[Via Cynical-C] BBC3’s “Bullsh!t Detectors” shows up three Mediums. The one question I have is: why didn’t they immediately retract their permission to use the footage of them getting shown up as frauds?
Archive for the ‘Psychics’ Category
Here’s a story that ended up on Drudge recently:
Famed pastor predicts imminent catastrophe
A respected pastor, best-selling author and founder of a major ministry to teens predicts an imminent “earth-shattering calamity” centered in New York City that will spread to major urban areas across the country and around the world – part of what he sees as a judgment from God.
David Wilkerson, author of “The Cross and the Switchblade,” a book about his ministry to troubled New York street kids that was later made into a movie starring Pat Boone, tells readers of his blog this weekend that he is “compelled by the Holy Spirit to send out an urgent message” about his prediction.
“An earth-shattering calamity is about to happen,” he writes. “It is going to be so frightening, we are all going to tremble – even the godliest among us.”
Wilkerson’s vision is of fires raging through New York City.
“It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires – such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago,” he explains. “There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting – including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath.
“I do not know when these things will come to pass, but I know it is not far off,” Wilkerson concluded in his message. “I have unburdened my soul to you. Do with the message as you choose.”
And a few days later: Pastor now tells how to prep for imminent catastrophe
One of the many Christian leaders with a similar message is Dr. Gary Dull, pastor and founding member of The Faith and Freedom Institute.
“America was founded with a spiritual basis, but there are those who want to make it a purely secular nation,” said Dull to an NBC reporter. “Because of the rejection of God and His values, we can expect nothing but His judgment. All one needs to do is to read in history and find out how that when a nation forgot God, God forgot the nation.”
A past vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention is hoping believers pay attention to Wilkerson’s message.
“I have known David Wilkerson for more than 25 years as well as many of his friends and associates,” said Pastor Wiley Drake. “He is a godly man and I believe he is listening to God. I encourage each Christian to read and heed what God is saying through our brother.”
How about a list of problems I have with this “prediction” stuff?
Fundamentalists claim to be able to talk to God – and He answers back. If this is true, then:
* Why do these people have such a bad record of their prophecies coming true? (Example: Pat Robertson’s annual list of failed predictions.) These guys are no better than psychics.
* Why doesn’t God stop them from going public with this stuff, when it only discredits them?
* Why do they fail to predict actual catastrophes (9/11 or Katrina)?
* How do they manage to convince themselves that their predictions will actually come true. And, if they manage to get themselves so wrapped up in believing these fantasies, then what does that say about their religious belief in general being a product of fantasy?
* Whenever religious people think God is “leading them” to make a particular decision (like whether to take a particular job, or marry a particular person), how can any of them really have any faith that their feelings are any better than David Wilkerson’s or Pat Robertson’s feelings?
* How sad is it that these people are wrapped up in the beliefs of imminent catastrophe? How sad is it that they can’t just live their lives without the burden of imaginary catastrophe at their doorstep? Maybe we should take these predictions as a kind of Rorschach test which gives us a view into what thoughts fill their heads.
* When bad things happen, they believe there is a “spiritual” reason (“a judgment from God”). This response actually harms humanity because now we’re looking for “spiritual” solutions to real-world problems. Have a problem with cholera? If you believe it’s a “spiritual problem”, then you are busy trying to be a better person, evangelize, and pray more often. None of those are solutions. The solution is science. Wilkerson claims that US recession is because “We are under God’s wrath.” So much for sound financial planning. Claiming it’s a “spiritual problem” is really a self-centered non-solution – it helps spread and entrench the religion, but does nothing for the people. It’s the equivalent of witch doctors trying to cure disease.
Leduc’s weird tale began on May 30, when she dropped young Victoria off for class at Terry Fox Elementary and headed in to work, only to receive a frantic phone call from the school telling her it was urgent she come back right away.
The frightened mother rushed back to the campus and was stunned by what she heard – the principal, vice-principal and her daughter’s teacher were all waiting for her in the office, telling her they’d received allegations that Victoria had been the victim of sexual abuse – and that the CAS had been notified.
How did they come by such startling knowledge? Leduc was incredulous as they poured out their story.
“The teacher looked and me and said: ‘We have to tell you something. The educational assistant who works with Victoria went to see a psychic last night, and the psychic asked the educational assistant at that particular time if she works with a little girl by the name of “V.” And she said ‘yes, I do.’ And she said, ‘well, you need to know that that child is being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26.'”
Victoria, who is non-verbal, had also been exhibiting sexualized behaviour in class, actions which are known to be typical of autistic behavior.
But things got worse when school officials used the “evidence” and accepted the completely unsubstantiated word of the seer by reporting the case to Children’s Aid, which promptly opened a file on the family.
“They reported me to Children’s Aid,” Leduc declares, still disbelieving. “Based on a psychic!”
The mom, who is divorced and has a new fiancé, adamantly denied the charges, noting her daughter was never exposed to anyone of that age. And fortunately she had proof. The mother was long dissatisfied with the treatment her daughter had received at the school, after they had allegedly lost her on several occasions.
As a result, the already cash strapped mom had spent a considerable sum of money to not only have her child equipped with a GPS unit, but one that provided audio records of everything that was going on around her.
So she had non-stop taped proof that nothing untoward had ever happened to her daughter, and was aghast that the situation had gone this far. But under the Child and Family Services Act, anyone who works with children and has reasonable grounds to suspect a youngster is being harmed, must report it immediately – and the CAS has an obligation to follow up.
And so a case worker came to the Leduc home to discuss the allegations of sexual misconduct, only to admit there wasn’t a shred of evidence that anything had ever happened at all. They labelled Leduc a “diligent” mother doing the best she could for her child under difficult circumstances, closed the file and left, calling the report “ridiculous.”
It’s a good thing the mother had the GPS/audio-recording device. Otherwise, she might’ve gotten sucked in, too – and been distressed about the (fictional) terrible things happening to her daughter.
The SkepTick gave a talk a few weeks ago, and, just for fun, he copied down some predictions for 2008 that PsychicNikki had put on her website. One section was titled “Death Watch/Health Watch” – with names of people who might have a higher chance of dying that year. A few days later (January 22), Heath Ledger died. Returning to PsychicNikki’s website on the 23rd, he discovered Ledger’s name added to the “Death Watch/Health Watch” predictions for 2008. Even worse for her, the google cache of her website still showed Ledger’s name missing from the list.
Psychics: showing that they can predict the future by retroactively changing their predictions. And when her website claims that she’s “in the top 1%” of psychics, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true.