary processes effectively. If a background-strong psi force exists, then the brain must be acting as a filter or Huxley’s ‘reducing valve”. One of the unrealistic aspects of this notion is that any system like that, any filtering or valve process, would fail catastrophically in a given percentage of persons due to unusual categories of brain damage or disease. Such persons exposed to “catastrophic psi” (especially if its information field is a melt and has global character as you imply above) would be Eighth World Wonders I think. The fact that these people don’t exist, and this scenario in general, is a pretty robust argument against background-strong psi, I think.

                              By the way, you mentioned the slightly larger representation of psi accuracy in some animals relative to humans. I would suspect this also to be coordinate with what I said earlier…namely their architecture of neurology and consciousness is less built up from the plinth. They are not burdened with our massive layers of language processing, abstract reasoning, and internal imagination. Of course, the idea that they are actually performing better than us quantitatively would need to be established on the same protocol between humans and animals, which may in itself be problematic.
                              Kai,
                              Well, you went the long way around, but it appears that your answer is that you agree with me regarding aggression. As you pointed out, this applies to other areas of selection as well, which was a point I was trying to make.

                              As for whether psi is extremely closely related to overall sensitivity, I'm not going to try to convince you. This is my area of expertise and you can believe me or not. Based on your track record so far, I don't expect you to research it, but if you do, I can recommend some reading.

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