How would telekinesis work scientifically


Psychokinesis, that is, moving objects with the “power” of one's thoughts alone, does not work. The ghost alone cannot have a causal effect on matter. So-called skeptics and naturalists are certain of this.

In general, the spiritual has a bad reputation - not only among naturalists. When Samuel Hahnemann invokes “spirit-like medicinal power” to demonstrate the effectiveness of his homeopathic medicines, then that is reason enough for the opponents of homeopathy to dismiss the whole thing as nonsense.

And indeed: Telekinesis has not yet been convincingly proven and as far as the medicinal effect of homeopathic preparations is concerned, serious tests could not reveal anything positive. The placebo effect alone does its job.

Realism, monism

The naturalist calculates that Ghostly, of what we are talking about here, the Supernatural to and he insists that this supernatural does not exist or that it at least has no effect on the world governed by physical laws. He denies any causal relationship between the spirit-like and the observable world. The appeal to spiritual things is an unmistakable sign of nonsense for him (TCM, scientability).

For the naturalist, the mental exists as a neurophysiological state or process of the brain. In that sense he isMonist: Everything can be described with physical laws and ultimately matter. The model for this view is provided by the didactic poem “De rerum natura” (“About the nature of things”) by Lucretius.

In the cases mentioned at the beginning, he does nothing wrong with his judgment, which is based on the denial of the supernatural. Because with telekinesis, homeopathy and many other anomalies, the effect evaporates on closer inspection, so that a search for the causes is superfluous and spiritual things are not even considered.


In the early modern period, René Descartes provided the alternative to monism. He distinguished them thinking nature of the physical: “Finally, if there are still people who are not sufficiently convinced of the existence of God and their soul, they may know that all other things that they think they are perhaps far safer, such as having a body and that there are stars and an earth and similar things that are less reliably identified. "(Treatise on the method of the correct use of reason, fourth chapter)

Descartes tells us that body and mind can be understood as separate from one another: the physical on the one hand and the mental on the other. There is no question here of the soul instead of the spiritual. In general, I largely forego metaphysical and religious components in the definition of the body-mind dualism. Whether the mental is a timeless substance that cannot be localized for Descartes, whether it also exists detached from the body, and what God has to do with it, should not burden us further here.

Let's take a closer look at the secular part of Descartes ‘dualism. I got the suggestion from Richard Rorty, who deals with the history of dualism in the second chapter (“The Invention of Mind”) of his book “Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature” (1979). Rorty tells us in modern language how to interpret Descartes' above sentence.

Rorty points out that the mental in Descartes ‘sense comprises everything that we beyond doubt can recognize. Apparitions and imaginations like emerging thoughts and mental images belong to the paradigmatic mental units. In addition, raw feelings (pain, qualia) are included. These are appearances that are not associated with ideas. Even mere ideas (beliefs, wishes and intentions) that are not appearances at the same time are attributed to the mental. The mental is characterized by the fact that we make it error-free - that is uncorrectable - knowledge.

Opposed to this is the physical world, of which we can only have fundamentally fallible knowledge. It is the subject of empirical science. The falsifiability criterion of Karl Raimund Popper already shines through.

The conception of a body-mind separation, largely freed from the metaphysical, can easily be connected to the three-worlds doctrine and the realism of Karl Raimund Popper. Even hardened naturalists can hardly object to this.

Popper distinguishes three worlds or universes: “First, the world of physical objects or physical states; second, the world of states of consciousness or mental states or perhaps of behavioral dispositions to action; and third, the world of objective thought content, especially the scientific and poetic thoughts and the works of art. "(Objective knowledge, 1973, p. 123 ff.)

The first world is very similar to Descartes physical world, of which we can only have error-prone - albeit intersubjectively testable and thus objective - knowledge. This knowledge can be assigned to the third world. The first world is the world of "things in themselves" and the third includes the world of things as we know them.

The second world contains everything mental, i.e. everything we do through introspection error-free can recognize.

The Poppers model is dualistic insofar as it distinguishes between reality (world 1) and our error-prone knowledge of it (world 3) and our error-free introspection (world 2). Seen in this way, it is similar to Descartes' dualism.

The dualism of both forms has a metaphysical residue that is insignificant in my eyes: a reality that cannot be tested is postulated, of which physics gives us fallible knowledge. In this respect, Popper is a realist.

Mind trap mind

As noted, the naturalist reacts quite excitedly to any mention of the spiritual. The suspicion that something supernatural might be involved in the mental is sufficient for counter-attacks of this kind:

  1. "Popper made a gross category error with his three-worlds theory, a comprehensive, systematic categorization of everything that is." (Read in a naturalist forum)
  2. “As useful as this theory is to uncover and avoid semantic misunderstandings: So far there is no scientifically credible evidence for Popper's dualistic assumption that the (immaterial) entities of worlds 2 and 3 can causally affect what happens in real world 1 . "(Naturalist Forum)
  3. The three worlds doctrine of Popper is "a monster of traditional metaphysics" (quoted from Spektrum der Wissenschaft, 2/2006, p. 100f.)

It is possible that world 3 is mistakenly assigned to the supernatural spirit. Popper offers no reason for such an attribution. If anything is questionable at all, it is the first world.

The second objection is based on an occult concept of causality. Apparently, the Popper critic assumes that causality is something inherent in nature. However, causal relationships do not occur in the laws of nature. The expectation of causality is an “innate teacher” and the concept of causality is learned and consequently also changing. He helps us to organize the world. Causality is man-made, just like the classifications.

Causality is inconceivable without the third world. Counterfactual reasoning, a necessity in any causal analysis of accidents, takes place within the third world. And the test planning for physical experiments - i.e. if the causes can be changed not only counterfactually but actually - are products of the world 3.

Let us let Popper speak for himself: "The independence of the third world and its repercussions on the second and even the first world are among the most important facts of the progress of knowledge." ("Objective knowledge", 1973, p. 136)

I have two examples of the retroactive effect of the third on the first world.

  1. If the theory of oscillating circuits had already been developed far enough back then (World 3), then Gray or Bell would presumably not have invented the telephone, but the multiple telegraph, and one of them would have become extremely rich (World 1).
  2. The software failure of an operating system, an object of the world 3, can lead to the failure of thousands of computers worldwide, an event in the world 1. That this failure must have occurred in many implementations (in the world 1) in order to take effect not to be denied. However, this did not result in many mistakes, it is still just one. This one error, an object of world 3, is the cause (singular!) Of the failures (plural!). A concrete example is the "millennium bug" (Y2K bug).

I found a striking case of the reaction of world 3 on world 2 in the field of optical perception (“Seeing is a matter of faith”, Ramachandran and Rogers-Ramachandran, Spectrum of Science 7/2004, pp. 58-60).

Bumps and dents

What you see here is a row of four bumps and a row of four dents. It is not clear whether the dents are up or the bumps. Your perception apparatus can switch back and forth between two interpretations of this image, and even willingly. Imagine the light comes from the left, the bumps appear at the top and the dents appear at the bottom. If it comes from the right in your mind, the bumps are at the bottom and the dents are at the top. It works best if you don't get too close to the picture and squint your eyes slightly.

The theory that the imaginary position of the light source plays a role can be assigned to world 3. The intention to tilt the image as well as the resulting perception belong to world 2.

Spiritual and supernatural

The struggle of the naturalists against the supposedly spiritual was mentioned at the beginning. This “spirit-like”, to which the struggle is aimed, is to be clearly distinguished from the mental, from the spirit in the sense of Descartes ‘or Poppers. The naturalist assigns the spiritual to the supernatural and discards it together with it. But is that even possible? I'm afraid not.

The abolition of the supernatural goes like this: “There are no secrets in the sense of withholding or forbidden knowledge.” (Gerhard Vollmer, Gretchenfragen an den Naturalisten, p. 25) This sentence is synonymous with: “Everything we cannot know , does not exist. ”Consequently, there is no supernatural.

But stop! What we can know, we cannot know. These negative knowledge prognosis Karl Raimund Popper explains to us in the foreword to the English edition of his work "The Misery of Historicism" as follows: "If there is such a thing as growing human knowledge, then we cannot anticipate today what we will only know tomorrow."

For the negative knowledge prognosis, the prerequisite of “growing human knowledge” is actually not needed. Suffice it to say that scientific theories are characterized by the fact that they are in principle falsifiable and “that we may strive for the truth, but may not notice when we have found it” (Karl Raimund Popper, Vermutungen und refutungen, 1963/1994, P. 329). This also covers the - highly unlikely - case that the growth in knowledge comes to an end. From a critically rational point of view, we cannot know anything about this either.

So: “We cannot know what we will know (in the future)”. Equivalent to this is the sentence “What we will know, we cannot know”. Now there is only one small step left. If I do not know what I will know in the future, then I certainly do not have the possible knowledge that would result in all the possible paths that science could take. This brings us to my version of the negative knowledge prognosis: “What we can know, we cannot know.” That sounds absurd, but it is not.

Since we cannot know what we can know due to the negative knowledge prognosis, we also cannot know what there is, and certainly not what is not there. In this respect, Vollmer's sentence is in the air.

Nature and supernatural cannot be captured with current knowledge. There is a great deal of Unknown that can masquerade as spiritual. We cannot get rid of the spiritual, we can twist and turn it as we want.

The strategy of wanting to get rid of the abnormal by referring to the non-existence of the supernatural or the spiritual must remain unsuccessful for fundamental considerations. For the Skeptics is the appeal to spiritual ground for Suspicion, but not for immediate damnation. This is where he differs from the pseudo-skeptic.

Addendum on November 16, 2018: This experiment on the spiritual is an approximation of the widely used term: I call something spiritual that is supposed to have an effect and at the same time eludes observation, just like the Cologne brownies. Such speculations about spiritual things are in the spirit, completely unmetaphysical and free of errors. But what is to be ascribed to the spiritual, that is to say to the metphysical, also depends on the level of knowledge. Lucretius ‘didactic poem" About the nature of things "from the first century BC (translated and commented by Klaus Binder, 2014) introduces atomism, which, in my opinion, would still be part of the spiritual. Today we know more; the idea of ​​the atoms has abandoned the spiritual and found its way into our knowledge.