Is Precognition Real?
Skeptics eviscerated a Cornell psychologist whose published evidence said yes. A decade later, his data has stood up.
More than ten years ago, a prominent research psychologist, Daryl J. Bem, published a paper in a respected academic journal that presented evidence for precognition. The response was swift and withering. Critics in academia and news media called Bem’s work an embarrassment; skeptics reran his trials and said they failed; one journalist argued that the clinician’s results themselves proved “science is broken.”
A decade on, however, the unthinkable has occurred. Bem’s data has stood up.
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When you say the word precognition it strikes many people as fantastical, as though we are entering crystal-ball territory. I do not believe in altering vocabulary to suit reactions (or that it does any good). But why the incredulity? We already know, and have known for generations, that linear time as we experience it is an illusion.
Einstein’s theories of relativity, and experiments that have affirmed them, establish that time slows in conditions of extreme velocity — at or approaching lightspeed — and in conditions of extreme gravity like a black hole. The individual traveling in a metaphorical spaceship at or near lightspeed experiences time slowing (not from their perspective but in comparison to those not at near lightspeed), and this is not a mere thought exercise. Space travelers in our era, although they are obviously not approaching anywhere near that velocity, experience minute effects of time reduction.
In short, linear time is a necessary illusion for five-sensory beings to get through life. Time is not an absolute. What’s more, I hope that we as a culture are coming to a greater understanding of inter-dimensionality through models like string theory — in which all of reality, from particles to different dimensions, are connected by undulating networks of strings — and are learning further about the infinitude of objects and events, such as we glean from quantum physics and experiments that branch off from them.