Do dreams predict the future?

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Do dreams predict the future?

A. This, like many other things commonly referred to as "paranormal", is to be considered unknown. There is much evidence against it, it would contradict the laws of nature as recognized by most scientists today. (Any information getting from future to past would have to break the speed of light, which is impossible. More on this can be found in the sci.physics FAQ postings.) However, many people insist on having experienced "deja-vu" like situations where they came into a setting they already had dreamed of. Could they prove it? Probably not (cf. section 5.3) but this fact alone doesn't prove the experiences invalid. (Proving a subjective experience *wrong* is impossible.)

Now, how come the many deja-vus? A common explanation is a small misfunction of the brain. Some piece of information, like the look of a particular place where you haven't been before, gets from short-term into long-term memory via some sort of "shortcut" rather than the usual rememberance mechanism. (How this exactly works is currently not known in detail.) Then, when matching short-term against long-term memory, you think that you have the piece in long-term memory from somewhere in the past while it has entered long-term memory just recently.

This could explain some of the instances, but the possibility of the mind "travelling in time" (or place, cf. section 4.1) cannot be dismissed - many people claim they have done it and can do it again.

[I agree with the first part, that time-travel and precognition contradicts physics and does not occur. I respectfully disagree with Jouni's last two paragraphs. I have my own elaborate (and completely naturalistic) theory of what goes on during deja vus, which I will post to a different set of web pages. --RD]

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