DJ Grothe Calls Dr Phil On BS PsychicsPosted by Jim Newman on February 1st, 2012 – 1 Comment – Posted in Psychic, Uncategorized
Post by Jim Newman.
“Instead of taking your own advice, you gave an uncritical platform to phony ‘psychics’ who abuse people’s emotions in order to fool them.
You know I have the same criticism for Oprah. While she may have given a black voice to white media, the word she spread was vicious in sparing anyone from having to do critical thinking and rah rahed emotional turmoil as she encouraged banal positive thinking instead of real solutions. Especially the horrid life denying book The Secret, the worst piece of trash along with The Purpose Driven Life.
“Self-proclaimed psychic mediums John Edward and Char Margolis have made their fortunes by using manipulative psychological tricks and other devious methods to pretend that they can communicate with people’s deceased family members.
Holy seance! Why doesn’t Dr Phil in his own psychologically, therapeutically ineffective, intimidating style tell them to buck up and get over it. Get over the death in the family and get on with your lives. No, that doesn’t sell advertisements. Cloying sentiment and self assertion over reality sells big bucks. Viewers in grief need support and permission to let their brains fall out.
“Skeptics, scientists, and professional magicians have explained over and over how phony mediums like Mr. Edward and Ms. Margolis perform their acts and take advantage of the bereaved. World-famous magician and demystifier James Randi has often been invited on such shows to help audiences understand what’s really going on in these so-called ‘psychic’ readings. Yet on your show, you excluded the voices of reason and let deceit and superstition win the day.
57% of people believe in psychics. That means the US population could vote a psychic into office who could use seances to talk to Lincoln, or anyone, to determine whether or not to go to war for example. So what’s the harm in that? Believing in psychics is attributed to statistical ignorance and lack of science education. It is not harmless fun!
“Unfortunately, most people don’t know enough about statistics to realize what is going on. Even worse, studies have shown that believers in the paranormal are worse than the average person when it comes to estimating the statistical chances of certain events occurring.
It amazes me how few people know that James Randi has for years offered a cash prize if a psychic event could be proven. You would think Randi would be elevated to celebrity status; he was cuter when he was younger. But people don’t want to be proven wrong. They would rather believe in the possibility of psychics being true than not. Most people are desperate to believe. Every unexplained act, every comforting reinforcement is more important than learning they have been duped or even that they can be duped. More so if it is a comforting dupe.
“The JREF has offered John Edward a prize of $1 million if he can demonstrate his claimed abilities under mutually agreed-upon scientific conditions and without cheating–but he refused.Mr. Edward has been caught cheating at his performances in the past.
“Char Margolis recently appeared on WGN Morning News and “failed miserably” in the words of one anchor, clearly revealing the generic questions these ‘psychic’ fakes use to pry information out of their victims which they later take credit for.
Michael Shermer has an excellent free guide to becoming a psychic in 10 easy lessons. I highly recommend it for several reasons. It reveals how one can fake their way through reading someone’s mind, it teaches you how to pay attention to social and personal cues, and cold reading is a useful ability in day-to-day life in the same sense that close observation made Sherlock Holmes prescient. In particular sales and marketing people practice a number of cold reading techniques except it’s called salesmanship. To some degree we are all selling ourselves in the competitive work place so learn it!
“When national media outlets give such a large platform to hucksters who make false promises and beguile the public, they are as much to blame for the public deception as the fake psychics themselves. I challenge you to provide your audience with more truthful information and advice in the future, and to start by inviting James Randi or another guest from our educational foundation onto your show to inform the public about the tricks used by fake ‘psychics’ like Mr. Edward and Ms. Margolis.
Generally, the law does not assign instigators blame. If you are provoked into a fight it is still your responsibility not to have fought. While this is a highly debatable aspect of free will and intention, the law has not caught up with neuroscience except in the big cases like Tobacco companies where information is grossly withheld or lied about. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile argument, especially in pedophile cases and endemically condoned crime where collusion can be proven. In child abuse if you see it you must legally report it and omission becomes a crime; many of my pubcon friends see this as an infringement on their rights; go ahead screw/beat/deprive the kids, it’s private, right?
It is a moral issue though. Just because it hasn’t been codified into law doesn’t make it Ok. If you know something is bullshit and harms people and yet you allow it, to increase your own worth or merit you should, especially, if you are Dr “get real” Phil, pay the consequences when the house of cards falls down and some one gets hurt. There is no such thing as harmless crime.
Jim Newman, bright and well