Is Paranormal Mere Hocus-Pocus?
Do you believe in paranormal phenomena?
"I don't think that science and the paranormal have to be at war; in fact, it's crucial that they work together. It seems naive to believe that the world is exactly as it seems." — Chelsie Shakespeare, The Pull
For centuries, paranormal has been the subject of much ridicule, so much so that many people do not feel comfortable talking about it, for fear of being labeled as "crackpots", "superstitious", "gullible", or "unscientific". But is paranormal really hocus-pocus?
True, there are many charlatans out there, trying to pull a fast one in order to make a fast buck out of those who are gullible, but I am not talking about those charlatans. I am talking about common people like you and me who have had personal experiences, such as encounters with black magic and ghosts, extra-sensory perception, psychic communication, and near-death experiences.
I have had many brushes with the paranormal, and so also have some of my family members. I have had more than a fair share of the paranormal, partly because I also actively sought them at one time. In fact, at one stage, I had wanted to do empirical research on paranormal, not by reading about it, but through first-hand experience. I had wanted to be a medium because I thought that, through channeling and spiritual contact, I would be able to experience or at least understand the other world better. However, enquiries with mediums told me otherwise. I even wanted to visit hell through a seance, although I was told that I would be very unlucky after the visit. Six visits to a rural town, however, ended up in failure. Someone at the temple told me that I was very unlucky because the medium was usually very easily reachable. I was also a victim of black magic twice, and had had one out-of-body experience (OBE), two clairaudience experiences, and several other paranormal experiences.
As Malin rightly pointed out in his hub, "The Paranormal and the Need for Proof", there can be 3 basic explanations to all paranormal events:
- the real paranormal event;
- a psychological event, mistaken to be a paranormal event; or
- a physical event with a rational explanation, also mistaken to be a paranormal event.
What we are concerned here, however, is only with the real paranormal events.
Science vs Paranormal
Science has always held paranormal phenomena with great contempt because paranormal phenomena cannot be recreated in the laboratory. Science, by its very definition, is "a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe". Hence, anything that cannot be recreated in the laboratory is not science.
But is science, as it is, today, everything? To say that whatever science cannot prove is nonsensical is pure nonsense in itself! It implies that science, as it is, today, is complete and there is therefore no further room for discoveries that can explain the unexplainable. Nothing can be further than the truth. The truth is that, after so many centuries, science is still evolving.
Going back to the history of science, in the late 17th century, Sir Isaac Newton succeeded in developing a new physics, now known as Newtonian physics, in which he proclaimed his three laws of motion. In his law of universal gravitation, he also provided the first correct scientific and mathematical formulation of gravity. At that time, some scientists thought that they had pretty much figured out the basic laws of the universe. And they were not entirely wrong, either. It has been said that just with Newtonian physics, one would still be able to reach the moon today.
But then, Albert Einstein came along and in 1905, dramatically altered our views of space, time, mass, motion, and gravity with his special theory of relativity. However, he objected to the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, and famously declared "I am convinced God does not play dice". Because of his refusal to accept the randomness of quantum physics, Einstein has been called the last great classical physicist. Thus, if even Einstein could be wrong, what more us?
Einstein died in 1955, without having found his "unified field theory", which he had begun working on in the 1920s, a theory that would have united the fields of electromagnetism and gravity into one single field. In their quest to find what Einstein had failed to uncover, theoretical physicists postulated the string theory in the 1980s, showing how all the various forms of matter and energy in the universe could be constructed by hypothetical one-dimensional "strings". This revolutionary concept replaces subatomic particles with strings of tiny vibrating strands of energy as the smallest building block of the universe.
What is a one-dimensional string? It is simply a string with one and only one dimension, i.e. length, without either height or width. How then can we visualize something like that, and how can we ever test it in a laboratory?
For centuries, acupuncture had been maligned and ridiculed by the so-called Western "scientific community". Wikipedia says: "Recent systematic reviews found that acupuncture also seems to be a promising treatment option for anxiety, sleep disturbances, and depression, but that further research is needed in these regards... Acupuncture's use for certain conditions has been endorsed by the United States National Institutes of Health, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, and the World Health Organization".
Thus, as we can see from the foregoing, science is still undergoing tremendous development that could lead to yet another paradigm shift. The string theory is a radically new theory that is changing everything we know about the universe. This being so, how then can anyone say with certainty that what science cannot prove today is utter nonsense... unless science can prove beyond doubt that something is definitely wrong.
Michio Kaku Explains String Theory
Michio Kaku: The Multiverse Has 11 Dimensions
Who lives in the eleventh dimension?
The 11th Dimension
Strings need to move in more than 3 dimensions. M-theory, an extension of string theory, suggests that the universe is made up of 11 dimensions. String theorists arrive at this figure, after they came up with 5 different 10-dimensional theories. In 1994, Edward Witten proposed that the 5 different versions of string theory were merely 5 different ways of looking at exactly the same thing, but from different perspectives. He then proposed one additional dimension in order to unite and supersede all the 5 partial string theories, calling his unified field theory, "M-theory". (The name was a compromise for the name, "Membrane theory", which Witten did not like.)
What are these 11 dimensions? Four of these dimensions are pretty familiar to all of us, i.e. the 3 dimensions of space (length, width, and height), and time. The remaining 7 dimensions cannot be detected directly, but were discovered through mathematical computations, without which, the equations don't make sense.
According to M-theory, the universe may be likened to a slice of bread in which we are all trapped in a tiny slice of a higher dimensional universe, with other slices — entire worlds (parallel universes) — right next to us, but completely invisible. We may have a lot of neighbors, some of which may resemble our universe, while others may be ruled by completely different laws of physics.
M-theory, however, fails to provide testable predictions, and in that sense, it is very much like the paranormal phenomena that is the crux of this discussion. Is M-theory then a theory of physics, or merely a philosophy? My question is: "Does it really matter?"
As we all know, the atom started as a philosophy. The concept that matter comprises discrete units that cannot be further subdivided into smaller units has been around for millennia. These ideas were founded, based on abstract, philosophical reasoning and not on empirical research. Then, what happened? Thousands of years later, scientists adopted this basic idea because it could elegantly explained why elements always react in ratios of small whole numbers and in 1805, the modern atomic theory was finally propounded by John Dalton. And for all we know, M-theory is presently going through the same stage of scientific development as the atom. (Incidentally, just like the atom in the past, the string is currently put forward as the smallest building block of the universe.)
The Elegant Universe: Welcome To The 11th Dimension
Top 10 Unexplained Phenomena: Mysteries
Paranormal phenomena have always talked about encounters with another dimension, other than the 3 dimensions of space that all of us are familiar with. Now that science is beginning to acknowledge that there may be more dimensions than meet the eye, and that the existence of parallel universes is a possibility, the truth that paranormal phenomena are, in fact, real, cannot be totally discounted, unlike in the past.
Now, what does this mean to you? You may say, "Ekkkkkks, no thanks. I don't want any ghostly encounters!" But who is talking about ghosts? I am talking about extra-sensory perception (ESP). In his book, "Helping yourself with ESP", A.G. Manning, DD, said:
"An old man comes slowly down the street, tapping a white cane to guide his way. Your heart must go out to him in compassion. You have a tremendous advantage over him — you can see but he can't!
Let's stop and think for a moment! A person with well-developed powers of ESP has much the same advantage over the average man that you have over the blind man."
Manning further said: "Everyone has ESP! Learn to use yours to gain wealth, success, power, health, and happiness. Helping yourself with ESP is a practical guide to developing your dormant psychic powers."