Desperate to Find Water, Californians Turn to Dowsers
97% of the state of California is currently experiencing a drought, according to the website Californiadrought.org. 46% of the state is suffering in an “exceptional drought”, the most severe status. California’s central regions, it’s farmland, is taking it on the chin, but overall, there is estimated to be about 36 million Californians effected by this drought. Any way you look at it, the water situation in California is dismal.
As reported recently by Yahoo News, the farmers of California are relying on dowsers, more heavily than ever, in these desperate times. Dowsing, as defined by Wikipedia, is:
“… a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials without the use of scientific apparatus. Dowsing is considered a pseudoscience, and there is no scientific evidence that it is any more effective than random chance.”
The relationship between farming and dowsing stretches as far back to dowsing’s origins in the 1500’s. The two professions have walked hand-in-hand through the centuries, so it is no surprise that farmers are strengthening their bonds with their dowsers when times are bleak. But the hands of the dowsers are reaching farther than ever, with government officials also seeking out the help of water diviners. In fact, California’s Governor Jerry Brown recently hired dowsers to survey his future retirement property.
The main problem with the Yahoo News article is that they fail to put the proper emphasis on the fact that dowsing is magical thinking. Instead, they take the far more predictable path of reporting the point of view of the people who believe that dowsing actually works, and then towards the end, give nod to the scientific skepticism of water-witching. It could be argued that there would otherwise be no article at all describing the plight of the farmers, and their reliance on superstition, were the reporters to initiate the story with the scientific position.
If that were the case, then it could also be argued that this article should not have been published at all.