## The feeling of being watched...

Discussions on UFOs, ghosts, myths etc.

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### Re: The feeling of being watched...

Oldskeptic wrote:With such a small group to choose from I think it does become more an either or situation with 50/50 probabilities than a guessing game with 25% probability.

I don't see how, if the guesser has 4 possible choices they could make, all equally likely, the odds of any single guess being right can be other than 1 in 4.

Oldskeptic wrote:In Sheldrake's experiment when a 5 or 6 was rolled they rolled again instead of letting the phone ring with no sister on the line. We will never know from Sheldrake what would have happened if 5 and 6 had been left in.

We won't know because that would have been a different experiment, with effectively more callers.
I'm not sure someone can necessarily be blamed for not doing a different experiment.

Oldskeptic wrote:Well your math is all fine and good but it has already been done using probability theory showing different results. And I can say, from experience, that the probability matches reality. A professor of statistics/probability of mine 35 years ago, in a lecture hall holding around 100 students, picked the first person in the front row and asked her birth date. He went down the rows of students and before 50 he had a hit.

He did it again with the next student in the first row and had a hit well below 50.

He did it again with the third person in the front row with the same result.

I'll admit that this professor seemed to be something of a mad scientist at the time but he did impress on me that statistics are not always what they seem to be, and that there is always another way to look at them.

If you aren't misremembering the experiment, the birthdates were obviously very far from random or something seriously odd (or fixed) was happening.

Look at it this way.
A line of 50 people all happen to have different birthdays - what's the probability that one of them shares my birthday?
50/365, or 0.137 - it really can't be anything else since there must be 315/365 birthdays still 'free'

Now, in a line of 50 people, it is likely that some of them will share a birthday, and so the probability of any of them sharing a birthday with me is necessarily less than 0.137.
In fact, I make it 0.128.

For simple statistics, there isn't 'always another way to look at them', unless you include the wrong way.
I don't do sarcasm smileys, but someone as bright as you has probably figured that out already.
tolman

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### Re: The feeling of being watched...

You only need 23 people in the room to get a hit rate of 50% re: birthdays.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_problem

edit-

Of course, that is to match any two birthdates.

Now, if we specifically want to match yours, then it's a different game.

Scarlett and Ironclad wrote:Campermon,...a middle aged, middle class, Guardian reading, dad of four, knackered hippy, woolly jumper wearing wino and science teacher.

campermon
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### Re: The feeling of being watched...

Wikipedia wrote:For a greater than 50% chance that one person in a roomful of n people has the same birthday as you, n would need to be at least 253
Why do you think that?
GrahamH

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### Re: The feeling of being watched...

GrahamH wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:For a greater than 50% chance that one person in a roomful of n people has the same birthday as you, n would need to be at least 253

You beat me to the wiki quote!

Scarlett and Ironclad wrote:Campermon,...a middle aged, middle class, Guardian reading, dad of four, knackered hippy, woolly jumper wearing wino and science teacher.

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### Re: The feeling of being watched...

Oldskeptic wrote:What was it again? Oh yes morphic resonance. Something akin to metaphysical Lamarckism. Chicks learn to fear because their mothers learned to fear. Give me a fucking break.

Sheldrake suggests that chicks learn to fear from the previous experiences of other chicks, not by descent, but by tuning into a 'morphic field' which could be a new take on Jungian 'collective unconscious'.

The for and against papers on Sheldrake's site take diametrically opposite views on the same data. Sheldrake's response to Rose is interesting. Who is fiddling the figures?
Why do you think that?
GrahamH

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### Re: The feeling of being watched...

GrahamH wrote:
Oldskeptic wrote:What was it again? Oh yes morphic resonance. Something akin to metaphysical Lamarckism. Chicks learn to fear because their mothers learned to fear. Give me a fucking break.

Sheldrake suggests that chicks learn to fear from the previous experiences of other chicks, not by descent, but by tuning into a 'morphic field' which could be a new take on Jungian 'collective unconscious'.

The for and against papers on Sheldrake's site take diametrically opposite views on the same data. Sheldrake's response to Rose is interesting. Who is fiddling the figures?

Love this comment:

And third, as I have always recognised as a danger in principle, but which the experience of this collaboration has convinced me in practice, Sheldrake is so committed to his hypothesis that it is very hard to envisage the circumstances in which he would accept its disconfirmation.

Landrew's supporting a guy who is a model of the thing he supposedly decries.

Sense? It makes none.

Edit: Oh my...

Granted its scientific and philosophical implausibility it is worth asking why the Sheldrake hypothesis has continued to receive any publicity. Partly this must be due to the tireless and ingenious advocacy of its author, who has encouraged regular public involvement in devising "tests" of his hypothesis, with prizes for the winners. Partly too, I believe it is in tune with a powerful anti-rational trend in these post-modern times, in which Nieztsche is more frequently cited than Voltaire. Along with parapsychology, corn circles, creationism, ley-lines and "deep ecology", "formative causation", or "morphic resonance" has many of the characteristics of such pseudosciences, well-discussed by a number of contemporary sociologists of science. For the inventors of such hypotheses the rewards include a degree of instant fame which is harder to achieve by the humdrum pursuit of more conventional science. For the non-scientific public, suspicious - and often rightly so - of the imperialising claims of orthodox science, anything which appears to spring the seemingly inevitable reductionist trap is seized upon. Morphic resonance, with its mixture of seemingly straight scientific concepts drawn from developmental biology and mysticism, offers to the 20th century something akin to what Hahnemann's homeopathy offered to the 19th.

Don't you just love how writing can be timeless? This sentence just reached through the intervening years as a clarion call to a certain poster on this website, but I fear it will fall on deaf ears.
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

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Spearthrower

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### Re: The feeling of being watched...

GrahamH wrote:The for and against papers on Sheldrake's site take diametrically opposite views on the same data. Sheldrake's response to Rose is interesting. Who is fiddling the figures?

It seems pretty dodgy to me for someone to decide after the event to exclude some data, if that has the effect of meaningfully changing the results.

If an experiment is such that there is some initial confounding effect which gives 'wrong' data, that would suggest to me that there could easily be other effects at work which make later parts of the experiment also produce unreliable data, and some more radical rethinking of the design might be necessary.

If the 'natural' tendencies to peck at the two beads seem to be meaningfully different, taking differences between the results for both beads might well be a dubious technique. That could result in having a 'positive' result even if there had been no change in the yellow bead timings but a gradual change in the chrome bead timings due to experimenter changes like alterations in the time to place a bead, different positioning leading to different shadows/highlights/flickering on the chrome bead from the chick's point of view, etc.

Personally, if it seemed that the experimenter was finding placing one or other bead tricky, I'd have stopped there and then and redesigned the experiment with less experimenter involvement, like having both beads fixed but with equally-easy-to-remove covers over them which could be remotely controlled.
I don't do sarcasm smileys, but someone as bright as you has probably figured that out already.
tolman

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### Re: The feeling of being watched...

Spearthrower wrote:

For the non-scientific public, suspicious - and often rightly so - of the imperialising claims of orthodox science, anything which appears to spring the seemingly inevitable reductionist trap is seized upon. Morphic resonance, with its mixture of seemingly straight scientific concepts drawn from developmental biology and mysticism, offers to the 20th century something akin to what Hahnemann's homeopathy offered to the 19th.

Don't you just love how writing can be timeless? This sentence just reached through the intervening years as a clarion call to a certain poster on this website, but I fear it will fall on deaf ears.

The thing is that many in the unscientific public seem to have a strange relationship to science - they criticise it whenever it fails to say what they want, but equally seem desperate to claim scientific backing for something even if it's from work done somewhat sloppily and not generally acknowledged, hence repeated appeals to 'peer review' and 'the scientific method'.

Maybe that's partly down to a hope that the civilian can somehow get one over on the great mass of scientists by supporting some idea which later turns out to be correct.
Though, of course, given the specialisations involved, 'the great mass of scientists' in any particular case may not be that many people, and most will likely be occupied with any number of things and have limited motivation to look at a specific thing however much some random person might be focussed on it or even obsessed with it.

I'm not sure how often that has actually happened in practice in history, and even on occasions when it might have done, I'd imagine that typically the civilians, whether geniuses or just sometimes lucky guessers, really do little more than demonstrate their irrelevance.
For example, if J. Random Citizen had long been a supporter of Wegener's ideas before a plausible mechanism to explain continental drift had been proposed and demonstrated, if that person's support had done bugger-all to advance actual science, they might be able to claim they were ahead of the pack, but would also have shown that no-one who really cared what they thought.
I don't do sarcasm smileys, but someone as bright as you has probably figured that out already.
tolman

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### Re: The feeling of being watched...

You know... I have a feeling of not-being-watched too! It doesn't happen all the time, in fact, it's quite rare. But suddenly I will be struck by the notion that no one is looking at me... and you know what? It's pretty much always right!
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
Religion: Mass Stockholm Syndrome

Learn Stuff. Stuff good. https://www.coursera.org/

Spearthrower

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### Re: The feeling of being watched...

I wonder if landrew ever has the spooky feeling that no-one is giving a flying fuck what he thinks?
I don't do sarcasm smileys, but someone as bright as you has probably figured that out already.
tolman

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