Do people have the ability to predict the future?

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Tantsui
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Do people have the ability to predict the future?

Postby Tantsui » Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:45 pm UTC

This is a strange tangent I've always thought about, and I figure I might as well throw it out here to see what you all think about it. I've witnessed some strange phenomena so far, and two stick out to me the most. I'll explain them both and then direct them back to this main point. What I'm looking for are opinions on my logic and possible addendum.

The first is the dream. How many of you have ever experienced a dream that carries some premonition or prediction of the future? Probably not many. How many, though, come to either a conclusion or a waypoint just as you wake up? I understand that this could be attributed to a 'biological clock' that senses your habit of waking up at the same time every morning. Or, alternatively, senses how much sleep you get a night. I used to wake up every fourty-five minutes when I slept in class during high school. However, this doesn't fully explain the phenomena as I have experienced it. This one is completely up to you to interpret.

The second one is a thought I don't know if many people have had, though many allude to it. The most forward-thinking or intense people happen to die early, almost always in some event that nobody could possibly predict. Car crashes are more easily explainable, while things like tumors require a completely different theory. In the end, it seems like this factor is common in most, if not all, people faced with a short life.

I could be completely off on both of these, but this is a thread for this kind of thing and I just wanted to throw it out there. I'm not as cultured as most of you, so I apologize for any holes in my concept.

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Re: Do people have the ability to predict the future?

Postby Owijad » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:10 pm UTC

Tantsui wrote: The most forward-thinking or intense people happen to die early, almost always in some event that nobody could possibly predict.


Like who?

Einstein: 76
Marx: 65
Confucius: Around 70
Neils Bohr: 77
Lincoln: 56
Rosa Parks: 92
Shakespeare: 52

I don't get it...
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Postby Tantsui » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:13 pm UTC

So you took a bunch of people who happened to live for a long time. I'm not talking about the people who got famous doing it. I'm talking about people you meet in real life, not the geniuses of history. I guess it's subjective.

Addendum:
Jimi Hendrix: 27
Janis Joplin: 27
Jim Morrison: 27
Randy Rhoads: 25
Stevie Ray Vaughan: 35
Robert Johnson: 27
Duane Allman: 24
Kurt Cobain: 27

You mentioned some thinkers, I'll reply with some musicians.
Last edited by Tantsui on Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:23 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Belial » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:15 pm UTC

And anecdotal.

And probably confirmation biased.
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They/them

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Postby Owijad » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:24 pm UTC

I just picked the first few intense, forward-thinking people that came to mind.

While the paranormal isn't really my thing, the folks here can tell you why prescience of any sort is phenomenally unlikely, and why it is that that people tend to believe it exists, despite that.
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Postby Tantsui » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:25 pm UTC

Well, I gave you fair warning when I started this thread. This isn't some finished product that the world has to accept or inevitably fall. This is just something that was bouncing around in my head.

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Postby Owijad » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:27 pm UTC

Of course. This forum isn't about knowing, so much as finding out. Learning is Serious Business.

Point is, the people at JREF forums will be able to tell you more than we can.
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Postby Tantsui » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:28 pm UTC

Eh. Well, if anyone has anything to add to this I'm happy to leave it open-ended. Though, it seems like it won't be pursued too thoroughly.

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Postby Peshmerga » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:35 pm UTC

Your post has nothing to do with predicting the future.

I am lost.
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Postby Tantsui » Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:51 pm UTC

I think what I was getting at was not a conscious prediction, but some sort of internal knowledge of events. There's a logical approach to why this could be (unconscious comprehension of events, or the subconscious drive to make sense out of events), and there's the other side of the coin (as evidenced by Owijad's suggestion for me to check out the JREF forums).

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Postby Owijad » Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:09 pm UTC

Tantsui wrote:Addendum:
Jimi Hendrix: 27 (heavy drug user- A glass of wine and 9 sleeping pills)
Janis Joplin: 27 (whiskey and heroin)
Jim Morrison: 27 (heavy drug user, no autopsy)
Randy Rhoads: 25 (got in a plane with a man on cocaine, crashed into a building)
Kurt Cobain: 27 (heavy drug user, shotgunned himself)


I think you may find a reason for musicians dying young a little closer to home...
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Postby Tantsui » Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:19 pm UTC

That was about five minutes of research. Instead of attacking this, you could theoretically also search for proof positive of this concept.

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Postby Drostie » Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:25 pm UTC

Can we predict the future? Sure; the sun will rise tomorrow.

Dreams don't carry the future; they carry the past. It merely happens that the two often resemble each other on human-scale times.

It is not clear that when I feel, 'That dream ended just as I awoke', that this means such a thing actually happened. When I'm asleep, I don't particularly notice the actual passage of time -- my dream-state feels maybe the same as an hour's gap of time lost in meditation or so; there is no sensation of longness.

To me, that says that we don't have a conscious experience of time while we're asleep -- which means that your dream might end a good hour after you wake.

Of course, if you don't wake to an alarm (James Maas says you shouldn't), it might also be the other way around -- not that your brain stops the dream prematurely to have you wake up, but you wake up before your brain stops the dream.

I've only had one situation where I was reasonably sure that I woke in the middle of a dream. It was when I was in elementary school, and in my dream, I was paralyzed as the school's stereotypical tough-kid taunted me. I willed my desire to punch him so thoroughly that I actually punched the bedpost -- and the subsequent pain woke me up directly. It, of course, doesn't really fit the mold you're referring to.
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Postby Jesse » Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:25 pm UTC

It is not up to us to prove your concept, only to point out your flaws. When there is a finished product with no flaws, then it becomes a truth.

Also, I don't believe musicians necessarily count as forward-thinkers, I think the scientists et al quoted were much more forward-thinking than those musicians.

I don't think we can predict the future, I suspect we have brains that are excellent at taking past experiences and using those to model a future (See the latest NewScientist for a feature article on just that) and it is no doubt designed to notice patterns, so when something similar occurs to a memory the brain highlights it as a noticable pattern and we get a sense of deja vu.

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Postby Tantsui » Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:38 pm UTC

Jesster wrote:It is not up to us to prove your concept, only to point out your flaws. When there is a finished product with no flaws, then it becomes a truth.

Also, I don't believe musicians necessarily count as forward-thinkers, I think the scientists et al quoted were much more forward-thinking than those musicians.

I don't think we can predict the future, I suspect we have brains that are excellent at taking past experiences and using those to model a future (See the latest NewScientist for a feature article on just that) and it is no doubt designed to notice patterns, so when something similar occurs to a memory the brain highlights it as a noticable pattern and we get a sense of deja vu.


I like your points, except for the one about musicians not counting as forward-thinkers. I'll get to that in a second, though. You do have some good evidence for the point about brains absorbing events and using them to predict new ones. I remember reading about that, and it's a popular theory.

Now, for musicians not being innovative (or, 'forward-thinking'). Unless you understand music to some extent, it seems simplistic and stagnant. Though I doubt anyone could really stand up to someone like Einstein or Shakespeare, a lot of musicians have written music or introduced new styles of playing that completely revolutionized the way we look at the art. I don't want that to be the focus of this topic, though, so I'll drop it here.
(I don't think Confucius is fair game. He's got a religion.)

If you've ever met someone who died young, there is something about them that you immediately notice. I suppose not many people have had that experience, though.

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Postby Jesse » Sun Mar 25, 2007 10:46 pm UTC

No no, I am not saying that they weren't necessarily forward-thinkers, but that only choosing them over the scientists was a bad idea. I do not believe musicians die young because they are forward-thinking, often it's the stress of the necessary creativity that burns them out (Tendency to lead to drug usage or suicide).

I realise the way I worded it was wrong, but there are plenty of forward-thinking musicians who did not die young. You merely chose people who proved your point, and it was a clearly incomplete sample.

Not only that, but I personally am involved with creative types on a daily basis and some of them are extremely intense and forward-thinking people, but they're not likely to just die young unless there is some form of drug abuse or suicide.

I just don't really gel with that point at all, that people with short lives are going to be intense and forward-thinking as if they somehow knew that they wouldn't live very long. It's not a point that stands up to scrutiny, as seen above.

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Postby Tantsui » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:07 pm UTC

I severely doubt a guy like me, out of absolutely nowhere, is going to point out some universal truth. The fact is that not all intelligent people die young. A lot of them don't. You can point out that a lot of musicians die from drug use or general burnout. However, many of them do die unfortunately. The reason I chose musicians was simple; that's really where my knowledge base is.

As for having to prove my point, I don't see any sort of rulebook around here that says I need to. I think you're taking this more seriously than I am. This was just something that I was thinking about.

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Postby Jesse » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:15 pm UTC

No, it's just that you told the guy who pointed out flaws in your idea that he could also have spent that time looking for positive confirmation and that is not the way things work. The diea was boucning around in your head and I have pointed out one possible solution to your first idea and your second idea was pointed out as being flawed.

As for taking this seriously, it's Serious Business :[

And while you may not immediately point out a universal truth, you could point out something that, with some discussion and offshoot ideas leads to somethign that could be a universal turth.

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Postby Tantsui » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:31 pm UTC

Yeah, it is serious business. Which is why I want this to go in the right direction. You're the only person who has offered some sort of information to actually help my point, so far. I was pointing out the bias of his argument, as he was only providing negative evidence.

I'm hoping that, eventually, this will actually go somewhere.

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Postby Peshmerga » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:31 pm UTC

Tantsui wrote:I like your points, except for the one about musicians not counting as forward-thinkers. I'll get to that in a second, though. You do have some good evidence for the point about brains absorbing events and using them to predict new ones. I remember reading about that, and it's a popular theory.

Now, for musicians not being innovative (or, 'forward-thinking'). Unless you understand music to some extent, it seems simplistic and stagnant. Though I doubt anyone could really stand up to someone like Einstein or Shakespeare, a lot of musicians have written music or introduced new styles of playing that completely revolutionized the way we look at the art. I don't want that to be the focus of this topic, though, so I'll drop it here.
(I don't think Confucius is fair game. He's got a religion.)

If you've ever met someone who died young, there is something about them that you immediately notice. I suppose not many people have had that experience, though.


If you consider musicians forward thinkers, then you forgot to list the architects, soldiers, inventors, economists, philosophers, and the millions of others who have contributed to the progress of human civilization.

A lot of people die early. It's tragic, but it happens. A lot. But they're not suddenly special because of their early deaths (perhaps posthumously famous), but janitors, accountants, lawyers, garbage men, prisoners, and criminals die early ages, too.

I think you're taking a lot of anecdotal, coincidental raw data and turning it into something it's not. You could do a lot better for yourself if you took your own personal experiences and philosophical opinions and shared them, not drawing upon the statistics of the dead.
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Postby Tantsui » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:38 pm UTC

Peshmerga wrote:If you consider musicians forward thinkers, then you forgot to list the architects, soldiers, inventors, economists, philosophers, and the millions of others who have contributed to the progress of human civilization.

A lot of people die early. It's tragic, but it happens. A lot. But they're not suddenly special because of their early deaths (perhaps posthumously famous), but janitors, accountants, lawyers, garbage men, prisoners, and criminals die early ages, too.

I think you're taking a lot of anecdotal, coincidental raw data and turning it into something it's not. You could do a lot better for yourself if you took your own personal experiences and philosophical opinions and shared them, not drawing upon the statistics of the dead.


I'm glad you brought this up. I was replying to Owijad, who provided a list of people who didn't die early. As I already stated, the reason why I only put musicians is because that's what I happen to know about. I would have gladly listed many others, had I known them off-hand.

I'm not saying people are special because they die. I'm saying that certain people seem, at least to me, like they're burning through their lives a lot faster and thus have some sort of innate knowledge that their fate is to die early. If you know anything about Rastafarian concepts, it would be akin to having a stronger fire but using it up faster.

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Postby Peshmerga » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:50 pm UTC

That reminds me of Bean in Ender's Game.

But, scientifically, that theory seems to be absolutely false. There is no biological, chemical, or physical way to quantify "life spent" (as in how much you've accomplished or thought about), and no research to indicate some rapid decay of cells due to inexplicable reasons.

As others have said, musicians die because they take a lot of hard drugs. Not all of them, of course, but out of that list you provided, quite many. If being led to hard drugs means you're driving through life faster than others, well then you've got your theory.
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Postby Gelsamel » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:57 pm UTC

Burden of Proof.

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another "random" selection of musicians...

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Mar 25, 2007 11:59 pm UTC

Handel: 74
Bach: 65
Antonín Dvořák: 62
Bob Dylan: 65 and counting
Paul McCartney: 64 and counting
Other Doors Members: 60s and counting
Miles Davis: 65 despite drug use
Quincy Jones: 73 and counting

Don't know that you can really argue these people were less forward thinking than the ones who drank or drugged themselves to death. Yeah, some of the others in the original list died in accidents, but that doesn't mean anything in particular. In the US alone more than 100 thousand people die from various accidents every year. We just hear more about the famous people, and I would say that musicians and actors tend to be more famous when they're young. Plus deaths make bigger news when it's a young famous person than when it's someone who's been hanging on for years.

So overall, I don't think there's any statistically significant room to suggest that those who "live fast and die young" do so because they know they're "fated" to die young. For the most part, it's the fast living that causes the early death, and I suspect that for the rest, it's a matter of what makes significant news.
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Postby Gelsamel » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:04 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:Burden of Proof.


And cum hoc ergo propter hoc

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Postby bbctol » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:06 am UTC

Tantsui wrote:I'm not saying people are special because they die. I'm saying that certain people seem, at least to me, like they're burning through their lives a lot faster and thus have some sort of innate knowledge that their fate is to die early.


Well, without being much of a philosopher, I'll just use some logic. Maybe because they burn through their lives quickly, they die earlier, so the cause and effect is the other way around? Or maybe there are plenty of people who live high intensity lives and live to be 80, and you just don't hear about them?

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Postby Tchebu » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:22 am UTC

You mentioned some thinkers, I'll reply with some musicians.


Thinkers become great thinkers because they are better at rationalizing and analysing situations logically. Musicians, music being an art, need to be more in touch with their emotional side. The GREATEST musicians are thus generally more emotional. This makes their 20s and 30s very difficult, as those ages are filled with stress and stuff, so they often commit suicide or something (i'm not saying that every good musician in history died by commiting suicide, but there's a good portion; same for poets too). Scientists and philosophers approach life from a less emotional perspective and are therefore less succeptible to this.

In dreams, for all we know they could be screen savers... but yes, they are considered to have fragments of either the past, or our imagination. As for people who claim to see the future in dreams... the first step would be to test whether it's actually true or not. Otherwise it is possible that such premonitions are simply things of the past that repeat in the future, resulting in the deja vu effect, after which we go "Oh me yarm, i just predicted the future".

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Postby 3.14159265... » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:41 am UTC

"ELVIS DIDN"T DO NO DRUGS!!!"

Most body builders die early too. BODY BUILDERS DON"T DO NO DRUGS!!!

Ur dreams come true, cuz you only look at the ones u like. Nastradamus predicted the future, but he said like 1000000000 bs and then 1 came true, and he was one of 100000000 BSers.

If anyone claims future predicting, I will toss a coin 1000 times, if they can guess 900, I will follow them like a god. But won't do this to 100000000 people cuz one will get it probably.

Even thinking about the laws of physics etc so that everything is governed by laws thus if u knew the velocities of all particles and their positions you could predict the futre. WRONG! Reason: Quantum mechanics.
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Postby EstLladon » Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:20 am UTC

It may be strange, but I know for sure that some of my dreams were in fact about future, though not very informative - merely a mood, or place, but I know this feeling of deja vu, and I know when this happened that I saw it in a dream before. Call me a psycho if you want. I wasn't able to use these knowledge somehow because they are uninfomative, but nevertheless I know that sometimes I can see future. Call me a psycho again. I look at these like at something that could be explained, but not with what we have now - some strange properties of brain yet to be explored.

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Postby stuck » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:15 am UTC

Gelsamel wrote:
Gelsamel wrote:Burden of Proof.


And cum hoc ergo propter hoc


Gelsamel has won this thread.

I think this discussion was doomed from the start. Bringing metaphysical inquiry based on anecdotal evidence to a science-related forum was never going to go over well.

I'd suspect that 95% of people on these forums will expect at least:

1) Poster to assume the burden of proof
2) Empirical, verifiable experimental evidence
3) Peer review
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Postby fjafjan » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:24 am UTC

This thing, aswell as the divination will probably remain simply because it would be very cool if it did, I know I wish I want to believe in it, but then so would I a god and some sort of simple meaning of life written down in a book.
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Postby stuck » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:42 am UTC

fjafjan wrote:... simple meaning of life written down in a book...


It's been done. You can blame Mr. Douglas Adams.
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Postby Yakk » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:19 pm UTC

Musicians have a huge tendency to die young probably because they value the now more than the then.

When you discount the risk of driving really fast on narrow highways, driving drunk, doing drugs -- you tend to die. You don't always die, but you sure tend to.

The odds of you dieing at any one time are really low -- like 0.05% from driving too fast down a windy highway. But that is only 1 in 2,000, and if yo do something that dangerous every second day, you will be dead in about 6 years on average.

At the same time, if you and your group of 10 buddies all do that once, there is about a 1 in 200 chance that any of you will die -- so you can "test" it and, in your personal experience, it is a rush that is safe.

Then you get hooked on the rush, you push the limit, and you die.

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Postby dostillevi » Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:30 pm UTC

This is a rather amusing thread. No one can really speak out in favor of the ability to predict the future, particularly of their own personal ability to do so, for fear of being ridiculed by those who demand the burden of proof. Further, even if someone had the ability, proof would require independent observation and verification.. and even beyond that the very nature of reality is so often subjective.

So now that you see that I may be a somewhat rational person (being my first post, I felt obligated to demonstrate that), please consider carefully my anecdotal experiences. Please, before you feel quite intelligent in debunking what I have to say, consider that I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything nor am I saying that I know what happened in these instances. These are merely experiences that I am presenting for discussion and should be considered as such.

Now, on to the good stuff:

1. When I was relatively young (8-13) I was a huge fan of science fiction and fantasy. I was also exceptionally good in all areas of study at school, particularly science and math. I wanted to believe that such fantastical things as telepathy, remote observation, telekinesis, and the like were possible. What I experienced then may well have been a manifestation of those desires. Nevertheless what actually happened seems, at least to me, to be an extraordinarily unlikely coincidence. One morning as I was waking up, I had a very strong (read: realistic) image of my mother and brother in the basement of our house building a model rocket (it wasn't actually a rocket.. but some propeller driven thing for boy scouts). Anyway, I woke up as soon as I had this "vision" and immediately felt that I had to verify it. I remember specifically thinking that this could be my own personal proof that at least some supernatural (read: not yet explained) things existed.. I jumped out of bed and ran straight to the basement, where I saw exactly the same thing I had seen upon waking.

2. My second experience happened during the same timeframe. While sitting in the car at the grocery store, I was bored. For no particular reason, I started "thinking" at a lady as she came out of the store. I told her that if she could hear me, to come towards my car. I told her to say something to me to prove that she had heard me. No one else would know except us so there was no need for her to feel awkward about it, I was just a little kid. Anyway, to keep the story short, she did exactly that. It turned out she was parked next to me. I had opened my window about half way (it was a nice day out anyway) to make it possible for her to say something, but I did not look at her at all as she got closer. I didn't want to give her any physical clue that I might want her to say something. Anyway, she did. What are the odds of a stranger doing this at the same time I was thinking at her? I wish I'd used them to win the lottery.

3. One time I was playing a very old "3d" adventure game that happened to have 2 games of chance built in. One was the coin toss. In this case, its entirely possible that there was a glitch in the game. Nevertheless, here is what happened. I started playing the coin toss game, and I tried to get "in tune" with the game so I'd be able to predict the coin's flips.. not an unreasonable thing to try and do. As I continued the game, I started betting more and more money because I was consistently winning. At one point I predicted the correct flip for over an hour straight. I was not able to duplicate this later, but I also couldn't identify any anomalies that might make the game act oddly at that time.

I've since stopped trying to do such things, and nothing else particularly unusual has happened to me. My take on these events is rather complicated and I'd enjoy a discussion of it. Basically, I believe in a pre-determined world. I'd like to learn more about quantum mechanics, but barring interactions on the smallest of scales, interactions between matter and energy in the universe appear to follow set laws (that we may or may not be able to understand or observe). In essence, then, it would theoretically be possible to predict the future of the universe if information about every known interaction was available. Of course, we can make reasonable predictions about the future simply by knowing general trends and interactions. Predictions along these lines include that the material universe will expand forever (or will it contract?, the jury might still be out), and whether or not it will rain on Sunday. Theoretically it might be possible that, savant-like, a person could be aware of the key trends and influences on a specific situation that might lead to a specific outcome. While not 100% accurate, it might be possible to achieve greater than 50% accuracy. The fact is we do this every day but think nothing of it. Accepted forms of predetermination include you and a bus showing up at the same spot at the same time so that you may get on it without a word, be transported to another location of your desire, and then get off. This is accepted because there are social conventions in place that we assume others follow. There are certainly other "conventions" in place as well that we may not be aware of. Understanding true motivations behind interactions could lead to an ability similar to that of showing up at a bus stop on time, except dealing with things for which there are no agreed upon social conventions. This explanation is only good for prediction the future and does not yet explain things like telepathy or clairvoyance.

For those things, I return to the predictable nature of the universe. In a finite predictable universe, there is some end for which all interactions are a cause. Much like the mixture of two chemical solutions, the resulting color change is a direct outcome. Likewise, there is some state towards which all interactions are moving. My belief (It certainly can't be called a theory.. in fact I shouldn't have said theory thus far at all) is that life itself and the evolutionary process are merely the logical consequences of mixing the right kinds of matter in a situation where it was possible for greater order to arise. I think that human societies and all the complexities we have developed are likewise the result of these interactions. Further, as we move closer to the most optimal state of order achievable given the initial conditions, I think there might be a possibility that what we consider "coincidences" may become more and more common as the result of movement towards the same state of order. Such coincidences could be used to explain things like twins being aware of the other's death, and other such seemingly supernatural events.

Nevertheless I've not followed up on this theorizing to any extent. The beliefs were built over time and through experience, and are certainly open to further clarification and debate. I just felt it relevant to provide a coherent (maybe, I hope!) position that goes beyond "the supernatural doesn't exist because it can't be verified scientifically." Thanks for reading!

~Dos

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Postby gmalivuk » Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:31 pm UTC

EstLladon wrote:It may be strange, but I know for sure that some of my dreams were in fact about future, though not very informative - merely a mood, or place, but I know this feeling of deja vu, and I know when this happened that I saw it in a dream before. Call me a psycho if you want. I wasn't able to use these knowledge somehow because they are uninfomative, but nevertheless I know that sometimes I can see future. Call me a psycho again. I look at these like at something that could be explained, but not with what we have now - some strange properties of brain yet to be explored.


No need to call you psycho, since this sort of belief is too common to accurately be called psychotic.

But nonetheless, there are some simple things you can do to actually check if you're dreaming about the future.

For one thing, do you write down these dreams, or tell them to anyone, when they first happen? If not, a much simpler explanation is that you simply have deja vu in the present and then your brain creates a "memory" of a "dream" you "had" in order to explain it. The mind is incredibly good at making shit up, especially when the shit is a dream whose actual occurrence would be really hard to verify.

For another, if you have written down dreams about a future mood or place, and then you have that mood in that place, how do we know the cause and effect? Perhaps you're in that place and remember the dream, and then the same mood comes over you again. Maybe your "prediction" caused itself to be true, rather than really being a prediction.

This is like if I predict that in the near future, your face will hurt, and then I punch you in the face. Am I clairvoyant?
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Postby stuck » Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:48 pm UTC

First off, 3 anecdotes != evidence anymore than 1 does ;-)

dostillevi, i'm quite happy to concede the possibility of the metaphysical as a philosophical quandary, but i'm far from convinced of its application in practice - in a "real" world defined by "true" laws of physics and chemistry.

Theoretically, as you concede, anything is possible but i don't think it serves any practical purpose to ramble on about it here. As far as the limits of our knowledge go, predicting the future, precognition and divination can be fairly safely lumped into the "very unlikely" category of existence.

Arguing philosophical semantics is a waste of time.

Oh, and i don't think we've ridiculed anyone who professed to defend these areas of metaphysics. The burden of proof is a totally reasonable and rational standard to expect from anyone who is attempting to prove the validity of a new idea.

Post-script: I really enjoyed your post but i'm tired so i don't think i've done it justice in response. Presuming someone doesn't beat me to the punch and take the words from my mouth overnight i will try and return with a more coherent response tomorrow.

Thanks for contributing, though.
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Postby Yakk » Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:06 pm UTC

First, memory is plastic. I remember changing the tempurature on the thermostat as a child, and causing my lamp-shade with snow white and the seven dwarves to fade to white and then back again.

I remember my hair going from blond to reddish brown whenever I took a bath (true), and that one day it just stayed reddish brown after it dried off (heh).

I have false memories in my head -- memories of things that didn't happen. They are as solid as any other memories from that part of my life.

So if you want to avoid the false memory problem, you need a log book. Record that you are trying to use your mind to control reality before you do it. Then try to use your mind. Then mark down what happened.

This gets rid of many kinds of false memories, because you have to do the recording when it happens. It also gets rid of the many times you "forget" what happened after it faiiled: for all you know, you tried that mental control thing dozens or 100s of times, and you only remembered the times that you pulled it off.

The point of all of this is to find out the truth, find out what is actually going on in reality. Because, unaided, the human mind is pretty bad at it.

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Postby EstLladon » Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:28 pm UTC

gmalivuk, of course i've already thought about all these explanations and ways to check it. I'm a rather materialistic guy. But it is rather hard to write down a dream, especially describe a mood. Sometimes I can locate the date of the prophetic dream to a range of couple of days. And funny thing - sometimes I actually managed to catch my brain redhanded - making up shit to form a deja vu for me (redhanded brain -wtf? :D ). But not every time. It is actually a funny game to play.

By the way, does anybody know what causes deja vu?

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Postby Belial » Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:41 pm UTC

I don't know that it's *known*, but there are quite a few pretty good ideas.

A lot of it might come down to the fact that the brain isn't a single unified processor, but basically a bunch of processors processing different aspects of the same sensory information in parallel.

So it could just be a matter of you finding a sensory experience familiar because another part of your brain registered it a little bit earlier.
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Postby gmalivuk » Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:43 pm UTC

EstLladon wrote:By the way, does anybody know what causes deja vu?


Something I've considered is that maybe there's some glitch that records a currently happening event in long-term memory at the same time (or before) short-term memory. I don't know the actual mechanics of how stuff gets remembered (and I don't think anyone really does at this point), but if it's possible, this explanation would seem to account for deja vu. In particular the fact that you "remember" the thing as happening at some indefinite time in the relatively distant past (more than a few minutes ago).
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