Thursday, July 08, 2004

Dowsing -- Part 1

A teaser caught my eye on the cover of the July issue of Focus magazine, which calls itself "The World's Best Science and Technology Monthly" --

"Dowsing: The new discovery that reveals why it works."

Dowsing is the use of twitching sticks to find buried water or other hidden objects. Sometimes called water witching.

I was surprised to discover that the author of the article is the respected science writer and professed skeptic John Gribbin.

The article contains nothing but anecdotal assertions to prove dowsing works, and nothing but vague babble about a "dowsing field" caused by the rotation of the Earth around the Sun to show why it works.

One might expect better from someone on the Advisory Board of the Skeptic Society.

I have a friend here in the west of Ireland who swears by dowsing and claims to have the gift. We are working on a double-blind test. Pints of Guinness are at stake. Stay tuned.