The new British Science Minister, Lord Drayson, apparently thinks he can foresee the future.

"In my life there have been some things I have known, and I don't know why," Drayson said in an interview. "I think there is a lot we don't understand about human capability."

Such ability in humans has never been shown scientifically to actually occur with any statistical significance. Of course, people sometimes do predict the future — as one can predict heads or tails on a tossed coin and be right, oh, say, half the time. And yes, there is much about the mind we don't understand. But the claims of psychics (as just one group example of people who think they can see the future) are routinely debunked when held up to the facts.

Malcolm Gladwell's 2005 book "Blink" makes the cases for snap judgments and mind reading. Drayson called it a fascinating book. "He gives lots of examples of people who have demonstrated very clearly that they have good instinct in their lives," Drayson said.

Animals do have other amazing abilities that we humans don't possess, but as of yet none of these is known to be particularly paranormal. After the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, there were reports of animals sensing and escaping the catastrophe. Those were false, Bad Science Columnist Benjamin Radford argues.


This article is from the LiveScience Water Cooler: What people are talking about in the world of science and beyond.