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Looking for Carroll Beckwith; A detective's search for his past life.

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  • #61
    Originally posted by majinrevan
    I think I made it clear that I don't accept dishonesty because of perfectly
    logical reasons.
    What are those reasons? Do you have some way of knowing whether a person is telling the truth?

    But that does nothing to advance the cold reading hypothesis!
    An item is either true or false, increasing the amount of pages
    is responsible for no magic feat that I know of that could change
    a statement from being true to being false.
    I'm not saying that increasing the source material changes a statement from true to false. I'm saying that generic statements about a person's life are more likely to be confirmed when there are more pages of source, assuming the source tends to contain more confirming facts than disconfirming facts.

    If beckwith used a cane, then he used a cane.
    If he threw some anger tantrum during one of his painting's displays, then it actually happened.
    How does the fact that an increase in the amount of pages increases the ability to score hits cast doubt on the fact that there is a very low probability
    to guess some items correctly?
    There are certainly facts whose probability of guessing is low. If the 28 items consisted of people's names, birth dates, pet names, street addresses, automobile makes, and so forth, then I would be quite impressed. But there are only three such specific facts and he got one wrong and one too vague to score. And the third fact is explained if he knew about Beckwith beforehand.

    If the items were false, they would not be confirmed by the diary.
    If the items are true, which they apparently are, then what difference
    does it make how many pages there were?
    I'm at a complete loss as to the method of reasoning you're using.
    I'm talking about cold reading. When a cold reader throws out "I'm getting an 'M'," he is more likely to get a hit with a larger audience. Beckwith's huge diary is Snow's large audience.

    Maybe, just maybe, what you're trying to say is that Beckwith lived
    for several years, each of which increases the probability that he would
    do something, or have something happen to him.
    Thus, the probability that an event took place in someone's life generally increases with the amount of time he has to live.
    This is true if the events in question are generic, yes.

    Since the amount of pages directly corresponds to his life, you're confusing
    the two arguments.
    Which two arguments?

    The deception option again...
    Snow explicitly said that he wrote down the items before he read the diary.
    I realize you're simply dismissing the deception option and the related confirmation bias option. Why you would dismiss a well-known option in favor of reincarnation I cannot imagine.

    The vast majority of the items may be generic, but this doesn't mean that
    an increase in the amount of pages magically transforms statements from
    being true to being false. (I know you aren't actually saying that, but this
    is what you would have to say to have a valid objection)
    I have no idea why you're going on about making statements false. That has nothing to do with what I'm saying.

    If he rejected at least one, that means that he had a specific image in mind.
    To which I ask "How many did he reject?" To which you respond "It doesn't make any difference to me." Your argument appears to be something along the lines of ignoring any questions that get to the heart of the matter.

    You need to think about what you would do in that situation, what evidence
    you would accept to make you believe something, and then consider whether
    you have to be some sort of ultra skeptic to act as you would.
    It doesn't take a lot to know that you can't just choose a painting
    because it's somewhat reminiscent of what you saw elsewhere and
    declare by fiat that the two are identical.
    Why can't I? Again, you appear to think there is some way we can verify that his imagined painting matches Beckwith's unobtainable painting. Note the use of the word "verify." Snow's say-so is not verification.

    ~~ Paul
    Last edited by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos; November 25th, 2009, 09:57 AM.

    Comment


    • #62
      I'll get to your others comments once we've solved this increase in information
      thing.
      We appear to be making some progress.
      My question now is, why do you think the diary is analogous to an audience
      as opposed to a single person?

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by majinrevan
        My question now is, why do you think the diary is analogous to an audience
        as opposed to a single person?
        Because it represents an increase in the number of statements that can get hits. Granted, a diary is only about one person, so the information is not as varied. However, since Snow knew he was talking about an artist, that helped him focus his statements toward things relevant to an artist (e.g., the 11 statements having to do with painting).

        ~~ Paul

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
          Because it represents an increase in the number of statements that can get hits.
          I don't see how.
          Are you saying that if we brought a psychic and a resurrected Beckwith together to do a cold reading exercise, he would have less success
          with Beckwith as Snow had with his diary?
          If so, give me some examples how a statement would be a hit with Beckwith's
          diary and not with Beckwith himself.
          Then, since this is essentially what we're discussing, give me an example
          that uses one of Snow's items that would be a hit with the diary, but
          not with Beckwith.

          Granted, a diary is only about one person, so the information is not as varied. However, since Snow knew he was talking about an artist, that helped him focus his statements toward things relevant to an artist (e.g., the 11 statements having to do with painting).
          That's a different argument.
          We'd just have to roughly assess the probability of each artist related statement while keeping in mind that it they can only apply to the artist
          community.

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by majinrevan
            I don't see how.
            Are you saying that if we brought a psychic and a resurrected Beckwith together to do a cold reading exercise, he would have less success
            with Beckwith as Snow had with his diary?
            Assuming that the cold reader knew everything about Beckwith that Snow knew (which indeed might be nothing), and assuming that Beckwith was as forthcoming as he was in his diary, and assuming that the reader had as much time to ask questions as Snow, then the cold reader should do more or less as well.

            I'm not sure why you think that I'm saying a cold reader wouldn't do as well.

            If so, give me some examples how a statement would be a hit with Beckwith's
            diary and not with Beckwith himself.
            Then, since this is essentially what we're discussing, give me an example
            that uses one of Snow's items that would be a hit with the diary, but
            not with Beckwith.
            We still appear to be talking past each other.

            That's a different argument.
            We'd just have to roughly assess the probability of each artist related statement while keeping in mind that it they can only apply to the artist
            community.
            Good luck calculating such probabilities.

            ~~ Paul

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post

              I'm not sure why you think that I'm saying a cold reader wouldn't do as well.
              Because you said that the diary is analogous to an audience rather than a single person.
              If you want to retract that statement, then I see no argument pursued from
              the increased pages thing.

              I'm perfectly willing to accept that Snow had a lot of information about Beckwith from his diaries.
              Indeed, that was the whole point of reading it in the first place!
              How this in anyway increases the probability of Snow guessing a certain item
              right is beyond me.

              Comment


              • #67
                The cumulative adds of chance being responsible are vanishingly small, even though a number of the items are somewhat generic. Here's my very rough estimates, trying to be conservative (assuming the database is only painters):

                Question number probability of being due to chance

                1 .00001
                2 ?
                3 .25
                4 .33
                5 .25
                6 .1
                7 ?
                8 .5
                9 .3
                10 .5
                11 .01
                12 .001
                13 .3
                14 .3
                15 .001
                16 .00001
                17 .01
                18

                Comment


                • #68
                  Because you said that the diary is analogous to an audience rather than a single person.
                  If you want to retract that statement, then I see no argument pursued from
                  the increased pages thing.
                  As I said, if the single person can recall a lifetime's worth of events and is as forthcoming with them as someone is with their diary, then the cold reader could do as well with a single person.

                  Snow could spend as much time as he wanted poring over 40,000 pages of intimate detail about Beckwith to match 28 mostly generic statements. This is not the situation that most cold readers/psychics find themselves in. Therefore, a larger audience is better because more facts are readily available.

                  I'm perfectly willing to accept that Snow had a lot of information about Beckwith from his diaries.
                  Indeed, that was the whole point of reading it in the first place!
                  How this in anyway increases the probability of Snow guessing a certain item
                  right is beyond me.
                  Let's say you wrote down 28 fairly obscure words. Would you like to try to find them in a 1-column newspaper article or in a dictionary?

                  Do you think Snow would have done as well in a 5-page diary?

                  ~~ Paul
                  Last edited by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos; November 25th, 2009, 03:32 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    To be fair, the first one doesn't count.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by nbtruthman
                      Question number probability of being due to chance

                      1 .00001
                      I agree this is low, which is why I think Snow knew about a connection between some painter and a hunchback. The probability that there is a painter connected to a hunchback is, after all, 1, since Beckwith translated The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

                      2 ?
                      3 .25
                      4 .33
                      5 .25
                      6 .1
                      7 ?
                      8 .5
                      9 .3
                      10 .5
                      11 .01
                      12 .001
                      I'd say many more than 1 in a thousand men use a walking stick.

                      13 .3
                      14 .3
                      15 .001
                      I have no idea how you would calculate this.

                      16 .00001
                      He got this one wrong.

                      17 .01
                      18
                      Now, how would you combine these probabilities to come up with a final one?

                      ~~ Paul

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
                        As I said, if the single person can recall a lifetime's worth of events and is as forthcoming with them as someone is with their diary, then the cold reader could do as well with a single person.
                        So he would do better than a psychic not because of the psychic's failing,
                        but the person's.
                        That's fine.
                        That still doesn't constitute an argument for the statements to be more
                        likely to be true.
                        All we're left with is trying to calculate their probability, which, if I might add,
                        is what we've been trying to do all along.
                        This is the most redundant attempt at an objection I've seen in a while.

                        It can basically be summarized thus:

                        1.A diary remembers better than a person.

                        2.A psychic/cold reader only has access to a person.

                        3.Someone with a diary would be more likely to KNOW he scored a hit than a psychic/cold reader would.

                        Let's say you wrote down 28 fairly obscure words. Would you like to try to find them in a 1-column newspaper article or in a dictionary?
                        That's completely not analogous.
                        But again, I understand the thrust of this "argument".

                        Do you think Snow would have done as well in a 5-page diary?
                        Yes and no.
                        He would have guessed the items correctly.
                        He just couldn't verify them.
                        Last edited by majinrevan666; November 25th, 2009, 03:41 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          The cumulative adds of chance being responsible are vanishingly small, even though a number of the items are somewhat generic. Here's my very rough estimates, trying to be conservative and assuming the database is only painters. The total cumulative odds for chance being responsible are less than 1 in a septillion (10**21). That's 1 followed by 21 zeros.

                          Of course the skeptic can always suggest outright fraud, or subconscious memories from somehow reading about Beckwith in the past, or non-reincarnational paranormal explanations like super psi clairvoyant reading of the data from the "akashic records", books, or whatnot.

                          Question number probability of being due to chance

                          1 .001
                          2 ?
                          3 .25
                          4 .33
                          5 .25
                          6 .1
                          7 ?
                          8 .5
                          9 .3
                          10 .5
                          11 .01
                          12 .001
                          13 .3
                          14 .3
                          15 .001
                          16 .00001
                          17 .01
                          18 .2
                          19 .5
                          20 .1
                          21 .5
                          22 .5
                          23 .01
                          24 .1
                          25 .25
                          26 .5
                          27 .5
                          28 .1

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
                            I agree this is low, which is why I think Snow knew about a connection between some painter and a hunchback. The probability that there is a painter connected to a hunchback is, after all, 1, since Beckwith translated The Hunchback of Notre Dame.


                            ~~ Paul
                            The first one is 100% by default.
                            Snow went from the painting to Beckwith, not vise versa.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by nbtruthman View Post
                              The cumulative adds of chance being responsible are vanishingly small, even though a number of the items are somewhat generic. Here's my very rough estimates, trying to be conservative and assuming the database is only painters. The total cumulative odds for chance being responsible are less than 1 in a septillion (10**21). That's 1 followed by 21 zeros.
                              Could you calculate it again while removing 1 and considering 16 false?
                              1 doesn't count and 16 turned out false. (Which actually lends to the strength
                              of the case, since the one detail he was just guessing turned out as false)

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by majinrevan
                                So he would do better than a psychic not because of the psychic's failing,
                                but the person's.
                                Mu. I don't think there are any psychics.

                                That's fine.
                                That still doesn't constitute an argument for the statements to be more
                                likely to be true.
                                The statements aren't more likely to be true. They are more likely to be found.

                                All we're left with is trying to calculate their probability, which, if I might add,
                                is what we've been trying to do all along.
                                This is the most redundant attempt at an objection I've seen in a while.
                                That's because you keep talking about truth/falsehood somehow being changed by the size of the diary. It's simply a question whether an item can be found in the diary, and whether the diary is skewed toward confirmations and away from disconfirmations.

                                It can basically be summarized thus:

                                1.A diary remembers better than a person.

                                2.A psychic/cold reader only has access to a person.

                                3.Someone with a diary would be more likely to KNOW he scored a hit than a psychic/cold reader would.
                                It's not just memory, but accessibility, cooperativeness, and time.

                                That's completely not analogous.
                                But again, I understand the thrust of this "argument".
                                Why isn't it analogous?

                                Yes and no.
                                He would have guessed the items correctly.
                                He just couldn't verify them.
                                That doesn't make sense. The only way that an item is correct is if it is verified. There is no other standard for correctness in this scenario.

                                ~~ Paul

                                Comment

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