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Why no psi?

Given the immense weight of evidence in favour of evolution, isn't this a big one in the eye for psionic powers. If these superhuman powers were of any use, surely they would become more widespread? I suppose if psi were only ever recessive traits then perhaps they might not become more prevalent but even so, you'd expect some increase. Perhaps the trait is capricious, based on the combination of many different genes making it more unlikely to survive generations.

The other thing that strikes me is that such powers seem to be extremely culturally determined. Fads come and go in which are the most popular, mediumistic powers were very strong in the mid Victorian period but declined sharply later. In the 60s, remote viewing was a big one and it's now all but disappeared. And nowadays, whichever TV programme is popular tends to determine trends in Forteana, including psionic powers. UFOs, since the wane of the X-Files, are very much on the decline.

As someone was saying the other day, there should be more sociological studies of parapsychology to look at this kind of thing.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
spencerpine
Jan. 23rd, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
Would it actually help you breed, though? Speaking to spirits is all very well, but I wouldn't imagine it makes people want to shag you.

Graham
gbsteve
Jan. 23rd, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
In Victorian times, being a young woman able to speak to spirits was pretty much a guarantee that older richer men would take a shine to you.
spencerpine
Jan. 23rd, 2009 12:44 am (UTC)
That's not how psychology works! You don't consider how it works for women. You consider how it works for men, then treat women as abnormal cases.

Graham
unquietsoul5
Jan. 23rd, 2009 12:40 am (UTC)
Then again, maybe psi exists and is being covered up by secret organizations that benefit from it (or government branches that use it).

:-)
undyingking
Jan. 23rd, 2009 10:09 am (UTC)
Isn't it generally communicated by radioactive spider bites &c, rather than innate?
viscount_s
Jan. 23rd, 2009 10:10 am (UTC)
From a long-term evolutionary view, I agree - but certainly in the last 2 thousand years or so, Europe has been hampered by the institution of the church, with its edict of 'thou shalt not suffer a witch to live'; this will have pretty thoroughly eliminated any active (ie operant) genes from the pool.

Though this doesn't explain why there is a lack of these genes (assuming that there are any) in (say) China.
gbsteve
Jan. 23rd, 2009 10:43 am (UTC)
I don't think the Church had any impact. There were very few people who were killed, especially in the UK as well as the lack of evidence that these people had done anything - one reason why the trials stopped in the UK.
viscount_s
Jan. 24th, 2009 10:08 am (UTC)
I dont think that the church itself will have had a direct impact (ie not much in the way of burnings), but anyone who displayed psi powers would be deemed as an outcast by society and thus less likely to survive winter / sickness & thus breed as they would be deemed 'evil'.

It would be interesting to see if there was more prevalence of psi culture in pre-christian society - though actually getting verifiable information to judge this would be problematic.
simonjrogers
Jan. 23rd, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
There's an on-going arms-race between psychic and supressor phenotypes. This causes a complex but stable system of psi and sceptics populations. Net result - no psi when you look, but psychics get laid.
kruku
Jan. 26th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Perhaps we're all psionic and are not consciously aware of it.

Psionics may very well work as an all or nothing effect and in order to coexist we 'ignore' our psionic senses.

No? Well can you tell exactly what your nieghbour's pherenomes are telling you about him/her and would you want to know anyway?
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )