While I prefer not to make judgments about thinkers (after all, we all see the world through our own culture, experience and education) occasionally I feel compelled to highlight some of the unimaginative, sloppy or just plain lazy thinking that sometimes passes for intelligent discourse on this important subject.
Michio Kaku is a chronic offender in this area, which is rather surprising given that his entire career is devoted to imagining science-based futures. Here’s what he says about telepathy in his book “The Future of the Mind”.
True telepathy, found in science-fiction and fantasy novels, is not possible without outside assistance. As we know, the brain is electrical. In general, anytime an electron is accelerated, it gives off electromagnetic radiation. The same holds true for electrons oscillating inside the brain, which broadcasts radio waves. But these signals are too faint to be detected by others, and even if we could perceive these radio waves, it would be difficult to make sense of them. Evolution has not given us the ability to decipher this collection of random radio signals, but computers can.
The question that I pose is why Kaku has not bothered to do even a simple Google search on the evidence for telepathy? If he had, he would know that there is – in the very least – a compelling body of evidence for its existence, stretching over a century. Certainly, this is not evidence for people sitting down and talking to each other via their minds. It is, nonetheless, evidence that information passes from mind to mind non-locally.
Part of the answer to my previous question lies in the title of Kaku’s book: “The Future of the Mind”. Note the use of the singular form of “future”, as opposed to futures. For Kaku there is only one future of the mind, and it is based on simple, linear extrapolation of current data and models of thinking.
Having addressed the lazy aspect of Kaku's thoughts on telepathy, let’s move on to his lack of imagination, which is astounding. Research gleaned from parapsychology strongly suggests that the extended mind operates beyond our commonly accepted models of space and time (but not necessarily non-locality in quantum physics). Knowing is immediate regardless of distance, and there are EEG correlation experiments which suggest that projected thought may even travel backwards through time (which in itself does not violate relativity theory). This suggests that the mechanism is not one of the four known forces of nature (including radio waves).
As an imaginative futurist, Kaku should, at the very least, be able to question the assumptions of the current dominant paradigm and mainstream scientific worldview. He should be aware enough of the large body of research into the area, and he should be willing to consider alternatives to current conservative thinking. And his Ivy-league-educated future mind should be able to consider the possibility that the electrical aspects of neurophysiology may not comprise the totality (or basis) of consciousness. Further mind-beyond-the-skull may not operate with the assistance of radio waves. But alas, these things appear to be beyond his capacities – or his motivations.
Whatever your take on the idea of telepathy, one thing is certain: no genuine understanding of thinking beyond the brain is going to occur without thinking outside the box.
This is a short extract from Marcus T Anthony's upcoming book “The Great Psi Shift”.