A skeptic’s view of telepathy

I wanted the novel x0 to take place in my own reality, even thought it is the story of two telepaths. So while writing I did a fair amount of research on telepathy and I tried to understand both extremes of belief. This post is about the one extreme, the people who feel very sure that there is no extra-sensory communication of any kind in any way at any time any how.

You might wonder what would motivate people to work so hard at proving that telepathy does not exist. At its best, this group appears to want to protect others from being taken advantage of. Articles detail many scams throughout history, some of them quite elaborate. Folks lost money putting faith in something they wanted to believe in, other times there were merely made to be the fools for the sport of it. I spent a fair amount of time at The Skeptics Dictionary and it does make fascinating reading. Check out some of their wonderful anecdotal evidence on just how much humans enjoy tricking each other.

From this website I also learned that at one time Stanford University had a Fellow in Psychical Research, and by 1917 Stanford had conducted experiments with over 10,000 subjects before they concluded that there was no evidence of ESP. Harvard and Duke both got in on the research (with Duke continuing theirs into the mid-1960’s) and the consensus seemed to be that when outright fraud was not involved then one person was unconsciously responding to sensory cues from the other.

The other purpose of these hard working telepathy debunkers seems to be exemplified in The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by one of my favorite folks, scientist Carl Sagan. Dr. Sagan, and others like him, want to keep us from being afraid of the dark, so to speak.  By reminding us that the monsters we invent in our heads and the superpowers we assign them do not exist, they wish their fellow humans to calm down and enjoy life. Fair enough.

Finally, the best negative article that I read was “Why People Believe in ESP for the Wrong Reasons” by Sharon Presley on a website called Resources for Independent Thinking. She addresses the coincidences that tend to make the average person open to the idea (“I was just thinking about you when you called”) and applies logic to an emotional response. She makes a lot of good points.

Do I think there is another side to the story?  Of course I do, and that will be the subject of another post.

Happy Independence Day Nigeria!

Nigerian Flag

This post is a week late but heartfelt none-the-less as I wish my Nigerian co-workers and friends a happy 52 years of independence.  Those of you familiar with Nigeria know that this nation has not had an easy road to walk and it still faces significant challenges.  Yet, if you know anyone from this country you also realize that the Nigerian people’s hope for the future abounds.

The U.S. has about 200,000 citizens who list their national origin as Nigerian (2000 census) but many more are here as temporary workers and students.  Houston, my home town and the home town of x0 hero Lola, has a large concentration of Nigerians thanks to our common tie with the oil business. New York and Chicago boast large populations of Nigerians as well and this past week-end both of these cities hosted Nigerian Independence Day Parades

Take a look at Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2012 Independence Day Broadcast here. It’s short, and it is a good reminder that every nation shares problems in common as well as such very similar hopes for the future.

I’ve been interviewed

Please check out the blog “The Cult of Me” for a short interview of mine.  Fellow indie author Michael Brookes also shares interesting observations about the process of writing on his blog, and features regular interviews with those of us trying to get started as new authors. It’s a fun blog to follow.

I also have Michael to thank for pointing out to me how easy it would be to make paperback copies of x0 and y1 available. I ordered a copy of his book “The Cult of Me” and was impressed with both the quality of the physical book and with his story so far.

It is likely that both x0 and y1 will be available in paperback soon!