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  1. #21
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    This was one of my first introductions to the scientific method and all of the biases it needs to fight through. And it was in Australia that I read about the new challenges that were being brought to challenge myths, which I believe this falls into.

    A quick google turned up what I remember reading about - Australian Skeptics Divining Test
    *nods* But the size of the study is rather small... You're dealing with human perception vs machines. How variable are human response? In particular humans placed through stressful situations? Maybe you need a larger sample size?

    There's no scientific evidence to support how dowsing can work. Yet people way back are finding sources of underground water at a significantly higher probability than chance. So it does look like there's something there.

  2. #22
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    *nods* But the size of the study is rather small... You're dealing with human perception vs machines. How variable are human response? In particular humans placed through stressful situations? Maybe you need a larger sample size?

    There's no scientific evidence to support how dowsing can work. Yet people way back are finding sources of underground water at a significantly higher probability than chance. So it does look like there's something there.

    No one knows for sure if they are (detecting higher than chance). When the amount of water to be detected is controlled, the area removed of any 'markers' of water and so forth, you find water at the same level as chance. IOWs, it's not the dowsing that does it. The only examples of it being higher than chance are found in uncontrolled experiments - land markers and so forth. Finding water through dowsing doesn't happen.

    If you think someone can beat the competition, which has been run multiple times (and in the US too, I believe) then get them to do it. I think the prize is now $1,000,000. The competition has been on for over 25 years... There have been experiments on this for over 50 years. It's the same story each time, with one notable chain of experiments done in Germany. Again, however, every controlled experiment (ie: one where the land is removed from markers and water is controlled on/off) fails.

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Yet people way back are finding sources of underground water at a significantly higher probability than chance.
    They are? How do you know?

  4. #24
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    No one knows for sure if they are (detecting higher than chance). When the amount of water to be detected is controlled, the area removed of any 'markers' of water and so forth, you find water at the same level as chance. IOWs, it's not the dowsing that does it. The only examples of it being higher than chance are found in uncontrolled experiments - land markers and so forth. Finding water through dowsing doesn't happen.

    If you think someone can beat the competition, which has been run multiple times (and in the US too, I believe) then get them to do it. I think the prize is now $1,000,000. The competition has been on for over 25 years... There have been experiments on this for over 50 years. It's the same story each time, with one notable chain of experiments done in Germany. Again, however, every controlled experiment (ie: one where the land is removed from markers and water is controlled on/off) fails.
    Ah... I didn't know that. Landmarks help in the explanation. People were telling me how there's not much water to be found in Australia... yet they were managing to dig wells using some sort of process, dowsing or otherwise... so I thought perhaps it worked.

  5. #25
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    James Randy devoted an entire program to water divining in the 80's and debunked it rather well in my eyes. What's interesting is he said that even though Australia is fairly dry on the surface, it's almost impossible not to find water if you drill deep down. So might be it's not so strange that's where water divining stands strongest. I'll see if I can't locate an online version of the program now.

    Edit: Located it right away. See what you think.
    James Randi in Australia

    Edit 2: Ah, it's the video from the same thing ptg linked to, btw. 1980.
    Last edited by Carebear; 12-11-2007 at 04:12 AM.

  6. #26
    will make your day Carebear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    (henceforth: rod)
    Bad move.

    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    So you walk along with your rod in front of you. [...] This is not merely a twitch, but often such a strong pull that my dad tells me that it's impossible to hold the rod straight. [...] Dad says that some people can do it and some people can't. If you can do it, you can get better at it. If you can't do it, you'll never be able to do it. His brother, for instance, could never do it. The rod wouldn't move at all. As soon as dad put his hand on his brother's body, however, the rod would "work". [...] I'm sure I've lost many of you by now. Let me get weirder.
    LOL! I couldn't stop laughing re-reading your first post.

    I know, I'm terribly childish.

  7. #27
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    It was "unscientific" to discuss ball lightning in the 70s and the 80s.
    Now it is not.

    Ball lightning did not exist.
    Now it does.

    If it does exist, it did exist.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    It was "unscientific" to discuss ball lightning in the 70s and the 80s.
    Now it is not.

    Ball lightning did not exist.
    Now it does.

    If it does exist, it did exist.
    Science can be wrong? We aleady knew that.

    Doesn't change the fact that we don't have any real evidence for dowsing. So until you can come up with some, the ball lightening argument is just a dead horse.

  9. #29
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by sundowning View Post
    Science can be wrong? We aleady knew that.

    Doesn't change the fact that we don't have any real evidence for dowsing. So until you can come up with some, the ball lightening argument is just a dead horse.
    My favorite phrase in the media has always been "we now know..." as in "It was once thought that Newtonian physics governed the universe, but we now know that planets and particles behave according to Einstein's theories." Oddly enough, what was "previously believed" was once just as known as what is "now known."

    So while it may not prove or disprove the validity of dowsing, wildcat's post is an important reminder that we should approach this and every question cautiously and with an awareness of our own limitations.

  10. #30
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    My favorite phrase in the media has always been "we now know..." as in "It was once thought that Newtonian physics governed the universe, but we now know that planets and particles behave according to Einstein's theories." Oddly enough, what was "previously believed" was once just as known as what is "now known."

    So while it may not prove or disprove the validity of dowsing, wildcat's post is an important reminder that we should approach this and every question cautiously and with an awareness of our own limitations.
    Hrmmm... aren't you saying we shouldn't trust in water divining then? The diviner is making a positive assertion. Wouldn't it go "we now know that water divining now works off landmarks, not metaphysical principles?"

    Course, that's also ignoring that science wants to understand but the effect cannot be reproduced... unlike your example, where a new condition needed to be explained. Rather like "I can find water by waving this stick around, so there is some connection between water and the stick... but now I can find oil too, so it must be something more than the connection between the stick and the water".

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