Skipping the preface and jumping straight on top of this one. Double blind testing (DBT) is the standard used for the scientific inquiry of physical and psychological responses. It is the only valid means for determining the authenticity of perceptual differences and for finding direct cause and effect. Of all the possible variables effecting the response under question, all but one must be held constant to insure that only one variable is tested at a time. Any additional sensory input (multiple variables) will alter and influence the primary input being tested, whether it’s sight, taste, touch. smell, hearing, or other physical responses. No matter how objective you try to be, it’s impossible to keep irrelevant signals, erroneous beliefs and/or preexisting knowledge from interfering. Without DBT, we’re just stabbing in the dark.
A frequently used argument against DBT is that it puts test subjects under stressful, artificial conditions for which they are unable to perform normally : the anxiety excuse. Many psychics have allowed themselves to be subjected to controlled, scientific testing. Every test has failed to prove paranormal powers. And with every failure they come back with the excuse that they can’t perform under “those conditions.” Athletes, dancers, musicians, and actors perform under very high stress conditions. They prove their abilities time after time under the artificial, anxiety producing conditions of public performance. They make no excuses.
DBT can prove or disprove effects. Subjective listening preferences have been confirmed under DBT conditions. They have also been correlated and backed up with real, quantified, documented evidence. Yes, double blind testing does produce results—reliable and repeatable results. Direct correlations are found when they actually exist. The critics of DBT forget to mention the successes. When the tests are inconclusive, it’s a clear demonstration that the differences, if any, are too small to be significant, or do not exist.
Test equipment is far more sensitive than human ears. If you can hear it, you can measure it.
I have done blind and sighted tests myself. I do not trust my own impressions unless I do a side by side, A/B blind test. The changes in my own perception from day to day, hour to hour, make subjective testing without careful controls unreliable.
Others argue that accuracy cannot be measured. In truth, it can. The closer the output is to the input, the more accurate the sound reproduction. This can be determined objectively with test equipment, and later corroborated with subjective blind listening tests. Your ears may prefer the less accurate sound—that’s your choice. It’s okay, you’re okay.
Misconceptions and misinformation keep clouding the facts. Some outright lies are passed off as evidence to support misinformation. Often it’s not the facts stated, but the facts omitted that skew the argument. Add the opinions of others taken at face value, blindly trusted, taken without question, without investigation, and without asking for substantiated or verified support data, and it’s not hard to see how misunderstandings get accepted, spread, and persist.
I know, I know, there’d be nothing to talk about if we were to adhere to the facts. The mystery of the cosmos would be lost if we give up our fantasies and fairytales. Life would be boring if we were all the same. All hope would be lost in a world of meaninglessness, and blah, blah, blah. . .
The absolute truth keeps eluding us. Every layer we peel away reveals another deeper, previously hidden layer. We will never run out of puzzles to solve. We don’t need myths to find mystery. All we need is wonder.