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Food Storage (Y2K Scare)


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This essay was written back in 1999 during the Y2K scare it was written by my cousin,


Apparently some of this has been updated in 2002, very interesting.


Alden Gustafson Gustafson 1


Nancy Takacs


English 1020


Food Storage


"Copyright 1999 Alden Gustafson"


Wisdom, or Paranoia?


This is a subject, and a question on the minds of many people across the world, and especially at the dawn of the new millennium. For some, the idea of a great destruction, world catastrophe, or the end of the world in the year 2000 is simply a fantasy or fate-based belief that has no physical grounds at all. For others, it is a relatively blind belief, or even faith, in the predictions of ancient prophets, and others. And for yet others, it is a solidly grounded, scientifically documented reality of the growing risk of an impact on the earth from an object from outer space sometime near the beginning of the new century.


Solid evidence in the form of documented science will be displayed in this writing, as will the predictions of some biblical prophets, and the predictions of some more recent, or post-biblical prophets, such as Nostradamus, and several others from the twentieth century, and even our own generation. The objective, then, is to outline and demonstrate the reality of the genuine risk of an impending world-wide disaster, and the wisdom in being prepared for the worst. It is not intended to enact cause for a situation of continual worry, but rather to encourage action, through the execution of which one might rest more assured of safety and survivability in the future. Before we start, however, we need to revisit the definition of the words 'fact,' and 'probability.'


The definition of the word 'fact' from the World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary reads as follows: 'Something known to be true or to have really happened' (705). This implies that a fact is something that lies in the past, where it is in plain view to be examined, and re-examined. When anticipating future events, however, varying degrees of probability are all we have to work with. Probability is determined by facts, or a series of facts which are in the past. For instance, consider the following hypothetical situation.


A man gets out of his car, walks up to his house, and pulls his keys out of his pocket. The probability is high that he will enter the house. After he inserts his key in the lock, the probability is yet higher. It cannot be a 'fact' that he will certainly enter the house, but the probability is high enough at this point that one might say it would be reasonable to assume that the man will go into the house. After he turns the key, grasps the doorknob, and pushes the door open without any evidence of a possible hindrance, although he is still not yet in the house, very high stakes might be placed on the high probability, or very near certainty, that the man will indeed enter. After he has entered, it is a fact now, that he is in the house. This is a fact that probability can be based on the following day, or subsequent days when the man again walks up to his house. The intended point cannot be fully brought out with this scenario alone. Therefore, another scenario, more precisely related to the following compilation of data, must be given:


A man goes into a building where he cannot be observed. Inside, he walks down a hallway with 117 doors leading to rooms on either side. When the man comes out, he tells us in all sincerity the color of the walls in each of the 117 rooms in sequential order. Afterward, we are allowed to go inside and begin checking the man's word for accuracy. After having checked 95 rooms, and having found 100 percent accuracy, the revealed probability factor that the remaining doors indeed conceal rooms of the color asserted by the man, is 95/117, according to master mathematician Greg Borman, of the College of Eastern Utah (Personal 10-28-99). This is very close to certainty. This leaves a very definite 'fact' that chances are we could accurately predict the color of the remaining rooms based on the information given by the man. If the 'fact' that the man is very religious, and believes whole-heartedly in telling the truth is included, a new positive probability factor separate from, and in addition to, our finding of the evidence, is now present. This serves only to bring the anticipated result closer to certainty. To continue with, and reinforce the probability in the same scenario, another event is given:


A young woman, completely unrelated, and unknown to the man, goes into the same building, walks down the same hallway, and looks into three rooms near the end of the initial 117. She returns, and reports all three are red inside, which happens to be exactly what the man reported. After having checked the first two red-walled rooms and having found the woman's report to be accurate, the probability is increased yet again. It is very close to certainty that the third room is red as well, and becomes yet closer when it is found the young woman is also religious and believes in telling the truth. In addition to all the aforementioned, yet another reinforcing segment of the scenario is given.


Subsequent to the testimonies of the man and young woman, it is found that another religious individual carrying an honest reputation has already been in the room at an earlier date, and has testified exactly agreeable to the man and woman. This can only increase the probability yet again, bringing the anticipated conclusion closer still to certainty. Below are two biblical quotes, both supported with current scientific evidence, written here simply to establish the possibility that biblical quotes can indeed be accurate.


Isaiah of Old spoke in his prophecies about chariots with 'wheels like a whirlwind. . . their roaring, like a lion' (Ch. 5) The supporting scientific evidence is seen daily by nearly everyone, driving up and down the streets of the world. Isaiah also spoke of wars fought 'from the end of heaven,' coming 'from a far country,' with a 'tumultuous noise,' as of 'a great multitude in the mountains' (Ch. 13). This supporting evidence is also seen daily by nearly everyone, flying overhead, leaving white contrails across the sky, as it flies from the end of heaven, from a far country, making a tumultuous noise as of a great multitude in the mountains. Isaiah should well be much more believable now that we see every day what he described, than he was in the day he gave the prophecies.


The suspicion of the author is hereby stated that no one in the English class that provided the initial motive for this writing knows all the details that go into the creation of a B-52 bomber, but it can be reasonably asserted that all believe the B-52 exists. This common belief, for all those who have never seen or touched a B-52, can only come from information received about their existence, and a form of faith that the information was sound. Let this suspicion be extended to include that no one in the aforementioned English class has ever been to Tibet. Again, it is reasonably assumed that all believe Tibet exists, the reason for said belief being the same. It may be stated that this belief is a form of faith in things taught, but not experienced. Better yet, the author will tell you right now that he has been to the top of Gunsight Peak in Northern Utah. The altitude is well over one mile straight up from the nearby valley floor (U. S. Geological Survey rev. 1976). There is also a wooden box on the summit with a notebook inside for all the people who make it to the top to leave their name and the date they visited the peak. The author trusts that certainly no one in the class has been on top of the peak. Yet, these details can be given, and there is no reason for any class member not to believe they are true. Now, say a new person joins the class, and nobody knows her, not even the author, and it just happens that she also, has been on Gunsight Peak. When she tells details also, and her testimony agrees exactly with the author's, we can know quite certainly that both individuals are telling the truth. If this doesn't make perfect sense, you might as well stop reading now because your brain is full of plaster and you are wearing a blindfold and ear plugs.


At the beginning of this essay, the objective was made clear, of convincing the reader of the wisdom in stacking food. Also strongly implied was the reason – the possibility of an impending impact from outer space. Before we follow up on the previous analogies about the people walking inside a building, let's take a look at some common, very sensible objections, then we'll blow each one out of the water. By the time we're done, if you're not stacking food, refer to the last sentence in the previous paragraph.


First, one common response to the warning of a possible impact from space goes as follows: 'What are you so worried about? Chances are a lot higher you'll die of cancer or get killed in an accident than die from an impact from outer space.'


This objection is exactly true, and it's proven by the many automobile and other accidents that happen daily in the Unites States, and the rest of the world. However, let's look at it like this. Airliner accidents are much less frequent than automobile accidents, in fact, statistically, it's much safer to fly than to drive. Even so, when an airliner has an accident, it happens beyond the control of the passengers, and generally, more people die at once than in an automobile accident. Sure, you're quite safe getting on an airliner, but hear this: Accidents do happen, and the chances are for all practical purposes 100% that there will be other airline accidents in the future. It is the same with an impact from outer space. Really, we're even safer standing on the planet surface than we are flying in an airliner, and this is due to the infrequency of the earth getting into an 'accident' with another object. However, unlike a car or plane accident, it only takes one time to clean up a healthy fraction of the entire population of the earth if not all, and certainly any authority structures in the astronomical vicinity of the impact site. It is similar to the plane crash, but on a very much larger scale. The chances of our planet getting hit sometime in the future are 100%. In other words, we will suffer an impact.


That leaves us with only one variable. When. Not if. It's true the chances of being hit on any given day are very minimal, and the chances get smaller as the size of the speculated object increases, but the truth be known, of the estimated 9000 earth-orbit-crossing objects out there which are a half-mile diameter or larger, only 350 have been discovered. Further, the fact that the amount 9000 is an estimate leaves the number open to increase as more objects are tracked (Verschuur 2). Only 2 years ago (in 1997), an asteroid the size of a regular mountain passed through the space the earth had occupied only 6 hours before. This is much closer to us than our own moon is. This puppy was moving at a speed of about 20 kilometers per second. It would have been a global catastrophe to put it mildly. It is questionable whether any person on earth would have survived the months of nuclear winter following the impact. Crops and game would die, leaving a shortage of food (http://www.microsoft.com/encarta/aup 8-30-99).


Gerrit L. Verschuur also states that with an impact similar to what this one would have been, every living thing within eye-sight of the fireball and subsequent explosion would be instantly flash-broiled (3). It is the author's opinion that in order to comfortably survive an impact like this, (providing you live on a portion of the planet that is not within eye-sight of the impact) a person would have to live in a place that would not be flooded by tsunamis, tidal waves, and generally heaving oceans, in a super-insulated earthquake and hurricane-proof house, with a very large tank of diesel nearby and a couple of dependable generators, besides a source of running water and the roughly two years of food storage per person. Of course people could survive with just the storage and a means of keeping warm, but certainly not comfortably. Taking all this into consideration makes it almost impractical to plan for such a high-destruction, low incidence event. This brings us to our next objection.


'Let's be optimistic! Why spend our lives preparing for something so exceedingly terrible that has such a microscopic chance of happening in our lifetime? Live for your goals, be all you can be! Seek for success, not gloom and doom!'


At any other time in the life of the author, this objection would have been very difficult to refute, and it will require quite some space as it is. This objection also represents the exact feelings of the author, and the exact argument he would have used. However, let's bring this out just the way it happened to the author, since it seems that if it convinced him despite his optimistic disposition, it may be likely to convince others, and therefore possibly save the lives of all those who take it seriously. So from the author's own standpoint, here it is.


Just a little more than a year ago, [this would have been late September 1998] I was at a friend's house in Salt Lake, and a talk program came on the radio, on which they had a particular lady as a guest. Phone calls were invited for people to freely question the lady on the subject she talked about. The substance of her topic was a near-death experience she had undergone in the recent past. The date of the program, to be more precise, was late September, 1998. I do not remember the lady's name, so I cannot cite her name as an official source, but she came across very intelligently, and was completely sincere. Her words were convincing enough that I perked up my ears, and listened carefully. To this day, my ears are still a little perky. Once in a while, they will cause my whole head to 'perk' in one direction or another. But let's not get off the subject. I clearly remember the main points she brought to the public.


She said there were going to be three major earthquakes in the next four years that would cause enough destruction and loss of life that they would be considered major catastrophes with respect to the recorded history of earthquakes. This is referring to the lady talked of in the scenario above who goes into the building and looks at three rooms, comes out and reports that all are red. She talked of numerous other events as well, including the extensive flooding that happened only a month or so ago in the eastern United States. She talked of the new viruses and sicknesses we have just seen appear only months ago. She also said they would be man made, but obviously we have no way of knowing at this point. [update 3-31-04: Anthrax and other viruses being broadcasted over the world are certainly engineered by terrorists, so this prediction has now been confirmed accurate as well.] She said she only received dates on two events. One was the time frame for the three earthquakes, which she said would happen within the four years following her experience, which happened in 1997. The other major event she talked of was in 2012. She didn't offer a month, just the year. In that year, she said she saw a great ball of fire coming down through the sky. It struck the earth and completely knocked it off its current orbit. This, she said, pretty well cleaned up the whole picture. In other words, she feels like this will be the end of the world. The first thing I thought when she said this, was that it is impossible that something is out there right now approaching the earth and NASA does not know about it. I was sure the skies were being scanned constantly, and anything out there posing a danger would be discovered, tracked, and its trajectory known thousands of years in advance. On my way back to Price that afternoon, it just happened I was listening to another talk program about astronomy. I called in to the program to talk to the host (which I don't normally do and had never done before), and I asked him if there were any rumors about anything in space which may be posing a danger to the earth. He said 'Don't worry about it, Alden, really, you're in much more danger crossing the street, than being killed by a cosmic object.' Then he said 'However, there is a newly discovered asteroid belt between the earth and the sun, that we've never been able to see because of its position in the daytime sky. It was discovered by accident when one of them missed us very nearly [spoken of above], and was photographed by the Hubble telescope while taking pictures of the sun with special filters.'


It turns out we would have never known about our near miss otherwise. This blew wide open the possibility of the lady's words being true. Since then extensive research into the subject (some of which is mentioned above) has told me that with our current knowledge of earth-crossing objects, we could easily say we are pretty much sitting ducks to anything that might come and blind-side us at any time.


The third of the three earthquakes (this was represented by the third red-walled room), she said would be the worst. During that one, she expects the entire country to be separated physically. She said parts of the east coast would disappear, including New York City, which would slide into the ocean all at once, and part of Georgia. The Salt Lake Valley would be flooded with water, but not from the Great Salt Lake. The water will supposedly come out of the ground, rush across the valley all at once, and wash up against the east bench. Highways would be damaged such that transportation by car for any significant distance would be impossible. Communications would be cut off, even cell phones and radios dependant on broadcasting towers would not work because of damage to the towers. She also spoke of a long winter that would last clear into the middle of the following summer. While listening to the lady tell about her experience I could see she didn't have the formal education to put all these events together via the principle of cause and effect. She said herself she didn't even realize the fireball might be a meteor until after some subsequent studying helped her relate the two ideas. However, this is quite a picture, and after I finished listening to the program I knew the lady was totally sincere, and she thought she was telling the truth, whether she was or not. Something that compounds the scariness of the whole thing is that as of today, the first two of the three major earthquakes have recently happened, in Turkey and Taiwan (ABC News on KOAL).


[update: The third major earthquake happened less than a year after the one in Taiwan, but since earthquakes were becoming 'old news' and didn't spark the excitement (or bring on the ratings) they did when the first one happened, it wasn't given nearly the level of attention by the media. However I did hear about it myself on the radio and remembered it because of my knowledge of the predictions given by this lady. My conclusion is that the events she said would happen in the third earthquake are actually results of the fireball she saw. In her mind she didn't associate them with it because she thought the fireball would end the world as we know it.]


After these two earthquakes happened, you can be sure I didn't want to wait for the possible 'long winter' spoken of by the lady, to put together a simple storage of food. The reason being that I didn't like the idea of some of the events that might cause a long winter, i.e. nuclear weapon detonation, accidental or otherwise, or a significantly sized impact from outer space. Two year's supply of dry grains only cost a hundred or so dollars, and if we had a very long hard winter sufficient to hamper crops, then the price of food, if in fact there was enough food to go around, would skyrocket. Meat and poultry prices would do the same, due to the lack of feed and the increased death-rate of newborn spring calves and chicks because of the extended cold. Also, after the two recent deadly quakes, I began researching extensively into predictions, and particularly those which were obtained by people who have had near-death experiences, because I found that those people told their stories more directly, and in modern language that was simple to understand when compared to biblical language. More of the research I did will be revealed in the remainder of the essay, when I go back into a formal 'third person' format, at which time my name will be 'the author' again. Before I do, however, let me give you all a personal 'hello' from Alden. Ok, I'm going under. . .


Our third objection goes like this: 'Okay, so the possibility is real. Why should I prepare now as opposed to any other time?'


Here we go. Tom Kuncl, a writer who has compiled many works related to predictions, writes that many biblical scholars have concluded that the worst of the prophecies from the book of revelations will come upon us right close to the beginning of the new millennium. This conclusion is based on years of collective study and research including prophecies that have already been fulfilled, and apparently accurately. Nostradamus spoke of a tremendous destruction right near the turn of the century (43).


Edgar Cayce , before he died in 1945, earned the name by which he is still known -- The Sleeping Prophet. His ability manifested itself from the time he was only six. As a teenager, his ability to see afflictions inside people's bodies that doctors had overlooked got him a major write-up in the New York Times. He accurately predicted world wars One and Two, the great depression which started in 1929, the forming of Israel into an independent nation, and the break-up of the Soviet Union and the fall of communism (49). This last prediction came to pass after the death of Edgar Cayce, and there were more predictions also made concerning the time after the end of his own life. After a prediction proves accurate, we are no longer in the mystical world of the paranormal with psychics and soothsayers. These are now facts, and there is no room for coincidence. He made certain predictions, and they happened. If science doesn't understand it, that's okay, because science doesn't understand gravity either but it sure is there, and it works perfectly. Who will stand on the floor and deny it? A fact will remain a fact whether science understands it or not. He said the earth would see a tremendous destruction near the turn of the millennium. 'Portions of the east coast will disappear. The earth will be broken up in the western portion of America. The Great Lakes will empty into the Gulf of Mexico (refer to the predictions of the lady mentioned in the author's personal experience where she said the country would be separated physically). There will be upheavals in the Arctic and Antarctic that will make for the eruption of volcanoes and there will be a shifting then of the poles so that where there has been those of a frigid or semi-tropical nature will become the more tropical. Japan will slide into the sea and disappear. Water will cover huge parts of Europe now safely high and dry, and in other areas of the world, new lands will arise from the ocean beds' (50).


It is a known physical fact that an object in motion, will continue in its current trajectory at its current velocity unless an outside force is applied to change that trajectory or velocity. This applies to both angular motion – such as the earth, spinning on its axis – and linear or elliptical motion – such as the earth rotating around the sun (Jones 103). Therefore, in order for the planet to shift on its axis, some outside force has to be applied. A significant impact from a cosmic object is the only thing that could apply the necessary force. No internal force that comes from, and remains inside the atmosphere could change the earth's trajectory, since equal and opposite forces returning from the earth or the air would cancel any change in the motion of the planet. Therefore, something like a huge volcanic eruption, earthquake, phenomenal storm, nuclear explosion or anything else based from inside the planet's atmosphere, could not change its motion. Based on this observation, Edgar Cayce's prediction must agree with the prediction of the lady mentioned above.


Finally, one more individual's account must be included. This is a brief summary of the predictions received during a near-death experience undergone by Dannion Brinkley, on September 17, 1975. When he 'came to' in the hospital morgue after having been dead for twenty-eight minutes, he claimed to have systematically received 117 visions of the future from 'beings of light' whom he encountered while 'there'. It is impractical to list each separate prediction here, but among them were scenes of the changes in the general feeling of the American public following 'the war in Southeast Asia,' many scenes from the 'then future' of the Middle East, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 with an accurate date, the environmental movement including specific people and dates, China's rise to world power status, Desert Storm with an accurate date, earthquakes, new technology, sicknesses and viruses, and many natural disasters including hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes with accurate dates. These predictions also included some very drastic changes in the climate of regions which have had stable climatic cycles for centuries [A shifting in the motion of the earth?].


To clarify the analogies above and conclude, it is stated here that of the 117 predictions received by Dannion Brinkley, 95 were targeted to have been in the past as of today. Every


single one of the 95 predictions made for dates prior to this has come true exactly as Dannion Brinkley had written, and the worst, according to him, is yet to come at a time near the turn of the millennium. This man is still alive today, and can be reached by phone ( www.near-death.com/brinkley.html ).


With this kind of accuracy in the past, planning for the future no longer has to be based on speculation. As pointed out earlier, probability factors are very near certainty. Food storage is easy, and cheaper by weight than normal groceries. The worst that can happen after storing food with no disaster, is one would be shorted some closet space, eat plain meals for a while, and save a bundle.



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"If this doesn't make perfect sense, you might as well stop reading now because your brain is full of plaster and you are wearing a blindfold and ear plugs."


I guess my brain is full of plaster and I have a huge blindfold on and ear plugs. This makes no sense to me at all. As a matter of fact (pun?), statements made within the document show that many, if not most, predictions were not fulfilled (at least in the manner told).


I respect your (his?) opinions here, especially since I have been down this road also. It is interesting stuff (at the very least about human nature and how we respond to claims made by people), but even considering non-linear thinking to connect some of these dots just does not make sense. It is wild speculation even though it IS intriguing to say the least.


The reasoning, though it SEEMS sound, is full of holes. It is exactly the kind of reasoning that charlatans rely upon to convince people that their experiences are based on fact and therefore should be considered as a valid viewpoint deserving respect. Without exception, their INTENTION is self-serving, if only for the fame involved. Near-death experiences are HIGHLY subjective even though there is some evidence of truth? and sincerity. Any person who meditates will tell you that there are entities that are not very nice on "the other side". They are more than willing to give beneficial? information and even some insight into the future, but many who enter into this sphere are aware of these dark entities that the "good" entities warn them about. I have yet to see ONE psychic save a person from a murderous person. The best they can usually come up with is perhaps a location of the body, or some other insignificant detail that does not change any outcome. So what good is it? It is just self-serving and benefits no one. Psychic phenomenon has always intrigued me, but I have come to realize over the years that absolutely nothing beneficial comes of it. It is almost always wrapped in darkness. In every single case, it has led to the ruin of the person involved.


As far as I am concerned, Edgar Cayce (and I have studied him considerably many years ago) was an expert in "suggestion". Though many people claimed that he "healed" them, it was always an "illness" (as the article suggests), that could not be found by any medical means. The world is full of people (I know a few) that continually have "aches and pains" that cannot be explained until you look a bit deeper into their lives and discover that there are definite psychological "abnormalities" that defies a medical explanation. The mind is truly a wondrous thing and can act totally on its own to create a "world" that allows them to keep from going completely crazy. Abused children are a good example of this. It is truly amazing how a person can "compartmentalize" different parts of their "being" for survival. A friend whom I have spent a great deal of time with over the last several years had several "objects" in her home which represented different aspects of her dissassociated mind. She literally "became" these objects from time to time (in very specific sequences)--without realization, of course. Having these objects around her was the only way that she could be a "complete" person. As she became aware of each of these personalities (which were seen as mood swings by those around her), each one of those objects dissappeared from her home. The final step in her recovery was confronting the person who had caused all this in the first place--her stepfather. His sexual and psychological abuse that had lasted for years, was consistently seen by others as "impossible" because he was such a "charming" and personable person. He was a monster that was created by a monster and had created monsters of his own. The "facts" as noted by all others were seen to be false. The one person who "knew" the true facts was not considered a reliable source. So, the reasoning used early on in that article, although it "sounds" sound--is, in reality, an illusion. Everyone can be convinced of the truth when it is really a clever illusion.


If there is one thing that comes clearly through from my understanding of Biblical sources--it is that there is NO WAY to prepare for disaster of any sort by stockpiling or other kinds of preparation. History and experience has clearly shown that in that kind of scenario, the strong will overpower the weak and take everything by force. That is exactly the kind of reasoning that "survivalists" use in preparation for natural disaster or war. They are not just defensive in nature. They are prepared for offense as well--and that includes killing you and taking what you have. Once "law" has been removed, all restraint is removed as well. So how do we "survive" the possibility of these disasters? Well, that is a subject completely in itself and, I believe that Rainman, Cat, OvrLord and people like Transient are attempting to address.


Let me be perfectly clear here. I believe that there WILL be major disasters to come that MAY have some of the effects mentioned in this article. It may even destroy us as a species. History has shown that the planet has always survived and life has continued. Will we see in our lifetimes? We already have seen a lot. Perhaps more than any of us ever expected. Who here can say they have seen the kind of devastation that a psunami did in the Indian Ocean, or comets smashing into Jupiter? Or the ever-increasing scale of conventional war now going on all over the world. Or even all the conditions necessary for the outbreak of nuclear war? It may be said that we are always living in unprecedentd times, but we are TRULY living in unprecedented times. I believe that we will find the answers. As one scientist I recently quoted said: "we don't know that there is a beautiful underlying theory. We don't know that as a species we are smart enough to discover it. But if we don't believe that there IS an underlying theory, or that we are smart enough to discover it, we never will. Some very famous words, (and I paraphrase), "In the world you will find trouble, but I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD." To me, this is the greatest preparation for the disasters to come. If you do not have THIS preparation, all the stockpiling in the world will do you no good at all. There is even a prophecy that states that many will seek safety in caves and call for the "rocks to fall down around them" to keep them from the simple look of Him who will "search them through and through". Now THAT is REALLY scary!!



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I have to agree with Zerubbabel - your cousin's paper has a few holes in its logic. I'm hoping that if this was a college paper that it was submitted during the 1st quarter of his freshman year because it truly doesn't meet the standards for a college level thesis. As a high school paper "C" and as a lower division college paper "D" would be appropriate grade.


Let's look at the "Man in the hallway" scenario sentence at a time:


A man goes into a building where he cannot be observed. Inside, he walks down a hallway with 117 doors leading to rooms on either side.

He's included the caveat "where he cannot be observed" for some reason. We can only assume, but don't know, that the caveat has some importance to the experiment - possibly that there is an unstated rule that he can only walk down the hall but cannot open the doors and look inside the rooms. That should have been clarified because it is the crux of the experiment.


When the man comes out, he tells us in all sincerity the color of the walls in each of the 117 rooms in sequential order.

In the introduction to his paper he ends with a statement that he needs to explore the difference between "fact" and "prediction". But in this sentence he confuses the two terms. He offers us the fact that he exits the hallway and proceeds to give the color of the 117 rooms. He also offers as a fact that he did it with "all sincerity". This not a fact from the experimenter's perspective. It is an opinion. Its irrelevent to the experiment and the opinion should have been left out. It's left in, however, because it is intended to set up a false premises later introduced into the paper.


Afterward, we are allowed to go inside and begin checking the man's word for accuracy. After having checked 95 rooms, and having found 100 percent accuracy the revealed probability factor that the remaining doors indeed conceal rooms of the color asserted by the man, is 95/117, according to master mathematician Greg Borman, of the College of Eastern Utah (Personal 10-28-99).

This is an error in understanding probability. He's linking the probability of correctly stating the "next" color to the color of the preceeding rooms. If it was the case that the color of each room has a causal relationship with the color of the preceeding room it would be true. It also assumes that the chance of an individual correct answer is cumulative. Its not. The correct answer is that the probability of correctly announcing the color of Room 96 is the same as for any other room. In this case we have no way of knowing what that chance is other than it is 100% less some unknown constant (unknown because to our knowledge he hasn't revealed any error factor).


Greg Borman's statement is technically true based on the knowledge at hand. The experimenter hs verified 95 statements of a possible 117. He haven't verified his other answers and the man has made no incorrect statements so far. We take the most restrictive approach and say that the worst case is 95/117. But that worst case scenario ignores the fact that he has never, in the past, made an error.


This is very close to certainty.

This isn't a fact. This is the opinion of the experimenter who has defined (and revealed the definition - which is good) "close to certainty" as being 95/117 ~ 81.2%. A loss of one part in twenty is generally not taken in calculus as being "close to certainty" in the limit of p as it approaches 1 (100%). An uncertainty of 19% is usually considered to be very significant. However, you have to look at the risk-reward involved in outcomes to decide if is significant (which becomes an allowable opinion).


This leaves a very definite 'fact' that chances are we could accurately predict the color of the remaining rooms based on the information given by the man.

No - it is not a fact that we could predict the colors of the rooms. We're not asked to predict anything in the scenario. We're asked to quantify the future probability that his statements are true about the room colors based on our past experinence with him. That's what science and statistics are all about. Taking past experience, quantifying it and making a judgement about the future outcome of events that have not yet occured.


This is the point where his paper truly begins to break down into an opinion piece rather than an inquiry into the nature of probability. He's thrown into the mix a false premise.


The "we" in his paper (people who should be preparing for a disaster) aren't involved in predicting the colors of the rooms. That's the false premise. What we're asked to do in this scenario is to judge whether the colors of the remaining 22 rooms are what the man said they are based on his correct statements, which we verified, about the preceeding 95 rooms. We've already been told what his observations were.


And by taking the worst case scenario his experiment is set up so that it cannot under any circumstances fail. The 95/117 probability is trivially correct even if the man incorrectly states the color of all 22 remaining rooms.


If the 'fact' that the man is very religious, and believes whole-heartedly in telling the truth is included, a new positive probability factor separate from, and in addition to, our finding of the evidence, is now present. This serves only to bring the anticipated result closer to certainty.

And the false premise is fully revealed here. It wouldn't be a fact that the man is "very religious and believes whole-heartedly". That's an opinion that someone would form based on observing the man. We can be wrong and we have no way of perceiving the man's actual thoughts. He attempted to be here "crafty" by talking about the man in the hallway when he was really talking about the psychic.


Beyond this there is a larger underlying false premise. By way of analogy he's attempting to convince his audience that if some "psychic" makes 117 correct predictions then we have to look to the man in the hall for guidance in determining whether we should act on the psychic's predictions.


But these are not the same scenarios. The man in the hall, for all we know (remember my initial criticism?) looked into the rooms. There's nothing in the scenario that should lead us to believe that he didn't look and it isn't stated anywhere that he predicted the colors without looking.


There are card counters who can tell you every card dealt, in order, from 1 to 3 decks. They are rather rare folks but they do exist. Our man in the hall is a gedanken.


One interpretation of the experimental results is that he is a "card counter" of room colors and simply has the ability to retain such short-term memory. In any case, that's not a prediction on his part. For our part we're basing our decision on his part ability to correctly recall the colors correctly. Nothing psychic here. We have concrete evidence subject to our indepent and unambigous verification.


But he now wants us to take the man in the hall and make him the psychic. Trust The Man, trust The Psychic. But he makes no case specific to the psychic. There is no factual basis given in the paper to make the comparison. Unlike the case of the man in the hall's unambiguous results, he fails to reveal that the psychics' ambiguous predictions are very much subject to individual and highly variable interpretation as to their validity.


You put the paper where it belongs: on the Internet in a post - not in a professor or teaching assistant's in-box.



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