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Old 19th April 2012, 02:55 PM   #401
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Originally Posted by Almo View Post
Here's the problem. You can't exhaust all possbilities. There will always be something else. Maybe it only works if the atmospheric pressure is below (or above) some amount (or not between two amounts). Maybe it only works when the earth is not within 10 degrees in its orbit of perogee or apogee. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

He will never take our advice, because there will always be an available (but sillier) hypothesis. Since the hypothesis is silly already, he's already broken that barrier and there's nothing to bring him back.
The possibilities will be exhausted when DD decides he has got to that point. He is the self-appointed director of his own project. If he consistently fails to prove anything of note, he will suffer from experimental fatigue, and give up. It is a common human trait for the majority of us. His hypothesis is not "silly". He has tried one single field experiment and it has failed as a vehicle to prove anything tangible. It is "silly" to argue that it is silly at this early stage. DD may end up calling himself silly and perhaps misguided too, but that is his perogative after the event.
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Old 19th April 2012, 03:44 PM   #402
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Or he will do what all dowsers do and merely declare that he knows it works and scientific proof is not necessary, "because it works for me".
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Old 20th April 2012, 08:24 AM   #403
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Originally Posted by EHocking View Post
Or he will do what all dowsers do and merely declare that he knows it works and scientific proof is not necessary, "because it works for me".
"all dowsers"?

That is a bit of a sweeping statement. DD doesn't sound like the sort of chap that would say scientific proof is not necessary. On the contrary, he seems to be putting his money where his mouth is, in terms of experimental effort. From what little I know of DD, and only going by his posts, he seems a genuine guy with a thirst for genuine enquiry. Let this run its natural course before making cynical comment, I get the feeling you may be surprised by his final conclusions and own comment, whether he is successful or not.
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Old 20th April 2012, 08:28 AM   #404
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
"all dowsers"?
Yeah. Pretty much.
Quote:
That is a bit of a sweeping statement. DD doesn't sound like the sort of chap that would say scientific proof is not necessary. On the contrary, he seems to be putting his money where his mouth is, in terms of experimental effort. From what little I know of DD, and only going by his posts, he seems a genuine guy with a thirst for genuine enquiry. Let this run its natural course before making cynical comment, I get the feeling you may be surprised by his final conclusions and own comment,
If he changes his mind, he'll be breaking the mould that's for sure.
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whether he is successful or not.
There is little question.
Dowsing just doesn't work.

If it did, the oil and gas business wouldn't be spending billions annually on shooting and analysing seismic and all the geologists would be out of a job (unless they own their own coathangers..).
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Old 20th April 2012, 11:33 AM   #405
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
His hypothesis is not "silly".
You don't think the hypothesis that ground disturbed in some vaguely specified way can be detected using bent metal rods is silly? What about the hypotheses he's come up with to explain away his failure, how sensible do you think those are?

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It is "silly" to argue that it is silly at this early stage.
Early stage?

http://www.skepdic.com/dowsing.html

Quote:
In 1949, an experiment was conducted in Maine by the American Society for Psychical Research. Twenty-seven dowsers "failed completely to estimate either the depth or the amount of water to be found in a field free of surface clues to water, whereas a geologist and an engineer successfully predicted the depth at which water would be found in 16 sites in the same field...." (Zusne and Jones 1989: 108; reported in Vogt and Hyman: 1967). There have been a few other controlled tests of dowsing and all produced only chance results (ibid.). [In addition to Vogt and Hyman, see R. A. Foulkes (1971) "Dowsing experiments," Nature, 229, pp.163-168); M. Martin (1983-1984). "A new controlled dowsing experiment." Skeptical Inquirer. 8(2), 138-140; J. Randi(1979). "A controlled test of dowsing abilities." Skeptical Inquirer. 4(1). 16-20; and D. Smith (1982). "Two tests of divining in Australia." Skeptical Inquirer. 4(4). 34-37.]

[...]
Typical is what happened when James Randi tested some dowsers using a protocol they all agreed upon. If they could locate water in underground pipes at an 80% success rate they would get $10,000 (now the prize is over $1,000,000). All the dowsers failed the test, though each claimed to be highly successful in finding water using a variety of non-scientific instruments, including a pendulum.
That's over 60 years of tests, most of which would have given a positive result if DowserDon's original hypothesis was correct. DowserDon may have convinced himself that his test was the first of its kind that had been done, but he was very much mistaken - in that, as in so much else.
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Old 21st April 2012, 12:51 AM   #406
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
You don't think the hypothesis that ground disturbed in some vaguely specified way can be detected using bent metal rods is silly? What about the hypotheses he's come up with to explain away his failure, how sensible do you think those are?
For me, like you, it doesn't make sense, but then I have never dowsed for disturbed earth before. Why would I want to? DD claims to have experienced an effect, and he is willing to be subjected to testing, so if he wants to spend his time and money, he is perfectly entitled to do so in his efforts to convince himself and others, one way or another.

His intial reaction and comment relating to the plywood seemed to me to be a kneejerk and ill thought out hypothesis. In the face of failure, unlike experienced politicians, we all tend to come up with this kind of panic response in similar circumstances, I didn't view it as anything else. He said he would try new experiments, and no doubt as a consequence, he will discard his initial plywood theory as a cause of failure.

Quote:
Early stage?

http://www.skepdic.com/dowsing.html



That's over 60 years of tests, most of which would have given a positive result if DowserDon's original hypothesis was correct. DowserDon may have convinced himself that his test was the first of its kind that had been done, but he was very much mistaken - in that, as in so much else.
I made this comment in the context of the "early stage" for specifically testing DD's abilties or non-abilities as the case may be. I am aware of course, of other historical testing experiments.

I have written before here about a personal observation of a dowsing I experienced a few years ago. Briefly, my boss was re-vamping an area of his rather large garden, and was made aware that a water pipe was running underneath an area of this land which he didn't want to damage during excavation work. Nobody locally knew exactly where this pipe was located under the land. He employed an elderly chap who professed to be a dowser and he proceeded to dowse this square area of land. Using rods similar to DDs, I observed him walking up and down the land following a route as a tractor would plough the land. Each time the rods crossed, he placed a marker in the soil. At the end of the process a straight line route of the supposed buried pipe, was traced across the area of land. This was excavated carefully and the pipe was found to follow this route perfectly. The chap was paid £25, and left.

This is anecdotal I know, and I am not asking you to believe me, but it has coloured my attitude to dowsing to certain extent. Whether this chap could have passed any controlled testing or not, who knows, but what I do know is that he was making some extra cash to supplement his pension, on a regular basis.
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Old 21st April 2012, 02:16 AM   #407
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
if he wants to spend his time and money, he is perfectly entitled to do so in his efforts to convince himself and others, one way or another.
Indeed, and I don't think anyone (least of all me) has suggested otherwise.

Quote:
His intial reaction and comment relating to the plywood seemed to me to be a kneejerk and ill thought out hypothesis. In the face of failure, unlike experienced politicians, we all tend to come up with this kind of panic response in similar circumstances, I didn't view it as anything else. He said he would try new experiments, and no doubt as a consequence, he will discard his initial plywood theory as a cause of failure.
We can but hope.

Quote:
This is anecdotal I know, and I am not asking you to believe me, but it has coloured my attitude to dowsing to certain extent. Whether this chap could have passed any controlled testing or not, who knows, but what I do know is that he was making some extra cash to supplement his pension, on a regular basis.
Good for him.

Water pipes are not laid randomly. One possible explanation is that this guy had a lifetime of experience which enabled him to assess the layout and determine the most probable course, consciously or unconsciously. Or he could have been the guy who originally laid it.
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Old 21st April 2012, 04:11 AM   #408
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
This is anecdotal I know, and I am not asking you to believe me, but it has coloured my attitude to dowsing to certain extent. Whether this chap could have passed any controlled testing or not, who knows, but what I do know is that he was making some extra cash to supplement his pension, on a regular basis.
You mean just like elderly psychics do?!
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Old 21st April 2012, 05:28 AM   #409
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
This is anecdotal I know, and I am not asking you to believe me, but it has coloured my attitude to dowsing to certain extent. Whether this chap could have passed any controlled testing or not, who knows, but what I do know is that he was making some extra cash to supplement his pension, on a regular basis.
I've posted the anecdote where a dowser completely missed a buried electric line, even when we were trying to help him by pointing out how it generally ran, because he insisted it must follow a random dip in the ground. Another guy with actual equipment later found it.

That's the problem with anecdotes. Obviously, dowsing must "work" some of the time, or the idea would just have disappeared, so there are plenty of anecdotes of it "working," and plenty of gullible people to credit the success to dowsing, rather than a combination of common sense and good observation.

If any people were passing double-blind tests, there might be something worth investigating. But they consistently fail. It really does strike me like the perpetual motion machine phenomenon, where one can point out all the previous failures and the theoretical reasons why it's impossible, and yet people will still dedicate their lives to trying to build one, always so close, yet never achieving it, oblivious to all the evidence for why they're failing.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 12:08 AM   #410
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post

Water pipes are not laid randomly. One possible explanation is that this guy had a lifetime of experience which enabled him to assess the layout and determine the most probable course, consciously or unconsciously. Or he could have been the guy who originally laid it.
Both of these explanations are possible, the first being the more likely, IMHO.

If it was his unconscious, then that would be worthy of testing, as it would have some practical and useful applications.

My anecdote doesn't prove anything, but I mentioned it to demonstrate how it has affected my attitude to DDs efforts, and why I have given him the time of day.

For me to be convinced, I would still like my own example dowser to be tested in the same way as DD.

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Old 22nd April 2012, 12:12 AM   #411
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post

That's the problem with anecdotes. Obviously, dowsing must "work" some of the time, or the idea would just have disappeared, so there are plenty of anecdotes of it "working," and plenty of gullible people to credit the success to dowsing, rather than a combination of common sense and good observation.
This is a valid point. However, we should expect it to also "work" some of the time when testing, if only as a consequence of coincidence or "luck". It is interesting, at least from the links and references to historical testing on here, that it never "works" under controlled conditions. A statistical fluke perhaps?

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Old 22nd April 2012, 12:37 AM   #412
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post

For me to be convinced, I would still like my own example dowser to be tested in the same way as DD.
And what work are you doing to convince your dowser to do such a thing? You know both the Australian Skeptics and the IIG in the US have a finder's fee which you can earn if you bring your dowser to them for testing and the dowser passes. Not only would the dowser win a prize, but so would you.

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Old 22nd April 2012, 01:32 AM   #413
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
This is a valid point. However, we should expect it to also "work" some of the time when testing, if only as a consequence of coincidence or "luck". It is interesting, at least from the links and references to historical testing on here, that it never "works" under controlled conditions. A statistical fluke perhaps?
The whole point of controlled testing is to establish whether it works more often than would be expected as a result of coincidence or luck. It's not that dowsers never identify the right bucket/bottle/barrel/buried pipe in a double blind test, it's that they do so no more often than would be expected by chance.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 02:01 AM   #414
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
If it was his unconscious, then that would be worthy of testing, as it would have some practical and useful applications.
I think you're reading too much into this possibility. 'Unconscious' detection isn't inferring something potentially paranormal, or even special; simply that the dowser has some prior inherent knowledge or incling of where the dowsed object is, or is likely to be, but does not make a conscious effort to determine it. It's no different from driving a car. Upon reaching a level of proficiency one simply accelerates, steers and brakes without consciously thinking about it. It just 'happens' based on knowledge first, then experience.

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
My anecdote doesn't prove anything, but I mentioned it to demonstrate how it has affected my attitude to DDs efforts, and why I have given him the time of day.
Then it seems you are on a similar path to DD, only your's is a road less travelled (so far). May I suggest you critically reappraise your travel plans lest you wind up blindly searching for the 'Promised Land', with no hope of finding it.

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
For me to be convinced, I would still like my own example dowser to be tested in the same way as DD.
That's reassuring.

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
This is a valid point. However, we should expect it to also "work" some of the time when testing, if only as a consequence of coincidence or "luck".
Sorry, that's not 'working'; that's ... well simply coincidence or luck!

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
It is interesting, at least from the links and references to historical testing on here, that it never "works" under controlled conditions. A statistical fluke perhaps?
'Statistical fluke'? What on Earth do you mean? BTW - are you sure you understand what 'controlled conditions' means?
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Old 22nd April 2012, 02:04 AM   #415
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
The whole point of controlled testing is to establish whether it works more often than would be expected as a result of coincidence or luck. It's not that dowsers never identify the right bucket/bottle/barrel/buried pipe in a double blind test, it's that they do so no more often than would be expected by chance.
It's one of those linguistic things that can lead to confusion. If the dowser identifies the bucket with water no more often than they would by chance, then most of us would say that dowsing didn't work. However, from the dowser's point of view, they may say that it had worked for the buckets they had identified.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 03:42 AM   #416
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
It's one of those linguistic things that can lead to confusion. If the dowser identifies the bucket with water no more often than they would by chance, then most of us would say that dowsing didn't work. However, from the dowser's point of view, they may say that it had worked for the buckets they had identified.
Nothing confusing about that. They may say that it worked, like they may say that the Earth's flat.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 04:14 AM   #417
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
This is a valid point. However, we should expect it to also "work" some of the time when testing, if only as a consequence of coincidence or "luck". It is interesting, at least from the links and references to historical testing on here, that it never "works" under controlled conditions. A statistical fluke perhaps?
The whole point of having controlled conditions is to eliminate the usual hints, such as shallow depressions left by water line trenches, changes in vegetation that indicate water close to the surface, etc. The goal is to bring it down to purely mathematical odds, so only dowsing could be the cause of getting the right answer more than chance.

The conditions are generally set up so the odds of guessing right by chance alone are maybe 1:1000 or more. So if you looked at over 1,000 controlled tests of dowsers, at least one should get it right by chance alone. That's a lot of tests--no idea if that many controlled tests have actually been performed over the years, but it's possble. If one dowser has passed a controlled test, apparently we just haven't heard about it.

You'd think the one lucky dowser would crow about it, but the next step, of course, would be to test the dowser again, making the odds 1:1,000,000. And apparently all dowsers have failed in subsequent trials, showing that any who passed a first trial did it just by luck, otherwise they could make a career of winning one paranormal prize after another.

After a few million pairs of controlled trials have been done, we'd expect to have a dowser who's passed twice in a row by luck alone. But if dowsing is a real skill, we should have a lot more than that. It doesn't take a million trials of people with metal detectors to find a buried coin; they'll succeed pretty much 1,000 out of 1,000 times, because that's a real skill, not luck.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 04:25 AM   #418
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Originally Posted by wardenclyffe View Post
And what work are you doing to convince your dowser to do such a thing? You know both the Australian Skeptics and the IIG in the US have a finder's fee which you can earn if you bring your dowser to them for testing and the dowser passes. Not only would the dowser win a prize, but so would you.

Ward
Sadly, he is probably dead by now. He was in his 70s when I witnessed the dowsing and that was in the eighties.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 04:44 AM   #419
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Originally Posted by Southwind17 View Post
I think you're reading too much into this possibility. 'Unconscious' detection isn't inferring something potentially paranormal, or even special; simply that the dowser has some prior inherent knowledge or incling of where the dowsed object is, or is likely to be, but does not make a conscious effort to determine it. It's no different from driving a car. Upon reaching a level of proficiency one simply accelerates, steers and brakes without consciously thinking about it. It just 'happens' based on knowledge first, then experience.
I never said "unconscious" detection was paranormal or even "special". I simply said it may be worthy of testing, even if to prove your own hypothesis above on this, or otherwise.

Quote:
Then it seems you are on a similar path to DD, only your's is a road less travelled (so far). May I suggest you critically reappraise your travel plans lest you wind up blindly searching for the 'Promised Land', with no hope of finding it.
I am expecting DD to give up, eventually. Why are you reading more than that in my post?

Quote:
That's reassuring.
I am reassured that you are reassured!

Quote:
'Statistical fluke'? What on Earth do you mean? BTW - are you sure you understand what 'controlled conditions' means?
Is the wrong response!

Others who have posted in response to that have provided calm and intelligent comment, and I thank them for it.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 08:45 PM   #420
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
I never said "unconscious" detection was paranormal or even "special". I simply said it may be worthy of testing, even if to prove your own hypothesis above on this, or otherwise.
So what, exactly, would you propose is tested for, that people do things unconsciously? No need - happens all of the time. Ask anyone who drives a car.

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
I am expecting DD to give up, eventually. Why are you reading more than that in my post?
Because of this:
Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Let this run its natural course before making cynical comment, I get the feeling you may be surprised by his final conclusions and own comment, whether he is successful or not.
... and this:
Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
This is anecdotal I know, and I am not asking you to believe me, but it has coloured my attitude to dowsing to certain extent.
Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Is the wrong response!

Others who have posted in response to that have provided calm and intelligent comment, and I thank them for it.
No need to get upset - I'm just trying to check your understanding of statistics and controlled testing. It seems you don't quite grasp them, that's all.
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Old 22nd April 2012, 09:20 PM   #421
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Sadly, he is probably dead by now. He was in his 70s when I witnessed the dowsing and that was in the eighties.
You snooze, you lose.

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Old 22nd April 2012, 09:53 PM   #422
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
This is a valid point. However, we should expect it to also "work" some of the time when testing, if only as a consequence of coincidence or "luck". It is interesting, at least from the links and references to historical testing on here, that it never "works" under controlled conditions. A statistical fluke perhaps?
When we say that dowsing has never worked under controlled conditions, we don't mean that no dowser has ever picked the right bucker in a controlled test. Of course they have. We mean that they have never picked the right bucket any more often than someone choosing purely by chance.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 12:39 AM   #423
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Originally Posted by Southwind17 View Post
So what, exactly, would you propose is tested for, that people do things unconsciously? No need - happens all of the time. Ask anyone who drives a car.
So QED for you then. Congratulations!


Quote:
Because of this:

Let this run its natural course before making cynical comment, I get the feeling you may be surprised by his final conclusions and own comment, whether he is successful or not.
Yes, it would be premature to comment before an admission that his hypothesis is wrong as a consequence of a determination to continue with the experiments. An obvious interpretation of my attitude if you are able to read and digest comment, that is.
Quote:
... and this:

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
This is anecdotal I know, and I am not asking you to believe me, but it has coloured my attitude to dowsing to certain extent.
Let me explain, "to a certain extent" does not mean wholesale acceptance of the efficacy of dowsing. I know that is what you want me to say, but I would be lying.

Quote:
No need to get upset - I'm just trying to check your understanding of statistics and controlled testing. It seems you don't quite grasp them, that's all.
Why would you think I am upset? You don't know me, and I was merely pointing out you were wrong with your shrill response.

Last edited by Explorer; 23rd April 2012 at 12:58 AM.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 12:57 AM   #424
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Originally Posted by JimOfAllTrades View Post
When we say that dowsing has never worked under controlled conditions, we don't mean that no dowser has ever picked the right bucker in a controlled test. Of course they have. We mean that they have never picked the right bucket any more often than someone choosing purely by chance.
I take your point.

You see, I think that DD is actually doing what all claimants should do prior to a test. He is testing his own ability to pass a given prescribed test.

The obvious conclusion from the above, is that no applications for the MDC, or any other controlled evaluation, would ever be submitted if failure was the consistent outcome of the practice sessions.

It seems to me, and you may want to correct me on this one, that many claimants do not do this simple thing. They have so much confidence in their abilities that they are happy to accept any test at face value, well designed or otherwise. The Richard Dawkins dowser testing in his last TV series is a good example of that, when at a paranormal fair, he recruited several dowsers ad hoc, and about half a dozen or so, agreed to a test, where they had to find water under several buckets. It seemed to me, that none of them had actually practiced the elements of the test before, and that their confidence was misplaced. They all failed the test.

We should be complaining that dowsers are wasting time accepting a test, if they haven't pre-tested the test. We should not be criticising their misplaced confidence, only their naivety, and should be positively encouraging people like DD, who make paranormal claims, to carry out pre-testing, before expressing confidence in their abilities.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 01:02 AM   #425
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
So QED for you then. Congratulations!
I'll take that as a "Mmm .. good point", then.

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Yes, it would be premature to comment before an admission that his hypothesis is wrong as a consequence of a determination to continue with the experiments. An obvious interpretation of my attitude if you are able to read and digest comment, that is.
No, it would not be premature to comment. We are as good as certain what the outcome will be.

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Let me explain, "to a certain extent" does not mean wholesale acceptance of the efficacy of dowsing. I know that is what you want me to say, but I would be lying.
No, that's not what I want you to say. I don't want you to say anything in particular. "To a certain extent", however, means you have not dismissed it, and I'm interested to understand what drives your partial belief. If it's the anecdote that you cited then I'd be interested to understand why, given the elementary education that you've received here to date (or has the colour of your judgement now reverted to something approaching normal?).

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Why would you think I am upset?
Oh, I don't know - wild guess?

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
You don't me, and I was merely pointing out you were wrong with your shrill response.
Except that I appear not to be.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 01:36 AM   #426
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
It seems to me, and you may want to correct me on this one, that many claimants do not do this simple thing.
I'm pretty sure no-one who has got as far as taking the preliminary test had done a dry run of the protocol they'd agreed to. Connie Sonne, for example, steadfastly refused to do so despite constant urging by myself and others.

I imagine that those who understand the need for such testing and do some never get as far as applying, let alone taking a preliminary test. DowserDon is unusual in that he understood the need, but applied before doing any.

Quote:
They have so much confidence in their abilities that they are happy to accept any test at face value, well designed or otherwise.
I think the applicants agree to the proposed test protocol because they can see it's a fair test of their ability, and as they "know" they have this ability they see no need to practice beforehand. I imagine that anyone who believes they can detect water deep underground would think detecting it under a bucket is going to be a doddle. They take the test to convince other people that they have this ability; they feel no need to convince themselves any further. What they seem unwilling to even try to understand is that the evidence which has convinced them is wholely inadequate.

Quote:
We should be complaining that dowsers are wasting time accepting a test, if they haven't pre-tested the test. We should not be criticising their misplaced confidence, only their naivety, and should be positively encouraging people like DD, who make paranormal claims, to carry out pre-testing, before expressing confidence in their abilities.
JREF urges potential applicants to test themselves using the kind of protocol they will be required to use before applying, any applicant or potential applicant who posts here is urged to do a dry run and helped to come up with a suitable protocol. If they simply refuse, and DowserDon is the first applicant I know of who didn't, what more can we do?
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Old 23rd April 2012, 08:34 AM   #427
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
I'm pretty sure no-one who has got as far as taking the preliminary test had done a dry run of the protocol they'd agreed to. Connie Sonne, for example, steadfastly refused to do so despite constant urging by myself and others.

I imagine that those who understand the need for such testing and do some never get as far as applying, let alone taking a preliminary test. DowserDon is unusual in that he understood the need, but applied before doing any.


I think the applicants agree to the proposed test protocol because they can see it's a fair test of their ability, and as they "know" they have this ability they see no need to practice beforehand. I imagine that anyone who believes they can detect water deep underground would think detecting it under a bucket is going to be a doddle. They take the test to convince other people that they have this ability; they feel no need to convince themselves any further. What they seem unwilling to even try to understand is that the evidence which has convinced them is wholely inadequate.


JREF urges potential applicants to test themselves using the kind of protocol they will be required to use before applying, any applicant or potential applicant who posts here is urged to do a dry run and helped to come up with a suitable protocol. If they simply refuse, and DowserDon is the first applicant I know of who didn't, what more can we do?
Very little more, except make it a condition of the MDC that proof of pre-testing to the applicants satisfaction, must be submiited on the agreed test method, before an application can be accepted. If that eliminates all claimants, then so be it!

Thanks by the way for that feedback.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 04:05 PM   #428
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Very little more, except make it a condition of the MDC that proof of pre-testing to the applicants satisfaction, must be submiited on the agreed test method, before an application can be accepted. If that eliminates all claimants, then so be it!
I thought the affidavit/media presence prerequisite was intended to overcome the 'spurious' application problem. Pre-testing to the applicant's satisfaction is not a robust prerequisite, given the mindset of most potential applicants!
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Old 23rd April 2012, 11:17 PM   #429
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Originally Posted by Southwind17 View Post
I thought the affidavit/media presence prerequisite was intended to overcome the 'spurious' application problem. Pre-testing to the applicant's satisfaction is not a robust prerequisite, given the mindset of most potential applicants!
"Gven the mindset of most potential applicants" is pre-judging, and not a very scientific position to take, even if it turns out to be true..

Media presence is no more a "robust" pre-requisite, than my proposal.

It is for the claimant to be both satisfied with the elements of the controlled test, and his/her ability to pass that test in pre-test trials, that is important, to overcome the spurious, IMHO. As I said, proof of pre-testing, which would essentially confirm the applicant's own confidence to perform within the constraints of the MDC, say along with independently verified results, should be mandatory.

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Old 24th April 2012, 12:59 AM   #430
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Media presence is no more a "robust" pre-requisite, than my proposal.
I think it's the academic affadavit rather than the media presence that's supposed to provide the safeguard you're requesting.

From the FAQ:

Quote:
4.8 If I am asked to provide affidavits, who should I get to supply them?

You should approach individuals of an academic standing who are not related to you. The affidavits must be from individuals who are familiar with the scientific method and logical deduction, and can witness your claim from an unbiased standpoint and offer their feedback.

You may consider e-mailing professors at a nearby University. Some would-be applicants have noted that most academics do not believe in the paranormal, and would therefore not be the right type of person to approach with paranormal claims. However, that is kind of the point – an academic’s opinion will not be swayed by a desire to believe, and the evidence will be taken at its own value.

The affidavit should read something like the following:

I have personally witnessed the phenomenon claimed by "(applicant's name)" in his/her application for the JREF One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, and I can offer no rational explanation for it.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:24 AM   #431
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
"Gven the mindset of most potential applicants" is pre-judging, and not a very scientific position to take, even if it turns out to be true..
It's a matter of fact. One only needs to look at the history of the Challenge to see that. Are you intent on disagreeing with everything I write just for the sake of it, or do you have a comprehension issue?

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Media presence is no more a "robust" pre-requisite, than my proposal.
Really? Given the history of the Challenge are you seriously suggesting that an applicant simply claiming to be satisfied with his/her own testing protocol is as likely to be as worthy and genuine as one who has managed to convince the media sufficient to secure a presence?

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
It is for the claimant to be both satisfied with the elements of the controlled test, and his/her ability to pass that test in pre-test trials, that is important, to overcome the spurious, IMHO. As I said, proof of pre-testing, which would essentially confirm the applicant's own confidence to perform within the constraints of the MDC, say along with independently verified results, should be mandatory.
So, IYHO, you disagree with the MDC process, right?
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Old 24th April 2012, 03:00 AM   #432
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Originally Posted by Southwind17 View Post
It's a matter of fact. One only needs to look at the history of the Challenge to see that. Are you intent on disagreeing with everything I write just for the sake of it, or do you have a comprehension issue?
Don't be so rude!

Quote:
Really? Given the history of the Challenge are you seriously suggesting that an applicant simply claiming to be satisfied with his/her own testing protocol is as likely to be as worthy and genuine as one who has managed to convince the media sufficient to secure a presence?
But it wouldn't be the applicant's own testing protocol. It would be the one agreed by the MDC. I think, like many others, that the media are often just as gullible as the next person. Why should you assume that journalists are always good and seasoned skeptics?


So, IYHO, you disagree with the MDC process, right?[/quote]

No, I was simply responding to Pixel's comment as to how it could be improved. It may not improve it, but I responded with my immediate thoughts.
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Old 24th April 2012, 03:07 AM   #433
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
I think it's the academic affadavit rather than the media presence that's supposed to provide the safeguard you're requesting.

From the FAQ:
Yes, the affadavit, seems to be what I am saying. So that proviso is already is in place then, and that can be applied to my "independent verification "of the pre-test results, which may or may not provide genuine confidence in the applicant's mindset.
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Old 24th April 2012, 05:17 AM   #434
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Don't be so rude!
Rude? It was a genuine enquiry.

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
But it wouldn't be the applicant's own testing protocol. It would be the one agreed by the MDC. I think, like many others, that the media are often just as gullible as the next person. Why should you assume that journalists are always good and seasoned skeptics?
I see. So when you wrote:
Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
Very little more, except make it a condition of the MDC that proof of pre-testing to the applicants satisfaction, must be submiited on the agreed test method, before an application can be accepted. If that eliminates all claimants, then so be it! [emboldening added]
... you mean:
  1. applicant applies to JREF;
  2. applicant agrees a testing protocol with JREF;
  3. applicant successfully conducts agreed test to his/her own satisfaction;
  4. applicant re-applies to JREF.
Can you see why this might not be the most sensible approach, and why the JREF introduced the media presence and afidavit prerequisite?

As for media presence, sure, they can be gullible, but having to convince the media to attend would certainly filter out most of the quacks.

Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
No, I was simply responding to Pixel's comment as to how it could be improved. It may not improve it, but I responded with my immediate thoughts.
'Immediate thoughts'. I see. Perhaps a little reflection, in future?
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Old 24th April 2012, 06:13 AM   #435
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
But it wouldn't be the applicant's own testing protocol. It would be the one agreed by the MDC.
No it wouldn't. A testing protocol is only agreed for the MDC after a lengthy discussion between the JREF and the applicant, often going on for several months or even years. The JREF is not going to go through all that with someone who hasn't even been accepted as an applicant yet. The whole point of setting up some hoops for people to jump through is to weed out the ones who aren't serious before the JREF has to waste time dealing with them. So obviously any pre-application test cannot possibly be approved by the JREF for the MDC, since that would defeat the entire point of having it in the first place.

Quote:
I think, like many others, that the media are often just as gullible as the next person. Why should you assume that journalists are always good and seasoned skeptics?
No-one is assuming any such thing. Yes, the media are often as gullible as the next person. In fact, they're often deliberately even more so since they'll happily report on things they think people will read regardless of whether they believe it or not. If you've read any background at all, you will surely have noticed that many applicants are obviously insane, trying a con, or simply expect someone else to do all the work for them. The point of requiring a media presence is not to have applicants undergo a thorough skeptical analysis, it is simply to determine that the applicant is capable of convincing anyone at all, and is actually willing to put any effort into doing so.

Plus there is, of course, another very good reason. As has been explained many times before here, the JREF is not a scientific research centre. The challenge is not an attempt to find out if magic exists. It's a PR stunt by people who don't believe magic exists and are calling out believers by telling them to put up or shut up. Then when no-one is actually able to put up, they can just point at the challenge and ask how come they still have a million dollars.

The point is, the MDC is not supposed to be the place for every random believer to come and have a shot at winning. It's a tool that was introduced specifically to call out big names. Do you think anyone actually cares if some random person no-one's ever heard of fails to do something no-one ever believed they could do in the first place? Of course not. So why would the JREF want to waste their time and resources on that kind of test? By requiring some kind of media presence, the JREF tries to ensure that people who get tested are people whose failure might actually have some impact in convincing others that their claimed magic powers aren't actually real.
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Old 24th April 2012, 06:18 AM   #436
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Originally Posted by Southwind17 View Post
[*]applicant applies to JREF;[*]applicant agrees a testing protocol with JREF;[*]applicant successfully conducts agreed test to his/her own satisfaction;[*]applicant re-applies to JREF.[/list]Can you see why this might not be the most sensible approach, and why the JREF introduced the media presence and afidavit prerequisite?

As for media presence, sure, they can be gullible, but having to convince the media to attend would certainly filter out most of the quacks.


'Immediate thoughts'. I see. Perhaps a little reflection, in future?
DD for his intial experiments was conducting protocol already dictated by the MDC, so the first three items in your list above apply to him. He has only conducted one experiment at stage three, and he has said on this board that he will continue with further experiments at this stage. As for the fourth item, DD will not have to re-apply, as he already has in order to get to stage three. However, whether or not he now goes through with the actual MDC final test, which is the true stage four, remains to be seen.

As others have said above, it is rare for claimants to adhere to the MDC pre-tests, and DD is an exception. I am merely saying that this should not be an exception, but the rule,
for all.

Incidently, and you may have missed it in a follow up post to Pixel, I have already accepted that the affadavit is essentially what I was suggesting to him, reflecting the verification of the pre-test results.

I don't believe that quacks would be put off by media presence, after all they, as you constantly keep reminding me, totally believe in their abilities anyway. In Richard Dawkins's TV programme, all dowser recruits, seemed quite happy to fail in front of the camera.
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Old 24th April 2012, 01:38 PM   #437
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
The Richard Dawkins dowser testing in his last TV series is a good example of that, when at a paranormal fair, he recruited several dowsers ad hoc, and about half a dozen or so, agreed to a test, where they had to find water under several buckets. It seemed to me, that none of them had actually practiced the elements of the test before, and that their confidence was misplaced. They all failed the test.
In the interests of accuracy, it was Richard Dawkins' TV programme, but it was Chris French who had arranged the tests, which happened to fit in with the programme. I don't know how the dowsers were recruited. The dowsers all tried the test while knowing where the water was, and were confident they were detecting the water under the buckets.

(I believe I linked to the youtube video earlier in the thread, and we just happened to have Chris French speaking at our local SITP, where he showed that video and gave some of the background.)


ETA:
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I AGREE
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Old 24th April 2012, 02:01 PM   #438
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
DD for his intial experiments was conducting protocol already dictated by the MDC,
In what way was it dictated?
Quote:
I don't believe that quacks would be put off by media presence, after all they, as you constantly keep reminding me, totally believe in their abilities anyway. In Richard Dawkins's TV programme, all dowser recruits, seemed quite happy to fail in front of the camera.
I think you may be using the word 'quack' differently than I do, at least. I wouldn't use it for dowsers, for example, who generally do seem to believe that they can do what they claim. People who make significant amounts of money from claimed paranormal ability, mediums for example, may have started off believing they are psychic, but once it becomes a business I find it hard believe that they haven't realised they are making it up most of the time.
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Old 24th April 2012, 04:16 PM   #439
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Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
DD for his intial experiments was conducting protocol already dictated by the MDC, so the first three items in your list above apply to him.
I believe Cuddles has corrected you on this.
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Old 25th April 2012, 12:15 AM   #440
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
In the interests of accuracy, it was Richard Dawkins' TV programme, but it was Chris French who had arranged the tests, which happened to fit in with the programme. I don't know how the dowsers were recruited. The dowsers all tried the test while knowing where the water was, and were confident they were detecting the water under the buckets.

(I believe I linked to the youtube video earlier in the thread, and we just happened to have Chris French speaking at our local SITP, where he showed that video and gave some of the background.)


ETA:
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
Interesting that you have received additional feedback that was not in the programme.

I ask why were the dowsers not given a chance to practice NOT KNOWING where the water was placed? Perhaps the making of that element of the programme would have had to have been abandoned, if they had all had walked away with their heads drooping.

It is surely fundamental that dowsers should only be participating in a test when any confidence they have built up, is based on successful pre-test trials where they don't know where the target was originally positioned.
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