0808: "The Economic Argument"

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P1h3r1e3d13
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby P1h3r1e3d13 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:58 am UTC

Apeiron wrote:Fucking magnates. How do they work?
Funniest thing I've read on this domain in a long time!

HungryHobo
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:18 am UTC

Administering water DOES NOT treat Bradicardia. Administering a large dose of a stimulant does. Administering a microscopic dose of a sedative also does. Any symptom can be caused by any of several causes. Bradicardia can be caused by a malfunction in the brain stem, it can be caused by weakness of the heart muscle, it can be caused by abnormal retention of certain neurotransmitters. Homeopathy treats it in all cases, just as Allopathy does, IF YOU USE THE VERSION I HAVE ADVOCATED IN THIS POST. If you use a so-called "homeopathic" medicine which does not contain any of the indicated toxin, then you are just a gullible idiot. And, when I say "toxin" I am NOT saying that a toxin caused the disease, I am saying that a toxin COULD cause the same symptoms.


ok, so lets assume it's real.
Lets assume that quantities of the toxins in question less concentrated than what you'd find in normal river water are biologically active.
What are the side effects?
if it's biologically active and has effects then it must also have side effects.
How many people die each year because they take a minute dose of some toxin which would cause blood thickening and as a result their blood thins (still assuming it works) and then have a brain haemorrhage because of the thinned blood?
Or is it just magic which magically only has the effects you want it to have without any of the effects you don't want it to have by magic.

If the immune system is at to high a level, and there are no more pathogens around, then the immune system starts eating your own cells. Now, anything which can be adjusted can get messed up. This is when you get a cold. Your immune system turns the "volume" to far down, and the continually present pathogens get a foot hold.


An idea which appeals to the human mind but this would imply that people who suffer from auto immune diseases would be almost totally immune to everything.
Have any proof that autoimmune sufferers don't catch maleria, AIDs or polio?
Or have you just *decided* that's the way it is because it sounds nice and never sought any proof?

I am a licensed health care professional.

I notice you don't say "doctor".
Are you a real doctor with a real medical title or just a homoeopath?


So, I wouldn't rule these "crazy phenomena" out simply because they haven't been scientifically proven. Perhaps we just haven't found the proper explanation for their working yet.

If you run trials and find that they simply don't work at all then there's no need to find a "proper explanation for their working" because there is no working to explain.


Homeopathy works, but by its own virtues, it does not build an industrial infrastructure that would allow it to play the politics game in ol' 'Merica.


it's a massive industry. There's huge money made by it.
it's well able to play the politics game and it does, that's why you hear so much about it.
it just doesn't work any better than a placebo.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

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Karilyn
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby Karilyn » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:00 am UTC

I was with it all the way until it got down to curses. Then I srsfaced. I've killed a bitch before. Trust me, curses work.
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Murderbot
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby Murderbot » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:35 am UTC

Multiple people in this thread have claimed that drowsing is used in the oil exploration industry.

Is there any evidence though that it works nearly as well as seismic sounding or whatever other black arts those shadowy companies use?

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:18 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
I am a licensed health care professional.

I notice you don't say "doctor".
Are you a real doctor with a real medical title or just a homoeopath?
Keep in mind that in addition to the claim that homeopathy is real (but drug companies keep it down), this person has claimed that curses are real (but nobody wants to suffer the side-effects), and magic is real (but witches can't get funding to prove it).

Once people get into this "everything is a conspiracy against the truth" mindset, there's little use trying to reason with them.
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littlelj
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby littlelj » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:27 pm UTC

Siirenias wrote:EDIT: I'd like to point out to the post above me that the most outlandish idea was that you can dilute something to where there is no substance left in the water. Effectively, yes, but absolutely is just silly.

Really? I'm no chemist, but this is what I learned...

X diluted in water = shitload of water molecules plus some X molecules.

For the sake of argument, let's start where we have 100 X molecules and 1,000,000 water molecules - a concentration of 1/10,000

We re-dilute by adding another 99million water molecules, and split into 100 equally-sized bottles. We now have a concentration of 1/1,000,000. But what that actually means is that each little bottle on average contains one X molecule and 1m water molecules. If you get a bottle with two X molecules in it, that means another bottle has precisely none. Or, to put it another way,
there is no substance left in the water


Did I miss something? Chemicals of any sort are not infinitely divisible, right...?
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby MagFlare » Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:06 pm UTC

littlelj wrote:
Siirenias wrote:EDIT: I'd like to point out to the post above me that the most outlandish idea was that you can dilute something to where there is no substance left in the water. Effectively, yes, but absolutely is just silly.

Really? I'm no chemist, but this is what I learned...

X diluted in water = shitload of water molecules plus some X molecules.

For the sake of argument, let's start where we have 100 X molecules and 1,000,000 water molecules - a concentration of 1/10,000

We re-dilute by adding another 99million water molecules, and split into 100 equally-sized bottles. We now have a concentration of 1/1,000,000. But what that actually means is that each little bottle on average contains one X molecule and 1m water molecules. If you get a bottle with two X molecules in it, that means another bottle has precisely none. Or, to put it another way,
there is no substance left in the water


Did I miss something? Chemicals of any sort are not infinitely divisible, right...?


Completely correct. A 200C solution, which homeopaths consider "high potency," has a concentration of 1 molecule of non-water for every 100200 molecules of water (which is more water than exists in the universe). In other words, any given bottle of homeopathic solution will contain exactly 100% water.

Since homeopaths maintain that "like cures like," and they would, for example, prescribe a solution of poison ivy to cure people who're suffering from rashes caused by poison ivy, I wonder if they insist on diluting their "cures" to the point of nonexistence because they know, deep down, that it would be colossally irresponsible to prescribe medicines that would, if they had any effect at all, hurt their patients.

(Edit: I also wonder if, by the rather vague set of rules that governs homeopathy, it would be sound to sell used bathwater from professional wrestlers as a cure for broken bones, concussions, et cetera.)

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby elasto » Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:39 pm UTC

I am reminded of this news from earlier in the year:

(Select quotes)
The Iraqi government has spent $85m on the ADE-651 and there are concerns that they have failed to stop bomb attacks that have killed hundreds of people.

<snip>

The ADE-651 detector has never been shown to work in a scientific test. There are no batteries and it consists of a swivelling aerial mounted to a hinge on a hand-grip. Critics have likened it to a glorified dowsing rod.

Mr McCormick told the BBC in a previous interview that "the theory behind dowsing and the theory behind how we actually detect explosives is very similar". He says that the key to it is the black box connected to the aerial into which you put "programmed substance detection cards", each "designed to tune into" the frequency of a particular explosive or other substance named on the card. He claims that in ideal conditions you can detect explosives from a range of up to 1km.

The training manual for the device says it can even, with the right card, detect elephants, humans and 100 dollar bills.

<snip>

Newsnight obtained a set of cards for the ADE-651 and took them to Cambridge University's Computer Laboratory where Dr Markus Kuhn dissected a card supposed to detect TNT. It contained nothing but the type of anti-theft tag used to prevent stealing in high street stores.

Dr Kuhn said it was "impossible" that it could detect anything at all and that the card had "absolutely nothing to do with the detection of TNT". "There is nothing to program in these cards. There is no memory. There is no microcontroller. There is no way any form of information can be stored," he added.

The tags which are supposed to be the heart of such an expensive system cost around two to three pence. "These are the cheapest bit of electronics that you can get that look vaguely electronic and are sufficiently flat to fit inside a card," Dr Kuhn told Newsnight.

The ADE-651 has been sold to a range of Middle Eastern countries and as far afield as Bangkok for eye-watering prices. Iraq paid around $40,000 for each device. No Western government uses them.

The promotional material for the ADE-651 claims it is powered only by the user's static electricity.

Iraqis themselves are sceptical about the device.

"They don't work properly," Umm Muhammad, a retired schoolteacher said. "Sometimes when I drive through checkpoints, the device moves simply because I have medications in my handbag. Sometimes it doesn't - even when I have the same handbag."

<snip>

Last month, a senior Iraqi officer involved in bomb-prevention defended the ADE-651. Major General Jehad al-Jabiri, who appeared at a press conference with Mr McCormick following the December explosions, said he ... knew more about bombs than the Americans: "Whether it's magic or scientific, what I care about is it detects bombs," he said.

And policemen manning checkpoints in Baghdad have told the BBC that you need to be relaxed to use the ADE-651 and that it does not work properly if the user is stressed or has a high heart rate. In other words, the message which has got through to the frontlines is - if it does not work, blame the operator not the device.

Mr McCormick declined our request to interview him for this report, but late last year he told the BBC that he has been selling products like the ADE-651 for over a decade and that he has sold 6,000 of them to around 20 countries.
They are in use everywhere from Thailand to Pakistan and Lebanon.


<snip>

In Pakistan, which is not covered by Britain's export ban, rows have broken out after newspapers highlighted the continued use of similar devices at Jinnah International Airport in Islamabad.

Another country not covered by the UK ban is Thailand, where MPs are calling for the withdrawal of 500 GT200 detectors after a number of deaths were blamed on their failure to find explosives. Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has tried to reassure MPs that the GT200 is not like the ADE651: "We use a different brand," he said.

The devices are also in use in Mexico, Kenya, Lebanon, Jordan and China.

The British government has banned the export to Iraq and Afghanistan of all such devices that claim to be powered by static electricity - like the ADE651 and GT200. The UK Department for Business (BIS) said "tests have shown" that they are "not suitable for bomb detection".

Newsnight obtained a GT200 that was sold as a bomb detector and discovered that it was almost identical to the ADE651. It consists of an aerial on a handle connected to a black box into which you are supposed to insert substance detection cards.

The head of Global Technical, Gary Bolton, told Newsnight: "There are no electronic parts required in the handle."

Explosives expert Sidney Alford took apart the "black box" of the GT200, which is supposed to receive signals from the detection cards. He was surprised at what he found: "Speaking as a professional, I would say that is an empty plastic case," he told us.

Mr Alford also took apart a "detection card" and found there was nothing in it other than card and paper.

Gary Bolton from Global Technical told the BBC that the lack of electronic parts "does not mean it does not operate to the specification".

The devices have also surfaced in Kenya where comedian and broadcaster Stephen Fry saw them in use by rangers when he was filming for the BBC series, Last Chance to See. Mr Fry told the BBC that he thought it was "cynical, cruel and monstrous" that rangers - who were trying to track down poachers - had been told they could detect ivory at vast distances: "I was horrified. They had spent a vast sum of money on a modern equivalent of a hazel twig divining rod."


link 1 link 2

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby teqmc2 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:05 pm UTC

I would like to applaud uncivlengr for reading all of the posts on this threat, keeping strait who posted what, and attempting to compile a composite image of my mindset. This is the type of analysis that Science is based on. Everyone else who is arguing from the dogma of science without doing this type of analysis: you are all hypocrites. Science is not a method that other people use to create the data which you memorize, it is a way of life that you must use every minute of every day.

Those that memorize the results of science without living a scientific life style are basically religious believers. "A research team that I trusts proved this, but I do not know how. Since I trust them, I will believe the result."

I am generally in the habit of downloading the data produced by clinical studies and checking their conclusions. In fact, I use things like who the people involved work for and other such data to create a profile of their biases, much like uncivlengr did to determine my biases, in an effort to determine how much of the conclusion is worth agreeing with. I do recognize, however, that I am not completely accurate in the profiles that I create, just as uncivlengr had no way to know that I generally go around laughing at conspiracy theorists, at least when they see conspiracies in most things.

I do not blame conspiracies for the conditions which are impeding the implementation of the ideas that I have advanced. I blame a gradual cultural shift, which is not led in any direction by any recognisable force. Cultures just shift. Some types of thinking come into fashion, and others go out. Pear pressure beats on people who use an unpopular thought model. Since most of you have internalize the pear pressure pushing scientific dogma, you think it the only right way to think. Science is so beautiful because it can throw off its own dogma, when necessary, if people are willing to look at their daily lives in a scientific way.

As for my credentials, I am NOT a Homeopath. I am an Adjunct Physical Therapist. Homeopathy is not an art which is licensed, not is crystal healing, nor any of the other WAY out there ideas. Licensing is issued by the government (in the case of what I do, by the State government), and has heavy schooling requirements.

I am also a Witch. I will make no obfuscation about that. In point of fact, while I could learn how to curse people, I don't bother, because it is a really inefficient method. Guns just work better. Much better. Also, I generally don't have the kind of anger management issues that would make me want to either curse OR shoot people.

Someone rescued the patriotism of any person who has a skill for curses, and refuses to use that skill to attack our enemies (I would assuem that he meant Al Quida and the Taliban). Before anyone jumps on ME for being unpatriotic, I do my part to help. I don't have the intelligence data which will tell me who is an important target. However, out troops DO have that data. Anyone with the skill for curses could use a similar skill to bless out troops, who would then carry your energy to the targets.

Magic obeys Newtonian physics AND Thermodynamics. Newton talks about inertia. This means that, in order to do anything, it takes the same amount of energy, reguardless of how that energy gets there. The amount of chemical energy that is stored in the powder charge of an average bullet, if converted into food, would feed a lot of people. As for Thermodynamics, there is ALWAYS transmission loss. Therefore, sending my energy half way around the world is just a waste.

This leads into another issue. The comic lists a series of phenomena, and then relates them to a series of claims which have been made about what could be done with these phenomena. With the exception of the health care claims, Randel picked the most stupid of the claims made by the least grounded proponents of these phenomena.

All of the remote viewers and dowsers that I know of are willing to admit to limited range. So, no oil.

I am not going to defend remote prayer. See above about transmission loss.

Neither the Tarot nor Astrology have any symbols for "The current reduction in profits that this company is demonstrating are the result of a recent long term investment which will return a significant dividend in ten years." The symbolism available in both of these methods is entirely psychological. If Randel wanted to question why HR departments did not use them, he would be WAY closer to a real refutation.

No one who is sane claims that crystals "emit" a useful energy. Many people claim this, I ignore them. They are stupid. Crystals transmit, focus, or modify energy which is put into them. Ask any watch maker. The energy could come from a battery (in a watch), or from the sun (in a prism), or from a person's will (in healing use). See my comment on Newton (above).

As for curses and hexes, I have already mentioned why that is a bad claim.

If you want to refute something, refute something that takes work. This table is an example of using the worst of the group to represent the whole group.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:11 pm UTC

joy wrote:However, i can't imagine someone running a lottery where:
prize > sum of all tickets
No, of course lotteries are not designed so that the prize is greater than the sum of the prices of all the tickets bought. But the number of tickets bought doesn't necessarily have any connection to the number of possible different tickets, and in a large lottery it's entirely possible for there to be more total tickets bought than there are distinct sets of lottery numbers. People double up on numbers all the time. Which means that one person buying one ticket of every possible different number combination can win more money than it costs to do that.
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby MostAwesomeDude » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:19 pm UTC

I haven't read the rest of the thread, but a search indicated that nobody's mentioned this.

If you rearrange the chart slightly, you get more tick marks. The one that immediately popped out at me is remote viewing. The oil industry doesn't use it, but the military certainly did! Project Stargate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project is a great example.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:22 pm UTC

teqmc2 wrote:No one who is sane claims that crystals "emit" a useful energy.
Well, I'd say no one who is sane claims that magic exists, either...

Many people claim this, I ignore them. They are stupid.
Likewise.

You're right that memorizing and regurgitating the results of science is not the same as doing science. But what you need to realize is that one can do science without needing to run every single experiment for themselves. It's not a matter of trusting *one* particular research group to give you the conclusive answer about something. Rather, it's a matter of seeing that hundreds of studies have been done about these things, and there's a *very* consistent trend that the better designed the study, the smaller any potential effect seems to become.

This is a sure sign that the phenomenon does not exist.

I don't care about your personal anecdotes. The plural of anecdote is not data. You and your friends and your confirmation bias are not sufficient to convince any reasonable person that centuries of scientific theory are all completely wrong. Extraordinary claims and all that: your individual experiences (worse--your *claims* about alleged experiences) do not count as extraordinary evidence.
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby DavidRoss » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:29 pm UTC

joy wrote:However, i can't imagine someone running a lottery where:
prize > sum of all tickets

If you have money to give away like that, you probably won't go to the trouble of running a lottery.


Actually, in the 7 April 2007 "Lotto Texas" drawing (1 in 25 000 000 chance of winning), the jackpot was $45M (stated as $75M, but they really only pay out 60% of the stated amount). There were 4.2M tickets purchased for that drawing, at $1 each. While they took in only $4.2M that week, they still managed to keep about $2M of that, adding only around $2.2M to the pot. The other money in the jackpot was $43M rolled over from the prior weeks. Texas had already made about $80M off sales from those prior weeks (and those buyers were already out of the game).

(Source: Abrams, A., Garibaldi, S., "Finding good bets in the lottery, and why you shouldn't take them", at http://www.mathcs.emory.edu/~skip/lottery/lottery.pdf)

So, you are right that lotteries do not lose money, but that doesn't mean that the prizes in a given drawing cannot exceed the sales for that drawing. It is rare, but not impossible. In fact, your equation "prize > sum of all tickets" is still correct, if "sum of all tickets" includes the money put in by earlier buyers, who have already lost.

In a feeble, nonscientific attempt to explain why Texas only found 4.2M suckers for that drawing, I did a search for that date and they noticed they had a really bad snowstorm that day. I'll use that to explain it.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:35 pm UTC

teqmc2 wrote:This is the type of analysis that Science is based on.
If any part of this conversation were remotely related to science, you might have a point. I'm not making any scientific claims in recognizing that you have a perverse interpretation of how the world works, any more than I need to be a veterinarian to know that unicorns don't exist. Typically I'm happy to leave people to their weirdo beliefs, but when you start calling rational people close-minded, the problems arise.

teqmc2 wrote:Magic obeys Newtonian physics AND Thermodynamics. [...] Therefore, sending my energy half way around the world is just a waste.
...and also impossible, don't forget that part. Your hocus pocus doesn't exist outside your head, and verbosity doesn't make your claims any more compelling.
I don't know what to do for you

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby flatfish » Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:43 pm UTC

teqmc2 wrote:The amount of chemical energy that is stored in the powder charge of an average bullet, if converted into food, would feed a lot of people.


This is off-topic and not really of any importance, but it's a common misconception that explosives necessarily contain a lot of usable chemical enrgy. The energy is just released very quickly. Given a daily nutritional intake of about 11MJ you'd need the chemical energy of about 4kg of gun powder just to feed on person for one day... In fact, chocalate cookies contain much more usabel chemcial energy than TNT per weight unit. The chemical energy released in the charge of a an average bullet is less than the energy released by burning a single tea spoon of salad oil

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby Posthumane » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:07 pm UTC

teqmc2 wrote:The amount of chemical energy that is stored in the powder charge of an average bullet, if converted into food, would feed a lot of people


I'm not going to bother breaking down the rest of your post, but I thought I would reply to this part since you're such a proponent of scientifically validating arguments rather than letting emotion bias your thinking (right?).

An "average" bullet such as the 5.56x45mm NATO round has about 1.8kJ of kinetic energy when it is fired (aka muzzle energy). Conversion efficiency varies slightly between rounds, rifles, and conditions, but roughly 1/3 of the chemical energy of the powder charge is converted to kinetic energy, so the powder charge contains about 5.4 kJ of energy. This equals about 1.29 kCal. Assuming an average person in North America needs to consume about 2000 kCal per day, you would need a diet of about 1500 rounds per day.

That assumes a pretty bland diet of only 5.56mm NATO rounds. You could, of course, add a little variety by throwing in some .50 cal BMG rounds which have almost 10 times the energy (the french fries of ammunition), or you could consume a lot more .22 LR rounds which have 1/10th the energy of 5.56 (they're like the rice of ammo).

Edit: ninja'd by flatfish. Logical minds think alike, I guess.

Crystals transmit, focus, or modify energy which is put into them. The energy could come from a battery (in a watch), or from the sun (in a prism), or from a person's will (in healing use).


Battery - electrical energy (produced by converting chemical energy) - OK.
Sunlight - electromagnetic energy in the form of light (also produced by converting chemical energy) - OK
Person's will - what form is this energy in? Just curious. I suppose it could be heat radiating from the body (if I really will it, I could raise my body temperature by some small amount. Or I could have a fever from an infection)...

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:18 pm UTC

Yeah, it's just that fat doesn't explode, which somewhat limits its usefulness as an explosive.

And I too am curious as to what form of energy thoughts and volition have...
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby DavidRoss » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:38 pm UTC

littlelj wrote:Did I miss something? Chemicals of any sort are not infinitely divisible, right...?


That's right. Once you get down to a single molecule of something, say one molecule of the irritant in poison ivy, you'll have to start breaking that into smaller pieces (atoms) and if you separate a molecule into its individual atoms, you don't get stuff that can be characterized as smaller parts of the stuff you started with. For example, if you took a slice of bread and cut it into crumbs, a crumb would taste like bread and behave somewhat like bread. However, if you break it down further, to the atoms, you'll get oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon - none of which remotely taste like bread or behave like bread. One homeopathy argument is that the oxygen, nitrogen, etc. atoms will "remember" that they came from bread and will retain bread-ness. Actually, the argument is that even after all of the formerly bread atoms are gone from the water, the water will remember the bread and retain the bread-ness. That is inconsistent with several principles of physics, such as the indistinguishability of subatomic particles, which must be true because there are existing everyday objects that can only exist if those principles are true.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby teqmc2 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:40 pm UTC

Mea culpa on the bullets thing. Posthumane obviously does better calculus than I do. (I am a Bio guy, not a math guy.)

I retract my statement about bullets. However, I leave standing the point that I was trying to illustrate: Curses suffer not from impossibility but from impracticality. Hence, people who could do them prefer more practical methods of conveying their displeasure upon others, when they have the desire to do so.

The over arching point is that, of all the claims made by the radical spiritualist element (<- term I just made up), the comic which sparked this discussion chose the worst of them. There are plenty of less absurd claims made by spiritualists which one could examine, yet these are not examined because people get bogged down laughing at the claims of idiots.

There is a parallel example for better studied phenomena: Parendev motors. Magnetism is a phenomenon which I doubt anyone on this forum will question the reality of. (questioning the mechanism, however, is a very interesting topic) There were a group who looked at this phenomenon and decided to make a claim about what it could do that was completely absurd, i.e.: build a device which could create rotary force (torque) without any input of energy. Everyone laughed. Many people tried to build one. Magnetism benefits from the fact that the more reasonable of its proponents started popularizing its effects long before the radicals started being stupid.

Other phenomena do not have this benefit. They suffer from the fact that the first people to promote them widely were also crazy/stupid. This has put extra strain on the more moderate proponents of these ideas. So, I don't blame science for arguing against my experience, I blame my so-called "allies" in this debate for advancing preposterous applications for these observable phenomena.

If you separate the preposterous application claims from the more moderate ones, you find a very different picture.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:42 pm UTC

Siirenias wrote:I'd like to point out to the post above me that the most outlandish idea was that you can dilute something to where there is no substance left in the water. Effectively, yes, but absolutely is just silly.

Sadly, I think that "effectively" is implied if ever someone assures another that there's no lead in tap water.


You might assume that this is silly, but it actually isn't.

SCIENCE:

For any solution, there is a certain quantity of solvent and a certain quantity of solute. We can characterize this solution based on the concentration (ratio of solute to solvent), or we can use the physical properties of the solute to determine the actual quantity that is inside the solution.

Let's take a gram of salt (sodium chloride) dissolved in a liter of water. Because we know the properties of sodium chloride, we know that the number of molecules in that gram is on the order of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules (10^23). Actually, it's a slightly smaller number in this instance, but we'll lay that aside for the moment.

That's a lot of molecules, but it is also a finite number of molecules. Homeopathy usually uses a "C" dilution; diluting one part solution with 100 parts pure water. One "C" dilution means that there are now 100x fewer molecules in the solution; now we only have 10^21 molecules.

That is still a lot. But homeopaths don't use a 1C dilution. They repeat the process over and over again. Every time a dilution takes place, it divides the number of molecules by 100.

1C: 10^21 molecules
2C: 10^19 molecules
3C: 10^17 molecules
4C: 10^15 molecules
....
9C: 100,000 molecules
10C: 1,000 molecules
11C: 10 molecules

But 11C is still far lower than normal homeopathic remedies. Let's just go up one more level, to 12C.

If you have a solution with 1 liter of water and 10 molecules of sodium chloride, and you dilute it by a factor of 100 (taking a liter of the resulting solution), how many molecules of sodium chloride are you left with?

Well, you've got a 10% chance of having a single molecule.

But 12C is silly, because most homeopathic remedies are 30C. At a 30C dilution, you could drink a hundred thousand liters of water every second for the estimated age of the universe....and you still wouldn't have a chance at getting a single molecule of the original substance.

So that's what we mean when we say there is NOTHING but water in homeopathic remedies.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:45 pm UTC

teqmc2 wrote:I would like to applaud uncivlengr for reading all of the posts on this threat, keeping strait who posted what, and attempting to compile a composite image of my mindset. This is the type of analysis that Science is based on. Everyone else who is arguing from the dogma of science without doing this type of analysis: you are all hypocrites. Science is not a method that other people use to create the data which you memorize, it is a way of life that you must use every minute of every day.

Where am I memorizing things?
I'm inquiring, challenging claims, asking for simple and reproducable experiments and examining the implications of the hypothesis people put forth.
What in that is unscientific?
what exactly is dogmatic?

Those that memorize the results of science without living a scientific life style are basically religious believers. "A research team that I trusts proved this, but I do not know how. Since I trust them, I will believe the result."

Nobody can redo every experiment ever conducted.
but that doesn't mean we accept everything, you recheck what you can and you trust sources which provide good information.
But dismiss that as the same as blindly following dogma if you like.
I do not blame conspiracies for the conditions which are impeding the implementation of the ideas that I have advanced. I blame a gradual cultural shift, which is not led in any direction by any recognisable force. Cultures just shift. Some types of thinking come into fashion, and others go out. Pear pressure beats on people who use an unpopular thought model. Since most of you have internalize the pear pressure pushing scientific dogma, you think it the only right way to think. Science is so beautiful because it can throw off its own dogma, when necessary, if people are willing to look at their daily lives in a scientific way.

If you're so scientific then you could advance science as a whole and help youself or the charity of your choice by giving james randi a call and demonstrating the most trivial piece of magic you know.
Anything.
anything at all.
Hell it doesn't have to be james randi.
here's no shortage of people who would gladly help you design a good double blind experiment to prove your powers real. if they are real that is.
It's easy.
really really easy.

Someone rescued the patriotism of any person who has a skill for curses, and refuses to use that skill to attack our enemies (I would assuem that he meant Al Quida and the Taliban). Before anyone jumps on ME for being unpatriotic, I do my part to help. I don't have the intelligence data which will tell me who is an important target. However, out troops DO have that data. Anyone with the skill for curses could use a similar skill to bless out troops, who would then carry your energy to the targets.


I wasn't talking about Al Quida at all.
Al Quida is less likely to kill you if you're in the western world than bee stings.
I'm talking about every time you hear about a genocide taking place, every time the news talks about some insane dictator slaughtering hundreds of thousands of men women and children because of some belief about racial purity or some such.
What kind of a despicable human being when faced with such a situation and if they had the power single handed to stop it would sit back, grin and ignore it.
most people have no such ability, a few world leaders do but are despicable human beings and if your claims were true that would also mean that just about every "witch" is also.
Also, what about the "witches" amongst the jews in the 1940's? why didn't any of the "witches" amongst them use such powers to kill a certain dictator?
they knew they'd die anyway, might as well save their people while doing it.


Magic obeys Newtonian physics AND Thermodynamics. Newton talks about inertia. This means that, in order to do anything, it takes the same amount of energy, reguardless of how that energy gets there. The amount of chemical energy that is stored in the powder charge of an average bullet, if converted into food, would feed a lot of people. As for Thermodynamics, there is ALWAYS transmission loss. Therefore, sending my energy half way around the world is just a waste.

Bullets don't have that much energy in them, they just release it fast. There's more energy in a burger.
All of the remote viewers and dowsers that I know of are willing to admit to limited range. So, no oil.


Can they detect anything a few feet away through a wall?
how about through a thick envelope?
or through an inch of soil?
in any way that is testable at all?
if so there's a million bucks waiting for them.
it's really really straightforward.
a million bucks.
easy.

even if they don't want the money they could take it and use it to buy toys for dying orphans or donate it to feed starving children in africa.
Or do witches hate sick kids and dying orphans that much?
Even if they're not greedy people why oh why wouldn't they just claim it and give it away?
it's a simple question.
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:49 pm UTC

I think it's 30C that's the equivalent of diluting 1mL of something in a cube of pure water 105 light years on a side.

At that kind of dilution, the probability that you get even a single molecule of the stuff is lower than the probability that you will be lucky enough to win the lottery the next several times in a row that you play.
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:52 pm UTC

Other phenomena do not have this benefit. They suffer from the fact that the first people to promote them widely were also crazy/stupid. This has put extra strain on the more moderate proponents of these ideas. So, I don't blame science for arguing against my experience, I blame my so-called "allies" in this debate for advancing preposterous applications for these observable phenomena.


If this is the only thing stopping you then please, tell us about any of your powers which might possibly be independently measured in any way shape or form.
Anything.
Anything at all.

I'll repeat what I said earlier and a few people chimed in on, we have no problem helping you run a good double blind experiment, if you could send a few jouls of energy a few miles we might even be able to get an XKCD'er near you to set up something to measure it.
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:03 pm UTC

teqmc2 wrote:If you separate the preposterous application claims from the more moderate ones, you find a very different picture.
"Never mind all those other people, they're crazy. I know the truth about spiritual mumbo-jumbo."

That's it, throw your peers under the bus to try to come across as moderate, nobody's ever tried that one before. You believe in hexes and homeopathy; given the scientific frame of reference you seem to be trying to work from, you're still a kook.
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:17 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
Other phenomena do not have this benefit. They suffer from the fact that the first people to promote them widely were also crazy/stupid. This has put extra strain on the more moderate proponents of these ideas. So, I don't blame science for arguing against my experience, I blame my so-called "allies" in this debate for advancing preposterous applications for these observable phenomena.


If this is the only thing stopping you then please, tell us about any of your powers which might possibly be independently measured in any way shape or form.
Anything.
Anything at all.

I'll repeat what I said earlier and a few people chimed in on, we have no problem helping you run a good double blind experiment, if you could send a few jouls of energy a few miles we might even be able to get an XKCD'er near you to set up something to measure it.


Ditto.

Your claim that magick follows the laws of physics is intriguing. I'm a physicist because I like studying things I can understand, not because I instinctively deny anything I don't understand.

If there is any (even the slightest) magick you can do that demonstrably affects the observable world within controlled conditions, I guarantee that there are quite a few XKCDers who would give their right arm to see it. So, please; give us an example of something that cannot be explained by our understanding of physics. We would be delighted.

If this isn't possible....then technically you aren't a witch. You're simply an individual who believes in the existence of witchcraft. Nothing wrong with that, but it means that it's no longer a scientific question, so our academic interest becomes much less aggressive.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:34 pm UTC

davidstarlingm wrote:If there is any (even the slightest) magick you can do that demonstrably affects the observable world within controlled conditions, I guarantee that there are quite a few XKCDers who would give their right arm to see it.
Not to mention one foundation that would also give you a million dollars...
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby teqmc2 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

Wow, I love the most recent set of responses.

Ok, my field of expertise is muscles. I am sure that there is a device which can measure a muscle's resting tonicity, but I do not know what that sensor is. We acquire one of those, and several people with pathologically elevated tonicity in some muscle, for example the Rectus Femoris, one which frequently has this issue. We take a base line measurement to see what the tonicity of that muscle is before treatment. The practitioner who is being tested puts their hands on the muscle, and uses the energy of their will to lower the tonicity of the muscle. Half of the subjects get treatment, half of them get fake treatment: hands get laid on, look of concentration on practitioner's face, same duration, same intensity of pressure. Afterwords, measure muscle tonicity again.

There has already been a study that shows that mere gentle contact on a hypertonic muscle will reduce the tonicity, unless the person flinches, so we should see a reduction in tonicity in both the control group and the test group. Naturally, some of the subjects will flinch in both cases, but that is already explained.

Unfortunately, the greater the hypertonicity, the less effective any treatment is, with the exception of intravenous aquious solution of magnesium. So, each subject has be be measured against their own baseline, and we have to be willing to accept very subtle changes in those who start with the highest resting tonicity.

With this data, we can determine whether the real treatment was actually more effective than the fake treatment. As soon as you find me a device for measuring muscle tone, and a series of subects, I am ready to go. Of course, this model assumes that you assume the practitioner to actually not treat when they are doing the fake treatment. Actually, no, the measurement should tell you that. In fact, if your practitioner is enough of a bastard to do the opposite treatment, and will the muscle into a higher tonicity, then you will get better observable data.

This test can be done using any agreeable Reiki practitioner, although my training is in a different type of energy healing than Reiki. I will caution, however, that there are many dishonest Reiki teachers who have convinced gullible students into believing that they have learned Reiki when they have, in fact, learned nothing. If you intend to enact this experiment, please make sure that their training took four years, and not four weekends. Also, look into what the practitioner's teacher charged for the classes. Real Reiki classes are free.

I would love to hear the results of any experiments that you all do. I am also trying to organize a study of Acupuncture where I am at, but it may not come together. I may, slightly farther in the future, have the opportunity to test the effectiveness of topical application of Calendula extract on lacerations, as compared to a placeban and to no treatment at all. However, Calendula extract is a natural Allopathic medicine, not Homeopathic. Still, its worth testing.

Please, if anyone wants to advise me on what device I should use to measure muscle tonicity, I really need that advice.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby Siirenias » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:48 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
Homeopathy works, but by its own virtues, it does not build an industrial infrastructure that would allow it to play the politics game in ol' 'Merica.


it's a massive industry. There's huge money made by it.
it's well able to play the politics game and it does, that's why you hear so much about it.
it just doesn't work any better than a placebo.



Actually, no.

Entirely, and completely, no.

I didn't learn a thing about homeopathy until I met Naturalists and homeopathic technicians. I wasn't even aware that people still did that. I had NO idea, and still don't see any association that gets 1% of the kind of attention AmGen does.
Last edited by Siirenias on Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:13 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby Siirenias » Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:59 pm UTC

uncivlengr wrote:
teqmc2 wrote:Magic obeys Newtonian physics AND Thermodynamics. [...] Therefore, sending my energy half way around the world is just a waste.
...and also impossible, don't forget that part. Your hocus pocus doesn't exist outside your head, and verbosity doesn't make your claims any more compelling.


Don't forget that we live in an "impossible" world until a unified theory can actually explain everything. Black holes seem to break down reality at their centers, or so I'm told. That sounds impossible to me. Should I ignore them?

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby eran_rathan » Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:26 pm UTC

I'm kinda surprised that in all the talk of magic and whatnot, no one has brought up quantum entanglement or string theory.
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:01 pm UTC

Siirenias wrote:
uncivlengr wrote:
teqmc2 wrote:Magic obeys Newtonian physics AND Thermodynamics. [...] Therefore, sending my energy half way around the world is just a waste.
...and also impossible, don't forget that part. Your hocus pocus doesn't exist outside your head, and verbosity doesn't make your claims any more compelling.


Don't forget that we live in an "impossible" world until a unified theory can actually explain everything. Black holes seem to break down reality at their centers, or so I'm told. That sounds impossible to me. Should I ignore them?
How are those two even remotely comparable? Black holes exist - they can be detected, and their effects on reality measured, whether or not someone can explain them using existing models.

Magical, trans-continental, hexing energy transfer doesn't even get to the point of needing a model to explain it because there's no evidence that it exists beyond the delusions of some individuals.
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby pennypyro » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:08 pm UTC

woodrobin wrote:2. Health care cost reduction. That was funnier, taken seriously, than the original joke. When was the last time you ran into a doctor, hospital or insurance company that was interested in cost reduction through treatment? Any treatment, scientific or otherwise? Doctors and hospitals want to make money, and insurance companies have figured out it's easier to save money by denying coverage for treatment, either in whole by canceling coverage, or in part by excluding anything "experimental" or "unproven." In other words, it's cheaper to exclude entire types of health care than to consider or cover them, whether or not they're quackery notwithstanding.

um...my parents are doctors and they hate how expensive health care so often is and how people go bankrupt just over medical bills. and my mother volunteers at a free clinic. some doctors aren't just in it for the money.

woodrobin wrote:4. The military doesn't seriously use hexes or curses, of course. They seemed pretty attached to the idea that you can produce reliable information by waterboarding, which is provably false. They also seemed to think some sort of miraculous production of useful intelligence could be derived by depriving prisoners of sleep while blasting the Barney the Dinosaur theme song into their cell through loudspeakers. If that's not a curse, I don't know what is. It's also provably worthless as a tool to produce truthful statements. So they do embrace unscientific mumbo-jumbo . . . they just call it "enhanced interrogation."

a good point here...you haz one.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby MadScientistWorkinig » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:13 pm UTC

teqmc2 wrote:Ok, most of the people who argue against Homeopathy say "If it worked, why would drug companies dilute their product and increase their profit?" This is missing the point. Most drugs sold in this country are *Allopathic*. Diluting an Allopathic drug makes it weaker. Anyone who says otherwise does not understand Homeopathy.



BTW: I am a licensed health care professional. A little more politeness would improve this discussion immensely.

I'm a chemist. Homeopathy as you describe it defies the laws of physics. Diluting anything will in fact make it weaker due to the fact that the rate of a chemical reaction is directly related to the concentration. The technical name for this is the law of mass action. You are in fact treating people with the medical equivalent of a perpetual motion machine.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby Siirenias » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:40 pm UTC

That's fair and valid, I suppose.

On the flip side, hexing is ridiculous. Even if it worked, it would be easy enough to reverse. Bullets work way better. So does poison.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby teqmc2 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:52 pm UTC

Umm, uncivlengr,

Fact check here.

Bleak holes can not be detected. Their effects on the world around them can. According to our best maths, black holes can bend light around them selves, creating a ring of identical images around themselves, assuming there is a visibly bright object on the opposite side of the black hole in question from us.

Also matter, as it crosses the event horizon, emits a specific type of x-rays. Lastly, most black holes have hugs accumulations of matter in tight, fast, orbits around them. These orbits are usually disks, but not always.

Assuming that all of the above statements are true (and this is a case of me quoting NASA without re-checking their math), one can identify a block hole by looking for places where these phenomena occur. As for detecting the black hole itself, part of the definition is that that is not possible. In fact, the "event horizon" is not some part of the black hole, it is an imaginary line (sphere) which is the distance from the center of the black hole where, if light gets any closer than that, the light can not escape.

One of the effects of Einstein's relativity (I don't remember which one) can be summed up by saying "No effect, or sign of existence, can cross the universe faster than a photon can travel." Now, as eran_rathan just mentioned, quantum entanglement seems to violate that, which is what makes it such a cool idea. However, until significantly more research goes into how quantum entanglement works, I am going to hold off on throwing out Einstein.

So, we all believe in black holes, even tho there is a good reason why we literally will never detect one in and of itself. We merely assume that they cause the accessory phenomena which we look for. In fact, very large stars also bend light, creating the same rings of images around them. Also, fast tight orbits can occur around anything.

So, once again, anyone want to help me get a million dollars by telling me what sensor can measure muscle tone?

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby Rackum » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:54 pm UTC

rcox1 wrote:Pretty much exactly that. Ballons were used by Napoleon and in the US civil war, but they were not the major part of war that they could have been. The inertia of land base war made them not a major part of war from 1794 onward. In fact to continue with the example, the US air force did not exist until 1941. Before that it was a part of the Army, another indication of the difficulty that people have in dealing with things they cannot grasp.

To expand this argument there are people who wish to use dirigibles to float cargo across the sea. Just because corporation do not use dirigibles, does that mean they do not exist? It is simply not the way we have grown to do things. The fundamental flaw in this argument, as in any economic argument, is the assumption that human are purely rational independent agents. This is verifiably not true. Just because a hypothetical technology is not used, does not mean it is not useful.


Having studied the history of aerial warfare just a little bit I can say with supreme confidence that balloons were used as much as they were operationally able. Balloons, such as the ones possessed at the time, were very limited in capability and were really only usable as "high ground" for scouting enemy positions and gathering real-time battlefield conditions (it wouldn't have been feasible to carry any effective amount of armament and if a balloon did make over the battlefield to use said weaponry it would have been a monumentally easy target for enemy artillery fire).

The USAF was first a branch of the Army because it was easier to fund -- it's difficult to create a whole new military branch but not as difficult to throw more money at one that already exists (same reason the Air Force now operates in air, space, and cyberspace instead of having a new branch for cyber ops).

Dirigibles for cargo transport? There actually are companies examining the profitability of that exact concept and they have been for years, but until that technology is proven as cost-effective and reliable as other modes of transport then it's not going to take off ... horrible pun very much intended.

Edit: The point of all this is that if there's profit to be made, someone is going to try and someone will [probably] eventually succeed if it's possible.

Also
So, once again, anyone want to help me get a million dollars by telling me what sensor can measure muscle tone?

Muscle tensometer maybe? Not sure if you can measure the tension in an already tensed muscle though, really only measures the change from resting to contracted.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby Aretia » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:11 pm UTC

http://xkcd.com/386/

That being said...

Of course, the people who are inclined to believe that those things work, let alone practice them, probably aren't interested in oil prospecting (it's bad for the environment, man...), financial/business planning (which require more logical mindsets - as teqmc2 said, astrology and tarot are more used for psychotherapy purposes, which could be seen as nothing more than one big placebo effect), production of usable energy (again...the whole logical/scientific mindset), or the military (love and light, not war!).

Living in a world driven by the ruthless capitalist profit motive does tend to bring the logically-focused minds to the fore. Likewise, it's the business interests who actually make our world what it is today: one where a belief in astrology, homeopathy, dowsing, magic, won't help you to be more successful ie. make more money. They define the means to success and they define what success is.

However, I think it's a lot more enjoyable to live in a world where astrology works than one in which it doesn't work. The people tend to be nicer and more open-minded, and there's always a fun, complex meta-linguistic system over everything we experience. I'm talking about all the different planets, aspects between them, etc., retrograde cycles, eclipses and so forth, and all the related archetypes and ideas. You can tell stories with fun, interesting concepts and if someone else shares the meta-linguistic system called "astrology" or "tarot", they get what you're trying to express.

It's like being part of a Tolkien fan club. Just imagine walking into one of those conventions where everyone's all dressed up and saying, "hahaha but really guys, you know there's no such thing as elves." People would look at you like, "Um...what? We're just trying to have a good time with our lives." Just because there are no real elves doesn't mean that the idea of elves doesn't mean something to some people. I think of new-age mumbo-jumbo as just another form of geekery. Isn't it funny how the people who get most annoyed by geeks are other geeks who don't value the same sort of geekery?

Whether or not astrology is provable in a double-blind test, whether or not it can be used by large, successful corporations to make money really doesn't matter to my overall happiness, and I'd expect that most people who value any of the unchecked things listed in this comic would feel the same.
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:27 pm UTC

The difference between black holes and [insert magic phenomenon here] is this:

For black holes:

- We had a model of how reality works, created to explain known phenomena. It did that pretty well, and didn't imply anything that we had observed evidence to the contrary.

- Then someone noticed that that model implied that under certain circumstances, extremely dense objects might be created, and if they were, they would have various observable effects. Nobody yet claimed that those objects DID exist; just that, the model seems to imply that they could.

- Then some other people observed some unusual phenomena (and those observations were reliably replicated by others), and noticed that those matched up with phenomena predicted of the objects implied to be possible by the model. So they concluded that it was likely that such objects existed. They would have concluded that some kind of object or another existed even if the model hadn't been around at the time of the observation.

- Since then, some logical problems with the model have been noted. The math does weird things when you try to model these objects. In some sense, it says these objects "should" be "impossible". Nevertheless, we have observed the phenomena already! Something matching the description given for a "black holes" exists. We just have a little trouble working out the exact explanation for what it is and how it works.


For magic (hexes, curses, whatever)

- Some people claim that certain observable phenomena occur, but supposed observations of those phenomena have yet to be reliably replicated.

- Some of those people claim to have explanations of how and why those phenomena occur. Most of those explanations are inconsistent with many other, well-tested explanations for lots of other phenomena (i.e. the "laws" of physics).

- However, some of those people claim that their explanations are consistent with those other, well-tested explanations.

- That's all fine and dandy, but we still don't know whether or not these phenomena occur at all. Even if (and that's a big if) you can show that magic-like phenomena are implied to occur under certain circumstances according to well-established theories, you're still only back to the first step in the history of black hole science: "our models say these kinds of things might occur". You still need to reliably and repeatedly observe them occurring before you can really start talking about whether the explanation for them is correct or not, since at this point, we're not really sure whether they occur at all -- only that they could, according to our models. And even then, only if (that's a big if) that step of deriving magic-like implications from well-established theories has been done soundly.
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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:05 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Even if (and that's a big if) you can show that magic-like phenomena are implied to occur under certain circumstances according to well-established theories, you're still only back to the first step in the history of black hole science: "our models say these kinds of things might occur". You still need to reliably and repeatedly observe them occurring before you can really start talking about whether the explanation for them is correct or not, since at this point, we're not really sure whether they occur at all -- only that they could, according to our models. And even then, only if (that's a big if) that step of deriving magic-like implications from well-established theories has been done soundly.

Well there are two ways to go about it. Most people who believe in magic and whatnot claim that they can demonstrate certain phenomena exist that their theories imply should exist but that standard physics says could not, thus proving a hole in standard physics.

The problem is that none of these people have real theories and no such phenomena really occur.

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Re: 0808: The Economic Argument

Postby uncivlengr » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:10 pm UTC

teqmc2 wrote:Bleak holes can not be detected. Their effects on the world around them can.
The effects on the world of a black hole are the means by which one can detect them. They're detected indirectly, but they're still detected. Similarly (and since we're apparently exchanging irrelevent astronomy trivia), extrasolar planets can be detected by observing the gravitational wobble, or even the shadow, they create on the star they orbit. Those aren't "direct" observations, but they're still positive evidence of the existence of extrasolar planets.

None of that addresses the salient point, which is that there's no evidence of people having magical powers, much less a plausible model that suggests they should. So far the only attempt you've made to address this point is that people with these powers are too lazy or poor to demonstrate them - not particularly compelling.
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