Psychokinesis

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Putting the psycho in
Parapsychology
Icon psychic.svg
Men who stare at goats
By the powers of tinfoil
All those in here who believe in telekinesis, please raise my right hand.
—Steven Wright

Psychokinesis, or PK, is the ability to cause objects to move without any contact (physical, electronic or electromagnetic), using "the power of the mind". It is also sometimes referred to as telekinesis, or TK.[1]

Like telepathy, PK has been investigated for many years by various organisations, with no results.[2]

Imagined success[edit]

Wouldn't it be simply wonderful if you could change the physical world and achieve whatever you want in life just by the power of your thought and your will?

You can move your body by the power of your mind alone. Why not try to move outside objects the same way?

There are people and organisations out there who promise to teach you how to do psychokinesis.

You just become their acolyte and pay the woomeisters money or whatever else they want in exchange.

Blaming the victim[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Victim blaming

New Thought and related Law of attraction both try to use the power of the mind to influence events, and people who cannot put right whatever is wrong in their lives are blamed for incorrect thinking.

Publication bias[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Publication bias
Scientists have been investigating PK since the mid-19th century but with little success at demonstrating that anyone can move even a feather without trickery involving something as simple and obvious as blowing on objects to move them.
The Skeptic's Dictionary[2]

Parapsychologists have written that psychokinesis has been proven in experiments with subjects influencing the output of a random number generator. In an investigation of 380 studies a group of scientists (Bösch et al, 2006) have written a meta-analysis on the subject.[3] In their paper they wrote "statistical significance of the overall database provides no directive as to whether the phenomenon is genuine or not" and came to the conclusion that "publication bias appears to be the easiest and most encompassing explanation for the primary findings of the meta-analysis."[3] So contrary to what you might read in a parapsychology book, psychokinesis has not been scientifically proven.

Quantum mechanics or vague[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Quantum woo

Sometimes purveyors of telekinesis claim that quantum mechanics somehow proves that consciousness affects reality, though there is no proof.

Their idea is based on misunderstanding a rather controversial version of the Copenhagen interpretation, ignoring that there are many competing interpretations of quantum mechanics.

Other times proponents just rely on God does it, Magic does it, the paranormal does it etc.

As the stuff of horror movies[edit]

Most people's knowledge of psychokinesis comes either from stage magician and woomeister Uri Geller, or from Hollywood. In particular, horror novels and films like Stephen King's Carrie and David Cronenberg's Scanners love this trope; after all, what defense do you have from someone who can pop your skull with his or her mind?[4] Films like these inadvertently provide some of the best evidence there is on why psychokinesis doesn't exist — if it did, somebody, be it a defense contractor or an angry teenage girl, would have figured out how to use it to kill people. (Or maybe it does exist and they just hushed it up. Hey, just asking questions is all.)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Not to be confused with the Conservapedia sysop of the same name.
  2. 2.0 2.1 psychokinesis (PK) The Skeptic's Dictionary
  3. 3.0 3.1 Examining Psychokinesis: The Interaction of Human Intention with Random Number Generators. A Meta-Analysis by Holger Bösch et al. (2006) Psychological Bulletin Vol. 132, No. 4, 497–523.
  4. Come on. You knew we were gonna link to this scene the moment we mentioned Scanners.