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Gray
46658.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:28 am Reply with quote

Hmm, that's slightly different, I think. Although a chicken sexer might not be able to explain how he does it, it can be demonstrated that he can do it.

The mechanism wouldn't be hard to work out, either - he's actually looking at the chick's rear end, so there must be a clue there (whether or not anyone thinks there is no difference at that age).

So chicken sexers pass the first test - they are waaaaay above average on getting it right (I assume), and it remains simply to understand how the brain's unconscious image-processing works. Well alright, maybe not so simple...

I have no idea how I tell a female face from a male face, but I can certainly do it, and it stands to reason that my eyes and brain are doing the work, and my 'consciousness' doesn't need to get involved.

 
mckeonj
46671.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:22 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
Hmm, that's slightly different, I think. Although a chicken sexer might not be able to explain how he does it, it can be demonstrated that he can do it.

The mechanism wouldn't be hard to work out, either - he's actually looking at the chick's rear end, so there must be a clue there (whether or not anyone thinks there is no difference at that age).

So chicken sexers pass the first test - they are waaaaay above average on getting it right (I assume), and it remains simply to understand how the brain's unconscious image-processing works. Well alright, maybe not so simple...

I have no idea how I tell a female face from a male face, but I can certainly do it, and it stands to reason that my eyes and brain are doing the work, and my 'consciousness' doesn't need to get involved.

Yes, and a similar mechanism may serve to explain dowsing, a passage in the paper on chicken sexing resonated with me:
Quote:
In this paper, I argue that we have mechanisms for learning the cues necessary for categorization, but that these mechanisms require selective attention to be given to the relevant features. We automatically acquire the ability to categorize certain objects because we have inbuilt attention directors causing us to attend to diagnostic cues.

I don't go along with the 'earth rays' thing, nor do I think that I am detecting 'springs of water'. Somehow, I am detecting underground disturbances or discontinuities such as fault lines, aquifers, old excavations, old foundations, perhaps by 'attending to diagnostic clues' such as surface profile, soil type and plant cover, geology, without being aware of the attention. Compare with crop marks (not crop circles!) used by archaeologists to spot ancient building sites from the air.
One simple example is that nettles prefer stony ground, and can often be seen marking the site of old buildings and walls in a field. The dowsing effect, with rods or pendulum may well be a genuine electro-magnetic sense, and a lot more testing needs to be done by all parties. It has been shown (and I will try to track down the reports) that dowsers get substantially the same picture of a site as obtained by a ground based or aerial magnetometer survey.

 
eggshaped
46674.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:34 am Reply with quote

McKeonj, do you ever have days dowsing where you just can't find anything? What would you say your success ratio is? If someone put a pipe of running water in a field would you genuinely feel that you were likely to find it on your first attempt?

Please don't think the above questions are flippant, I'm just wondering what experiences have given you the confidence to stick-up for what you clearly believe in, despite evidence to the contrary. I would be interested to hear of successful dowsing from someone who strikes me as a reasonable logical person, rather than trawling the net for quotes which could be nonsense.

However, if I was to claim to have an ability to predict what card would come out of a pack, and I was charging for it, I think I would also go for no-card-no-fee, as I'd be less likely to have angry customers when my ability failed.

And Gray, I like your analogy of chicken-sexing; being able to distinguish between chickens' backsides is similar to telling the difference between male and female faces - you've obviously been to Ritzy in Bolton.

 
Gray
46688.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:29 am Reply with quote

Quote:
perhaps by 'attending to diagnostic clues' such as surface profile, soil type and plant cover, geology, without being aware of the attention.

Now that I would agree with - I'm sure it's quite possible to pick up traces of waterways by inspecting the ground surface for giveaway details. That would at least explain why the Munich test didn't work (because the environment was artificial, and no ground clues were present). And there are some obvious clues - standing in a riverine valley would be a dead giveaway, for example.

But then if that is indeed the mechanism, it raises two further problems: (1) the dowsing rods would be pointless, so their inclusion looks even more suspect; and (2) it wouldn't explain how dowsers can detect water pipes - they should only be able to detect natural waterways that somehow show their presence in the surface geology.

Are there dowsers that don't use rods? There should be.

Now it could be the case that there are a lot of 'fake' dowsers that give the 'genuine' dowsers a bad name by insisting that they can find pipes, but still we return to the same point: no dowser of any claimed quality has ever managed to show that they're any better than if it were sheer gueswork, outside or inside. In this respect, I'm as good as the best dowser that ever lived, without even having tried it.

I think we can't underestimate the importance of eggshaped's point, though - that if dowsers give a 'no well no fee' guarantee, then their failures will be forgotten much more readily, while their successes will be remembered all the more, because they have a financial transaction associated with them. This mechanism alone can shift the bias very much in favour of 'belief'.

I learned everything I know at the Bolton Ritzy.

 
soup
46696.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:24 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
Hmm, that's slightly different, I think. Although a chicken sexer might not be able to explain how he does it, it can be demonstrated that he can do it.

The mechanism wouldn't be hard to work out, either - he's actually looking at the chick's rear end.


Thought s/he/it was actually looking at a row of feathers (the last ones on where the wing will be?) male chickens have variable length ends to the feathers whilst female chickens have all the same length ends to the feathers, according to "how it's made"

 
Jenny
46698.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 11:42 am Reply with quote

Quote:
But then if that is indeed the mechanism, it raises two further problems: (1) the dowsing rods would be pointless, so their inclusion looks even more suspect; and (2) it wouldn't explain how dowsers can detect water pipes - they should only be able to detect natural waterways that somehow show their presence in the surface geology.


I think I can come up with an explanation for point 1. What dowsing rods (or pendulums or any such mechanism) actually do is magnify unconscious movements so that they become visible. If, as mckeonj says, the dowser is working from a subconscious noticing of various combinations of many very subtle visual cues, this could be a way of transmitting that to his hands in a visible way. Point 2 is fair enough, but buried water pipes do leak and get penetrated by plant roots, so it could well be that there is some subtle visual cue on the surface.

 
Gray
46715.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:25 pm Reply with quote

Both good points, Jenny, although I'm not sure why it is that subconscious signals from the eyes should get transmitted to the arms/hands, if indeed they do - it seems a bit arbitrary. At least it would be possible then to wire someone up and check.

Perhaps because the hands are relatively still while the dowser is walking, they're a good place to site the 'amplifiers'.

And not all pipes leak, of course.

Although we still have to deal with this lack of test evidence problem, it does feel like we're getting somewhere with a theory...

 
samivel
46727.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:05 pm Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
And not all pipes leak, of course.


They do round our way

 
Mr Grue
46731.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:18 pm Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
...I'm not sure why it is that subconscious signals from the eyes should get transmitted to the arms/hands, if indeed they do - it seems a bit arbitrary. At least it would be possible then to wire someone up and check.

Perhaps because the hands are relatively still while the dowser is walking, they're a good place to site the 'amplifiers'.


I think you can't underplay the fact that you are consciously aware of the movements of the rod that you're after, which you then (at least in this model) subconsciously are capable of bringing about.

 
mckeonj
46732.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:30 pm Reply with quote

I Googled 'magnetometer +dowsing' and found some good stuff, as well as a load of cobblers from the mystics. This article took my fancy, it is in line with what we seem to be developing here.
[humor]Unfortunately the author is from the other place[/humor]

http://www.datadiwan.de/SciMedNet/library/articlesN66+/9804271950.htm

 
Gray
46739.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:48 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
it is relatively easy to replicate results; yet the phenomenon is largely ignored by the scientific community.


Hmmmm.

Quote:
it has been suggested that psi information is shared by a form of quantum entanglement or psi-field. I have developed the following mental picture: when one uses telepathy or clairvoyance to obtain information from the psi-field, it is like looking at a reflection on a still pond, while the effect of electromagnetic 'noise' might be like the breeze that breaks up the image into a confusion of ripples, although it does not itself carry the information.


Oh dear. Not that scientific. I'm not convinced she's anything to do with the University, either, fine, fine place that I hear it is...

 
eggshaped
47014.  Sat Jan 21, 2006 11:44 am Reply with quote

From H2G2

I know very well that many scientists consider dowsing as a type of superstition. According to my conviction this is, however, unjustified. The dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors which are unknown to us at this time.
- Albert Einstein

 
Gray
47027.  Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:47 pm Reply with quote

Einstein also believed in the existence of Atlantis, of course.

 
mckeonj
47032.  Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:56 pm Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
Einstein also believed in the existence of Atlantis, of course.

Lets discredit Isaac Newton as well, for studying alchemy.

 
Gray
47053.  Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:11 pm Reply with quote

...and believing that Christ personally operated gravity...

 

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