pleasedonthitme wrote:Disclaimers: I am currently an engineering undergraduate who has held research fellowships at JPL and Caltech, and I fully believe that if my grandfather actually was dowsing for water, there is a scientific explanation. There was noting odd about him and he didn't think it was some kind of supernatural power. His theory involved something electromagnetic, as any battery-powered watch he wore would stop working long before the battery died. Probably coincidental, but maybe not.
Disclaimer: I am an engineering graduate (BSEE) and fully agree with you.
I know of several people who can successfully dowse for water 100% of the time. Almost all of them have the same difficulty with keeping battery-operated watches running. The "scientific explanation" definitely seems to be that their bodies have a slightly different electromagnetic field (which KILLS battery-operated things... heaven help them if they ever need a pacemaker), but that's why it seems to work. None of this "they subconsciously know" junk or witchcraft or anything like that. Just simple electromagnetic fields interacting. It would be nice someday if someone would do a study on this (hmmm... thesis topic, anyone?) to "prove" it.
There is no way their bodies electromagnetic field can be interacting in any meaningful way with any objects. The size of the human body's electromagnetic field is extremely small, and dwarfed by many many orders of magnitude by the earth's field. Any object that could be influenced by your own field would be instead influenced by the earth. It works in a similar way to gravity. The moon and the sun both exert gravitational pulls on your body, but the earth's is so much stronger that you don't even feel the moon or the sun at all. If the moon is pulling you up at .00001 and the earth is pulling you down at 200, the net vector is 199.99999 down to the earth (made up numbers of course).
I don't buy that they can successfully dowse 100% of the time. My guess is that whatever tests were run that brought you/them to that conclusion were not double blinded. When you double blind these kinds of tests the participants always do no better than chance. This is because the phenomena being witnessed is the above-mentioned Ideomotor effect. This has been well studied. It's the same exact thing that makes Ouiji boards move. You can move your muscles in subtle ways without knowing that you are actually doing it.
One other person I know (who doesn't practice dowsing) had the funniest experience with battery-operated watches... a bunch of people were passing around one of those kid watches that you push the button and the cartoon character talks... well, in his case, when he tried it, the sound came out all slow and garbled, as if the battery was dying, so he handed it back to whoever owned it, and the sound worked just fine for them... but every time he tried it, he got the same reaction. So, I'm wondering if he'd be any good at dowsing.
I also know other people who don't have this strong ability to kill watches who are able to do dowsing, but it doesn't seem to be as accurate or as strong a pull for them. So yeah, I'd really love to see a scientific study that would measure electromagnetic fields. So far, the way certain studies have been set up seems to be trying to prove the inaccuracy of dowsing. I'd like to see one that actually measured field strengths and such to see what sort of force there is.
I think dowsing has a bad rap because it was tied (rather strongly) with people thinking it was witchcraft... of course, they would have thought the same thing about a strike-anywhere match, or a GPS system.
I think Randall missed the mark on this one. Though I think it works better on water and buried electrical and water lines than anything else. I've never heard one way or the other how good it would be on oil... off the cuff, I'd think that oil might sometimes be buried too deeply to strongly affect surface EM fields, but I don't know.
It simply doesn't work. Any experiences you may have had that seem to point to it being a real phenomena are likely just incorrect observations or explainable through more common ways. Electromagnetic forces are extremely weak, and if there was a field that could penetrate even 10 feet of dirt your body would probably suffer some massive catastrophe.
johnny_7713 wrote: sonalita wrote:
nooby wrote: in the UK you can get homeopathy on the National Health. For patients with intractable conditions it can be a very cost effective solution
The treatment is effective because of the Placebo effect
Why does this matter? There are many factors that can influence the placebo effect, such as the amount of attention you receive from the doctor. If homoeopaths are able to provide people with a more effective placebo (often because they are able to spend more time on their consultations and because they will make more definitive pronouncements) and thus their patients feel better, how does this mean homoeopathy does not work? I will agree with you that it does not work because of the mechanism commonly claimed by homoeopaths, but that's not the same as saying its ineffective.
Because often patients will be receiving the placebo effect, when they should be receiving real treatment for a real problem. The main problem is that some proponents of homeopathy claim that it will cure anything from back aches to cancer. If they were only claiming that it made you less tired and made some pain go away it wouldn't be doing much harm. This is all ignoring the fact that the placebo effect is not a real treatment, only a psychological one.
teqmc2 wrote:Ok, to begin with, tradition outweighs ruthless profit seeking FAR to often in the corporate world. There is a principle called "cradle to cradle" economics, which was invented by a team that included several economists, an architect and a chemist. Every company that has switched to this model has had significant profit increases, in some cases amounting to a doubling of profit. Now, the entry cost is expensive, but no company has failed to earn back that entry cost in more than five years. And yet, a very low percent of companies in the world have made this switch. Look it up: you can google "cradle to cradle" or you can find the book. So no, corporate use is not a good judge of effectiveness.
As for Homeopathy, the reason that it is perceived not to work is because most people do it WRONG. Homeopathy is, in fact, grounded in good biology. The idea is that the body has a minimum reaction to toxins. If a toxin that lowers the heart rate enters the body, the body will raise its heart rate by some minimum increase, or more than that. (simple example, there are more complex applications).
The only problem with this is it follows the "toxin" theory of disease instead of the accepted and proven Germ theory of disease. Seriously, go read a book or two on the immune system before you try to explain how it works. "Toxin" is a generic word that is not nearly specific enough to use in this discussion. There are many things that can go wrong with the body, it's a very complicated system. Trying to say that "toxins" cause high blood pressure is just ignoring the complexity of the issue. It's like saying Gremlins caused the plane to crash. It doesn't explain anything.
The idea of Homeopathy to treat bradicardia (dangerously low hear rate) is to administer a microscopic dose of just such a toxin.
Then why not administer an actual dose instead of pure water?
The calibration should be enough of the toxin for the body to notice, yet an amount which will have an effect smaller than the minimum response threshold. Thus, the net result is an increase in hear rate. The same can be done to increase immune alertness, to increase or decrease nerve conductivity, to adjust blood pressure or intercrainial pressure. Any disease whose symptoms can be mimicked by a toxin can be treated by Homeopathy.
This is an extremely simplified and flawed understanding of the Immune system.
lly wrote:Operating off of anecdotes and individual cases, but a lot of very good studies start with someone saying "huh, that's interesting..." and noticing an anecdotal trend.
It doesn't mean that scientists should incorporate it into their map of reality or that you have any reason to believe it is true (or, for that matter, false), but it does mean that I would be very interested in seeing a study before declaring people to arbitrarily "not exist."
The problem here is that this has been well studied and sown up tight. He's making a claim that violates our current understanding of the natural world. It goes against the best evidence we have, why should we not ask for more proof than his word? It would be like some guy coming along and declaring "This gravity thing is all bunk, it's clear our hearts are tied to the center of the earth with invisible string!" The rational response to any claim that goes against the established evidence is "prove it." Thus we have the null hypothesis.