The Dark side of Divining

News has reached us that the boss of a British company that sold million of dollars worth of “bomb detectors” to Iraq’s security forces has been arrested on suspicion of fraud. These detectors were based on the same principal as water divining rods.

Read the report from TimesOnline here.

Also, this is what our friend James Randi has to say on the matter.

BBC Newsnight: UK Bans Exports of “Bomb Detecting” Dowsing Rods

CBS Evening News USA of Monday the 25th of January 2010
Watch CBS News Videos Online

Tests show bomb scanner ineffective, Thailand says. Report from CNN.

Why did UK not ban so-called ‘bomb detectors’ earlier? Report from BBC

Older entry on this matter:

Australian Skeptics have for years challenged the claims of water diviners and dowsers. In fact it was a divining test that brought James Randi out to Australia in 1980 and inspired the creation of Australian Skeptics shortly thereafter.

After 30 years of investigating these claims, we have yet to find anyone who can perform better than random chance when tested. (We are still happy to test this claim and pay our $100,000 prize.)

We are therefore quite concerned that this sort of magical thinking, normally harmless, has resulted in the Iraqi government purchasing more than 1,500 bomb detecting devices at costs from $16,500 to $60,000 each, that operate on the same principal as divining rods.

Our good friend Dr Phil Plait has more information on his Bad Astronomy Blog which you can read here.