SMU CFB 3333 - homework 5 (4 pages)

Previewing page 1 of 4 page document View the full content.
View Full Document

homework 5



Previewing page 1 of actual document.

View the full content.
View Full Document
View Full Document

homework 5

344 views


Pages:
4
School:
Southern Methodist University
Course:
Cfb 3333 - The Scientific Method (Debunking Pseudoscience)
The Scientific Method (Debunking Pseudoscience) Documents
Unformatted text preview:

Physics 3333 CFB 3333 Homework 5 Below you have a pseudoscientific claim and a design for an experiment to test the claim Your task is to study the experiment protocol and determine whether it meets all requirements for a valid test Remember to determine whether the protocol eliminates deception ad hoc excuses etc so that if a subject passes the test it can only be because there is a real effect The Claim I Bryan Boondocker have invented the Smellex a patented gold detector With this device I can detect gold at a distance of up to 50 feet The gold can be buried in the ground up to 50 feet down and I can still find it The Smellex is at least 90 accurate Procedure Staff Boondocker Test conductor Result recorder Items Required o 1 pound of gold o Smellex device supplied by Boondocker o Open field for test area o 10 opaque plastic buckets o 10 sided die o Marker for marking buckets o Note pad for data recorder o Pencils o Small supply of snacks drinks etc Procedure o Prior to the test Boondocker and the testers will meet and agree on test conditions and procedures A contract will be executed and signed by all agreeing to site suitability procedures evaluation and success criteria A success rate of 90 as claimed by Boondocker will be required Ten trials will be performed o On the day of the test all will meet at the agreed location All will check to be sure all necessary supplies are ready Boondocker will survey the site as required to ensure that there is no interference present o The test conductor will use the marker to write numbers 1 10 on the bucket bottoms o The buckets will be positioned in the test area separated by a minimum distance specified by Boondocker and agreed in the contract o Drinks and snacks are provided for Boondocker The test conditions are to be as agreeable as possible o o o o o o o o o The result recorder will prepare two pages one for recording the actual locations of the gold and another for recording Boondocker s choices Both sets of data will be keyed by the trial number Boondocker will not see the actual location data until the test is complete When everyone agrees that conditions are satisfactory the test will proceed If Boondocker wishes to pause for a snack or drink that is allowed A relaxed atmosphere is the goal Things will get underway with Boondocker waiting in a place from which he cannot see the test area The actual test protocol as as follows 1 The test conductor will roll the 10 sided die to get a random number 2 The result recorder accompanying the conductor will write the trial number 1 10 and the random number on the actual locations page 3 The conductor and the recorder will then go into the test area and put the gold under the bucket with its number equal to the random number 4 Boondocker will next enter the test area and use his Smellex to locate the hidden gold The test conductor and the result recorder will accompany him 5 When Boondocker has located the gold he will notify the result recorder of his choice During the trial Boondocker is not permitted to touch any buckets 6 The recorder will write down the bucket number on the choices page and have Boondocker inspect the written record Boondocker will initial the entry if it correctly reflects his choice 7 Boondocker will then leave the field while the gold is moved he will go to the palce from which he cannot see the test area 8 The test conductor and the recorder remain in the test area and retrieve the gold 9 These steps will be repeated for a total of 10 trials When all 10 trials are complete Boondocker the test conductor and the recorder will meet at the assembly point The recorder will reveal the actual locations of the gold along with Boondocker s selections The result will be evaluated Boondocker must get at least 9 out of 10 correct to pass DO NOT try to design a new experiment for this test Describe the flaws in THIS protocol See Criteria for a Successful Experiment Experiment Design Introduction There are number of important facets to an experiment for testing a paranormal claim All of these must be accounted for to make the experiment valid Assume that someone presents you with a claim of paranormal ability Your job is to test this claim with an appropriate experiment The experiment design must meet two primary goals 1 If the person really does possess the claimed power he will be able to perform the feat as advertised 2 If the person does NOT actually have the claimed power he will NOT be able to perform the feat Many experiments we have studied have met the first requirement but failed badly in the second Such an experiment does not produce valid results Facets of Experiments Here are some important considerations 1 The experiment must be feasible reasonable in cost and performable in a reasonable period of time 2 The trials MUST be randomized This is critical Randomization need not be terribly complicated a coin or die will suffice note that dice of more than 6 sides are available in game stores 3 The test must be double blind if possible This means that it s most desirable that the test subject and the evaluator NOT know the test condition For example if a dowser is trying to find water in one of several large crocks neither the dowser nor the evaluator can know which jar contains the water That is determined and set up by someone who comes in out of view like behind a curtain positions the crocks then leaves No one else knows where the water is and the person who does know is not visible to the participants during the trial 4 You need to have a competent magician conjurer present to detect trickery The magician s art is trickery so a magician is best equipped to detect it Remember that Uri Geller made monkeys out of a group of scientists by using tricks that any competent conjurer would spot very quickly 5 Keep a permanent and complete record Videotape works well Careful and complete written records are also valuable 6 BEFORE the trials begin the claimant must sign a contract specifying exactly what constitutes success and failure The percentage of successful trials required AND the total number of trials MUST be determined in advance Read James Randi s contract to see what one looks like Read more about Randi s 1 million challenge 7 The trials must be such that success or failure is easily objectively determinable No judgment calls allowed For example do not try to decide if a drawing made by a remote viewer is close to the real scene Instead provide the remote


View Full Document

Access the best Study Guides, Lecture Notes and Practice Exams

Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view homework 5 and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view homework 5 and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?