Has anybody tried Dowsing?

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  • This statement is a product of your opinion rather than your experience; and of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, from a scientific perspective, I'm sure you would agree you cannot prove it is nonsense, all you can do is claim it is nonsense ... and bundling it with other negative examples is a bit of smoke and mirrors.


    You're right - science can't prove negatives, on the whole. But that's not an argument to accept ANYTHING as true simply because science can't "disprove" it. The way it's supposed to work is that a person makes a claim, and the onus is on them to provide evidence which supports that claim. Once that evidence has mounted to a considerable breadth, it may be accepted as true beyond reasonable doubt.


    When it comes to dowsing, we're at the stage where somebody has made the claim. We haven't yet moved to the stage where the claim has been supported by ANY evidence, let alone substantial enough evidence to by accepted as true beyond reasonable doubt. Not for lack of trying - sceptical scientists have actually given opportunities, at great cost, for dowsers to prove their claims, by providing well-controlled environments for them to do so. Nothing. It comes up trumps.


    So yes, it's not scientifically proven that dowsing never works, but that lends it no credence whatsoever. That is NOT an excuse for believing it without question.


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    Conversely, having experienced dousing myself, where I was unable to physically stop a hazel twig from twisting out of my hands, I like others here can attest to it's reality, all be it anecdotally.


    Like I said before, first hand experience of something is nowhere near a reliable account of it. Nowhere near. Human psychology is incredibly delicate, and easily tricked - nobody would deny that. A five year old can learn a magic trick that leaves grown adults baffled. There are webpages dedicated to pictures and movies which trick the human eye EVERY SINGLE TIME, even when the person is aware of the illusion and how it works, it doesn't stop the illusion's effectiveness. So, knowing that our perceptive systems are so easily tricked, why are people so willing to rely on them to back up absolutely extraordinary claims about the universe?


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    Can I suggest that at some point, some scientist somewhere, made an anecdotal observation they could not explain .... I think you can see where I'm going with this .... there are plenty of examples of where science has made mistakes, it's part of the process .... maybe dismissing Dowsing is such an oversight?


    Dowsing has not been dismissed or discarded without test. It's not as if somebody proposed dowsing, and science went "nah, doesn't sound likely, just forget it". Scientists, despite their sceptisim, have spent TONNE of money and time looking into dowsing, giving it the best possible opportunity to present itself as authentic, and it simply hasn't worked. Study after study shows it to be false. James Randi has a million dollar prize available to anybody who can provide evidence for their superstitious claims under controlled conditions, no dowser, no tarot reader, no psychic, no spoon-bender, no homeopath and no flat-earther has ever taken the prize.


    There are PLENTY of opportunities to provide evidence for dowsing. All a dowser has to do is write a scientific on the paper on the topic providing repeatable, testable experimental data, and publish it. It would turn science on its head, and I love it when science gets turned on its head because it means we're improving our understanding of the universe. I would LOVE for some breakthrough like this to occur, but it hasn't, and it very likely won't be.


    I don't think it's valid to accuse me, or other scientists, of dismissing the claims out of hand.

  • I'm not going on the basis that somebody else once seen it work, I seen it work, magicians may well do tricks hundreds of times to fool people that is how they make a living, this wasn't a guy looking for a round of applause and possible future bookings, he got out of the van, done his job and pissed off.


    And that is the HUGE difference. I've never heard of a performing dowser, and likewise I've never heard of one charging to turn up. The guy in Cornwall gets paid specifically to provide a specified amount of water. He doesn't get paid for drilling the hole, making marks on the ground or anything else. He does his work and when he's finished he turns on the tap and water comes out, in great quantity and at great pressure. If it is at the agreed flow rate, he gets paid. He would have a tough job making a living if he was just rolling a dice or guessing as its quite expensive running a ground drill on the offchance.


  • I think the point being missed is that old blokes who have been dowsing since more or less forever don't really care what science thinks. They don't really have an axe to grind and don't feel they have anything to gain by proving anything to scientists. They wouldn't get paid any more, they don't really need accreditation since they get paid by results and if they can't do it then the word gets round and the phone doesn't ring. If science has an axe to grind then its up to them to come and establish whats going on. All I'd say is if you need to find water, I really would ask around to see if there's a competent dowser around before you hire a company to do a huge survey and drill everywhere, you will likely save yourself a fortune.

  • And that is the HUGE difference. I've never heard of a performing dowser, and likewise I've never heard of one charging to turn up. The guy in Cornwall gets paid specifically to provide a specified amount of water. He doesn't get paid for drilling the hole, making marks on the ground or anything else. He does his work and when he's finished he turns on the tap and water comes out, in great quantity and at great pressure. If it is at the agreed flow rate, he gets paid. He would have a tough job making a living if he was just rolling a dice or guessing as its quite expensive running a ground drill on the offchance.


    That's exactly how I would expect a dowser to work. They show up, and they play the game of chance. If they guess right, they get paid. If they don't guess right, they don't get paid, and they get to flee and keep their reputation intact, putting that particular failure down to some technical issue that he can't work around.


    Just like David Blaine. He goes around pulling the 4 of diamonds out of a pack 100 times, and eventually he's right by chance and puts it on the TV and everybody thinks he's amazing. Meanwhile, he tried the same thing 99 times and got it wrong, but nobody bothers to bring those failed cases to public attention, because he quickly glosses over his failure by turning it into another more reliable, but less amazing trick, or explaining the failure with some feasible excuse about his chakrahs not being right that day.


    I could become a dowser TOMORROW. All I have do do is go around as many places as possible, and by chance I'll find the specified amount of water in maybe one in 50 cases, and my fee will be enough in that one in 50 cases to make the whole charade worth my while.


    People don't tend to leave negative reviews for something they never paid for. If a plumber shows up at the house and says that he can't do the work because he needs this tool or that tool and he doesn't have it, I don't leave a bad review, I just try another plumber.

  • I think the point being missed is that old blokes who have been dowsing since more or less forever don't really care what science thinks. They don't really have an axe to grind and don't feel they have anything to gain by proving anything to scientists. They wouldn't get paid any more, they don't really need accreditation since they get paid by results and if they can't do it then the word gets round and the phone doesn't ring. If science has an axe to grind then its up to them to come and establish whats going on. All I'd say is if you need to find water, I really would ask around to see if there's a competent dowser around before you hire a company to do a huge survey and drill everywhere, you will likely save yourself a fortune.


    You'll save yourself even more of a fortune by throwing a bunch of darts, and checking the area below each dart for water, gaining exactly the same results as a dowser.


    Of course dowsers aren't interested in proving anything to science, because they know there's nothing to prove. They know that their whole industry collapses under any sort of scrutiny, and it's in their best interest that science keeps its nose away from dowsing and that they continue their trickery at great personal profit.

  • There has been a bore-hole sunk near where we live, but prior to this, a dowser chap came out to show them where to drill, after wandering around a field for a while , a marker was placed where he said there would be an ample water supply, (to supply several cottages, historic house, farm water troughs ). A big rig was bought in and drilling commenced. To me, it didn't look like a cheap operation. so all i'm saying is, the owner of the land and the drilling crew must have had complete confidence in the Dowser. So out of interest a couple of bent wires were fashioned and slipped in empty biro cases, and of i set around our garden, marking a spot when the wires crossed, later when my wife returned from work I persuaded her to have a go ( with no mention of the whereabouts of my success ), she had several results, close to mine, and when marked with sticks, formed a line. We later discovered it marked the route of an old mains waterpipe. :)

  • My dad is bloody good at this, it varies with me i was crap last time on a job i tried using two tie wires and it would nt ffin work, labourer was laughing at me wandering around a field saying it was a load of bollocks and witchcraft till my dad proved him wrong.


    Years ago i remeber on a job at a church me dad found old drains a waterpipe and a soakaway it worked even better if you ran water down the drains.


    Me dad just basicly uses two bits of metal rod usually copper welding rod works best, when over anything they cross we ve found electric cables allsorts, etc.

  • I dowsed a watermain once - down Avebury as it happens... got awful excited as thought i'd found something like one of the mega powerful leys but no... twas the water main :D have also got a pendulum I use to dowse stuff sometimes :) I know dowsing works because i've done it myself and seen other people do it - loads of old boys round here used to dowse and as others have said it's pretty much known to be the go to, reliable method of finding old waterways and tunnels... in Frome I believe and also in Bruton, some people have dowsed out the location of networks of tunnels that run under the towns...


    One day Science will catch up and explain all this "spooky action" ;)

  • Hey my kettle broke this week and my strimmer died half an hour after buying it last Sunday.
    Can i use the dowsing method to locate a store which will sell me a product that will last more than 6 weeks ?

  • I think its relatively simple I am guessing some sort of magnetic field is created by the friction of running water, or mildly magnetic water, what i found weird was my dad could find a soakaway, which is a big hole full of stones it was the height of summer not a drop of water running but we found it dug down about a foot or two and there they were a heap of stones to run our drain into.

  • Its amazing how some bits of bent coat hanger helped up find some old land drains so we could dig in new ones to replace the bungged up and leaking old ones so we could put our yurt up. Dowsing seems to really intrigue my miniature Shetland snow who followed us around all day. I was a skeptic when my boyfriends mum first tried to teach me dousing for ley lines for her bees but I seem to be pretty good at dousing for water

  • I think its relatively simple I am guessing some sort of magnetic field is created by the friction of running water, or mildly magnetic water, what i found weird was my dad could find a soakaway, which is a big hole full of stones it was the height of summer not a drop of water running but we found it dug down about a foot or two and there they were a heap of stones to run our drain into.


    I commend you for TRYING to pose a physical/natural explanation, rather than any spiritual nonsense.


    However, we have extremely sensitive instruments for detecting and measuring electromagnetic fields - far more sensitive than any rudimentary device made of coat hangers - and there is zero evidence of significant magnetic fields near running water.


    Most water isn't pure water, and there are indeed electrically charged minerals, etc, frequently dissolved in the water which respond to magnetic fields, etc. And there are some ions of water which are not electrically neutral. But the concentrations are too low to generate a magnetic field capable of disturbing 2 bits of wire at a distance of some metres.


    In any case, if these wires did respond to magnetic fields, by far the strongest magnetic field source in general would be the Earth's, and so you'd find all dowsers facing North...


    But, again, I repeat... There's no point trying to think of an explanation for something before you have established whether it actually works or not. And there's no evidence of that. Every test ever conducted on the effectiveness of dowsing has found it to be no better than chance at finding hidden water sources. It's a placebo. It's a trick. It's an illusion of success, which is best explained by randomness.


    There's no need to explain dowsing anymore than their is a need to explain that a rolled dice occasionally shows up a 6, that lightning strikes occasionally kill people, or that people occasionally win the lottery.


    People holding wires and walking around a field occasionally correctly guess where the water is... But that does not suggest that dowsing itself is responsible for the times they are successful, just luck, or perhaps an impressive knowledge of water table geology or drainage construction.

  • Well, I was sceptical - still am really, but I have used the two wires and biro method and traced the route of the incoming electrical cable to my parents house, then confirmed it by checking the records I used to work in the cable records department, and by checking using a cable locator, so there must be something in it, I do know that electrical cables give off an electrical field, which may be why the two wires crossed. Have tried to find water with absolutely no result, but for preference give me a cable avoidance tool (CAT) any day, I spent the best part of one day a week for over a year with one of these trying to trace the power cables in a power station, after some idiot shut down their own drawing office and binned all their records.
    with a cat I will pinpoint the centre of the cable to a couple of inches, and tell you the depth, and how many cables if there is more than one - just by listening to the tone returned.


    Grendel

  • Well, I was sceptical - still am really, but I have used the two wires and biro method and traced the route of the incoming electrical cable to my parents house, then confirmed it by checking the records I used to work in the cable records department, and by checking using a cable locator, so there must be something in it, I do know that electrical cables give off an electrical field, which may be why the two wires crossed. Have tried to find water with absolutely no result, but for preference give me a cable avoidance tool (CAT) any day, I spent the best part of one day a week for over a year with one of these trying to trace the power cables in a power station, after some idiot shut down their own drawing office and binned all their records.
    with a cat I will pinpoint the centre of the cable to a couple of inches, and tell you the depth, and how many cables if there is more than one - just by listening to the tone returned.


    Grendel


    There'd be a lot more Darwin awards in the world if people started using dowsing to help avoid electrical CA les when digging, drilling, etc...

  • You keep saying that it's been proven not to work, but who by? In order to test it, you'd need to find a dowser who actually gave a fuck about proving it to a scientist who gave a fuck about proving it, and as I said before, dowsers have nothing to gain so no reason to give a fuck.

  • You keep saying that it's been proven not to work, but who by? In order to test it, you'd need to find a dowser who actually gave a fuck about proving it to a scientist who gave a fuck about proving it, and as I said before, dowsers have nothing to gain so no reason to give a fuck.


    One of MANY studies on the issue:


    http://www.geotech1.com/cgi-bi…e=info/kassel/kassel1.dat


    In this particular study, 30 dowsers were tested under controlled conditions. Each of them signed a declaration stating that the test designed by the scientists was a fair and accurate test of their abilities.


    There was also a $10,000 prize was also offered by James Randi for this experiment to any dowser thst performed better than chance.


    The result? Nobody did better than chance.


    Every other study on the subject has the same conclusion... And there are many studies. Try the Wikipedia entry for dowsing for a few interesting ones.

  • You keep on about how science explains everything..........what about love, hate, other emotions ? What's the scientific reasons you come up for them ?
    And....what's wrong with there being things that science CAN'T explain ? A bit of magic and mystery does most people some good

  • You keep on about how science explains everything..........what about love, hate, other emotions ? What's the scientific reasons you come up for them ?
    And....what's wrong with there being things that science CAN'T explain ? A bit of magic and mystery does most people some good


    Firstly, I see the argument you're trying to make - it's an old one, and has been refuted many times. You're trying to argue that simply because science doesn't explain EVERYTHING, then other systems of thought deserve a spot on the table.


    It doesn't make any sense to try to explain things with a theory that doesn't provide evidence. Saying 'God did it', or 'supernatural forces' doesn't explain anything because these hypotheses can't be tested. For many years, people have been filling the gaps that science leaves with nonsense... And in many cases the gaps get filled by science quite quickly anyway.


    Even scientists do this with their own theories. For example, string theory is a self-consistent theory of physics which explains EVERYTHING! But, it hasn't so far made any testable predictions, and so you'll scarcely find a scientist who believes it... even the scientists who work on it.


    Secondly, you made a very poor choice of example; issues of love and hate, as an emotion, are very well studied in neuroscience. Of course, we don't have all the answers, but it's not something which is beyond us to the extent it won't be fully understood before the end of this century.


    There is no problem with mystery. In fact, mystery is where scientists are most comfortable. The problem comes when people begin to take advantage of others using these mysteries. Dowsers are an example of that: taking good money from people to provide them with the confidence of where underground water lies using nothing but trickery and guesswork? Not only unethical, but dangerous.

  • I looked up that big German test when you first posted on this thread Cosmos ... it seemed to me to be flawed from the start, by insisting it was conducted indoors on two different floors of a large building, regardless of who took up the challenge and signed their happiness with the conditions .... reminds me of the old saying "lies, dam lies, and statistics", I've come across similar fudging from pesticide multinationals, but that's another story. Would you agree that there might be some aspect/property of that building that meant it was not a fair representation/duplication of conditions in a field? No, I expect you will simply say that cannot be the case as the dowsers (those who agreed to participate) signed off that they were happy!


    Unfortunately, the German study is often cited as definitive proof there is no basis for dowsing and as such there need never be another serious study .... but as you agree, you cannot prove a negative ... so all you can do is repeat the same mantra, that you (and some other scientists) do not believe it's possible!


    It was only in the late 1960's that Wegener's theory of continental drift was excepted by scientists, despite the evidence and observations that went back some four hundred years, because the process was not understood .... so it would seem to me, that science is vulnerable to "the loudest voice must be true" syndrome, despite what some have observed for themselves!

  • I looked up that big German test when you first posted on this thread Cosmos ... it seemed to me to be flawed from the start, by insisting it was conducted indoors on two different floors of a large building, regardless of who took up the challenge and signed their happiness with the conditions .... reminds me of the old saying "lies, dam lies, and statistics", I've come across similar fudging from pesticide multinationals, but that's another story. Would you agree that there might be some aspect/property of that building that meant it was not a fair representation/duplication of conditions in a field? No, I expect you will simply say that cannot be the case as the dowsers (those who agreed to participate) signed off that they were happy!


    Unfortunately, the German study is often cited as definitive proof there is no basis for dowsing and as such there need never be another serious study .... but as you agree, you cannot prove a negative ... so all you can do is repeat the same mantra, that you (and some other scientists) do not believe it's possible!


    It was only in the late 1960's that Wegener's theory of continental drift was excepted by scientists, despite the evidence and observations that went back some four hundred years, because the process was not understood .... so it would seem to me, that science is vulnerable to "the loudest voice must be true" syndrome, despite what some have observed for themselves!


    That study is not exhaustive, and by no means 'the definitive', and there's been no suggestion or understanding in the scientific world that no further study should be done.


    I don't really recognise your issues with the study. I'm sure the dowsers are best placed to list the issues with the experiment, and yet they were happy to continue. And unlike multinationals your cited who had the profit motive, I see no reason the scientists would have to want to bias the experiment.


    Personally, I believe the biggest flaw in the study is the extremely limited sample size, but that has been addressed by much larger studies since.


    Again people keep returning to the argument that science has been wrong in the past. Whilst that's true, certain things are beyond reasonable doubt. Nobody will ever disprove the theory that the world is spherical, nobody will disprove evolution by natural selection, and nobody will verify dowsing.


    Additionally, even if there was doubt to be had in the case of dowsing, it doesn't follow that the default position is to believe in it.


    People often believe that if the scientific jury is not out, that is somehow permission to believe any spurious alternative. Ludicrous and dangerous thinking.

  • You didn't answer my question "Would you agree that there might be some aspect/property of that building that meant it was not a fair representation/duplication of conditions in a field?" Rather you just dismissively repeated what I predicted you would say when I suggested "No, I expect you will simply say that cannot be the case as the dowsers (those who agreed to participate) signed off that they were happy!" but the dowsers were not scientists, so how could they judge the appropriateness of the test conditions.


    Unfortunately, we don't even know what specifically it was that the dowsers signed off, just that they signed off something the paper says was their happiness with the test conditions, nor can we be sure why the scientists decided to do the experiment in a building rather than the environment dowsing is most usually practiced ... maybe, like yourself, they were more interested in "proving" what they didn't believe in, was indeed impossible.


    Unfortunately science is susceptible to such flaws, like basing tests/experiments upon the presumption another scientists conclusions to preceding work are correct, which sometimes means, whether due to an innocent error or some vested interest twisting their conclusions, subsequent work can then be flawed, even if it becomes excepted by the main stream.


    As a scientist who has not experienced dowsing first hand, I could totally understand your scepticism ... but your absolute and repeated conviction you are 100% right and any other opinion cannot be correct astounds me, and I'm sure it would disappoint Wegener! It's as if you think that simply by repeating your stance again and again ... it will be so. Conversely, while I do not know why or how it happens, I have experienced the force dowsing can exert upon a forked hazel branch first hand, not like copper rods which can arguably swing due to chance or a slight change in how we hold them, the branch was literally almost torn out of my hands, repeatedly along the same line, as I crossed over a uniform lawn, no clues, no dips, no varied colouration within the turf. Do I really care if you dismiss that as anecdotal, no not really, because I know I experienced something more than coincidence ... unless some government scientist was sitting behind a cloud in a UFO with a tractor beam on my hazel branch ... just messing with my mind for laughs?


    Seriously though, I think scientists would better serve the public, by saying (and I paraphrase) "It is our best understanding that .... however we cannot prove it either way" rather than "Your stupid if you believe ...."

  • Hmmmm......for a "scientist" you seem to have a very closed mind and come across as unable,or unwilling, to accept anyone else's point of view.


    I am completely open to hypotheses, new data, new evidence. I am completely happy to have current thinking challenged. However, they can't be 'accepted' without evidence, especially if they challenge current understanding in such a significant way. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.


    You simply can't blame a scientist for dismissing an idea that goes against a TONNE of other stuff for which there is abundant evidence, when this idea itself had absolutely nothing in its favour. No evidence, no feasible mechanism, nothing - just the hopes and dreams of the mystical.


    This is how science works - if it was done any other way, you most certainly would not be communicating with me via an electronic computer connected to a global network from a comfortable, heated home with a well stocked refrigerator, or enjoying half the other stuff you enjoy in life.


    Science is constantly in the firing line for dismissing bad ideas, but rarely do people realise how little we would have if it didn't do that.

  • You simply can't blame a scientist for dismissing an idea that goes against a TONNE of other stuff for which there is abundant evidence, when this idea itself had absolutely nothing in its favour.


    and yet there are plenty of examples of just such misguided dismissals within the history of science? ...


    https://en.wikipedia.org/?titl…ion_of_Wegener.27s_theory


    ... it's worth scrolling up to see the earlier history behind continental drift denial .... 400 years of "That is simply nonsense" from scientists who could do nothing more that quote the rhetoric of their establishments status quo.

  • Science is constantly in the firing line for dismissing bad ideas, but rarely do people realise how little we would have if it didn't do that.


    We could fill all the new warehouses that have been built and will be built in the world. With the knowledge scientist don't yet know. Don't stress the things you can't explain at the end of the day. Don't expect others to fully understand either. We are all so very young for this world. Most of all don't hide behind what you think you know or have been told.

  • and yet there are plenty of examples of just such misguided dismissals within the history of science? ...


    https://en.wikipedia.org/?titl…ion_of_Wegener.27s_theory


    ... it's worth scrolling up to see the earlier history behind continental drift denial .... 400 years of "That is simply nonsense" from scientists who could do nothing more that quote the rhetoric of their establishments status quo.


    There are many historical cases where scienctists of the day ignored the evidence in favour of the status quo, for personal, political, religious or tribal reasons.


    However, these examples do not apply here because with dowsing, there is no evidence to ignore. It's not that the evidence is there and scientists ignore it, it's simply not there, and scientists, as I say, have actually designed experiments to give dowsing the opportunity to present evidence, and it has failed to at every turn.


    You can attack the experimental design to particular experiments, but there are a multitude of them, carried out in lots of different combinations of design, and among the whole literature, there's not a sliver of evidence for dowsing.


    I can assure you, I am open minded. I am acutely aware of the historical errors of science and am keen not to repeat them. I'm prepared to have even the strongest theories challenged and replaced. BUT NOT WITHOUT EVIDENCE.


    Evidence really is the key here. You're spending your time attacking science, attacking scientists, attacking experiment, etc, but none of that is going to convince anybody. Instead, concentrate your efforts on amassing evidence.

  • We could fill all the new warehouses that have been built and will be built in the world. With the knowledge scientist don't yet know. Don't stress the things you can't explain at the end of the day. Don't expect others to fully understand either. We are all so very young for this world. Most of all don't hide behind what you think you know or have been told.


    Again, I'm perfectly comfortable with my ignorance and I know no scientists who are not - that is the essence of their work, acknowledging their ignorance and seeking, slowly, to curtail it.


    It is not science that is uncomfortable with not knowing, but the people who are so eager to have any sort explanation that they're happy to turn to charlatans and fairly tales in spite of any sort of evidence, and often at great cost to themselves and society.