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Old 03-07-2016, 12:12 AM   #1
Minuteman37
 
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Default Most plausible Psionic powers?

So would it be possible to arrange psi powers into classes based on their plausibility and work ability under current physics?
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: Most plausible Psionic powers?

Not usefully. The categories are something like "thoroughly implausible" and "extremely implausible."
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Most plausible Psionic powers?

The technology already exists for humans to give machines mental commands. It isn't much of a stretch to imagine that same technology being developed further to provide the equivalent of psi powers at least in terms of functionality.
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:56 AM   #4
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Default Re: Most plausible Psionic powers?

Another point that may be worth mentioning is that whilst science is a powerful tool for acquiring knowledge there is still much about the universe and ourselves we don't understand.

The mind-body problem is an example: how does something nebulous like a thought translate into a physical action like picking up an object? We assume that the mind can control the body because it is part of the same physical system and everything else, that we don't seem to be able to control, is not part of that system. But what if that assumption is wrong? What if the entire universe was one interconnected system in a real physical sense? Not in a Deepak Chopra mumbo-jumbo pseudo-science kind of way. If that were true you might be able to manipulate anything just by thinking about it in the right kind of way. Hello psi powers! If that's how the universe works then I would only rule out psi powers that blatantly break well established physics. For instance teleportation unless the actual travel is limited to the speed of light. As what happens when scientists teleport elementary particles in a laboratory.

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Old 03-07-2016, 08:51 AM   #5
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Default Re: Most plausible Psionic powers?

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Not usefully. The categories are something like "thoroughly implausible" and "extremely implausible."
Still there *are* degrees. An obvious first cut is does it require more energy than a human metabolism (more than about 100 W)? Those are clearly more impossible than something that you could theoretically have the energy for, and eliminates much of the flashy stuff.

Probably the most plausible psi powers are the limited "ESP" kind - the ones that you could make a case are processing of information your senses could be gathering but humans just don't interpret - Empathy (smell based), or Dark Vision based on echolocation, or Clairaudience (only when you can directly see the noise source), followed by the ones that let you do things to your own body that it does normally do, but faster or better or longer - things like reacting faster (Combat Reflexes), stopping bleeding, purging poisons or diseases, surviving a hour in freezing water, not breathing for minutes at a time, or doubling your ST for a single action.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: Most plausible Psionic powers?

I'm curious about why we'd group them by plausibility. What's the goal in GURPS? Is this for a campaign setting? And if we're talking about the real world... none of the psionic abilities is plausible... because they don't exist and there are no known mechanisms that would support them as defined.
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Most plausible Psionic powers?

If your going to allow psi powers of any kind, including IMO dange sense, you have to accept that in your setting psychic abilities are real, but not yet understood (possibly because of the taboo stigma on seriously studying them) by science. From there it really depends on how far you are willing to run wit lh that.

I woukd allow things like:
Danger sense, empathy, precognitin, psychometry, etc.

I would not allow things that affect physical objects grossly such as tk, or pretty anything ending in kenesis.
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: Most plausible Psionic powers?

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Originally Posted by Minuteman37 View Post
So would it be possible to arrange psi powers into classes based on their plausibility and work ability under current physics?
I discuss real-world belief in psi in GURPS Psionic Campaigns. From my studies, here's what "believer" paraphysicists and parapsychologists seem to think:

Definitely exists: Anti-Psi, Astral Projection, ESP, Probability Alteration ("micropsychokinesis").

Probably exists: Psychic Healing, Psychic Vampirism, weak Ergokinesis or Psychokinesis

Might exist: Teleportation, strong Ergokinesis or Psychokinesis
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:21 AM   #9
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Default Re: Most plausible Psionic powers?

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Still there *are* degrees. An obvious first cut is does it require more energy than a human metabolism (more than about 100 W)?
It's not difficult for a moderately trained athlete to generate 150 W, and there are videos of a computer architect giving a presentation while riding a stationary bike attached to a generator powering 150 W of computers. It looks like maximum peak output is closer to 2 kW and sustained output can reach 400-500 W for an hour or more.

So that's a more generous margin, but any TK who lifts more than a championship bodybuilder is out of the "plausible" category, even if TK is plausible in the first place.
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: Most plausible Psionic powers?

Using the square of ST in W as sustained energy production (a ST 10 human being would produce 100 W, which would translate a 2,200 calorie diet). I would suggest that a realistic sustained psychic power could not use more energy than ten percent of the sustained energy production (10 W for a ST 10 human). In general, that would limit 'realistic' psychic powers to Animal Telepathy, Anti-Psi, Astral Projection, Dream Control, ESP, Probability Alteration, and Telepathy. I think that Biokinesis, Ergokinesis, Psychic Healing, Psychic Vampirism, Psychokinesis, Psychometabolism, and Teleportation are not 'realistic'.
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