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jakesteele
21st July 2010, 10:20 AM
I know firewalking has been done many times before and the explanations given are this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leidenfrost_effect

These type explanations are always used for shorter, cooler walks, but what are the explanations given for the longer, hotter ones like this:
1,200 degrees and 400 ft. new world record
And this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_walking#Explanation

Due to these properties, David Willey, professor of physics, says he believes firewalking is explainable in terms of basic physics and is not supernatural or paranormal.[6] However, he adds, "The 120 foot walk done by Sara Raintree and Jim Jarvis, and reports of longer walks and people remaining stationary for extended periods on the coals are currently under investigation by the author." Willey notes that most fire-walks occur on coals that measure about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (550 degrees Celsius), but he once recorded someone walking on 1,800-degree (1,000 °C) coals.[3]

Skeptical Greg
21st July 2010, 11:29 AM
I'll say it again:

If there is something supernatural about " Fire Walking ", there is no reason why we should not be seeing ' Fire Sitting " ; or for that matter " Fire Head Standing "..

Ririon
21st July 2010, 11:37 AM
I'll say it again:

If there is something supernatural about " Fire Walking ", there is no reason why we should not be seeing ' Fire Sitting " ; or for that matter " Fire Head Standing "..
Burn. :p

Crossbow
21st July 2010, 11:39 AM
I'll say it again:

If there is something supernatural about " Fire Walking ", there is no reason why we should not be seeing ' Fire Sitting " ; or for that matter " Fire Head Standing "..

Good call!

:)

ExMinister
21st July 2010, 12:07 PM
I'll say it again:

If there is something supernatural about " Fire Walking ", there is no reason why we should not be seeing ' Fire Sitting " ; or for that matter " Fire Head Standing "..

Not only that but it seems to me it should be called hot coal walking. Real fire walking should involve a supernatural power to walk through open flames unharmed, shouldn't it?

tsig
21st July 2010, 01:08 PM
Not only that but it seems to me it should be called hot coal walking. Real fire walking should involve a supernatural power to walk through open flames unharmed, shouldn't it?

You want to make sure your brother hasn't thrown a beer bottle in the fire.

jakesteele
21st July 2010, 03:08 PM
I'll say it again:

If there is something supernatural about " Fire Walking ", there is no reason why we should not be seeing ' Fire Sitting " ; or for that matter " Fire Head Standing "..

I didn't say 'supernatural', you did, and you didn't answer my questions. You avoided them by sneering and mocking.

You're telling me what it isn't, but not what it is. You can't truly disprove something until you can explain exactly how it occurs.

Also, as far as the head walking goes and butt sitting goes, that's an assumption on your part. You are trying to make up rules for something you don't think is real in the first place. "because somebody can do this..., therefore, he can do that."

If that Wiley is currently investigating the heat, distance and stationary nature of this, and you know something he doesn't, you should call him and educate him. I think he would appreciate it.

ExMinister
21st July 2010, 06:43 PM
All kidding aside, the problem is the assumption that there is something paranormal going on in the first place. What needs to be disproven?

For example, on one of the links you provided the man doing the "fire-walking" made it seem like it was mind over matter, that he was calling upon some sort of power to protect him from harm. It sounds very New Age and mysterious.

So the obvious question then becomes: Why doesn't this mind over matter work with timbers instead of coal? Why doesn't it work through open flames? "If you set your mind to it, you can do anything," this guy proclaims, but of course we know that if he set his mind to walking through actual fire for that length of time, he would be burned, regardless of what he set his mind to do.

The obvious conclusion is that there is trickery involved; it's all physiology and physics, nothing paranormal about it. If someone is claiming not to understand how the longer walks are accomplished, then my thought is that it is only a matter of time before the technique is figured out. That may be your thought, too.

It sounds quite different, though, when you use the term "disproven," as if something paranormal just might be happening if no other explanation can be found.

I will look around and see if anyone has come up with an explanation for how it's done. I'm curious, too. If it can be done, and it repeatedly is, it can be probably be explained - and in a way that doesn't involve the paranormal.

The people who are making videos and leading "mind over matter" workshops are probably in no hurry to share their secrets.

jakesteele
21st July 2010, 09:51 PM
All kidding aside, the problem is the assumption that there is something paranormal going on in the first place. What needs to be disproven?

For example, on one of the links you provided the man doing the "fire-walking" made it seem like it was mind over matter, that he was calling upon some sort of power to protect him from harm. It sounds very New Age and mysterious.

So the obvious question then becomes: Why doesn't this mind over matter work with timbers instead of coal? Why doesn't it work through open flames? "If you set your mind to it, you can do anything," this guy proclaims, but of course we know that if he set his mind to walking through actual fire for that length of time, he would be burned, regardless of what he set his mind to do.

The obvious conclusion is that there is trickery involved; it's all physiology and physics, nothing paranormal about it. If someone is claiming not to understand how the longer walks are accomplished, then my thought is that it is only a matter of time before the technique is figured out. That may be your thought, too.

It sounds quite different, though, when you use the term "disproven," as if something paranormal just might be happening if no other explanation can be found.

I will look around and see if anyone has come up with an explanation for how it's done. I'm curious, too. If it can be done, and it repeatedly is, it can be probably be explained - and in a way that doesn't involve the paranormal.

The people who are making videos and leading "mind over matter" workshops are probably in no hurry to share their secrets.

I am curious about the correlation of the Leidenfrost effect and just plain old mind over matter. The Leidenfrost effect requires moisture which would probably evaporate pretty quickly. So right now for me that leaves mind over matter. People can do some amazing things when they set their minds to it.

I went to grade school with a guy that used to attempt outrageous things and succeed. His first attempt at mind over matter was to learn how to hold a cup of extremely hot coffee; not hot enough to cause blisters, but way hotter than a normal person would ever do. He was able to master this and learned to do it indefinitely with other objects that stayed consistently hot.

Also, he decided he was going to do and "infinite amount of situps" in gym class. His first attempt he did 500 in a row before the teacher stopped him out of concern. His second attempt he did 1,000 before the teacher intervened.

My first guess on firewalking is that the heat may not get hot enough to blister and burn if you keep moving fast, but still very hot, and the guy simply guts it out.

Safe-Keeper
21st July 2010, 09:57 PM
Could be that he was simply unable to feel pain. Those people exist, you know. One of my teachers spoke of a childhood classmate who couldn't feel pain and was the hero of the class because he could hold a lighter flame right under his open palm.

Orphia Nay
21st July 2010, 10:19 PM
Edit: Nevermind.

Ririon
22nd July 2010, 12:18 AM
I am curious about the correlation of the Leidenfrost effect and just plain old mind over matter.

(snip)

My first guess on firewalking is that the heat may not get hot enough to blister and burn if you keep moving fast, but still very hot, and the guy simply guts it out.
First of all, there is more to the basic physics of walking on hot coals than the leidenfrost effect. The very low heat conductivity of coal is the most important one. You should check out the Mythbusters take on this.

Secondly: It might be a language issue, but the highlighted sections above may or may not mean the same thing. "Mind over matter" may include and/or imply supernatural phenomena.

littleroundman
22nd July 2010, 01:14 AM
I am curious about the correlation of the Leidenfrost effect and just plain old mind over matter.

As with most things, there is more than just one "answer" to the OP questions.

The main elements are:

1) Low/slow conductivity of wood/embers
2) Low Heat capacity of embers

along with the combined effects of:

3) Relatively small length of time of actual foot/ember contact
4) area of contact reduced by irregular shape of coals/embers
5) Ash build up on coals/embers
6) redistribution of heat via blood supply of walker
7) varying levels of pain tolerance in walkers
8) "running" instead of "walking"

testing whether or not the "conductivity/heat capacity" explanation is valid is simple.

replace the wood with steel.

Akhenaten
22nd July 2010, 03:43 AM
I am curious about the correlation of the Leidenfrost effect and just plain old mind over matter.

Secondly: It might be a language issue, but the highlighted sections above may or may not mean the same thing. "Mind over matter" may include and/or imply supernatural phenomena.

It's a language issue only in that 'plain old mind over matter' doesn't mean anything.

Immunity to pain might somehow be possible, but immunity to the damage caused by the application of high heat is not.

This is claiming, in fact, that the physical properties of a person's flesh can be altered by thinking about it, and that would definitely be paranormal/supernatural.

rustypouch
22nd July 2010, 08:27 AM
As with most things, there is more than just one "answer" to the OP questions.

The main elements are:

1) Low/slow conductivity of wood/embers
2) Low Heat capacity of embers

along with the combined effects of:

3) Relatively small length of time of actual foot/ember contact
4) area of contact reduced by irregular shape of coals/embers
5) Ash build up on coals/embers
6) redistribution of heat via blood supply of walker
7) varying levels of pain tolerance in walkers
8) "running" instead of "walking"

testing whether or not the "conductivity/heat capacity" explanation is valid is simple.

replace the wood with steel.

Exactly.

It works for the same reason that you can touch a cake in the oven with no ill effects, even though it's at 400F. If you touched the rack it was baking on, you would burn yourself.

And welcome to the forums!

jakesteele
22nd July 2010, 10:51 AM
Here’s the problem I’m seeing with most of the responses so far: All explanations given so far are based on very short distance and very few steps, i.e., minimal exposure to the coals/heat. No one has effectively addressed the long walks and prolonged exposure of standing stationary yet. If you’re stumped or puzzled and at a loss, just say so, don’t start mocking what you call woo. That’s just a diversionary tactic.

The explanations given so far are:
1) Relatively small length of time of actual foot/ember contact
2) area of contact reduced by irregular shape of coals/embers
3) Ash build up on coals/embers
4) redistribution of heat via blood supply of walker
5) varying levels of pain tolerance in walkers
6) "running" instead of "walking"

Again, this is based on short firewalks. Even with a short firewalk your feet are hotter after the walk than before because of heat transference. (Isn’t that the 1st law of thermodynamics - heat transfer? Whatever.) Everyone has experienced the phenomena of cooking hot dogs and sticking your hand in to turn all of them over and after a few turns your hand has heated up to where you can’t stand it any longer. You pull your hand back to “cool down”. Then you put your hand back in to continue turning the dogs and it heats up to the limit of endurance quicker than the first time, and so on. With a long or stationary firewalk, at some point the Leiden Frost effect, the quick exposure of the feet, the ash insulation, etc. begins to loose its effectiveness. So it begs two questions:

1. How far can the average person go before that happens?
2. How is it done after the standard explanations run out of “steam” and the supernatural is not considered?

Modified
22nd July 2010, 11:59 AM
I went to grade school with a guy that used to attempt outrageous things and succeed. His first attempt at mind over matter was to learn how to hold a cup of extremely hot coffee; not hot enough to cause blisters, but way hotter than a normal person would ever do. He was able to master this and learned to do it indefinitely with other objects that stayed consistently hot.

I think that is matter over matter. I regularly wash dishes in 170F water. My hands have adapted to this, somehow, and it doesn't bother me a bit. I'm not doing anything conscious to achieve this, so there is no "mind" involved. On the other hand, I rarely drink hot beverages or soup (I don't drink coffee or tea). Hot drinks that regular coffee drinkers can drink without harm will cause burns to my lips and the roof of my mouth. My wife can start eating a hot bowl of soup right off the stove, while I have to wait a long time for it to cool.

Also, he decided he was going to do and "infinite amount of situps" in gym class. His first attempt he did 500 in a row before the teacher stopped him out of concern. His second attempt he did 1,000 before the teacher intervened.That's not particularly difficult. I've done 1000 traditional sit-ups before. If he could do 1000 crunches, I'd be impressed.

Skeptical Greg
22nd July 2010, 12:12 PM
I am curious about the correlation of the Leidenfrost effect and just plain old mind over matter. The Leidenfrost effect requires moisture which would probably evaporate pretty quickly. So right now for me that leaves mind over matter. People can do some amazing things when they set their minds to it................

Then why can't they set their minds to sit on hot coals instead of just walking on them ?

If there is an effect that can't be explained by physics. it wouldn't be confined to feet, on beds of hot coals...

Sneering and mocking is not always without merit..

jakesteele
22nd July 2010, 01:01 PM
I think that is matter over matter. I regularly wash dishes in 170F water. My hands have adapted to this, somehow, and it doesn't bother me a bit. I'm not doing anything conscious to achieve this, so there is no "mind" involved.

Here's the problem I have with that: The hot dog analogy is by the average person who doesn't regularly wash dishes at 170F and who wouldn't be doing hot dogs 8 hrs. a day. I used to heat my house with a wood burning stove and the 'too hot to handle' never went away.

I don't know why everybody is so hung up over the term "mind over matter". People are attacking that and not addressing the questions I posed: How long do the Leiden Frost, coal insulation last before they exhaust themselves and what explanation can be given for long walks, stationary walks and extremely hot walks?

Again, if you don't know, cool; no harm no foul. Just say you don't know.

I suffer from chronic back pain that at times is very severe. I have learned to live with it, make it my friend, become one with it and all that other metaphysical stuff or whatever you want to call it. It takes practice and perseverance, and at first, a lot of will power. That was my mind overcoming the pain of my physical matter and learning how to control it instead of it controlling me.

On the other hand, I rarely drink hot beverages or soup (I don't drink coffee or tea). Hot drinks that regular coffee drinkers can drink without harm will cause burns to my lips and the roof of my mouth. My wife can start eating a hot bowl of soup right off the stove, while I have to wait a long time for it to cool.

That's not particularly difficult. I've done 1000 traditional sit-ups before. If he could do 1000 crunches, I'd be impressed.

A 1000 sit ups is very difficult or you would see a lot more of it in the schools. In high school the record for sit ups was nowhere near that and it was held by a 17 yr. old junior as opposed to a 12 yr. old kid.

If you've done a 1000 in a row, my hats off to you.

jakesteele
22nd July 2010, 01:12 PM
Skeptical Greg;6150511]Then why can't they set their minds to sit on hot coals instead of just walking on them ?

Good Lord! I'll post this again:
"...Also, as far as the head walking goes and butt sitting goes, that's an assumption on your part. You are trying to make up rules for something you don't think is real in the first place. "because somebody can do this..., therefore, he can do that."

If that Wiley is currently investigating the heat, distance and stationary nature of this, and you know something he doesn't, you should call him and educate him. I think he would appreciate it.

If there is an effect that can't be explained by physics. it wouldn't be confined to feet, on beds of hot coals...

How on earth would you know that? Proof, links, pie charts, graphs, evidence, stats, please.

Sneering and mocking is not always without merit...][/QUOTE]

Sneering and mocking is never alright with someone who considers themselves to be scientific, logical, rational, a real skeptic and critical thinker, which I'm assuming you consider yourself to be all of the above. Sneering and mocking is what pseudo-skeptics do. It's just a way of dodging the issue.

Now please answer my questions or nip it and zip it.

The explanations given so far are:
1) Relatively small length of time of actual foot/ember contact
2) area of contact reduced by irregular shape of coals/embers
3) Ash build up on coals/embers
4) redistribution of heat via blood supply of walker
5) varying levels of pain tolerance in walkers
6) "running" instead of "walking"

1. How far can the average person go before that happens?
2. How is it done after the standard explanations run out of “steam” and the supernatural is not considered?

Ririon
22nd July 2010, 02:11 PM
Sneering and mocking is never alright with someone who considers themselves to be scientific, logical, rational, a real skeptic and critical thinker, which I'm assuming you consider yourself to be all of the above. Sneering and mocking is what pseudo-skeptics do. It's just a way of dodging the issue.

Now please answer my questions or nip it and zip it.

The explanations given so far are:
1) Relatively small length of time of actual foot/ember contact
2) area of contact reduced by irregular shape of coals/embers
3) Ash build up on coals/embers
4) redistribution of heat via blood supply of walker
5) varying levels of pain tolerance in walkers
6) "running" instead of "walking"

1. How far can the average person go before that happens?
2. How is it done after the standard explanations run out of “steam” and the supernatural is not considered?
Why did you remove the main elements and renumber the list?

1. I don't know. It is hard to remove the main effects from the experiment. I should think 1 step would be sufficient for the average person to get a nasty burn. Are you proposing a hot metal walk? You could set up some hot lumps of metal, sprinkle some ash over them and try to walk. I would not recommend it.

2. It is not done. Obviously. How would it be done, you say? Magic?

steve s
22nd July 2010, 02:13 PM
Here’s the problem I’m seeing with most of the responses so far: All explanations given so far are based on very short distance and very few steps, i.e., minimal exposure to the coals/heat. No one has effectively addressed the long walks and prolonged exposure of standing stationary yet. If you’re stumped or puzzled and at a loss, just say so, don’t start mocking what you call woo. That’s just a diversionary tactic.

The explanations given so far are:

2) area of contact reduced by irregular shape of coals/embers

I think #2 is the main reason that longer walks are possible. Each time you bring your foot down, a different part of your foot is in contact with the coals. It will probably be a few steps before that exact same spot on your foot is in contact with the coals again, so it has a few seconds to cool off.

Steve S

Modified
22nd July 2010, 02:22 PM
Here's the problem I have with that: The hot dog analogy is by the average person who doesn't regularly wash dishes at 170F and who wouldn't be doing hot dogs 8 hrs. a day. I used to heat my house with a wood burning stove and the 'too hot to handle' never went away.

There are limits, obviously, but I suspect the "record" fire walkers have been doing it for some time and have built up some kind of physical tolerance, so they can go longer and hotter than the average guy off the street.

A 1000 sit ups is very difficult or you would see a lot more of it in the schools. In high school the record for sit ups was nowhere near that and it was held by a 17 yr. old junior as opposed to a 12 yr. old kid.

If you've done a 1000 in a row, my hats off to you.

When I was in grade school and they had us do sit-ups in gym class, if you made it to 100, you stopped there. Nobody ever kept records, and in high school the only records kept were for powerlifting, certainly not sit-ups.

The 24 hour record seems to be 111,000. That's more than one per second. If someone can do that, I think the average in-shape 12 year old boy can work up to 1000. There is a threshold at some point where it becomes pure endurance rather than strength-endurance. Once you get past that, you can keep going for a long time. That is, if you can do 250 consecutive sit-ups, you can probably do 1000.

Ririon
22nd July 2010, 02:32 PM
Also:

Is it really surprising or even particularly interesting that some people are better than other people at fire walking? Pick a person who has walked around without shoes in a hot climate a whole life. Someone who is also used to dealing with considerable physical pain.

I would be very surprised if that person was not vastly superior at fire walking compared to, say, me. (I am quite the opposite of that description.)

You don't need woo-woo to explain that. Heck, you don't even need physics.

Epok
22nd July 2010, 02:33 PM
Skeptics do not automatically go for the supernatural excuse since almost everyone who has claimed supernatural abilities has been shown to be false. And just because they don't have an explaination handy does not make the supernatural to be correct. I would wager that eventually someone could explain how the world record was achieved without a supernatural reason. Just because I can't explain it doesn't make it supernatural.

Rodney
22nd July 2010, 06:03 PM
Just because I can't explain it doesn't make it supernatural.
In the 1980s, Randi couldn't explain it either. If you click the following video link -- http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3999493355358083404 -- you will hear Randi say at minute 20 and second 33 of the video: "I've always been mystified by the reports that certain people had the ability to walk on red-hot embers or rocks or ash or actual flames and I'd never had the opportunity to see it and I'd often wondered about the accuracy of the reports." A short while later, after witnessing a firewalking demonstration, Randi examines the sole of a firewalker's foot and states: "That sole is no tougher than mine; that's no tougher than mine and yet the man can do it. I don't think I could." Finally, at the end of the firewalking segment, about three minutes later, Randi states: "I don't know, it's got me buffaloed."

littleroundman
22nd July 2010, 06:23 PM
1. How far can the average person go before that happens?
2. How is it done after the standard explanations run out of “steam” and the supernatural is not considered?

1) What's an "average" person ???

What I CAN tell you from experience, is that someone "off the street" with no experience but a large amount of bravery can easily "firewalk" 10 meters with no preparation, but an expertly prepared "fire"

If you know of an "average" person who is prepared to do a quick walk through to see how long he/she makes it without damage, feel free.

2) There is no "running out of steam" before the supernatural is considered.

There ARE, however, people who very carefully maximize the effects of every factor given.

i.e. spend a large amount of time preparing the walk path
harden their feet
show only their "successful" attempts
modify their walk/running style to maximize the time their feet are actually in "contact" with the coals while maximizing the "recovery"
time their feet are not in contact.

The exaggerated "high lift" style of walking is not an accident. It is designed to allow for the body to transfer any residual heat away from the area via the bloodstream.

"Running" rather than "walking" increases the distance covered with little increase in the amount of actual contact time between feet and coals.

The amount of preparers/preparation time is not just for safety reasons.
The constant raking both ensures larger coals break down and a greater amount of ash is on top of the coals.

A lower ambient temperature effects the outcome.

Thickening/toughening the soles of the feet effects the outcome.

Vic Vega
22nd July 2010, 07:02 PM
My company used to have new employees of a certain division firewalk as part of their new hire activites. One of the guys in my group did it and has a picture of himself in the middle of it. He has a big smile on his face and felt no pain whatsoever.

Many hundreds of people did it over the years with no preparation at all.

blobru
22nd July 2010, 07:18 PM
Yeah, it's figured in a lot of corporate and self-help seminar training gigs since the mid-80's at least. The goal is to convince participants they're accomplishing something extraordinary solely because they believe they can, without explaining to them the basic physics behind it which makes their firewalking accomplishment quite ordinary.

jakesteele
22nd July 2010, 07:22 PM
Why did you remove the main elements and renumber the list?

1. I don't know. It is hard to remove the main effects from the experiment. I should think 1 step would be sufficient for the average person to get a nasty burn. Are you proposing a hot metal walk? You could set up some hot lumps of metal, sprinkle some ash over them and try to walk. I would not recommend it.

2. It is not done. Obviously. How would it be done, you say? Magic?

Sorry, but I don't understand what you're asking/saying.

jakesteele
22nd July 2010, 07:25 PM
I think #2 is the main reason that longer walks are possible. Each time you bring your foot down, a different part of your foot is in contact with the coals. It will probably be a few steps before that exact same spot on your foot is in contact with the coals again, so it has a few seconds to cool off.

Steve S

Thank you.

jakesteele
22nd July 2010, 07:28 PM
=Modified;6150888]There are limits, obviously, but I suspect the "record" fire walkers have been doing it for some time and have built up some kind of physical tolerance, so they can go longer and hotter than the average guy off the street.

That's sounds reasonable.

When I was in grade school and they had us do sit-ups in gym class, if you made it to 100, you stopped there. Nobody ever kept records, and in high school the only records kept were for powerlifting, certainly not sit-ups.

The 24 hour record seems to be 111,000. That's more than one per second. If someone can do that, I think the average in-shape 12 year old boy can work up to 1000. There is a threshold at some point where it becomes pure endurance rather than strength-endurance. Once you get past that, you can keep going for a long time. That is, if you can do 250 consecutive sit-ups, you can probably do 1000.[/QUOTE]

jakesteele
22nd July 2010, 07:49 PM
=littleroundman;6151615]1) What's an "average" person ???

You and I

What I CAN tell you from experience, is that someone "off the street" with no experience but a large amount of bravery can easily "firewalk" 10 meters with no preparation, but an expertly prepared "fire"

I guess what I'm trying to find out is the difference between an average person like you and I doing 10 meters as opposed to 420ft. world record distance. It seems that you would definitely run out of Leiden Frost at that distance.

If you know of an "average" person who is prepared to do a quick walk through to see how long he/she makes it without damage, feel free.

I know of average Joe's who can do quick walks, but none that have gone 400 feet.

2) There is no "running out of steam" before the supernatural is considered.

Please stop using the word 'supernatural'. I did not offer that as an explanation, others did. What I have asked is this:

1. How far can the average person go before that happens?
2. How is it done after the standard explanations run out of “steam” and the supernatural is not considered?

Your explanations below sound reasonable, that's all I've been getting at the whole time. Thank you.
********************************************

There ARE, however, people who very carefully maximize the effects of every factor given.

i.e. spend a large amount of time preparing the walk path
harden their feet
show only their "successful" attempts
modify their walk/running style to maximize the time their feet are actually in "contact" with the coals while maximizing the "recovery"
time their feet are not in contact.

The exaggerated "high lift" style of walking is not an accident. It is designed to allow for the body to transfer any residual heat away from the area via the bloodstream.

"Running" rather than "walking" increases the distance covered with little increase in the amount of actual contact time between feet and coals.

The amount of preparers/preparation time is not just for safety reasons.
The constant raking both ensures larger coals break down and a greater amount of ash is on top of the coals.

A lower ambient temperature effects the outcome.

Thickening/toughening the soles of the feet effects the outcome.[/QUOTE]

Akhenaten
22nd July 2010, 07:59 PM
I think that is matter over matter. I regularly wash dishes in 170F water. My hands have adapted to this, somehow, and it doesn't bother me a bit. I'm not doing anything conscious to achieve this, so there is no "mind" involved.

Here's the problem I have with that: The hot dog analogy is by the average person who doesn't regularly wash dishes at 170F and who wouldn't be doing hot dogs 8 hrs. a day. I used to heat my house with a wood burning stove and the 'too hot to handle' never went away.

I don't know why everybody is so hung up over the term "mind over matter". People are attacking that and not addressing the questions I posed: How long do the Leiden Frost, coal insulation last before they exhaust themselves and what explanation can be given for long walks, stationary walks and extremely hot walks?

Again, if you don't know, cool; no harm no foul. Just say you don't know.

I suffer from chronic back pain that at times is very severe. I have learned to live with it, make it my friend, become one with it and all that other metaphysical stuff or whatever you want to call it. It takes practice and perseverance, and at first, a lot of will power. That was my mind overcoming the pain of my physical matter and learning how to control it instead of it controlling me.

On the other hand, I rarely drink hot beverages or soup (I don't drink coffee or tea). Hot drinks that regular coffee drinkers can drink without harm will cause burns to my lips and the roof of my mouth. My wife can start eating a hot bowl of soup right off the stove, while I have to wait a long time for it to cool.

That's not particularly difficult. I've done 1000 traditional sit-ups before. If he could do 1000 crunches, I'd be impressed.

A 1000 sit ups is very difficult or you would see a lot more of it in the schools. In high school the record for sit ups was nowhere near that and it was held by a 17 yr. old junior as opposed to a 12 yr. old kid.

If you've done a 1000 in a row, my hats off to you.

1. Learn to quote properly. The way you've done it above renders it almost impossible to tell which words are yours and which are Modified's.

2. Attempting to combine the topics of 'How many sit ups can a person do?' with 'Firewalking heat and distance questions.' is certainly novel, but it makes no sense at all to do so and simply confuses both issues. Pick one.

3. 'Mind over matter' is a meaningless phrase, and that is why people are 'hung up over it'. The physical properties of matter are not subject to alteration by the mind. Evidence to the contrary will earn you at least a million dollars. Got any?

littleroundman
22nd July 2010, 08:46 PM
Now I'm confused.

First of all "jakesteel" says:

I didn't say 'supernatural', you did, and you didn't answer my questions. You avoided them by sneering and mocking.

Thens a few posts later:

So it begs two questions:

1. How far can the average person go before that happens?
2. How is it done after the standard explanations run out of “steam” and the supernatural is not considered?

To be clear,

There is no "supernatural" consideration.

There is no definitive moment after which "supernatural" becomes the explanation.

There is only "people can perform the activity colloquially known as "firewalk" because of the reasons laid out above.

The only way to determine how far an "average" person can "firewalk" is to first define "average" THEN convince enough "average" people to try it.

There is no definitive formula and too many variables to even begin to nominate a figure.

What I CAN tell you though, with absolute certainty through experience, is that I have personally seen 600 or 700 "average" people complete a 10 meter "firewalk" without injury.

As far as knowing what distance it is possible to "firewalk"

How long is a piece of string ???

Epok
22nd July 2010, 10:06 PM
In the 1980s, Randi couldn't explain it either. If you click the following video link -- http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3999493355358083404 -- you will hear Randi say at minute 20 and second 33 of the video: "I've always been mystified by the reports that certain people had the ability to walk on red-hot embers or rocks or ash or actual flames and I'd never had the opportunity to see it and I'd often wondered about the accuracy of the reports." A short while later, after witnessing a firewalking demonstration, Randi examines the sole of a firewalker's foot and states: "That sole is no tougher than mine; that's no tougher than mine and yet the man can do it. I don't think I could." Finally, at the end of the firewalking segment, about three minutes later, Randi states: "I don't know, it's got me buffaloed."

It takes a lot of courage to say "I don't know". Especially when you're in Randi's position. But tenacity and persistance pays off. I'm sure he could explain it now. Its a good thing he didn't back down.

Ririon
22nd July 2010, 11:50 PM
The main elements are:

1) Low/slow conductivity of wood/embers
2) Low Heat capacity of embers

along with the combined effects of:

3) Relatively small length of time of actual foot/ember contact
4) area of contact reduced by irregular shape of coals/embers
5) Ash build up on coals/embers
6) redistribution of heat via blood supply of walker
7) varying levels of pain tolerance in walkers
8) "running" instead of "walking"

testing whether or not the "conductivity/heat capacity" explanation is valid is simple.

replace the wood with steel.

The explanations given so far are:
1) Relatively small length of time of actual foot/ember contact
2) area of contact reduced by irregular shape of coals/embers
3) Ash build up on coals/embers
4) redistribution of heat via blood supply of walker
5) varying levels of pain tolerance in walkers
6) "running" instead of "walking"

Why did you remove the main elements and renumber the list?

Sorry, but I don't understand what you're asking/saying.

Which word(s) are you having problems with?

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 05:45 AM
It takes a lot of courage to say "I don't know". Especially when you're in Randi's position. But tenacity and persistance pays off. I'm sure he could explain it now. Its a good thing he didn't back down.
The point that you should take away here is that, until relatively recently, most skeptics -- including Randi -- believed firewalking to be trickery. Now, they are trying to re-write history by claiming that they knew all along that there was a physiological explanation.

Sledge
23rd July 2010, 05:53 AM
How are you taking Randi saying "I don't know how this is done" and arriving at "it's a trick"?

Akhenaten
23rd July 2010, 06:07 AM
How are you taking Randi saying "I don't know how this is done" and arriving at "it's a trick"?

Mind over matter?

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 06:16 AM
How are you taking Randi saying "I don't know how this is done" and arriving at "it's a trick"?
For one thing, Randi says in the video: "I'd often wondered about the accuracy of the reports." For a second, I remember how firewalking was once scoffed at by the skeptical community. I think this passage from a 1948 book sums up the attitude that existed until a few scientists actually took the time to investigate firewalking:

"War has been waged steadily on superstitions for at least two centuries. The growth of the sciences was dependent on the ability of scientists to fight up through superstitions and religious dogmatic taboos. Today, however, scientific denial of psychic and psychological phenomena has turned out to be a dogmatic taboo of science itself. Our schools and our press have done their best for years to discredit all things which could not be explained, setting up the cry of 'Black superstition!' Because of this attitude the average person has been led to believe that all magic, and especially such things as fire-walking, are the beginning and end of trickery." See http://www.sacred-texts.com/nth/ssbm/ssbm03.htm

Akhenaten
23rd July 2010, 06:35 AM
How are you taking Randi saying "I don't know how this is done" and arriving at "it's a trick"?

For one thing, Randi says in the video: "I'd often wondered about the accuracy of the reports."

How are you taking Randi saying "I'd often wondered about the accuracy of the reports." and arriving at "it's a trick"?

For a second, I remember how firewalking was once scoffed at by the skeptical community. I think this passage from a 1948 book sums up the attitude that existed until a few scientists actually took the time to investigate firewalking:

<snip>

How are you taking something that someone else said in 1948 and arriving at Randi saying "it's a trick"???

Geeze Louise.

ExMinister
23rd July 2010, 06:43 AM
The point that you should take away here is that, until relatively recently, most skeptics -- including Randi -- believed firewalking to be trickery. Now, they are trying to re-write history by claiming that they knew all along that there was a physiological explanation.

Then again, there IS a trick to it and there is often trickery involved.

Again, I guess it comes down to there being more than one camp - those who are unaware that they aren't drawing on supernatural ability (no trickery in the sense that no deliberate deception was involved), and those who must know there is a physiologic explanation as they design firewalking seminars according to the parameters that would prevent people from being seriously burned (trickery involved).

The latter group, the seminar leaders and others, do not trouble to explain that they have carefully designed the experience to minimize the chances of the participants being severely burned, while encouraging them to believe that their state of mind before participating is the key to their success (misleading/trickery involved).

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 06:44 AM
How are you taking Randi saying "I'd often wondered about the accuracy of the reports." and arriving at "it's a trick"?

How are you taking something that someone else said in 1948 and arriving at Randi saying "it's a trick"???

Geeze Louise.
If Randi thought there was a physiological explanation, why trek all the way to Sri Lanka? It's pretty obvious that he went there to expose firewalking as a trick, but then was "buffaloed." But now he would like you to believe that he knew all along that there was a physiological explanation.

Akhenaten
23rd July 2010, 06:50 AM
If Randi thought there was a physiological explanation, why trek all the way to Sri Lanka? It's pretty obvious that he went there to expose firewalking as a trick, but then was "buffaloed." But now he would like you to believe that he knew all along that there was a physiological explanation.

Speculate much?

Sledge
23rd July 2010, 06:53 AM
If Randi thought there was a physiological explanation, why trek all the way to Sri Lanka?To find out how it was done?
It's pretty obvious that he went there to expose firewalking as a trick, but then was "buffaloed." But now he would like you to believe that he knew all along that there was a physiological explanation.
If it's so obvious, perhaps you could explain how you arrived at this obvious conclusion.

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 07:04 AM
Speculate much?
Nope. In the 1980s, Randi was one of the leading luminaries of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. And what was CSICOP's attitude toward firewalking? As George Hansen notes:

"When CSICOP first began, it focused on paranormal topics. This position has shifted slightly over the years, but the Committee primarily restricts its commentary to areas considered marginal or 'fringe' by the scientific establishment. Carl Sagan (1987) gave an extensive listing of topics covered by the Committee:

"the Bermuda Triangle; 'Big Foot' and the Loch Ness monster; 'crashed' flying saucers; claims that you can levitate yourself by meditating; ESP; the view that the Earth is really flat; the Shroud of Turin; divining rods and water witching; Nostradamus; the notion that more crimes are committed when the moon is full; palmistry; numerology; 'remote viewing'; cult archaeology; a Soviet elephant that talks fluent Russian and a Soviet 'sensitive' who, blindfolded, reads books with her fingertips; Edgar Cayce and other 'prophets,' sleeping and awake; diet quackery; ancient maps of Antarctica; 'dream telepathy'; faith-healer fraud; analysis of a poltergeist in Columbus, Ohio, and how the scam was discovered; fire walking; phrenology; the 'hundredth monkey' confusion; biorhythms; creationism; the emotional lives of plants; the systematically inept predictions of Jeanne Dixon and others; dianetics; Carlos Castenada [sic] and 'sorcery'; the search for Noah’s Ark; the 'Amityville Horror' hoax; miracles; mummies’ curses; Atlantis and other 'lost' continents; and innumerable cases of acute credulity by newspapers, magazines, and television specials and news programs. (p. 12)" See http://www.tricksterbook.com/ArticlesOnline/CSICOPoverview.htm at 39-40.

Akhenaten
23rd July 2010, 07:15 AM
<snipped everything that isn't Randi saying "It's a trick.">

Give up.

Sledge
23rd July 2010, 07:17 AM
Rodney, you don't seem to be grasping what we're asking. Now don't get me wrong, top marks for doing some research. What's needed to really take home an A grade on your report card is: can you tell us where what you've found shows that Randi said firewalking was a trick?

dlorde
23rd July 2010, 07:43 AM
Successful fire-walking does require a correctly prepared walk. People have been burned, some seriously, fire-walking. I recall a news item some years ago of burns suffered on a works 'team bonding' day where fire-walking was one of the activities.

See Firewalk Warning (http://www.blazefirewalking.com/warning.html), Pediatric Firewalk Burns (http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.medbc.com/annals/review/vol_17/num_3/text/vol17n3p124.asp), Firewalking in Singapore - a profile of the burn patient (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9114688), etc.

It's always seemed crazy to me to take the risk of serious burns just to prove a point.

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 08:18 AM
Rodney, you don't seem to be grasping what we're asking. Now don't get me wrong, top marks for doing some research. What's needed to really take home an A grade on your report card is: can you tell us where what you've found shows that Randi said firewalking was a trick?
I don't have a smoking gun where he actually says that, but consider the evidence:

(1) In the 1980s, CSICOP, of which Randi was probably its most prominent member, lumped firewalking with "fringe" ideas such as "the view that the Earth is really flat . . . a Soviet elephant that talks fluent Russian . . . analysis of a poltergeist in Columbus, Ohio, and how the scam was discovered . . ."

(2) Randi says in the firewalking video: "I'd often wondered about the accuracy of the reports." If he knew that firewalking had a physiological explanation, why question the accuracy of the reports and why go to the far ends of the earth to observe it?

(3) Randi admitted in the video that he was "buffaloed." If he thought that firewalking was not a trick, why didn't he instead say something along the lines of "there has got to be a rational explanation for this, but I'm not sure of what it is"?

(4) Randi's Encyclopedia informs the reader: "fire walking This stunt consists of walking barefoot over a bed of glowing coals (usually charcoal) and emerging unharmed. The secret is not in preparation of the mind, the soul or the sole, as often claimed, but in the fact that wood ash has very low 'specific heat' and does not hold as much heat energy as other substances. A frying pan, placed in the path of the fire walker, would burn the foot badly if stepped into." See http://www.randi.org/encyclopedia/fire%20walking.html

If you look at Randi's history of exposing trickery, it's pretty obvious that he went to Sri Lanka to expose firewalking as just another trick that had fooled people for years. Now, he wants to pretend that he never believed that.

littleroundman
23rd July 2010, 08:20 AM
"Pretty obvious"

Oh, well,

that's settled, then.

Next subject.

Akhenaten
23rd July 2010, 08:38 AM

timebomb
23rd July 2010, 09:06 AM
Here in Singapore where I live, many Hindus take part in a fire-walking ceremony every Thaipusam. I'm a land surveyor and a few of my workers who work with me as land survey assistants are Hindus. I've talked to them about the fire-walking ceremony many times. They think it's their god who is protecting them from being burnt. They say they have to fast (including no sex and no sleeping on a bed) for a month before they can safely walk across the burning pit of charcoal without any harm. Some of them do get burnt though, despite the fasting. Usually they are the ones who instead of walking quickly, dash across the pit and fall.

My men are manual workers. The thing I noticed is that they have very tough skins on the soles of their feet. One of them use to show off how tough the skin on his sole is by killing a lighted cigarette butt with his bare foot. Once, whilst doing survey in a flooded area, we all have to take off our boots. And when we were walking back to my car, my bare feet suffered a lot of small cuts from walking along a road made of hardcore. But my men had no such problems. They walked along the hardcore road with their bare feet as if they had their shoes on.

The Hindu who likes to step on lighted cigarette butts tells me that occasionally, when he walks across the burning pit of charcoal, he gets burnt too. That happens when a small piece of charcoal dislodges from the pit and attaches itself to the side of his leg. So if you believe they have some magical power, it would seem strange that their magic does not extend beyond their feet.

Only men are allowed to take part in the fire-walking ceremony. I think the obvious reason is women usually have softer skins on the soles of their feet.

Loh K L

Akhenaten
23rd July 2010, 09:25 AM
I wonder how the faithful rationalise the ability of infidels to be able to do the same thing without all the fasting and abstinence and stuff.

zooterkin
23rd July 2010, 09:35 AM
If you look at Randi's history of exposing trickery, it's pretty obvious that he went to Sri Lanka to expose firewalking as just another trick that had fooled people for years. Now, he wants to pretend that he never believed that.

I'm still not quite sure what point you're trying to make. The 'trick' is that there is no trick, except for very specific preparation being needed (particular sorts of embers, limited length of walk, walking in a particular way). The nonsense is in the mental preparation being needed. So, when Randi first saw it, he didn't know how it was done. Now he does. Do you suppose he might have spent some of the intervening time, I don't know, investigating the issue?

paximperium
23rd July 2010, 09:47 AM
So has Rodney failed in his speculations and baseless claims again?

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 09:53 AM
I'm still not quite sure what point you're trying to make. The 'trick' is that there is no trick, except for very specific preparation being needed (particular sorts of embers, limited length of walk, walking in a particular way). The nonsense is in the mental preparation being needed. So, when Randi first saw it, he didn't know how it was done. Now he does. Do you suppose he might have spent some of the intervening time, I don't know, investigating the issue?
Yes, but he's not admitting that. To read his encyclopedia entry and other recent pronouncements, you would think that he knew all along how firewalking was done.

Akhenaten
23rd July 2010, 09:58 AM
Yes, but he's not admitting that. To read his encyclopedia entry and other recent pronouncements, you would think that he knew all along how firewalking was done.

Maybe he did and he was just, you know . . . trickin' us.

paximperium
23rd July 2010, 09:59 AM
Yes, but he's not admitting that. To read his encyclopedia entry and other recent pronouncements, you would think that he knew all along how firewalking was done.
Really where?

rustypouch
23rd July 2010, 10:20 AM
It's easy to do for yourself.

Set up a fire of appropriate size, and let it burn down to embers. then walk across it.

Just don't use old pallets for firewood. Trust me.

Emet
23rd July 2010, 10:25 AM
Yes, but he's not admitting that. To read his encyclopedia entry and other recent pronouncements, you would think that he knew all along how firewalking was done.

Maybe the fire within his sole burned out about the issue. There are always bigger fish to fry.

Akhenaten
23rd July 2010, 10:26 AM
Here's a video of something pretty obvious happening (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3127175426821457459&hl=en#docid=-7080607594096749173).

"Mind over matter . . . blah, blah, blah . . . he just wants to chat with us before the ambulance takes him away."

Idiot.

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 10:36 AM
Really where?
"As to Fijian firewalking, he [Randi] says he never said he couldn't explain it, and in fact he has done the firewalking himself! There's a skeptic in California who demonstrates how it's done every two weeks! He shows volunteers how to do it. Basically the islanders use a volcanic rock which does not hold heat -- these rocks have low 'specific heat', like the space shuttle tiles." See http://www.darkecho.com/skepticalbeliever/two.html

zooterkin
23rd July 2010, 10:40 AM
"As to Fijian firewalking, he [Randi] says he never said he couldn't explain it, and in fact he has done the firewalking himself! There's a skeptic in California who demonstrates how it's done every two weeks! He shows volunteers how to do it. Basically the islanders use a volcanic rock which does not hold heat -- these rocks have low 'specific heat', like the space shuttle tiles." See http://www.darkecho.com/skepticalbeliever/two.html

That's a different thing, it's walking on hot rocks, not hot ashes.

paximperium
23rd July 2010, 10:47 AM
Is someone desperately trying to find anything to fit into his unsupported claim?

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 11:55 AM
That's a different thing, it's walking on hot rocks, not hot ashes.
The confusion here is that a man by the name of John Alexander "claimed that Randi has been 'caught running away after it worked' and he gave as example Randi's alleged reaction to observing Fijian firewalking: The well known phenomenon of the Fiji islanders walking across hot coals barefoot. Alexander claimed that Randi had seen this happen and admitted that he didn't know how it happened." See again http://www.darkecho.com/skepticalbeliever/two.html. So, Mr. Alexander likely confused "Fijian" with "Sri Lankan" firewalking. The key point here is that the author of this article, John Shirley, who is clearly on Randi's side ("These people are not giving away a million dollars for arguable 'indicators'. They are giving out a million buckeroos in exchange for definite proof. I don't see what's unreasonable in that. The bottom line is, the burden of proof is on the claimant.") quotes Randi as saying that "he never said he couldn't explain it [firewalking]." So did Shirley make that up, or is Randi forgetting that he was "buffaloed" by Sri Lankan firewalking?

Akhenaten
23rd July 2010, 12:04 PM
The confusion here is that . . .

<snip>

. . . the dead horse you're flogging has nothing to do with the topic of the thread.

zooterkin
23rd July 2010, 12:05 PM
The confusion here is that a man by the name of John Alexander "claimed that Randi has been 'caught running away after it worked' and he gave as example Randi's alleged reaction to observing Fijian firewalking: The well known phenomenon of the Fiji islanders walking across hot coals barefoot. Alexander claimed that Randi had seen this happen and admitted that he didn't know how it happened." See again http://www.darkecho.com/skepticalbeliever/two.html. So, Mr. Alexander likely confused "Fijian" with "Sri Lankan" firewalking. The key point here is that the author of this article, John Shirley, who is clearly on Randi's side ("These people are not giving away a million dollars for arguable 'indicators'. They are giving out a million buckeroos in exchange for definite proof. I don't see what's unreasonable in that. The bottom line is, the burden of proof is on the claimant.") quotes Randi as saying that "he never said he couldn't explain it [firewalking]." So did Shirley make that up, or is Randi forgetting that he was "buffaloed" by Sri Lankan firewalking?

I have no idea what point you're trying to make. Could you restate it clearly?

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 01:15 PM
I have no idea what point you're trying to make. Could you restate it clearly?
It's very simple: The evidence indicates that Randi went to Sri Lanka to expose firewalking as a trick. He failed, but subsequently learned that there might be a scientific explanation for how it is accomplished. So, he now is in denial about his original misconception and acts as if he knew all along that there was a scientific explanation for it.

Gr8wight
23rd July 2010, 01:20 PM
It's very simple: The evidence indicates that Randi went to Sri Lanka to expose firewalking as a trick. He failed, but subsequently learned that there might be a scientific explanation for how it is accomplished. So, he now is in denial about his original misconception and acts as if he knew all along that there was a scientific explanation for it.

Therefore, Psychics are real!

zooterkin
23rd July 2010, 01:28 PM
It's very simple: The evidence indicates that Randi went to Sri Lanka to expose firewalking as a trick. He failed, but subsequently learned that there might be a scientific explanation for how it is accomplished. So, he now is in denial about his original misconception and acts as if he knew all along that there was a scientific explanation for it.
Even if this was true (and I don't think you've actually made a case for it; for example you haven't shown that Fijian fire-walking is the same as Sri Lankan), what would this prove, exactly? That Randi has an unreliable memory? Or that he would lie about something so trivial?

ExMinister
23rd July 2010, 01:48 PM
It's very simple: The evidence indicates that Randi went to Sri Lanka to expose firewalking as a trick. He failed, but subsequently learned that there might be a scientific explanation for how it is accomplished. So, he now is in denial about his original misconception and acts as if he knew all along that there was a scientific explanation for it.

I guess I'm still not seeing the difference here. What was the original misconception? As a person who doesn't believe in the paranormal, wouldn't it go without saying that Randi thought there was a scientific/naturalistic explanation for firewalking all along? Again, some people have mastered the science behind it and use it as a form of trickery, deliberately misleading people, and some don't, but how does that make Randi wrong?

MattusMaximus
23rd July 2010, 01:57 PM
Not only that but it seems to me it should be called hot coal walking. Real fire walking should involve a supernatural power to walk through open flames unharmed, shouldn't it?

As both a physics professor and someone who actually has performed firewalking (both properly and improperly - ouch), I can only say this...

If some New Age firewalking guru wants to impress me with his/her supernatural or paranormal abilities, I'd like to see them walk barefoot across a bed of red hot metal - I wonder why we never see that? :)

MattusMaximus
23rd July 2010, 02:00 PM
It's very simple: The evidence indicates that Randi went to Sri Lanka to expose firewalking as a trick. He failed, but subsequently learned that there might be a scientific explanation for how it is accomplished. So, he now is in denial about his original misconception and acts as if he knew all along that there was a scientific explanation for it.

So... because, in your view, Randi failed to catch the trick, then firewalking is supernatural?

That's like saying that because you cannot figure out how Banachek performs some of his mentalism tricks, then he's telepathic :rolleyes:

Or are you just into talking smack about Randi?

KingMerv00
23rd July 2010, 02:01 PM
I'll say it again:

If there is something supernatural about " Fire Walking ", there is no reason why we should not be seeing ' Fire Sitting " ; or for that matter " Fire Head Standing "..

I think a better analogy would be "skillet walking" because it shows firewalking is related to the material on which you walk.

Edit: Ninja'd by Maximus.

MattusMaximus
23rd July 2010, 02:06 PM
That's a different thing, it's walking on hot rocks, not hot ashes.

The point is that all the materials that people walk on when performing firewalking - whether it be ash, charcoal, or lava rocks - generally have the same thing in common: they all tend to have a low heat conductivity. And this seems to be the key to the entire endeavor: use materials that, while very hot, cannot conduct the heat very quickly and/or efficiently to the walker.

As I said before, if a firewalker really wants to impress me that there is something potentially supernatural/paranormal going on with firewalking, then I'd like to see them walk barefoot across a 20-30 foot long strip of red hot metal. This is because metals have, by comparison, very high heat conductivity.

My guess is they'll only do it once ;)

Dr. Keith
23rd July 2010, 02:13 PM
The point is that all the materials that people walk on when performing firewalking - whether it be ash, charcoal, or lava rocks - generally have the same thing in common: they all tend to have a low heat conductivity. And this seems to be the key to the entire endeavor: use materials that, while very hot, cannot conduct the heat very quickly and/or efficiently to the walker.

As I said before, if a firewalker really wants to impress me that there is something potentially supernatural/paranormal going on with firewalking, then I'd like to see them walk barefoot across a 20-30 foot long strip of red hot metal. This is because metals have, by comparison, very high heat conductivity.

My guess is they'll only do it once ;)

I'd settle for a black asphalt parking lot on a hot sunny day in phoenix. Ambient temp around 110 F and surface having been in direct sunlight for at least 8 hours. Even that would be too hot.

Call it a first round test. We can move to glowing steel plates after they get out of the burn unit and have had time to blame the poor chi in that part of phoenix.

Skeptical Greg
23rd July 2010, 02:19 PM
:D

MattusMaximus
23rd July 2010, 02:22 PM
I'd settle for a black asphalt parking lot on a hot sunny day in phoenix. Ambient temp around 110 F and surface having been in direct sunlight for at least 8 hours. Even that would be too hot.

The temperature isn't the key factor - the conductivity of the material is what matters. There's a difference.

Call it a first round test. We can move to glowing steel plates after they get out of the burn unit and have had time to blame the poor chi in that part of phoenix.

Lolz :D

zooterkin
23rd July 2010, 02:41 PM
The point is that all the materials that people walk on when performing firewalking - whether it be ash, charcoal, or lava rocks - generally have the same thing in common: they all tend to have a low heat conductivity. And this seems to be the key to the entire endeavor: use materials that, while very hot, cannot conduct the heat very quickly and/or efficiently to the walker.

Yes, I know. I was pointing out that it was possible for Randi to know how one particular way of firewalking might work (due to low heat capacity and conductivity of a type of rock), while not yet being aware of how a slightly different method (using hot ashes) was achieved.

However, I'm still struggling to understand exactly what point Rodney is trying to make

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 05:46 PM
Even if this was true (and I don't think you've actually made a case for it; for example you haven't shown that Fijian fire-walking is the same as Sri Lankan), what would this prove, exactly? That Randi has an unreliable memory? Or that he would lie about something so trivial?
First, the "Fijian" firewalking is a red herring. Second, I believe that Randi, either consciously or unconsciously, does not want to admit that he was wrong about firewalking being a trick, because that might call into question whether he's also wrong about other things.

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 05:55 PM
I guess I'm still not seeing the difference here. What was the original misconception? As a person who doesn't believe in the paranormal, wouldn't it go without saying that Randi thought there was a scientific/naturalistic explanation for firewalking all along? Again, some people have mastered the science behind it and use it as a form of trickery, deliberately misleading people, and some don't, but how does that make Randi wrong?
Again, in the 1980s, Randi and other members of CSICOP clearly thought firewalking was a trick, along the lines of spoon-bending. But when that notion was discredited, they didn't admit that they were wrong, but acted as if they knew all along that it was real, but explainable by the laws of physics.

Jeff Corey
23rd July 2010, 06:05 PM
The way I do it is to dunk my feet in ice water for ten minutes and then dry them off with a towel.
It's difficult to cook a frozen steak.
It;s a variation on the "putting out a cigarette between your fingers" trick.

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 06:09 PM
So... because, in your view, Randi failed to catch the trick, then firewalking is supernatural?

That's like saying that because you cannot figure out how Banachek performs some of his mentalism tricks, then he's telepathic :rolleyes:

Or are you just into talking smack about Randi?
The thing that bothers me about Randi and many other skeptics is that they often think they have sufficient knowledge to brand something as a trick when they don't, in fact, have such knowledge. Instead of investigating a puzzling phenomenon, they dismiss it.

So, yes, I'm talking "smack" about Randi.:)

Jeff Corey
23rd July 2010, 06:11 PM
double post

Jeff Corey
23rd July 2010, 06:16 PM
Again, in the 1980s, Randi and other members of CSICOP clearly thought firewalking was a trick, along the lines of spoon-bending. But when that notion was discredited, they didn't admit that they were wrong, but acted as if they knew all along that it was real, but explainable by the laws of physics.
Gee, I was following that at the time and my memory says no. I don't believe you. If you have some references that we can see, I will change my opinion. As it stands, you have no proof.

jhunter1163
23rd July 2010, 06:19 PM
The point is that there is a non-paranormal explanation for firewalking. Randi may have been wrong in thinking it was a matter of trickery rather than careful preparation, but the fact remains that firewalking can be explained without doing violence to our scientific understanding.

tsig
23rd July 2010, 06:30 PM
Yes, I know. I was pointing out that it was possible for Randi to know how one particular way of firewalking might work (due to low heat capacity and conductivity of a type of rock), while not yet being aware of how a slightly different method (using hot ashes) was achieved.

However, I'm still struggling to understand exactly what point Rodney is trying to make

Randi is a liar and a cheat therefore the paranormal is real.

ETA: I see that Rodney has admitted that that was his motive.

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 06:37 PM
Gee, I was following that at the time and my memory says no. I don't believe you. If you have some references that we can see, I will change my opinion. As it stands, you have no proof.
Again, I refer you to CSICOP's "hit-list" (from Post # 47 on this thread):

"the Bermuda Triangle; 'Big Foot' and the Loch Ness monster; 'crashed' flying saucers; claims that you can levitate yourself by meditating; ESP; the view that the Earth is really flat; the Shroud of Turin; divining rods and water witching; Nostradamus; the notion that more crimes are committed when the moon is full; palmistry; numerology; 'remote viewing'; cult archaeology; a Soviet elephant that talks fluent Russian and a Soviet 'sensitive' who, blindfolded, reads books with her fingertips; Edgar Cayce and other 'prophets,' sleeping and awake; diet quackery; ancient maps of Antarctica; 'dream telepathy'; faith-healer fraud; analysis of a poltergeist in Columbus, Ohio, and how the scam was discovered; fire walking; phrenology; the 'hundredth monkey' confusion; biorhythms; creationism; the emotional lives of plants; the systematically inept predictions of Jeanne Dixon and others; dianetics; Carlos Castenada [sic] and 'sorcery'; the search for Noah’s Ark; the 'Amityville Horror' hoax; miracles; mummies’ curses; Atlantis and other 'lost' continents; and innumerable cases of acute credulity by newspapers, magazines, and television specials and news programs."

Why is firewalking on that list?

paximperium
23rd July 2010, 06:42 PM
So has Rodney provided any of this evidence yet?
Seems strangely similar to any other Rodney-claims.

paximperium
23rd July 2010, 06:44 PM
Again, I refer you to CSICOP's "hit-list" (from Post # 47 on this thread):

"the Bermuda Triangle; 'Big Foot' and the Loch Ness monster; 'crashed' flying saucers; claims that you can levitate yourself by meditating; ESP; the view that the Earth is really flat; the Shroud of Turin; divining rods and water witching; Nostradamus; the notion that more crimes are committed when the moon is full; palmistry; numerology; 'remote viewing'; cult archaeology; a Soviet elephant that talks fluent Russian and a Soviet 'sensitive' who, blindfolded, reads books with her fingertips; Edgar Cayce and other 'prophets,' sleeping and awake; diet quackery; ancient maps of Antarctica; 'dream telepathy'; faith-healer fraud; analysis of a poltergeist in Columbus, Ohio, and how the scam was discovered; fire walking; phrenology; the 'hundredth monkey' confusion; biorhythms; creationism; the emotional lives of plants; the systematically inept predictions of Jeanne Dixon and others; dianetics; Carlos Castenada [sic] and 'sorcery'; the search for Noah’s Ark; the 'Amityville Horror' hoax; miracles; mummies’ curses; Atlantis and other 'lost' continents; and innumerable cases of acute credulity by newspapers, magazines, and television specials and news programs."

Why is firewalking on that list?
Why don't you tell us? What is the purpose of the hit-list?

Jeff Corey
23rd July 2010, 06:46 PM
Again, I refer you to CSICOP's "hit-list" (from Post # 47 on this thread):

"the Bermuda Triangle; 'Big Foot' and the Loch Ness monster; 'crashed' flying saucers; claims that you can levitate yourself by meditating; ESP; the view that the Earth is really flat; the Shroud of Turin; divining rods and water witching; Nostradamus; the notion that more crimes are committed when the moon is full; palmistry; numerology; 'remote viewing'; cult archaeology; a Soviet elephant that talks fluent Russian and a Soviet 'sensitive' who, blindfolded, reads books with her fingertips; Edgar Cayce and other 'prophets,' sleeping and awake; diet quackery; ancient maps of Antarctica; 'dream telepathy'; faith-healer fraud; analysis of a poltergeist in Columbus, Ohio, and how the scam was discovered; fire walking; phrenology; the 'hundredth monkey' confusion; biorhythms; creationism; the emotional lives of plants; the systematically inept predictions of Jeanne Dixon and others; dianetics; Carlos Castenada [sic] and 'sorcery'; the search for Noah’s Ark; the 'Amityville Horror' hoax; miracles; mummies’ curses; Atlantis and other 'lost' continents; and innumerable cases of acute credulity by newspapers, magazines, and television specials and news programs."

Why is firewalking on that list?

Like it says, "covered by the committee". Where does it say that Randi said it was anything?

Rodney
23rd July 2010, 07:06 PM
Like it says, "covered by the committee". Where does it say that Randi said it was anything?
Name anything else on that list that Randi and CSICOP do not view with derision.

Frying Dutchmen
23rd July 2010, 07:22 PM
Name anything else on that list that Randi and CSICOP do not view with derision.

Name one of them that is real and not someone tricking someone else or themselves or an Urban legend.

littleroundman
23rd July 2010, 10:29 PM
One of the benefits of being a JREF newbie is the fact I have no idea of the motivation/agenda of posters such as young "Rodney"

Perhaps more experienced members could enlighten me as to what "Rodney" is attempting to say.

For example, is Rod the type of person who attends a David Copperfield performance and believes Copperfield does, in fact, have magic powers if he (Rodney) cannot find the "trick" behind each "trick"

Does "Rodney" define everyone who performs "tricks" as being the same, whether the performer is attempting to defraud viewers or is a recognized "performer" ???

To Rodney, is an Anthony Robbins "overcome your fear" firewalk the same as a holyman invoking the "Gods" firewalk or a "give me your money and I'll teach you a secret" firewalk ???

zooterkin
24th July 2010, 12:06 AM
First, the "Fijian" firewalking is a red herring. Second, I believe that Randi, either consciously or unconsciously, does not want to admit that he was wrong about firewalking being a trick, because that might call into question whether he's also wrong about other things.

First of all, unlike another gentleman of a similar age, Randi doesn't claim to be infallible. That said, the question about firewalking is not so much whether it can be done but whether there is a paranormal aspect to it; certainly that is what was being claimed by the people doing it (and still is, by some). That would be enough for it to be on that list of apparently paranormal phenomena.

Now, please explain what difference there is between the explanation being a 'trick', and the explanation being simple physics? In either case, if the proponent of firewalking is claiming some paranormal ability, or "mind over matter", or whatever, is enabling them to walk on hot coals without getting burnt, they are wrong. How is using a tightly controlled set of conditions not a 'trick', anyway?

What exactly do you think Randi was wrong about, and what evidence do you have to support it?

Frying Dutchmen
24th July 2010, 02:55 AM
One of the benefits of being a JREF newbie is the fact I have no idea of the motivation/agenda of posters such as young "Rodney"

Perhaps more experienced members could enlighten me as to what "Rodney" is attempting to say.

For example, is Rod the type of person who attends a David Copperfield performance and believes Copperfield does, in fact, have magic powers if he (Rodney) cannot find the "trick" behind each "trick"

Does "Rodney" define everyone who performs "tricks" as being the same, whether the performer is attempting to defraud viewers or is a recognized "performer" ???

To Rodney, is an Anthony Robbins "overcome your fear" firewalk the same as a holyman invoking the "Gods" firewalk or a "give me your money and I'll teach you a secret" firewalk ???

What I'm getting from his posts is, James Randi doesn't know all the answers straight off the bat so firewalking and everything else are real paranormal phenomena

Sledge
24th July 2010, 03:34 AM
The thing that bothers me about Randi and many other skeptics is that they often think they have sufficient knowledge to brand something as a trick when they don't, in fact, have such knowledge. Instead of investigating a puzzling phenomenon, they dismiss it.

So, yes, I'm talking "smack" about Randi.:)

So when Randi said he didn't know how firewalking worked and went to investigate it, he was actually calling it a trick and not investigating it?

Rodney
24th July 2010, 07:37 AM
What exactly do you think Randi was wrong about, and what evidence do you have to support it?
Okay, one more time: Randi -- and CSICOP in general -- thought firewalking was a trick, along the lines of levitation or a Soviet elephant that talks fluent Russian. The evidence is that: (1) firewalking was included in CSICOP's list that exclusively featured claims that CSICOP regards as completely unsupported -- review the list and see if you can find anything else that CSICOP believes is credible; (2) Randi can be heard on the video that I linked to questioning the accuracy of firewalking reports; and (3) Randi was caught completely flat-footed by the firewalking demonstration that he witnessed in Sri Lanka -- he had no explanation, but rather was "buffaloed."

So, Randi went to Sri Lanka thinking he could expose firewalking as a trick, but discovered that he was wrong. However, he later learned that there was a possible scientific explanation for it. At that point, he latched on to that explanation, and now promotes the fiction that he never said that he could not explain how firewalking works.

Akhenaten
24th July 2010, 08:01 AM
Okay, one more time: Randi -- and CSICOP in general -- thought firewalking was a trick, along the lines of levitation or a Soviet elephant that talks fluent Russian.

The way a lot of less-than-scrupulous people present firewalking, it is along those lines. In any case, so what?

The evidence is that: (1) firewalking was included in CSICOP's list that exclusively featured claims that CSICOP regards as completely unsupported -- review the list and see if you can find anything else that CSICOP believes is credible;

Claims that firewalking is achieved through some paranormal means such as 'mind over matter' are indeed unsupported and lacking in credibility. It's possible that 30 years ago the physics of how it's done was less well understood than it is now.

Cool. Progress has been made. Thanks, Mr Randi.

(2) Randi can be heard on the video that I linked to questioning the accuracy of firewalking reports;

And rightly so. A lot of reports that one can still find today about it are highly questionable, so it's little surprise that Randi found the same thing during the 80s.

and (3) Randi was caught completely flat-footed by the firewalking demonstration that he witnessed in Sri Lanka -- he had no explanation, but rather was "buffaloed."

Once again, how do you get from Randi saying he doesn't understand something to him declaring that "it must be a trick"?

So, Randi went to Sri Lanka thinking he could expose firewalking as a trick, but discovered that he was wrong.

You keep insisting this, but you haven't shown any such thing.

However, he later learned that there was a possible scientific explanation for it. At that point, he latched on to that explanation, and now promotes the fiction that he never said that he could not explain how firewalking works.

Where is the evidence that Randi is promoting this fiction? A fiction, I might add, that seems to be entirely of your creation.

What obscure point are you so desperate to make here that you refuse to stop derailing the thread with it?

Rodney
24th July 2010, 11:23 AM
Where is the evidence that Randi is promoting this fiction? A fiction, I might add, that seems to be entirely of your creation.
As I've already noted, John Shirley, who interviewed Randi and is supportive of him, states that Randi claims that he never said that he could not explain firewalking, which directly contradicts Randi's admission on the video that he was "buffaloed" by it.

What obscure point are you so desperate to make here that you refuse to stop derailing the thread with it?
That Randi is close-minded about many kinds of unusual phenomena, and when presented by evidence that disproved one of his beliefs, he refused to admit that he had been wrong.

paximperium
24th July 2010, 05:10 PM
As I've already noted, John Shirley, who interviewed Randi and is supportive of him, states that Randi claims that he never said that he could not explain firewalking, which directly contradicts Randi's admission on the video that he was "buffaloed" by it.

That Randi is close-minded about many kinds of unusual phenomena, and when presented by evidence that disproved one of his beliefs, he refused to admit that he had been wrong.
Okay. So?

Rodney
24th July 2010, 05:24 PM
Okay. So?
So: (1) Randi's credibility is diminished; and (2) Some of the other items on the CSICOP list of so-called fringe beliefs may have validity as well.

paximperium
24th July 2010, 06:02 PM
So: (1) Randi's credibility is diminished; and (2) Some of the other items on the CSICOP list of so-called fringe beliefs may have validity as well.Bwahahahahahahahahaha.
So that's your point?
That's all I needed to hear.

Frying Dutchmen
24th July 2010, 06:08 PM
So: (1) Randi's credibility is diminished; and (2) Some of the other items on the CSICOP list of so-called fringe beliefs may have validity as well.

1) No, because saying I don't doesn't mean he doesn't have a idea in his head.

2) Nope.

Here we have something that is perfectly explainable and yet you still want to apply the supernatural tag to it because James Randi 30 plus years ago said "I don't know". Give me a break.

Akhenaten
24th July 2010, 07:26 PM
So: (1) Randi's credibility is diminished; and

No.

(2) Some of the other items on the CSICOP list of so-called fringe beliefs may have validity as well.

No.

That's it??? Really????

zooterkin
24th July 2010, 09:46 PM
So: (1) Randi's credibility is diminished; and (2) Some of the other items on the CSICOP list of so-called fringe beliefs may have validity as well.

1) No.

2) What do you mean, may have validity as well? In what way does firewalking 'have validity'? You know very well we're not talking about whether people can do firewalking, it's about whether there is any paranormal ability involved in being able to do it without being hurt. There isn't, though it appears that 30 years ago, on seeing it close up for the first time, James Randi didn't immediately understand the mechanism. Big deal; see 1).

tsig
24th July 2010, 10:42 PM
No.

No.

That's it??? Really????

I can haz millionz now?

Randi is a liar and a cheat therefore the paranormal is real.

http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=6155136&postcount=89

LTC8K6
24th July 2010, 10:45 PM
Who had the bright idea to use a leaf blower on the coals?

Akhenaten
24th July 2010, 10:47 PM
I can haz millionz now?

Randi is a liar and a cheat therefore the paranormal is real.

http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=6155136&postcount=89

How can we be sure you didn't use trickery?

Akhenaten
24th July 2010, 10:53 PM
Who had the bright idea to use a leaf blower on the coals?

The Guinness Record people have rules for this stuff that require the temperature of the coals to be between 1000 - 2000°F.

zooterkin
24th July 2010, 11:00 PM
The Guinness Record people have rules for this stuff that require the temperature of the coals to be between 1000 - 2000°F.

Is that the surface temperature?

tsig
24th July 2010, 11:26 PM
How can we be sure you didn't use trickery?

Well I have read Rodneys' posts before.

Akhenaten
24th July 2010, 11:37 PM
Is that the surface temperature?

I don't know.

I've looked at a heap of firewalking sites and they all refer to either just 'the temperature of the coals/embers' or in many cases 'the average temperature'.

Those thermal imager thingies like the guy in the video was using are described simply as measuring temperature by means of IR radiation, so I don't know if that means surface temperature or what.

One thing I'd note though is that if the surface temperature of the coals was actually > 1000°F then we'd be looking at some seriously sizzled tootsies, wouldn't we?

Expert needed!

:)

littleroundman
25th July 2010, 04:07 AM
Yes,

it does mean surface temperature, AND there should be a greater proportion of "red" embers covering the length of the intended walk distance.

Which is one of the reasons for the disparity between so called "official" world record distances and some of the vastly greater distances claimed as non Guinness sanctioned record distances.

There is a great deal more "science" (or trickery, depending on viewpoint) goes into preparing a firewalk than meets the eye of the casual observer.

As well as the reasons already specified in my earlier post, ambient temperature, preparation of the edges of the bed, material used on the edges of the bad, type of wood used and time of day all have small, but significant effects on the outcome/s.

tsig
25th July 2010, 12:05 PM
Yes,

it does mean surface temperature, AND there should be a greater proportion of "red" embers covering the length of the intended walk distance.

Which is one of the reasons for the disparity between so called "official" world record distances and some of the vastly greater distances claimed as non Guinness sanctioned record distances.

There is a great deal more "science" (or trickery, depending on viewpoint) goes into preparing a firewalk than meets the eye of the casual observer.

As well as the reasons already specified in my earlier post, ambient temperature, preparation of the edges of the bed, material used on the edges of the bad, type of wood used and time of day all have small, but significant effects on the outcome/s.

I'm sure that the lack of objective observers helps on the longer claims.

We all know that one skeptic is more powerful than even the strongest of gurus.

MattusMaximus
25th July 2010, 03:28 PM
The thing that bothers me about Randi and many other skeptics is that they often think they have sufficient knowledge to brand something as a trick when they don't, in fact, have such knowledge. Instead of investigating a puzzling phenomenon, they dismiss it.

So, yes, I'm talking "smack" about Randi.:)

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, let's get back to the topic at hand.

MattusMaximus
25th July 2010, 03:34 PM
I don't know.

I've looked at a heap of firewalking sites and they all refer to either just 'the temperature of the coals/embers' or in many cases 'the average temperature'.

Those thermal imager thingies like the guy in the video was using are described simply as measuring temperature by means of IR radiation, so I don't know if that means surface temperature or what.

One thing I'd note though is that if the surface temperature of the coals was actually > 1000°F then we'd be looking at some seriously sizzled tootsies, wouldn't we?

Expert needed!

:)

Again, as a physics professor who has investigated firewalking (and done it, properly & improperly - ouch), I have to state - once again - that many people get overly distracted by the question of the temperature when, in fact, it is the conductivity of the materials which is key.

For example, one can relatively safely conduct a firewalk on ashen wooden coals that are at a temperature of about 600-800 F because, while they're very hot, they have a low heat conductivity so that heat cannot easily transfer to the walker's feet.

Contrast this with the prospect of walking across a slab of metal heated to about 300-400 F - even though the temperature is roughly half that of the wooden coals, the walker will likely receive serious burns (at least severe second degree, methinks) because the metal has a high heat conductivity.

This is why you'll never see a New Age firewalking guru conduct this supposedly paranormal/supernatural feat (pardon the pun) while walking across very hot metallic surfaces. There's a damn good reason why you only see these gurus walking on wooden ash/coals, charcoal, or materials like lava rocks, etc.

If you want to have some idea of the difference, think about baking a cake in the oven. Assume the oven temperature is about 350 F and you are employing the old trick of touching the top of the cake with your finger to see if it's done. If all you do is touch the cake, you're fine; but if your finger brushes up against the metal cake pan, even briefly, OUCH!

MattusMaximus
25th July 2010, 03:43 PM
So: (1) Randi's credibility is diminished; and (2) Some of the other items on the CSICOP list of so-called fringe beliefs may have validity as well.

So... because Randi may have erred in the past, that means that firewalking actually is paranormal/supernatural, and therefore some of these gurus really do have superhuman powers? Is that what you're saying? Seriously?

If so, then I suggest that you get trained by one of these gurus to go walk barefoot across red hot metal - get back to us with the results of your experiment (after you get out of the hospital) :rolleyes:

Rodney
25th July 2010, 05:29 PM
So... because Randi may have erred in the past, that means that firewalking actually is paranormal/supernatural, and therefore some of these gurus really do have superhuman powers? Is that what you're saying? Seriously?
No, what I'm saying is that Randi misjudged firewalking as a trick, just as I believe he has misjudged as tricks other things on the CSICOP list. Take Edgar Cayce, for example . . .

Sledge
25th July 2010, 05:42 PM
Cool. Where did Randi say it was a trick?

Frying Dutchmen
25th July 2010, 06:25 PM
No, what I'm saying is that Randi misjudged firewalking as a trick, just as I believe he has misjudged as tricks other things on the CSICOP list. Take Edgar Cayce, for example . . .

Okay Rodney what is it then? I'm learning towards trick, because there is a trick to walking over hot coal aka don't stand on the coals.

Rodney
25th July 2010, 06:28 PM
Cool. Where did Randi say it was a trick?
The evidence is circumstantial. Again, why was firewalking on CSICOP's list of things that only (in CSICOP's opinion) credulous people believe in?

Rodney
25th July 2010, 06:34 PM
Okay Rodney what is it then? I'm learning towards trick, because there is a trick to walking over hot coal aka don't stand on the coals.
You're using "trick" to mean "technique", but Randi alluded to the "accuracy of the reports", meaning that he didn't really think people were walking without foot protection across hot embers.

littleroundman
25th July 2010, 07:11 PM
You're using "trick" to mean "technique", but Randi alluded to the "accuracy of the reports", meaning that he didn't really think people were walking without foot protection across hot embers.

No, no "Rodney"

YOU are ignoring the fact there are "tricks" involved in firewalking which are nothing to do with "technique"

If somebody does a firewalk and claims he is able to do so because he has a mystical power THAT is a "trick"

If someone claims he is able to do a firewalk on "rocks" without disclosing the "rocks" are in fact highly porous volcanic lava of the type used in Fiji THAT is a "trick"
A "trick" which could only be verified by visiting the firewalk and identifying the type of "rock" used

If someone attempts a "world record firewalk" but then brushes a layer of fine ash over the embers, allows the embers to die down and "runs" over the distance while stepping off the firewalk occasionally onto wet grass then THAT is a "trick" (which is why, BTW, there is a HUGE disparity between what the Guinness Book people accept as being a legitimate record and what others claim as the record)

zooterkin
25th July 2010, 11:52 PM
The evidence is circumstantial. Again, why was firewalking on CSICOP's list of things that only (in CSICOP's opinion) credulous people believe in?

Do you think there is anything paranormal about firewalking?

zooterkin
25th July 2010, 11:58 PM
You're using "trick" to mean "technique", but Randi alluded to the "accuracy of the reports", meaning that he didn't really think people were walking without foot protection across hot embers.

Have you got an exact quote of what he said? Why should he not doubt such reports initially, anyway? He then did exactly the right thing, and went to investigate it first-hand, after which, and after some further research, he realised it was explainable by normal physics. What is your problem with this?

zooterkin
26th July 2010, 12:02 AM
The evidence is circumstantial.

You mean you don't have any?

Again, why was firewalking on CSICOP's list of things that only (in CSICOP's opinion) credulous people believe in?
First, I don't think you've established that was what the list was. Firewalking was reported as something you could only do if you had sufficient religious faith. That is the aspect that was under scrutiny.

zooterkin
26th July 2010, 12:06 AM
No, what I'm saying is that Randi misjudged firewalking as a trick, just as I believe he has misjudged as tricks other things on the CSICOP list.

Firewalking as typically presented is a trick. It does not depend on a miracle or faith or a special mental state; it depends on physics.

Take Edgar Cayce, for example . . .
So because firewalking is explainable by physics, some medium really wasn't a charlatan?

Akhenaten
26th July 2010, 12:28 AM
The evidence is circumstantial.

The circumstances being that you made it all up.

Again, why was firewalking on CSICOP's list of things that only (in CSICOP's opinion) credulous people believe in?

They're trying to trick people.

quarky
26th July 2010, 01:10 AM
There are limits, obviously, but I suspect the "record" fire walkers have been doing it for some time and have built up some kind of physical tolerance, so they can go longer and hotter than the average guy off the street.

When I was in grade school and they had us do sit-ups in gym class, if you made it to 100, you stopped there. Nobody ever kept records, and in high school the only records kept were for powerlifting, certainly not sit-ups.

The 24 hour record seems to be 111,000. That's more than one per second. If someone can do that, I think the average in-shape 12 year old boy can work up to 1000. There is a threshold at some point where it becomes pure endurance rather than strength-endurance. Once you get past that, you can keep going for a long time. That is, if you can do 250 consecutive sit-ups, you can probably do 1000.

My brother and I did 1000 in a row, together, a few times. Also 100 push-ups.
Not very extraordinary.

Rodney
26th July 2010, 05:32 AM
Do you think there is anything paranormal about firewalking?
Not that I'm aware of.

zooterkin
26th July 2010, 05:42 AM
Not that I'm aware of.

So Randi was right, then?

Rodney
26th July 2010, 05:45 AM
You mean you don't have any?
If you're looking for a quote from Randi, no. However, a lot of court cases are decided on circumstantial evidence.

First, I don't think you've established that was what the list was. Firewalking was reported as something you could only do if you had sufficient religious faith. That is the aspect that was under scrutiny.
Clearly everything else on CSICOP's list was something that CSICOP denigrated as being believed only by the credulous. So firewalking was a unique entry, in that only one unnamed aspect of it was actually on the list?

Rodney
26th July 2010, 05:46 AM
So Randi was right, then?
No, he was wrong in believing that it was a trick.

zooterkin
26th July 2010, 05:54 AM
No, he was wrong in believing that it was a trick.

Please explain why he was wrong. There is no supernatural or paranormal aspect to firewalking, but it was claimed that there was. That is why it was on the list.

Please also explain why, even if Randi was at one time wrong and believed firewalking must be a trick (though you have produced no evidence to show that), rather than that being one possibility he was considering, it matters. He then investigated further and found the explanation.

Akhenaten
26th July 2010, 05:56 AM
If you're looking for a quote from Randi, no. However, a lot of court cases are decided on circumstantial evidence.

What in the name of goodness are you on about?

Clearly everything else on CSICOP's list was something that CSICOP denigrated as being believed only by the credulous. So firewalking was a unique entry, in that only one unnamed aspect of it was actually on the list?

What's more, dead horse flogging was left off the list altogether.

Gr8wight
26th July 2010, 06:02 AM
*sigh*

I remember when this thread was about firewalking.

Akhenaten
26th July 2010, 06:38 AM
*sigh*

I remember when this thread was about firewalking.

Apologies for my part in the side-track. Back on the main line now.

:train

Modified
26th July 2010, 07:30 AM
which is why, BTW, there is a HUGE disparity between what the Guinness Book people accept as being a legitimate record and what others claim as the record

They keep "records" for firewalking? Does failure mean you didn't make it, or does a first, second, or third degree burn disqualify you? This seems akin to a "hitting yourself in the head with a hammer" record.

Rodney
26th July 2010, 07:55 AM
Please explain why he was wrong. There is no supernatural or paranormal aspect to firewalking, but it was claimed that there was. That is why it was on the list.
If that's your interpretation, fine.

Please also explain why, even if Randi was at one time wrong and believed firewalking must be a trick (though you have produced no evidence to show that), rather than that being one possibility he was considering, it matters.
It's important to show the overall mindset of CSICOP in general and Randi in particular -- anything that they judge too far out of the scientific mainstream they dismiss, even if that means ignoring evidence.

He then investigated further and found the explanation.
I don't know of any investigating that Randi did after his trip to Sri Lanka. Others did the investigating, Randi simply seized upon their findings as if he had always believed that firewalking was real.

And with that, I end this derail, which I know in their heart of hearts Randi Forumites found absolutely fascinating. ;)

blobru
26th July 2010, 08:02 AM
The Amazing Randi vs The Derailing Rodney...

Akhenaten
26th July 2010, 08:09 AM
The Amazing Randi vs The Derailing Rodney...

And amazingly, Randi wins, hands-down, without having typed a single word.

P.J. Denyer
26th July 2010, 08:51 AM
Hhhhhhmmmmm, so, an organisation that investigates claims of the 'paranormal' sends an investigator to witness firewalking back before it was exported and widely popularised in the way it is now. Said investigator is a magician therefore, somewhat unsurprisingly, examines the setup for gimicks and fakery, doesn't find any and is upfront about this, he also admits to not knowing at this time how it is accomplished. This is the exact opposet of 'ignoring the evidence' and seems pretty honest to me. 'I don't know' doesn't equate to 'It must be magic' and having ruled out fraud Randi would have assumed a natural explaination even if he didn't have it at that time. Unless anyone has evidence to the contrary that is his default position.

Since then the phenomona has been further investigated, and a natural explaination has been found. So where's the problem?

Sledge
26th July 2010, 09:02 AM
I really cannot work out what Rodney's point is. Randi thought it was a trick (but there's no evidence for that), he had a look at some firewalking, concluded he didn't know how it was done, therefore Randi is evil. There seems to be a gap in the logic somewhere.

blobru
26th July 2010, 09:04 AM
And amazingly, Randi wins, hands-down, without having typed a single word.

Amazing! :biggrin: (And if he had, it shouldn't have taken too many words, anyway; something like*):

I did a tv show, where it is clearly stated that I believe paranormal phenomena are either tricks, or have scientific explanations. I went to Sri Lanka to investigate their version of firewalking for trickery. I was "buffaloed": I saw no evidence of trickery. Therefore, it had to have a scientific explanation; which I afterwards discovered was the low specific heat of the embers. Years later, in the context of the MDC, I was asked if I'd said I couldn't explain Fijian firewalking. I said I'd never said that, and I hadn't -- certainly not about Fijian firewalking. About firewalking in general, what I'd said years ago implied it couldn't be explained as a trick, so it must have a scientific explanation. Which it does.
:rr: *spoilerized to minimize derail; carry on...

MattusMaximus
26th July 2010, 09:12 AM
No, he was wrong in believing that it was a trick.

Please define exactly what you mean by "trick", Rodney.

paximperium
26th July 2010, 09:19 AM
Take Edgar Cayce, for example . . .
You mean they guy who has gotten just about everything wrong and is an irrelevant nobody except to be a focus of a cult like devotion to this idiocy?

The guy who recommends dangerous treatments and has left a form of dangerous quackery to society? That fraudulent scumbag?

tsig
26th July 2010, 11:27 AM
You mean they guy who has gotten just about everything wrong and is an irrelevant nobody except to be a focus of a cult like devotion to this idiocy?

The guy who recommends dangerous treatments and has left a form of dangerous quackery to society? That fraudulent scumbag?

I'm sure he means The Sleeping Prophet who baffled* the medical profession with his insights.

*as in, "how can he be so dumb"