A Conversation for The History of Dowsing
Can dowsing work? Perhaps!
FordsTowel Started conversation Apr 15, 2008
I see that the previous three comments to this entry are all pretty down on the subject. And, I notice that several mention "The Amazing (James) Randi - natural heir to the Houdini anti-medium/magic vendetta.
I very much respected Houdini and his exposes, and Randi's since then. They are both to be saluted for seeking truth. The one thing that both did was hold out a faint hope that someone, someday, would prove to them that they were wrong. (Houdini wanted, desperately, to communicate with his mother, and Randi would have no reason to really have the million saved in a special account if he felt that there was absolutely no chance that he might someday lose it.)
The same open-mindedness cannot be seen in these comments. That said, allow me to make several observations.
Not all psychic phenomena is a claim of "magic".
Not all extra-sensory experience is necessarily "psychic"
Not all people who exhibit unusual abilities are interested in proving them, even for a million USD.
I love science. I respect science. I also know that science does not yet claim to understand everything that it may in the future. There was a time when we didn't understand the movement of the planets and stars, but we now do. There was a time when we did not understand the function of the brain (it was thought to simply cool the blood), but now we know better.
Whatever may be happening when someone successfully dowses, reads minds, prognosticates, etc. may someday be in the human body of knowledge under "science".
The major problem with 'proving' things is repeatability. If one's ability is not completely practiced and error free, it will not be convincing under the scientific method.
Say you became expert at flipping a coin so that it always lands heads up. Hours of practice may make such accuracy possible and repeatable. It would be something created by the ability of the mind to control the body so minutely that external factors do not change the results; but it would look and seem like magic until you understand that it was an ability based on arduous practice.
The 'flipper' could rightly say that it comes up heads because of the power of his mind, and not be lying to anyone; yet science would understand the mechanism and there would be no controversy (and there'd be no million dollars)!
Just because you and/or I do not understand the science of something, doesn't prevent it from happening. The fact of the matter is that things happen that we don't accept because we don't understand them.
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