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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:58 PM   #1
rulef
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Hello,

I was wondering at which point the following application would be accepted for the 1M challange.
I´ll explain what i mean by this later on.

Lets assume 2 people claim to feel when the otherone stares or glances at them.
They claim to get it right with a 55% precision. So 5% more than we would expect be chance.

Lets assume furthermore that the conditions for applying are met and also the preliminary test was succesful.

The test condition under which the final tests will be done are accepted by the claiments and the JREF.

Lets assume for example:
- coin flipping to decide if the one person "stares" or "doesn´t stare"
- the other person must after some time decide if he was stared at or not.

How many trails would be needed to claim the 1M$.

As far as I have calulated the chance for getting over 550 right in 1000 trails is less than 1 % (by just guessing).

Would this be enough?
Getting more than 55% right, over 1000 trails, to claim the 1M$ ?
Is there a standard probability which you want instead of 1%? 0,1% 0,01% 0,001%?


with kind regards
Rolf
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Old 3rd May 2012, 01:21 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rulef View Post
Hello,

I was wondering at which point the following application would be accepted for the 1M challange.
I´ll explain what i mean by this later on.

Lets assume 2 people claim to feel when the otherone stares or glances at them.
They claim to get it right with a 55% precision. So 5% more than we would expect be chance.

Lets assume furthermore that the conditions for applying are met and also the preliminary test was succesful.

The test condition under which the final tests will be done are accepted by the claiments and the JREF.

Lets assume for example:
- coin flipping to decide if the one person "stares" or "doesn´t stare"
- the other person must after some time decide if he was stared at or not.

How many trails would be needed to claim the 1M$.

As far as I have calulated the chance for getting over 550 right in 1000 trails is less than 1 % (by just guessing).

Would this be enough?
Getting more than 55% right, over 1000 trails, to claim the 1M$ ?
Is there a standard probability which you want instead of 1%? 0,1% 0,01% 0,001%?


with kind regards
Rolf
Standard disclaimer #1: Nobody on the JREF forums speaks officially for the JREF. There may be JREF staff reading and/or replying, but official communications from the JREF will not be made at this venue. The JREF is the only entity that can answer that question. As such, inquiries should be made directly to them. There is an email address on the challenge page of the website.

That being said, I'm sure there are many forum members willing to chip in with ideas and opinions on this matter. Not me, though, because it involves math.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 01:21 PM   #3
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There are no fixed rules because every claim is different, but JREF seem to typically require applicants to beat odds of chance success of 1:1000 to pass the preliminary test. What odds they would require to be beaten for the final test would be negotiated if anyone ever got that far.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 01:29 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
require applicants to beat odds of chance success of 1:1000
The obvious problem here is that with 1000 applicants, someone would pass the test with sheer luck, without any supernatural forces involved. But the challenge is not intended as a lottery, which a million people try and a lucky one wins it with sheer statistical odds. For this reason, small statistical oddities like 1:100 or 1:1000 are not of interest, actually the requirement should be as solid performace as any known force of nature has. The apple _always_ falls with gravity, the force exists and never fails.

In the setting proposed in the OP, 550 correct guesses out of 1000 does not sound of any interest to science. If you let me use my looking force, called the eyes, I can tell 1000 times out of 1000 trials whether another person in front of me is staring at me or not. The force is there, and it functions with 100,0% accuracy. There is no reason to give a discount to a claimed paranormal force to fail 450 times out of 1000, if the human eyes don´t fail even once out of 1000 trials.

If the claimant had a force, or if he at least sincerely believed to have it, there would be no reason to talk about "550 out of 1000", the talk would be about 999 or 1000 out of 1000. To me, talking about 550 out of 1000 is a confession that the person does not believe even himself that he has the claimed ability.

I do not represent the JREF, but if I did, my answer would be: succeed 999 times out of 1000, and you pass the preliminary test.

Last edited by JJM 777; 3rd May 2012 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 01:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
The obvious problem here is that with 1000 applicants, someone would pass the test with sheer luck, without any supernatural forces involved.
Which is why there are two tests. Repeatability is a key requirement for scientific evidence, because of the possibility of fluke results.

Most people seem to expect that the odds would be set higher than 1:1000 for the final test, but I've never seen the need. Anyone who beat odds of 1:1000 twice would have beaten combined odds of 1 in a million.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 06:18 PM   #6
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1% is one in one hundred. It seems the threshold for these preliminary tests (based on JREF and non-JREF examples) is ususally between 1000-3000 to one.

One thousand trials is a lot of trials. How long would each "stare" last? How much recovery time between each one? At what point would the stare-ee become tired? How far away can the stare-er be? Could it be through glass? Through a telescope? I think a lot of people would be willing to give up an afternoon for a paranormal challenge, but if they have to give days or weeks, they might expect to be paid. Is that in your budget?

These are the types of questions you can expect to encounter. And of course for the MDC, you will be required to have a media presence and academic affidavits saying you are worth testing.

Nothing wrong with the OP, but it's a very embryonic start. Lots of work to do before it's even close.

Ward
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Old 3rd May 2012, 06:57 PM   #7
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One problem is, how does the OP wish to define "stare". What if the starer averts his gaze momentarily or blinks or was merely looking (mind is wandering), not staring, etc. I don't see how one can ever quantify a stare without extensive equipment monitoring the pupils and brain waves.

The belief that a person can sense a stare of another human is purely fictional, but I was surprised to read in the book "Seal Team Six", that snipers actually believe something of the sort. The claim is that if you hold the sights too long on a target, he will sense being watched.
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Old 4th May 2012, 04:11 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rulef View Post
Lets assume 2 people claim to feel when the otherone stares or glances at them.
They claim to get it right with a 55% precision. So 5% more than we would expect be chance.
Why do you think 50% would be expected by chance? Just because there are two options does not mean both are equally likely. I have 9 black balls and 1 white ball in a bag and pull one out at random. Do I have a 50% chance of pulling out a black ball? Obviously not.

For guessing if someone is staring at you, the chance depends entirely on how the test is set up. It would be possible to come up with a test that does have a 50% chance of guessing correctly, but it's also possible to come up with tests that have much higher or lower chances. Given that higher chances of guessing mean longer tests to be able to distinguish any real ability from chance, you'd be much better off using a test with a lower chance of guessing correctly.

Quote:
Is there a standard probability which you want instead of 1%? 0,1% 0,01% 0,001%?
No, there isn't. Odds of 1/1000 and 1/1,000,000 are often quoted, but these are not a fixed standard from the JREF. Some tests have had lower odds, some higher, and some don't even have statistics involved at all (see here, for example).

There also tends to be plenty of argument whether the 1:million odds actually mean 1:million for the final test on its own, or simply a repetition of the 1:1000 odds from the preliminary test giving the combined chance of passing both as 1:million. I don't think the JREF has confirmed this either way, and obviously there's no evidence to go by since no-one has ever passed the first test.

However, none of this is really relevant. Firstly, you appear a bit confused. You say to assume that the preliminary test has already been passed, but that would mean that your application has already been accepted and a protocol agreed on, so all this would have been sorted out already. Secondly, the exact odds really don't matter at this point. An application won't be rejected just because your first attempt at coming up with a test didn't exactly meet a set standard that doesn't even exist. The application is the starting point of negotiations, not the end. Just say what you think you can do and how you think it can be tested. You and the JREF will then discuss exactly how a test would take place and what will count as a pass. The odds are agreed on during that discussion, they're not something you have to accept up front before the discussion can take place.
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Old 4th May 2012, 04:29 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
Why do you think 50% would be expected by chance? Just because there are two options does not mean both are equally likely. I have 9 black balls and 1 white ball in a bag and pull one out at random. Do I have a 50% chance of pulling out a black ball? Obviously not.

For guessing if someone is staring at you, the chance depends entirely on how the test is set up. It would be possible to come up with a test that does have a 50% chance of guessing correctly, but it's also possible to come up with tests that have much higher or lower chances.
Top be fair to the OP, he did suggest a coin toss to determine 'stare or not stare' in his proposed test...
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Old 4th May 2012, 04:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Which is why there are two tests. Repeatability is a key requirement for scientific evidence, because of the possibility of fluke results.
Two tests (the first of which nobody has passed) also allows them to do a re-examination of where they may have missed something on the first test.

Imagine a particularly clever spoonbender who's pretending psychic powers but is actually just a really good prestidigitator, who manages to sneak one by.
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Old 4th May 2012, 05:34 AM   #11
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If the subject knows at that he has a 50% chance of being stared at, he has a 50% chance of guessing correctly. A better test would be one where the odds of guessing correctly are a lot lower.

What about a situation where there is a 100% chance of being stared at... at an unknown time?

One subject is placed in a room with multiple hidden peepholes in the walls for a few hours with a button to press when they sense being stared at. At randomly selected times, maybe averaging four times an hour, the other subject stares at them for a full minute through a randomly selected peephole.

Then you compare the times when the button was pressed to the times when staring occurred.

(Just a starting idea. This plan would have to be refined a lot before it'd be acceptable for a MDC claim.)

Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Most people seem to expect that the odds would be set higher than 1:1000 for the final test, but I've never seen the need. Anyone who beat odds of 1:1000 twice would have beaten combined odds of 1 in a million.
The combined odds are irrelevant. Where preliminaries with a 1 chance in 1000 of passing by chance are given on an ongoing basis, eventually someone is going to pass it purely by chance. It's a mathematical certainty (assuming that the challenge remains open long enough for enough people to apply).

Sure, on an individual basis there may be a 1 chance in 1000 of that particular person passing purely by chance, but there's 1000 chances in 1000 that one of the first thousand applicants will pass by fluke. And if nobody in the first thousand makes it, there is always the next thousand, and the next, and so on.

You have a 1 chance in 1 of somebody making it to the main challenge sooner or later.

The fact that that specific person only had a 1 chance in 1000 of getting through the preliminary by doesn't affect the odds of them also making it through the main challenge in the slightest. So we would want the final challenge to have extremely low odds of someone passing by chance, enough that we can be reasonably confident that a small number of applicants taking it wouldn't pass by chance.
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Old 4th May 2012, 06:15 AM   #12
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This proposal would be rejected on the grounds that it is rude to stare (My Mum told me that) there is a rule in the challenge but I can't remember the number.
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Old 4th May 2012, 09:05 AM   #13
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Wasn't this discussed a long time ago here? I remember some discussion of staring.
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Old 4th May 2012, 10:34 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Gr8wight View Post
As such, inquiries should be made directly to them. There is an email address on the challenge page of the website.
Thanks,
I send an Email to challenge@randi.org (from the FAQ-page) last year and got no answer. Thats why I tried the forum.

But taking your advice, I send an second Email just now.

----------------------

@ all:
the test and my proposal/example don´t matter. I could rephrase it:

The preliminary test is passed. And the claiment and the JREF agree to the final test conditions.
The only remaining question is, how many trails are needed.
To calculate that, we would need a (low) probability from the JREF, under which the 1M$ would be payed even if it was just luck on the claiments side.

I was/am interessted in this probability!

----------------------

Originally Posted by learner View Post
This proposal would be rejected on the grounds that it is rude to stare (My Mum told me that) there is a rule in the challenge but I can't remember the number.
As stated before, there are 2 people claiming that they feel the otherones stare. Nobody else would be involved. They are both ok with being starred at.
Do you think the rule would still apply? (btw I could not find it on the FAQ)

Last edited by rulef; 4th May 2012 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 4th May 2012, 10:40 AM   #15
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It has been discussed here (more than once, I think), but the problem ended up being that the stare-er had to have a certain thought or intention in his or her mind when the staring occured. There is no way for the JREF to ensure that anyone in the trial would be thinking "correctly." Usually, that means that the applicant would bring a trusted friend to do the staring. Unfortunately, most people who believe they can sense when people are staring at them do not have many friends, so they cannot do the test.

Ward
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Old 4th May 2012, 10:43 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by rulef View Post
Thanks,
I send an Email to challenge@randi.org (from the FAQ-page) last year and got no answer. Thats why I tried the forum.

But taking your advice, I send an second Email just now.

----------------------

@ all:
the test and my proposal/example don´t matter. I could rephrase it:

The preliminary test is passed. And the claiment and the JREF agree to the final test conditions.
The only remaining question is, how many trails are needed.
To calculate that, we would need a (low) probability from the JREF, under which the 1M$ would be payed even if it was just luck on the claiments side.

I was/am interessted in this probability!

----------------------


As stated before, there are 2 people claiming that they feel the otherones stare. Nobody else would be involved. They are both ok with being starred at.
Do you think the rule would still apply? (btw I could not find it on the FAQ)
Of all the specific advice you've received in this thread, you respond only to the advice that was clearly offered as a joke?

The JREF will likely not respond if you do not meet all the requirements of the challenge. You say you've read the FAQ. So do you meet all the requirements?

Ward
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Old 4th May 2012, 11:24 AM   #17
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According to this binomial distribution calculator, the chances of getting 550 or more right out of a 1000 trials when randomly guessing "yes" or "no" would be .00087, or less than 1 in 1000.

However, assuming the person really is 55% accurate, the chances of getting fewer than 550 correct is still 48.7%. So even if the person is right, they will fail to pass this test almost half the time.

We'd need to get to a point where the number of trials is enough that the success condition is very likely if the person is correct but very unlikely if the person is not. For such a small margin of probability difference, I'd expect we'd need an order of magnitude more trials.
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Old 4th May 2012, 11:28 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
According to this binomial distribution calculator, the chances of getting 550 or more right out of a 1000 trials when randomly guessing "yes" or "no" would be .00087, or less than 1 in 1000.

However, assuming the person really is 55% accurate, the chances of getting fewer than 550 correct is still 48.7%. So even if the person is right, they will fail to pass this test almost half the time.

We'd need to get to a point where the number of trials is enough that the success condition is very likely if the person is correct but very unlikely if the person is not. For such a small margin of probability difference, I'd expect we'd need an order of magnitude more trials.

Hehe, that suggests the person should use his psychic power, then say the opposite of what it told him
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Old 4th May 2012, 11:29 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Hehe, that suggests the person should use his psychic power, then say the opposite of what it told him
How do you figure?
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Old 4th May 2012, 03:16 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
According to this binomial distribution calculator, the chances of getting 550 or more right out of a 1000 trials when randomly guessing "yes" or "no" would be .00087, or less than 1 in 1000.
You're misreading that: that's still a probability of 8.7 in 1000. (easy mistake, I counted the number of zeros twice just to be sure).

Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
However, assuming the person really is 55% accurate, the chances of getting fewer than 550 correct is still 48.7%. So even if the person is right, they will fail to pass this test almost half the time.

We'd need to get to a point where the number of trials is enough that the success condition is very likely if the person is correct but very unlikely if the person is not. For such a small margin of probability difference, I'd expect we'd need an order of magnitude more trials.
Very good points.

While it's refreshing a prospective candidate doesn't start out with "my powers are absolute", a 55% success rate is just too low to organize a practical test.
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Old 4th May 2012, 03:48 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
You're misreading that: that's still a probability of 8.7 in 1000. (easy mistake, I counted the number of zeros twice just to be sure).


Very good points.

While it's refreshing a prospective candidate doesn't start out with "my powers are absolute", a 55% success rate is just too low to organize a practical test.
Nope. Count again. It's 8 in 10 thousand.
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Old 4th May 2012, 04:49 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
Nope. Count again. It's 8 in 10 thousand.
You're right, I guess I need better glasses....
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Old 4th May 2012, 05:10 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by rulef View Post
As stated before, there are 2 people claiming that they feel the otherones stare. Nobody else would be involved. They are both ok with being starred at.
Do you think the rule would still apply? (btw I could not find it on the FAQ)
You couldn't find it on the FAQ because it isn't there. Learner was making a joke.

The ability to sense someone staring at you would definitely be a form of ESP, and therefore eligible for the challenge. (You shouldn't refer to it as remote viewing, because this term normally refers to being able to "see" things at a distant location, such as in a different city.)

Originally Posted by rulef View Post
I was/am interessted in this probability!
I don't think that there's any official rule as to the probability required to pass the test. There have to be clearly defined conditions that determine whether or not the applicant has passed or failed, and JREF/Randi has to agree that the protocols constitute a fair test, and as far as I can tell that's all.

I'd guess the reason is that it's often hard to say for certain what the odds are.

For example, how would your participants know that they're correct 55% of the time unless they've performed the test many hundreds of times? And the odds may be skewed by poor methodology without them realizing it.

For example, there might be slight difference in the sounds of the starer's movement that sometimes provides a hint of whether or not he is staring at the other person, and the other person might be responding to this without consciously aware of the existence of these barely perceptible sounds.
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Old 4th May 2012, 08:14 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
The obvious problem here is that with 1000 applicants, someone would pass the test with sheer luck, without any supernatural forces involved. But the challenge is not intended as a lottery, which a million people try and a lucky one wins it with sheer statistical odds. For this reason, small statistical oddities like 1:100 or 1:1000 are not of interest, actually the requirement should be as solid performace as any known force of nature has. The apple _always_ falls with gravity, the force exists and never fails.

In the setting proposed in the OP, 550 correct guesses out of 1000 does not sound of any interest to science. If you let me use my looking force, called the eyes, I can tell 1000 times out of 1000 trials whether another person in front of me is staring at me or not. The force is there, and it functions with 100,0% accuracy. There is no reason to give a discount to a claimed paranormal force to fail 450 times out of 1000, if the human eyes don´t fail even once out of 1000 trials.

If the claimant had a force, or if he at least sincerely believed to have it, there would be no reason to talk about "550 out of 1000", the talk would be about 999 or 1000 out of 1000. To me, talking about 550 out of 1000 is a confession that the person does not believe even himself that he has the claimed ability.

I do not represent the JREF, but if I did, my answer would be: succeed 999 times out of 1000, and you pass the preliminary test.
What if the guy gets 550/1000, _and then you test the same guy again_ and they get 550/1000 _again_, and so on and so on for like 5 rounds of testing? I.e. _consistent_ results higher than chance on _every_ trial. And then on a second, independent test rig they get some number higher than chance, but still less than "perfect"?
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Old 4th May 2012, 08:18 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by mike3 View Post
What if the guy gets 550/1000, _and then you test the same guy again_ and they get 550/1000 _again_, and so on and so on for like 5 rounds of testing? I.e. _consistent_ results higher than chance on _every_ trial. And then on a second, independent test rig they get some number higher than chance, but still less than "perfect"?
If the guy does that under controlled conditions, I'm pretty sure he can win the million.
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Old 5th May 2012, 12:37 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by AvalonXQ View Post
If the guy does that under controlled conditions, I'm pretty sure he can win the million.
I agree, but that's a tremendous number of trials and that is going to end up being time consmuming and expensive. The expense is all on the applicant, but the time will be used (some might say wasted) by everyone else involved. If those people have any brains, they will ask to be paid for all that time which will make it even more expensive. But it can be done.

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Old 5th May 2012, 02:17 AM   #27
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I'd think 5 seconds per trial would be enough.

If you can establish occlusion breaks the effect, then just have the staring friend looking through a piece of glass. Randomly place a black barrier in front of the glass and remove it in five-second intervals according to a pregenerated list of coin flips.

Heck, the barrier could be automated. Just make the glass in the shape of a quarter circle, then place a half-transparent wheel in front of it that randomly rotates a quarter circle either clockwise or counter-clockwise each five seconds (or whatever interval is agreed-upon). An electrical or computer engineer could probably whip the whole thing up using spare parts in less than an hour.
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Old 5th May 2012, 02:30 AM   #28
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Five seconds would be plenty for you and me and we were looking at the person staring at us, and we'd probably get 100% correct. But we are not the applicant and it's up to the applicant to say how long it would take him or her to register the sensation of being stared at. And people with paranormal powers seem to become exhausted very quickly while using those powers.

So, we'll have to wait and see if we need to wait and see.

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Old 5th May 2012, 02:50 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
The obvious problem here is that with 1000 applicants, someone would pass the test with sheer luck, without any supernatural forces involved.
Yes, statistically, about one in a million applicants will walk away with the price money by sheer luck.


Quote:
But the challenge is not intended as a lottery, which a million people try and a lucky one wins it with sheer statistical odds. For this reason, small statistical oddities like 1:100 or 1:1000 are not of interest, actually the requirement should be as solid performace as any known force of nature has. The apple _always_ falls with gravity, the force exists and never fails.
As far as I can tell, this is not at all how the challenge works.

Also, what reason is there to assume any particular degree of confidence in supernatural powers?

Quote:
In the setting proposed in the OP, 550 correct guesses out of 1000 does not sound of any interest to science. If you let me use my looking force, called the eyes, I can tell 1000 times out of 1000 trials whether another person in front of me is staring at me or not.
I dissagree.

First of all - why should it even matter what other ways there are?

If I could bend a spoon just using the power of my mind, that would be very impressive - even if there are countless other ways to bend spoons.

And if it only worked one in 100 times, it would still be more than just interesting.

Quote:
The force is there, and it functions with 100,0% accuracy. There is no reason to give a discount to a claimed paranormal force to fail 450 times out of 1000, if the human eyes don´t fail even once out of 1000 trials.
There is, if that is the claim.

What reason do you have to make the assumption that paranormal powers work just like other powers?

Quote:
If the claimant had a force, or if he at least sincerely believed to have it, there would be no reason to talk about "550 out of 1000", the talk would be about 999 or 1000 out of 1000. To me, talking about 550 out of 1000 is a confession that the person does not believe even himself that he has the claimed ability.
Why?

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the JREF. The JREF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


This guy has the ability to stack 10 bowling balls. There is no reason to assume he'd manage it 9 times out of 10, and if he bet me he could do it once out of 10 times, he'd still have shown me that he is able to do it.

Why should paranormal ablities have to be different?

Say the bet was that he could stack 150 bowling balls. I'd happily give him a week to try with as many attempts as he wanted to. (I wouldn't bet a million dollars, because i don't think it is impossible to achieve that, though.)

Quote:
I do not represent the JREF, but if I did, my answer would be: succeed 999 times out of 1000, and you pass the preliminary test.
Your answer translates into: Do something you never said you could do, even tohugh what you said you could do would already be impossible.

Edit: Fixed video embed
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Old 5th May 2012, 03:14 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Rasmus View Post
If I could bend a spoon just using the power of my mind, that would be very impressive - even if there are countless other ways to bend spoons.

And if it only worked one in 100 times, it would still be more than just interesting.
The difference is that the spoon never bends itself purely by chance. If you had some kind of special bendy spoon that bends all on it's own ten times in a hundred, then you'd frequently see the spoon bend 11 times in a hundred just by chance. If someone claimed that they could make the spoon bend an average of 11 times in a hundred instead of the 10 times in a hundred you'd normally expect, it'd take a lot of effort to prove that this was a genuine ability and not just a statistical anomaly.

That's the sort of situation we have here.
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Old 5th May 2012, 07:45 AM   #31
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Thanks, the thread can be closed

Since the first post already answered my question.

As far as I am concerned this thread can be closed.

Thanks those who carefully read my post and responded.
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Old 5th May 2012, 08:01 AM   #32
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All abilities aren't probabilistically certain. No batter in baseball has a career batting average above .4; that doesn't mean they have no ability.
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Old 5th May 2012, 11:01 AM   #33
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rulef,

Assuming you are still reading this thread and also assuming that you ever had any desire to apply for the MDC, here's a suggestion. There are many other paranormal challenges which offer cash prizes. Those other challenges do not necessarily require things like a media presence or academic attention. None of them offer a million dollars, but they all offer some significant cash prize. Also, passing any one of them should give you all the academic and media attention you'd need to apply for the MDC. Pick whichever one's closest to you.

Here is a list of such cash challenges:

There's the Australian Skeptics' AU$100,000 Prize
http://www.skeptics.com.au/features/prize/
They also offer AU$20,000 as a "Spotter's Fee"

There's the IIG's US$50,000 Challenge in California, USA
They now have affiliates in Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC and are developing affiliates in Denver, CO, Calgary, Canada and probably other places as well.
http://www.iigwest.org/challenge.html
They also offer US$5,000 as a "Finder's Fee"

There's the North Texas Skeptic's US$12,000 Challenge in the USA
http://www.ntskeptics.org/challenge/challenge.htm

There's Prabir Ghosh's 2,000,000 Rupee Challenge in India
http://rationalistprabir.bravehost.com/

There's the Swedish 100,000SeK prize offered by Humanisterna
http://www.humanisterna.se/index.php...d=27&Itemid=49

The Tampa Bay Skeptics offers a US$1000 prize in Florida, USA
http://www.tampabayskeptics.org/challenges.html

In Canada there's the CAN$10,000 from the Quebec Skeptics
http://www.sceptiques.qc.ca/activites/defi

In the UK, the ASKE organization offers £14,000
http://www.aske-skeptics.org.uk/challenge_rules.htm

Tony Youens in the UK offers £5,000
http://www.tonyyouens.com/challenge.htm

In Finland, Skepsis offers 10,000 Euros
http://www.skepsis.fi/haaste/

The Fayetteville Freethinkers in Arkansas, USA offer a US$1000 prize
http://fayfreethinkers.com/

There's a 1,000,000 Yuan prize in China offered by Sima Nan. This is his blog: http://blog.sina.com.cn/simanan

The Belgian SKEPP organization offers a 10,500 Euro prize
http://www.skepp.be/prijzen/de-sisyphus-prijs/

If you find any mistakes or broken links, or know of any tests not on this list, please notify me in this thread.

Good Luck,
Ward
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Old 5th May 2012, 12:47 PM   #34
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The problem with staring (sorry if this has been said already) is that everybody thinks they're being stared at. It's a basic law of the human ego that we think we are the center of everyone's attention - see "imaginary audience."

Thus, people will always report being stared at. Any test where they are stared at just 50% of the time will show up as people being 50% right. A 55% positive seems to be so close to random as to be statistically meaningless.

Perhaps you could line up six people, roll a die, and then stare at just one of them. If they all guess correctly, that would be a hit. Do that five times in a row and call it a test.
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Old 5th May 2012, 01:51 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Lanzy View Post
Wasn't this discussed a long time ago here? I remember some discussion of staring.
I had the same feeling of deja vu. And I found the thread. I think. Makes interesting reading.
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Old 7th May 2012, 06:11 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
The obvious problem here is that with 1000 applicants, someone would pass the test with sheer luck, without any supernatural forces involved. But the challenge is not intended as a lottery, which a million people try and a lucky one wins it with sheer statistical odds. For this reason, small statistical oddities like 1:100 or 1:1000 are not of interest, actually the requirement should be as solid performace as any known force of nature has. The apple _always_ falls with gravity, the force exists and never fails.

In the setting proposed in the OP, 550 correct guesses out of 1000 does not sound of any interest to science.
I agree with Rasmus and others.

FDA trails do not have to show a 100% recovery rate for a new drug to be considered useful. I see no reason to hold "psychics" to a higher standard than we use for medicine.

...............

Originally Posted by Femke View Post
I had the same feeling of deja vu. And I found the thread. I think. Makes interesting reading.
Yes, and I had a feeling someone was looking at that thread while I was thinking about that thread. So there is that.

jk
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Old 13th May 2012, 02:15 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Ladewig View Post
Yes, and I had a feeling someone was looking at that thread while I was thinking about that thread. So there is that.

jk
Let's apply for the MDC together.
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Old 14th May 2012, 09:19 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
Which is why there are two tests. Repeatability is a key requirement for scientific evidence, because of the possibility of fluke results.

Most people seem to expect that the odds would be set higher than 1:1000 for the final test, but I've never seen the need. Anyone who beat odds of 1:1000 twice would have beaten combined odds of 1 in a million.
Indeed!
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Old 14th May 2012, 12:52 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by JJM 777 View Post
The obvious problem here is that with 1000 applicants, someone would pass the test with sheer luck, without any supernatural forces involved. But the challenge is not intended as a lottery, which a million people try and a lucky one wins it with sheer statistical odds. For this reason, small statistical oddities like 1:100 or 1:1000 are not of interest, actually the requirement should be as solid performace as any known force of nature has. The apple _always_ falls with gravity, the force exists and never fails.

In the setting proposed in the OP, 550 correct guesses out of 1000 does not sound of any interest to science. If you let me use my looking force, called the eyes, I can tell 1000 times out of 1000 trials whether another person in front of me is staring at me or not. The force is there, and it functions with 100,0% accuracy. There is no reason to give a discount to a claimed paranormal force to fail 450 times out of 1000, if the human eyes don´t fail even once out of 1000 trials.

If the claimant had a force, or if he at least sincerely believed to have it, there would be no reason to talk about "550 out of 1000", the talk would be about 999 or 1000 out of 1000. To me, talking about 550 out of 1000 is a confession that the person does not believe even himself that he has the claimed ability.

I do not represent the JREF, but if I did, my answer would be: succeed 999 times out of 1000, and you pass the preliminary test.
I disagree. Plenty of scientific studies have a much lower bar than 100%. If we demanded effects to be there 100% of the time we'd pretty much have to give up studying psycology, physiology, pharmacology and so on.

Also you're making a very large assumption on how supernatural forces might operate. Just because say ESP exists, it doesn't mean that a person can master it 100% of the time. Likewise Usain Bolt cannot always run sub 9.6.

If someone could show a 55% hit rate over say 10,000 very well controlled tests, that would strongly suggest something interesting is going on. I'm not a statistician but I'm pretty sure that is statistically significant.

Now the challenge is not a piece of scientific research as such. JREF do not need to allow such small margins and cannot really afford to do so but they need to set the bar to a level that whilst weeding out chance allows real paranormal powers to show up.
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Old 14th May 2012, 12:55 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Ladewig View Post
I agree with Rasmus and others.

FDA trails do not have to show a 100% recovery rate for a new drug to be considered useful. I see no reason to hold "psychics" to a higher standard than we use for medicine.

k
I think you DO have to hold them to a higher standard than medicine, just not that high.

As pointed out in the thread on extraordinary evidence, a medical trial isn't usually carrying implied claims that re-write almost everything we know about science.
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