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  #101  
Old 27 February 2007, 01:03 PM
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Kindness (almost) always trumps truthfulness, for me.
Yes, but is it really considered kind to claim hat you can talk to a lost loved one (when you know you cannot) and just make up stuff and hope that their victim doesn't realize that fact?

Their are two basic types of psychis. The first kind are the real scum becasue they claim that they have powers they darn well know that they do not really possess and despite being exposed, continue to stalk vulnerable people who are in no emotional state to think clearly and hook them on an elaborate illusion. Magicians do the same thing but the difference is they admit that they have no real powers and their intent is to entertain. These frauds are people like Sylvia Browne who when asked to prove theri gift, never do.

The second group are people that claim their psycic and actually believe that they have the power. Logically since they cannot actually talk to the dead or whatnot, they have some other problem (perhaps mental disease). However, we shouldn't indulge in their delusions any more than we should give away a keg of beer to an alcoholic. They are still hapemful becasue like the first kind of psycics they don't offer any real comfort to a person.
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  #102  
Old 27 February 2007, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
Well, except that the media is pretty much inescapable.
Nope, sorry, I don't buy this line of reasoning. I manage to avoid loads of media, simply by keeping the TV off and not buying the paper, etc.

People are in the habit of watching a lot of TV and reading the paper, etc, sure, but "inescapable"? Not in the slightest. It doesn't even take any effort.

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It's a lot easier to not consult a psychic than not consult a newspaper, tv show, magazine, etc.
Would this be newspapers that have horoscopes and advertise premium-rate psychic lines, TV programmes like Most Haunted and Montel Williams, and magazines that also include horoscopes and advertise premium-rate psychic lines?

We're talking about the proliferation of the underlying concept. If you're going to restrict it to actually going to see a psychic, then you have to restrict unfair and derogatory images of women to those that you actually pay to go and see.

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I'm not ignoring your posts, btw. I'm actually supposedly working, and responding to your posts takes a bit more thinking through of things, as a rule. Then I get caught up in the real time posting. No snub intended.
Chloe, my love, flattery will forgive you a multitude of sins.

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Agreed. However, I think the extent to which psychics contribute to that system is minimal. Hence much of what I've been writing here: not so much "psychics are great," but "fight the real power."
My comparison with the door issue was to point out that you should fight all the power, not just the biggies. After all, if it's only about "fight the real power", then men holding doors open for women is way down the list. That doesn't mean that a protest against it is invalid.

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True. I think 4,000 is excessive profiteering, but I'd have no problem with a $5 crystal worrybead.
Now that's interesting. Where is your hypothetical cut-off point? Because the psychics are closer to the 4,000 than they are the $5.

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I think our primary difference is that you seem to value truth for its own sake. Frankly, I'm not sure I do.
I have a problem with it, too. In fact, my knee-jerk reaction to your first sentence is "no I don't", but I think that if I'm honest then I do. I have no problem with lies that are explicitly lies - so Penn and Teller > David Blaine, not even taking talent into account - but lies that purport to be truth and prey on the vulnerable or set people up for big falls for selfish profit? Unacceptable.

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Would you tell the family their child died in long and painful agony? Or tell them s/he went quickly and wouldn't have known or felt anything? I realise it's not quite the same thing, but if truth is what matters, what do you say?
It is an interesting question. I think that, in general, RubberChicken is right in that you don't volunteer the information, but if asked then you tell the truth. The truth might include something about the body's natural painkillers, the way that the mind can dislocate itself from severe trauma, etc. as well to soften the blow. "To be honest, it's hard to tell how someone feels in such a situation as the brain releases pain-killing chemicals and can hallucinate and even become euphoric in such horrible situations. So I can't say whether he suffered. However, I can tell you that he was alive for several hours before he died." If being asked an honest question, I think it's disrespectful to give a dishonest answer.

And, in that spirit I have to point out that that's very theoretical. That's what I think I'd probably do after sleeping on it and posting the evening after I read the question. If actually faced with that situation my response might be different.

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I am attempting to bring to people's attention that psychics practice on a small scale what other institutions do on a large one. I would like to see similar indignation brought to bear on both.
I think that the big difference between psychics and the church, though, is that churches do not necessarily ask for money, and the people at the church generally believe that they are telling the truth. It's also worth noting that there have been churches and cults successfully prosecuted for fraud. It'd be nice to see the same happening with psychics.
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  #103  
Old 27 February 2007, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
If I've communicated that stance, I've done a poor job. I am attempting to bring to people's attention that psychics practice on a small scale what other institutions do on a large one. I would like to see similar indignation brought to bear on both.
And if the title of the thread was "Psychics, churches and madison avenue" or "Claims of the supernatural are a big fat con", then I could see your point, that people were attacking psychics while giving churches a free pass. But its a thread *about psychics*. Its not like there is a dearth of "Isnt religion rubbish" threads, is it? Though actually, I havent seen one of those in a while, I hope Joe Bentley is okay.

I'm not playing thread police, I'm just pointing out that the reason we are all talking about psychics, is because that is the title of the thread. If you were simply making claims about churches, I might agree. But you do seem to be using the claims about churches to let psychics off the hook, which I strongly disagree with.
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  #104  
Old 27 February 2007, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
See, I know I'd lie. Like a shot, fluently, convincingly, and without a second thought for its morality. Kindness (almost) always trumps truthfulness, for me.
And with all due respect Chloe, I couldn't disagree more.

Kindness and dishonesty are totally incompatible in my book.
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  #105  
Old 27 February 2007, 10:48 PM
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And the irony is that you'd be cruelly truthful to me, and I'd be kindly untruthful to you. Ergo, we're both unhappy.
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  #106  
Old 27 February 2007, 10:51 PM
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And the irony is that you'd be cruelly truthful to me, and I'd be kindly untruthful to you. Ergo, we're both unhappy.
Yes but the difference is people, as a rule, find the truth out sooner or later.

Happiness through a lie is fleeting.
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  #107  
Old 27 February 2007, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Yes but the difference is people, as a rule, find the truth out sooner or later.

Happiness through a lie is fleeting.

And misery through the truth is permanent but perhaps avoidable.

And it's not been my experience that, as a rule, the truth will out. Unless you invite Poirot.
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  #108  
Old 28 February 2007, 01:50 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Yes but the difference is people, as a rule, find the truth out sooner or later.

Happiness through a lie is fleeting.
People find out the truth, sooner or later, to all questions? How so? What about the ones that we can't know the answer to? Let me give you an example comparing religion and psychics.

Ask a priest if your dead relative is suffering because of their sins, and they may very well say something to the effect that they don't know and can't be sure, but that they have faith in God's love and mercy. The person asking this question may never "know" the answer, because it is something that they can't know. They can accept or reject it, or even have great faith in, but they can't really know, can they?

I think that the problem is that psychics are not willing to say that there are things that they can't know. It is just not wise to state your limitations like that, when you're trying to do this for a living.

But people don't go to priests and ask them questions like "What will I be?Will I be handsome? Will I be rich? Should I paint pictures? Should I sing songs?", or at least not any people I know. But people do go and ask these kinds of questions to psychics. They plan many important, costly, and irrevocable life decisions based upon what the psychics say. People enter into or end relationships based upon the advice of psychics.

As we both likely agree, the future's not ours to see - and while this is only one aspect of psychics, it is indicative of how damaging and dishonest they can be.
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  #109  
Old 28 February 2007, 05:57 PM
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I'm not saying church is a con game or full of it, I'm just giving my anecdote which does not equal data...

When I was a kid in Catholic grade school - I must've been nine when this happened - one of the nuns told us about when she was a little girl. Her uncle had been an alcoholic with a bad temper and died, and when she asked the priest if her uncle was "all better" in heaven now (presumably not a mean drunk anymore), the priest yelled at her that her uncle was roasting in Hell for eternity. She was obviously freaked out by that answer.

Again, I'm not dissin' the Faith, just stating an example of one priest who was telling someone something bad had happened to a love one (with no way of knowing how) and him believing it completely, such as some psychics do.

Last edited by TrishDaDish; 28 February 2007 at 06:02 PM. Reason: I was discussing another thread like an idiot
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  #110  
Old 09 May 2013, 01:00 PM
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Celebrity psychic Sylvia Browne under fire for telling Amanda Berry’s mom she was dead

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment...errys-mom-was/

This right here. This is why all the B.S. "But they are just providing comfort" apologetics is wrong.
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  #111  
Old 09 May 2013, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jw View Post
I WILL believe the very first psychic that can tell me next weekends sports results, in advance. I'd even willingly hand over the 750 bucks to Sylvia Brown if she can guarantee me an 80% success rate.

I once asked a "psychic" if she knew who would win that year's Kentucky Derby. She didn't know.
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  #112  
Old 09 May 2013, 11:26 PM
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Good thread revival, Joe!

"I'm right more than I'm wrong" is a defense? Seriously? Anybody can do that.
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  #113  
Old 09 May 2013, 11:39 PM
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Especially when one doesn't provide actual numbers and examples to show exactly what counts as "right" and what is "wrong".

For example, if she's being consulted on a carjacking/murder and says "I see a young Hispanic man in the stolen car." does it count as "right" when the police question a young Hispanic man about the car, even if no conviction results? Or if they convict a young, white (non-Hispanic) man, does that count because she got 2/3?
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  #114  
Old 10 May 2013, 01:51 PM
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So a mother went to her grave believing that her living daughter was dead, and it's Sylvia Browne's fault. No, scrap that - part of the blame must lie with every single self-proclaimed psychic. One person claiming to have a hotline to the dead would be mostly dismissed as a nutter. When countless people claim the same abilities, the unquestioning and the desperate take notice. There is refuge in large numbers.

If you want to help the bereaved and the bereft, offer your condolences, your sympathies, your legitimate assistance and perhaps even a word of hope here and there when appropriate. Do not claim to have answers you could not possibly have. If you claim to have the answers, you are setting up a situation where you are likely to be asked about a missing person and then you have three options: lie and say you know the person is alive, lie and say you know the person is dead, or tell the truth and say you do not know. You have no right to say the first two and even the truth will cause undue hurt and a feeling of hopelessness thanks to the web of deceit and delusion you have spun around yourself that caused anybody to believe you were their last hope in the first place. Psychics everywhere, if you can hear my thoughts (you can't) then listen to what I am shouting in my head right now: you are not helping.
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  #115  
Old 10 May 2013, 01:56 PM
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I don't think for a minute that they ever believe they're helping. They're con artists, plain and simple, who use the grief of others to steal their money and sell books. They are the lowest dregs of humanity. I'm quite certain Browne and her cold-reading ilk have never had a thought of actually helping anyone in their lives.
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  #116  
Old 10 May 2013, 11:30 PM
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It's like James Randi says: You don't just learn to play the violin by accident. They know exactly what they' re doing.
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  #117  
Old 10 May 2013, 11:39 PM
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Good points, chillas and Ganzfeld, but while I think Sylvia Browne is an ass-clown who's in it for profit, didn't Penn&Teller do a special where they said that a lot of these "psychics" come to believe their own bullshit about bringing comfort to the families and all that?
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  #118  
Old 11 May 2013, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
didn't Penn&Teller do a special where they said that a lot of these "psychics" come to believe their own bullshit about bringing comfort to the families and all that?
Yes, to be fair, some psychics really do believe they have powers. That doesn't necessarily make it better (you're taking advice from a crazy person instead of a con artist), but there's not a lot of arguments you can make against it that you can't also make against religion. I'm not trying to say religious people are crazy; I'm just annoyed that religion often gets a free pass in places where psychics take criticism.
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  #119  
Old 11 May 2013, 12:38 AM
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I think most of them probably do convince themselves either they do have powers, or that they are at least giving comfort and closure.

We all want to be the heroes of our own stories, and I think some sort of mental rationalization would be necessary to live with oneself for basically taking money from vulnerable people in exchange for lying to them.

I think most burglars and robbers rationalize they are "owed" in some way by their victims or society at large, but I don't find that a valid excuse, either.

I don't disbelieve in psychic phenomena, having experienced things I think may have been, but it isn't something you can turn on because you're being paid to. Professional psychics are a combination of good judges of people, masters of open ended questions to which either yes or no sound like a "hit"*, and charismatic charlatans.

* "It wasn't your father who passed?...," "yes," "yes, I thought so."
"It wasn't your father who passed?...," "no," "right, I didn't think so."
Someone who wants to believe will think either of these scenarios prove the psychic's skills.
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  #120  
Old 11 May 2013, 02:30 AM
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Sylvia Browne's Facebook and Twitter accounts are currently offline.
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