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Explorer
27th August 2003, 11:14 PM
Another little personal anecdote.

Some years ago a work I tried an experiment with telepathy. I did a "Gellar" style thing where I thought of an image of an object to pass on to a work colleague sitting opposite with a pencil and pad.

He had never visited my house before, and I told him that I was thinking of an object on the mantel piece in the bedroom of my parental home. The object in my mind was a toy Scottish soldier (a bit like Braveheart), complete with tartan kilt and a shock of black thick hair. He started to sketch something down.

After a few minutes, he showed me his sketch. I was stunned to see that he drawn a Scottish soldier, complete with tartan kilt. On his head he had a tall black hairy busby. The soldier he had drawn was more of a real representation of a person. My object was a funny toy made from cylinders of wood.

An impressive hit, or coincidence?

Any mathematicians care to calculate the odds of getting the basic image right first time on that, by coincidence. Not an easy one to define!

T'ai Chi
27th August 2003, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by Explorer

Any mathematicians care to calculate the odds of getting the basic image right first time on that, by coincidence.

The probability could be 100% because you don't know for certain it was coincidence, mainly because you didn't do any more testing.

davidsmith73
28th August 2003, 02:42 AM
Originally posted by Explorer
Another little personal anecdote.

Some years ago a work I tried an experiment with telepathy. I did a "Gellar" style thing where I thought of an image of an object to pass on to a work colleague sitting opposite with a pencil and pad.

He had never visited my house before, and I told him that I was thinking of an object on the mantel piece in the bedroom of my parental home. The object in my mind was a toy Scottish soldier (a bit like Braveheart), complete with tartan kilt and a shock of black thick hair. He started to sketch something down.

After a few minutes, he showed me his sketch. I was stunned to see that he drawn a Scottish soldier, complete with tartan kilt. On his head he had a tall black hairy busby. The soldier he had drawn was more of a real representation of a person. My object was a funny toy made from cylinders of wood.

An impressive hit, or coincidence?

Any mathematicians care to calculate the odds of getting the basic image right first time on that, by coincidence. Not an easy one to define!

The trouble is, it probably impossible to calculate an accurate odds against chance for something like that. Also, normal explanations get a look in. For example you gave him the information that the soldier was on your mantle piece in the bedroom. Perhaps he knows someone who also has one on their mantle peice.

Its a interesting anecdote but stories like these should only inspire you to go into the lab and test if there really is something going on.

Darat
28th August 2003, 02:52 AM
Originally posted by davidsmith73

The trouble is, it probably impossible to calculate an accurate odds against chance for something like that. Also, normal explanations get a look in. For example you gave him the information that the soldier was on your mantle piece in the bedroom. Perhaps he knows someone who also has one on their mantle peice.

Its a interesting anecdote but stories like these should only inspire you to go into the lab and test if there really is something going on.

And we should never assume "big odds" mean anything. For instance I've seen the odds of being hit by lightning as 1:600,000 to 1:3,000,000. These are incredible numbers yet there is nothing "unusual" to someone being hit by lightning.

Lottery odds in the UK are given as 1:14,000,000 yet people win time and time again despite these high odds and again there is nothing odd or unusual about someone winning.

We should be wary about being impressed by something happening that has “high odds” and especially wary of then attributing something “strange” to the coincidence.

ond_magiker
28th August 2003, 03:01 AM
Let me guess....
The year was 1995 and both you and your colleague had just seen Braveheart ;)

ceptimus
28th August 2003, 03:15 AM
Richard Feynman used to tell how he spotted the license plate ARW357 and then say, "Isn't that amazing? Of all the millions of plates I could have seen, in the whole of the state, I happened to see that particular one tonight! What are the odds against that happening?"

Of course, you can calculate the odds roughly by multiplying the probability of each letter and number so you get:

P = 1/26 * 1/26 * 1/26 * 1/10 *1/10 * 1/10

...which is about 1 in seventeen-and-a-half million. But Feynman had actually just seen the plate, so the probability was, in fact, unity.

The point is, that it often doesn't make much sense working out the odds after something has just happened. And should you wish to evaluate the probabilities of a lottery win, you would be mistaken to do that by interviewing only lottery winners.

Explorer
28th August 2003, 11:16 PM
ond_magiker said:

"Let me guess....
The year was 1995 and both you and your colleague had just seen Braveheart "

The year was 1968.

Explorer
28th August 2003, 11:20 PM
davidsmith73 said:

"For example you gave him the information that the soldier was on your mantle piece in the bedroom"

The only information he had prior to the experiment, was that I was thinking of something on the mantelpiece. No mention of a soldier was made. Very few people, apart from a few young ladies, of whom my friend was unaware, had ever visited my bedroom.

ImpyTimpy
28th August 2003, 11:53 PM
Hey Explorer, using my "psychic powers", I can sense that you're testing whether or not the skeptics here are open minded or not... So you give us two paranormal stories, which if your accounts were true would suggest something rather paranormal and ask us to explain them. Hell, I can't. I'd say both instances suggest the paranormal and more testing is necessary. Since I doubt you could replicate or even prove that the events happened, I think I'll remain in the "I don't believe in it" camp. Is that open minded enough for you?

reprise
28th August 2003, 11:59 PM
Originally posted by ImpyTimpy
Hey Explorer, using my "psychic powers", I can sense that you're testing whether or not the skeptics here are open minded or not... So you give us two paranormal stories, which if your accounts were true would suggest something rather paranormal and ask us to explain them. Hell, I can't. I'd say both instances suggest the paranormal and more testing is necessary. Since I doubt you could replicate or even prove that the events happened, I think I'll remain in the "I don't believe in it" camp. Is that open minded enough for you?

Explorer
29th August 2003, 05:46 AM
Hi ImpyTimpy! You said above:

"Hey Explorer, using my "psychic powers", I can sense that you're testing whether or not the skeptics here are open minded or not... So you give us two paranormal stories, which if your accounts were true would suggest something rather paranormal and ask us to explain them. Hell, I can't. I'd say both instances suggest the paranormal and more testing is necessary. Since I doubt you could replicate or even prove that the events happened, I think I'll remain in the "I don't believe in it" camp. Is that open minded enough for you?"

I am not claiming a paranormal explanation, just relating a couple of coincidences that stretch credulity a bit. The lottery numbers? Well that was probably coincidence as has been implied and evaluated by other posters in terms of mathematical odds. With say ten million doing the lottery then it could possibly happen by pure chance. The Scottish soldier? Well that was an impressive first time hit. However, if I repeated the experiment with other subject matter several times, would I have had other good positive first time hits? If I had, then that would have indicated something unusual was happening that needed further thought and explanation.

Had I not had any further hits, would that have disproved a paranormal explanation? How can we tell? Who is to say what the scientific rules are for telepathy, if indeed it does exist? Who is to say what state of mind between the transmitter and the receiver is required to maintain a constant hit rate. Is it possible that we can only have successful telepathic communication for fleeting moments when the two involved brains are engaged together somehow? If the latter is the case, then how do we know when this state exists, and for how long, to enable it to be scientifically evaluated?

As in most paranormal debates, too many questions, and too few scientific answers.

Skeptical Greg
29th August 2003, 06:24 AM
Originally posted by Explorer

As in most paranormal debates, too many questions, and too few scientific answers.

I suppose we could say that all is most and that zero is too few, indeed.

Darat
29th August 2003, 06:46 AM
Originally posted by Explorer
ond_magiker said:

"Let me guess....
The year was 1995 and both you and your colleague had just seen Braveheart "

The year was 1968.

Can I suggest that since this event happend 35 years ago that your memory may not be totally accurate, that the incidence may have not been quite as you recall it today?

Explorer
29th August 2003, 07:04 AM
Diogenes you said:

"I suppose we could say that all is most and that zero is too few, indeed."

I said "most" as there is a history of apparent paranormal events that science had not been able to explain satisfactorily until subsequent discoveries (i.e. stones falling from the sky, later explained as meteorites etc, etc). But I am certain that you were aware of this already!

I don't understand your suggestion that "zero is too few". Too subtle for my uncomplicated mind!

Explorer
29th August 2003, 07:09 AM
Darat you said:

"Can I suggest that since this event happend 35 years ago that your memory may not be totally accurate, that the incidence may have not been quite as you recall it today?

You can suggest it, but you are wrong. My memory is entirely fresh and correct on this event. Anyway, I am not claiming the Randi prize, just thought it would be interesting to relate a personal experience. You are not obliged to believe me. It is enough for me that I experienced the event, and that I was impressed by it.

Darat
29th August 2003, 07:15 AM
Originally posted by Explorer
Darat you said:

"Can I suggest that since this event happend 35 years ago that your memory may not be totally accurate, that the incidence may have not been quite as you recall it today?

You can suggest it, but you are wrong. My memory is entirely fresh and correct on this event. Anyway, I am not claiming the Randi prize, just thought it would be interesting to relate a personal experience. You are not obliged to believe me. It is enough for me that I experienced the event, and that I was impressed by it.

It is not about me believing you or not, I was just making a suggestion that could offer one possible explanation for your anecdote.

I certainly know my memory is not always reliable. I do wonder how you can be so certain yours is a 100% reliable after so many years?

Explorer
29th August 2003, 11:57 PM
Darat, you said:

"I certainly know my memory is not always reliable. I do wonder how you can be so certain yours is a 100% reliable after so many years?"

Well, it is because the basic event in question, is simple enough to remember, and it so impressed me at the time. I can remember clearly the laboratory in which we were sitting (I also have photographs of the lab). I can remember the question that I asked (that is not too difficult), and I can still see my colleague, Ted, sketching on to a shorthand notebook, sitting on a high back chair that was rather dusty(it was a rubber processing test lab).

Many other routine things that didn't impress me at the time, have been lost to my memory, but that is not surprising. Today, at the age of fifty eight, my medium to short term memory is deteriorating as a natural consequence of the ageing process, but I still retain the lucid memories of my youth and there are still plenty of people around who can confirm those memories as being accurate.

So all in all, I am totally confident that the simple event described, did happen in that manner.

Regards

Explorer

georgehaiwen
30th August 2003, 03:51 AM
As to telepathy, the most bewitching and occult extrasensory perception, is divulged and escorting, evolutional and historic progress of humankind.
The account fact, evidencing existence of telepathy, is essentially significant.
While, most of the occurrences are comprehended, as chance coincidence blundered within mathematic ratio of the likelihood odds.

Let us presume that for millions of sidereal years,
there is an adventurer, who has participated in the mystical incident, place his trust in spiritual communication.
And, of course, it is within the mathematician¡¯s probability percentage.
Then, some intensely intuitive people, are permitted to have underwent some unusual episode, particularly instinctive women.

The existence proving of telepathy seems to be so absorbing and outstanding, ambiguous and hazardous.
For it will disassemble, the substance establishment of scientific principles,
transform the intellectual and moral discipline, of humanhood social arrangement.

Let¡¯s desert the perplexing fact and procedure, to verify and exploit telepathy.
Concerning the mere conclusion, to fancy and set out on this new sort of conversing behavior.
What will take place, granting that telepathy is fashionably practiced?

Both physiological and psychological response pulse and motive activity, will be positively or negatively interfered and obtruded;
Each detailed sense including intelligent recognition, mental perception, emotional awareness, and the subconscious of dreaming, may be operated and regulated, restrained and controlled.

Yet, the fact is that, not only above process of thought, the most basic liberty as one person,
but also sensitivity of neuron, the most fundamental freedom as an animal, will be intervened and intruded.
The later one will be decisively devastating,
Whereas, the manner of hindrance is telepathy, the obstacle essence is energy of mind.

The unknowable of spiritual domain, has been substantiated its maliciousness, by many consequent experiencers, solitarily tolerating and tormented, within the intangible and incorporeal sphere,
Whilst, their utterance is identified, as the typical symptom of mental illness...

So far, spiritualism has only been featured as inquisitive and unascertained supernatural phenomenon,
contrasting with the intricate and intellectual contemporary world, befouled by extravagance and luxury of human¡¯s being.

Yea, technique of telepathy has originated various talents, and will endow the lucky guy with fortune of aptitude and intelligence, curiosity and concentration.
But, we will be deprived of, independent individuality and self-reliant strength, which are the most essential as one single creature.

Then, Doctor, will the entity of telepathy jumble all matters into chaos?
Do you think it the very proper time to operate brain, the most elaborate computer?
What will be the consequence, if others win your gamble?
By now, are we ready for this rapacious wolf?

Darat
30th August 2003, 05:11 AM
Originally posted by Explorer
Darat, you said:

"I certainly know my memory is not always reliable. I do wonder how you can be so certain yours is a 100% reliable after so many years?"

Well, it is because the basic event in question, is simple enough to remember, and it so impressed me at the time. I can remember clearly the laboratory in which we were sitting (I also have photographs of the lab). I can remember the question that I asked (that is not too difficult), and I can still see my colleague, Ted, sketching on to a shorthand notebook, sitting on a high back chair that was rather dusty(it was a rubber processing test lab).

Many other routine things that didn't impress me at the time, have been lost to my memory, but that is not surprising. Today, at the age of fifty eight, my medium to short term memory is deteriorating as a natural consequence of the ageing process, but I still retain the lucid memories of my youth and there are still plenty of people around who can confirm those memories as being accurate.

So all in all, I am totally confident that the simple event described, did happen in that manner.

Regards

Explorer

So wont even consider the possibility that your memory of the event could not be 100% accurate?

Are you sure you had never, a week or so previously, mentioned the toy in passing as part of a casual conversation? (You do admit that “routine things” have been lost to memory over the years.) Are you certain you'd never mentioned to someone else in passing the toy in another conversation many months before and they had mentioned it to your colleague?

You see even if your memory of the event is substantially accurate there is no way after so long you can possibly remember all the events in the weeks and months before the event that could have contributed to this not being such an "impressive hit".

Nucular
30th August 2003, 09:51 AM
Hi georgehaiwen,

Way to use that thesaurus ;)

Just messin'

Are you saying telepathy exists, but we're not ready for it yet?

How do you know it exists? What makes you think we're not ready for it yet?

ImpyTimpy
30th August 2003, 07:03 PM
Didn't forget. In fact, if you notice, the paranormal occurrances are becoming more and more paranormal with each new anecdotal evidence provided. That's why I'm pegging it as "let's see how open minded the skeptics can be". I think it's a mistake to offer explanations for anecdotal occurrences which sound quiet paranormal when the poster keeps inventing more and more of them on the spot, rather, the skeptic should say, hold on, this is getting more and more bizarre, how do I know it actually happened. :)

Originally posted by reprise

SRW
30th August 2003, 09:07 PM
Originally posted by Explorer
Had I not had any further hits, would that have disproved a paranormal explanation? How can we tell? Who is to say what the scientific rules are for telepathy, if indeed it does exist? Who is to say what state of mind between the transmitter and the receiver is required to maintain a constant hit rate. Is it possible that we can only have successful telepathic communication for fleeting moments when the two involved brains are engaged together somehow? If the latter is the case, then how do we know when this state exists, and for how long, to enable it to be scientifically evaluated?

As in most paranormal debates, too many questions, and too few scientific answers.

Does in not seem odd to you that there are so many Paranormal events that seem to defy science? Why is it that these things only happen when the conditions are right? Why aren't the conditions ever right during a scientific experiment?

It is getting tiring to say it but here it goes again. No one can and will ever be able to prove that a paranormal power does not exist, it is the responsibility of the one making the claim to provide the proof. After all you cannot prove that I do not have a pink Unicorn in my garage.

Yahweh
30th August 2003, 09:41 PM
Originally posted by Explorer
Another little personal anecdote.

Some years ago a work I tried an experiment with telepathy. I did a "Gellar" style thing where I thought of an image of an object to pass on to a work colleague sitting opposite with a pencil and pad.

He had never visited my house before, and I told him that I was thinking of an object on the mantel piece in the bedroom of my parental home. The object in my mind was a toy Scottish soldier (a bit like Braveheart), complete with tartan kilt and a shock of black thick hair. He started to sketch something down.

After a few minutes, he showed me his sketch. I was stunned to see that he drawn a Scottish soldier, complete with tartan kilt. On his head he had a tall black hairy busby. The soldier he had drawn was more of a real representation of a person. My object was a funny toy made from cylinders of wood.

An impressive hit, or coincidence?

Any mathematicians care to calculate the odds of getting the basic image right first time on that, by coincidence. Not an easy one to define!
Ok, I dont have a lot to go off on this story, I'll make the best assement possible.

If this event actually happened, I think this event was a coincidence. If this were any more than a coincidence, you could reasonably conclude that this event could be replicated successfully many times in a controlled enviroment.

Although we have yet to show evidence that psychics exist therefore we cant define them much, its a generally accepted unwritten rule that one person needs to be a psychic. And in the event you described, it appears both of you would be required to have a least a fair degree of psychic powers.

I have my own personal reasons that suggest that this event never took place (one reason is that I dont believe in the paranormal, another is that I tend to question the things I read on the internet)... The most damning evidence of all is the use of the word "anecdote" in the first sentence...

Explorer
31st August 2003, 12:01 AM
Darat said:

"Are you sure you had never, a week or so previously, mentioned the toy in passing as part of a casual conversation? (You do admit that “routine things” have been lost to memory over the years.) Are you certain you'd never mentioned to someone else in passing the toy in another conversation many months before and they had mentioned it to your colleague?"

The experiment that I conducted was not under scientific control. It was a casual fun thing for the hell of it. Of course, it is possible that I discussed the toy with my colleague a few weeks before and that I have forgotten it. However, my colleague could have drawn the toy, as a toy, but he didn't, he drew the figure as a human being in Scottish soldier's uniform. The toy in question was an abstract piece of wood turning which did not resemble a real human figure. In that sense, the "telepathy" failed, but certainly the essence of what I was thinking appeared to be captured.

Yahweh said:

"I have my own personal reasons that suggest that this event never took place (one reason is that I dont believe in the paranormal, another is that I tend to question the things I read on the internet)... The most damning evidence of all is the use of the word "anecdote" in the first sentence..."

If you question everything on the internet, then why are you a regular on this site, or any site come to that? My "anecdote", is just that, a description of a personal amusing or interesting incident. To imply that an "anecdote" by defintion is necessarily false or made up, is a mis-understanding of the English language.

It is not a question of believing anything. There is no burden on you to believe my experience. I do not believe in the paranormal in the sense that you imply either. I just am interested in phenomena that require a bit of lateral thought, apparantly defying, at least in the first instant, a common explanation.

The paranormal is not like a religion to believe or dis-believe. I rather take James Randi's approach, I am willing to be convinced when the evidence is made available. As far as my "anecdote" is concerned, it will never be proven either way, but nonetheless, it falls into my category of interest.

Yahzi
31st August 2003, 12:59 AM
Explorer
Why don't you reply to ceptimus?

Here, I'll refresh your memory.

originally posted by ceptimus

The point is, that it often doesn't make much sense working out the odds after something has just happened. And should you wish to evaluate the probabilities of a lottery win, you would be mistaken to do that by interviewing only lottery winners.

Yahweh
31st August 2003, 01:13 AM
Originally posted by Explorer
If you question everything on the internet, then why are you a regular on this site, or any site come to that?
I see no way how you could have made that assertion.

My "anecdote", is just that, a description of a personal amusing or interesting incident. To imply that an "anecdote" by defintion is necessarily false or made up, is a mis-understanding of the English language.
I never implied "all anecdotes are false". I know full and well what the definition is. I'd appreciate it if you didnt make my implications for me.

Very rarely do I imply ideas or make hidden agendas in the things I say. I'm very blunt. I would never make people play guessing games as to the meaning of what I say because there is the very certain probability they could guess wrongly.

It is not a question of believing anything. There is no burden on you to believe my experience.
I'm not sure what you are getting at but if it helps at all, isn't everyone entitled to their own opinion?

I do not believe in the paranormal in the sense that you imply either.
I read and re-read my post, I dont see how I could have implied that you believe in the paranormal. Again, I'd appreciate it if you didnt tell make my implications for me.

max
31st August 2003, 02:28 AM
Darat
Hi long time no speak:D
You can't give the lottery as a good example here because everybody has a choice of 49 numbers from which to choose. If the toy scottish soldier had been amongst a choice of 48 other objects for the friend to sketch, then the odds would be the same as the lottery. I do believe in telepathy and that we all have this ability but don't bother to keep it 'oiled'
Why is everything put down to coincidence on this forum?

Yahweh
31st August 2003, 02:49 AM
Originally posted by max
Why is everything put down to coincidence on this forum?
I'll answer with my opinion...

I think its completely irresponsible to suggest higher meaning to unremarkable events. Example: When you ask a Mormon why we are hear on earth, you hear (what I consider a bizarre) answer: "You were a spirit with God before you were born, to get closer to God, you chose to accept mortal life" (Source: http://www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,1117-1,00.html). Sorry, birth is not a miracle. For humans, It is a result of a sperm fertilizing an egg, and through a process of fully explainable biology (cellular mitosis) you were born. No supreme being necessary.

I believe all things all things in the universe can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena. At the same time, I also believe nothing can exist or escape the laws of physics.

Heres a bit of biological reasoning:

If telepathy were possible, wouldn't everyone be telepathic? Evolutionarily speaking, telepathy should be present in everyone seeing as how it would clearly not be a vestigial sense.

No one is telepathic therefore there is reasoning to suggest telepathy does not exist.

If telepathy has paranormal origins, that would break the laws of physics. Nothing can exist outside of physics therefore there is reasoning to suggest telepathy cannot exist.

Darat
31st August 2003, 03:19 AM
Originally posted by max
Darat
Hi long time no speak:D
You can't give the lottery as a good example here because everybody has a choice of 49 numbers from which to choose. If the toy scottish soldier had been amongst a choice of 48 other objects for the friend to sketch, then the odds would be the same as the lottery. I do believe in telepathy and that we all have this ability but don't bother to keep it 'oiled'
Why is everything put down to coincidence on this forum?

Hello Max - glad to see you are still around.

I understand your objections to the lottery analogy but look at my example of being struck by lightning; the odds are huge against any particular individual being hit by lightning but it would be wrong to think it was unusual for anyone to be hit by lightning. People are hit by lightning despite it being "incredible" odds.

My real point is just that because things happen which are "statistically unlikely" does not, necessarily, mean that it is an unusual happening.

As for "Why is everything put down to coincidence on this forum?" perhaps it is because coincidences do occur? ;)

Ratman_tf
31st August 2003, 05:28 AM
Originally posted by Explorer
Another little personal anecdote.

*SNIPPED STUFF*

Any mathematicians care to calculate the odds of getting the basic image right first time on that, by coincidence. Not an easy one to define!

I'm no mathematician, but I'll give it a healthy million to one. But since it's an unverifiable anecdote, it doesn't matter what the odds are.

metacristi
31st August 2003, 11:11 AM
Explorer

Basically there is no way to distinguish a lucky guess from the existence of a real ability if the sample considered is too small.Even if there could be designed a procedure to establish a null hypothesis which to give the random chance to guess the object chosen.I'm afraid in the case you propose (if I understood well what you wrote) we cannot even establish a null hypothesis.So that even if telepathy would be real we cannot draw a conclusion from the data provided.

[edit to add]Even if statistical relevant samples would give results that do not support the 'telepathy hypothesis' this does not mean telepathy was soundly disproved.Indeed the mechanism behind telepathy might be much more complex,uncontrolled perturbations might exist,anyway outside the capacity of control of a human being.