Thursday, October 29, 2015

Weird Science

"How many of you believe in witchcraft, the supernatural, or anything in between?"

This was the question that the Professor in our undergraduate, Statistics for the Social Sciences, course asked during our first meeting. Quite a few hands shot up, mine among them, as he began to explain to us why we weren't cut out to be scientists. According to this Professor, you could only put stock in the things that you could prove to be mathematically, factually, correct and using statistics was the way to prove what you could and couldn't trust to be true.

"Scientists", he claimed, "believe only the things that are concrete and whose data can be replicated."

That is what it meant, in his terms, to be science minded. No judgment required, only effect size and standard deviations may apply.

Being his version of science minded has helped me better understand the world around me. Yes, there is a logical explanation for almost everything that happens and, yes, most things can be replicated if they follow the chain of causality. No, the answer generally isn't magic. We, so-called pragmatic people, have been taught that magic is the answer people lean on when they trip over questions and are too lazy to hunt down the answers.

But what happens when there is no plausible explanation? How do you explain things that defy reason? Can you be of scientific mind and still believe in "magic?"

My family has experienced a long line of unexplained phenomenon, as far back as my great grandfather, and probably even beyond. I know that it's hard to believe, and with most people, like my husband, if you ask, they will say that it simply doesn't exist.  I believe, however, that is only because they have yet to experience something outside of their current comfort zone.

I've seen glimpses of things that were yet to be and watched as they've come to fruition. I've made contact with spirits, felt intangible vibrations and sensed things that other people weren't able to sense. I believe that, yes, magic does, in fact, exist. I know it does because I've seen it with my own eyes, heard things with my own ears; felt things that I couldn't even begin to explain with logic.

I do not think that this means that I am ignorant, or in any way less scientifically oriented. I do believe that, maybe, there exists a combination of both science and magic, beyond psi studies, and we have yet to discover an explanation. Is it not, in fact, MORE science minded to investigate new ways of approaching previously unsupported, though plausible, hypotheses? Should we be including "magic" or "supernatural" or "paranormal", or whatever you'd like to call it, in our every day list of possible explanations? Are we unnecessarily discounting the existence of that extra something?

Scientists have recently begun studying the very real possibility that precognition, or the ability to recognize an event before it has happened, exists in humans. If you would like to, you can read more on this topic and studies that have evolved from the idea of precognition here.

The data seem to suggest that there is a compensatory system in the body that senses the need for certain actions to be taken ahead of time, subconsciously. This is an idea that we had previously discounted. Who's to say that our bodies aren't inclined to handle other processes outside of our current level of understanding? There is something to be said about those parts of the brain that we supposedly don't use, the sixth sense, paranormal gifts, whatever you want to chalk it up to... We just have yet to explain these phenomena, but that's not to say that they don't exist.

In my opinion, science just has yet to catch up and find a concrete way of explaining the inexplicable. What do you think? Does magic exist? It is just a form of weird science that we need to approach from a different direction, or is it a figment of over reactive imaginations?

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