Thursday, October 28, 2010

What is the evolutionary advantage of PSI?

It has always struck me weird that if PSI abilities are part of our brains and are biology related, then they would be exposed to the natural selection process. If that is the case, it seems like they would be SO beneficial that they would quickly spread throughout the population. But that does not seem to be the case, at least a conscious use of PSI seems to remain very elusive. I have heard lots of explanations, none very convincing. So it got me wondering…so I did some reading on the limits of natural selection. At that point I stumbled upon a related question, "What is the evolutionary advantage of mortality?" If passing on your genes is the goal, then intuitively you'd think the members of a group who could live longer would do better at that, just as a person with ESP would be expected to do much better at passing on their genes as someone without that trait. Regarding aging and mortality, gene research shows that mortality and the aging process is built into the system, it is genetically hardwired. How and why would such a thing evolve? The answer to that question is the same as for the one regarding the lack of conscious ESP traits in the species, too.

In nature, it’s a given that a population will expand to use the resources available. There is no "natural selection" pressure without limited resources. Without resource limits, the organism has more reproductive success if it simply reproduces more than the rest of the population. If that occurs, then the limits of available resources is reached as the population explodes. At that point, the adaptation to procreate unchecked is a pretty damning one and selected out. Given that it is more likely that resource availability varies, the natural selection process would make unchecked procreation rare.

So resource limitation is a given. That being the case, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages in two populations, one that has members that age and die, and the other that has members that do not age and die. If there is a limited amount of resources, then there is a limited population that can be sustained. Once the immortal group has reached the limit of its population, since there is no turnover, there is no further mutation. But in the group that ages and dies, there is continued mutation/adaptation/selection over time. As changes in resources occur, either good or bad, the group that has aging and death can adapt from a wider variety of options, whereas the immortal group is stuck with a limited variety of adaptability.

If this is the case, then natural selection seems to reward variability and not just reproduction. The fuel of natural selection is variability, and it must produce this fuel to sustain the process. The process of natural selection seems to value the ability to adapt over the ability to reproduce as part of its mechanics. Any static trait simply becomes future resources to be exploited once a more adaptable trait evolves to consume it. One of the continuing points of great debate in the field of evolutionary biology is whether the process of evolution occurs with the individual or within the population. If we see variability as the life-blood of natural selection, then we see that evolution as a process occurs in the individual only as part of a population. Especially in the human population, interpersonal relationships promote variability.

I have found it curious that if PSI ability is working through our biology, which research suggests it is, and because the reproductive advantage of PSI is so overpowering, then why aren't psychic powers universal in human beings and any other animal that needs to compete for resources? What could possibly be more advantageous, if the lifeblood of natural selection is adaptability, than the ability to foresee environmental changes that need to be adapted to? If my PSI skills tell me where the best food is, where the tigers are that want to eat me are, and when the next drought will occur, then I certainly am more likely to pass that PSI trait along to the next generation than the poor souls without PSI skills. I have never heard a counter-argument that makes any sense, though if you have one I'd like to hear it, email me at or post it in the comments.

Using the earlier understanding of why death is built into our biology, you can see why readily accessible psychic skills are going to be selected out of the population. While the conscious ego is designed by nature to protect and prolong life, if PSI skills were part of its toolkit then the variability would quickly be reduced in the population's gene pool. Even though the individuals could foresee future needs to adapt, that doesn't actually create new variability in the gene-pool, it reduces it by keeping the animals alive that have that certain gene for PSI and selecting out others. Curiously, the tipping point where the PSI ability would allow for increased adaptability comes when PSI information can be used to adapt, and the ability to do such logical planning and strategizing with information is relatively recent evolution-wise in humans. Looking at our present situation in the world with environmental and political crises all around us, its debatable if we've even reached that point yet. Bottom line, PSI skills can exist but not as conscious tools, so they show up as capricious events, usually to support interpersonal relationships, and then seem to disappear when most people actively try to utilize them. Given current environmental constraints, the process of natural selection is no friend of PSI ability.” -- Benton Bogle

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Have Scientists Finally Discovered Evidence for Psychic Phenomena?!

Daryl Bem is one of our leading parapsychologists, and on our Advisory Board

In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, the White Queen tells Alice that in her land, "memory works both ways." Not only can the Queen remember things from the past, but she also remembers "things that happened the week after next." Alice attempts to argue with the Queen, stating "I'm sure mine only works one way...I can't remember things before they happen." The Queen replies, "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards."

How much better would our lives be if we could live in the White Queen's kingdom, where ours memory would work backwards and forewords? For instance, in such a world, you could take an exam and then study for it afterwards to make sure you performed well in the past. Well, the good news is that according to a recent series of scientific studies by Daryl Bem, you already live in that world!

Dr. Bem, a social psychologist at Cornell University, conducted a series of studies that will soon be published in one of the most prestigious psychology journals (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology). Across nine experiments, Bem examined the idea that our brain has the ability to not only reflect on past experiences, but also anticipate future experiences. This ability for the brain to "see into the future" is often referred to as psi phenomena.
Although prior research has been conducted on the psi phenomena - we have all seen those movie images of people staring at Zener cards with a star or wavy lines on them - such studies often fail to meet the threshold of "scientific investigation." However, Bem's studies are unique in that they represent standard scientific methods and rely on well-established principles in psychology. Essentially, he took effects that are considered valid and reliable in psychology - studying improves memory, priming facilitates response times - and simply reversed their chronological order
Read more here...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Great Visit With Gary Schwartz

One of the many wonderful things about volunteering at the Rhine Research Center is the opportunity to interact with scientists doing important work in the field of parapsychology. I had the pleasure of meeting Gary E. Schwartz, PhD last Friday evening as he talked about his most recent research and his forthcoming book "The Sacred Promise", due out in January. His experiments over years with mediums has evolved over time to the point where he is able to develop strong research design, and his finding are amazing, and full of potential.

When the Rhines began their research many decades ago, there was a lot of hope that their scientific skills could finally show experimental evidence of an "afterlife". Many folks had lost loved ones in the Great War and wanted to be comforted with scientific proof of a spiritual realm. There were also a tremendous number of people reporting ghostly visitation and other communications, and many of these folks came to the Rhines for answers. At the time, studying such things with proper methods and controls was extremely difficult. Things are different today, as Dr. Schwartz is now able to work with improved research design and new technology. Has he discovered evidence of the afterlife? You are encouraged to read this book and judge for yourself. I assure you his findings will inspire you, they are amazing.

I also had a brief but enlightening chat with him before his talk about what I have been blogging about recently, that is multiple consciousnesses in our mind. From my reading and experiences with many remote viewers, and from his work with mediums, evidence seems to suggest that the true location of consciousness is not in your brain. The brain is a transceiver, like a radio or TV in that it is attuned to "you". Mediums and remote viewers can get information from other consciousnesses that exist. Sometimes anyone gets bits and pieces of anomalous info we cannot place, as our normal waking minds work to filter out any information that is not "you." As I mentioned in an earlier blog, any thoughts that any part of "you" does not fit into the well defined "you" is usually quickly rejected, along with some eye rolling. But this model of consciousness goes a long way in explaining a lot of phenomena, and I look forward to boring you more with it in the future.
-- Benton Bogle

 Listen to Gary E. Schwartz, PhD  interview with Frank Stacio on The State of Things

This inspiring talk led to much discussion afterwards at the reception.

Many people had questions for Gary E, Schwartz.