He's interested in the development of technology that would make it easier for farmers to dowse or divine for water on their properties.Yes, our new head of CSIRO thinks there's something to water dowsing. He's right that dowsers can sometimes find water in the natural environment, but only by picking up on environmental cues - the lie of the land, watercourses, vegetation, etc. All the stuff with the rods, the actual dowsing part, is utter bullshit. It's just the ideomotor effect at work. This has been established by many controlled tests of dowsers in which they fail dismally, then make excuses. There's nothing "in the electromagnetic field, or gravitation anomaly."
"I've seen people do this with close to 80 per cent accuracy and I've no idea how they do it," he said.
"When I see that as a scientist, it makes me question, 'is there instrumentality that we could create that would enable a machine to find that water?'
"I've always wondered whether there's something in the electromagnetic field, or gravitation anomaly."
Dr Marshall believes the CSIRO can 'push the envelope' with such projects and contribute to improving agricultural productivity.
CSIRO rightly copped a bit of mocking on social media:
Er, we’ve tested dowsing for > 30 yrs using scientific method. No result better than random chance. Ping @CSIROnews http://t.co/mZSk5Wz14x
— Australian Skeptics (@AustSkeptics) October 20, 2014
Are you serious @CSIROnews? It's not April Fool's Day! http://t.co/XmZX4eUUcs
— Mags Lum (@ScientistMags) October 20, 2014
How the hell do CSIRO think they're going to commercialise dowsing without knowing what shape the Earth *really* is?Somebody at CSIRO noticed, and tried to walk back their boss's comments:
— Jason Heeris (@detly) October 20, 2014
Don’t worry: Larry's interested in helping farmers access water but wasn’t saying divining is the answer. Check out http://t.co/INPkuAhOx2He may not have been saying divining is the answer, but he was certainly suggesting that it's part of the answer and that there's something unexplained going on. There isn't. Dowsing itself does not work. It's embarassing that the head of CSIRO doesn't know that, and felt comfortable uttering such nonsense.
— CSIRO (@CSIROnews) October 20, 2014
CSIRO shouldn't deny he said what he did or that he believes it, they need to own up to the fact that he said something and believes something stupid, and he needs to learn from it.