I'm a non-believer re: god but I do believe in e.s.p. Mostly I believe in synchronicity = things happen at the same time & other definitions.
One example: At SF/CA Gay Pride Parade, I took photo of a cute guy. I carried pic in my wallet hoping to meet him someday. Months later, I saw him on my street. I gave him the photo.
He said he'd only been in San Francisco two times - when I took the photo & when I gave him the photo. He was from Arkansas!
I don't go around making things up to believe in, but the odds of this event puzzle me = maybe our brains were in some kind of sync.
Do you (other atheists) believe in e.s.p. of any kind? Thanks.
Humans are very good at finding patterns in things, even when there is no pattern there. Your meeting is an interesting coincidence, but statistically, it's not unusual or chance-defying.
As for ESP, part of the problem with defining ESP is which senses are we talking about? Everyone knows the big 5 (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell), but we have more than those. We have a sense of balance, we can detect infrared energy (which is distinctly different from physical touch), and so on. Not to mention information that can be picked up on by subtle visual cues.
I do not believe in supernatural-style ESP, where people can read minds, 'remote viewing', talk to the dead, and so on. I have never seen any convincing evidence of such, and what evidence has been presented has been anecdotes, circular reasoning, confirmation bias, and other, similarly inadequate arguments.
Do I think that maybe one day we'll be able to engineer some way for people to talk mind-to-mind? Possibly. We can do remote viewing now, it's called television. :)
Thanks for your thoughts, & I hope more will come.
For the record, I don't believe in talking to the dead, My belief in synchronicity seems to make it happen more. It's possible that I'm simply becoming more aware of things happening, but things happen almost every day.
I do think that we can communicate with others in ways others than words. I think our energies can mingle with other energies & find ways to alert others that we're phoning them, or coming for a visit. I see this as science & not spiritual.
The absolute beauty of being a FREETHINKER is that I can think & believe whatever I want. I don't see any conflict between atheism and some kinds of e.s.p.
The film /DVD "What The Bleep Do We Know?" is helpful to me.
I don't take it personally when people disagree with me. It's actually invigorating to debate!
Being open to new ideas and concepts is a good thing. However, be careful that your mind doesn't become so open that your brains fall out, as my old teacher used to say. :)
Communication via methods other than words is definitely present. Not only are there things such as body language and positioning, but there are also pheromones, which while weaker in humans than many other species, are still present.
You mention alerting other people that we are phoning them. This is a standard claim put forth for the existence of psychic abilities, that someone was thinking about a certain person, and then the phone rang and there they were! Likewise, situations where someone 'knew' that another person was in trouble, had died, etc.
The problem with these claims is that they are highly susceptible to confirmation bias, also known as counting the hits and forgetting the misses. When something unusual happens, such as anticipating a call and that person actually calling or dreaming about an accident and then finding out that your cousin was in one, we remember it. However, all of the times when you dream about an accident and nothing happens, or when you are thinking about a friend and they do not call are quickly forgotten. It's normal, expected, and thus not worthy of notice.
Over time, as more hits are remembered and little if any of the misses are, the perception arises that something unusual is going on, when it is really just a normal variation of chance.
This is such an interesting question. I have been interested in the phenomenon of synchronicity for several years. In particular, your question makes me think of my dear old dad. Recently, he discovered that he is, in fact, an atheist... Good on you pops! However, as with any new conclusion my sweet old man comes to, it seems to him like the most obvious truth in the universe, and he can't see past the black and white of the issue. He tells me frequently that he doesn't believe in the "supernatural," - no gods, no spirits, no karma, no magic... etc. He automatically rules out the possibility that things are happening due to unseen forces, because it all sounds like fairy tales to him.
The way I see it, however, is that life & the universe are packed with mystery. There are too many things we can't understand, too much is unexplained for humans to definitively say that "magic" is impossible. Perhaps some things religious folks would call the work of God, are actually perfectly natural occurrences, but that doesn't indicate to me that it can all be explained by science.
I guess what I'm getting at is that if you don't believe in God and religion, you can still appreciate the vastness and mystery of the universe without feeling like you're cheating on your fellow atheists. I think the way my dad sees things is exactly like religion, except the other way around. He's making the same mistake again, only from the other side of the line.
While it would be disingenuos for me to claim that there is nothing science won't explain sooner or later, it just seems very counterproductive to think otherwise. I mean, what if Pasteur had decided that the cause of illness in humans is beyond science?
I'm not a scientist, so please excuse me if I write something stooopid. If they someday prove parallel universes or string-theory, would that account for things like synchronicity or deja vu? I'm just thinking, since we're lexploring new scientific theories, couldn't there be a scientific reason for things? No god needed there.
There certainly could be, but that doesn't mean you can claim it is so because of that chance, otherwise you have to accept the claim that there is a god simply because it is possible. You wouldn't be convinced by a theist trying to use that argument, so you should be honest to yourself and not do it either.
Of course, I've nothing against genuine attempts to prove such percieved phenomena using science.
I'm going to be closing this discussion soon. It's been fun & enlightening to read your comments. I'm leery of any belief, including non-belief, where there are rules about what is proper to believe and what isn't. I'm an atheist who believes in synchronicity. We're many colors of the rainbow. Kumbaya.♬