Talk:21 grams experiment

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Wouldn't the patients lose mass as they exhaled all the oxygen in their lungs? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:25, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

You mean air (not oxygen) in the lungs. Mass loss, yes, but not weight loss. According to Archimedes's law the air within the body does not contribute to the measured weight provided its pressure is the same as the ambient air pressure. However, if some lower pressure were building up in the body during death, that could cause extra Archimedes force and the decrease of the measured weight. Repep (talk) 22:51, 1 September 2011 (UTC) (talk) 22:26, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Could someone else repeat his experiment?

Do you mean the part about poisoning dogs?

See the new paragraph added. The measurements of weight of memory devices after deleting the information in them is a relevant test. Of course, not relevant for the "mass of the soul" but for the stored information.Repep (talk) 22:56, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

"(for mass cannot be destroyed)" Mass indeed can be created or destroyed when we take special relativity into account. E = mc2 refers to the equivalence between matter and energy. Twistered (talk) 08:46, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

This is technically correct, but if a man would lose 21 grams while dying, he would emit so much energy, that he would explode. --Qaywsxedc (talk) 18:30, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
To answer the two notes above, it is important to note that neither experiments tested the mass of the objects. They tested only the weight of the objects and such tests are prone to artifacts (one example is Archimedes force). If we suppose that the results are not due to artifacts then we can say than the gravitational masses of the objects went through a change. However, their inertial masses have not been tested.Repep (talk) 23:03, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

This article seems to go out of its way to criticize we really need to say repeatedly that his work was of no scientific merit? Isn't that obvious enough from the description? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:26, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

This sounds less like an encyclopedia entry and more like an opinion paper. "Dubious shenanegans" is hardly neutral. I'm not defending the man, but reading this article, it is simply not up to standards. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:24, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

I have to say that, considering the man apperently poisoned 15 healthy dogs, in order for them to die so that he could confirm his religious doctrine, to whit that canines have no soul, would be considered both dubious and shenanigans. That said, I don't find the phrase suitable in a supposedly neutral entry. (talk) 08:06, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the prior posts. Wikipedia is meant to be informative and content-neutral, rather than an opportunity for others to opine on their personal views. If MacDougall's theories were and are generally unaccepted by the scientific community, say so, provide a citation, and kindly move on. Leave the editorializing to the reader.

--Shazamtwix (talk) 19:14, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Oh but the "editors" have:
"Although generally regarded either as meaningless or considered to have had little if any scientific merit[1], MacDougall's finding that the human soul weighed 21 grams has become a meme in the public consciousness. It lent itself to the title of the film 21 Grams. In the end, however, his practices were considered fallible due to shaky methods and small sample size. Scientists disregard his research into this field due to allegations of bias."
How can one say something is "generally regarded as meaningless" by citing a lone article on the world wide web? What is wrong with Wikipedia? How does such a waste of time and effort become popular? Is the human race in that bad of shape?
I dare you to find a website that holds MacDougall's research as valid, replace the above paragraph that one stating something along the lines of: "his practices were considered innovative and provided seriously considerable insight to the state of the human soul." I GUARANTEE it will be erased. Wouldn't expect more from a website whose "editors" consist of 4 times as many atheists than in the real world.


"Others consider MacDougall's practices as innovative and provding seriously considerable insight to the state of the human soul." - Who are those others? - (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 00:45, 27 December 2008 (UTC).

lol i'm pretty sure those 'others' are the guy who left the 'wikipedia editors are atheists' comment above. (talk) 07:36, 16 November 2011 (UTC)


Is Snopes stated but unsupported opinion a reliable source? --Blue Tie (talk) 07:09, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

...I don't understand what you're asking. Snopes is an established and extremely reliable source if that's what you're asking. Freikorp (talk) 00:16, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

False statement?[edit]

In the article it is writen

"All attempts to reproduce the results with better methods and equipment have failed"

, but in Robert L. Park book (Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science, page 90, full citation is in this article refs) says

"... MacDougall's experiments are not regarded today as having any scientific merit and have never been repeated..."

This made me think the statement is false, due to the lack of sources. I marked that it needs citation, but I'm unsure if it is better to remove since there is another recent source that says exactly the opposite. --Diego Queiroz (talk) 10:06, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Article move[edit]

The title of this article is currently 'Duncan MacDougall (doctor)' however the article isn't about Duncan MacDougall, it's about one experiment he did. I am about to start overhauling this article, and I propose an article title that is a more accurate reflection of what it contains. Does anyone have any suggestions? I was thinking '21 grams experiment', but I'm happy to hear other opinions. Freikorp (talk) 00:16, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

It took me less time than I anticipated to completely rewrite the article. I'm going to be bold and move the article now. Happy to discuss this further here. Freikorp (talk) 09:05, 16 July 2017 (UTC)
Hi Freikorp. You have just passed the article against the GA criteria, so well done! Now with regard to the title, '21 grams experiment' would have been the appropriate title for the same reason you provide. Besides, the experiment has been referenced in pop culture many times, not to mention a 2003 movie starring Sean Penn. On the other hand Duncan MacDougall is another story, there should be a separate BLP about this man. Slightlymad (talk) 15:30, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:21 grams experiment/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Bluesphere (talk · contribs) 15:54, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

I'm going to review this article in a day or two. Bluesphere 15:54, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

Alright, I have thoroughly gone through the article and I must say that I find no issues that prevents it from becoming a Good Article—the prose is well-written, engaging, and places all facts in context; images are properly licensed; sources appear to be reliable and supported inline; and it's broad for the most part, covering most topics associated with the subject. When I ran the Earwig tool it detected about 40% copyvio, but I ran it again today and became 29.6% which is kind of odd. But examining carefully, there is not a single copyright violation throughout. As a whole you did a wonderful job improving an article about a controversial yet divisive subject. So I'm happy to say this article has passed, well done!

To conclude this review, I would recommend this article be featured on the main page via Wikipedia:Did You Know, as certain facts here are solid and might boost its page views.

Thanks for your review Bluesphere. I've listed this at DYK as recommended. Also the copyvio percentage dropeed as I noticed it was too high after you started the review then trimmed it down a little bit. :) Ping me when your nomination is ready to be reviewed. Freikorp (talk) 13:16, 20 July 2017 (UTC)