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Old Feb 10, 2008, 02:16 PM   #1
Greasyman
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Is telepathy scientifically possible?

Is it conceivable that the human mind could evolve telepathic powers, or even already posses the very beginnings of the ability in some individuals? In other words, whether it actually exists or not, is there a way it could, in theory, exist without violating any laws of nature?

I'm basically a science idiot, but the best I could come up with is that I know that radio waves are light waves, and some animals, such as the firefly can generate light, so it isn't that big a leap to imagine that the brain or some other organ could generate radio waves precisely enough to be useable for language.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 06:33 PM   #2
7on
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yes....


Well the brain works on electric signals, so it could be possible...
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 07:04 PM   #3
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telepathy is highly overrated, now a wireless connection too my head would be super awesome!

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Old Feb 10, 2008, 07:25 PM   #4
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It's certainly possible in theory. Animals have developed some pretty amazing things.

I think you'd have to have a species with "transmitter" and "receptor" organs, though, and some reason for these things to develop in the first place. The only way I could see it happening would be if these critters lacked the normal methods of communicating with one another -- hearing (vocalizations and sonar), sight (motions, etc), smell (pheromones or whatever), touch (not a very precise one), taste (heh)... and I think it would be impossible for a creature to catch/get food if it lacked all of these senses.

So if we had normal creatures, like humans, we'd have to put them in an unusual situation in order to encourage such a thing to develop (and really, you'd have to make it impossible for any other faculty to develop).

Let's say there's a tarry, noxious atmosphere (eliminate taste, smell, sight). Touch could probably be left alone, since it doesn't allow conversation over distances. The only thing left is hearing. Maybe a virus or something eliminates the ability to hear? Normally, hearing would just re-develop...

So I dunno, it's a neat thought experiment. I think it's highly unlikely to ever develop unless we did some mucking around in our DNA. And again, I don't think it'd be possible to do it without "wiring" a specific transmitter organ as well as the receptor.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 07:32 PM   #5
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and some reason for these things to develop in the first place.
Technically that would explain the feature's ability to spread into the whole population, not how the trait would develop to begin with.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 07:35 PM   #6
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Anything is possible, so, yes from me.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 07:36 PM   #7
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Anything is possible
Not true.

It is impossible to travel faster than light.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 07:39 PM   #8
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There's very little that is, in theory, technically or mathematically impossible. That said, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that supports the existence of telepathy, and in the event it was scientifically proven, its existence would undermine many of our understandings of science.

Stephen Jay Gould said, "In science, “fact” can only mean “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms."
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 07:42 PM   #9
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There's very little that is, in theory, technically impossible.
Oh I know, I was just trying to give MacHipster a hard time.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 08:37 PM   #10
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It is impossible to travel faster than light.
Not true.

It is impossible for anything that travels at less than c to reach or exceed that limit. However, it is not impossible for something to exceed c at all times.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 08:45 PM   #11
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Well, the average human uses six to seven percent of their brain so I think anything is possible.

What if we could use 100% of our brain? We would prolly die of a stroke or something.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 08:54 PM   #12
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Well, the average human uses six to seven percent of their brain so I think anything is possible.

What if we could use 100% of our brain? We would prolly die of a stroke or something.
Sorry, but that's completely false. We do in fact use 100% of our brains. link

...and we're still not dead of a stroke.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 09:00 PM   #13
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Sorry, but that's completely false. We do in fact use 100% of our brains. link

...and we're still not dead of a stroke.
Okay...

So my doctor and my psych teacher (who has a PhD) are lying?
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 09:05 PM   #14
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Okay...

So my doctor and my psych teacher (who has a PhD) are lying?
Perhaps it's nicer to say they're simply misinformed?

It's true that we only use certain parts of the brain at a single moment (just like you only use certain parts of your body at a time), but the idea that 90% of our brains are just "dead matter" is a myth. Through the course of a day, you've used just about every square inch of your brain.

This myth is commonly used by psychics as evidence of their powers. Too bad it's not true (just like their powers).
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 09:07 PM   #15
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Perhaps it's nicer to say they're simply misinformed?

It's true that we only use certain parts of the brain at a single moment (just like you only use certain parts of your body at a time), but the idea that 90% of our brains are just "dead matter" is a myth. Through the course of a day, you've used just about every square inch of your brain.
Okay, what if we could use 100% of our brain at any given moment. Like, all at the same time.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 09:10 PM   #16
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Okay, what if we could use 100% of our brain at any given moment. Like, all at the same time.
The brain doesn't work that way; each part has its own function or purpose and you only use the parts you need to at any given time. ...So your question is sort of like asking "what would happen if we could move every muscle in our body at the same time?".
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 09:16 PM   #17
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The brain doesn't work that way; each part has its own function or purpose and you only use the parts you need to at any given time. ...So your question is sort of like asking "what would happen if we could move every muscle in our body at the same time?".
So, if you really think about it, we humans aren't that smart. Sure we cured fearsome diseases and landed on the moon, but if we are truly using all of our brains potential, we really aren't that smart.

IDK, just thinking out loud.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 09:19 PM   #18
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well the brain is a very adaptable organ. I have no doubt that you could electronically communicate wirelessly with people. I mean there are electronic ear implants, eye implants, why not electronic wireless communication implants.

Natural organs would be a whole different animal. Sharks can detect electrical pulses I know, but they have all that wonderful water around them.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 09:55 PM   #19
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a clear no from me.

in order to think a specific thought millions of nerve cells have to send electric signals in a timely order. these signals are extremely weak. there is no way that someone else can recieve this mix of signals and deconvolute this noise to recreate what nerve cells sends what eletric impulse at what time to what nerve cell.

i guess one could even calculate that the signals simply disappear in the electric noise of billions of nerve cells not involved in this specific thought.

the best you can hope for is that one can measure the activity of certain brain regions and use this information to direct a mouse pointer or similar. but recieving complex thoughts: no.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 09:59 PM   #20
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Not true.

It is impossible for anything that travels at less than c to reach or exceed that limit. However, it is not impossible for something to exceed c at all times.
See, that's why I don't like physics.
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Okay, what if we could use 100% of our brain at any given moment. Like, all at the same time.
You'd look rather spastastic.
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So, if you really think about it, we humans aren't that smart. Sure we cured fearsome diseases and landed on the moon, but if we are truly using all of our brains potential, we really aren't that smart.
We're plenty smart. You're visualizing the brain as a huge organ that works on a % scale. It doesn't. There are zones in your brain for sights/smell/other senses, your limbs, your muscle control, your critical thinking, spacial reasoning, language management, etc. You don't need to do everything at once, hence not all of your brain's regions are active at the same time. However, in a given day, they will all at some point become active. Hence, you use it all.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 10:00 PM   #21
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So, if you really think about it, we humans aren't that smart. Sure we cured fearsome diseases and landed on the moon, but if we are truly using all of our brains potential, we really aren't that smart.

IDK, just thinking out loud.
Why is it that we would be smarter if 90% of the human brain was dead weight?
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 10:09 PM   #22
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Why is it that we would be smarter if 90% of the human brain was dead weight?
Well, if our brain can't expand anymore, can we become smarter than we are now?
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 10:12 PM   #23
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Well, if our brain can't expand anymore, can we become smarter than we are now?
Most definitely! Knowledge isn't limited to brain capacity. For example, our brain capacity isn't any larger than the ancient Roman's, yet we've certainly made a few advancements since their time.
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 10:14 PM   #24
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I know that radio waves are light waves
Actually, they're both forms of electromagnetic radiation. Same goes for your microwave oven, UV and infared, all the many radio bands, etc. etc.
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and some animals, such as the firefly can generate light
That's just chemistry in action
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So your question is sort of like asking "what would happen if we could move every muscle in our body at the same time?".
You'd be having a seizure?
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Old Feb 10, 2008, 10:15 PM   #25
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You'd be having a seizure?
You had the same reaction I did! :
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You'd look rather spastastic.
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