Darn, I was hoping that my occasional Twittering had some cosmic significance.
But an article in New Scientist, "First Twitter experiment probes belief in the paranormal," describes a study that showed a lack of metaphysical ability among 7000 people who signed up for a scientific use of Twitter.
The formal part of the study, which took place over four days, tested both whether the group as a whole was psychic and whether believers outperformed disbelievers. On each day I travelled to a randomly selected location and asked everyone to send tweets describing their thoughts and impressions about the location.
In the judging phase, participants were presented with five photographs, one showing the location and four decoys, and asked to select the target. The photograph that received the most votes was taken as the group's decision. If the group were psychic, the majority would vote for the correct target.
They didn't. Which doesn't mean that no one in the group had a remote viewing ability, though I am deeply skeptical that such exists.
An interesting finding was that in a first trial, study participants who were believers in the paranormal claimed a high level of correspondence between their thoughts of a location before it was revealed to them, and a subsequently-seen photograph of the location.
Yet when this "correspondence" was put to a scientific test, there was no difference in remote viewing ability between believers and skeptics. The study leader, Richard Wiseman, says:
This fits with something I read in Owen Flanagan's book "The Really Hard Problem" this morning. Intuitions are fine. But they aren't always true. So it's important to cast a critical eye on our own insights, whether they be about morality or anything else.