Self-proclaimed psychics very wrong

Are they ever right? They might claim to be right but color me skeptical. This article from Paranormal Review gets it right.

Why did we have no warning about 9/11, the Asian tsunami? Why are they so wrong about if a missing person is even dead or alive? I despise what these people do. I don’t know if they are frauds or honestly believe they have a gift, but that doesn’t matter. Despite the hyped claim that psychic power has been proven (such as noted in this story), I remain unconvinced. I would not trust any self-proclaimed psychic. They are mostly, spectacularly wrong. There is no question that psychic power, if it exists, is notoriously unrealiable. Yet, these “entertainers” do their act for audiences on schedule.

Stories about psychic predictions, remote viewing experiments, etc. will go nowhere fast until some reasonable explanation is put forth about how they could possibly occur. A collection of tales is just that. You must be able to understand and explain them before they have any value.

There has been much talk about James Randi’s newly revamped million-dollar challenge.  JR may be gruff about dealing with a gullible public but I have no doubt that much time is wasted on sorely disillusioned or downright egotistical claimants. I agree with his changes. What is wrong with using the tools that popular paranormalists use – media hype and promotion – along with a challenge?

As always, I am open to learn more about the mysteries of life (and death) still out there. Perhaps someday we will see a theory established for psi. But, to get to the bottom of the matter, you need to duke it out with opposing views. I hope Ms. Browne and Mr. Van Praagh step into the ring. They don’t deserve to profit from grief. More people ought to call them on it.

UPDATE: I’m not the only one who feels this way and I’m awful glad to see this. Another “rub their nose in it article“.

5 thoughts on “Self-proclaimed psychics very wrong

  1. Color me less than sympathetic with your comments, which strike me as simplistic and self-righteous. True, it’s pretty hard to excuse the psychic — was it Sylvia Browne? — who told the Missouri parents that their son was dead, when as we now know he wasn’t. She surely deserves all the criticism she’s receiving. But to extrapolate from that into the sort of scolding in evidence here is to do no more than join a bandwagon, with the less than amazing Randi (“I always have an out,” he boasts privately, just like the psychics whom he regularly bashes) at the lead.

    I have no particular dog in this race, since the paranormal is not an overwhelming interest of mine. I do know enough, however, to understand that things are far from black and white, that science is not handled as a bet for a horse race is waged, and that often enough psychics, professional or amateur, have been on target.

    For a serious treatment of the immense complexities of the subject, I encourage you to read Arthur Lyons and Marcello Truzzi’s “The Blue Sense: Psychic Detectives and Crime” (Mysterious Press, 1991). Life ain’t simple, Lyons and Truzzi document; neither are the questions raised by (ostensibly) anomalous perception. Truth is seldom observed from the high horse you’re riding at the moment.

  2. Jerry: I have no knowledge of low-profile psychics – I haven’t been to any nor have I known any. I am leaving open the possibility that there is some form of “communication” or memory transferrence that has not been discovered yet. But, so far, psychic power is so unreliable in testing that it is functionally non-existent.

    I’m not one for jumping on a bandwagon nor making snap decisions about philosophical or material issues. I strongly object to your characterisation of this topic in that way.

    My focus is strictly on these publicity hounds that cater to celebrity talk shows and media circuses. I’m obviously sickened by their claims that they are accurate when they are CLEARLY not and people suffer for it. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Okay, I’m pleased to accept your word for it. Though I disagree with you at times, I respect your intelligence and intellectual seriousness, and I’m glad you’ve joined the discussion. Many public psychics — though certainly not all — are indeed as you describe them, if more irritating than harmful. At least they don’t lie us into hopeless and unjustified wars.

    Your posting didn’t read as if expressive of the more nuanced thinking you are now describing; so perhaps the chance to elaborate on your thoughts has helped eluciate the issue and enhance the discussion.

    I appreciate your blog — one of the few on anomalies that I read regularly.

  4. Shez: I hadn’t heard about that. Good for her.

    Whenever we go to the beach, I can’t help but think about what my family and I would do in the extremely small chance that the sea would retreat like that. As a geologist, I knew of the signs. I’m dismayed that the local legends of earthquake-prone areas like Phuket and Banda Aceh didn’t do their job of making people run when the sea retreated.

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