Motivational speaker

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Beebub
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Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Beebub » Mon May 23, 2011 10:01 am

The other reason I was skeptical before he even started was that he specifically asked for volunteers who hadn't done it with him before. He asked the rugby player if he'd done it before and he replied yes. 'You've done this before' he said and the chap said 'No, I thought you asked me if I understood' and spoofer said, 'oh fine, because if you'd done it before you'd be conscious of it', whatever the hell that meant.

But if it works, what differnece does it make if someone's done it before? Is it possible that if they know what to expect, they might behave differently and spoil the trick? Probably.
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Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Beebub » Mon May 23, 2011 11:59 am

Dr Raskolnikov wrote: I found a robust and thorough debunking article in the Skeptics Dictionary which is well worth a read.
That's it almost exactly. Thanks. In the video they demonstrate it by getting the volunteer to stand on one leg, but the principal is the same. He also did a similar stunt to the one in the video where he stretches his arm as far as he can, then stretches it a bit further. Except, he got us to do it with our heads, stretchign our necks as far as we can.
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Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Beebub » Mon May 23, 2011 12:55 pm

I just tried it on a colleague. He held out his arm and I tried to push his arm down by slightly pushing towards his body and couldn't push it down. I did it again and slightly pushed away from his body and pushed it down with ease.

I love this site. I knew i'd find the answer amongst contributers here.

Thanks again!
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Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Mon May 23, 2011 1:45 pm

aiseiri47 wrote:
Dr Raskolnikov wrote: I'm afraid that this is indeed horribly far-fetched. The human body may be complex, but it can't sense chemicals through the skin using mysterious energy fields. The whole thing is based on the power of suggestion.
I agree that sounds far-fetched, but it wasn't explained to me that way (or at all; it was just like "look at this"). And it wasn't broadened to include any other applications. It was literally an allergy test. I simply tried to explain it to myself; psychology is my usual go-to explanation for everything, but it did also occur to me that allergic reactions occur inside and outside the body. I break out in a rash if I eat an apple, or if a dog licks my skin. So is it possible for my skin to react to the touch of an apple, also?

Of course I agree one thing for my skin to sense the trouble-maker, and quite another for it to lose strength to the degree it does. And I'm not saying I believe in it, or will argue for the point. But there is a lot we don't understand, and surely even more that we don't even know about yet. I try not to decidedly doubt or accept phenomena until I come across a satisfying explanation (either for or against).

"Magic is science we don't understand yet."

... but I agree that this is rubbish. I just had to defend why I didn't go "Pah, phooey!" when I initially saw this done. ;)
Okay cool... I won't argue the validity of this technique further :) (do take a peek at the link I posted above if you have the time - it explains how the trick is done, and I didn't know this either before Beebub posted the original query!).

I would like to just comment on your approach to unexplained phenomena. Since you used a quote in your post, here's one from Bertrand Russel:

"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. "

This is echoed by Carl Sagan, who famously said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." This motto is our best defence against pseudoscience and the snake oil practitioners who would profit from it.
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
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Re: Motivational speaker

Post by aiseiri47 » Mon May 23, 2011 11:36 pm

I'm not sure what it is your saying about my approach to unexplained phenomena; you didn't provide any context to the quotations, so I'm going to assume you meant to apply them quite directly as a counter-argument?
"If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way. "
This is very absolute. Is it not somewhat arrogant to "refuse to believe" something because it goes against your instincts and lacks overwhelming evidence? Does it not depend on variable factors, such as how strongly it violates your instincts? I had a co-worker once who used to tell mildly believable stories, but they were always too interesting and I'd heard too many of them, so I developed an instinct to disbelieve them unless I had evidence to the contrary. Now, this was a fairly strong, functioning instinct. But it is not nearly so strong as my instinct to disbelieve in ghosts. Furthermore, my instinctive disbelief in disembodied spirits is a few hairs short of the instinct in which I presume that unsupported objects, unless aerodynamically designed, will fall to the Earth (e.g. cats fall, healthy birds do not. Cars fall, functioning airplanes do not.)

Just as there is a graduated level of instinctual disbelief, there is a graduated level of required evidence. It would not take overwhelming evidence to convince me that my co-worker was telling a true story, for once. However, even if my cat - currently asleep beside me - suddenly floated, unsupported into the air, I'm not sure that would convince me to doubt gravity or believe in ghosts. But I would accept the unexplained phenomena at face value until I understood what had happened (perhaps I would later discover my evening cup of tea had been laced with mind-altering hallucinogens).

Furthermore, just because I'm presented with a fact that challenges a reasonably strong instinct without "overwhelming" evidence does not mean I refuse to believe it. I may opt not to believe it for the time being. I may say with certainty that I will not bet on it, or make any decisions based on it as a fact, or pass the fact on to others. But I think "refuse" is a bit strong a word. (The best example I can think of is that I do not "refuse" to believe that alien lifeforms have every visited Earth. I just highly doubt it and very simply do not get excited by any evidence that suggests extra-terrestrial guests).

To be quite honest, very few facts or occurrences slot into my personal waiting room for unexplained phenomena. Usually, I find a alternative explanation (as with mediums and fortune tellers, though to describe them as phenomena is a little too kind.) And I do not necessarily mean that I'm ready to be as easily swayed to believe in something extraordinary as I am to reject it; in fact, if it violates my instincts, I'm quite ready to reject it. I simply feel it's arrogant to reject it outright until I have that explanation.

Am I making sense? :|
This is echoed by Carl Sagan, who famously said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." This motto is our best defence against pseudoscience and the snake oil practitioners who would profit from it.
I like this one far more; it allows for different degrees of extraordinary, I think. If someone claims that your body is severely affected by the presence of a toxic thought, that's a bit out of the ordinary. If someone claims that the sun is in fact a giant citrus fruit lit up by the power of countless fireflies, that's considerably more extraordinary, and would need considerably more evidence. :wink:
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Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Beebub » Tue May 24, 2011 10:34 am

aiseiri47 wrote: If someone claims that your body is severely affected by the presence of a toxic thought, that's a bit out of the ordinary. If someone claims that the sun is in fact a giant citrus fruit lit up by the power of countless fireflies, that's considerably more extraordinary, and would need considerably more evidence. :wink:
Of course there are degrees of extraordinary claims, but people aren't claiming that the sun is giant citrus fruit, but there are spoofers out there claiming the toxic thought garbage as truth. Just as an example, I watched this guy do the trick on stage and didn't believe it for a minute. I 'refused' to believe it because it was quite evidently nonsense. Maybe that's just me because plenty in the crowd lapped it up.

I had never heard of it before but came straight on here to see if anyone had heard of it and went looking on the net to see if anyone had refuted it. I couldn't find anything but the good Dr. did.
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Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Tue May 24, 2011 12:37 pm

Beebub wrote:
aiseiri47 wrote: If someone claims that your body is severely affected by the presence of a toxic thought, that's a bit out of the ordinary. If someone claims that the sun is in fact a giant citrus fruit lit up by the power of countless fireflies, that's considerably more extraordinary, and would need considerably more evidence. :wink:
Of course there are degrees of extraordinary claims, but people aren't claiming that the sun is giant citrus fruit, but there are spoofers out there claiming the toxic thought garbage as truth. Just as an example, I watched this guy do the trick on stage and didn't believe it for a minute. I 'refused' to believe it because it was quite evidently nonsense. Maybe that's just me because plenty in the crowd lapped it up.

I had never heard of it before but came straight on here to see if anyone had heard of it and went looking on the net to see if anyone had refuted it. I couldn't find anything but the good Dr. did.
Thanks Beebub! :)

aiseiri47, your last post has clarified things for me a bit more, thanks for that. I was just worried from how you framed your initial thoughts that you were a little further away from sceptical than I thought sensible, in being too "open minded" towards unexplained phenomena. As has been said, and I paraphrase, "There's no harm in being open-minded, so long as you're not so open minded that your brain falls out". I'm afraid I can't find an original attribution for that one...

However if you agree with Sagan I think we agree with each other! 8)
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
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Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Beebub » Tue May 24, 2011 1:37 pm

If you haven't watched the videos provided above, I recommend that you do. The second video has the funniest part to the whole thing. The claims are that the hologram in the wristband helps stabilise you and so when you're wearing it or holding it, your balance is better.

One of the proponents of it is a chiropractor who says he's so convinced that it works that he'd stake his reputation on it. Ha! What's a chiropractor's reputation worth these days??
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Re: Motivational speaker

Post by aiseiri47 » Tue May 24, 2011 7:38 pm

"There's no harm in being open-minded, so long as you're not so open minded that your brain falls out". I'm afraid I can't find an original attribution for that one..."
I've heard Dawkins use it, but I think there are several variations of it from various sources; it's a good one, though. It's one of those rare quotes that really speaks for itself.

I have little more to say about the topic of "applied kinesiology" itself, I'm afraid. To be honest, it doesn't excite me very much. The idea that it can diagnose allergies and intolerances is a little more worrying than the rest of it. I don't know anyone who has actually based their diet around recommendations from this method, but I do know people who have based their diets on results of allergy tests done with hair. In fact, one of my friends when she was younger, did not have any milk or dairy for years, because her mother had the test done for her and she was told that my friend had a severe milk allergy (which there had been no sign of before.) Another point of interest, my friend did go back on dairy by her own choice later in life. Today, at the age of 28, she consumes more dairy than anyone I know and does not suffer from it at all.
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Re: Motivational speaker

Post by mkaobrih » Tue May 24, 2011 9:59 pm

aiseiri47 wrote:
"There's no harm in being open-minded, so long as you're not so open minded that your brain falls out". I'm afraid I can't find an original attribution for that one..."
I've heard Dawkins use it, but I think there are several variations of it from various sources; it's a good one, though. It's one of those rare quotes that really speaks for itself.
I thought it was Carl Sagan's quote - Tim Minchin has a song about it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFO6ZhUW38w
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