Welcome again to JJNN for Friday June 20th, 2008. There was a lot of news out there today, but after about an hour of looking around none of it really grabbed my attention so I guess I will tell the story of my latest journey into the land of wu.
"Wu?" you say? No, it's not a person. Wu would be a Chinese name not a Japanese name any way. Wu is a word for anything that is non-scientific (pseudo-scientific) out there. This time I am going to talk about the dowsing class that I went to. What do you think about when you hear the world dowsing? Is it looking for water with two sticks? That is the image most people have, but in the class I went to the students were learning how to find out things using a pendulum.
Let's get right to the debunking of this. The person that was performing the dowsing would hold the pendulum and ask them self a question. The pendulum would than swing one way for yes and another way for no. You may be wondering how the person knows which way is yes and which way is no. Well, first the person would point to a picture of a circle and ask them self if it were a circle. Miraculously the pendulum would swing one way and would always swing that way for a yes answer. The person would also find that the pendulum would swing the other way for a no answer.
That all must mean that what the teacher says about dowsing plumbing the depths of a connected human consciousness to find the answer has to be correct, right? Wrong. The effect that causes the dowsing pendulum to move has been known about for over 100 years. It is called the ideomotor effect.
The ideomotor effect was first discussed in a paper by William Benjamin Carpenter in 1852. He was talking about the ouija board in the paper, but it can also be applied to dowsing. The basic idea of the ideomotor effect is that all humans make unconscious movements. The body actually reacts to ideas or something that it knows is right which in turns moves the pendulum. This is why the pendulum moves when you ask if a circle is a circle or something like that.
Any way, the dowsing class was full of 30 or so true believers and me, the lone skeptic. As the teacher was feeding everyone load after load of crap I was in the only one in the room not believing every word he said. Everyone else was shaking their head and saying things like "I knew it would be something like that" or "I guess I can only believe what the teacher says."
It was a little creepy to hear that, but the most shocking thing was something I heard from the teacher. He said that by using dowsing a person can tell that the sun is actually not hot. I was a little confused when I heard that. I thought that he was talking about the fact that the surface of the sun is not as hot as the outer part of the sun, but he kept talking. He went on to say that the sun was about the same temperature as the earth and there is soil and rice and even water on the sun. I could hardly stop myself from laughing right there, but the thought of being lynched by true believers stopped me.
So we are all on the same page, here is a picture of the sun...
Looks hot to me. And, in fact, it turns out to be hot. It turns out to be 11000F. That is damn hot. Just as a comparison let's look at the melting point of iron. The melting point of iron is 1535F. I guess no iron can be on the sun, but what about soil and rice? One can probably safely say that they would be not present. This means that a statement dowsing makes "The sun is not hot and there is rice and soil on the sun" is scientifically proven wrong. Dowsing is bunk...period.
Any way, I guess that is enough of a rant. If you want to hear more things like this let me know. There are so many pseudoscientific things that the Japanese do. Leave a comment and let me know.