Logical thinking puzzles inside.

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by theanswer1000, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. theanswer1000 Registered Member

    Do you detect any obvious procedural, probabilistic or other flaws in the following situations? All are actual statements made by researchers and scientists. If you can notice the flaws, you're doing better than most experts!

    1.) “I carried out the following test of precognition. I had a local psychic write down descriptions of various, fairly simple drawings. Once the psychic had written down about 20 such descriptions, and sealed them in an envelope, I took the unopened envelope and placed it in a safe deposit box. I myself did not know the contents of the envelope. I then went to a local artist, and had him make 20 simple drawings on pieces of cardboard about the size of tarot cards. I did not tell him what I was going to use the drawings for. Once the cards were drawn, I sealed them in an envelope without looking at them myself. Then I asked one of my students, who knew nothing about the purpose of the experiment, or about what was in either of the two envelopes, to retrieve both envelopes, open them, and make an unbiased judgment as to whether there was any similarity between the written descriptions and the actual drawings. You can imagine how pleased I was when the student reported that of the 20 descriptions, more than 8 matched the drawings extremely well, and at least 4 or 5 more were fairly close matches. The only possible explanation for this was that the psychic could see into the future far enough to actually ‘feel’ somehow which drawings were going to be made by the artist!”

    2.) “Two teenage girls, next door neighbors, came to my laboratory claiming they could telepathically communicate with one another. I put the girls to several tests, and could indeed find no explanation other than mental communication. For example, I whispered a number to one of the girls, while the other girl sat 50 feet away In another room, visible through an open doorway. Almost at once, always within 15 seconds, the other girl was able to write the chosen word on a pad of paper! I carried out about 25 tests of this kind, and there was only one miss! I then had one of the girls open a dictionary at random and think of a word on the left-hand page. Again, the other girl, even from 50 feet away, was able to write the chosen word on a pad, after about 1 minute of concentration. I carried this test out also about 25 times, and would have done more, but the girls said they had grown very tired from so much psychic exertion. Finally, I had one of the girls look card by card at a Rhine ESP deck that had been shuffled for by me. As the first girl looked at each card, the second, girl, again sitting about 50 feet away thorough an open door, pulled an identical card from the deck fanned face up in front of her. The girls went through two decks of 25 cards, or 50 cards in total, and only missed about 5 times. I’m quite convinced, the girls do communicate mentally. They could not possibly communicate any other way. I searched them carefully for portable telephones and such-like things, and they were never left alone anyway.”

    3.) “I tested a famous psychic as follows. He brought several decks of cards with which he felt familiar and comfortable with him to my laboratory. I shuffled each deck repeatedly. I then placed two labeled trays on the table, one tray marked ‘red’ and the other ‘black.’ With the decks face down, the psychic drew off cards and, without lifting them from the table, decided on whether they were red or black. I then placed each card in the appropriate tray without showing the psychic whether or not he was correct. We continued until we had been through every card in all 5 decks. Then and only then did I examine the contents of the trays. To my shock, the ‘red’ tray contained about 125 red cards and only 5 blacks, while the 'black' tray contained (of course) 125 black cards and only 5 reds. The odds of this result occurring by chance are so remote as to rule out any possible explanation other than ESP. However, to be careful, I repeated the experiment several times, and essentially the same result was obtained in ever trial. The psychic was always able to identify reds and blacks, making only a few errors each time.”

    4.) “A man named Jack described an unusual psychic ability to me; we found suitable equipment and he demonstrated the ability. I held a porcelain-coated plate of metal about 2 by 2 feet at waist level as if it were a tray. In the center of the plate of metal was a very large glass marble, about 1.5 inches in diameter. I held the plate steady and level so that the marble was in the approximate center of the plate. The psychic then began to concentrate on the marble rolling toward a specific corner of the plate, and it did so! He concentrated on each corner in turn, and the marble obediently rolled to that corner. He imagined it rolling around in a small circle and it did so! He imagined it violently racing off the edge of the board, narrowly missing my thumb, and it did so! No trickery was possible. I myself had purchased the plate (part of a dry-erase notice board) and the marble. I was holding the plate at all times. He never came near plate or marble.”

    5.) “I tested a famous psychic as follows. I purchased about 50 of the dice which you find in every supermarket, packaged 5 to a card. I built a wire basket which tossed all 50 dice simultaneously and during each toss the psychic concentrated on having the 6-face of each die come up. We carried out this experiment over several months, making several tosses per day, 5 days per week. When the final results were tabulated, there was a clear bias toward the 6-faces of the dice in the results. With so many tosses- about 100,000 individual dice tosses in total!- it is impossible that with this result could be due to statistical ‘noise.’ The result is irrefutable evidence of the existence of ESP.”
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  3. Docmayhem dangerously quiet loner Registered Senior Member

    1) How many things can you draw a "simple" picture of?

    2) They could see each other the whole time.

    3) His own cards? Ever been to Vegas?

    4) Typical parlor trick - if you expect it to happen your muscles will betray you. Want to try it yourself? Get a plumb bob (or similar) and dangle it in front of your face. Hold your hand steady, then imagine the bob swinging back and forth.

    5) Numbers? How many tosses, how many sixes?

    I know most of this is too obvious to rate a repy, but sometimes it bothers me too much to let it slide.
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  5. DarkEyedBeauty Pirate. Registered Senior Member

    1) 20 pieces of cardboard in an envelope?
    2) ...
    3) He was familiar with the cards? That's not very scientific.
    4) It’s the same a Ouija board. If you are told its going to happen, you subconsciously move to make it happen. And it was never stated that the psychic told him what was going to happen before it did.
    5) There are no numbers…no records…
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  7. Halo Full Time Nerd-Bomber Registered Senior Member

    1) Biased - teacher/student relationship

    to be continued...I'm eating lunch.

    2) Agree with Docmayhem. They could see eachother the whole time.

    to be continued...I'm eating lunch.

    3) Agree. They were his cards, not scientific at all.

    to be continued...I'm eating lunch.

    4) He held the plate in his hand? What a fucking moron. Agree, power of suggestion.

    Guess what I'm still doing...

    5) Such an extraordinary claim from such a crappy experiment.

    Lunch was good. Time to pee.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2003
  8. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

    #5: Since I do not know the exact nature of the experiment I cannot criticize directly, however the hypothesis does have a shadow premise which I must point out.

    "A random number generator that generates a number between 1 and 6 will, over a large number of trials, have approximately as many results of each number."

    This premise is a form of the principle known as the LAW OF AVERAGES, and it's crap. A truly random system has truly random results, which means that, even over 100,000 trials, you could get all 6's. It's not very likely, but neither is any other specific outcome... random number generation is not supposed to be statistically predictable.
  9. BigBlueHead Great Tealnoggin! Registered Senior Member

    #4 - I would have liked this experiment better if the psychic guy had been holding the plate. "My hand" is hardly a scientific instrument, and I must concur with Doc and the Beauty about the Ouija effect.

    #3 - I used to cheat at cards myself, I learned it in defense against all the other card cheaters I played Euchre against. Cheating is a sort of an art which you can come to appreciate through long experience, although when two guys are kicking your ass at a card game it is less interesting. For the black/red trick, the cards don't even need to be marked, all you need is a shiny table. The fact that the psychic was allowed to handle the cards himself is a real problem with this experiment...

    #2 - You can tell the approximate shape of a thing that a person is drawing by watching the way that their pen moves... the girls could have been showing each other the Rhine cards... teenage girls love doing this kind of thing, and would probably learn American Sign just as a gag to fool the psychic investigators. In any case, this experiment relied upon the powers of observation possessed by the experimenter, which is a very poor system to rely on; magicians have been fooling human beings for years, and stage magic is patently a trick.

    #1 - It has been shown that, when told to imagine simple shapes, most people will imagine a square or triangle. This is a trick you can use...
    "Now, everyone imagine a shape, and I'll draw it."
    "No, no, not a square or a triangle, that's too easy. Try a combination of two shapes."
    (Draw a circle with a triangle inside)
    "Is this the shape you were thinking of?"

    The funny thing about this trick is that, the larger your audience, the better it works, because you only need one person to blurt out "That's what I was thinking of!"

    Many good mentalist tricks rely on large audiences in this way. Anyway, I'd be willing to bet that the list of pictures that our 'psychic' gave was something like
    - square
    - triangle
    - star
    - hexagon
    - octagon
    - house
    - car
    - boat
    - airplane
    - dog
    - cat
    - horse
    - tree
    - flower
    - lake
    - sun
    - moon
    - sky
    - office building
    - factory

    Now, draw twenty simple pictures that do not match any of these descriptions.
  10. Mystech Adult Supervision Required Registered Senior Member

    1.) I suppose the thing that seems most obviously wrong with this experiment to me is that there was nothing to say that the psychic and artist weren't in cahoots, as it were. The psychic could have very easily told the artist what she had written, or you could have easily gone to one person who was a self professed psychic and artist.

    Also, the method of evaluating the similarity between the drawings and the descriptions strikes me as a bit subjective. I don't suppose it's that difficult to judge if a description fits a particular image, but really how vague were the descriptions written by the psychic? She could well have written something easy like "It is a series of lines, some curved some straight, drawn with pencil, or possibly charcoal in order to resemble some sort of recognizable image." That would be a sort of cheap way to do it, but that still describes quite a lot of drawings, and still fits with the given scenario.

    2.) This scenario gave no mention of a restriction on non-verbal communication, and being that the two girls could see each other through the entire experiment, I find it likely that they could have found another way to communicate. Also, visibility being an issue, there was no mention that, while showing the girls cards, that the card being shown was made visible to one girl, and not the other.

    3.) The loophole I find here is that no criteria has been given for what card should be put on what tray. Was the card placed on the tray according to what the psychic divined it's color was, or after having taken the card from him, and seeing it's actual color, did you place the card in the appropriate tray yourself, in which case the results would not reflect any decision that the psychic made.

    Another possibility is that these cards which the psychic himself bought to the lab were in some way quite obviously red or black regardless of what side he was looking at, and so a correct answer was not a guess, but quite clearly obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes.

    4.) On such a slippery surface I find it unlikely that the marble would NOT roll around. What is to say that it was his looking at the marble that caused it to move, rather than that he simply watched the path of the marble as it inevitably traveled along the slippery surface?

    Also, if you were looking closely at his eyes to see where he was looking, there is a chance you could have been moving the plate accordingly, either deliberately or unconsciously, but I think it is more likely that he was following the marble with his eyes as it slid along the smooth surface.

    5.) "there was a clear bias toward the 6-faces of the dice in the results."

    I'm not sure I understand the scenario, what was the bias that you found?
  11. ripleofdeath Registered Senior Member

    reported phenomina must be defined
    function of expereiment must clearly be defined
    margin of random probability must be defined inclusive of random variation from that average margin
    a control experiment must be done
    all equipment must be tested first in a controlled environment
    all random variations of equipment must be defined to be inclusive of average variation due to quality of equipment to obtain results of given range of average variation
    the experiment must be repeatable to gain same results in control and target experiment

    soo much not done and i have not even started on the way you have typed the actions, in what sequence including or excluding things that draw conclusive indication of of bias to any extent
    (this is the assumption of intentional and or expected missinterpretation)

    side note
    there is no answer just your own interpretation of results
    those who interpret the results in a manner that pleases those who have lotts of money are rewarded for doing so
  12. dribbler Banned Banned

    1- I do think that fitting 20 cardboard drawings in an envelope is quite difficult. Then they have to be placed in a Safe Deposit Box.

    Secondly, if you were to draw 20 simple pictures there is a high probability we could find similarities between them in one way or another. There is no concrete idea or concept that is trying to be passed along to the other party. – Too general.

    Finally, how are you to match the pictures up? Do you just choose one and say, “This looks like this one”? The students “reported this. They did not prove this with documentation.
  13. ripleofdeath Registered Senior Member

    are you a first year psychology student?
    this is all basic first year stuff....

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    please another" another"
    more more
    im bored!

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    make it realy interesting too
    nothing worse than boring bobs fox jumped his neighbours box for a fluffy chicken of the X size semi circle cage hanging in a tree of swing doors that only open one way after knocking three times on a small plastic tricycle cycling backwards in a fish bowl

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    Last edited: Dec 4, 2003
  14. Mucker Great View! Registered Senior Member

    Yeah this is what I was going to write. Eight out of twenty is nothing really. Did the first one match the first one, the second one match the second one, etc.

    2) I don't know how they did it but I find it suspect that two girls went to a laboratory claiming to have psychic powers. I would say sign language is most probable.

    3) Yeah he 'felt familiar with the cards'. It was probably a marked deck.

    4) Wow, that is incredible!

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    I doubt the 'psychic' specified which corner he was thinking of before the marble rolled, because that would be deemed as having an effect on the experimenter, and the marble will inevitably roll because it's unlikely that anyone can hold a tray/metal plate (whatever) perfectly steady, thus the roll is attributed to the 'psychic', when he is playing no such part.

    5) I would say that is probably statistical coincidence, and I would also say that more than one tally must be made! I don't think you can tally one experiment like that: many more experiments of the same kind must be done, and tallies of them must be made. then a statistical analysis can be done.
  15. RateLimit Registered Senior Member

    will we get the answers from the author of this thread soon??

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