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Can Psychic Phenomena Be Proven?

Many intellectuals dismiss psychic phenomena as superstitious nonsense, left over from an irrational view of the universe that’s been pushed into obsolescence by modern science. But there are reasons to believe in the authenticity of some “paranormal” phenomena.

Philosophical Reasons

Some psychic phenomena seem plausible because there’s no possibility, in the words of philosopher William James, of closing our accounts with reality.

Many materialistic scientists assume that our current vision of reality is objective and fairly reliable. They consider that the universe as we know it basically is the universe as it is, so there are no forces, phenomena, or natural laws beyond those we currently understand.

This is both arrogant and foolish. For example, every animal has a limited understanding of reality. Think of our understanding of reality compared to a sheep’s. We understand many concepts and phenomena that a sheep can not, such as death, the future, and the past. We do have a deeper understanding of reality than animals have, but it’s highly unlikely that our understanding is total.

In the same way, living beings who have a deeper understanding of reality than we have will one day exist. It seems highly likely that phenomena, energies, and forces beyond those we presently observe, detect, and understand exist in the universe. We may be conscious of some of the effects of these phenomena, without fully understanding the phenomena. This could include psychic phenomena such as precognition or telepathy.

Consciousness

Materialist scientists claim that consciousness is either produced by brain activity, or that it’s an illusion or epiphenomenon produced by cognitive alertness. But there’s no evidence supporting this theory; it’s just an assumption.

After much intense research, scientists still don’t know how the brain accomplishes consciousness. This has led to the proposal of “radio model,” in which the brain’s function is not to accomplish consciousness, but instead to “receive” consciousness that exists somewhere apart from us.

This theory views consciousness as one of the universe’s fundamental properties, which exist everywhere and in everything. Therefore, the function of the brain is simply to “pick up” that consciousness from around us and to channel it into our being. This model allows for psychic phenomena, as it involves a fundamental connection among living beings; that is, a shared consciousness network that could potentially exchange information among beings. This ‘radio’ model also fits with the reality that a damaged brain affects or impairs consciousness, just as a damaged radio’s ability to broadcast or receive programs is impaired.

Quantum Physics

Materialist scientists sometimes claim that psychic phenomena can’t exist because they transgress the laws of physics: If they actually existed, we’d need to totally overhaul our understandings about the functions of the universe. This may be true of macrocosmic, Newtonian-style physics. But there’s nothing about microcosmic quantum physics that would rule out the possibility of such phenomena.

Psychic phenomena may or may not be explainable in quantum physics terminology. But the quirks of quantum physics don’t exclude psychic phenomena. For example, in the “quantum entanglement” phenomenon, apparently discrete particles interconnect as they react to others’ movements, so much so that they can no longer be regarded as individual entities, but only as a component of the whole system. That suggests that all things are connected on the microcosmic level, which also allows for at least the possibility of telepathic information exchange.

Quantum physics at the very least supports the argument that the universe is far more complex than we see, and phenomena exist which we presently don’t understand or could even imagine.

Empirical Evidence

Empirical studies include conclusive evidence regarding psychic phenomena. Social psychologist Daryl Bem has published results of eight experiments that provided significant statistical evidence for psychic phenomena. These results were published in academic journals, so significant controversy and a much skeptical criticism ensued. But Bem’s results have successfully been replicated multiple times.

There are more studies whose results can’t be explained away. In response to the criticisms of skeptics, many other experiments with ever more stringent protocols have been performed over the last several decades, many of these with compelling positive results. Some of these results could potentially be dismissed due to possible fraud or flawed methodology, but if you’re open-minded to the existence of psychic phenomena, it’s easy to accept the results as evidence that the phenomena are real.

Anecdotal Evidence

Scientists generally mistrust anecdotal evidence. So, I’m not suggesting that anecdotal evidence should be accepted as “proof” of anything. But such evidence can support viewpoints when used in conjunction with additional, more objective evidence.

This is particularly true of psychic phenomena, since so many psychic experiences are continually reported. If psychic phenomena don’t exist, it’s hard to explain away such frequent reports of clairvoyance, precognition, and telepathy, which are so common among people in different cultures throughout history.

The Skeptics’ Skepticism

It’s easy to suspect the motives of fervent materialist scientists, as they’re so determined to disprove the existence of any sort of paranormal phenomena. Such scientists are not necessarily corrupt. But they certainly do have subconscious psychological motives. It’s a powerful human need to want to explain human life and our place in the universe.

This need is obvious in many religions, which include worldviews that attempt make sense of an individual’s life and each person’s position in the universe.

The materialist worldview includes the same attempt: to provide a narrative that tries to make sense of the universe. Therefore, materialist scientists often react in a hostile way to phenomena that contradicts this worldview. This hostility leads to cognitive dissonance, leading believers to go to great lengths to explain away any evidence that may be contradictory.

Also, the ability to explain how the universe works brings about a satisfying sense of control. Believing that nature is under our thumb is an enthralling notion. Admitting that phenomena exist that we can’t fully explain or understand, and that the universe is more complex than we can grasp or conceive, weakens our control and power over it. This may be yet another reason why skeptics are reluctant when it comes to accepting psychic phenomena.

These are just a few reasons why the existence of psychic phenomena is acceptable. Believing in such things doesn’t mean you’re superstitious or gullible; rather, you’re rational and open-minded. If you disagree, hopefully you will at least be willing to examine what you believe about such things.

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