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 International Skeptics Forum Merged: New telepathy test: which number did I write ?

 Notices Sadly I have to announce that Locknar is leaving the moderating team. He's contributed massively to keeping this place going over the years. Thanks for all your hard work especially dealing with the new registrations (yeah really thanks for leaving me with that!)

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 Tags telepathy , telepathy test

 21st October 2013, 11:45 AM #2 GregInAustin Thinker   Join Date: Feb 2010 Posts: 168 Why not make this new post a Vote?
 21st October 2013, 12:02 PM #3 Emily's Cat Rarely prone to hissy-fits     Join Date: Sep 2013 Location: Pacific Northwet Posts: 9,979 Statistical probability doesn't imply telepathy. Let's play a variation on your game. I'll flip a coin, and you tell me what you think the land is: heads or tails. If you're right more than 50% of the time, I'll say you're telepathic. Here's the rub though: the 50% probability on coin tosses is based on a normal distribution, with a normal error bound. The number of heads in a series of tosses will be higher than 50% heads about half the time. The number of times you're right in a random guess will be about 50%... but as that is also a normal distribution, it will be higher than that about half the time as well. Now, if I do a series of 5 throws, and you get every single one right, then that's pretty neat. But reality is that you've got around a 3% chance of being exactly right on every single toss in a series of 5 tosses. That 3% doesn't imply that you have any special abilities. It just means that statistical variance exists. __________________ I am me. I am just me. I'm a little like other cats... but mostly I am just me.
 21st October 2013, 12:07 PM #4 Michel H Graduate Poster   Join Date: May 2012 Location: Belgium Posts: 1,279 Originally Posted by GregInAustin Why not make this new post a Vote? A Vote? You probably mean a poll? The texts or comments people write are important to me in these tests. If I post a poll, some people might answer anonymously in the poll without posting any text in the thread, I'm not interested in that. In addition, the security would be low, because (although I wouldn't do it) I could say that I wrote and circled the number which was answered most.
 21st October 2013, 12:09 PM #5 Emily's Cat Rarely prone to hissy-fits     Join Date: Sep 2013 Location: Pacific Northwet Posts: 9,979 Originally Posted by Michel H A Vote? You probably mean a poll? The texts or comments people write are important to me in these tests. If I post a poll, some people might answer anonymously in the poll without posting any text in the thread, I'm not interested in that. In addition, the security would be low, because (although I wouldn't do it) I could say that I wrote and circled the number which was answered most. What keeps you from doing that if people type their answers in anyway? __________________ I am me. I am just me. I'm a little like other cats... but mostly I am just me.
 21st October 2013, 12:19 PM #6 Michel H Graduate Poster   Join Date: May 2012 Location: Belgium Posts: 1,279 Originally Posted by Emily Cat What keeps you from doing that if people type their answers in anyway? Well, Emily, I explained in the opening post that participants in the test should write xx instead of their chosen numbers in their first posts (ruling out just comments). Only later should you reveal your chosen number.
 21st October 2013, 12:50 PM #7 Ashles Pith Artist     Join Date: Apr 2003 Location: The '80s Posts: 8,689 I do not understand any aspect of the point of this thread. The answer is 3 because it just is. A few years ago on these forums I correctly guessed a poster's four digit security code because I am cool and telepathic and stuff. __________________ With extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat. - Jeffrey Burton Russell It is obvious to any scientist that the bumblebee can fly because experiment proves it. - Zetie 1996
 21st October 2013, 01:01 PM #8 Jensen Scholar   Join Date: Sep 2007 Posts: 95 I think this is XX and that Michel H is a XX who should seek XX
 21st October 2013, 01:08 PM #9 phunk Illuminator     Join Date: Aug 2007 Posts: 3,702 I think this is a silly experiment, but... You should ask people to put their answers in spoiler tags, and not to look at anyone else's answers before giving their own, to avoid being influenced by them. 3.
 21st October 2013, 01:12 PM #10 trebor Thinker     Join Date: Oct 2011 Posts: 152 why no blinding of the guesses? Is this so you can only count the answers you need to give the result you want?
 21st October 2013, 01:12 PM #11 Ashles Pith Artist     Join Date: Apr 2003 Location: The '80s Posts: 8,689 Originally Posted by phunk I think this is a silly experiment, but... No but. It is. __________________ With extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat. - Jeffrey Burton Russell It is obvious to any scientist that the bumblebee can fly because experiment proves it. - Zetie 1996
 21st October 2013, 01:13 PM #12 RoboTimbo Hostile Nanobacon     Join Date: Jul 2008 Location: Perfection, NV Posts: 29,169 This is a meaningful experiment, much different than Michel's other same ones. I'm going to guess 3.
 21st October 2013, 01:21 PM #13 Hokulele Deleterious Slab of Damnation     Join Date: Feb 2007 Location: The Biggest Little City in the World Posts: 29,570 Actually, if you read the full text of this new proposal, it really is better than the previous ones. He is making a step towards blinding. If you are answering, you are supposed to hide the number you selected, (For example, "I am clearly seeing xx.")and PM the actual response to either Agatha or Femke. Michel, I will wait to see if either of them are still willing to volunteer, and then post my answer here. Thank you for taking the first step to improving your test. __________________ "Oh god...What have you done, zooterkin? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!?!" - Cleon
 21st October 2013, 01:28 PM #14 Agatha Winking at the MoonModerator     Join Date: Sep 2008 Location: UK Posts: 12,480 I am happy to volunteer Just send me the numbers you perceive/guess/whatever and I will keep them secret until the appropriate time. __________________ Why can't you be more like Agatha? - Loss Leader
 21st October 2013, 01:33 PM #15 Agatha Winking at the MoonModerator     Join Date: Sep 2008 Location: UK Posts: 12,480 If people post their answer, and also the hash of their answer, can the hash be recreated by someone adding a number in place of the xx that is posted in the thread? If so, that would be a problem with the blinding. Edit: I see you've specified adding some more unguessable characters to the answer prior to hashing it, so that should be fine. __________________ Why can't you be more like Agatha? - Loss Leader Last edited by Agatha; 21st October 2013 at 01:36 PM.
 21st October 2013, 01:50 PM #16 Hokulele Deleterious Slab of Damnation     Join Date: Feb 2007 Location: The Biggest Little City in the World Posts: 29,570 The first number that came to my attention is xx, so that is my choice for this test. __________________ "Oh god...What have you done, zooterkin? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!?!" - Cleon
 21st October 2013, 03:29 PM #18 Michel H Graduate Poster   Join Date: May 2012 Location: Belgium Posts: 1,279 Originally Posted by Hokulele The first number that came to my attention is xx, so that is my choice for this test. Very good, Hokulele, thank you. This sounds like a very good start. Now, could you also please post a MD5 hash of your properly "complexified" answer (like, for exemple: "The first number that came to my attention is 5, so that is my choice for this test. uhzuhvf oihevbio hervoije roihjervoir voiervhjeroih jveihsfdkyg hzerqresmlln")? Avoid too long character strings with no blank space, because those could get modified by the forum software. Also, please say to whom you sent your full answer (if you sent it to anybody).
 22nd October 2013, 02:55 AM #19 dlorde Philosopher     Join Date: Apr 2007 Posts: 6,853 The OP repeats one of the choices (4) at least eleven times in describing the test. This alone is sufficient to introduce enough potential bias to invalidate the test (if it wasn't bad enough already). __________________ Simple probability tells us that we should expect coincidences, and simple psychology tells us that we'll remember the ones we notice...
 22nd October 2013, 03:08 AM #20 Kid Eager Philosopher     Join Date: Nov 2010 Posts: 6,490 Why only four choices? This alone invalidates the test. __________________ What do Narwhals, Magnets and Apollo 13 have in common? Think about it....
 22nd October 2013, 07:29 AM #21 Michel H Graduate Poster   Join Date: May 2012 Location: Belgium Posts: 1,279 Originally Posted by dlorde The OP repeats one of the choices (4) at least eleven times in describing the test. This alone is sufficient to introduce enough potential bias to invalidate the test (if it wasn't bad enough already). dlorde, meaningful and reliable answers to this telepathy test should in principle not depend upon the number of "1"s, "2"s,"3"s and "4"s in the opening post. Counting these number of "1"s, "2"s,"3"s and "4"s in the initial post will not help you finding the number I wrote and circled on my sheet of paper, which was produced by a random number generator. And answering in this way will not lead to an average "hit rate" different from 25% (with no telepathy involved). It is true that there was an error in the initial post, but it was promptly corrected after being pointed out, and it never prevented you answering in a meaningful way in this test. Good scientist aren't those who never make mistakes (those probably do not exist), they're (more) those who acknowledge their errors, and correct them, so as to constantly make headway. If you, or others find another error, or have suggestions for improvement, don't hesitate to let me know, I'll make the necessary changes.
 22nd October 2013, 07:52 AM #22 Michel H Graduate Poster   Join Date: May 2012 Location: Belgium Posts: 1,279 Originally Posted by Kid Eager Why only four choices? This alone invalidates the test. Kid Eager, Zener cards are sometimes used to conduct telepathy experiments, there are five of them. In ganzfeld telepathy research, there are usually also four possibilities of choice (to my knowledge). One thing which would be wrong would be to conclude that telepathy has been proved, just because one person has answered correctly when there are four choices, and there is a 25% probability of answering correctly, even with no telepathy at all. Keep in mind that (tentative) conclusions are (usually) drawn only after many answers have been given, after a statistical analysis has been done for the large collection of answers.
 22nd October 2013, 04:13 PM #23 kid meatball Critical Thinker   Join Date: May 2013 Posts: 303 I don't get what this test is supposed to find. Are you testing to see if anybody who responds is telepathic, or is this a test of your own ability to project some sort of vision to potential telepaths? My answer is I don't know.
 22nd October 2013, 04:47 PM #24 Kid Eager Philosopher     Join Date: Nov 2010 Posts: 6,490 Originally Posted by Michel H Kid Eager, Zener cards are sometimes used to conduct telepathy experiments, there are five of them. In ganzfeld telepathy research, there are usually also four possibilities of choice (to my knowledge). One thing which would be wrong would be to conclude that telepathy has been proved, just because one person has answered correctly when there are four choices, and there is a 25% probability of answering correctly, even with no telepathy at all. Keep in mind that (tentative) conclusions are (usually) drawn only after many answers have been given, after a statistical analysis has been done for the large collection of answers. My point exactly - the cards are not the methodology. The methodology you propose limits everybody to 4 choices, and the distribution of the results within those four choices will be indistinguishable from random distribution, even if there were some telepathy involved. Now if you wrote one number per hour, and had people respond to that number within the hour, and repeat for several days, a meaningful set of data may emerge. __________________ What do Narwhals, Magnets and Apollo 13 have in common? Think about it....
 22nd October 2013, 06:50 PM #25 shemp a flimsy character...perfidious and despised     Join Date: Nov 2002 Location: People's Democratic Republic of Planet X Posts: 27,026 I am absolutely certain it is 7. __________________ "Shemp, you are the one fixed point in an ever-changing universe." - Beady "I don't want to live in a world without shemp." - Quarky Noel Gallagher isn't fit to lick the **** off the bottom of the shoes of Howard Devoto
 22nd October 2013, 07:15 PM #26 Ladewig I lost an avatar bet.     Join Date: Dec 2001 Posts: 25,926 I concentrated on the assigned task and an image of a brightly lit piece of paper appeared, the circled number on it was xx. . I am not encrypting it, I will just send it to Agatha __________________ I lost an avatar bet to Doghouse Reilly.
 22nd October 2013, 08:48 PM #27 aggle-rithm Ardent Formulist     Join Date: Jun 2005 Location: Austin, TX Posts: 15,334 The problem with applying rigor to telepathy is that the telepathy then tends to disappear. ETA: Fortunately for telepathy, not much rigor proposed here. __________________ To understand recursion, you must first understand recursion. Woo's razor: Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by aliens. Last edited by aggle-rithm; 22nd October 2013 at 08:50 PM.
 22nd October 2013, 09:13 PM #28 Michel H Graduate Poster   Join Date: May 2012 Location: Belgium Posts: 1,279 Originally Posted by Ladewig I concentrated on the assigned task and an image of a brightly lit piece of paper appeared, the circled number on it was xx. . I am not encrypting it, I will just send it to Agatha Good, Ladewig, thank you for your essentially valid answer. You are only the second person (after Hokulele) who gave a correctly "masked" (with "xx") answer in this more controlled and rigorous test. I am still a little frustrated, however, because I saw no MD5 hash, neither from you, nor from Hokulele, but I don't think this is really a major problem.
 22nd October 2013, 09:53 PM #29 AdMan Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Feb 2010 Posts: 10,293 Yawn. __________________ As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities. - Voltaire.
 22nd October 2013, 10:52 PM #30 fromdownunder Philosopher   Join Date: Aug 2006 Posts: 5,802 XX Norm
 22nd October 2013, 11:41 PM #31 Orphia Nay Penguilicious Spodmaster.Tagger     Join Date: May 2005 Location: Ponylandistan Presidential Palace (above the Spods' stables). Posts: 36,201 Originally Posted by kid meatball I don't get what this test is supposed to find. Are you testing to see if anybody who responds is telepathic, or is this a test of your own ability to project some sort of vision to potential telepaths? My answer is I don't know. ^ Yeah, what the kid said. Any coincidental "correct" answers can be claimed as "proof" that Michael and/or the guesser are telepathic. This test fails IMHO. __________________ Challenge your thoughts. Don't believe everything you think.
 22nd October 2013, 11:46 PM #32 AdMan Penultimate Amazing     Join Date: Feb 2010 Posts: 10,293 Originally Posted by Orphia Nay ^ Yeah, what the kid said. Any coincidental "correct" answers can be claimed as "proof" that Michael and/or the guesser are telepathic. This test fails IMHO. Yes, it fails because the OP has only the most basic understanding of the scientific method, and if he has that much it is only because members here have pointed out huge holes in his earlier "experiments". These "experiments" are a nonsensical waste of time. __________________ As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities. - Voltaire.
 23rd October 2013, 02:14 AM #33 Akhenaten Heretic Pharaoh     Join Date: Nov 2007 Location: Pi-Broadford, Australia Posts: 29,679 I'm getting equally strong impressions of "2" and "4" so should I submit something like xx,xx or should I split it into separate posts? Also, when will my hash be delivered? __________________ Life is mostly Froth and Bubble - Adam Lindsay Gordon
 23rd October 2013, 02:55 AM #34 fagin Philosopher     Join Date: Aug 2007 Location: As far away from casebro as possible. Posts: 5,820 I got nothing. __________________ There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda
 23rd October 2013, 06:14 AM #35 tuxcat Muse     Join Date: Jun 2013 Posts: 818 Right to get this right, he wrote down 4 numbers? Assuming all guesses are even (which they aren't) 25% of people are going to be right by chance alone. Even a computer will have a 1/4 in chance of guessing correctly. It's a good way to DISPROVE telepathy completely. Another thing: double-blind it. Don't tell the other person what they are working with.
 23rd October 2013, 07:40 AM #36 Ladewig I lost an avatar bet.     Join Date: Dec 2001 Posts: 25,926 Originally Posted by tuxcat Right to get this right, he wrote down 4 numbers? Assuming all guesses are even (which they aren't) 25% of people are going to be right by chance alone. The OPer is hoping to demonstrate that the test results will be significantly higher than 25%. __________________ I lost an avatar bet to Doghouse Reilly.
 23rd October 2013, 08:59 AM #37 tuxcat Muse     Join Date: Jun 2013 Posts: 818 Originally Posted by Ladewig The OPer is hoping to demonstrate that the test results will be significantly higher than 25%. Right I see. It's still not very rigorous though and due to the small sample size flukes will result in a large scale error anyway. And people don't choose numbers randomly either which is a bit of a problem but that's the way the cookie crumbles unfortunately. I would advise the OP to use something like a number between 0 and infinity to reduce the odds of flukes causing a large error. Those well-versed in statistics might want to clear that up a bit as I'm not very succinct at explaining it, sorry.
 23rd October 2013, 09:29 AM #38 Michel H Graduate Poster   Join Date: May 2012 Location: Belgium Posts: 1,279 Originally Posted by tuxcat Right to get this right, he wrote down 4 numbers? Assuming all guesses are even (which they aren't) 25% of people are going to be right by chance alone. Even a computer will have a 1/4 in chance of guessing correctly. It's a good way to DISPROVE telepathy completely. Another thing: double-blind it. Don't tell the other person what they are working with. I am not sure I understand you very well, tuxcat, but I think you gave me an idea Since neither Hokulele, nor Ladewig (they are the two answerers who have provided essentially valid answers, until now) have posted MD5 hashes of their properly "complexified" full answer, I think I should post myself a MD5 hash of a complicated sentence containing my number to "guess" , in order to give sufficient security to this test (similar to, for example: "The number I wrote and circled for this test is 5 .... f4315d 3b1fcd81 rdtiuguyf zqreiudler", but with "5" replaced by "1", or "2", or "3", or "4"). This hash is: 4f956837e6022c4eb5a30fc05c52c7a4 At the end of the test, I should reveal the sentence (containing my number to "guess") which corresponds and leads to the hash above. From now on, it would be virtually impossible for me to change the "target" number I wrote, and I ask you to write here. Last edited by Michel H; 23rd October 2013 at 09:31 AM.
 23rd October 2013, 09:45 AM #39 Akhenaten Heretic Pharaoh     Join Date: Nov 2007 Location: Pi-Broadford, Australia Posts: 29,679 Originally Posted by Michel H At the end of the test, I should reveal the sentence (containing my number to "guess") which corresponds and leads to the hash above. From now on, it would be virtually impossible for me to change the "target" number I wrote, and I ask you to write here. It's not much use coming up with these various methods to create an illusion of integrity when all you're going to do is use that idiotic "credibility scale" to declare invalid anyone's guesses that you don't like. Why would we even be bothered with the possibility of you tampering with your chosen number when we already consider it most likely that there will be an even spread between all four numbers anyway? There's no need for you to resort to subterfuge when it's just as easy and far more effective for you to blatantly reject all the misses and just count the hits. __________________ Life is mostly Froth and Bubble - Adam Lindsay Gordon
 23rd October 2013, 10:15 AM #40 learner Graduate Poster     Join Date: May 2008 Posts: 1,683 Originally Posted by fromdownunder XX Norm Kiss kiss to you too sweetie __________________ "I would give my right arm to be ambidextrous" - My Mate Dave " How do you expect me to use my initiative if you wont tell me what to do?" - Dave again

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