ProfWag wrote:If someone has an ability that would literally change the world as we know it, and they only want to "show her friends," then shame on that person.
Dunno about 'shame on that person', not everyone is interested in scientific enquiry for its own end, she is intensely private, but also those sorts of skills can be put to evil use by characters such as the US military, so it is not necessarily morally good. May be better to keep genuine abilities concealed, for self-preservation and the ultimate good of society.
I agree there's a lot of scammers out there trading as 'psychics' who have no ability whatsoever, and those are the sorts of people who set the sceptics off, of course -- and the sceptics conclude that therefore nobody can have any such ability (because it's magic, and there's no such thing as magic) because they have (correctly) shown so many fairground operators to be shonks. They are doing everyone a favour in showing up frauds who tell you your fortune over the phone for a fee, or people who write manufactured horoscopes for a living, or whatever -- I also take delight in testing and exposing such frauds.
However, for instance, it is actually pretty common for people to have the ability to have genuine premonitions within about 24 hours prior to an event happening, usually an accident for some reason -- may be the psychic emotions generated by an accident that create the premonition -- often only a few minutes before the accident. I've heard of/met several people who have this ability, and it cannot be written off by 'sceptical' arguments, i.e. they only have a premonition about things that actually happen, not hypothetical premonitions all day long, etc.
Also, many people have the gift of second sight (mediumship) and it seems to run in families -- definitely seems to be a genetic trait.
My friend had all those abilities:
- second sight -- could see, hear and communicate freely with spirits of deceased persons, no BS seances or spooky stuff required
- simple mind-reading -- e.g. letters, numbers, colours, simple thoughts in people's heads
- remote viewing through another person - can see what they are seeing
All verified over time one way or another, beyond the shadow of a (even sceptical) doubt. Her family had similar abilities -- aunts, etc. They appear to work instantaneously at any distance, i.e. may or may not be limited to something like the speed of light. (The speed of light as a limit as proposed by Einstein is being called into question these days anyhow.)
However, such people would be quickly rounded up by the US military and CIA if they were discovered to try to read the mind of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or someone, there is no doubt in my mind the US administration/military complex would immediately abuse it -- they may already be doing so with unfortunate individuals they've rounded up, for all I know -- who knows, James Randi may even be doing it for them. Could also be used for other nefarious corporate espionage purposes. Everything is for personal gain, in the end.
Still, in a perfect world, it would be extremely interesting to investigate, and I do regret not being able to study it further 'in the lab' -- just not James Randi's lab.