Do You Believe in Magic?

Painted pup

The materialistic view that the mind is a product of the brain leads to some unacceptable consequences. For example, if our brains are calling all the shots, then we are not responsible for our actions. Think about it; if all we are is an intricate arrangement of cells, then the brain is formed strictly by the combination of genetics and experience. Since we are not responsible for the DNA we were born with, nor for what others have done to us, then we are not liable for the resultant actions of our brains and bodies. We have no free will. “My neurons made me do it.”

In fact, Frances Crick (co-discoverer of DNA’s molecular structure) summed this attitude up well when he stated that “…‘You,’ your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” What a pathetic view of human experience.

When confronted by this materialistic point of view, Einstein said, “No, this trick won’t work…. How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?” Another Nobel Prize winning physicist, Niels Bohr, similarly stated, “We can admittedly find nothing in physics or chemistry, that has even a remote bearing on consciousness.”

Let’s take a look at research that may shed some light on the brain-mind problem. Since the 1950’s there have been over 150 studies on a phenomenon called Distant Mental Influences on Living Systems (DMILS). These studies looked into people using their intention to affect organisms from bacteria and yeast to small mammals and humans. This research often involved an agent who directed either a calming or arousing intention toward a target person. According to 2 meta-analyses (one looking at 19 studies and the other looking at 37 studies), in the vast majority of these investigations there was an appropriate response by the target’s autonomic nervous system as determined by changes in their skin conductance.

In these studies the target and agent were isolated in separate rooms with no sensory contact. Intention and non-intention periods were randomly interspersed automatically and the target responses were recorded automatically. Furthermore, since the targets’ responses were not under their conscious control, the experiments eliminated the possibility of the target influencing the results due to expectation or guessing, further assuring unbiased results.

An interesting subset of these DMILS studies investigated the effect of being stared at. For these, the agent simply stared at the target (who was in a different room) via a video monitor. Again, the staring periods were random and the target’s electrodermal reactions were automatically recorded. According to the same 2 meta-analyses mentioned above, almost all of the trials proved there was a significant effect. Doesn’t that make your hair stand on end?

The concept that conscious intention (such as prayer) can make physical changes at a distance is scoffed at by the skeptic EBMers. They call it “magical thinking.” The materialistic view has no explanation for how this could happen therefore they conclude that it does not (ignoring valid research).

Well, according to the most authoritative research that these folks worship (meta-analyses), magical thinking is as real as it gets with a level of certainty that puts drug validation studies to shame. The mind is more than a biological computer. The power of the mind’s intention is only supernatural if you don’t understand nature. Let’s face it, they may be able to program a computer to beat humans at chess, but that computer will never experience the thrill of victory.

Have you experienced the “magic” of positive intention?

One thought on “Do You Believe in Magic?

  1. Christina

    Some might also call this the power of prayer. I have had some success with positive intention in calming my dog, Lucy, during storms, but I need to catch her before she gets too wound up. I’ve had two specific incidents with Lucy where I know we were communicating by intention v. physical action or words. Once was when she was rooting around under the couch and barking and digging, obviously wanting to get something from underneath. I was on the couch reading and suddenly an image of a small red tennis ball popped in my mind. I hadn’t seen that ball for months and certainly had no reason to think of it. Exasperated by Lucy’s disruptive behavior, I got up and moved the couch so that she could retrieve the object of her interest. Sure enough, the object was the red tennis ball that I had thought about.
    A more recent incident occurred just yesterday. Lucy was up on my lap, getting a belly rub (well her front paws were, as she’s a german shepherd). I was just in the process of formulating a request to my son to get her brush for me. I had not yet gotten out the words when Lucy jumped off of my lap and ran over to her dog bed and assumed the position that she normally does when she gets a brushing.
    The emotional/mental bond between us humans and our dogs is truly a marvelous thing.

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