Showing posts with label ESP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ESP. Show all posts

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mind research

The error of mind-body dualism - Beliefnet

If you have a better excellent summary [of mind research] to hand, grateful if you lay it on us.
"If I had one I would. The science is still barely in its infancy. It was almost aborted by the skeptic crowd and Randi who declared that anything but the standard five senses was by definition either supernatural or magic. Most of it was, but they intimidated research into neurosciences and consciousness research. Partly by setting standards for success waaaaay to high. And partly because it was infringing on the forbidden territory of God's duality.

Esp as an example is an intensely emotional phenomenon. The Rhine and PEAR studies have foundered on trying to produce results without the emotional content. But ask an early pair bonded couple how they know it is the right pair, and all you get is a shrug. We just know. Ask teilhard how he knows God, and all you get is E-X-P-E-R-I-E-N-C-E. Guess what? He is telling the truth. Science won't touch that with a double insulated 20 foot pole.

Science is still afraid of esp it is a grant killer big time. People on the periphery will earnestly try to find "rational" explanations for obvious esp phenomena like the dog knowing when master is getting off the bus a block away, or how a school of fish avoid a predator. Or how a quintet synchronizes everything they do including the emotional content of the music even if the pianist is blind. I was at a concert last night where a chamber choir performed an extremely difficult new music piece commissioned just last year. The choir was scattered around the stage in no apparent order with at least 6 ft. spacing between singers. How they held it together was either God, esp, or magic. I will bet on esp.

It is only recently that the kinesthetic senses are being investigated, although gymnasts, pianists, and dancers have known about them almost as long as they have been doing their thing. Ask a pianist how they play an Ab minor arpeggio and they look at you funny and say what do you mean how? You just play it. I recently found out I have a muscle memory disability. I have known about it since I took typing in high school, but everybody said I was just stupid. It is easier to say stupid, than research a tenuous phenomenon

If I sound bitter, it is because I had a very frustrating childhood, I could do anything physically as long as it was one thing at a time. 40 WPM no mistakes first week in typing class. But I still can't type my name without doing it one letter at a time. Stupid, lazy, careless, just some of the names used instead of disability. I finally figured it out for myself, after crashing routinely on a double back with a full twist. It was one too many things to do in the time I had to do it, and the muscle memory wasn't there to help. 30 years later science caught up. No esp there, that is a different subject. Just a different brain function. And science wouldn't touch it."

I have no doubt that infringing on the remaining gaps filled by God, as in "God helped me do it" is still intimidating to scientists. The right wingers have no problem with exposing "wasteful grants" for what they deem useless research.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Synchrony in Human Activities.

Human Cognition: Can Materialism explain it?- Beliefnet

That is exactly what we see; therefore, until this changes, materialism has been vindicated thus far as the ontology which most accurately describes our universe.

As long as you are willing to stipulate that materialism does very poorly in describing a probably insignificant blip in the universe called human cognition. At this point all materialism can say about cognition is that somehow neurochemicals and electrical impulses in neurons create or possibly detect cognition. I readily admit my cognitive bias that cognition is created in the mind/brain, but materialism must by definition be agnostic.

In particular I would like the materialists to explain how a top level string quartet manages the rubato, retards, fermatas, and other musical effects to produce a performance that can make a listener cry, or in one case of a quatuor pour le fin du temps sob uncontrollably. Or how a listener can control the attacks of a professional Rock band. All of which I have personally observed.

Or explain
With a dramatic bow of pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii’s head, rich sounds of the piano, violins, cello and viola broke the concert hall silence as he and a string quartet played Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44.

The standing ovation lasted nearly five minutes, so long that the 20-year-old from Japan returned to the stage twice to bow, grinning from ear to ear.

The audience may have loved Friday’s performance, but not everyone may have known its significance. Tsujii—who was born blind—had to figure out how to cue the other musicians. That was especially important with the Schumann piece, because all instruments must start playing simultaneously in the first movement.

Yeah, sure. The quartet all mentally counted the 3472 microseconds from when his blind eyes crossed the horizontal and they all came in on the 3473rd. There was something else going on here. The leader, in this case Tsujii caused the syncing of the brain waves of the quintet so they could all attack at the same instant. A trained human ear can hear at least millisecond differences in the attack of stringed instruments. With a good ensemble it never does.

So, materialists how did Tsujii sync the brain waves of 4 other people?

I don't know what constitutes psychic by your definition, but the SciAm report states that syncing with the metronome, at the initial attack, and in difficult rhythmic passages the measured brain waves of two unacquainted guitarists in 8 trials were synced.

As noted in my previous post this phenomenon of "knowing when to attack" and following unpredictable tempo modifications is second nature to ensemble musicians. It is not unusual for ensemble musicians especially in rehearsal to be concentrating on the score, and yet still follow the subtle tempo changes that constitute the music. I don't know whether it would be called psychic by your definition or not, but I have experienced and seen the synchronization and its failures.

As another example I have seen a pairs figure skater "stumble" in a blind maneuver but be perfectly in sync with herm partner at the rejoin move which was also blind. I would submit that the skeptics have the burden of proof that the rejoin was based on anything but brain wave sync of unexplained communication channel. Not incidentally, they were out of sync with the music which was one of the reasons I noticed it.

I personally have "researched" the reaction time bill drop bar bet. That is if you catch the bill when I drop it it is yours. Catcher's thumb and finger over the portrait. A false grab means the catcher owes the dropper the bill. Reaction time says the money is in the bank. I was demonstrating this bet with a "fresh squeeze" who eventually became my wife. She caught the bill every time. Fingers right on the portrait usually. We tried this with a wall between us bill in a doorway and the only way I could beat her was randomizing my drop. If I so much as thought about dropping it I lost. This was witnessed by a fairly large group of peers, who were able to observe a randomized trial by a finger signal out of sight of all but the control observer. OT have you ever tried to randomize a physical action?

It would appear that the scientists who did the study you cited see nothing in their results that requires an explanation which goes beyond normal brain events understood in biochemical or information processing terms--business as usual.

"Stipulated. It would be quite beyond the experimental design to explain the mechanism of the synchrony. The synchrony was of course biochemical and information processing functions of the brains of the musicians. That is what they could measure. Like the drunk under the street light looking for lost car keys, science can only look where they have light to see. All the scientists could do was note that the synchrony existed. They could not publish the mechanism of the synchrony even if they speculated on it. At this point it is not science. That does not mean that the mechanism for the synchrony does not exist, it is just in the class of things beyond the measurable world of science."

What's to explain about mirror neurons, religious perceptions God or mental influence on others? At least in the sense that you have a better explanation for us?

How they work. I don't have any explanation of how they work. Just the observation that they do work. I have a speculation that the spinal chord is a brain wave detector, and particularly with respect to motor nerve stimulus can provide the observed synchrony, as in the movement of a school of fish in response to a predator. Whether it can provide higher function synchrony is much more speculative, but it explains some unexplainable observations, including mirror neuron response, and group perceptions of God.

I am always amused by the way scientists conveniently ignore things like reaction time and speed of pressure wave transmission in water in trying to explain the unexplainable synchrony. But currently ESP is a grant killer on par with Creation Science, so it will take a lot of "it just works" scientific evidence to force investigation of the mechanisms.

I have no dog in the fight. I don't believe in skepticism. Science always catches up and disproves belief systems contrary to fact. It will probably take a remote fMRI to catch a group of musicians, or a group of believers syncing up brain waves to do what is necessary. I wish you could have been at the Faure Requiem performance I mentioned earlier. (You don't.) The stick was right on the money. The chorus was all over the bar line.

I have personally experienced, or perhaps imagined, all of the synchronies mentioned in my previous post including the presence of God in a Catholic service. I can only speculate on the mechanism(s). Perhaps in the Catholic service I had a temporal lobe brain fart. Everything is on the table. But it was a physical action, genuflection, that triggered the connection with the congregation or whatever it was.

I'm trying to work out whether I think really good sync is more common amongst instrument players than amongst singers of the same professional status or not. I suspect it might be, but I can also think of extrinsic reasons why that might be so - especially amongst larger choirs. Amongst my CDs, the Robert Shaw chorale and some of the madrigal groups eg Les Arts Florissants doing Gesualdo make a positive case for the singers.

I think the secret is unconducted chamber work either choral or instrumental. And since instrumental chamber music is required of all pro level instrumentalists but not choral singers I suspect you are right.

But having sung for Robert Shaw, there is no way to be out of sync. Somehow, one always knows exactly when to come in. The concentration he puts into a rehearsal and a performance suggests an athlete. A face towel is standard equipment and is changed at every opportunity. He is not an active conductor, so the effort is all mental. I performed the Missa Solemnis under his baton, and there is no way to do the Et Vitam fugue at the tempo he takes it by watching the stick. There is just too much going on. I will admit to the possibility of learning to count microseconds in the rehearsal, but I wouldn't bet on it.

J'C But it was a physical action, genuflection, that triggered the connection with the congregation or whatever it was.I have no reason to doubt your word. The only question between us is whether a word like 'psychic' comes into the explanation.

I wouldn't take it off the table. It would have to be right up there with the brain fart. I don't have a clue as to how it worked. And as I had no previous experience of God, the feeling was of a presence like another person as described by unbelievers in the God Helmet experiment. But it definitely was not a person in the church, not even the priest. The closest analogy I can muster is the feeling I had in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

I think the analogy is apt. I have seen many a noisy group of school children fall dead silent as they cross the threshold of the memorial. I don't think it is anything supernatural, just a feeling of awe and reverence generated by those in the memorial. Is it phychic? A brain fart? Mirror neurons compelling awe and reverence? I don't think science dares to have a clue as to the mechanism. At this point it can just add a data point to the unexplained barrel.

Friday, July 10, 2009

ESP, Magic Thinking, and brain waves.

Beliefnet Community > Thread - Magic Thinking:

Not just ... but ESP, are included in the 'wishes come true' category.

If brain wave synchronization isn't ESP I would like to hear your definition of it.

Musicians sync up brain waves all the time and can even link with an audience. If you don't think a string quartet is mentally a single unit, which frequently involves an entire chamber audience, maybe you better go to a chamber concert some time. In larger venues it is harder to sync up, but it occasionally happens. I once was in a performance of the Missa Solemnis for 2000 people in Carnegie hall that for a moment had 2500 people believing in life after death. As a performer I could feel the energy from maestro, the rest of the chorus, orchestra and the audience all feeding off the Et Vitam fugue."

This was Robert Shaw conducting the New York Choral Society substituting for the hospitalized Bob DeCormier. The whole performance was magical and the melding with the audience was frequent but in the Et Vitam Venturi Saeculi, Amen (And the life in the world to come, So be it.) fugue the Maestro had everyone in the hall on the tip of his baton believing in the music if not the words.

I don't know how much of the Mass Beethoven believed in if any, but in the Missa Solemnis he certainly did his job as a musician and made the whole Mass believable and involving. In a good performance I would expect that a good Catholic or Lutheran would be in communion with God for the entire performance and beyond.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Musicians' brains keep time--With one another: Scientific American Blog

Musicians' brains keep time--With one another: Scientific American Blog: "Ever wonder how musicians manage to play in unison? Credit their brain waves: they synchronize before and while musicians play a composition, according to new research."

And people say ESP is a myth. If randomly selected musicians, that is unrelated, can synchronize brain waves just to play a random piece of music, in a lab yet, with no audience to play to or play off of, what can be said of the brain waves of a chorus or orchestra in a hall full of people wanting to participate in the experience. Or. hold on to your God beliefs here, pro or anti, what about a church full of people singing hymns and praying to God. Can it be that the synchrony creates God, or perhaps recreates the God of the previous meetings back as far a the religion can trace its roots? Oh yeah, I forgot, they could be synchronizing with their supernatural omnipotent alpha humanoid in the sky, or more likely with the little tinhorn in the fancy dress in the overdecorated balcony.

In any event if synchronizing brain waves isn't ESP, just what is it? I think the skeptics need to examine the evidence and take a closer look at some of the phenomena they love to debunk.