Book Review: The Paranormal Equation
Written By: Paranormal News
The Paranormal Equation is a new book by James D. Stein, attempting to provide a new scientific perspective on what many would consider to be inexplicable, supernatural phenomena. He begins by defining what he means by supernatural using the Merriam Webster dictionary of the term: “Of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially: of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil.” Science, however, does not confine “observable” to “visible”--if we were stuck with constricting ourselves to the visible, then electrons, bacteria, radio, and x-rays would be considered supernatural phenomena, so it is not accurate enough. The second part of the definition of the supernatural the author visits is: “departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature,” and this, he states, is something that science can study, as transcendent laws have been hinted at by logical proofs provided by mathematicians over the past century--in particular, Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem.
In addition to drawing issue with the conjunction of the words ‘observable’ and ‘visible’ in the dictionary, the author also states that once natural laws are uncovered, the events witnessed cease to be considered supernatural and lose their apparent mystery. If science were able to explain ghosts, he explains, they would cease to be seen as supernatural and begin to be seen as natural. In addition, just because something is unusual or bizarre does not mean that it is proof of the existence of paranormal or supernatural phenomena, either. We now understand, for instance, genetic defects that cause things such as two-headed pigeons. Who can really say what other bizarre, unexplainable phenomena can eventually be understood by science?
The author also goes into detail to explain that things which happen by chance cannot be considered supernatural. Almost all parapsychology research seems to indicate chance when it comes to such things as telepathy or clairvoyance, especially when those experiments are reproduced. Many ‘paranormal’ researchers have no understanding of chance at all, but things which happen by chance should not be considered supernatural; in fact, the author explains, chance is incorporated into several important theories of physics. Given enough time, the most unlikely things will happen as long as they are simply unlikely and not impossible. There is a chance, for instance, that ice will form in warm water. Hence, in order to have something that we can safely classify as ‘supernatural’ we must have repeatable phenomenon above chance which would seemingly transcend the laws of science.
Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem really provides some interesting hints to forever transcendent laws of nature (i.e. supernatural laws) as it illustrates that ‘complete’ mathematical systems not only produce axioms that are undecidable and unknowable, but all mathematical systems have holes in them that can only be filled with understanding by a ‘super’ system of laws above and beyond it. That super system of laws will have ‘super super’ laws, ad nauseum ad infinitum. As such, no mathematical system can offer “truth” in the form of “proof”--the two words do not hold equal weight. Proofs produce unknowns.
The author is thus convinced that supernatural phenomena (supernatural laws of nature) must exist under the hypothesis that the Universe is infinite while utilizing his understand of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem which was written 80 years ago. Proving the universe is infinite is therefore what people should really be focused on--once that is done, we’re halfway there. He even provides hints on how this could be done.
Written by a scientist who has chosen not to ‘preach to the choir’ but instead aims to make some converts within the paranormal community, it is well worth the read. Highly recommended.