I CHING - The mathematical odds


Long ago, when I was much younger, I gambled with the I Ching in Las Vegas and it played a telling trick on me that I have never forgotten.

I remeber driving from Los Angeles to the gambling mecca in Nevada with a gut feeling that I would win the fortune that several different fortune tellers had said would come my way. I booked a room at Caesars Palace and spent some time alone in meditation. I threw the coins inside the bedroom sixty four times, applying odds to yang and even to yin each time. I carefully wrote down the sequence and then went on down to the casino floor to give the roulette wheel a whirl.

As I rode down the escalator and saw that were over a dozen wheels in operation, I realized that I had not factored in exactly where, when and how I would start the sequence. I decided to go to the nearest table and check out if the sequence would run for at least a dozen rolls before laying my first bet.

My plan was to start with a hundred dollar chip and let it keep doubling. Naive as it sounds, I was serenely certain that the magical ritual I had conducted would work. .

This is the part that nobody is ever going to believe.

The sequence worked correctly for twelve consecutive spins of the wheel.

I had my list open in my hand, ticking off each correct spin.
If I had placed my $100 bet on evens at the beginning of the run, I would have been $200,800.00 ahead at that point.

During the spins I had noticed that I was being watched by a couple of beefy suits as i checked off my list while the sequence ran. With the magic happening right in front of my eyes and my excitement rising, I realized that when I started to actually lay my bets there would be greater level of interest coming from the floor managers and wondered what they would do about it.

Well you have probably guessed the rest. I laid down the $100 bet on the 13th spin. It was a losing gamble and the magic was suddenly over.

I can’t tell you the amount of times i have wondered what would have happened on that 13th spin and the 51 spins to follow if I had not tried to grossly enrich myself via magic.

The odds against predicting 12 consecutive roulette spins are 1/2^12, or about 4000 : 1. That’s not bad but it’s nothing spectacular in my opinion. Too bad you didn’t go with that serene certainty and bet the farm on the first spin.

Thanks for the formula, could you tell me the odds on the following:

As kids we used to play the guessing game that allowed one 20 eliminating questions that could zero in on any thought a poser had in mind.

My kid sister occassionally guessed right first time. Years later when I did a documemnray study on witchdoctors in Soweto I found out that apprentices were trained to focus on their potential patien’s state of being, via a version of the same game. They did not pass their grade until they could guess what their trainer was thinking of every time. After that I became a firm believer in our untapped powers of ESP.

Ten years ago I put four of my kids through the same ESP discipline every day for 20 minutes for a period of three months. I made a light box and blacked-out the background of the letters of the alaphabet on glass slides in a manner that allowed each letter to shine through and imprint itself on the mind. The kids were divided into pairs and each pair sat behind a desk on opposite sides of a wooden screen that hid their entire bodies from each other.

The set discipline was for them to alternate as senders and receivers. The sender would choose a letter at random, put it on the light block and stare at it until the receiver gave the okay to move on to the next letter. The letter was then shuffled back into the pile and a random choice made again. Each exercise required six transmissions before they changed sides

It quickly became apparent who were the better receivers and who the better transmitters. About 20% of the time the best pair got six out of six right. No pair got less than three out of six. Their major problem in faulty transmissions was in mixing Q’s, C’s, and O’s.

If we disagree on having ESP, what are the odds of correctly guessing 6 randomly selected letters of the alphabet and never getting less than 50% right?

If the experiment was perfectly controlled with no possibility of physical communication by any means, and the letter selection was completely random (people tend to pick certain letters and numbers over others if given the choice of which to telepathically ‘send’, which makes guessing easier) then I would say it is pretty unlikely to get 6 out of 6 right, even 20% of the time. I don’t know the statistics well enough to make it quantitative but it’ll probably be in the 1-in-a-million range or more. If you did “many” trials and got this result, I’m confident it would be considered quite statistically significant.

On the other hand there can be serious problems with accidental cues and cheating in such experiments, and the statistical analysis must be very careful to have any credibility. Here are a couple sources I found about similar experiments which were discredited for failing in these regards:

skepdic.com/zener.html
skepdic.com/psiassumption.html

If you want to convince others of ESP and not just yourself, you should probably do some research about how to set up a rigorous ESP experiment that controls all possible sources of error. There has been quite a bit of discussion about this in scientific and paranormal circles.

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The experiments were conducted in a darkened room with the only light coming from the lightbox that exposed the alphabetical slides.

The transmitter and receiver sat on the opposite sides of a table with a board obscuring them from each other. No parts of their bodies were visible to each other.

The letters were pulled from various parts of the slide deck randomly. Six slides were selected, one at a time, from the deck of twenty six for each session The used slide was then put back into the deck before the next slide was pulled. No personal choices were made.

I know for certain that the kids were not cheating in any way. They have been reared from an early age to be superstitiously aware of the Laws of Cause and Effect. They would sooner cut off a limb than tell a blatant lie, let alone spend months deceiving a parent. They were just as interested in the results as I was.

We managed to dig out the records of the experiments taken in 1998. I was incorrect in saying they never got less than three transmissions wrong.

Below is the score of 38 ESP cards that survive and how many x they got it right…

6/6 - 4x
5/6 - 6x
4/6 - 4x
3/6 - 6x
2/6 - 5x
1/6 - 7x
0/6 - 6x

The network sites you listed were interesting. I believe that the reason why science has been unable to validate ESP is because of its extreme subtlety. Too much observational pressure tends to quash the intuitive “hunches”. Trust therefore has to be part of the equation and that is why I never sat in on the tests - though I did notice that among the witchdoctors, the pressure from the "baba’ on the disciple to come up with the right answer was intense.

The basic medical fact in rural Africa is that nobody will continue to visit a witchdoctor for a cure if the healer needs to ask for any symptoms. If native healers cannot psycically “feel” the same pain as their patients and prescribe the correct herbal cure, they go out of business. This being so, modern medical science could well take a lesson from that and initiate courses in ESP stimulation for medical students - and thereby immeasurably improve their empathetic relationships with those they intend to cure.

For the above reasons as well as innumerable other psi events that I have been witness or partner to, as far as I am concerned ESP is a done deal. I believe that subtle attribute it is an essential survival mechanism of the human psyche that will begin to surface with increasing intensity as the evolution of our consciousness begins to transcend the immaturity of its current self-centered argumentative state.

Merry Christmas! – http://www.20q.net/ … (I just “knew” that’s what you wanted.)

Enjoy reliving childhood.

Manipulation of results doesn’t have to be deception. Could it be that your children wanted ESP to be true just as much as you do, and helped it along a bit by some improper signalling? Many people would not consider that deception, even though objectively it is. The links above illustrate similar situations. Particularly interesting was the one where a magician came to observe and suddenly the magic powers were gone. Would you be willing to let a magician observe your childrens’ drills?

Definately. They may be a bit rusty however - now that they are in their late teens and twenties. I never insisted that they keep the right brain channels open. It would be interesting to find out. Puberty seems to be the age when psi is most awake.

If you know any magician who is willing to make the safari out here into the Nevada wilderness, I will get the kids back in training first and let you know if their magic is still working.

Well perhaps you understand if I am reluctant to commit resources to this, given that you have shown absolutely no evidence for why I should believe your claims, and given that there are many charlatans on the net. I am not encouraged by the fact that you have probable lies on your website. Do you expect me to believe that “Opera” Winfrey, Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, and other celebrities are ‘sponsored readers’ of your self-published book, so obscure that it lacks even a sales ranking on Amazon.com?

It is a sad indication of the way human relationships have degenerated that entitles you to both believe and publically state that I am probably a congenital liar. If you add that to the fantastic claim I am making, it is hard to blame you for your reluctance to follow up on my invitation.

On the othetr hand, if I was indeed a liar, then it would be rather stupid of me to invite you to come and prove it. Add to that the fact that if my claims prove true, you would have missed a totally unique opportunity to help challenge the manner in which the entire Lodge of Science views the Laws of Chance. - if not human nature itself.

Though the book was sent to various celberities. despite my skepticism about wasting that effort, I also do not believe that they have bothered or had the time to read it.
That it remains obscure has everything to do with the fact that I refuse to spend a cent on publicizing it and everything to do with the serious nature of its content.
I believe that as the general public is forced, via the exponential effect of populations impacting on an increasing stressed-out global environment, and become increasing aware of the serious potential of societal collapse, Pscyhe-Genetics will find its place a seminal work on the intimate relationship between social and spiritual evolution - and the direct correlation between the developmental stages of the individual and collective psyche.

Mag man

You may find the ‘E.g.g.’ (Electrogaiagram) program at Princeton quite interesting.

Magnetman,

I apologize for the harsh tone of the previous message.

I did not mean to say that you are a congenital liar; nor do I believe that you are based on our interactions. I certainly do not trust your claims, because claims of this sort are often advanced and debunked; but that is nothing against you personally. On the other hand, while I’m somewhat curious about your claims, there’s not enough evidence here to warrant me making a personal investigation. If I did that, I would have to investigate thousands making similar claims just to be fair, and I highly doubt this would be effective use of my time.

I wish that you would take the initiative to make your discoveries public through scientific channels. Clearly you feel they are very important, so how can it be right to keep quiet about them, or be less than zealous in publicizing? You may think that no one in the scientific community would listen, but there are some who can offer assistance. csicop.org/ would be a good starting place, because they will make it clear to you the standards that you will have to meet to convince scientists of your claims.

I really feel that telling stories on internet forums will get you nowhere. Instead, get in touch with scientists who are interested in paranormal phenomena for support, and especially get in touch with scientists who can act as devils’ advocates to really tighten up your case. It is very difficult for someone close to a big discovery to view it impartially. You need people who can help you check every detail to make this watertight. Only then will you stand a chance of hitting the big time with your discoveries.

You seem to have apocalyptic fantasies that humanity some time in the near future will turn to your work in desperation and finally see the truth. I highly doubt this. No one will swallow baseless claims whole no matter how desperate they are. Or they will, but they will do it at random and your claims will not be given any preference.

They are not going to come to you.

If you want your vindication you’re going to have to go to them.

Your apology accepted.
As to the above, I think you are reading too much into my previous statements. At 65 I am a little too old to endulge in fantacies. The thirty years of field reseach that went into Psyche-Genetics - examining among exising Stone, Bronze, Iron and Streel Age societies, exactly how and why, during those four Ages, population increases impacted on the enviroment and forced mass changes of human behavior, makes common sense reading.
As to whether I will be publically credited for extrapolating from that base of research, the global action required to avert sociatal collapse as po;pulations contune to rise during the Nuclear Age, is a matter beyond my control. I am simply happy to have put all that original work on record. Truth has its own way of establishing itself via multiple mediums.
I have no intention of going to Rome to receive personal glorification.
Nor do I, on principle, want money for my input.
Promisary notes are the major artficial barrier to the large scale global engineering projects in housing, food and energy, required for efficient planet managment. Sustaining the value of the dollar is keeping three quarters of the population on the planet either unemploed or under-employed - and dangerously resentful of that fact - while we need every hand available if we are to get the massive environmetal pollution of the Streel Age cleaned up. Therefor money as an exchange medium has become dangerously redundant and it has to go. So does the endless legalities of ownership and its bureaucratic administration - via endlessly legislated and revised written constitutions - not to mehntion the crippling sums of money needed to police it.
Our New Age behavior has to be based on human Trust - bolstered by the ethic of custodianship. The sooner we begin indoctrinating a new generation with a global stewardship ethic, the greater the chance we have of putting a halt to the present deterioration. We are quite capable, once artficial barriers are removed, of applying our innate creative genius, advanced technology amd massive manpower to accommodate a hundred billion souls on this planet, in a sustainable and comfortable manner - and we are struggling right now under an antiquated system of human managment with just six.

Aporia:

Just a curious question. Is James Randi still a member of CSICOP (now CSI), or has he been booted?

According to wikipedia Randi resigned some time ago for legal reasons. Doesn’t appear to have detracted from his renown, fortunately. :slight_smile:

I am very grateful for people like Randi that work to protect people from being manipulated by those supernaturalists who are unscrupulous.

EDIT: does this make my meaning clearer, MagnetMan? I don’t wish to paint all supernatural believers with the same brush.

I feel that the tone of this thread has now gone from mildly objectionable to near rude.

There are as many physicists manipulating evidence as there are metaphysicians who do the same. It a failing of a small percentage of societies in general. It is a simple fact that one lie can contaminate the testimony of a many, even that of a saint. The vast majority of us are reasonably honest and do not spend our lives trying to delude ourselves

I would be interested to know what people like Randi and yourself have to say about the super-matural condition of the bodies of numerous Chistian saints who have been dead for centuries. Their almost perfectly uncorrupted bodies are on public display at various centers around the world.
Claims that they have been specially embalmed are preposterous. Nobody on the planet has ever discovered a method of replacing the moisture in the billions of cells inside a corpse with some other permanent fluid so that signs of died-out mummification are not evident

Suggesting that generations of Catholic ministers have deliberately been engaged in perpetuating a demonic hoax on mankind, are equally rediculous.

Personally I find it ironic that when science can find no rational answer it automatically assumes that all meta-normal claims are a hoax - when by its own rules, unless definitively proved otherwise, it should remain neutral. It goes beyond irony when a challenger is actually invited to come and investigate meta-normal phenomena at first hand, and declines with lame excuses and yet continues with unkind insinuations.

Nobody has asked anybody to believe in anything that has been said. As far as I can see best you have to offer so far is to remain neutral. Why not try it?

Concerning being rude or unkind, I did not intend my remark that way, it was just imprecise choice of words. See the edit above.

I’ve researched the incorruptibles some; Catholic references are easy to find, while a few skeptical resources can be found here. They seem pretty interesting and it’s strange that they have not received more scientific attention. The arguments that they are supernatural in origin seem to me overeager. Much investigation needs to be done before such arguments can have scientific merit. However, I certainly agree with you that it is not fair to say that they must be hoaxes just because they are not readily explained by ordinary science. On the other hand, pious fraud is an ancient and widespread tradition, and must be seriously investigated before it is ruled out.

My excuses are not lame. I’m just a math grad student with no training in conducting psychological studies. I’m not qualified to make this investigation. But there are those I trust to make it, and I’ve suggested that you take initiative to contact them. That’s the best I can do.

It seems to me that if I were in your position, feeling that my discoveries were very important and likely to change the course of human history for the better, I would be making every possible effort to publicize my discoveries and encourage rigorous scrutiny of them. Instead you seem content to let them sit unknown, in the content assurance that things will come to light of themselves in their proper time. Perhaps, but I don’t think history always works that way. Especially in this century. This century will be a defining moment in world history; it will determine whether modern industrial society will sink or swim, change or die. We need wisdom to guide civilization now more urgently than ever. If you have wisdom we need to hear it.

Much clearer, thank you.
I understand your concern about psychic fraud. Fakirs and Shamans have come to be called fakers and shams because of the few that undermine it. This is a great loss to all of us, for it plays directly into the hands of skeptics who would have otherwise remained more objective.

I have spent the last thirty years of my life, both investigating psychic phenomena and them learning how to gradually become a metaphysician myself. I can assure that the effort to develope one’s intuitive potentials takes far longer and requires far more concentrated dedication than the effort required to master any degree in physics - especially as one does not do it for material reward or public acknowledgement. Any such gross motivation almost immediately negates the purity of the spiritual intent. For this reason I cannot advertise my craft any further than I presently do. I cannot imagine any of the people or organizations you have recommended having anything approaching the quality or quantity of psychic knowledge that I have accumulated.

I am happy if I plant a few seeds here and there. I have applied a combination of certain psychic techniques, learned from animists, shamans, yogis, sufis, taoists and zenists around the world, and have seen them produce phenomenal paranormal results in my children - which has in turn immesearably enhanced their understanding of the laws of physics. They will pass this esoteric knowledge on to their children and so on - and in this way, whatever I have learned will remain alive and be be passed on.

There are two sides to the human brain and psyche. Both need equal development. Unfortunately our mass education system presently concentrates almost exclusively in left brain analytical indoctrination via rote learning. It barely succeeds in placing reasonably conscientious robots on the mass production line who are capable of very little original thinking. When the system learns that it must teach a more balanced curriculum, most of the present dysfunction and untrusting nature of the collective psyche will thankfully disappear. So will the huge expense currently expended in arming and policing ourselves. The intuitive side of the brain is infintely more sensitive, ethical and creative. It lies mostly dormant in all of us. It is from this side of the psyche that all inspiration arises and in which the dream world comes to life.

My reward for exciting that side of the psyche in my kids, is that I have self-policed, highly intelligent and creative students who are also perfectly well disciplined.

So if these powers can only be mastered by the pure of heart, wouldn’t it be best if they were very well known so that those pure ones could master them, and become powerful global stewards? What if I or millions of others have ‘purity of spiritual intent’ but never come to realize any of these powers to do good? Wouldn’t that be sad and a terrible waste?

When the pupil is ready, the master appears.