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

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  • #76
    Originally posted by nbtruthman
    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.
    You're not multiplying the probabilities, right? That only works if the events are independent. Also, what do you think the probability means?

    Remember that he got 16 wrong. And number 17 should have probability 1.

    ~~ Paul
    Last edited by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos; November 25th, 2009, 03:30 PM.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by majinrevan
      The first one is 100% by default.
      Snow went from the painting to Beckwith, not vise versa.
      Good point. And if there really were other hunchback paintings that he passed over, that might lower a few other probabilities, too (e.g., the one about "Jack").

      ~~ Paul
      Last edited by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos; November 25th, 2009, 03:27 PM.

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      • #78
        Originally posted by majinrevan
        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).
        He was just guessing at 16? Where does this come from?

        ~~ Paul

        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
          The statements aren't more likely to be true. They are more likely to be found.
          I rest my case.
          Why isn't it analogous?
          Because it's not about guessing what would be in a text, it's about guessing
          what events took place in someone's life.
          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.
          Of course there is.
          If I said that the world would end tomorrow, and it did, assuming your
          non after life philosophy is correct, would it still not be a remarkable guess
          even if no one could verify it?
          And if there really were other hunchback paintings that he passed over, that might lower a few other probabilities, too (e.g., the one about "Jack").
          I don't see how that would be.
          He only looked at the paintings, no other information swayed him.
          Besides, Beckwith's first name isn't Jack, he used it as one of his many names
          since he didn't like the name James.
          At first, Snow was relieved to find that Beckwith's first name was James and thought he had
          partially refuted his case.

          He was just guessing at 16? Where does this come from?
          When asked his wife's name, he didn't know.
          He just called her Amanda to make reference to her more convenient, and even
          though he spontaneously came up with the name, it didn't feel right to him.
          So, his item about the name of his wife was just conjecture.
          Last edited by majinrevan666; November 25th, 2009, 03:40 PM.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by majinrevan
            I rest my case.
            I have no idea what case you think you're resting.

            Because it's not about guessing what would be in a text, it's about guessing
            what events took place in someone's life.
            When you're guessing about someone you don't know anything about, what is the difference?

            Of course there is.
            If I said that the world would end tomorrow, and it did, assuming your
            non after life philosophy is correct, would it still not be a remarkable guess
            even if no one could verify it?
            This question presupposes that there is some entity who could verify it after it happened. Otherwise the question is meaningless.

            You appear to believe that we should give Snow credit for guessing things about an artist's life even if there is no way to verify that the guesses are correct. I have no idea how your model of reality works if this is the case. You have some sort of model of truth/falsehood that you need to explain carefully.

            ~~ Paul

            Comment


            • #81
              Originally posted by majinrevan
              I don't see how that would be.
              He only looked at the paintings, no other information swayed him.
              Besides, Beckwith's first name isn't Jack, he used it as one of his many names
              since he didn't like the name James.
              At first, Snow was relieved to find that Beckwith's first name was James and thought he had
              partially refuted his case.
              So you don't think there might have been a short bio on Beckwith displayed with his paintings in the New Orleans gallery? Jack is a common nickname for James.

              When asked his wife's name, he didn't know.
              He just called her Amanda to make reference to her more convenient, and even
              though he spontaneously came up with the name, it didn't feel right to him.
              So, his item about the name of his wife was just conjecture.
              Because it is awfully hard to guess names correctly when you're cold reading.

              ~~ Paul

              Comment


              • #82
                Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
                I have no idea what case you think you're resting.
                The case that your argument is completely irrelevant.
                When you're guessing about someone you don't know anything about, what is the difference?
                The difference is that you have certain propositions in mind, not words.
                Propositions are either true or false, words aren't.
                If you wish to say that guessing that certain words would
                be present in a certain text is analogous, then I agree, but
                that's still irrelevant.
                You'd still have to calculate the probability of a certain word being in
                a certain, random or otherwise, text.
                This question presupposes that there is some entity who could verify it after it happened. Otherwise the question is meaningless.
                What the hell?
                That's like saying that because no one was there to verify it, talking
                about the big bang is meaningless.
                Or, to be more accurate, it's like saying that the truth of whether something
                has taken place or not is meaningless if we can't verify it.

                Imagine a society of blind people who somehow still have imagination.
                Since no one can verify what anything looks like, they can only speak of what they imagine the world to be.
                One blind person suddenly says that he's head a sudden glimpse of what the world actually looks like.
                He then goes on to describe what he's seen in great detail.
                The other blind men, still unable to verify what they can only imagine, don't know what to make of his claims.
                Are the statements of the blind person who claims to have had a glimpse of reality meaningless because no one
                can verify them?
                Are they still meaningless if they happen to be true?
                You appear to believe that we should give Snow credit for guessing things about an artist's life even if there is no way to verify that the guesses are correct. I have no idea how your model of reality works if this is the case. You have some sort of model of truth/falsehood that you need to explain carefully.
                First of all, we do have a way to verify them, so the question is meaningless.
                Secondly, you forgot the word correctly.
                Guessing things correctly.
                Now, I realize that this theoretical situation is impossible, but that doesn't
                mean that his guesses would have been less improbable or impressive.

                Look, I just can't argue against something that is of no relevance whatsoever
                to anything.
                If you can't show me how this argument advances an anti reincarnation hypothesis, I'm going to counter your argument by proposing the following argument which has exactly the same force:

                1.Beckwith was a painter.

                2.Snow likes art.

                3.Therefore, the reincarnation hypothesis is stronger.

                Actually, I think mine is a bit more forceful.
                Last edited by majinrevan666; November 25th, 2009, 06:40 PM.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
                  So you don't think there might have been a short bio on Beckwith displayed with his paintings in the New Orleans gallery? Jack is a common nickname for James.
                  There might have been, but would you use the biography as a standard
                  by which to judge whether the painting was what you had seen in a regression
                  or not when trying to objectively assess the evidence?
                  I give Snow a little more credit than that.
                  He can't be THAT incompetent.

                  Because it is awfully hard to guess names correctly when you're cold reading.
                  I'm assuming you mean unconscious cold reading.
                  But why, if he was unconsciously cold reading, would have only had doubts
                  about a name being false?
                  Why not any other detail?
                  Surely, the unconscious reasoning skills aren't so remarkable as to
                  know in advance that guessing a name would have less chances of success?
                  Besides, he already did guess a name, his own.
                  Last edited by majinrevan666; November 25th, 2009, 06:27 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by majinrevan
                    The case that your argument is completely irrelevant.
                    You mean that the size of the text is important? So you would be willing to try to verify Snow's 28 points using a 5-page diary?

                    The difference is that you have certain propositions in mind, not words.
                    Propositions are either true or false, words aren't.
                    If you wish to say that guessing that certain words would
                    be present in a certain text is analogous, then I agree, but
                    that's still irrelevant.
                    You're right, we're matching propositions. That's even easier than matching raw words, because we'll count a hit even if the exact word isn't used.

                    What the hell?
                    That's like saying that because no one was there to verify it, talking
                    about the big bang is meaningless.
                    Or, to be more accurate, it's like saying that the truth of whether something
                    has taken place or not is meaningless if we can't verify it.
                    That is correct. It is simply a variant of:

                    If the existence of a thing is indistinguishable from its nonexistence, we say that thing does not exist. ---Yahzi

                    The only way that we come to believe that the Big Bang occurred is because we can verify the theory after the fact.

                    Imagine a society of blind people who somehow still have imagination.
                    Since no one can verify what anything looks like, they can only speak of what they imagine the world to be.
                    One blind person suddenly says that he's head a sudden glimpse of what the world actually looks like.
                    He then goes on to describe what he's seen in great detail.
                    The other blind men, still unable to verify what they can only imagine, don't know what to make of his claims.
                    Are the statements of the blind person who claims to have had a glimpse of reality meaningless because no one
                    can verify them?
                    Are they still meaningless if they happen to be true?
                    Well, of course they can verify his statements using senses other than sight. But let's suppose neither he nor they can verify his statements in any way. Then yes, his statements are meaningless.

                    I'd be most happy to be shown wrong. How are they meaningful? And remember, since no one can verify them, neither can you.

                    First of all, we do have a way to verify them, so the question is meaningless.
                    Secondly, you forgot the word correctly.
                    Guessing things correctly.
                    Now, I realize that this theoretical situation is impossible, but that doesn't
                    mean that his guesses would have been less improbable or impressive.
                    If you think there is a way to verify his statements, then why did you bring up the subject of unverifiable statements having meaning? Otherwise, I don't understand what you're saying here.

                    If you can't show me how this argument advances an anti reincarnation hypothesis, I'm going to counter your argument by proposing the following argument which has exactly the same force:
                    Who ever said anything about advancing an anti-reincarnation hypothesis? Where do you get this stuff? I am simply proposing that Snow may have known about Beckwith beforehand and that his statements are so generic that cold reading is a possibility.

                    Oh, perhaps you mean an anti-reincarnation hypothesis for this particular case, not in general. I'm proposing an alternative explanation. In order to propose an anti-reincarnation hypothesis, I'd have to come up with evidence that explicitly rules out reincarnation. Since reincarnation is just about nonfalsifiable, I don't even know how to do that.

                    1.Beckwith was a painter.

                    2.Snow likes art.

                    3.Therefore, the reincarnation hypothesis is stronger.

                    Actually, I think mine is a bit more forceful.
                    According to this argument, anyone who has anything in common with a dead person gets extra points toward being the reincarnation of that dead person. I suppose I can't argue with such a statement, although it is based on an unstated premise: That a reincarnated person shares interests with their former lives. Again, pretty much unfalsifiable.

                    ~~ Paul
                    Last edited by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos; November 25th, 2009, 07:57 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by majinrevan
                      There might have been, but would you use the biography as a standard
                      by which to judge whether the painting was what you had seen in a regression
                      or not when trying to objectively assess the evidence?
                      I give Snow a little more credit than that.
                      He can't be THAT incompetent.
                      What? He used a diary, why not a biography? However, we're talking about selecting this particular hunchback painting from among a group that he supposedly discovered prior to New Orleans. If he is going to use the image of the painting to make that decision, why would he not also use information in the biography? Both the image and the information are part of his statements during hypnosis.

                      I'm assuming you mean unconscious cold reading.
                      But why, if he was unconsciously cold reading, would have only had doubts
                      about a name being false?
                      Why not any other detail?
                      Surely, the unconscious reasoning skills aren't so remarkable as to
                      know in advance that guessing a name would have less chances of success?
                      Besides, he already did guess a name, his own.
                      The guy is a detective. His knows about fact specificity.

                      ~~ Paul

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        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.

                        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 ?
                        [etc]
                        That’s a lot of made-up numbers you’ve got yourself there. Simply adding together a bunch of fractions and being amazed at how small the answer is doesn’t apply here.

                        I can show how nonsensical this is by using your numbers, and working out the probability of a description using only seven statements of an artist who visited France with his wife, had bright colours in his paintings, drank wine, visited an estate or house with a large garden, had a wife who played piano, who argued with his wife about money and who had a studio with lots of windows full of unsold paintings.

                        Now, we can all see that a psychic or cold reader who came up with that description would be laughed at but by your calculations, that would be odds of 1 in 66,667!

                        [on an unrelated note - he was a good painter, wasn't he? I've got his "Girl with guitar" as my desktop wallpaper]
                        Last edited by Ersby; November 26th, 2009, 03:07 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post
                          You mean that the size of the text is important? So you would be willing to try to verify Snow's 28 points using a 5-page diary?
                          What?
                          Your second question is a non sequiter from the first.
                          But the answer is no on both counts, I don't know what prompted
                          you to ask either question.
                          You're right, we're matching propositions. That's even easier than matching raw words, because we'll count a hit even if the exact word isn't used.
                          This refers to how vague a word is, not how many pages exist to check the
                          facts.
                          That is correct. It is simply a variant of:

                          If the existence of a thing is indistinguishable from its nonexistence, we say that thing does not exist. ---Yahzi

                          The only way that we come to believe that the Big Bang occurred is because we can verify the theory after the fact.


                          Well, of course they can verify his statements using senses other than sight. But let's suppose neither he nor they can verify his statements in any way. Then yes, his statements are meaningless.

                          I'd be most happy to be shown wrong. How are they meaningful? And remember, since no one can verify them, neither can you.
                          They are meaningful because if they are correct, they mean that he actually
                          did catch a glimpse of the actual world.
                          We wouldn't credit him because we wouldn't know how to verify his statements, but that doesn't mean that they are meaningless.
                          Either way, Snow HAS verified his statements using his diary, so why are
                          we even talking about this?
                          These what ifs aren't advancing an argument.
                          If you think there is a way to verify his statements, then why did you bring up the subject of unverifiable statements having meaning? Otherwise, I don't understand what you're saying here.
                          The way to verify his statements is using the diary.
                          I brought up the subject because I wanted to know how it advanced your
                          argument, which it apparently would not even if I conceded your point.
                          Oh, perhaps you mean an anti-reincarnation hypothesis for this particular case, not in general.
                          Correct.
                          I'm proposing an alternative explanation.
                          I don't see it, that's the problem.

                          According to this argument, anyone who has anything in common with a dead person gets extra points toward being the reincarnation of that dead person. I suppose I can't argue with such a statement, although it is based on an unstated premise: That a reincarnated person shares interests with their former lives. Again, pretty much unfalsifiable.
                          Yes, that's why I think my pretend argument has more force.
                          Mine is based an an unfalsifiable, implicit premise while yours is based on an absent one.


                          Here's what you need to do to make what you're saying clear:
                          Create an argument that uses an increase of pages as a premise, and
                          an advancement of a non reincarnation explanation as a conclusion.

                          Everything you've said so far pertaining to this argument, apart from the
                          audience thing which you've apparently retracted, has had me scratching
                          my head and asking "so what?"

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos View Post

                            What? He used a diary, why not a biography? However, we're talking about selecting this particular hunchback painting from among a group that he supposedly discovered prior to New Orleans. If he is going to use the image of the painting to make that decision, why would he not also use information in the biography? Both the image and the information are part of his statements during hypnosis.
                            He used the diary AFTER he saw the picture displayed and confirmed it
                            as the one he'd seen in the regression.
                            He wouldn't use your method because your method is asinine.
                            It's completely confirmation biased.
                            The guy is a detective. His knows about fact specificity.
                            So suddenly the fact he's a detective is important?

                            Anyway, to say that his unconscious mind played this big a trick on
                            him is a bit of a stretch, but is made even more implausible when you consider the other statements he made, such as walking with a cane
                            the blood clot his own name even! And the idea that they couldn't have kids.
                            Why didn't his unconscious detective skills warn him about those?

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by majinrevan
                              What?
                              Your second question is a non sequiter from the first.
                              But the answer is no on both counts, I don't know what prompted
                              you to ask either question.
                              This is getting surreal. You say that my argument about the size of the text is irrelevant. Up above I asked:

                              Originally posted by me
                              Do you think Snow would have done as well in a 5-page diary?
                              You responded:
                              Originally posted by majinrevan
                              Yes and no.
                              He would have guessed the items correctly.
                              He just couldn't verify them.
                              And off we went on a bizarre conversation about assuming he guessed correctly even though we would have no way of knowing.

                              Then I repeat:
                              Originally posted by me
                              So you would be willing to try to verify Snow's 28 points using a 5-page diary?
                              And now you say no, but don't understand why I asked.

                              They [the blind man's statements] are meaningful because if they are correct, they mean that he actually
                              did catch a glimpse of the actual world.
                              How do you know they are correct when no one can verify them? How do you know that his words are even meaningful?

                              We wouldn't credit him because we wouldn't know how to verify his statements, but that doesn't mean that they are meaningless.
                              In what way are they meaningful?

                              Either way, Snow HAS verified his statements using his diary, so why are
                              we even talking about this?
                              These what ifs aren't advancing an argument.
                              This was part of our bizarre conversation about giving Snow credit for accurate statements even if they couldn't be verified. It began with your claiming credit for quessing that the world ends tomorrow even if no one knows.

                              I don't see it [my alternate explanation], that's the problem.
                              I understand that you don't see it, even though above you agree that a bigger diary is helpful in verifying statements.

                              Yes, that's why I think my pretend argument has more force.
                              Mine is based an an unfalsifiable, implicit premise while yours is based on an absent one.
                              All righty then.

                              Here's what you need to do to make what you're saying clear:
                              Create an argument that uses an increase of pages as a premise, and
                              an advancement of a non reincarnation explanation as a conclusion

                              Everything you've said so far pertaining to this argument, apart from the
                              audience thing which you've apparently retracted, has had me scratching
                              my head and asking "so what?"
                              Nope, haven't retracted it. A bigger audience is more likely to expose hits.

                              There is no point in my explaining this again. You apparently agree that a 5-page diary is not likely to confirm 28 statements as well as a 40,000-page diary. That is one of my points, along with the possibility that Snow knew of the connection between Beckwith and hunchbacks. This gives us an alternate explanation for the story, although we will never be able to investigate it thoroughly.

                              If you continue to insist that you do not understand my points, no amount of additional chit-chat is going to help.


                              ~~ Paul
                              Last edited by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos; November 26th, 2009, 09:57 AM.

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Originally posted by majinrevan
                                He used the diary AFTER he saw the picture displayed and confirmed it
                                as the one he'd seen in the regression.
                                So what?

                                He wouldn't use your method because your method is asinine.
                                It's completely confirmation biased.
                                What? You're saying he can use his mental image of the painting to confirm that Beckwith's painting in New Orleans is the correct one, but he cannot use any of the other information about the artist that he stated during hypnosis and then recorded in the list of 28 items? Why?

                                Picture this short bio next to the painting in New Orleans:

                                Painter: James "Jack" Carroll Beckwith
                                September 23, 1852 – October 24, 1917
                                studied in New York and Paris

                                And now Snow can verify about five of his statements in addition to seeing the painting of the hunchback.

                                So suddenly the fact he's a detective is important?
                                It always has been. I'm just not willing to assume that just because he's a detective he's also perfectly honest and perfectly logical.

                                Anyway, to say that his unconscious mind played this big a trick on
                                him is a bit of a stretch, but is made even more implausible when you consider the other statements he made, such as walking with a cane
                                the blood clot his own name even! And the idea that they couldn't have kids.
                                Why didn't his unconscious detective skills warn him about those?
                                Because they are not as specific as proper names, street addresses, telephone numbers, pet names, employer names, and so forth. But this is a minor point. Perhaps his detective skills had nothing to do with it.

                                ~~ Paul
                                Last edited by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos; November 26th, 2009, 10:08 AM.

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