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Old 14th November 2006, 04:52 PM   #201
Thinktoomuch
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Originally Posted by personable View Post
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.
All obvious and agreed (except the apostrophe )


Quote:
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'.
I have difficulty understanding from this sentence what understanding you have of the various parts of my description, therefore I can sympathise with your position. It is not fun anymore but, being conscious of the limitations of my English expression, I will try to explain again myself better.

Quote:
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.
By having a large number of objects of various background and a specific questionnaire with agreed allowed descriptions (thinning hairs, dark hair, less than 6' are not acceptable descriptions, bald, "color" hair, 5'6" to 6' tall are) the probability of a fluke hit can be made irrelevant.


Quote:
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.
See above. The protocol would work, the difficulty would be to achieve an agreement that if the claimant ticks "black" instead of "brown" or "5' to 5' 6" " instead of 5' 6" to 6' " in the questionnaire it is a miss, and what number/proportion of hits to misses is a success. The value of the exercise would then most likely be the usual "get to think critically".

Quote:
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.
Again, I find difficult to understand from your sentence what you want me to elaborate. I did not use the word "hostile'. I used "bias" to indicate that when a lot of money is at stake one might tend to be cautious to the point of being unrealistically strict in the definition of what constitutes success. Hardly a new or extreme comment.
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Old 15th November 2006, 09:14 AM   #202
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Originally Posted by Thinktoomuch View Post
I have difficulty understanding from this sentence what understanding you have of the various parts of my description, therefore I can sympathise with your position. It is not fun anymore but, being conscious of the limitations of my English expression, I will try to explain again myself better.
Well in that case, allow me to assure you that I understand it perfectly well, if you were unable to comprehend that from my reply, as I believe the others on the thread have. What you have not yet properly addressed is the issues questioned on the basis of it.


Quote:
By having a large number of objects of various background and a specific questionnaire with agreed allowed descriptions (thinning hairs, dark hair, less than 6' are not acceptable descriptions, bald, "color" hair, 5'6" to 6' tall are) the probability of a fluke hit can be made irrelevant.
So let's examine the differences and similarities between your suggestion and the protocol used. Both work on the presupposition that she really can 'see' the person who had an emotional attachment to the item. Your protocol proposes asking her to give a detailed description of the person she 'sees'. The old protocol operates on the reasoning that if she can do that, she can also plainly give just the gender.

Now, since she failed on that test and is producing a post hoc excuse to justify her failure and thereby attempting to maintain the True Believers' faith, you are attempting to answer her excuse that others of an opposite gender may have handled the item and caused her to 'see' them, by asking her to describe 'them'. However, the very mechanics of opening the hit up to more than one person (anyone other than the owner) makes the chance of a hit more likely, and most importantly, removes the binary aspect of the gender only hit. (an expansion on the importance of this below)


I believe to counter this, you propose she should be set a specific criterion for a 'hit', and also that she should be made to perform several to ensure that reaching the success threshold cannot be realistically done by chance or guessing. The issue arises though, of the woo interpretation of her failures. If she says the person had black hair and he had brown, the woos would likely find this somewhat easy to rationalize. It is nowhere near as profound an error as getting the gender wrong; and the problem is that your proposed protocol removes the gender guessing. And it is easier to rationalize that the woman with dark hair really was your blonde mother, because say her natural colour was dark, than it would be to rationalize that the psychic held your Mother's diary and somehow saw a man.

I think the latter is more likely to prompt people to think critically than the former would.

The other thing that comes to mind is the actual administration of the test. We would be relying on testimony from the person submitting the item, for the facts of who indeed held an emotional bond with it. Since an emotional bond is something that comes down to interpretation, that could be a disservice to the applicant as well as the JREF. Malevolent readers could simply buy items out of a shop and send them in, or they could give false details of the person whom they consider held an 'emotional bond' with the item, or they might misinterpret what an 'emotional bond' is. On the other face of that, if you intend on harvesting these from woo magazine readership, what could be done to prevent stooges from sending things in? Or even in all innocence, a woo might see an opportunity to get a free reading from their favourite psychic and inform her via email to 'look out from my uncle's red diary please, and if you receive any message from him could you let me know'. Then all it would take could be for the psychic to enter into a dialogue with this person, and you suddenly have cold reading in your protocol.


Quote:
Again, I find difficult to understand from your sentence what you want me to elaborate. I did not use the word "hostile'. I used "bias" to indicate that when a lot of money is at stake one might tend to be cautious to the point of being unrealistically strict in the definition of what constitutes success. Hardly a new or extreme comment.
I do apologise if you are having some difficulties, but I would like you to elaborate on what you consider to be unrealistically strict about asking one who claims to see the dead owner of an item she holds to declare that person's gender.

You seem to be taking a cooperative approach to her claim that people of the opposite sex handling the item in the interm period has skewed her results. It should be held in mind that if she had claimed this before the test, then the test would not have went ahead as it would have served no purpose. And while I agree wholeheartedly that any test protocol should endeavour to reduce as far as possible the number of post hoc excuses the applicant may have available to them, any concessions given in the protocol should not introduce a greater likelyhood of fraud being a factor without addressing it one way or another.
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Old 15th November 2006, 09:53 AM   #203
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Originally Posted by Fredrik View Post
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
It seems like there's a lot of back-and-forth over a possible new protocol for Carina, and this quote from her give me an idea.

1) Carina originally claimed to be able to use psychometry to determine the gender of the owner of a possession.

2) She also now claims to be able to get that information whether the owner is alive or dead.

3) An object which is too old poses some sort of a problem for her, and an object too readily identifiable as owned by a man or woman is a problem for testers.

So...with all the above in mind, why not repeat the original test, but instead of using diaries, use house keys?

Think about it: house keys are generally indistinguishable by gender, and ones from recent times are readily available. If it doesn't matter if the owner is alive or dead, the test could be performed quickly and easily by having her look at an assortment of keys, each marked with a number. That number would correspond with a list of the owner's gender, and the list could be kept sealed away from her sight until after the test. The list could be compiled by someone unconnected to both the testers and Carina, so that the test would be properly double-blinded.

Is there a reason she doesn't just do something this simple?
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Old 15th November 2006, 11:50 AM   #204
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Keys were suggested, and rejected because "they don't have a strong emotional connection."
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Old 15th November 2006, 12:05 PM   #205
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Originally Posted by Silly Green Monkey View Post
Keys were suggested, and rejected because "they don't have a strong emotional connection."
Teddy bears.

Juist pick teddy bears or other stuffed animals from little kids, then. There certainly is a strong emotional connection there, right?

Or did I miss any of her excuses? Was there a reason given why it should only work with adults?
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Old 15th November 2006, 03:24 PM   #206
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Originally Posted by Thinktoomuch View Post
By having a large number of objects of various background and a specific questionnaire with agreed allowed descriptions (thinning hairs, dark hair, less than 6' are not acceptable descriptions, bald, "color" hair, 5'6" to 6' tall are) the probability of a fluke hit can be made irrelevant.
So if she said male, 5'6-6" tall with brown hair, that would count as a fluke hit? That describes most of the men I know. How many features would she have to identify in order to reduce the probability of fluke hits to even 50-50, let alone irrelevant?

Also bear in mind that hair colour and height could never really be used. Hair colour changes over time. My hair used to be light blond, but is now dark brown, my father's hair is now black and my mother used to be bright red and is now pale brown. And all this without any dye being involved, which I can guarantee would be used as an excuse as well. You could describe pretty much anyone's hair as light brown or dark blond and they would almost certainly have had that colour hair at some point in their life. And how many people either know their height acturately or can judge someone else's? Most men exagerate their height by about 1.5 inches, and I doubt many people can tell someone's height better than that just be looking at them. So whether she guesses the height or the ghost tells her, the accuracy will be just about good enough to tell one half of the population from the other.

And of course this all ignores the question, if she can get height, hair colour and whatever else from them, why can't she tell their gender?
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Old 15th November 2006, 04:44 PM   #207
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
And of course this all ignores the question, if she can get height, hair colour and whatever else from them, why can't she tell their gender?
Cuddles, with the exception of the above sentence, which I believe to be incorrect (she says that she can tell the gender of somebody, not necessarily the owner), I can only address your concerns as I addressed those of Personable. I stand by my original response to him. All I am proposing is to whittle away at all excuses with a "can do" attitude in order to foster the critical thinking process instead of starting with a point of view that "it can not be done because there will be other excuses".

It all boils down to whether you believe she is deluded or she is a fraud. In the first case a "cooperative" approach is fully justified, in the second it is much less so, because its cost/benefit could be severely diminished. I believe that the issue is self-limiting, though, because a fraud would not find benefit in continuing to show her weaknesses and would quickly opt out.

For this reason, Personable, I am not going to address again your points in detail. I assure you that I am aware of them and acknowledge that they pose difficulties. At this point in time I believe that they can be overcome, but even if they could not, the outcome of my proposed approach would be the usual retreat of the applicant when the scientific method becomes too demanding, which is, in my opinion, still a desirable outcome. For this to be useful, though, JREF must not only be just but be clearly seen to be just, which is the main purpose of a "cooperative" approach.
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Old 15th November 2006, 10:38 PM   #208
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Jeez, give me any diary and I'll tell you if a man or a woman wrote it within the first paragraph. I sure as hell would get better than 12 out of 20. Maybe I should apply.
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Old 16th November 2006, 09:40 AM   #209
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She doesn't get to READ them.....why would you?
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Old 16th November 2006, 01:14 PM   #210
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Anyone know if a re-test is or has happened?

The protocol seemed fine. I disagree that there was a loophole left. The protocol said that the older diaries shouldn't be used if possible. It sounds like it was just overlooked. If it were an issue, the tester could've said, sorry, we couldn't find enough newer diaries (in other words, it's "not possible"), in which case the protocol would've been followed, and the test continued. I don't think that's the case. I think it was just overlooked. Granted, there's no reason to think that this issue would've affected the result, but that's beside the point. If the protocol wasn't followed, you trash the results.

I hope a re-test is possible, and if it happens I predict another failure. (Remember, there are no degrees of failure--that's the reason for having a protocol. You agree ahead of time on what the definition of success is.)
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Old 17th November 2006, 12:33 AM   #211
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Mind you, if enough re-tests are done she will pass one of them by pure chance. It could be the next one.
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Old 17th November 2006, 07:52 AM   #212
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Randi and I have agreed that a "retest" is warranted, based mostly on the ambiguity of the phrase "as far as is possible." Negotiations are under way, however it's difficult to find old diaries, so we might turn this into and entirely new claim concerning letters.

I fear that there will never be satisfactory results from this one, as it's so difficult to find the matierals necessary. But, work continues...

Originally Posted by JoeTheJuggler View Post
Anyone know if a re-test is or has happened?

The protocol seemed fine. I disagree that there was a loophole left. The protocol said that the older diaries shouldn't be used if possible. It sounds like it was just overlooked. If it were an issue, the tester could've said, sorry, we couldn't find enough newer diaries (in other words, it's "not possible"), in which case the protocol would've been followed, and the test continued. I don't think that's the case. I think it was just overlooked. Granted, there's no reason to think that this issue would've affected the result, but that's beside the point. If the protocol wasn't followed, you trash the results.

I hope a re-test is possible, and if it happens I predict another failure. (Remember, there are no degrees of failure--that's the reason for having a protocol. You agree ahead of time on what the definition of success is.)
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Old 17th November 2006, 08:14 AM   #213
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wagg View Post
Randi and I have agreed that a "retest" is warranted, based mostly on the ambiguity of the phrase "as far as is possible." Negotiations are under way, however it's difficult to find old diaries, so we might turn this into and entirely new claim concerning letters.

I fear that there will never be satisfactory results from this one, as it's so difficult to find the matierals necessary. But, work continues...
I understand this from your viewpoint but to me if such materials are so difficult to come by it just makes me wonder how on earth she in the first place come to think she can do what she claimed to do.
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Old 17th November 2006, 08:58 AM   #214
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I understand this from your viewpoint but to me if such materials are so difficult to come by it just makes me wonder how on earth she in the first place come to think she can do what she claimed to do.
It is not too difficult to locate private diaries. Any of her woo customers might have one, she handles it, and she immediately "feels" the imprint of its owner. The problem is finding anonymous looking diaries in sufficient numbers. Not too many private diaries are delivered to, or accepted by, the libraries to keep.
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Old 17th November 2006, 11:11 AM   #215
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Originally Posted by Thinktoomuch View Post

For this reason, Personable, I am not going to address again your points in detail. I assure you that I am aware of them and acknowledge that they pose difficulties. At this point in time I believe that they can be overcome, but even if they could not, the outcome of my proposed approach would be the usual retreat of the applicant when the scientific method becomes too demanding, which is, in my opinion, still a desirable outcome. For this to be useful, though, JREF must not only be just but be clearly seen to be just, which is the main purpose of a "cooperative" approach.

I would just like to point out that despite your use of the word 'again', you have not actually addressed the issues I pointed out; you have simply assured me they can be overcome.

And on the second point, I would tend to disagree - I think that it is better for the critical thinking process if the applicant agrees to the test and fails, rather than have them backing out early in negotiations. With the latter they can make up wonderful stories of Randi being 'afraid' to test them, but at least with the former they are reduced to blaming gold lettering on nearby dictionaries, the man on the moon, or illiterate spirits; the failure itself is no longer in dispute you see.
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Old 17th November 2006, 09:16 PM   #216
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
...it just makes me wonder how on earth she in the first place come to think she can do what she claimed to do.
When she feels like she's communicating with a dead person, she will experience more or less random thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. For example, she may feel something in the stomach region, and then say out loud "my stomach hurts". The sitter will then say something like "well he did have an ulcer when he was young", and they both count it as a hit.

Since almost anything she says is a hit, of course she believes.
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Old 28th November 2006, 08:19 AM   #217
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Any news from Ms. Landin, guys?
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Old 4th December 2006, 06:42 AM   #218
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This was published today on the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet's web page. (Not allowed to post URL:s yet... but soon..... my presssiousssss)

"Jag hade en dålig dag och klarade bara 12. Men böckerna var för gamla. Därför ska jag få göra om testet.
Och om det inte går bättre den gången?
– Då kommer jag tänka att jag haft en dålig dag. Inga forskare i världen ska få mig att överge det jag tror på."

Roughly translated:

"I has a bad day and only managed 12. But the books were too old. So i will be taking the test again.
Q:And if you don't do better this time?
A. Then I will think I had a bad day. No scientist in the world can make me give up what I believe."

So once again the woowoos refuse too accept anything that goes against there "powers" even before the results are in.

Eagerly awaiting the results if there is going to be a new prelimenary test.
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Old 4th December 2006, 06:56 AM   #219
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Goak69 has published the essentials above -- here is the complete article:

-----

CAN SHE TALK TO THE DEAD?
Test decides if fortunetellers tell truth.

Hoax or astonishing
Now is the time for fortunetellers and psychics to prove themselves. A society is going to put their supernatural abilities to the test.

Contact with the dead, horoscopes and healing -- the number of Swedes claiming to have supernatural powers is increasing. Something that worries the Vetenskap och Folkbildning (Science and Education) Society, which holds a sceptical attidude towards the occult.
- There is no serious research that supports it, says civil engineer Jesper Jerkert, chairman of the society.
That is why he intends to invite people claiming supernatural abilities to be tested by the society.

Dowsing test
Test procedures can be anything from putting control questions to psychics about names of deceased to burying water bottles to test dowsers.
The psychic Carina Landin, 47, from Nykoping is ready to be tested:
- I wish nothing more than to shut the doubters up.

Tested recently
She was recently tested by the American James Randi, who has promised a million dollar reward to anyone able to prove a supernatural phenomena.
The test mainly consisted of deciding whether diaries from deceased had belonged to men or women. To pass, she had to be right on at least 16 of the 20 diaries.
- I had a bad day and scored only 12. But the books were too old, so I'm going to be re-tested.
And if she doesn't succeed this time?
- Then I'll consider it a bad day. No scientist in the world will make me abandon my beliefs.

-----

My question is: What is the point in testing a person with this attitude at all?

Suggested corrections to my translation appreciated.
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Last edited by Garvarn; 4th December 2006 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 4th December 2006, 07:18 AM   #220
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Originally Posted by Chateaubriand View Post
My question is: What is the point in testing a person with this attitude at all?
I don't believe that the result of any Million Dollar Challenge Preliminary has ever changed the mind of any applicant. Realistically, if they are so sure of themselves that they are willing to put their dignity on the line like that, they are probably already too far gone to make any difference.

The idea of the challenge is that each result adds more evidence to show the believers, and those who are on the fence. So if someone says, "I really think there is such thing as psychic powers!", we can say, "Then why, in all of the years of the JREF Million Dollar challenge, has no one ever passed the preliminary? Shouldn't this be easy to do?"

I would be shocked if 100 failed tests would make a dent in Carina Landin's beliefs.
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Old 4th December 2006, 07:39 AM   #221
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Originally Posted by Ripley Twenty-Nine View Post
I don't believe that the result of any Million Dollar Challenge Preliminary has ever changed the mind of any applicant.
No, but the point is that Landin in advance is announcing that she will consider any failure a result of a bad day. To my knowledge, most claimants don't share that attitude prior to testing.
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Old 4th December 2006, 07:50 AM   #222
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Originally Posted by Chateaubriand View Post
She was recently tested by the American James Randi, who has promised a million dollar reward to anyone able to prove a supernatural phenomena.
The test mainly consisted of deciding whether diaries from deceased had belonged to men or women. To pass, she had to be right on at least 16 of the 20 diaries.
- I had a bad day and scored only 12. But the books were too old, so I'm going to be re-tested.
And if she doesn't succeed this time?
- Then I'll consider it a bad day. No scientist in the world will make me abandon my beliefs.

-----

My question is: What is the point in testing a person with this attitude at all?
It isn't about attitude. They can have any attitude they please. Nothing will change their view anyhow.

However - when she in advance states that, if she fails, she is just having a bad day, then she tells people two things:

1) She is a fanatic, who has no interest in being tested. All she wants is to gloat about winning over the skeptics. How nice.

2) She is having bad days when tested. How revealing.

Those are pretty good points against her. People who are not interested in the paranormal will see through such antics.
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Old 4th December 2006, 08:50 AM   #223
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Originally Posted by CFLarsen View Post
Those are pretty good points against her. People who are not interested in the paranormal will see through such antics.
I agree. In fact, I don't think I've seen any selfproclaimed miraclemonger so bluntly express him- or herself as being beyond argument or reason. Let's hope that the public eye recognizes it.
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Old 4th December 2006, 10:11 AM   #224
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Thanks for the translation, goak69 and Chateaubriand.




I agree with Ripley Twenty-Nine: Ms. Landin most likely will not abandon her beliefs.
She would have to abandon such a huge part of her entire life. In the process, she would probably realise that she devoted an extraordinary amount of precious lifetime to an illusion. Ms Landin would even discover she encouraged other people in their delusions.
She would most likely come to the conclusion: I wasted my life.

(That'll probably drive her to religion, the ultimate illusion.)

What surprises me is that Ms. Landin has the gall to publicly state what makes her indistinguishable from a degenerate gambler:

"I'm just having a bad day."



Her test result:

Originally Posted by Chateaubriand View Post
The experiment leader has published an account of Landin's full result. Here are the ages of the 20 diaries and Landin's guesses (R=right, W=wrong):

1787 - R
1794 - W
1800 - R
1825 - R
1828 - R
1831 - R
1879 - W
1859 - W
1860 - W
1867 - R
1881 - R
1889 - W
1896 - R
1895 - R
1932 - W
1935 - R
1943 - W
1953 - W
1963 - R
1961 - R

Her argument that "too old diaries" are the cause of her poor results is thus complete BS.
To the desperately clutching, clinging, grasping to the only available straw which keeps her claim officially alive, I can only say: "Ms. Landin, lighten up. You just had a bad day."
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Old 4th December 2006, 11:44 AM   #225
DeviousB
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Sorry, I don't get this. Did Landin claim that her power diminishes proportionally with the increasing age of the diaries? Why is anyone assuming that her accuracy should be higher for the younger diaries for her excuse to be valid?
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Old 4th December 2006, 05:02 PM   #226
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Originally Posted by DeviousB View Post
Sorry, I don't get this. Did Landin claim that her power diminishes proportionally with the increasing age of the diaries? Why is anyone assuming that her accuracy should be higher for the younger diaries for her excuse to be valid?
It has nothing to do with making sense. But the test protocol agreed to by Landin apparently mentioned that the books should not be older than 100 years, or something. So she is right in claiming that the test didn't test what she claimed she could do. That she performed according to random chance on those 6 books that were within the specified age range can of course be attributed to bad luck, since these are not many enough to be statistically significant, presumably. Well, if she could really talk to the dead I think it should be rather weird if even one dead person forgot their sex, but hey, I've never been dead, maybe they have more important things to worry about.
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Old 4th December 2006, 05:20 PM   #227
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She claims to pick up images of persons who have touched an object. If the object has not been touched for a long time, the images fade. If the object was passed to an heir who also treasured it, she might get images of the heir instead of the original owner (the diarist). The images are stronger if the owner had an emotional attachment.

She claimed both that some of the diaries were too old and that some were not sufficiently emotional to generate powerful images. Apparently one of the diaries was a collection of recipes. I don't know how you'd decide if a collection of recipes was more or less emotionally meaningful than some other sorts of diaries, but it gave her an out.

Of course her usual technique is to do her reading with a person who knew the owner of the object and was very close to the owner in the room with her. She will always be able to come up with an out for any of these M/F binary kinds of tests, I'm afraid.
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Old 5th December 2006, 04:04 AM   #228
DeviousB
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Originally Posted by Merko View Post
It has nothing to do with making sense. But the test protocol agreed to by Landin apparently mentioned that the books should not be older than 100 years, or something.
Wait, so the test was in breach of the agreed protocol?!

Okay, now I'm going to have to read the whole damn thing!
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Old 5th December 2006, 04:22 AM   #229
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Originally Posted by DeviousB View Post
Wait, so the test was in breach of the agreed protocol?!

Okay, now I'm going to have to read the whole damn thing!
Let me help you. This is from post 51.

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, not the test.
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Old 5th December 2006, 04:24 AM   #230
CFLarsen
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Originally Posted by Chateaubriand View Post
The experiment leader has published an account of Landin's full result. Here are the ages of the 20 diaries and Landin's guesses (R=right, W=wrong):

1787 - R
1794 - W
1800 - R
1825 - R
1828 - R
1831 - R
1879 - W
1859 - W
1860 - W
1867 - R
1881 - R
1889 - W
1896 - R
1895 - R
1932 - W
1935 - R
1943 - W
1953 - W
1963 - R
1961 - R
Quote:
"diaries older than the late 19th century are avoided as far as possible"
"Late 19th century" - vague, but let's draw the line at 1850.

There are 6 diaries before 1850. She got 5 out of 6 right.

There are 14 diaries after 1850. She got 7 out of 14 right.

If anything, she should go for diaries older than 1850!

Originally Posted by Chateaubriand View Post
Her argument that "too old diaries" are the cause of her poor results is thus complete BS.
Verifiably so.
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Old 5th December 2006, 04:35 AM   #231
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Thanks.

Yes, it looks like there was some wriggle-room in the protocol, enough to get Landin 'off the hook' this time. Still, rather sportingly it looks like Ms. Landin has agreed to be tested again if JREF will let her.

Hopefully, they can nail her up good and proper this time.
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Old 5th December 2006, 04:44 AM   #232
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OK; already said....
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Last edited by MRC_Hans; 5th December 2006 at 04:53 AM. Reason: Nothing new in my reply.
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Old 5th December 2006, 09:01 AM   #233
CynicalSkeptic
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Originally Posted by DeviousB View Post
Sorry, I don't get this. Did Landin claim that her power diminishes proportionally with the increasing age of the diaries? Why is anyone assuming that her accuracy should be higher for the younger diaries for her excuse to be valid?
It's not her power that diminishes, it's the woo emanating from the books that diminishes.
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Old 6th December 2006, 04:31 AM   #234
DeviousB
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Originally Posted by CynicalSkeptic View Post
It's not her power that diminishes, it's the woo emanating from the books that diminishes.
But is that an exponential decay? Or is it some constant efflux of woo that continues until all the woo dries up.

Certainly there does seem to be a constant efflux of woo, but I remain sceptical that anyone spouting it will ever dry up!



Thanks for clearing that up. I had imagined that Landin was complaining about the general age of the diaries. If she had (hypothetically) a lower limit to her 'sensitivity', then we would expect no-better than chance before some arbitrary threshold date. In the case of the above figures, if we pretend that after 50 years the 'impressions' are too weak to detect, then we might expect Ms. Landin to correctly identify the two 1960s diaries, but be no better than chance for the rest. Which is exactly what we see.

Given that she claimed to be able to receive from diaries as old as the 'late 19th century', this interpretation is obviously invalid, as noted. If Landin wanted to change this to late 20th century, that (IMO) would be a new claim.
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Old 8th December 2006, 04:15 PM   #235
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If this test was completed "successfully", with 16 or more identifications, does that mean that Carina Landin (or whoever) would actually win the $1m, or is it just one of many tests before the dosh is handed over? If it's the former then I have to say I'm amazed by the low level of "proof" being requested.

The odds are (I believe) 1:0.0059, or 1 in 169 against being successful by chance. For $1m, that's not bad. I don't know anybody who would refuse to wager an hour of their time against those odds for a chance to win $1m. It is by far the best investment / return opportunity I have ever heard of. In fact, book me in (pardon the pun), I'll give it a go myself.

Maybe I got it wrong, and that's not the deal, in which case I apologise. Still, there are other things that bother me about this challenge.

First, I'm 100% certain that if I were to make an in-depth study of people's diaries I would find that I could discern traits of commonality in those written by men and those written by women. Perhaps (and forgive me for any sexism here, but it's kind of unavoidable) women take better care of their diaries than men, and they have less scuffed pages and creased spines. Maybe men go for slightly bulkier diaries, or women for embossed covers.

My biggest gripe, however, is that if someone was successful in this test, nothing would be proved. The most generous conclusion possible would be that somethin unusual was occurring. There would be no requirement to invoke the presence of the paranormal (I hate that word). My own conclusion would be that the person had done their diary fondling homework and this, combined with a bit of luck, did the trick (so to speak).

Why not give her 50 diaries, stipulate that she must say "man" or "woman" for at least 25 of them whilst allowing her to pass on the others, and she must be correct for 100% of her answers. That would allow for those irritating dead people who refuse to manifest when their diaries are fondled, and those where the deceased is worryingly transgender, whilst effectively eradicating the chances of her doing this by "normal" means.

This is my first post and I'm sounding like a bullheaded sceptic, which I'm certainly not; I just don't see the point in this particular test.
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Old 8th December 2006, 04:26 PM   #236
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It's just a preliminary test. Not only do I agree that the odds are far too good to succeed by pure chance, but if there was really a million dollars at stake for this simple test, there would be other ways. Such as bribing one of the testers, or perhaps using a small camera to take a peek inside the books while appearing to only handle them.

As for the alternative proof of having to give definitive statements, well sure. I agree if this was a real ability, this should be possible. However, the psychics don't make that kind of statement. They will readily admit that they aren't always right. Of course this makes the ability very questionable. Normally we can either detect something, or we can't.. but this '51% success rate' claimed by some parapsychology researchers doesn't really fit.

Still, even a 51% success rate would be paranormal, and so such claims should be challenged. But doing it really properly would take a lot of time, so using a preliminary test like this one seems sound to me.
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Old 8th December 2006, 04:29 PM   #237
GzuzKryzt
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Hi baron, welcome to the Forum.

This test was a so-called "Preliminary Test". Upon success, Ms. Landin would have to do a "Formal Test" with the same protocol. Upon success, she would get the million.

One may speculate indeed, what would be proved by a successful test. With great assurance, however, Ms. Landin might say she simply proved her claim.

The JREF sets the statistical "odds". It's their money, they get to decide. I'm with you, I'd set the goal to 100%.

From what I have learned about him, I'm sure Mr. Randi knows what he's doing. Trust him.
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Old 8th December 2006, 05:12 PM   #238
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Hello Baron, and welcome.
Ms. Landin was not allowed to see the diaries, only to touch them behind a screen. The protocol is here. The test itself is described on page 4 and 5.
BTW, what good is a paranormal power which on a bad day makes you perform no better than chance? Especially when you haven't got a clue as to whether you had a bad day or not!
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Old 9th December 2006, 05:42 AM   #239
baron
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Thanks for the clarification everyone, and the welcome.

Mr Stick - sure, I know she wasn't able to see the diaries, I was only suggesting that she could get quite a bit of information about them by touch alone. Providing she'd prepared, of course!

Still, all interesting stuff
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Old 9th December 2006, 11:32 AM   #240
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I'll believe it when she can tell the sex of dinosaurs, like my friend.
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