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Dowsing and Chemtrails

8 September 2013
Inside science

At http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/doug-proctor-dowsing-and-divin… … is a bit on the light side and not at the cutting edge of science. Dowsers are of course regularly accused of being pseudo- scientific, a bunch of frauds, and magicians akin to witchdoctors. Doug Proctor is a geologist by profession – and a dowser. He can locate water pipes and underground streams and aquifers with a rod or a piece of hazel. The human body is sensitive to movement through weak electrical fields and there is an unconscious muscle sensitivity to a change in the electrical field. He describes the practise in more detail and informs the reader that it was used to seek out water bearing thrust faults in the Rocky Mountains near Banff in Canada. Proctor was a member of the Calgary Dowsing Society and became involved in other fringe ideas, particularly when he was president of the society. One was the phenomenon of 'orbs' (spinning electrical dust phenomena) but the most unusual and entrenched was 'chemtrails' – which he describes in some detail. The belief in chemtrails involves an unspecified chemical injected into the combustion by-products of jet engines with the connivance or otherwise of the aviation authorities (and depending on the particular conspiracy theorist). Chemtrail believers are an odd lot, going by his description of them, but otherwise quite pleasant and amicable to socialise with. It is when they start talking about chemtrails and a vast government conspiracy that it all goes a bit potty. These people oppose 'big' government (but don't we all) and believe there are people out there trying to control the population by using chemicals to make them placid and uncomplaining. This unspoken chemical is blown out of the engines of aeroplanes, wafting over the countryside. Facts are not allowed to get in the way – it is all designed to make the little people feel anxious, as they apparently feel that way. It's an interesting read and most of us must have come across similar kinds of people with similar kinds of strange ideas – such as fear of mobile phone masts, vaccines, big brother reading your emails, and so forth. Okay, chemtrails sounds a bit more whacky than your average 'anxiety' complex – but it follows a pattern. This is the point of the post.

Proctor goes on to say that we live in a developed and 'educated' society, and yes, he is right, we do like to think we are sober, mostly intelligent, and we have banished our superstitions, even aspects of our religions. Yet, many people are only too eager to embrace CAGW and return to a pre-industrial/pre-techonological world where they will be safe and won't feel threatened by the modern world and all its gadgets that appear to control most of our waking life. In contrast, lots of people in less developed parts of the world want a piece of the cake and have been migrating in their hundreds of thousands in order to achieve that ambition.

What he is saying is that chemtrails are not the only pie in the sky 'anxiety' out there and like a worm threading its way through the head this kind of belief set of mind is akin to some of the CAGW 'deep faith' fraternity. Dowsing, on the other hand is a reality. Another dowser and geologist made a comment to the effect, he is not sure it is electrical fields that are involved but rather, small changes in the Earth's magnetic field. He said the best dowser he had encountered was a senior geologist from a major mining company. His success rate was almost 100 per cent – which is phenomenal. Few people, he adds, are aware that most of the world's water wells are sited where they are by dowsing and not by professional geo-hydrologists. Unfortunately, there are a lot of amateurish and poor dowsers out there, including outright frauds. 

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