Talk:Dowsing

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Arbitration Committee Decisions on Pseudoscience

The Arbitration Committee has issued several principles which may be helpful to editors of this and other articles when dealing with subjects and categories related to "pseudoscience".

Principles
Four groups

Dubious sentence[edit]

" it remains popular among believers in Forteana or radiesthesia." - A bit of howler from someone of a binary believer/sceptic worldview, and actually a gross distortion of what Forteana means. Forteana is something that people take an interest in, it's not a belief system. Some Forteana is most definitely real (or at least due to perception), and one can take an interest in the more dubious stuff without necssarily believing in it.

Forteana really refers to unusual things, sometimes including the supposedly anomalous. This can include looking at unusual beliefs, or practices as well. -MacRùsgail (talk) 17:04, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Robert Boyle?[edit]

I've read a few things that attempt to give a history of dowsing. Most of them seem to claim that Robert Boyle (Yes, the chemist) wrote something about Dowsing. The scholarship of these authors was not particularly good, and I haven't been able to find anything written by Robert Boyle that is clearly discussing Dowsing, but I'm no Robert Boyle scholar. Does anyone have evidence that Robert Boyle actually mentions dowsing? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 205.129.20.66 (talk) 08:18, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

This appears in the chapter "On Unsucceeding Experiments" of Boyles Works (volume 1, page 343 of Thomas Birch's six-volume 1743 edition), a google digitisation. Boyle's own experiment failed, but he witnessed a demonstration at a lead mine in Somerset, when the "motion" of the hazel seemed independent of the user's hand movements. He also commended the findings of his contemporary the "diligent" agriculturalist Gabriel Plat, who ascribed "very much" to this "detecting wand". Boyle concludes that, for some, seeing was believing but personally he remained unconvinced.--217.155.32.221 (talk) 09:42, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Now added--217.155.32.221 (talk) 20:57, 23 August 2017 (UTC)

Historical illustrations[edit]

That poor diviner seen in the 18th century... he appears to have been standing there for a couple of centuries in exactly the same pose, wearing exactly the same (now anachronistic) clothes, as when he appeared in the De Re Metallica woodcut above. Clearly the 18th century image is not actually of someone observed by Thomas Pennant, although it may well have been used as an illustration in his book, but copied from the earlier illustration. Runox (talk) 14:07, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Proposed merge with British Society of Dowsers[edit]

not a notable organisation - it is my belief this would fail GNG. Should be merged/redirected to dowsing. Whatever encyclopaedic content/info of interest can be moved on, however that is limited considering the bulk of the article is their objective. some info can also be gleamed from these currently unused sources: Telegraph and this pitiful piece in the Guardian which unfortunately is a short and misplaced attempt at humour with little useful information. Rayman60 (talk) 00:33, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

That would entail merging many dowsing societies. There's a page of them at the British Society of Dowsers. Anweald (talk) 09:45, 3 January 2018 (UTC)

Problems with the lead[edit]

The new lead is a circular nondefinition:

"Dowsing is a form of of resource location, usually using some form of dowsing equipment, where the Dowser moves across an area to be searched, marking where indication of a buried item occurs."

Dowsing is whatever is usually done with a dowsing tool. Could we be any more circular and vague? This gives absolutely no clue to how dowsing is done, other than the dowser moves over the area, and he often uses tools. So anyone walking around with some sort of instrument, searching for clues to things underground is dowsing? How about if I search with a metal detector? This is a terrible definition. No wonder it is unsourced.

"Divination is a form of remote indication which is not carried out in the area where the items are being searched for."

This is not the definition as presented in the divination article, and is also unsourced. Most dowsers I have met would consider remote map dowsing to still be dowsing, so I have to wonder if the editor has not just made this one up. Also, I doubt the assertion that one cannot try to do divination at the site of the thing divined for.

"The distinction between the two is important due to the difficulty in acquiring useful scientific data from divination, as opposed to dowsing where there is a physical reaction which can be measured and noted at the site of the objects found."

The line above contains the editor's editorial opinion, also unsourced. Unless we see some greater clarity and some documentation for what appear to be eccentric definitions, I believe that a return to the previous lead paragraph is warranted. Thanks. Plazak (talk) 01:50, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

Agree that the new version of the lead is a problem. After reverting two of Petebutt's contributions, I was hoping for some other editors to get involved so it did not become a one-editor-vs-another-editor situation. My preference would be to go back to the status quo ante of a few days ago in the lead and hash out the new contributor's suggested changes here on the talk page. — jmcgnh(talk) (contribs) 02:20, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't oppose a cleanup, as long as "Dowsing is considered a pseudoscience, and there is no scientific evidence that it is any more effective than random chance" is still in the intro section. This is important and it should NOT be pushed down into another section. • SbmeirowTalk • 08:25, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
No citations were given, or clarifications made, so I restored the old lead section, for reasons given above. Discussion welcome. Plazak (talk) 13:15, 29 June 2017 (UTC)

Dowsing could be considered a craft: when you test it you're testing the dowser and the dowse-context as much as dowsing. But I wouldn't suggest opening that can of worms. Certainly a statement of what dowsing is generally considered to be should be at the top. Anweald (talk) 19:45, 2 January 2018 (UTC)

There's a question of ambiguity: dowsing is synonymous with divining, but both are distinct from divination. I think of divination as a general term that includes things like consulting the Oracle and reading the auguries. Divining is too close to divination so dowsing is preferred. Anweald (talk) 19:45, 2 January 2018 (UTC)

[edit]

I came across an ad on an online contractor site today asking for people willing to edit this page for a 'more neutral tone'. The ad complained about the current wiki article being overtly 'negative' and offered monetary compensation to a contractor willing to edit the article. Note that wikipedia's Conflict of Interest policy for paid editors states, "those with a conflict of interest, including paid editors, are very strongly discouraged from directly editing affected articles, but should post content proposals on the talk pages of existing articles, and should put new articles through the articles for creation process, so they can be reviewed prior to being published." See also: Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure - Elriana (talk) 21:19, 29 December 2017 (UTC)

Police and military devices[edit]

It says, "A number of devices resembling "high tech" dowsing rods have been marketed", etc. AFAICS the root link is one inventor claiming to the BBC "the theory of how dowsing works is similar to the theory of how [his bomb detector] works". A bit tenuous. He didn't give any theories for either, so we don't know if the matter is relevant here, plus he was done for fraud. "Resembling" appears to mean "got an aerial that swivels". I want to see "can show and amplify the ideomotor response". The claim merits a link to this page but not inclusion in this page, I'd say. Anweald (talk) 16:27, 2 January 2018 (UTC)

Seems fine, especially in light of WP:FRINGE. --Ronz (talk) 16:42, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
Disagree. Wikipedia has become the verifier of wrong ideas about how dowsing and dowsing devices work. These scam artists will grab any form of justification, the more independent and historic the better. People have died because they believed in these things. Anweald (talk) 21:03, 2 January 2018 (UTC)
I'm not clear what you mean, nor if you understood my meaning. Perhaps you could go into more detail on what types of changes to this or related articles you think would help the matter? --Ronz (talk) 01:39, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
It says in WP:Fringe that "Wikipedia is not and must not become the validating source for non-significant subjects." but the idea that these devices actually are anything to do with dowsing is fraudulent or ignorant of dowsing, and the content is doing exactly what the quote says. I have realised the dowsing community hasn't filled the void here, meaning there's nothing explicit to deny the connection. So I, or someone, is going to have to describe dowsing in more detail and describe how these devices are supposed to work so as to show there's no connection. There might be a connection with divination as the more general term, though still fraudulent.Anweald (talk) 22:37, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
I don't understand what that quote from FRINGE has to do with anything.
Again, best to directly discuss changes, clearly identifying references that would support the changes. --Ronz (talk) 02:53, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
Hmm, well, I don't intend to do anything otherwise. Anweald (talk) 20:06, 4 January 2018 (UTC)

History[edit]

I'd like to replace the text

It is thought that the dialect term "dowsing" was introduced at this period[15] – its origin is unknown but features characteristics of the West Country dialects.

with

With a forked rod (Y-rod) the sign of finding something is the rod dips down towards the ground as if to point to or strike the earth <ref>{{cite book|last1=Bird|first1=Christopher|title=The Divining Hand|date=1993|publisher=Schiffer Publishing Ltd, USA|location=Atglen, Pennsylvania|isbn=978-0-924608-16-2|page=21|quote=About a hundred feet up from the pond's edge, the forked stick in Kidd's hands snapped down violently. Kidd took a wooden peg from his pocket and drove it into the ground between his feet to mark what he called a "vein of water"...}}</ref>. The German name for a Y-rod was '''schlag-ruthe''' <ref>{{cite web|title=Wiktionary entry for schlag|url=https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/schlag|accessdate=13 January 2018}}</ref> <ref>{{cite web|title=Wiktionary entry for ruthe|url=https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Ruthe|accessdate=13 January 2018}}</ref> ('''striking rod''') <ref name="Barrett_Psychical Research_p170">{{cite book|last1=Barrett|first1=William|title=Psychical Research|date=1911|publisher=Henry Holt & Co. (N.Y.), Williams and Norgate (London)|location=New York and London|page=170|url=https://archive.org/stream/psychicalresear00barr#page/n5/mode/2up|accessdate=2 January 2018|quote=Now, the colloquial German word for the rod was then ''schlag-ruthe'' or ''striking-rod''; this, translated into the Middle English became the ''duschan'' or striking rod, and finally "deusing or dowsing rod".}}</ref>, which was translated in the 16th century Cornish dialect to '''duschen''' <ref>{{cite book|last1=Stratmann|first1=Francis|title=A Middle-English Dictionary|publisher=Oxford University Press|url=https://ia800205.us.archive.org/28/items/middleenglishdic00stra/middleenglishdic00stra.pdf|accessdate=15 January 2018|quote=duschen,v., ? = M.L.G. duschen ; =dweschen ; strike, beat; dusched {pret.) Ar. & Mer. 5624 ; A. P. ii. 1538 ; dusched a doun . . . hure fon Fer. 3068 ; see daschen, dusching, sb., tumbling ; . . . dinning and dusching of sinfulle PR. C. 7350.}}</ref> ('''duschan''' according to <ref name="Barrett_Psychical Research_p170">{{cite book|last1=Barrett|first1=William|title=Psychical Research|date=1911|publisher=Henry Holt & Co. (N.Y.), Williams and Norgate (London)|location=New York and London|page=170|url=https://archive.org/stream/psychicalresear00barr#page/n5/mode/2up|accessdate=2 January 2018|quote=Now, the colloquial German word for the rod was then ''schlag-ruthe'' or ''striking-rod''; this, translated into the Middle English became the ''duschan'' or striking rod, and finally "deusing or dowsing rod".}}</ref>) (M.E., to '''strike''' or fall <ref>{{cite web|title=1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dowser and Dowsing|url=https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclopædia_Britannica/Dowser_and_Dowsing|accessdate=13 January 2018|quote='''DOWSER''' and '''DOWSING''' (from the Cornish “dowse,” M.E. ''duschen'', to strike or fall), one who uses, or the art of using, the dowsing-rod (called “deusing-rod” by John Locke in 1691), or “striking-rod” or divining-rod, for discovering subterranean minerals or water.}}</ref>). In 1691 the philosopher John Locke, who was born in the West Country, used the term '''deusing-rod''' <ref>{{cite book|last1=Locke|first1=John|title=Some considerations of the consequences of lowering the interest, and raising the value of money. In a letter sent to a Member of Parliament, in the year 1691|url=https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_EM1AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA78&lpg=PA78&dq=deusing-rod&ots=TuvFgfyTwO&sig=_qRDoGlrn2pYXVdE8G2y9FquOpM&ved=0ahUKEwjW9O26sNLYAhXCJ8AKHb18CLkQ6AEILjAC#v=onepage&q=deusing-rod&f=false|accessdate=15 January 2018|quote=That four per cent. is not of the nature of the deusing-rod, or virgula divina, able to discover mines of gold and silver, I believe will easily be granted me.}}</ref>. So, '''strike''' = '''dowse''', hence the phrases: to '''dowse'''/'''strike''' a light, to '''dowse'''/'''strike''' a sail.


although I'm not sure of the conventions for highlighted keywords etc. Anweald (talk) 12:12, 13 January 2018 (UTC)

At a quick glance, I'm seeing what appear to be multiple problems. In order to help clarify, I think it would be best quote from the sources the exact material that verifies the information you are proposing.
A few other specifics:
The first sentence, "With a Y-rod the..." is a description. I'm not clear why you're introducing it there, why you want to use that source, or what that source actually verifies. Looks like original research to use.
It's all very wordy, and there appear to be more verification and original research problems in the rest as well.
Using the 1911 reference seem extremely odd. I find it hard to believe that there's no modern history that draws upon it. --Ronz (talk) 16:33, 14 January 2018 (UTC)
As for the 1911 reference, it is one of the more scholarly accounts, and I don't suppose it is out-of-date as used here, because it is used to describe an incident in 1568. My reservation would be that the incident quoted was not a clear-cut use of dowsing. Regards. Plazak (talk) 22:31, 14 January 2018 (UTC)
Are you sure? I don't see anything about 1568 in this reference. I do in the Barrett one, but not as part of the same paragraph/page. Anweald (talk) 10:50, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
My mistake. I assumed that you were referring to Barrett (1911). The only other 1911 ref I see is one citation to the 1911 Britannica, again used to document long-ago historical events. But I still don't see a problem. Regards. Plazak (talk) 14:33, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
Ah, OK, I assumed Ronz was referring to the Encyclopedia one because it's the one with the definitive info. I'll be more careful. Anweald (talk) 15:10, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
Yes, the page establishes what a Y-rod is but none of the rest of the sentence. I should leave that for a further edit. The 1911 Encyclopedia reference is old but I couldn't find a newer one that mentioned the full info. Most of the books are popular rather than scholarly. I took out the last example of strike/dowse since it didn't have dowse on it. Thanks for looking at this. I don't (yet) have the knack of seeing the wiki-problems, so there may be more.
I didn't even the 1911 encyclopedia ref, but the comment applies to both. It may just be difficult to find what's been published since. --Ronz (talk) 16:57, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
It may be simply that newer books aren't in Google yet. 5 (of 7) of my collection are too new (and say much as the page currently says - one says duschen but also many other possibilities). The current text says "origin unknown" but basically it's been lost in the ether for a while. Would be good to re-establish - the refs stack up, except for duschan but how signif is that? What do you think of the changed first sentence? I've made some other uses of the Quote field, which I hadn't spotted before. Anweald (talk) 20:03, 15 January 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the quotes.
You shouldn't change a proposal after it has been commented upon. Create a new one instead. See WP:TALK.
I thought that but when I tried it it didn't seem to work well, particularly with references. Thanks for the link.
So why do you want to put the description there? --Ronz (talk) 00:18, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
To support the reference to schlag. There is otherwise only one, fairly old, reference for the original name for a dowsing rod being a striking rod, so I looked for a quote that would also show the connection. The quote describes a dowser-finding-something event looking like a strike event. If the Barrett (1911) reference is strong enough I'd be happy to take out the first sentence entirely.
I looked for newer editions of wikisource'd Encyclopedia Britannicas and there's also that from 1922, but it doesn't have the entry for DOWSER. Anweald (talk) 10:18, 16 January 2018 (UTC)
OIC you mean why at the start? Why not as the second or later? Because schlag comes out the the blue with no initial reason, but the first sentence could be moved if it makes better sense. Anweald (talk) 18:07, 16 January 2018 (UTC)

Here's a version without anything that might be seen as original research. I've added "Middle Low" to "German" because the references suggest that. And references for the synonym uses. Also switched off the wiki-processing for the first version. I hope this is all OK now. Anweald (talk) 22:50, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

The Middle Low German name for a forked stick (Y-rod) was schlag-ruthe [1] [2] (striking rod) [3]. This was translated in the 16th century Cornish dialect to duschen [4] (duschan according to [5]) (Middle English, to strike or fall [6]). In 1691 the philosopher John Locke, who was born in the West Country, used the term deusing-rod for the old latin name virgula divina [7]. So, dowse is synonymous with strike, hence the phrases: to dowse/strike a light [8], to dowse/strike a sail [9].

Can I assume it's OK to publish this when there's no complaints? I'd like to wait a week in case something turns up. So, it'll go live on Sunday 28th Jan. Anweald (talk) 09:37, 21 January 2018 (UTC)


References

  1. ^ "Wiktionary entry for schlag". Retrieved 13 January 2018. 
  2. ^ "Wiktionary entry for ruthe". Retrieved 13 January 2018. 
  3. ^ Barrett, William (1911). Psychical Research. New York and London: Henry Holt & Co. (N.Y.), Williams and Norgate (London). p. 170. Retrieved 2 January 2018. Now, the colloquial German word for the rod was then schlag-ruthe or striking-rod; this, translated into the Middle English became the duschan or striking rod, and finally "deusing or dowsing rod". 
  4. ^ Stratmann, Francis. A Middle-English Dictionary (PDF). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 January 2018. duschen,v., ? = M.L.G. duschen ; =dweschen ; strike, beat; dusched {pret.) Ar. & Mer. 5624 ; A. P. ii. 1538 ; dusched a doun . . . hure fon Fer. 3068 ; see daschen, dusching, sb., tumbling ; . . . dinning and dusching of sinfulle PR. C. 7350. 
  5. ^ Barrett, William (1911). Psychical Research. New York and London: Henry Holt & Co. (N.Y.), Williams and Norgate (London). p. 170. Retrieved 2 January 2018. Now, the colloquial German word for the rod was then schlag-ruthe or striking-rod; this, translated into the Middle English became the duschan or striking rod, and finally "deusing or dowsing rod". 
  6. ^ "1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dowser and Dowsing". Retrieved 13 January 2018. DOWSER and DOWSING (from the Cornish “dowse,” M.E. duschen, to strike or fall), one who uses, or the art of using, the dowsing-rod (called “deusing-rod” by John Locke in 1691), or “striking-rod” or divining-rod, for discovering subterranean minerals or water. 
  7. ^ Locke, John. Some considerations of the consequences of lowering the interest, and raising the value of money. In a letter sent to a Member of Parliament, in the year 1691. Retrieved 15 January 2018. That four per cent. is not of the nature of the deusing-rod, or virgula divina, able to discover mines of gold and silver, I believe will easily be granted me. 
  8. ^ Skeat, Walter W. (2005). An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York. p. 181. Retrieved 19 January 2018. DOWSE (3), to extinguish. (E.) A cant term; 'dowse the glim,' i.e. to extinguish the light. Probably only a particular use of dowse (1), to strike. Possibly suggested by dout, to extinguish. 
  9. ^ Barrett, William (1911). Psychical Research. New York and London: Henry Holt & Co. (N.Y.), Williams and Norgate (London). p. 170. Retrieved 19 January 2018. To dowse or " strike " the sail is still a common expression in Cornwall 

Reversions unexplained[edit]

Two edits in History by me have been reverted but there's no indication or talk as to why. My insert on 2nd Jan of the first account of water dowsing, amended by Blurryman and Ronz, has gone apparently by accident. My insert on 28th Jan of the re-discovery of the source of the word dowsing appears to have been reverted by Nillurcheier with the text "not helpful".

According to whom? Is this normal? What can be done? Anweald (talk) 09:51, 3 February 2018 (UTC)

Worked out from the history it was Nillurcheier in one edit, so have asked why on his talk page. I'm still learning wiki-culture :) Anweald (talk) 11:24, 3 February 2018 (UTC)
Nillurcheier talk said he didn't mean that much editing, he was trying to fix some error but it went much wider, so I reverted it. Anweald (talk) 19:04, 3 February 2018 (UTC)

B******S[edit]

The motion of dowsing rods is now generally attributed to the ideomotor effect.

What complete bollocks. How can the action of welding rod style dowsing rods be attributed to "Ideomotor effect"--Petebutt (talk) 08:03, 31 March 2018 (UTC)

Talk pages are to discuss improvements to the article based on reliable sources. Please rewrite the above after considering the linked article and the references. Johnuniq (talk) 08:07, 31 March 2018 (UTC)
What I experience is the ideomotor response is rotational in your wrist & forearm so the L-rod falls to a new place of equilibrium. I didn't find a clear explanation of this on the Ideomotor phenomenon page. On this page should be a clear explanation of how you get an answer which is then communicated by your ideomotor response, but we don't know what that is in general. Anweald (talk) 11:30, 13 April 2018 (UTC)