Does the ideomotor effect debunk dowsing ?

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Ian Pegler
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Re: Ideomotor response

Post by Ian Pegler »

Thanks. I couldn't find the term in any of the books I have, including Elizabeth Brown and Arthur Bailey. They seem to go out of their way not to use it. The best quote is from Arthur Bailey: "The dowsing instrument is basically an amplifier of muscular movement." but that doesn't include "in response to having particular ideas in mind".
Because it isn't "in response to having particular ideas in mind", that's why. Once you've set the question you remain passive and allow the response to come through. Perhaps you should ask Elizabeth Brown why she didn't use it?
But I think it's too late, the best approach would be to agree, since it's true anyway. Apart from the dowsing wikipedia page it seems to be in the public awareness.
Oh good grief, a more negative defeatist attitude would be hard to find. There are plenty of things in the public awareness which are complete bunk, and if you're agreeing with the pseudoskeptical understanding of dowsing then you might as well give up. Putting their world view into the public awareness has been the game of the pseudo-skeptics since the formation of CSICOP in the 1970s and they are very good at doing it. Just don't expect me to believe it because it is "out there". I might as well get my opinions from the tabloids.
A big advantage of going with ideomotor is that it establishes that dowsing is psychological not physical, and the experiments that got a null result were based on the physical theory, that it's a slight physical effect with abnormal human detection ability.
Nothing has been established except that the experiments the pseudo-skeptics have been doing don't work. The pseudo-skeptics don't have a theory of dowsing because they don't believe that it works. They just went ahead to try and test this rather vague and ill-defined notion of "dowsing works". The old rules page for the now defunct Randi prize (you could probably find it on the Wayback machine) specifically said that they didn't want to be burdened with theories of dowsing etc.

Ian

patrick herring
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Re: Ideomotor response

Post by patrick herring »

Thanks. I couldn't find the term in any of the books I have, including Elizabeth Brown and Arthur Bailey. They seem to go out of their way not to use it. The best quote is from Arthur Bailey: "The dowsing instrument is basically an amplifier of muscular movement." but that doesn't include "in response to having particular ideas in mind".
Because it isn't "in response to having particular ideas in mind", that's why. Once you've set the question you remain passive and allow the response to come through.
That's an additional aspect to your muscles tensing plus an idea. Entirely valid I agree, but additional. "In response" just means "in conjunction with", to me. The other one that the sceptics omit is why left or right, and why do they often make a meaningful sequence.
Perhaps you should ask Elizabeth Brown why she didn't use it?
I imagine she preferred to avoid too many technical terms. Would she help in this? Do you have a contact email?
But I think it's too late, the best approach would be to agree, since it's true anyway. Apart from the dowsing wikipedia page it seems to be in the public awareness.
Oh good grief, a more negative defeatist attitude would be hard to find. There are plenty of things in the public awareness which are complete bunk, and if you're agreeing with the pseudoskeptical understanding of dowsing then you might as well give up. Putting their world view into the public awareness has been the game of the pseudo-skeptics since the formation of CSICOP in the 1970s and they are very good at doing it. Just don't expect me to believe it because it is "out there". I might as well get my opinions from the tabloids.
I am not being negative or defeatist, thanks. It goes much further back than CSICOP, back through the Vienna circle and the logical positivists, Kant v Hume, Descartes' Rationalism, the mediaeval problem with negative numbers, back through to classical times with irrational numbers and why they were called that. The whole "squaring the circle" thing was about trying to tame the wild. We'll not remove this basic fear of the uncontrolled & uncertain with one example. It reminds me of the trouble psychology had in being accepted as a science. They did it with statistics but we'll have to use experience I think. Ideomotor is a neutral scientific term that is not owned by sceptics. If more used by them who's fault is that? Writing it off as belonging to them is what I call being negative and defeatist.
A big advantage of going with ideomotor is that it establishes that dowsing is psychological not physical, and the experiments that got a null result were based on the physical theory, that it's a slight physical effect with abnormal human detection ability.
Nothing has been established except that the experiments the pseudo-skeptics have been doing don't work. The pseudo-skeptics don't have a theory of dowsing because they don't believe that it works. They just went ahead to try and test this rather vague and ill-defined notion of "dowsing works". The old rules page for the now defunct Randi prize (you could probably find it on the Wayback machine) specifically said that they didn't want to be burdened with theories of dowsing etc.
They do have a theory, they think the physicalist one is the only one that counts, and it doesn't work as we know. They think game over. They need convincing that there are other theories to consider, which are a lot more difficult to prove or disprove.

patrick herring
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Re: Ideomotor response

Post by patrick herring »

Thanks. I couldn't find the term in any of the books I have, including Elizabeth Brown and Arthur Bailey. They seem to go out of their way not to use it. The best quote is from Arthur Bailey: "The dowsing instrument is basically an amplifier of muscular movement." but that doesn't include "in response to having particular ideas in mind".
Because it isn't "in response to having particular ideas in mind", that's why. Once you've set the question you remain passive and allow the response to come through.
That's an additional aspect to your muscles tensing plus an idea. Entirely valid I agree, but additional. "In response" just means "in conjunction with", to me. The other one that the sceptics omit is why left or right, and why do they often make a meaningful sequence.
Another thing they say is that the effect is slight, therefore flakey and subject to other input, e.g. subconscious detection of contextual clues. "flakey" is difficult to counter. We all know when a pendulum seems unable to make up its mind. L-rods almost always give a definite signal, but why are we so sure of that?

Ian Pegler
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Re: Ideomotor response

Post by Ian Pegler »

I am not being negative or defeatist, thanks.
What you are doing is employing a term most commonly used by pseudo-skeptics and your rationale for doing so is to suggest the term is "neutral" and amenable to dowsing and the big problem with that is that its meaning (as used in the common parlance of the pseudo-skeptics) is anything but neutral. This may not be a problem for you BUT when you come to try and explain it to other people the first thing they will do is try and look it up somewhere and invariably land on a skeptical resource which may give a slightly different angle to the one you would like them to understand, for example:



Using the term "ideomotor effect" makes it sound like you are making concessions to skeptics because as employed by them it means something different to the way in which you want to use it.

I note with some irony that in order to make my point I have had to link to a resource provided by skeptics! I didn't want to.

Ian

patrick herring
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Re: Ideomotor response

Post by patrick herring »

What you are doing is employing a term most commonly used by pseudo-skeptics and your rationale for doing so is to suggest the term is "neutral" and amenable to dowsing and the big problem with that is that its meaning (as used in the common parlance of the pseudo-skeptics) is anything but neutral. This may not be a problem for you BUT when you come to try and explain it to other people the first thing they will do is try and look it up somewhere and invariably land on a skeptical resource which may give a slightly different angle to the one you would like them to understand, for example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMtuWymUzz4
Yeah, but Randi doesn't say it much and instead implies the poor sap doesn't know it either and instead talks about the lack of stability in his arms, which is true actually. He's basically mocking the amateur for amateurishness. I don't know why the dowser thinks he has to keep the rods perfectly level, it's a gift to Randi that Randi doesn't mention.
Using the term "ideomotor effect" makes it sound like you are making concessions to skeptics because as employed by them it means something different to the way in which you want to use it.
The question is whether there is a neutral way of describing dowsing. I think there is. In general I have to ignore when people in the dowsing community indulge in too much pixie talk, just as I have to when listening to skeptics (however you spell it!). I'm basically of the Arthur Bailey mold, who was before the Richard Dawkins/James Randi talk-show took hold. I live for the day when dowsers are much more scientifically literate, and for when the science fans know much more about how science works and doesn't work. Did you know the Scientific Method puts driving a car in the same category as woo-woo, because it relies on subjective judgment for turning corners correctly?

Anyway, my original question was based on whether I could use ideomotor in wikipedia in describing dowsing, and I guess I'll just have to and see what happens.
I note with some irony that in order to make my point I have had to link to a resource provided by skeptics! I didn't want to.
I hope you've recovered after that nasty shock. :)

Ian Pegler
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Re: Ideomotor response

Post by Ian Pegler »

Another old thread:

"The trouble with Wikipedia"

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=631

Migrant
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Re: Does the ideomotor effect debunk dowsing ?

Post by Migrant »

If, as it was reported, the British army used dowsing to find hidden bombs in Iraq, it follows that their dowsing methods and activities will be covered by the Official Secrets Act, and they will have little enthusiasm for the propagation of public knowledge on the subject.
Hence the Media's invariable response of raised eyebrows and the X Files theme tune, and now the "Hate Crimes" legislation which I understand means you can get a criminal record for being rude to a Methodist, (but not a dowser).
When words are 'weaponised', you know there's a war on.

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