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Tags timed out , telepathic eggs , mdc , gerald epling , challenge application

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Old 24th May 2006, 01:40 PM   #1
Jeff Wagg
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GERALD EPLING - Shimmering Leaf Inventor

This application came in. We're not really sure what he's going to perform, so we're going to ask him to clarify the "three questions." I did a search and found this site: http://arthurepling.com/aec/aec.shtml which shed some light on the claim, I think.

Here is his application as typed by me. I'm trying to reproduce it as faithfully as possible, but I may be introducing typos that weren't found in the original document. If there's any question, please ask.

Here's the application:

Quote:
A good place to being the clarification of what paranormal ability Gerald Epling is able to deomonstrate may be with three answers to three important questions that were posed by Kramer to another contestant, Ryan Whisler, on the 16th of January 2006 at 02:33 PM. (See http://www.internationalskeptics.com...ad.php?t=50033)

These questions will be reproduced below with responses by Gerald Epling regarding the entry of Gerald Epling in the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge.

Question 1: HOW WILL YOU DEMONSTRATE YOUR ABILITY?
Answer 1: I can demonstrate my ability with the use of a special electronic instrument that I have invented, a dozen eggs and a suitable environment and time to boil an egg. The instrument is callled a Shimmering Leaf(TM) Plant Activity Detector. The instrument works well for monitoring a chicken egg.

Qustion 2: UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS WILL THE DEMONSTRATION TAKE PLACE?
Answer 2: I would prefer a quiet residence away from apartment complexes, shopping malls. A nice hotel room with a kitchen might work although a residence is probably better. Around midday I will need to set up my instrument, boil water and drop an egg.

Question 3: WHAT IS YOUR PROPOSED DEGREE OF ACCURACY (in other words, what do you propose will constitute a successful demonstration) In at least one out of three experimental trials, I will be able to make a monitored chicken egg produce an electrophysiological response that is strong enough to trigger my Shimmering Leaf(TM) Plant Activity Detector. The Shimmering Leaf(TM) Plant Activity Detector produces a pulsating tone centered around 440 Hertz.

Gerald A. Epling
(address omitted -JW)

Last edited by Jeff Wagg; 24th May 2006 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 7th June 2006, 09:06 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by bassett
June 1, 2006

Dear Mr. Wagg,

Thank you typing my application for presentation on the web (See http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57370). In addition to carefully reading your statements regarding a forthcoming request for clarification, I have taken advantage of the opportunity to review posts relating to my response to the challenge as presented at the url,

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...ad.php?t=57372

The post by Ririon comes close to the claim that I am making. I do claim that an egg can sense my intention or action involved with boiling another cohort egg. This is the essence of my paranormal claim. I assume that the James Randi Educational Foundation is in agreement that this claim is paranormal and that in principle the JREF accepts my application. If this is not consistent with your understanding please notify me immediately.

Clearly, there are many lively posters on the randi.org website. I have read every posting that I could find on the randi.org website concerning my application and I have benefited from the many comments.

Thank you, Mr. Wagg for searching out my website, arthurepling.com. The egg experiment featured there is essentially the experiment that I intend to use to support my claim.

Jackalgirl suggests that the effect that I am demonstrating may be due to heat. Steenkh and Webfusion continue with the theme, suggesting that my instrument may be picking up noises from a boiling egg or temperature changes. I believe that these possibilities could be rendered less likely by moving the monitored egg five or ten feet away from the burner that is used to heat water for boiling an egg. A desire to get several things into one view influenced my presentation of the egg boiling experiment at arthurepling.com. In the egg boiling video that is featured at arthurepling.com, you can see Shimmering Leaf™ monitor, the monitored egg, a pan of boiling water, and the egg that is dropped into the pan of boiling water. I knew that crowding all of these elements into the view could lead to a bit of confusion, but I wanted them all together on the same video, so that people could see the events as they unfolded.

The refreshing note of from Admiral was deeply appreciated. SkepticScott identified one of the challenges to this experiment, the mind does affect the egg.

Petre wrote “Does he think JREF is going to just roll over easy and give him the money for something not paranormal?” I assure you that this is not the case. I am prepared to write up my method and send it to you in the mail. In the presentation of my method, I intend to identify an experimental trial, to state the experiment design, to state what materials are to be used and the procedure to be performed. Additionally, I intend to state what the expected outcome of the experiment will be. I believe that this will provide a meaningful response to your questions regarding what experiment I intend to perform.

Also, I recognize that retyping this information is probably not the best of use of your time. So, in addition to mailing my method in a letter, I could send it to you in electronic form through the randi.org website. I feel that is important to maintain a paper trail of our conversation as we move toward testing this paranormal claim that I have made. To that end I will send a copy of this electronic communication to you through the U.S. Mail and I will look for your responses by post as well.

Feel free to publish this communication, dated June 1, 2006, on the randi.org website.


Best Regards,

Gerald A. Epling
I replied:
Thank you for contacting me.

We are getting closer. Your claim is that an egg (ferilized or unfertilized?) can detect your intention to cause it "harm." Can it also detect if you intend to smash it or freeze it or crack it open?

Could you briefly describe how the experiment would be set up, what controls would be in place, and what would constitute a succesful test?

Thank you for your offer to communicate electronically. Communicating with me via challenge@randi.org is the fastest way.

Jeff Wagg
JREF
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Old 27th June 2006, 11:00 AM   #3
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I received this June 8, just as it said. I apologize for the length of time it has taken me to post this. Gerald has been patient with me.

On June 8, 2006 Jeff Wagg wrote:


"Thank you for contacting me.

We are getting closer. Your claim is that an egg (ferilized or unfertilized?) can detect your intention to cause it "harm." Can it also detect if you intend to smash it or freeze it or crack it open?

Could you briefly describe how the experiment would be set up, what controls would be in place, and what would constitute a succesful test?

Thank you for your offer to communicate electronically. Communicating with me via challenge@randi.org is the fastest way.

Jeff Wagg
JREF"


June 8, 2006

Dear Mr. Wagg,

Thank you for advising me as to the fastest way to move our conversation forward. Here is my response to your questions.

I am not aware of having used any fertilized eggs in this line of research. The brand of egg that I have used most often in my experiments is Egglands Best. (See: http://egglandsbest.com/egglandsbest/ebaward.html ) I prefer these eggs because they come from vegetarian fed hens and taste really good. I have used the white-shelled eggs and the brown-shelled eggs. I contacted a representative of Egglands Best, Inc. and learned that the white-shelled eggs come from hens that are not exposed to roosters. So, I assume that these eggs are not fertilized. In one study, I used eggs from a local rancher that were taken from free-ranging hens. These eggs may have been fertilized, I do not know. All of the chicken eggs that I have used in this research have produced similar results.

At this point it might be useful to review my claim as presented on June 1, 2006. “I do claim that an egg can sense my intention or action involved with boiling another cohort egg.”

I would like to draw your attention to the use of the word “or” in the statement of the claim. The causal factors of the claim could be represented in an alternative manner as follows. Let the letter, “A” represent the statement, “An Egg can sense my intention to boil a cohort egg.” Let the letter, “B” represent the statement, “An egg can sense my action involved with boiling a cohort egg.” The causal elements of the claim are presented in the form, A or B. So, the causal factors suggested by the claim could be A only, B only, or both A and B.

Concerning the use of the term “harm” to describe my activity associated with boiling an egg. I do not have any evidence that an egg from my local grocery store can perceive my actions or intentions, although I do claim that an egg can sense my actions or intentions. The line between perception and sensation may seem a bit unclear, but I do make a distinction between perception and sensation. In my opinion, an animal that is capable of perceiving pain could reasonably be considered to be harmed in an experiment that significantly alters the life of the animal or causes the life of the animal to cease.

In keeping with the stated guidance of the James Randi Educational Foundation, I focused my claim to a specific area that can be tested. The question regarding the effect of intending to smash, freeze or crack an egg open is an open question and lies beyond the narrow scope of my claim.

I will now supply a brief description of how the experiment would be set up and what a successful outcome would be. For an overview of how the experiment will progress, see the video, “augeggweb001.wmv” at http://www.arthurepling.com. In the initial stage of the experiment, a chicken egg is selected to be attached to the Shimmering Leaf™ Instrument. If I can keep my mind off of the boiling of a cohort egg, then the egg that is monitored will not produce a signal of sufficient energy to engage the beeping tone produced by the Shimmering Leaf™ Instrument during this initial phase of the experiment. However, a random beep or two is not unusual at this stage of the procedure. Next, a pot of water will be put on to boil. I find that it takes about 12 minutes to boil a pot of water in my current conditions. The next step is to select one egg to be dropped into boiling water. At this stage of the procedure, the Shimmering Leaf™ Instrument should be detecting an electrophysiological signal emanating from the monitored chicken egg. The detection of this signal is indicated by an audible output of the Shimmering Leaf™ Instrument. The beeping may go on for some time. Typically, the beeping ceases within an hour of the initial beep. The detection of an electrophysiological signal from the monitored egg that is sufficient to trigger the Shimmering Leaf™ Instrument to produce an audible tone during the experiment is considered to be a successful experiment.

Sincerely,

Gerald A. Epling
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Old 27th June 2006, 11:31 AM   #4
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My response to Gerald (yep, some typos):
Ok, I've watched the video. I'm afraid, it doesn't really tell me much. It seems that your device detects boiling water, and it's unclear what role the eggs play in the experiment. How would it have been different if no eggs were included?

I'm afraid the protocol you described presents some serious problems. The basic problem is that your claim, "An egg can sense my intentions" is unprovable because we can't sense your intentions.

1) How can we know what your (or anyone's) intention is?

2) As an unfertilized egg from Eggland's Best is a single cell of dead matter. It's difficult to design a protocol when the object emitting the required signal is indistinguishable from a rock or a piece of cake.

3) Your videos demonstrate that your device is sensitive to humidity. How can the experiemtn be isolated from the boiling water? Must we use boiling water? A hammer would certainly overcome this problem.

4) How can we be sure it's not just a timer?

The hammer answers many of these questions. If the device could detect when someone was going to hit it or another egg (or anything) with a hammer, before it happened, that would be impressive. A die could be rolled. (Blinded, so that the roll was revealed only afterwards). Even numbers, the participant walks up to the egg and puts the hammer on the counter. Odd numbers, the participant walks up the egg and smashes it with the hammer. If your device could could beep just before a smashing event, I'm pretty sure you would win the challenge.

Jeff Wagg
JREF
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Old 27th June 2006, 12:47 PM   #5
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He replies:

Dear Mr. Wagg,

Thank you for posting my June 8th responses. Moving on to your comments today.


If you assume a false premise then you are likely to achieve a flawed conclusion. I disagree with your assumption that the instrument merely detects boiling water.

For the moment, let us set aside the aspect of the egg being sensitive to my intention to boil a cohort egg and focus on the behavioral aspect of the experiment, which was stated as, “An egg can sense my action involved with boiling a cohort egg.”

Focusing on item 2, your assumptions give you difficulty here. Why not just accept my claim as written? I claim that an egg will generate a signal that my instrument will detect the signal. If you are interested in electrophysiology to back this up refer to http://mindjava.com/mjc/lisa/l1b.html. The graph that you will see there was observed by me. I have an earned doctorate from the University of Texas at Dallas, with a concentration in cognition and neuroscience. I certify that the graph appearing at http://mindjava.com/mjc/lisa/l1b.html on this date, June 27, 2006, is a true representation of the signal that was recorded when I selected a cohort egg to be dropped into boiling water.

The Shimmering Leaf™ Instrument provides a relatively easy way for someone who does not have graduate level training in electrophysiology to experience this phenomenon.

I see the egg as a unique biological preparation, you see it as just another bit of matter. Clearly, we disagree on this issue.

Your conclusion number 3, that my videos demonstrate a sensitivity of the instrument to humidity extends beyond the available data. Your suggestion that the instrument is operating solely because of a change in humidity is simply wrong.

Question number 4 is very interesting, I know that my instrument is not merely a timer. You suggest that it is. How do you intend to prove it?

Returning to question number 1. I am fairly comfortable with my mind. Many times I can determine that I have had a thought about boiling or eating an egg. With some practice, you might be able to develop this skill too. However, the introspective observation may never be acceptable to you. This is why I stated my claim carefully to include a behavioral aspect.

It may be a bit difficult to see the clock in the video. So, I must advise you that an experimental trial takes about an hour. If you budget and hour and a half per trial and not more than two trials a day, we should have no difficulty.


Gerald A. Epling
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Old 27th June 2006, 01:06 PM   #6
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My reply:
My comments in bold.

Future Mind wrote:
Dear Mr. Wagg,

Thank you for posting my June 8th responses. Moving on to your comments today.


If you assume a false premise then you are likely to achieve a flawed conclusion. I disagree with your assumption that the instrument merely detects boiling water.

I don't know what you mean by your "false premise" comment, but it is our business to be on the look out for deception. I did not assume that your device detects boiling water, it is merely my observation that a device that detects boiling water would act just like your device.
For the moment, let us set aside the aspect of the egg being sensitive to my intention to boil a cohort egg and focus on the behavioral aspect of the experiment, which was stated as, “An egg can sense my action involved with boiling a cohort egg.”
As an aside, you mean by "cohort" egg, one that comes from the same box?

Focusing on item 2, your assumptions give you difficulty here. Why not just accept my claim as written?
Because if I did that, I'd be handing you a check right now. The point of the challenge is for you to pass a test under controlled conditions. We must have ways to falsify what you are saying.
I claim that an egg will generate a signal that my instrument will detect the signal. If you are interested in electrophysiology to back this up refer to http://mindjava.com/mjc/lisa/l1b.html. The graph that you will see there was observed by me. I have an earned doctorate from the University of Texas at Dallas, with a concentration in cognition and neuroscience. I certify that the graph appearing at http://mindjava.com/mjc/lisa/l1b.html on this date, June 27, 2006, is a true representation of the signal that was recorded when I selected a cohort egg to be dropped into boiling water.
None of this is useful to our protocol.

The Shimmering Leaf™ Instrument provides a relatively easy way for someone who does not have graduate level training in electrophysiology to experience this phenomenon.

I see the egg as a unique biological preparation, you see it as just another bit of matter. Clearly, we disagree on this issue.
An egg is fine. Agar gel might work as well. I just don't see what it's for. But I really don't have to.

Your conclusion number 3, that my videos demonstrate a sensitivity of the instrument to humidity extends beyond the available data. Your suggestion that the instrument is operating solely because of a change in humidity is simply wrong.
Well, you could be right about that. I know that when you watered a plant, it started beeping. Changes in humidity will need to be controlled against. Again, a hammer would do this.

Question number 4 is very interesting, I know that my instrument is not merely a timer. You suggest that it is. How do you intend to prove it?
I don't have to prove it, but the test must be set up in such a way that a timer wouldn't produce the claimed effect. Using a hammer would solve that.

Returning to question number 1. I am fairly comfortable with my mind. Many times I can determine that I have had a thought about boiling or eating an egg. With some practice, you might be able to develop this skill too. However, the introspective observation may never be acceptable to you. This is why I stated my claim carefully to include a behavioral aspect.
But how can we test intentions? That was the primary point of my message to you. In order to have a controlled experiment, sometimes you will have to intend to boil the egg, and sometimes you won't.

It may be a bit difficult to see the clock in the video. So, I must advise you that an experimental trial takes about an hour. If you budget and hour and a half per trial and not more than two trials a day, we should have no difficulty.


Gerald A. Epling
I'm afraid we have serious difficulty, because you did not address the primary problems with the protocol. May we use a hammer instead of boiled water? If the egg can detect your intentions, a hammer should work just as well.

Jeff Wagg
JREF
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Old 27th June 2006, 01:08 PM   #7
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His reply:
Jeff,

Would it help if I provided you with a Shimmering Leaf(tm) instrument and my way of doing the experiment? I would need a non-disclosure agreement that included a statement that you would not disassemble or reverse engineer the unit. I think that if you had one of these things in your hand you could experiment with it a get more comfortable with the idea and the instrument. I would still like to go through with my experiment in support of my claim.


Best Regards,
Gerald
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Old 27th June 2006, 01:13 PM   #8
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My reply:
That's a generous offer, but it wouldn't help us with the problems of the protocol. The problem is that your experiment doesn't prove your claim. It doesn't matter how the device works. If it can detect a signal from an egg that the egg is emitting due to it sensing the intention or action of a human, it will win the million dollars, provided it does so under controlled conditions. That's the stage we're at now.. figuring out the controlled conditions.

Again, I ask you to address the hammer. If we can remove the boiling water from the equation, a lot of our problems are solved.

Jeff Wagg
JREF
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