Roberts, F.S. (1991). The physical equivalents of paranormal phenomena. JSPR 57, 359-361
Reproduced with the kind permission of Peter Roberts.
List of papers by the author; archived at

The physical equivalents of paranormal phenomena

by F. Somerville Roberts

The principal objection of materialists to dualism and parapsychology is no longer valid, since recent work in science has shown that phenomena duplicating the characteristics of telepathy and PK operate in the physical world. Probably the most forceful argument used by materialist scientists against the existence of parapsychological phenomena is that, quite simply, it is impossible, because it would contravene the laws of science. However, scientific work has now shown that not only could such phenomena exist in the physical world, but they actually do take place.

This work has been carried out in the field of quantum mechanics. A relationship between parapsychology and the quantum factor has already received attention, but this tends to concentrate on the quantum attribute of unpredictability, presumably because this is also a characteristic of parapsy being able, for example, to convert what is referred to as a 'ghost' electron into a concrete reality. It is sometimes claimed that this is confirmation of PK on the grounds that if consciousness can affect physical matters in one set of circumstances, then it can operate in PK experiments, although it does not necessarily follow that the behaviour of a single atom will be duplicated in the case of the immensely larger molecular grouping of a dice.

More importantly, however, is the implication of this situation for dualism and accordingly for parapsychology. Neo-Cartesian dualism presumes there is an interaction between a possibly non-physical consciousness and a material brain. This hypothesis has been unacceptable to many scientists for several reasons: it is impossible to conceive the nature of a non-physical entity, it is impossible to comprehend how anything so insubstantial could modify a physical system, it is impossible to suggest the source of the necessary energy and how it is utilised, and so on. In short, the whole situation is utterly impossible, yet quantum experiments show it does take place.

The quantum factor does not suggest that the mind is not physical, nor does it indicate how the mind might interact with the brain, or even if it does so, but what it clearly proves is that it could, and thus makes it impossible for responsible scientists to dismiss dualism and parapsychology out of hand on the grounds that mental influence on a physical body at a distance cannot exist in nature.

Ashford, Kindlestown Hill
Delgany, Co. Wicklow, IRELAND

1. Davies, P. (1983). God and the New Physics. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd.