July 08, 2006

Science: Fish, Barrel, Gun...

So this week's Circle brought an interesting comment:

On a whim I decided to take the Randi million dollar challenge. As a true skeptic I am skeptical of everything including professional skeptics. The test is bogus, Randi lies, he rejected my claim saying that I didn't want any photos taken, not true, I actually demanded that the whole process be video taped just incase I might need it as evidence to present to a jury if I had to sue to collect. He lied to his readers at his site saying I would not agree to a proper protocol, which translates "Randi wins at all costs", honesty is not in the equation...Bill Perron P.S.if you want the real truth anyone can call me at XXX-XXX-3697 or write bill@fantasyenchantment.com

Here's the page where Mr. Randi talks about the application, and there's a follow-up the next week. I added a small response of my own:

Hi, Bill!

I seem to recall that you claimed that horoscopes were accurate, correct? At least to a 60% chance. You wanted to print up the horoscope from your computer for random men, then have their wives read all eight pages of it to see if she could recognise their husbands.

I'd like to be sure that this is an accurate description of your claim before discussing it further.

Have you ever tried reversing the ability? As in: have you ever thought of creating a questionnaire that could then determine the person's date of birth? It could ask about various personality traits, their place (and time, but not date obviously) of birth, and whatever features that horoscopes theoretically determine. It could be filled out by the wife (or someone else close to the subject) to try avoiding some of our person bias (everyone has a little self-delusion in their lives, right? while still being written by someone close enough to know them.

From there, it should be a piece of cake to figure out what day they were born on! Or at least very, very close to it.

By Thursday

This is something that I've always wondered about horoscopes... There are "readers" who claim that they could not be completely accurate unless thay knew where every sinlge planet was at the instant of birth - well, then surely they could look at what the person was like and perhaps a few general events in their life (bankruptcy, perhaps, or being married three times) and determine something as vague as what day the subject was born on. Couldn't they?

Or is it, in the words of famed speaker to the dead John Edward, a case of "It doesn't work that way"?

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posted by Thursday at 2:15 pm

2 Comments:

Blogger pat said...

They say skepticism is healthy, but I don't know...

5:15 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

Fascinating how many people who are big fans of psudeoscience start with "I'm a TRUE skeptic, because I don't believe what scientists tell me" or words to that effect. Then they avoid applying any skeptical tools to their favorite whims...

7:34 pm  

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