HP-65 and the Paranormal



#13

I've been busy wasting time on Google again and have run across a couple of interesting papers on the HP-65, magnetic cards, and a paranormal experiment by Uri Geller.

In the first link, refer to Experiment No. 5, where Uri rubs a HP-65 magnetic card and makes it un-readable.

Experiment


The second link is a follow-up proposing a method of scientific study to determine if Uri really could change the magnetic particles on the card.

Proposed Method of Study

I find it fascinating that the HP-65 was used in a paranormal experiment.

Bill


#14

Hmm. Does Uri Geller have sweaty fingertips? 8)

That guy has been thoroughly exploded by James Randi. I regard the use of an HP calculator in the experiment as degrading - for the calculator.

Regards,
Howard


#15

Hi Howard,


Quote:
thoroughly exploded by James Randi

Thanks - I couldn't remember yesterday who the guy was that had debunked Uri. It was bugging me that I couldn't remeber Randi's name.

What's really interesting is that the scientists at LLL were even taking the time for this. I would have thought they had better things to do.

Bill


#16

I feel it was probably time well spent. All too often people are not nearly as well informed or as educated as they should be. Lots of charlatans find a way to gain publicity or publish and once a ridiculous idea or display gets into the public medium, many people then accept it as fact.

I still see this crap pushed as news or some other spectacular event! Many journalists are merely sensationalists with their own agenda to get famous (Geraldo Riveria anyone?).

#17

Quote:
What's really interesting is that the scientists at LLL were even taking the time for this. I would have thought they had better things to do.

Bill


Really? Shouldn't the attitude of scientists be to have an open and curious mind, without predjudice? The fact it was disproved has nothing to do with it. What would it say about the scientists if it were true yet they had rejected it without trial?

I think there's enough closed minded predjudice in the world of science as well as in the world in general not to advocate it as a recommended policy.


#18

Quote:
Really? Shouldn't the attitude of scientists be to have an open and curious mind, without predjudice? The fact it was disproved has nothing to do with it. What would it say about the scientists if it were true yet they had rejected it without trial?
It's a matter of time and money. Science can't impossibly go after every asserted phenomenon.

#19

Quote:

It's a matter of time and money. Science can't impossibly go after every asserted phenomenon.


The costs and time involved were probably pretty low. Stories of such phenomena have existed for many thousands of years. Knowledge about their basis, whether psychological or physiological, are generally well worth pursuing.


#20

Quote:
The costs and time involved were probably pretty low. Stories of such phenomena have existed for many thousands of years. Knowledge about their basis, whether psychological or physiological, are generally well worth pursuing.
And we (they) do! But there are far too many stories and too few hints that there really is something. You bet all physicists would be happy to find some phenomena not covered by their science. I know because I am one of those ;-).

#21

Hi, another one! d:-)

#22

Quote:

Really? Shouldn't the attitude of scientists be to have an open and curious mind, without predjudice?


That's more a case of "postjudice" than "prejudice." Every time abilities of the type claimed by Mr. Geller come under careful scientific scrutiny, they magically disappear. This has happened time after time after time. (See, for example, here.) Combine that with no visible means of support in the rest of our knowledge of the physical world for these claimed phenomena, and you have the basis for the reluctance of many working scientists to waste their time with the stuff.

That doesn't mean that scientists don't ignore real phenomena from time to time, with all the vigor (or lack thereof) they show toward claims of the paranormal. The classic example of science denying a real though unexplained phenomenon is the case of "ball lighting" (Wikipedia Article.) In the 19th Century, this phenomenon, which had been observed for millennia, was declared by Lord Kelvin and the British Royal Society to be an optical illusion. Ball lighting is an exceedingly rare phenomenon; it has never been observed under controlled conditions "in the wild." It's properties as reported by eye witnesses are inconsistent and difficult to account for. In short, it is a hard phenomenon to study scientifically. To this day there is no widely accepted theory of what ball lighting really is, though there are several plausible candidates. (An interesting outline of how skepticism can work against scientific acceptance of real phenomena, including ball lighting, can be found here.)

But it's widely conceded that ball lightning exists, because of the widespread and persistent reports by all sorts of people, far more than ever say they've seen UFOs. The outcast phenomenon finally did make it in to the mathematical model of the universe, albeit in a tentative fashion.

This tendency in science to ignore phenomena outside of existing models flows directly from Logical Positivism, in my opinion. Logical Positivism (to brutally summarize that philosophy, no doubt trivializing it in the process,) states that anything that doesn't exist in the mathematical model of the universe doesn't exist. This can seem odd when you first hear it stated. I was shooting the breeze with a Physics gradual student at UCSB in the 1980s when I was first exposed to the idea. (I was running the computers for the Physics department, so I had lots of opportunity to BS with the scientists.) For some reason, I asked him "what if there were an object so distant that it didn't interact with us gravitationally?" He answered "then it wouldn't exist!" What he meant was, such an object couldn't fit into the then (and probably now) current model of the universe. As a practical matter, you can't study something that doesn't interact with any part of the universe you can observe, so saying it doesn't exist is a useful shortcut, at least. But I've recently heard it pointed out that the Logical Positivism puts mathematical theory in place of god in the unstated ontology of science. That is, inclusion in the theory is the ground of existence! Quite a metaphysical statement that. And problematic, given the Incompleteness theorem.

Not that ignoring ball lightning was a correct application of Logical Positivism. But with that sort of basis for your view of existence, excesses like Lord Kelvin's are more understandable.

Regards,
Howard


#23

Quote:
That's more a case of "postjudice" than "prejudice." Every time abilities of the type claimed by Mr. Geller come under careful scientific scrutiny, they magically disappear.

All i'm saying is that it's incorrect to neglect the variable 'scientific scrutiny' in the above equation. The experiment may not have revealed a new form of energy, but it produced useful information anyway. The HP65 experiment occured in 1975, when there was less of a precedent to be sceptical, but it provided a useful reference to future researchers.

#24

In an old PPC-Issue, someone gives the tip to clean the mag. cards by running them over your tongue, and cleaning/drying them with your shirt.
He also says you should be careful not to cut yourself in the tongue with the card.


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