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Old 6th November 2006, 04:15 AM   #161
Cuddles
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Considering this result, IMHO there is no need for a retest. While you could accuse the testers of a protocol flaw, it obviously did not impact her results negatively, and anyway, she has approved of the protocol.

Let her make another application in a year, if she will, as the rules stipulate. End of story.

Hans
While, obviously, everyone sane agrees that this was a complete failiure and a retest is uneccessary, since the protocol was so vague as to leave a loophole it would be impossible not to allow a retest without leaving Randi forever open to accusations of unfairness. And for the first time they would actually be justified, however pedantic.
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Old 6th November 2006, 08:46 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by JoeTheJuggler View Post
Back to the issue of why 16 is a "magic number":

Remember, she's the one making an extraordinary claim. IMHO it would be entirely appropriate to insist on 100% accuracy. (Many of these claimants start out by saying just that, by the way.) This was just a preliminary test to see if more rigorous testing is even warranted.

15 of 20 (if the protocol were followed) means no further testing is called for.

It means her claim of being able to detect the sex of a diarist in a supernatural manner is not proven.
If someone can predict the tosses of a fair coin 51% of the time consistently, that's paranormal and that's a million dollars. If someone claims to be able to do something 100%, sure, test them on that, but there's no reason someone needs to be paranormal to a certain degree. Unless that's part of the new "rule change"?
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Old 7th November 2006, 03:35 AM   #163
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
While, obviously, everyone sane agrees that this was a complete failiure and a retest is uneccessary, since the protocol was so vague as to leave a loophole it would be impossible not to allow a retest without leaving Randi forever open to accusations of unfairness. And for the first time they would actually be justified, however pedantic.
Perhaps. Granted, the protocol was imprecise, but my point is that the vagueness cannot be shown to have impacted the result. As somebody noted, if you deem the oldest diaries to be invalid and remove them from the result, it remains negative.

As for pedantic accusations, I am not sure this is the only example. If you want to be quite pedantic, I think more of the protocols could be challenged, if nothing else then for deviating from the normal practice of the claimant (something Ms. Landin also points out).

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Old 7th November 2006, 04:07 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Perhaps. Granted, the protocol was imprecise, but my point is that the vagueness cannot be shown to have impacted the result. As somebody noted, if you deem the oldest diaries to be invalid and remove them from the result, it remains negative.
Well, as Landin herself has written on her webpage, there will be a re-test, so ...

But I agree - the test as it stands shows no paranormal ability, as expected.
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Old 7th November 2006, 08:13 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by bduddy View Post
If someone can predict the tosses of a fair coin 51% of the time consistently, that's paranormal and that's a million dollars. If someone claims to be able to do something 100%, sure, test them on that, but there's no reason someone needs to be paranormal to a certain degree. Unless that's part of the new "rule change"?
She claims to be talking to the dead. If she can't be 100% accurate with their sex, how can she possibly claim to get anything else from them? Of course predicting 51% of coin tosses would be paranormal, and presumably would be tested, but no-one has ever claimed this. Bear in mind the challenge doesn't exist for scientific research, it exists to test what people claim. Since they almost always claim 100% success, testing 80% is actually being unfair to the JREF since it makes it much easier for the claimant.

Also bear in mind that a test designed to measure 100% success at coin tosses would not be able to detect a 51% success rate. To test for 100% success you would only need 10 or 20 tosses. To test 51% you would need hundreds, or preferably thousands. And even if you do enough to test 51%, what about 50.5%? At some point you need to draw a line, and the JREF does this at a lower percentage than the applicants themselves, so it can hardly be considerd unfair.
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Old 7th November 2006, 08:47 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
She claims to be talking to the dead. If she can't be 100% accurate with their sex, how can she possibly claim to get anything else from them?
Wow.

I can only assume that you've never been to New York City.

I claim to be able to talk to the living, but I can't be 100% accurate with their sex. ([The Kinks]"Lola, Ell oh ell ay, Lola. Lo lo lo lo Lola" [/The Kinks].) So far, this hasn't gotten me into any serious trouble, since it doesn't really matter to me if the person who's giving me directions to get the hell out of Greenwich Village is an innie or an outie. Or a small blue furry creature from Krypton IV, which in the Village is always a possibility.

Ms. Landin claimed 100%, which I assume means she's never been to NYC, either. Randi has, and so was willing to cut her a break, demanding only 80% accuracy to pass. If Ms. Landin had claimed 80% accuracy, Randi would probably have suggested a 70% cutoff, and then raised the number of diaries appropriately.
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Old 7th November 2006, 08:54 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by drkitten View Post

I claim to be able to talk to the living, but I can't be 100% accurate with their sex.
I have the same problem sometimes.
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Old 7th November 2006, 05:23 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by drkitten View Post
Ms. Landin claimed 100%, which I assume means she's never been to NYC, either. Randi has, and so was willing to cut her a break, demanding only 80% accuracy to pass. If Ms. Landin had claimed 80% accuracy, Randi would probably have suggested a 70% cutoff, and then raised the number of diaries appropriately.
I don't think that's correct. I don't think she ever told anyone what she thinks her accuracy is, and I don't think anyone associated with the JREF ever asked her.

The only person I know who asked her about her accuracy is me, and I don't think I ever got her to understand the question, even though I repeated it and explained it to her. I told her e.g. that if her accuracy is 80%, she only has a 63% chance of passing the test. (This was like a year ago, in a Swedish forum).

Her anwers contained comments like these:

"I have said that I expect to get at least 80% correct answers".

"80%=63% is that good or bad? (Excuse my poor math skills)"

"Maybe it sounds like I'm bragging, but if I make 10 statements about a certain dead person, most of the time 8 or 9 of those statments are correct. So yes, I think I should be able to get 80% right and I don't think less than that would be considered a success."

As you can see, she answered questions about her accuracy with predictions about what result she expected to get on this test with only 20 diaries. I never got her to say what she thought her accuracy was. However, I suppose her answers can be interpreted as meaning that she thinks it's "way more than 80%".

IMO it was a mistake to ignore this issue the first time around. I think that before they have another go at it, the JREF should get a statement from Carina about what she thinks her accuracy is. The number of diaries and the number of correct answers required to pass the test should be chosen so that a) the probability that she will succed by chance is ~1/1000, and b) the probability that a person with that accuracy will pass the test is >95%.
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Old 8th November 2006, 12:32 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by Carina Landin View Post
"Maybe it sounds like I'm bragging, but if I make 10 statements about a certain dead person, most of the time 8 or 9 of those statments are correct. So yes, I think I should be able to get 80% right and I don't think less than that would be considered a success."
This certainly is fuzzy! Most of the time she gets 8 or 9 right, and the rest of the time she gets 1-7 or 10 right? Whatever that means.

But if she is happy with 80%, why should we complain?

Welcome to the forum, Fredrik! I am sure you will get lots of questions about the test!
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Old 8th November 2006, 07:01 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
Welcome to the forum, Fredrik! I am sure you will get lots of questions about the test!
Thanks for the welcome. I should perhaps mention that I don't have any inside knowledge about the test. I don't know Carina or the people who tested her personally. I have just been spending a lot of time at the same Swedish forums as Chateaubriand.
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Old 8th November 2006, 09:37 AM   #171
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An observation. Two and a half years ago she applies claiming to be able to contact and speak to dead relatives, using an object the departed was close to, with a relative there. And only if the relative confirmed the departed was indeed a relative. And if the object wasn't too old, or handled by other people a lot, since the death of the owner of the object.

Correct?
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Old 8th November 2006, 09:52 AM   #172
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post
An observation. Two and a half years ago she applies claiming to be able to contact and speak to dead relatives, using an object the departed was close to, with a relative there. And only if the relative confirmed the departed was indeed a relative. And if the object wasn't too old, or handled by other people a lot, since the death of the owner of the object.

Correct?
Her original application from June, 2004 is here.
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Old 8th November 2006, 09:55 AM   #173
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I know, that is what I tried to sum up here. She claimed "that", and now she is being tested on "this". The progress of how the test protocol was determined is interesting, as well as some of the commentary about her, early on.
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Old 8th November 2006, 10:01 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post
I know, that is what I tried to sum up here. She claimed "that", and now she is being tested on "this". The progress of how the test protocol was determined is interesting, as well as some of the commentary about her, early on.
She couldn't be tested on her actual, original claim, as what she was asking to do was to be allowed to engage in cold reading. It was her decision that she could not pass that test if she were not allowed to ask questions of the subjects.
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Old 8th November 2006, 10:05 AM   #175
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I understood that. I think it would have been interesting to test her doing her original claim, but have the live relative ask the dead relative obvious questions, that only the dead could know, and see if she could answer them correctly.

An easy test. I have used it before. If the dead spirit doesn't know the name of their own kids, or some other simple question, then the channeling/woo crap is obviously crap.
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Old 8th November 2006, 10:11 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post
I understood that. I think it would have been interesting to test her doing her original claim, but have the live relative ask the dead relative obvious questions, that only the dead could know, and see if she could answer them correctly.

An easy test. I have used it before. If the dead spirit doesn't know the name of their own kids, or some other simple question, then the channeling/woo crap is obviously crap.
Sure, except she would not have agreed to that test. We can test what they can do, and what they can't do, but we can't test what they won't do.
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Old 8th November 2006, 10:24 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post
An easy test. I have used it before. If the dead spirit doesn't know the name of their own kids, or some other simple question, then the channeling/woo crap is obviously crap.
But you know, the dead spirits have a great deal of trouble getting names and spelling straight: "I am getting an 'E'! ... No? An 'L'? Something that sounds like an 'S'?" and so on. It would take ages for them before they have spelled their way through their five kids or told the code of their bank account! Because of these troubles, the dead tend to limit themselves to vague messages of love and concern for their surviving relatives.

Not much to test for, I am afraid.
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Old 8th November 2006, 10:35 AM   #178
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Yeah, which sucks, cause I really need someone to channel dear old Grandad, so he can tell me where he buried all that gold.
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Old 8th November 2006, 12:58 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post
Yeah, which sucks, cause I really need someone to channel dear old Grandad, so he can tell me where he buried all that gold.
Hmm... I'm seeing a large field near a barn... did he have a farm? No... maybe a friend with a farm? Or a farm that he visited in his youth? Yes, that's definetly it. It's in a state that starts with an 'M' or an 'N', or maybe that's an upside-down 'M', so it's really a 'W'....
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Old 8th November 2006, 05:03 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post
Yeah, which sucks, cause I really need someone to channel dear old Grandad, so he can tell me where he buried all that gold.
Clearly a job for Edge.
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Old 8th November 2006, 05:42 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by robinson View Post
She claimed "that", and now she is being tested on "this".
Her claim has always been that she can connect to a dead person using an object that belonged to him or her, and receive information from that person.

Originally Posted by robinson View Post
I understood that. I think it would have been interesting to test her doing her original claim, but have the live relative ask the dead relative obvious questions, that only the dead could know, and see if she could answer them correctly.

An easy test. I have used it before. If the dead spirit doesn't know the name of their own kids, or some other simple question, then the channeling/woo crap is obviously crap.
You can't test her claim this way, because she doesn't claim to be able to get the dead to answer questions (or even to be able to ask them questions, as far as I know).

Originally Posted by Gr8wight View Post
She couldn't be tested on her actual, original claim, as what she was asking to do was to be allowed to engage in cold reading. It was her decision that she could not pass that test if she were not allowed to ask questions of the subjects.
The problem isn't that Carina is refusing to do a test of her claim where she wouldn't be able to use cold reading. I'm pretty sure she would do a test where she gets to meet the sitters, but not ask them any questions or even say out loud what she's thinking. This would eliminate the possibility of cold reading, but we still wouldn't be able to evaluate her performance, and that's the real problem.

The only way I know to make sure that her performance can be evaluated objectively is to do a test where her task is to answer some kind of multiple-choice questions, such that the probability of getting the answers right by chance is well known. The simplest test of this kind is a test where she gets a number of objects, and for each object gets a simple yes/no question about the dead person who owned the object. We could e.g. use dead people's diaries and have her determine the sex of the owners.

Many people here seem to think that the diary thing is a completely new claim she came up with after a while. For example, Kramer wrote "It's not simply a new protocol. It's an entirely new claim having whatsoever nothing to do with her Challenge application". (He wrote this in a PM to me, so don't bother searching for it). But the fact is that the diary test really is a test of her original claim.

The way I see it, there are only two problems with the protocol that was used. One of the problems is that it didn't define exactly what a diary is. This seems trivial, but Carina has complained that some of the books were not what she would call diaries. The other problem is that no consideration was made of what she thought her accuracy was. She had hinted that it's way more than 80%, but she had also hinted that her accuracy would depend on the age of the diaries. If her accuracy is 90%, regardless of the age of the diaries, then she had a 95% chance of passing the test, but if her accuracy depends on the age of the books in the way she suggested, then her chance of passing the test was a lot less. It seems to me that her chances of passing the test were less than 50%, even with the super powers she claims to have, if we interpret her request that older books be excluded as a statement about her accuracy.

Last edited by Fredrik; 8th November 2006 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 8th November 2006, 06:26 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by Fredrik View Post
The problem isn't that Carina is refusing to do a test of her claim where she wouldn't be able to use cold reading. I'm pretty sure she would do a test where she gets to meet the sitters, but not ask them any questions or even say out loud what she's thinking. This would eliminate the possibility of cold reading, but we still wouldn't be able to evaluate her performance, and that's the real problem.
This situation would not eliminate cold reading--ask any poker player.

The usual way to evaluate performance of this sort of thing is to mix up the readings and ask the sitter to evaluate all the readings. You would have to find comparable items, such as wedding rings from the same period, otherwise the reading would likely have some sort clues. An example might be "this person liked showy, expensive things" or "this person liked simple things for their symbolic value." The test is successful if the sitter picks their own reading more often than is warrented by chance. The math can get pretty hairy and has to be worked out depending on the protocol.

All in all, the diary test was preferable, but there turned out to be way to many outs that none of us thought of.
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Old 8th November 2006, 08:33 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by ChristineR View Post
This situation would not eliminate cold reading
You're right of course. I was thinking about the part of cold reading where the cold reader tells the sitter what he's got so far, and the sitter tells him if he's on the right track or not. (I'm using the word "he" because the most obvious examples of cold reading I've seen have been performed by men). That part is eliminated, but there's of course a lot left.

It just occurred to me that the reader can vastly improve his chances of getting a lot of statements right simply by making what he believes is a reasonably accurate description of the sitter. If the dead person is a parent or a sibling, chances are they will have something in common, especially physical characteristics.

Originally Posted by ChristineR View Post
The usual way to evaluate performance of this sort of thing is to mix up the readings and ask the sitter to evaluate all the readings. You would have to find comparable items, such as wedding rings from the same period, otherwise the reading would likely have some sort clues. An example might be "this person liked showy, expensive things" or "this person liked simple things for their symbolic value." The test is successful if the sitter picks their own reading more often than is warrented by chance. The math can get pretty hairy and has to be worked out depending on the protocol.
I am familiar with that method. I even worked out that hairy math once, so I don't know why I said the other method is the only one I know.
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Old 11th November 2006, 11:58 AM   #184
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As an intellectual exercise, whatever the actual situation with Carina, my preference for testing this type of claim would be something along these lines (accepting that the devil will always be in the detail, of course):
  • get access to a vast number (say 200) of recent common objects, e.g trial exibits, prisoner's personal items, public trustee auctions of deceased assets, like bunches of keys, wallets, watches etc. unequivocally belonging 50% to dead people and 50% to people still alive.
  • ask the claimant to pick any of them (minimum 20) that give out a strong feeling that the owner of the object is now dead. Maybe allow for the odd eventuality of a mixed signal (it is not an exact science...) but ask for 19/20 accuracy.
The duality is dead/alive instead of male/female and there is hardly any way out because the claimant has absolute freedom to pick only those objects that give out the strongest "vibes". For the same reason it would also appear to be harder to refuse the protocol a priori. How can anyhone claim to see dead people if they can't even tell if what they see are really dead people?
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Old 11th November 2006, 01:18 PM   #185
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I like the direction of your idea, thinktoomuch.

Of course, psychics will always have very specific claims, so it remains to be seen if your idea can be applied to their respective claims.

Plus, the logistics may get a bit messy. But managable.

Testing Ms. Browne this way would be great. If she would agree, which she most likely will not.
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Old 11th November 2006, 03:01 PM   #186
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Aye, the idea sounds good, but it doesn't tally completely with teh claim.

I have to say that I'm reasonably impressed so far with this applicant.

Of course, she has no abilities, but she seems prepared to sit a test - which is rare and very honest. Brave, too.

At the very least, it shows a degree of conviction on her part.

I strongly hope that a definitive test - within the strictest conditions - will take place soon.
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Old 11th November 2006, 04:39 PM   #187
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I think you are dreaming. She now knows that she has no ability. Anyone who looks at the facts can see that. However the only way to keep her myth alive is to find an excuse to refuse to do the test again and to blame JREF for it.
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Old 12th November 2006, 01:23 AM   #188
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I'm pretty sure you're wrong about this one rjh01. She really believes that she has these powers, and she would like to prove it. I would be very surprised if she refuses to do the test.

Thinktoomuch, the protocol you suggested is very good. However, Carina has been saying that the the dead person needs to have a strong emotional connection to the object (or something to that effect). This means that diaries are ok, and wedding rings might be even better, but e.g. keys will not work. This makes it difficult to test her.

I suggested a similar test to her last week, but at the time I didn't realize that she claims to need an object to connect to the dead. The protocol I suggested (short version) is that she meet a bunch of people and for each person answer the questions "is his/her mother alive?" and "is his/her father alive?". Her answer (translated from Swedish): "I think I would like to do something that I'm better at than the things you're suggesting. It's foolish to take a chance on something I don't know completetly".

I will ask her what she thinks about a dead/alive test with objects that belonged to the dead.
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Old 12th November 2006, 11:50 AM   #189
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She says that she has written to "SOH" (those are the initials of the guy who did the last test), and suggested a new protocol. I asked her about the new protocol, and the possibility of doing a dead/alive test instead of a male/female test. This is what she said:

Quote:
I don't want to post the protocol until I've heard from SOH.

When you're doing psychometry, you get a lot of information about the person, regardless of whether the person is alive or dead. I haven't tried to hold an object without knowing if the person is dead or not, so I don't know if I feel the difference
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Old 12th November 2006, 09:34 PM   #190
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Thanks, Fredrick, this puts new light on the matter. If Carina says:

"When you're doing psychometry, you get a lot of information about the person, regardless of whether the person is alive or dead. I haven't tried to hold an object without knowing if the person is dead or not, so I don't know if I feel the difference"

her claim is not that she can see the dead, is that she can see a person who has/had a strong emotional attachment to a physical object (logically, this does not even need to be the "owner" of the object, does it?) And she said before that the "imprint" fades with time. Even if it is an excuse after the fact, this is certainly a reason why the original protocol could never be an effective test of her alleged ability.

It is imperative, therefore, that she has access to a large number of objects and can pick any of them that elicit her alleged paranormal feeling, because there is no way to establish a priori which ones would have been "strongly emotionally attached" to somebody.

The objects need to be clearly documented: one way to find a sufficient number could be to put an advertisement in some suitable media (woo magazine?) asking recently bereaved families to lend some small objects, either belonging to the deceased or to them, and documenting from photographs and live observation the physical characteristics of the people involved. No vague descriptions: eg not short/tall but height in 10-15cm intervals, age in 10-15 years iontervals etc.

Having done that, the claimant should identify as many specific details as possible about the "emotionally attached" persons she can "see" by ticking boxes in blank copies of the questionnaire previously used to document the objects.

The interpretation would be more laborious, but I am certain that an ethical researcher would be able to establish quite clearly whether there is something there or not. Conceptually, once fraud is excluded, even only one extremely detailed verifiable identification would prove that some kind of "seeing" has occurred, but I am sure JREF will require more stringent parameters, if nothing else because it is preferable to err on the side of caution ... .

Well, I had my fun. You have fun too!
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Old 12th November 2006, 09:43 PM   #191
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Originally Posted by Thinktoomuch View Post

The interpretation would be more laborious, but I am certain that an ethical researcher would be able to establish quite clearly whether there is something there or not.
I think we've already eastablished that there's nothing there. Further testing of her claims = waste of resources.
Her performence did not suggest that further research is validated.
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Old 13th November 2006, 07:32 AM   #192
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Originally Posted by joller View Post
Her performence did not suggest that further research is validated.
Agreed, but so long as there's doubt about the protocols and the tests, her supporters can claim partial success or at least absence of failure. The JREF would do well to conclude this challenge satisfactorily, as its been reported in the Swedish media and is therefore getting a rare chance of public exposure.

From what I understand, the MDC preliminaries have defeated a large number of applicants but rarely in the public eye. I don't think its a waste of resources to expose a cold reader when the chance arises.
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Old 13th November 2006, 11:07 AM   #193
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Originally Posted by Thinktoomuch View Post
Thanks, Fredrick, this puts new light on the matter. If Carina says:

Snip...
The interpretation would be more laborious, but I am certain that an ethical researcher would be able to establish quite clearly whether there is something there or not. Conceptually, once fraud is excluded, even only one extremely detailed verifiable identification would prove that some kind of "seeing" has occurred, but I am sure JREF will require more stringent parameters, if nothing else because it is preferable to err on the side of caution ... .

Well, I had my fun. You have fun too!
The entire purpose of the protocol is to eliminate interpretation
The results must be immediately evident, not subject to interpretation.
That's why the "binary" requirements on te original--M/F?
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Old 13th November 2006, 01:53 PM   #194
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Originally Posted by rwguinn View Post
The entire purpose of the protocol is to eliminate interpretation
The results must be immediately evident, not subject to interpretation.
That's why the "binary" requirements on te original--M/F?
Sorry, I used the wrong word. I meant 'elaboration of the data collected'. Should have been clear because of the emphasis on objectively defined multiple details. M/F has been proven useless by itself (was the person most "emotionally attached" the owner or somebody else, etc) but "a male under 5'6" with brown eyes" would be pretty hard to misinterpret if the brother of the owner fits that description, wouldn't it?
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Old 13th November 2006, 04:00 PM   #195
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Originally Posted by Thinktoomuch View Post
Sorry, I used the wrong word. I meant 'elaboration of the data collected'. Should have been clear because of the emphasis on objectively defined multiple details. M/F has been proven useless by itself (was the person most "emotionally attached" the owner or somebody else, etc) but "a male under 5'6" with brown eyes" would be pretty hard to misinterpret if the brother of the owner fits that description, wouldn't it?
Their brother, or cousin, uncle, ex-boyfriend, or guy who did their gardening, maybe even their favourite pop singer could fit that description and if you open it up like that it increases her chances of a hit immeasurably.....it seems like that would be open to rationalization by the True Believers and therefore wouldn't form a suitable test, I'm afraid.

Bear in mind she did actually claim she could tell the gender of the owner of an item; excuses about third parties of an opposite gender being 'more emotionally attached' to the item and skewing the results are coming out after the event to explain away the failure.

Last edited by personable; 13th November 2006 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 13th November 2006, 08:27 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by personable View Post
Their brother, or cousin, uncle, ex-boyfriend, or guy who did their gardening, maybe even their favourite pop singer could fit that description and if you open it up like that it increases her chances of a hit immeasurably.....it seems like that would be open to rationalization by the True Believers and therefore wouldn't form a suitable test, I'm afraid.

Bear in mind she did actually claim she could tell the gender of the owner of an item; excuses about third parties of an opposite gender being 'more emotionally attached' to the item and skewing the results are coming out after the event to explain away the failure.
Of course. I agree with everything you say, but it appears to me that your statements amount to a realisation that trying to apply a scientific method to woo claims in the context of the challenge is so close to completely futile that quibbling about the finer detail is useless. The premise of my approach (put by others, not me) was that the claimant is honestly trying to prove to herself and others that she is not deluded and therefore she is owed an assessment not marred by bias. I am convinced that in these circumstances the large amount of money involved hinders proper research. It implies an adversarial approach inappropriate in the rare cases where a cooperative one would be required. Some other poster mentioned or implied, if I remember correctly, that the useful part of the challenge is to force the claimant to a critical thinking process that almost inevitably results in backing away from the real test. I concur.

ETA: I forgot to premise my comments by explaining that if the gardener you mention is one of the people involved in providing the object and having a description of his physical characteristics included in the database, it would be a bona fide hit. If there is no record in the database, it is a miss. Too bad. There could always be excuses (hence the need for a statistically reliable number of hits as defined), but I believe that a sufficiently robust protocol could be agreed that would be convincing for all but the unconvinceable.

Last edited by Thinktoomuch; 13th November 2006 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 14th November 2006, 02:32 AM   #197
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Originally Posted by Thinktoomuch View Post
The premise of my approach (put by others, not me) was that the claimant is honestly trying to prove to herself and others that she is not deluded and therefore she is owed an assessment not marred by bias.
There is no doubt that the Challenge involves an adversarial approach, and nobody has claimed that it is science, even if scientific methods are used.

But even in real science, you open up a can of worms if you want to be so cooperative that you allow standard techniques of cold reading to be part of your study. The cooperative approach is slippery, as you will realise when you start by accepting vague descriptions like so-and-so tall, with brown hair, and the test subject will throw a wide net to find anybody who has handled the object and who might in any way fit the description.
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Old 14th November 2006, 03:55 AM   #198
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
There is no doubt that the Challenge involves an adversarial approach, and nobody has claimed that it is science, even if scientific methods are used.

But even in real science, you open up a can of worms if you want to be so cooperative that you allow standard techniques of cold reading to be part of your study. The cooperative approach is slippery, as you will realise when you start by accepting vague descriptions like so-and-so tall, with brown hair, and the test subject will throw a wide net to find anybody who has handled the object and who might in any way fit the description.
Again, all you say is uncontroversial. Unless I have explained myself in a really inadequate manner, you appear not to have fully considered what I was suggesting. I believe that all your concerns would be adequately addressed, assuming that the claimant accepts the protocol as suggested (which is in no way guaranteed).
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Old 14th November 2006, 11:03 AM   #199
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I think the test one must apply to any proposed protocol is "could the applicant reasonably be successful by any other means except paranormal?" If the answer is in the positive then it is not suitable.

The one caveat is clearly pure chance will always be a likely possibility, but that can be reduced as to make it's influence almost negligible.

If I have read you correctly you are proposing someone else's suggestion that she could be allowed to supply her own description of any one of multiple persons predetermined to have held an emotional 'bond' with the item to secure a 'hit'.

The obvious one question is, what if she simply says 'a male less than six feet tall with thinning hair'? Now, since items which would be submitted would most likely be from family members, there is a chance of 'hitting' either the owner of the item itself or the husband of the owner. And since almost all males have thinning hair at some stage in their lives (especially those who have grown old enough to marry and have children) this would be an effective hit for a rather large number I imagine.

The other proposal about making her define height in increments of 15cm is easily excused by her and her believers by saying the spirit world has no tape measure. What if she says 170cm and the person is actually 140cm? She could say she saw them at a distance, or sitting down or floating round with angels etc.

If she says black hair and the owner had brown, she could postulate that it was dark where they 'were'.

Those are the reasons I don't think such a protocol would work.


I'm not sure where you are founding your other comments about a hostile bias affecting the test; I would like you to elaborate if you would.

As far as I have read, she claims, after all, to be able to communicate with the dead person who once owned an item she holds in her hand. It would be reasonable surely to expect that she can tell us the most basic information on that person ie gender, and do it with a better rate of success than chance would allow.

She cannot, after all, explain away getting the gender wrong by claiming they are in an odd position, or in poor light.

Last edited by personable; 14th November 2006 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 14th November 2006, 11:14 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
. . . and the test subject will throw a wide net to find anybody who has handled the object and who might in any way fit the description.
Ah, the answer then is to use the knobs from the radios in SUVs. See: http://www.moderncarcare.com/hotnews...201577078.html
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