Re: WTC event as a precipitating factor in anomalous REG data collection?

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Fri Sep 21 2001 - 23:08:59 MDT

At 12:27 AM 9/22/01 -0400, John K Clark wrote:

>If they had said four hours before the first World Trade Center tower was hit
>that something huge was going to happen in a few hours I'd be slightly
>interested, but only slightly because they didn't say what or when. In fact
>they said nothing, so they join the huge list of soothsayers who have
>"predicted" every major event in human history, after it actually happened

They have also joined the huge list of seismologists who find big jags on
their recording graphs after a major earthquake, but remain unable to
predict such events. Does this mean earthquakes don't affect seismographs?

What is very odd and interesting here is the claim (as I understand it)
that when a bunch of independent and geographically isolated random number
generators are left running, their output can be found to track some of the
impalpable shock waves of emotion triggered in huge populations by some
common tragedy or triumph.

If this is the case (and of course I find it hard to credit), it might tell
us something remarkable about the world, something that contemporary
physics seems to make no room for.

So I don't know if it's true, but John's comments fail to address the
claim. (Of course we can guess that it must all rigged, or they made it up
completely, or there are many other spikes in the data they're not
revealing, or they trawled until they found what they wanted; all of these
counter-claims are denied by the academics involved.)

One of the researchers responded to Eliezer's skeptical commentary about
`data torture', which I had fwd'd (sans Eli's name):

>Dean Radin and I have ongoing, independent analysis efforts.
>We have been doing a great deal of validity checking[...]
>We are gradually processing the whole database to see
>whether anything like the major structures associated with
>September 11 appear anywhere else. So far, going back
>several months, there is nothing like it.
>The analyses are made available on the GCP website,
> as soon as we have crosschecked
>them. The most recent addition is a report by Dean that
>details the tortures leading to what we both believe is good
>evidence for a premonitory aspect and distance correlations.

>All the data are available for download from the website, so
>you can do any sort of inspection you wish. [...]
> Almost all of what you see on the website
>pages concerning the terrorist attacks is exploratory work
>that we do not include in the formal statistical assessment
>-- and I do try to make that distinction clear.

>We have a clear hypothesis, and the predictions we make
>based on that require by definition knowing where to look.
>Simply put, the terrible events of September 11 are exactly
>"where to look". And when we look there, we find extraordinary
>structure -- and we don't find anything like it elsewhere.

Damien Broderick
[uncommitted onlooker]

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