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Psychic Scumbags

They claim they can contact loved ones from beyond the grave, chase away evil spirits, predict the future, and help clients live longer healthier lives.
Isn't this the same message that many religions sell? Forgiveness and the opportunity to join your loved ones. The religious message is more sophisticated, but doesn't it pray on the same human weaknesses that the psychics pray on. (thanks to David for the video and the title for the post)



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OH MY GOSH Thanks for the heads up MSNBC. What's next, a special report on not putting your tongue on the frozen flagpole, even if your triple dog dared?

"pray on"

heh.

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Duh.

Did you hear the one about the scientist who falsified results? (It just goes to show that there's no such thing as science.)

"The religious message is more sophisticated, but doesn't it pray on the same human weaknesses that the psychics pray on."

No.

This statement ranks with the output of Michael Baigent; it's so fact-free that it is difficult to know where to begin to criticize it.

I really really want to punch a psychic in the face, both so that I can say "I thought you would duck" and just in general there's something about them that makes me want to punch them in the face.

Bob Mac,

You've outdone me. Your response is even more fact-free than my original statement. Tis nothing more than drive-by bullshit. Both religion and the psychic make promises there is no evidence they can deliver on, and they are both willing to take your money.

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I for one don't believe in God for the sake of uniting with loved ones or for a pie in the sky, and a great many believers don't either. Again, you fight the wrong battle, my friend. Politically, socially we agree, but when it comes to religion, we part company, I agree that many religious leaders are indeed hucksters, but I also believe that can change. It is not, in the end, beyond redemption.

Norm, did you get the link I sent you to the Derren Brown series? I think you'd really dig it. This guy really exposes the triggers people use to exploit the gullible.

"the scientist who falsified results? (It just goes to show that there's no such thing as science.)"

Hi Keith, it does prove that the stringent checks on research will prevent people passing off fake research as facts in the long run.

And unlike scientists, science is about the facts and apologies of the error unlike Christianity which took a few hundred years later to apologise for the 200 years of Crusader activities in the Middle East, which devastated the region.

On a moral basis, science beats religion hands down.

Witch, It must have been snagged by my spam filter. Give it another try and I'll check my spam more carefully.

Patrick, What a boring world if we all agreed on everything the best we can do is keep the discussion open.

That's odd, my name is on someone elses comment, and someone elses comment has my name. It looks like that might've happened in other cases too.

I almost dated a psychic but she broke up with me before we met!

I love how the woman says to go to your priest if you need help... yeah, then he can pray to the same god, take your donations and feed it to one of the riches corporations on earth and you're still in need when all is said and done. The only difference is most churches don't ask as much to protect you from evil.

Although, as a memebr of Billy Graham's mailing list I get monthly requests for donations. As a former membeer of the Catholic church I remember many Sundays passing the basket around collecting cash. And when I used to live in a Spanish ghetto in Brooklyn I would always get mail telling me that if I send checks for $500 or $1,000 or whatever I can afford than this church or that church will pray for me and I will one day be rewarded for my donations to god with great wealth and security.

Whether it's psychics or Christ - it's all just faith.

Watch this again and listen to the rustling noises when the psychic moves. You only get that clothing rustle if the person is miked! The psychic was as fake as the rest of the set up.

This is the same NBC that gives pride of prime-time place to the TV series Medium, based on real-life charlatan Allison DuBois. Apparently, NBC thinks that some quacks are more equal than others, or, at any rate, deserving of a different type of exposure than others.

Read a multi-part exposé of Allison DuBois here.

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Who is that awful supercilious anchor? Is that what US audiences really like?

Anyway, NBC will go after these psychic scammers, but they won't go after evangelical "prosperity gospel" hucksters that tell their flock they just need to prime the pump with donations and before long, God will pay them back with big bucks.

What disturbs me, and this is off-topic, are the people who are willing to spend 10 000 dollars on a psychic. We demonise the psychics for being charlatans and gold-diggers, but what about the people who give in to them?

And furthermore, what was the point of ten different hidden cameras? I dont' see what they were trying to do there...

"Did you hear the one about the scientist who falsified results?"

Did you hear about the religious promise that actually came true? No? Me neither. Just goes to show that religion's a bunch of bunk.

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"Isn't this the same message that many religions sell? Forgiveness and the opportunity to join your loved ones. The religious message is more sophisticated, but doesn't it pray on the same human weaknesses that the psychics pray on."

Hi Norm,

I have been coming on your blog for a while now and today I felt the urge to post. I think you have a very negative view of religions which I find rather unfortunate. I live in France, and even though I dont feel religious at all, I still recognise its good sides (I will talk about the catholic church because it’s the one which I’m most familiar about). As a child, my parents sent me to Sunday school, and I truly believe that it teaches important human values which I will definitely try to convey to my kids in the future. The money you give to the church is really only to help preserve its present state, and if you go to a member of the clergy with a problem, he will try to help you with what he is convinced is right. I think the problem is that we do not understand the strength of their faith and their commitment to God, and we have to stop representing the church as an institution full of “crusade-mongering paedophiles”. Not many of us would accept a life in the clergy (especially Catholic) as it demands many sacrifices. You cannot compare this to the poor fortune teller who is trying to feed her family.

Science is important, but it is not the universal solution to everything. Criticizing faith is being as ignorant, because the thing is, we just don’t know. The problem is not with the religion, but with its interpretations.

"Un peu de science éloigne de Dieu, beaucoup en rapproche". Louis Pasteur

Nico, if you lived here in the United States, you would not feel that way. The Christians in France are a lot different than the fundamentalists in this country.

And in reference to your other post on the Bill Maher thread, don't be too quick to be self-deprecating, athough I know that the French tend to be that way. There are enough angry conservatives and even some who are not so conservative in the U.S. who are more than happy to bash the French.

"Isn't this the same message that many religions sell? Forgiveness and the opportunity to join your loved ones. The religious message is more sophisticated, but doesn't it pray on the same human weaknesses that the psychics pray on."

I disagree with the above statement. The religious message isn't more sophisticated, the motivation to send the message is. (Organized) religion offers that message as means of control. These people are more like renegade preists, they don't have the affiliation, or the course work, that gives preists/et al their power.

The other thing I disagree with is human weakness, its not weak that we greive. Stong atheists/agnostics also greive for their losses. Its fear, which is why science is somehow related to all this in my opinion. We fear what we can not understand - science allows a robust way of organizing our everyday observations into our minds. Religion, psudo-religion, our asshole president, feed on what people don't understand, and promise they will help them understand. Its not weakness though.

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I understand that Bill Maher is above all a comedian, and his words should not be taken all so seriously, but I have the feeling that the liberals in the US are beginning, because of their hatred for the conservative administration, to increasingly idealize the more leftist European states. What I was trying to say is (and you might be perfectly aware of it if you keep up with international news) that the current state of French politics is in complete chaos, and actually today, I think I would have better chances of climbing up the work ladder in the US than in the aging French leftist system.

I lived in the US for three years, and I must say that even though the lifestyle did not suit me (living in the suburbs of Minneapolis does not match the eternal city of Paris), I met very heart-warming people who immediately greeted with utter kindness, even though we often had conflicting views on political or social matters. Now, I had the feeling that this sympathy was due to the traditional American education which I believe is largely based on religious principles. This is just a very simplistic example, but I just wanted to show that every system has its different aspects, and we have to recognize its values before condemning it.

Nico, Sunday school is not the only institution that teaches important human values.

School, secular or otherwise, is basically supposed to do it : >

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This is the worst video ever. Oh wow, they had on a couple crooked psychics, so that proves without a doubt that there aren't any psychics. It's all just made up right.

If you actually did research on non-mainstream people who don't charge for their services you'd know better.

Same old, same old.

Oh John, I must note that you provide no examples of psychics to bolster your claim. If you do come up with someone refer them to Mr. Randi he has some money for them. How disingenuous John you know it's not possible to prove a negative, but the fact is there is no credible evidence for any psychic phenomenon reason enough to call it what it is, bullshit. I suppose you take it all on faith. All I can say John is same old, same old.

In order for her to give them the rights to air that video, I bet they threatened to press charges against her. She was the only one dumb enough to fall for it, which is why we didnt see the psychic who was requesting 100k.

If you actually did research on non-mainstream people who don't charge for their services you'd know better.

Do tell. Who are the psychics that don't charge for their services? (Hint: If they ask for "donations", they're charging.)

Norm, I agree on your point that both religion and psychics sell the same product of spiritual relief, charges a price i.e. your money or your soul, and fail to deliver unless the subject is willing to live in a prolonged stage of suspension of disbelief and common sense.

Indeed, both prey on the same human weaknesses that the psychics pray on.

The difference is only in the brand and the advertiser.

I do take offence of the view by some people here that Norm is automatically labelled as "someone who have a very negative view of religions" simply because he posts stuff here that is not flattering to the idea of religion.

It is human nature to question and seek more knowledge. To deny that is to deny what makes us expressly and consciously human.

And it is sheer ignorance and bigotry to scoff at this worthy endeavour and make universal generalisations to deride those on this journey of true self-discovery that lies beyond religious dogmatism, which has led to infamous periods in history such as the Inquisitions, Crusades and the Dark Ages.

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