Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World beyond the Senses

Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World beyond the Senses

Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World beyond the Senses

Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World beyond the Senses

Synopsis

This book critically examines theories of a transcendent reality in terms of all that is currently known about matter at its most fundamental level. Victor J. Stenger gives a provocative, often amusing history of psychic research and occult beliefs, offering a convincing rebuttal to those who attempt to link physics to mystical truths. Stenger examines a number of well-known paranormal claims and shows how they can be explained without resorting to supernatural or psychic hypotheses. Discussing quantum theory and relativity, he demonstrates that these concepts actually invalidate paranormal claims and that there is no scientific basis for a universe other than one composed of observable matter.

Excerpt

Ψ = 0

Like so many of the words we use to describe our deepest notions, "physics" and "psychic" are derived from the language of the ancient Greeks, who first gave rational expression to the concepts these words represent.Physics comes from physis (øυσις), the Greek word for nature.Psychic is derived from psyche (ψυχη), the term for soul or spirit.

Physics refers to the objects of our senses, the world of body and matter. Phenomena thought to be associated with the nonmaterial world are called "psychic" (sometimes "psychical"), often abbreviated by the Greek letter psi (Ψ). The conclusion of this book can be summarized by a simple equation: Ψ = 0.

The Greeks were the first to apply the power of reason to the study of nature and soul.Their word physiologia translates as the science or logic of nature, although its modern derivative, "physiology," refers in more limited fashion to the study of the physical bodies of living organisms.

Similarly, the modern term "psychology" has become narrowed to the science or logic of mental phenomena, rather than the wider class of anything beyond the physical.Conventional psychology confines itself to the study of mind and human behavior independent of any assumption of a spiritual or supernatural component, although the prefix psych, with its ancient connection to soul or spirit, suggests otherwise.This unfortunate confusion results from the ancient belief in the equivalence of mind and soul. Since time immemorial, human behavior has been assumed to arise from mental and spiritual processes that transcend the world of matter and energy with which the physicist deals. But another possibility exists: Mental phenomena could be physical, wholly a property of the material world.

Mental processes are said to contain "inner" components of a different . . .

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