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BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?

Keith A of Hertford 23 Nov 17 - 01:54 PM
robomatic 23 Nov 17 - 04:07 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Nov 17 - 04:10 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Nov 17 - 04:30 PM
Joe Offer 23 Nov 17 - 06:20 PM
Jeri 23 Nov 17 - 06:39 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Nov 17 - 09:02 PM
frogprince 23 Nov 17 - 11:50 PM
Will Fly 24 Nov 17 - 03:37 AM
Stu 24 Nov 17 - 04:45 AM
Keith A of Hertford 24 Nov 17 - 04:57 AM
Iains 24 Nov 17 - 05:00 AM
Steve Shaw 24 Nov 17 - 05:37 AM
Iains 24 Nov 17 - 01:08 PM
Steve Shaw 24 Nov 17 - 02:05 PM
Greg F. 24 Nov 17 - 04:35 PM
Stu 25 Nov 17 - 06:38 AM
EBarnacle 26 Nov 17 - 06:06 PM
Donuel 26 Nov 17 - 07:00 PM
ripov 27 Nov 17 - 06:34 PM
meself 28 Nov 17 - 01:06 AM
Keith A of Hertford 28 Nov 17 - 03:54 AM
Iains 28 Nov 17 - 06:23 AM
Stu 28 Nov 17 - 06:46 AM
Keith A of Hertford 28 Nov 17 - 06:51 AM
Stu 28 Nov 17 - 07:09 AM
Steve Shaw 28 Nov 17 - 07:44 AM
Keith A of Hertford 28 Nov 17 - 08:29 AM
Steve Shaw 28 Nov 17 - 09:43 AM
EBarnacle 28 Nov 17 - 10:24 AM
DMcG 28 Nov 17 - 10:41 AM
Raggytash 28 Nov 17 - 11:03 AM
Iains 28 Nov 17 - 11:32 AM
punkfolkrocker 28 Nov 17 - 09:28 PM
Keith A of Hertford 29 Nov 17 - 04:46 AM
Will Fly 29 Nov 17 - 06:08 AM
Will Fly 29 Nov 17 - 06:08 AM
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Subject: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 23 Nov 17 - 01:54 PM

It has emerged that many water engineers use divining rods.
They should not work, but many people are sure that they do.
Has anyone any evidence or experience of it working?
What could be going on?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-water-companies-magic-dowsing-rods-use-engineers-leaks-no-scientific-evidence-sally-le-page-a8069616.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: robomatic
Date: 23 Nov 17 - 04:07 PM

My short answer, without benefit of Wikipedia:

The use of this technique, which as I understand it requires a person with the power to find water (in this case) underground, is considered successful when it demonstrates success. But a successful outcome does not concern itself with all the unsuccessful outcomes. Did other diviners come up dry? Did this diviner have several dry holes before the successful hole?

It's sort of like the truism that you always find a missing object in the last place you look. (Or that if your buttered bread lands butter side down you must have buttered the wrong side).

There are the hopeful holdouts who try to temporize that a successful diviner may have other means of detection through his or her senses that he / she is simply not consciously aware of. Some animals can smell water, perhaps some humans can, too at a subliminal level.

I'm pretty sure that in these modern times someone has tried to frame a scientifically acceptable experiment to test the technique but I can foresee that the Believers will critique the elements of the experiment should it prove negative. And of course, someone both disinterested in the outcome in a financial sense, yet with the finances to back the experiment, will have to put up the dough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Nov 17 - 04:10 PM

Decades ago, my mum somehow obtained some divining rods when she was working at Bury cemetery (how she came upon them is lost in the mists of time), but they were the real deal.

I tried them. They worked. That's all I can tell you. Can't prove it. Not asking you to believe me. I tried them over a number of days and got consistent results. Anyone watching you using them and "finding water" would accuse you of cheating, which is eminently possible. But why would I cheat myself? I found water that was there that I didn't know was there and they worked for water I did know was there. I don't like not being able to explain stuff, a bit like my ball lightning. I repeat. I would never ask anyone to believe me. I wouldn't mind having another go. I only try these things when I'm sober, honest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Nov 17 - 04:30 PM

From New Scientist:

"The physicist Richard Feynman once said that science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. What he didn’t say was just how much fun fooling yourself can be."

I'm happy with that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 17 - 06:20 PM

It's my understanding that "water witching" is standard practice among well drillers here in Northern California. I still don't quite believe in it, but it does seem to work to locate water.

My wife uses a pendulum to help her make decisions. I don't believe in that, either. She says the local health food store used to have pendulums hanging on the shelves to help patrons decide which supplement pills to buy. Eventually, the pendulums started disappearing, so the store removed them.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Nov 17 - 06:39 PM

There is undoubtedly a scientific reason why it works.
I and my mother were at an event. There was a man there who divined water in his job. He managed to find the underground pipes (so we were told by a guy who worked at the site.) My mother tried the rods, and they worked for her. I was unsuccessful, though. My mother was a skeptic, but it turned into an "aw, whattheheck - gwan and try it".


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Nov 17 - 09:02 PM

Your shoulders, arms and wrists must be totally relaxed and the rods must being held as lightly as possible in the fingers without actually dropping them. It's truly the weirdest thing. If you "want" it to work, it probably will. But when it works for water you didn't know was there...


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: frogprince
Date: 23 Nov 17 - 11:50 PM

Steve spoke in terms of divining rods, which I take it to mean specialized prepared sticks of some form. I've heard more of the use of a common light forked branch. I kinda wish, Steve, that you had tried both variations, so we could hear how that turned out. I must say that I'm more intrigued by an account coming from someone with your mind set than with "data" from some advocate of astrology and crystals.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Nov 17 - 03:37 AM

Many years ago, I tried experimenting with rods. I took two equal lengths of thin metal rod from old coat hangers, made them as straight as possible, and then bent them at a right angle about 1/4 of the way down. I then cut two short lengths of thin copper pipe sufficient to fit the short ends of the rods. The main rods could then swing with very little friction and were quite loose.

In my hands, as I walked forwards, the rods suddenly turned, either singly or together, either inwards or outwards - very interesting. I was in the roadway, so I might have detected the main drain (!). However, I noticed that the balance of the rods was very delicate and their movement may well have been affected by the angle at which I held them, my overall posture and the speed and steadiness of my walking.

Conclusion? I really don't know either way - short of digging somewhere where there was a positive movement.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Stu
Date: 24 Nov 17 - 04:45 AM

Years ago I worked with a chap whose family farmed in Ireland. When they needed to dig a well they had no success with the drilling company so got an old lad with his dowsing rod who proceeded to find a suitable spot. They sunk the well successfully. The story is apocryphal of course, but I can't see why he'd lie to me.

I have no idea if there's any empirical evidence for the efficacy of dowsing, so I'll keep a skeptical but open mind.

As an aside, anyone interested in English Eerie who hasn't should check out the work of the late Tom Lethbridge, who wrote the definitive work on the subject, 'The Power of the Pendulum'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 24 Nov 17 - 04:57 AM

The rods in use here are bent metal and swivel in thin tubes, say from cheap pens.

The use referred to is tracing pipework and especially finding leaks.

John Humphreys, a most eminent and respected journalist and broadcaster, described how he found a leaking pipe in a large field getting a response repeatedly at the same site.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Iains
Date: 24 Nov 17 - 05:00 AM

I read the same article in the daily wail and was considering opening a thread on divining until I saw this one.
If you put a hole in the ground, it is hard not to encounter water below the water table, unless the material has zero permeability, and that is highly unlikely. Having drilled a couple of deep water wells in desert areas, water had been found but could produce less than one cubic meter/hour. No use to man or beast. By contrast I once worked a pumping test in the uk on a contaminated well. This produced a million gallons a day for a month. Drawdown was about 5 feet and recovery almost instantaneous. Two extremes- the difference being underground permeability enabling very low and very high flow rates.
I am a geologist and have a completely open mind on dowsing. I have not tried it but I am happy to accept that for some people it works. I suspect there is some effect affected by underground running water that sensitive people can detect. Science has not yet discovered, explained and quantified everything, there are still baffling phenomena.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Nov 17 - 05:37 AM

I suppose that the trouble with underground water is that there's a lot of it around. When it comes to baffling phenomena, often the temptation is to resort to explanations, usually unsupported, that are mystical or supernatural. In the case of water divining it wouldn't be impossible to set up an experiment to test the claims of diviners, though there's the potential, as with astrologers in newspapers and magazines, for them to be "never wrong." Even though it seemed to work for me when I tried it, I can hardly claim that I followed a strictly scientific process so, as with Stu (and you won't be surprised, frogprince), my mind's open but I'm sceptical. Before we try to explain it, we need to be confident that there's actually something to explain. If there is something to explain, it's a good bet that the answer will lie in geophysics rather than the paranormal.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Iains
Date: 24 Nov 17 - 01:08 PM

" it's a good bet that the answer will lie in geophysics rather than the paranormal."

Heavens! I had to sit down for this. I am forced to agree with Shaw. I will be in shock for the rest of the day!

I can only comment on water divining although I have been on locations where witch doctors have been brought on site to sacrifice a veritable zoo in order to bring "luck"

Before you can have a tool for testing you need to determine what you are testing for. Therein lies the problem. Is it an electrical or magnetic anomaly being sought, or something else entirely? The only tool I have used for flowing water is a spinner survey and that needs to be immersed. What is required is a tool that will remote sense. It is generally cheaper to drill a well than throw fancy geophysics at the perceived problem. Once a well is drilled it is easier and more accurate to perform pumping tests to determine deliverability than put tools downhole to measure porosity and permeability. (on the basis one swallow does not a summer make)

The practise seems to extend way back in prehistory and still exists today. To my way of thinking it has more going for it than a belief in faeries or religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Nov 17 - 02:05 PM

Well I think the first step would be to put alleged water diviners through a rigorous scientific process. The result may be that there's no phenomenon to explain after all. Trying to explain something that ends up having no evidence for its existence is called religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Greg F.
Date: 24 Nov 17 - 04:35 PM

something that ends up having no evidence for its existence is called religion.

Or trickle-down economics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Stu
Date: 25 Nov 17 - 06:38 AM

Or Aston Villa's chances of getting into Europe this season.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 26 Nov 17 - 06:06 PM

Wrong! Trickle down economics has definite evidence that it does not work.

When I worked as part of a survey crew in the '60s. The party chief told us he was going to find the gas, electric, water and phone lines under the ground of a property we were surveying. He did it and later he had us do it for the sake of learning that anyone with an open mind could do it. He used rods make of bent welding rod held on our pinkies and in a ring formed by our index fingers and thumbs. I have since done it with rods cut from bent coat hangers. When we compared our results with an earlier survey they were spot on. It was eerie seeing those rods line up with objects we sought.
It wasn't faith, it was a suspension of disbelief.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Donuel
Date: 26 Nov 17 - 07:00 PM

A vestigial sense of evolutionary benefit should be considered along with Polynesian navigation skills may be in play.

Funny I don't see Arabs in the desert using divining rods.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: ripov
Date: 27 Nov 17 - 06:34 PM

I agree with Iains that if you start digging anywhere and get down to the water table you will have a well, whether fast or slow filling.
But the discussion here is about water companies finding pipes. And no-one knowing where they are.
I worked for a temporary traffic light company, and frequently heard
"we'll be here a while because we know there's a pipe here somwhere, but:-
1. the man who put it in has retired, or
2. the council has improved? the road, so the drawings are out of date.
"
So two options:- try divining in the hope that it'll be first time lucky, or dig several trial trenches and reinstate the road afterwards.
Doesn't it make economical sense to try divining if you've previously had at least some good results?


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: meself
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 01:06 AM

Reminds of the old joke that I only half-remember - the one about the guy whose brother thought he was a hen - the first brother was in a dilemma: he wanted his brother cured - but he needed the eggs .....


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 03:54 AM

The evidence is anecdotal but copious and convincing.
There is no hint of any scientific explanation.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Iains
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 06:23 AM

Even when you have the experts on hand to locate services for you all is not guaranteed. I once opened a trial pit with phone and water authority
representatives onsite to ensure safe digging. The first bucket wiped out the phone line, the second destroyed the waterpipe. Apparently the scientific method can be scuppered by sod's law.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Stu
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 06:46 AM

"There is no hint of any scientific explanation."

Glad you place such store in the scientific processes Keith. Comes as a surprise, but there you go.



"Apparently the scientific method can be scuppered by sod's law."

The joys of working in the field! Never what you expect :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 06:51 AM

I was a science teacher for forty years, specialising in physics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Stu
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 07:09 AM

Superb! Strange you're so right wing being both a teacher and a scientist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 07:44 AM

The evidence is not "convincing" unless it derives from properly controlled repeatable experimentation, peer reviewed, and can stand up to rigorous statistical analysis to a high level of confidence. If you have such evidence, show us. As we know, even a physics guy with forty years at the chalkface can still think there's evidence that God exists. As the yanks say (with my favourite American expression which I'm seriously guilty of over-using), go figger.

And I tried it, remember, and it seemed to work for me, but that doesn't mean I've set aside the necessary rigours of the scientific process.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 08:29 AM

Stu, I am not right wing, and have never said anything that could be so construed.

Steve, I said the anecdotal evidence is convincing. I did not claim what you describe.

There is also evidence that God exists, and not just anecdotal, but nothing even approaching proof.

Are you suggesting that no scientist believes in God? If so that is bollocks.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 09:43 AM

You are very easily convinced. And you are also very right wing. In the words of the Lord, by your fruits shall us know thee. And I know a bad apple and a bunch of sour grapes when I see 'em.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 10:24 AM

Stop the ad homs and get back to dowsing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: DMcG
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 10:41 AM

I am slightly surprised, Steve, that your interest wasn't piqued enough to try an construct a proper scientific test of your results. I am sure I would have spent a afternoon or three trying to, if only for my own personal entertainment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Raggytash
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 11:03 AM

Donuel, I recall a friend of mine who crossed the empty quarter of the Sahara telling me his compass wouldn't work in the area because of the amount of "arkle" in the rock formations (I think that was what he called it) which is magnetic in composition.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Iains
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 11:32 AM

An interesting collection below. It does not really progress the argument though.

https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/a-review-of-dowsing-evidence-for-and-against.60054/

There is a mention in the text of rock fractures and stresses. Also freshwater in the ground is not fresh in the same sense as deionised, distilled water. It has dissolved salts and is therefore conductive.
I would presume dowsing detects flowing water, primarily through conductive fractures. Many rocks are stressed to a variable extent and modern geophysics can detect this (and has been able to for a least the last two decades, primarily with imaging tools.) Major stress release (ie earthquakes) can generate lights. These two phenomena were unrecognised until very recently and the technique to detect one of them was not sufficiently sensitive to work until recently. So I would posit flowing water may generate an effect that sensitive people can react too. Maybe to date the electronics to detect it have not been investigated adequately.
As I said at the outset I keep an open mind on the subject and would not be surprised if further developments in geophysics gave possible explanations.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Nov 17 - 09:28 PM

As a bloke who has an open objective enquiring mind, but failed chemistry and physics O levels
because of being in a school rock band and bunking off classes...

I'd start by asking what is the most essential component in divining

The Rods, or the individual Human holding them...???


[all the way through reading this thread, I can't avoid a mental image of flickering VU meters off vintage audio gear..]


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 29 Nov 17 - 04:46 AM

PFR, no-one knows.
Some say that certain people have a gift, but it is all a mystery.
It should not work but it does.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Nov 17 - 06:08 AM

Another take on the subject here...

I'm still not convinced either way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Divination. Experience? Explanation?
From: Will Fly
Date: 29 Nov 17 - 06:08 AM

Whoops, here:

https://www.livescience.com/34486-dowsing-water-witching.html


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