21. Mind matters
by, 07-10-09 at 22:58 (539 Views)
Sceptics have always been fast to dismiss the idea of telepathy – auto-communication between separate, individual minds but now new brain-scanning technologies in various parts of the world are producing new and fascinating evidence of the phenomena.
Perhaps four out of five of us have experienced thinking, abstractly, of a friend or relative of who we had heard nothing in years when suddenly that person telephones.. There are many instances of what appears to be a telepathic link between minds separated both by space and time.
In 2008 the British Association (a registered charity that exists to advance the public understanding, accessibility and accountability of the sciences and engineering in the UK) brought coals of fire upon its head for daring even to debate the subject. The wrath, of course, from died-in-the-wool sceptics in the scientific world. These folk have a pathological disbelief in any philosophy that strays from the confines of their own expertise. Their usual outcry following the lines “the samples are too tiny”, “the effects are statistically insignificant”, “the experiments were not conducted in a scientific way”, “there are no serious reasons for believing” and so on ad nauseum. Another ploy is to disparage the reputation of a diligent researcher with statements such as “well….. everyone knows Professor So-and-so is a bit of a wild card”. Then, of course, when samples are made massive, controls tightened and the most prestigious centres of learning in the world become involved, they shift the goal-posts. Professor H J Eysenck, who occupied the Chair in Psychology at London University and was Director of the Psychological Dept. at the Maudsley and Bethlem Royal Hospitals said "Scientists, especially when they leave the field in which they have specialised, are just as ordinary, pig-headed and unreasonable as anybody else, and their unusually high intelligence only makes their prejudices all the more dangerous".
In a recent edition of New Scientist, a magazine devoted to the latest in science, in a theme considering research into the likes of drugs and ESP (extra-sensory perception). I quote: “In no other area of scientific endeavour would it be deemed acceptable to consistently reject data that finds in favour of a certain hypothesis and instead look for flaws in that data”. If a series of experiments were to conclusively establish the existence of ESP this would entail the revision of so many laws of physics as to undermine our ability to use concepts like verification and falsification consistently so it is not surprising that scientists offer more resistance to para-psychological findings than findings in other areas.
For many years , studies of telepathy have focussed on asking people about what they believe someone else was trying to communicate to them by thought alone. This inevitably raises questions about interpretation and verification but now scientist are looking for more fundamental evidence of shared brain activity in the form of correlation by means of sophisticated brain-imaging equipment
Thank goodness, an ever increasing number of scientists are becoming more open-minded and scientific equipment is becoming more sophisticated, the latest being brain-scanning. In particular Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a medical scanner which uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to affect and observe the behaviour of atomic nuclei in biologically important molecules. Now scientists in leading research institutes in the Western world are producing fresh evidence for telepathy which is infinitely more difficult to explain away. Instead of confining experiments to people to send and receive images, whilst under strict supervision and observation, medical scanning techniques are used to examine and record the activity within the brain at molecular level. The first extraordinary results are now appearing in published scientific papers and journals and they point to amazing correlations in the brain activity of people who attempt to transmit thought and others who are “recipients”.
Researchers at scientific institutes on both sides of the Atlantic are coming up with entirely new evidence for telepathy which resists the scoffing of sceptics in that, instead of relying on people to detect images, medical scanning equipment is used to directly examine activity within brains. Results from such studies are starting to appear in published papers and scientific journals. And extraordinary correlations in brain activity between people, when they attempt to communicate by thought, are being detected.
As the University of Edinburgh researchers have been using the latest EEG techniques to test the claims of telepathic communication. In their experiments, pairs of such people were given time together and allowed to relax and decide for themselves who would be sender and who recipient. They were then separated into different rooms to be wired up to EEG machines. Sounds and random flashes of light were directed at the senders and, as expected, this produced a pattern of effects in the visual cortex at the back of the head. Altogether more surprising was the effects on the brain activity of the recipients. Their EEG readings showed an increase in activity in the very same parts of their brains despite not seeing any flashes at all or knowing what to expect.
A separate study was carried out at Manchester University on identical twins and triplets. Three teenage male triplets were separated and one was subjected to reasonably painful electrical shocks every time he got a wrong answer in a set of problems. Neither the boy answering the test question or the other two had any idea that they were being subjected to a test of this nature. The two separated boys were monitored by electroencephalogram machines although they believed something entirely different was going on.. Each denied and found laughable that they may have reacted to their sibling’s mental reactions – but the machine showed that they had each reacted strongly at a subconscious level and at the identical moment of their brother’s pain.