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Old 25th October 2006, 05:31 AM   #41
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The reason 16 is considered a success is because it was agreed upon.

The reason for picking the limit 16 was based in statistics. To label at least 16 diarys correctly by guesswork corresponds to approximately ½% chanse.

By the way, I find it extremely unlikely that Carina Landin would be able to sense wether a diary was written by a male or female, but not wether she gets a feeling for it or not (if it is too old). It does not matter what I think though. She should be tested according to protocol. Not that it will matter though. My guess is that she will continue to claim powers after she fails next test.

Last edited by matt_magic; 25th October 2006 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 25th October 2006, 05:33 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Paul2 View Post
Why is 16 out of 20 successful and 15 out of 20 isn't? Is it just because that's what was agreed to, more or less arbitrarily, or is there a statistical, mathematical reason?
The preliminary usually has around a 1/1000 chance of passing by random chance alone. We can calculate the chance that someone gets n correct guesses or more using this formula:
(sum of (i choose 20) from n to 20) divided by 2^20

If you plug 15 into this, you get a ~1/50 chance. 16 gives a ~6/1000 chance. 17 gives a ~1/1000 chance. I don't know why they didn't use 17. So they were actually giving slightly better odds than they say they do!

For the interested: the chance of getting 12 or better is ~1/4.
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Old 25th October 2006, 05:48 AM   #43
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Randi is doing re-runs and giving nice odds. What is happening? What's next? Randi and Geller best friends?
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:09 AM   #44
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I suspect he wants to show that he is not a vindictive old fart, like the woos like to paint him as, but a fair-minded investigator. What would be the objection to a retrial if the applicant thought the protocol was not being adhered to?
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:20 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Zep View Post
I suspect he wants to show that he is not a vindictive old fart, like the woos like to paint him as, but a fair-minded investigator. What would be the objection to a retrial if the applicant thought the protocol was not being adhered to?

I don't think there was anything wrong with the test. It followed the protocol. But maybe I am reading the wrong protocol...

Now I like to see her tested again anyway so it is just fine by me.
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:27 AM   #46
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Assuming a 50/50 probability by chance alone.

The probabiliby of getting 16 or more out of 20 correct is 0.0013
The probability of getting 15 or more out of 20 correct is 0.0059

So it takes 16 or more out of 20 to meet the JREF requirements for the preliminary test.

The probability of getting 12 or more out of 20 correct is 0.2517

If we drop the 5 older diaries that she missed,
the probability of getting 12 or more out of 15 is 0.0176
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:30 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by case sensitive View Post
I don't think there was anything wrong with the test. It followed the protocol. But maybe I am reading the wrong protocol...

Now I like to see her tested again anyway so it is just fine by me.
The test did not follow the protocol exactly. In the original protocol, Carina specified an upper limit on the age of the diaries to be used. The testers included several diaries that violated this limit. Therefore, the test results are invalid. Randi is not "being nice." He is doing what is correct and necessary in this situation.
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:32 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Alkatran View Post
The preliminary usually has around a 1/1000 chance of passing by random chance alone. We can calculate the chance that someone gets n correct guesses or more using this formula:
(sum of (i choose 20) from n to 20) divided by 2^20

If you plug 15 into this, you get a ~1/50 chance. 16 gives a ~6/1000 chance. 17 gives a ~1/1000 chance. I don't know why they didn't use 17. So they were actually giving slightly better odds than they say they do!

For the interested: the chance of getting 12 or better is ~1/4.
Strictly speaking this is not correct because certain cases were excluded from the 2^20 possible choices...namely the cases where there were 20 males, the cases where there were 19, 18, 17, 16, 4, 3, 2, 1 or 0 males.

However it's pretty hard to talk about "chance alone" in this case. If by chance you mean Carina was simply flipping coins to make her guesses then yes, your formula is correct because we can think of 20 diaries randomly labeled not M or F but rather "right" or "wrong." There are (your formula) ways of getting 16 or more right and (your formula) ways of getting 12 right, etc.

However if we take into account the fact that Carina knows that there are actually fewer than 2^20 possible outcomes her chances go up.

But the fact is that Carina was not flipping coins, not even mentally. If you give a human being 12 diaries and ask her to label them M and F she will almost always show a great deal of non randomness in her choice.

For example, she will be unlikely to pick 15 male, let alone all 20 male. She will avoid sequences like MMMMMF even though these sorts of sequences are very likely to appear by chance.

Or let's say we gave Carina a bag of 30 tokens, 15 labeled M and 15 labeled F. She picks by grabbing a token from the bag. Afterwards tokens are not returned to the bag. But that is not how the diaries were selected. Every M you pick in that case increases the chance of your next token being an F. I would expect that this was roughly Carina's strategy.

So it's kind of pointless to talk about "chance alone" unless you know Carina's guessing strategy.
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:37 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Gr8wight View Post
The test did not follow the protocol exactly. In the original protocol, Carina specified an upper limit on the age of the diaries to be used. The testers included several diaries that violated this limit. Therefore, the test results are invalid. Randi is not "being nice." He is doing what is correct and necessary in this situation.
Is the original protocol different than the one Randi signed (if that is how he does it)? How many protocols are there and isn't the last protocol the one and only?
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:40 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by case sensitive View Post
Is the original protocol different than the one Randi signed (if that is how he does it)? How many protocols are there and isn't the last protocol the one and only?
My apologies. The "agreed upon protocol" I should have said.
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:40 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Gr8wight View Post
The test did not follow the protocol exactly. In the original protocol, Carina specified an upper limit on the age of the diaries to be used. The testers included several diaries that violated this limit. Therefore, the test results are invalid. Randi is not "being nice." He is doing what is correct and necessary in this situation.
From what I can see, that's not exactly right. It looks like the protocol was sloppily-worded, in that it stated the diaries should not be older than late 19th century if possible. And so, it was followed.

That means the testers might have thought if it was not possible to get newer diaries, it was OK to use older ones, and their interpretation of 'late' 19th century might have differed from Carina's.

Is 'late' 19th century anything after 1850? Or anything after 1875? If that's not defined up front, then it's going to lead to this sort of issue. Unfortunate, but I would say the fault was in the protocol, not the test.
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:45 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by tkingdoll View Post
From what I can see, that's not exactly right. It looks like the protocol was sloppily-worded, in that it stated the diaries should not be older than late 19th century if possible. And so, it was followed.

That means the testers might have thought if it was not possible to get newer diaries, it was OK to use older ones, and their interpretation of 'late' 19th century might have differed from Carina's.

Is 'late' 19th century anything after 1850? Or anything after 1875? If that's not defined up front, then it's going to lead to this sort of issue. Unfortunate, but I would say the fault was in the protocol.
I agree. And that is also the fault of the sceptical society who negotiated that protocol. They are charged with eliminating escape holes. They did not do so in this case. Telling is the fact that they included one diary from the eighteenth century. It shows that they did not pay as much attention to this condition as they should have. If they were unable to locate enough diaries that were not older than about 125 years, they should have approached Carina and discussed the problem. They absolutely should not have gone ahead with a test with a potential escape hole that large.
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:50 AM   #53
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Agreed. By the sounds of it, this was hardly a scientific test of her abilities and she has every right to complain. If she's for real, they screwed up her chances of showing it. If she's full of it, they gave her a loophole and of course she's taking it.
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Old 25th October 2006, 06:57 AM   #54
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Wow. I'm surprised this protocol was aggreed upon by Randi.

This protocol seems to suggest that there is no non-supernatural way to distingish between male and female entries. Handwriting alone would give a good clue, or so my gut tells me.
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Old 25th October 2006, 07:04 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Rob Lister View Post
Wow. I'm surprised this protocol was aggreed upon by Randi.

This protocol seems to suggest that there is no non-supernatural way to distingish between male and female entries. Handwriting alone would give a good clue, or so my gut tells me.
I believe the protocol specified that Carina would not be allowed to examine the handwriting. As well, the diaries were selected so as to hopefully have no telltale signs of gender identity on the outside.
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Old 25th October 2006, 07:05 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Rob Lister View Post
Wow. I'm surprised this protocol was aggreed upon by Randi.

This protocol seems to suggest that there is no non-supernatural way to distingish between male and female entries. Handwriting alone would give a good clue, or so my gut tells me.
She didn't look at the writings.
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Old 25th October 2006, 07:09 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Gr8wight View Post
I believe the protocol specified that Carina would not be allowed to examine the handwriting. As well, the diaries were selected so as to hopefully have no telltale signs of gender identity on the outside.
You know, I've just been thinking about this for a couple of seconds, and thought that if I were to take this test, given that women's diaries (IMO) would be more likely than men's diaries to have telltale signs of gender on the outside (for example, is a brown leather diary male or female? Is a diary with pink butterflies on the outside male or female?) it seems to me that women's diaries would be more likely to be removed in the sorting process than men's. I would simply guess male for every diary and feel confident of getting a result significantly over 50%. Maybe not good enough to pass, but I like my odds.
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Old 25th October 2006, 07:12 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Gr8wight View Post
You know, I've just been thinking about this for a couple of seconds, and thought that if I were to take this test, given that women's diaries (IMO) would be more likely than men's diaries to have telltale signs of gender on the outside (for example, is a brown leather diary male or female? Is a diary with pink butterflies on the outside male or female?) it seems to me that women's diaries would be more likely to be removed in the sorting process than men's. I would simply guess male for every diary and feel confident of getting a result significantly over 50%. Maybe not good enough to pass, but I like my odds.
But you could only have 15/20. Not good odds at all.
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Old 25th October 2006, 07:15 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by case sensitive View Post
But you could only have 15/20. Not good odds at all.
Ah. You have spotted the flaw I had overlooked in my sinister plan. Clearly you are better suited to be a criminal mastermind than I.
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Old 25th October 2006, 07:20 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Gr8wight View Post
You know, I've just been thinking about this for a couple of seconds, and thought that if I were to take this test, given that women's diaries (IMO) would be more likely than men's diaries to have telltale signs of gender on the outside (for example, is a brown leather diary male or female? Is a diary with pink butterflies on the outside male or female?) it seems to me that women's diaries would be more likely to be removed in the sorting process than men's. I would simply guess male for every diary and feel confident of getting a result significantly over 50%. Maybe not good enough to pass, but I like my odds.
If they followed the protocol that was posted they started with 15 generic looking male and 15 generic looking female diaries, and then flipped a coin to decide which pile to select from. I'm not sure whether 19th century diaries ever had pink butterflies on them, and I wouldn't be surprised if the archives had signifigantly more male diaries to pick from in any case. So long as the collection is large enough to get 15 of each it doesn't matter how many diaries are left on the shelves.

It is possible that they didn't have 15 generic female diaries (which weren't very fragile, etc.) from "the late 19th century" or later to work with. That seems unlikely because they choose diaries in the first place because of the archives.
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Old 25th October 2006, 07:35 AM   #61
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As suspected, Carina Landin's followers in the Swedish "believer" community are exploiting the discussed loophole to the fullest. One poster on the www.soultravel.nu forum sums it up:

"As we said before, if the test is properly designed you will pass. But the test wasn't conducted according to the protocol (the age of the books), so if you are able and allowed to, Carina... Do it again!"

Landin is also getting credit for having performed "way over chance". Go figure...
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Old 25th October 2006, 07:39 AM   #62
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Chateaubriand, has it been acknowledged that the diaries were too old? Or are we still relying on Carina's claim?

She wouldn't be the first person to fail the test and then declare that something she specificially said would be acceptable was not in fact acceptable.
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Old 25th October 2006, 07:47 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by ChristineR View Post
Chateaubriand, has it been acknowledged that the diaries were too old? Or are we still relying on Carina's claim?
We're still relying on Landin's claims. However, she has been shown the details of the books and no statement has been issued from the experimenters, or the JREF. As the test is currently under JREF review, I think it is safe to conclude that something about the test proceedings is causing doubt -- but that is just an unqualified guess.
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Old 25th October 2006, 08:52 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by ChristineR View Post
Strictly speaking this is not correct because certain cases were excluded from the 2^20 possible choices...namely the cases where there were 20 males, the cases where there were 19, 18, 17, 16, 4, 3, 2, 1 or 0 males.

But the fact is that Carina was not flipping coins, not even mentally. If you give a human being 12 diaries and ask her to label them M and F she will almost always show a great deal of non randomness in her choice.
I didn't know those situations, were excluded. But even if Carina doesn't choose randomly, the fact that the diaries are chosen randomly ensures that all choosing strategies which don't know the correct answers will end up giving random results.
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Old 25th October 2006, 08:58 AM   #65
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Did she miss all of the old diaries? Did she hit all the old diaries? Did she only hit half of them?

WTF was the JREF thinking, violating the protocol like that?! This is the type of thing people will repeat for years if she doesn't retest!
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Old 25th October 2006, 09:04 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Alkatran View Post
WTF was the JREF thinking, violating the protocol like that?! This is the type of thing people will repeat for years if she doesn't retest!
"The JREF" wasn't doing the thinking. That's part of the problem -- the skeptics group in Sweden that ran this test kind of blind-sided the JREF.
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Old 25th October 2006, 09:27 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by Zep View Post
I suspect he wants to show that he is not a vindictive old fart, like the woos like to paint him as, but a fair-minded investigator. What would be the objection to a retrial if the applicant thought the protocol was not being adhered to?
I think if she had passed the test, then surely she would not have demanded a retrial because of the age of the diaries.

So by finding this protocol violation (if that is what it is), she is (approximately) doubling her chances of passing.

Nevertheless, if there really is a protocol violation then it seems like JREF doesn't have much of a choice but to offer a retrial. This story just reemphasizes the need for an extremely tight protocol and adhering to it very strictly.
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Old 25th October 2006, 10:15 AM   #68
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I also hope that they are not providing the results until all diaries have been sorted, rather than verifying with each guess. That could mess up the randomness immensely.
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Old 25th October 2006, 12:54 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by drkitten View Post
"The JREF" wasn't doing the thinking. That's part of the problem -- the skeptics group in Sweden that ran this test kind of blind-sided the JREF.
Except Randi had to sign off on the protocol in order for this to be an official test. I suspect the fact that the Swedish group had kept Carina waiting for two years to be tested caused the test to be pushed ahead faster than might have been prudent.
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Old 25th October 2006, 01:07 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wagg View Post
OK, the challenge results are officially "UNDER REVIEW."

We're awaiting data on the books. If they were in fact too old, the results of this challenge will be null and void, and the challenge will need to be re-run with a completely different set of diaries.

I'll keep you updated.
I suppose if she takes enough tests, she's bound to get 16 or more right eventually . . . ;-)

edit: oops sorry for the redundancy, I didn't see f97tosc's post.

Last edited by tableplay; 25th October 2006 at 01:11 PM. Reason: redundancy
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Old 25th October 2006, 02:05 PM   #71
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Protocols

The scanned test protocols and a preliminary report in Swedish can be found on
VoF's homepage now, but I'm not allowed to submit urls here.
The address is: www dot vof dot se slash landin slash index dot html.

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Old 25th October 2006, 02:29 PM   #72
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Surely if the diaries were too old to properly "sense" the sex of the original diarist, she would have known that upon her attempt, if she is really doing what she says she is doing? She would have come up with no answer at all, rather than a wrong one?

Of course, this does not change the fact that there should be a retest if the protocol was in fact not followed. However, I would be interested to know if she objected to any of the diaries during the test itself.
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Old 25th October 2006, 02:40 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Zep View Post
I suspect he wants to show that he is not a vindictive old fart, like the woos like to paint him as, but a fair-minded investigator. What would be the objection to a retrial if the applicant thought the protocol was not being adhered to?
I think because the rules say so. If the age of the diaries was specified in the protocol, and the protocol wasn't followed, you re-test (as long as it's still possible).

That's why it's set up this way--Randi's personality (either way, vindictive or fair-minded) has nothing whatsoever to do with it.
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Old 25th October 2006, 02:48 PM   #74
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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.
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Old 25th October 2006, 02:59 PM   #75
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In addition to the links provided above, a final test design in English can be found here:

Final test design
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Old 25th October 2006, 03:11 PM   #76
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My swedish is not the best but this is my attempt at translating a key paragraph or two from the report. Maybe Triper can check..

“Landin gave as an explanation for her lack of success that some of the diaries were too old (the earliest was from 1794 and the next eldest from 1855).

In discussions after the test Landin said that only diaries younger than 100 years should be in the test. This is a rule that I had not heard about before the test. Landin had approved the test protocol that I sent to Randi and that he approved. There it is explicit that diaries older than 100 years can be included.”

From the protocol (which is translated into english already):

“A few days before the test the archives and SOH select 15 diaries written by men and 15 written by women. As far as possible, diaries without handwriting on the outside are chosen. (If this cannot be avoided, the handwriting will be covered by SOH with some method approved by A.) Furthermore (in accordance with Landin’s wish) diaries older than the late 19th century are avoided as far as possible.”

Final words from the report:

“It is to be expected that Landin and I give different interpretations of the test results. I interpret it as simply unsucessful and that we have not found sufficient grounds to proceed with further testing. At the same time I can understand she is concerned about the method by which she was tested, and naturally seeks factors in the test setup that can explain the result.

It should not burden her that she did not go further to the next stage of Randi’s challenge... It is a positive that she took part in the test and that she constructively worked together to develop a test that is clearly decisive.”

Did I miss something? It reads as though the protocol wasn't tight enough to eliminate her excusing the test failure based on the diary age. Although she did agree to the protocol, so she should have no complaint.
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Old 25th October 2006, 03:31 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Pipirr View Post
Did I miss something? It reads as though the protocol wasn't tight enough to eliminate her excusing the test failure based on the diary age. Although she did agree to the protocol, so she should have no complaint.
I think you got the vital paragraphs. And you point out where the design is flawed. If I understand the JREF intentions correctly, a test protocol should be tight enough to eliminate excuses of this kind. It is, of course, impossible to avoid many of the common excuses used by claimants in, or after, these or other tests of alleged paranormal abilities. But in this case, the excuse is derived from the protocol as such and, further more, it is a flaw recognized not only by the claimant and her followers, but also some of her supposed critics.

The issue, as I see it, is not whether complying with Landin's request would have altered the result -- let's face it, she is simply not able to do what she claims. The issue is that the test should be flawless and provide no opportunity for a claimant to blame poor results on test procedure. And regardless what happens in this case, it should set an example for future test designs supervised by the JREF. The Challenge is a too important symbol to be blemished by this kind of sloppiness.
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Old 25th October 2006, 03:40 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Jon. View Post
Surely if the diaries were too old to properly "sense" the sex of the original diarist, she would have known that upon her attempt, if she is really doing what she says she is doing? She would have come up with no answer at all, rather than a wrong one?

Of course, this does not change the fact that there should be a retest if the protocol was in fact not followed. However, I would be interested to know if she objected to any of the diaries during the test itself.
Finally! This is the real point, not all the legalistic nitpicking. Let her pick those that she can "sense" and ask for 100% accuracy!
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Old 25th October 2006, 03:41 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Pipirr View Post
My swedish is not the best but this is my attempt at translating a key paragraph or two from the report. Maybe Triper can check..
I think you did a good job!
I small remark
Quote:
“[...] some of the diaries were too old (the earliest was from 1794 and the next eldest from 1855).
"rätt" is better translated to "rather". "[...]some of the diaries were rather old [...]"

Edit : I see now that Chateubriand already has approved the translation.
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Old 25th October 2006, 03:50 PM   #80
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I would like to add something that was omitted in the translation above:

"Before we parted, Landin gave as an explanation for her lack of success that some of the diaries were too old (the earliest was from 1794 and the next eldest from 1855)"

It may otherwise be understood as if Landin has launched her excuse in the discussions after the test, when she in fact brought it up before leaving the archives of the Nordic Museum.

(Edit: corrected where the test took place.)
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