John Edwards: An overall positive or negative?

  • #51
Ivan Seeking
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By nearly all accounts, human's have shown a preoccupation for the mystical since Mitochondrial Eve. Assuming that all mystical/supernatural beliefs are false, then we have every reason to consider that this tendency comes as necessary part of our very nature. Could these beliefs be a manifestation of the healthy mechanism for psychological healing? Could this be an evolved mechanism? If so, then the majority of the population may need these beliefs for healthy healing. Someone like Edwards may only help to facilitate this process. How can this be ruled out?

Nature vs nurture; what is the source of this need for the John Edwards of the world?

I wonder when the concept of an afterlife first popped into someones head. Likewise, when was the concept of death as an absolute end first conceptualized? Was it first the natural expectation that life continues somehow, or was it implicit in our nature to think that physical death was the end.
 
  • #52
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by russ_watters
I think all of this has been covered before by myself and others, but I'll reiterate:

1. He cannot help people, period. He may think he can (doubt it) and they may think he can (certainly) but he provides them with FANTASIES at a time when they need to be dealing with REALITY. That is the precise opposite of what a psychologist does. "Peace of mind" through self-delusion is unhealthy. Heck, you even used the words: "come to terms with their lives." How exactly can you come to terms with your life by buying into fairy tales? That's self-contradictory.

To come to terms with something means to emotionally accept it. It may be for some people that they cannot fully emotionally recover from a death to a loved one unless they experience some sort of closure, and feeling as if the loved one is still alive in some sense may give a person that sort of closure. Not to say that everyone needs this, but for some people it just might be the thing that works. In that case, who are you to try to interfere with that process?

2. He does not believe he has these abilities. No, I can't prove that, but I consider myeslf pretty good at detecting lies. And I have read some reports that he bugs the waiting rooms to make the fishing a little easier when he gets into the show. He's a fraud and should be in jail. In any case, it doesn't much matter if he is a fraud or not, it doesn't change he is doing, just WHY. There are some "psychics" who believe they are psychic and they should get in line to see the psychologist after the people they think they are helping. Psychics are either frauds exploiting impressionable (delusional) people or delusional people sharing their delusions with other delusional people. Don't kid yourself though - he's doing this for one reason: MONEY. Thats the easiest way to detect a fraud.

There's obviously more to the psychology of a so-called psychic than money-making, since people throughout history have at least claimed to have such abilities, and most of them were not getting rich from it. If one sincerely believed that one truly had a psychic ability, it would only make sense to try to help people with this ability and make money from it at the same time-- that's how capitalism works, after all. Note that I am not claiming that this is the case-- rather, it is a possibility that contradicts your assessment, and you can't prove that that possibility is not really the case. Nor, for that matter, can you conclusively state that there is no life after death, and thus you can't state so conclusively that this Edwards fellow is an absolute fraud. Again, I am not asserting the existence of life after death, I just welcome you to prove that there is none. If you can't, then maybe you should be more reasonable about the tone of your argument.

3. No, it doesn't matter what I think. I wish we had the opinion of a real psychologist and a lawyer here to say the same things I just said. As I pointed out before though - Ms. Cleo has been shut down for fraud. It isn't uncommon among "psychics".

So you're saying all psychics are of the same nature as Ms. Cleo, hmm?

4. The "attitudes of the people involved" are for the most part not relevant. Its not unlike people addicted to drugs. They need to learn how their attitudes are harming them. THEN they will start to get better. You are suggesting that since drugs make them feel good they should just take more drugs.

The attitudes of the people involved are completely relevant! They are the people we're arguing about, after all. They're the ones who are trying to put their lives back together.

Tell me precisely what harm it does to believe that a deceased love on lives on in the afterlife. Saying "it deceives them into believing something that is not the case" doesn't cut it. I want concrete descriptions of what harm it brings to their own lives, not abstract hand waving about how it doesn't agree with your picture of reality, or your ideal that the "truth" (or more accurately, what you believe to be the truth) is always the best course.

If you want to use a drug analogy, let me make my own so as to more accurately characterize my argument. Say you have a patient, Bob, who is going through treatment for cancer. Naturally his treatment is very exhausting and painful. Bob would like terribly to alleviate his pain to help him along on his road to recovery. A Mr. Eduardo comes along and gives Bob some marijuana to smoke-- Bob smokes it and it helps him deal with his situation. Then some anti-drug fanatics come along and take away Bob's marijuana. They scold him, saying things like, "What's the matter with you? Don't you realize that drugs are bad for you, Bob?" Furthermore, they remind him that "smoking marijuana can only bring you harm. It only gives you illusory relief; the only way to get over your problems, Bob, is to face them head on! Face your pain, and accept it!" Now, marijauna can be harmful in certain contexts, sure. But that doesn't mean that it's always a bad thing. Bob, for one, was able to cope with his pain much better when he had his marijuana and any bad side-effects he experienced from smoking it really were insignificant compared to all the great things it was doing for him-- until some people who didn't really understand his situation came and took it away from him, that is.
 
  • #53
russ_watters
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
To come to terms with something means to emotionally accept it.
How can you accept/come to terms with something you won't even face? Death is final and thats a fact. By thinking you are talking to someone who is dead, you aren't accepting that they are really dead and so you can't come to terms with it.
There's obviously more to the psychology of a so-called psychic than money-making
I did say there were two possibilities, not just one. But Edwards is making a lot of money, so that tends to make the needle point more in that direction.
Nor, for that matter, can you conclusively state that there is no life after death, and thus you can't state so conclusively that this Edwards fellow is an absolute fraud.
That is of course the fallacy of the religion vs science arguement as well as the "open minded" fallacy I've been battling Ivan on. Being open minded means objectively evaluating evidence and drawing a logical conclusion that fits it. Staying open to a possibility that defies all logic and evidence is called GULLIBILTY. Afterlife or not, John Edwards is NOT talking to dead people.
So you're saying all psychics are of the same nature as Ms. Cleo, hmm?
No, I said there are TWO kinds of psychics.
The attitudes of the people involved are completely relevant! They are the people we're arguing about, after all. They're the ones who are trying to put their lives back together.
Beren's response to this one was perfect. But I'll add to it anyway. There can be no question these people need help. Thats why they go on the show in the first place. But what they THINK they need has no bearing whatsoever on what they actually need. In fact, with mental/emotional problems, seeking the WRONG kind of help is actually a symptom of the real problem.

They go to someone else for help because they can't help themselves. Unfortunately, they went to the wrong place so they need someone to tell them where the right place is.

Its a lot like medicine. There is a case right now I really should start a thread on. A kid in Utah was diagnosed with cancer and four different doctors said he needed chemotherapy or he would die. The parents don't believe in that and want some alternate form of treatment (ie, non-medical). They fled the state. Rest assured, that kid is going to die and the parents will be arrested and charged with homicide.

When you are sick and need help, you need to talk to the experts because - they are the experts.
Tell me precisely what harm it does to believe that a deceased love on lives on in the afterlife.
None whatsoever. This isn't the issue, you miss the point completely. I am NOT debating whether or not there is an afterlife. The issue is John Edwards. These people's loved ones may very well be living on in the afterlife, but John Edwards is NOT talking to them.
If you want to use a drug analogy, let me make my own so as to more accurately characterize my argument....
Thats a reasonable story, but it doesn't fit your arguement. Pot in that case is essentially pain medication. It doesn't fix the cancer - thats what the cancer medicine is doing. The analogy only fits if you smoke pot as a SUBSTITUTE for the cancer medicine. Thats the problem with John Edwards. It substitutes temporary pain relief for permanent healing. In John Edwards's case, the result is prolonged mental anguish but with a temporary reduction in its severity. In your analogy, the result is death but with less pain.
 
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  • #54
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by russ_watters
How can you accept/come to terms with something you won't even face? Death is final and thats a fact. By thinking you are talking to someone who is dead, you aren't accepting that they are really dead and so you can't come to terms with it.

Again, emotional acceptance. In these people's eyes, they are facing the problem, and they're getting a comforting answer. As a result they feel a little better about it. That's all that matters.

I did say there were two possibilities, not just one. But Edwards is making a lot of money, so that tends to make the needle point more in that direction. That is of course the fallacy of the religion vs science arguement as well as the "open minded" fallacy I've been battling Ivan on. Being open minded means objectively evaluating evidence and drawing a logical conclusion that fits it. Staying open to a possibility that defies all logic and evidence is called GULLIBILTY. Afterlife or not, John Edwards is NOT talking to dead people.

You did acknowledge two possibilities, sorry I missed that in my response.

Now, I don't think the possibility that Edwards believes in what he is doing defies logic at all. It certainly might not seem that way to you, but that doesn't make your conclusion right. There are plenty of examples (especially in psychology) where a conclusion seems to be logically and empirically fixed into place, but it winds up being false or a half-truth.

Anyway, I don't want to get too sidetracked on this point. The issue at hand is if it is beneficial to some people to get psychological closure from a person like Edwards.

Beren's response to this one was perfect. But I'll add to it anyway. There can be no question these people need help. Thats why they go on the show in the first place. But what they THINK they need has no bearing whatsoever on what they actually need. In fact, with mental/emotional problems, seeking the WRONG kind of help is actually a symptom of the real problem.

They go to someone else for help because they can't help themselves. Unfortunately, they went to the wrong place so they need someone to tell them where the right place is.

Its a lot like medicine. There is a case right now I really should start a thread on. A kid in Utah was diagnosed with cancer and four different doctors said he needed chemotherapy or he would die. The parents don't believe in that and want some alternate form of treatment (ie, non-medical). They fled the state. Rest assured, that kid is going to die and the parents will be arrested and charged with homicide.

When you are sick and need help, you need to talk to the experts because - they are the experts.

Again, why is this method of psychological closure "wrong" or "harmful"? Beren's example, and your drug abuse example, are cases where the person's behavior is self-destructive. What is self-destructive or harmful about believing that a psychic can verify that your loved ones are alive and well in some other place?

Thats a reasonable story, but it doesn't fit your arguement. Pot in that case is essentially pain medication. It doesn't fix the cancer - thats what the cancer medicine is doing. The analogy only fits if you smoke pot as a SUBSTITUTE for the cancer medicine. Thats the problem with John Edwards. It substitutes temporary pain relief for permanent healing. In John Edwards's case, the result is prolonged mental anguish but with a temporary reduction in its severity. In your analogy, the result is death but with less pain.

Coming to terms with death is a natural psychological process over time. I don't see how believing in Edwards necessarily cuts one off from this natural healing process-- the only way to damage it would be to take a negative or fatalistic view, clinging to the despair of the death and failing to accept it emotionally. On the contrary, Edwards' claims only assist people in coming to emotional acceptance of death and approaching it with a positive attitude, so they can be seen as being complementary to the natural psychological healing process.
 
  • #55
BoulderHead
The issue at hand is if it is beneficial to some people to get psychological closure from a person like Edwards.
I see a more basic question being asked; Is “psychological closure” so beneficial to an individual that regardless of where it’s coming from it should be accepted?

No doubt the snake oil salesmen would all chant to the affirmative.

Coming to terms with death is a natural psychological process over time.
How is the misguided belief, coming from a phony, that dear old Aunt Betsy is sending you messages from the grave a part of coming to terms with death? It surely doesn’t seem to be helping anyone to come to grips with reality, but then perhaps reality isn’t the most important consideration.
Also, this coming to terms with death business is a very open topic, and depends a great deal on what one’s own personal view of death is. I think what is taking place with Edwards can just as easily be seen as an avoidance of coming to terms with death by accepting the lies of a con artist.

…On the contrary, Edwards' claims only assist people in coming to emotional acceptance of death and approaching it with a positive attitude, so they can be seen as being complementary to the natural psychological healing process.
Being high helps many people to cope with this life too. Perhaps drug use should likewise be seen as complementary to the natural psychological healing process?

Gimme another happy pill, doctor.

[edit]

"One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak certainty of reason- but one cannot have both."
- Robert A. Heinlein
 
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  • #56
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by BoulderHead
I see a more basic question being asked; Is “psychological closure” so beneficial to an individual that regardless of where it’s coming from it should be accepted?

No doubt the snake oil salesmen would all chant to the affirmative.?

How is this different from any others religion; going with our assumption of course that all mystical/supernatural beliefs are false? The majority of the world seeks solace through prayer; not psychological counseling.

How is the misguided belief, coming from a phony, that dear old Aunt Betsy is sending you messages from the grave a part of coming to terms with death? It surely doesn’t seem to be helping anyone to come to grips with reality, but then perhaps reality isn’t the most important consideration.
Also, this coming to terms with death business is a very open topic, and depends a great deal on what one’s own personal view of death is. I think what is taking place with Edwards can just as easily be seen as an avoidance of coming to terms with death by accepting the lies of a con artist.

Given our assumption, this same argument can be made for most religions.

Being high helps many people to cope with this life too. Perhaps drug use should likewise be seen as complementary to the natural psychological healing process?

Gimme another happy pill, doctor.

[edit]

"One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak certainty of reason- but one cannot have both."
- Robert A. Heinlein

This discussion is about human nature. Your objections really sound more like value judgments. Although the issue of morality is surely a valid one here, I wanted to ignore this concern for the sake of discussing the raw effect. What originally motivated this discussion was my observation that Edwards appears to help provide closure. Just as with most any religious belief system, the belief here is that life continues after death. This conviction is why I think religion can offer solace to many people. Edwards may simply help to reinforce this belief.

Where is the evidence that logic makes people happy? I think most of human history demonstrates just the opposite. That is to say, this is why people flock to mysticism, and this is why the John Edwards’ exist in the first place. No one seems to be addressing this point. What if many people need this sort of thing? I don’t see how we can assume otherwise. Would Prozac be better?
 
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  • #57
Ivan Seeking
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By the way, congrats Mr. Philosopher of the Year!
 
  • #58
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Originally posted by russ_watters
That is of course the fallacy of the religion vs science arguement as well as the "open minded" fallacy I've been battling Ivan on.

No its not. Being open minded has nothing to do with faith based arguments; in fact they are really opposites.
 
  • #59
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I'm going to post something completely nonconsequential for only the reason that I love Heinlein and would like to thank whoever quoted him. Anyway, yeah, go on.
 
  • #60
BoulderHead
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
How is this different from any others religion; going with our assumption of course that all mystical/supernatural beliefs are false? The majority of the world seeks solace through prayer; not psychological counseling.
It doesn’t have to be different from religion, I’m taking it on it’s own merit, not making a comparison. But with that said, there is a difference between a sincere religionist preaching of an afterlife and a fraud claiming to be in contact with it while knowing full well he is not. One can actually believe the religionist to be sincere, if misguided, and cut them some slack. But a phony leaves a bad taste in the mouth and deserves less consideration, imho.

Given our assumption, this same argument can be made for most religions.
I’m not trying to extend this into religion. I consider what Edwards does to be nothing but a case of outright fraud and to put him on the same level with religion does a disservice to the sincere religionist.

This discussion is about human nature. Your objections really sound more like value judgments. Although the issue of morality is surely a valid one here, I wanted to ignore this concern for the sake of discussing the raw effect. What originally motivated this discussion was my observation that Edwards appears to help provide closure. Just as with most any religious belief system, the belief here is that life continues after death. This conviction is why I think religion can offer solace to many people. Edwards may simply help to reinforce this belief.
Ok, then if you want me to agree that Edwards has proved beneficial to some, then sure, I wouldn’t doubt that he has. But if that is all this topic is about then this should surely be the end of the conversation.

Where is the evidence that logic makes people happy?
Well, I never said that logic should make people happy, so I don’t feel a need to defend that position. Who says that ‘closure’ has to have a happy ending in the first place?

I think most of human history demonstrates just the opposite. That is to say, this is why people flock to mysticism, and this is why the John Edwards’ exist in the first place. No one seems to be addressing this point.
I never heard this point being raised, (maybe I missed it?). I, for one, would have guessed that such a point would have already been understood by the readers, but maybe it isn’t. Perhaps it is just a little too obvious to me that humans have a religious nature about them and so I skipped over mentioning this.

What if many people need this sort of thing?
I already touched on this and explained;
“In this respect I view Mr. Edwards as being but little different from a theologian, and people have the right to attend the service of their choice. It may be good for many, but it is not good for me”

I don’t see how we can assume otherwise.
I wasn’t assuming people didn’t need it, I know many do.

Would Prozac be better?
Well, my point in mentioning drugs (and I do mean any drug) was because I’ve read more than once in this topic that what needs to be considered is whether or not Mr. Edwards has the ability to comfort people and help with the healing process and closure. Now, if that is as deep as this topic is allowed to run than for me it becomes no different than asking if some people find solace while taking drugs, a visiting a sandy beach, or talking to their pet cat. The answer would have to be YES, people can and do find comfort in any number of ways, but I also tried to present the flip side that his antics could just as easily be viewed in a negative way too.
 
  • #61
BoulderHead
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
By the way, congrats Mr. Philosopher of the Year!
Thank you, Ivan !
 
  • #62
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by BoulderHead
It doesn’t have to be different from religion, I’m taking it on it’s own merit, not making a comparison. But with that said, there is a difference between a sincere religionist preaching of an afterlife and a fraud claiming to be in contact with it while knowing full well he is not. One can actually believe the religionist to be sincere, if misguided, and cut them some slack. But a phony leaves a bad taste in the mouth and deserves less consideration, imho.

Well, personally I'm with you. In fact, by my beliefs Edward's is likely spiritually dangerous. But, if I dissociate my opinons from the logic, there is really no significant difference. In fact, one might argue that Edwards is less dangerous because he presumably doesn't believe in what he does. In effect, by being a nonbeliever, Edwards offers less chance of fanaticism.

I’m not trying to extend this into religion. I consider what Edwards does to be nothing but a case of outright fraud and to put him on the same level with religion does a disservice to the sincere religionist.

really I agree. But, if we assume all religion is false...etc etc


Ok, then if you want me to agree that Edwards has proved beneficial to some, then sure, I wouldn’t doubt that he has. But if that is all this topic is about then this should surely be the end of the conversation.

I am looking for the direct evidence that he does sociological or psychological damage. Many value judgements would imply that he does. I tend to agree but I don't really see the evidence.


Well, I never said that logic should make people happy, so I don’t feel a need to defend that position. Who says that ‘closure’ has to have a happy ending in the first place?

Me.

OK. But we do see a lot of grief counseling used these days. Also, drugs are often prescribed during times of personal loss by both physicians and psychiatrists. As an example, I was thinking in contrast to this.


I never heard this point being raised, (maybe I missed it?). I, for one, would have guessed that such a point would have already been understood by the readers, but maybe it isn’t. Perhaps it is just a little too obvious to me that humans have a religious nature about them and so I skipped over mentioning this....

Yes we agree too much.

It seems to me that debunking religious beliefs, when possible, is assumed without proof to be "good". The logic is implicitly that truths are better than lies. I don't see the evidence. I agree on moral grounds which for me are rooted in religion. I don't see a purely logical argument by which we arrive at the same conclusion. Perhaps I just can't think like a good atheist.
 
  • #63
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by BoulderHead
I see a more basic question being asked; Is “psychological closure” so beneficial to an individual that regardless of where it’s coming from it should be accepted?

I don't see why not, as long as the positives outweigh the negatives. And really, if someone attends one of Edwards' shows, gets a reading and feels better about the death of their loved one, what is the great negative impact of this? That their beliefs are 'false,' or that Edwards benefits from it? The former I don't see as a negative at all, really; having a spurious belief system in itself is certainly not bad, so long as it does not compel the individual to do harmful things to himself or society. The latter some may find the outrageous result of a con man getting money for his lies, but what is more important: that someone's moral scruples are addressed, or that suffering in the world is reduced?

How is the misguided belief, coming from a phony, that dear old Aunt Betsy is sending you messages from the grave a part of coming to terms with death? It surely doesn’t seem to be helping anyone to come to grips with reality, but then perhaps reality isn’t the most important consideration.

Also, this coming to terms with death business is a very open topic, and depends a great deal on what one’s own personal view of death is. I think what is taking place with Edwards can just as easily be seen as an avoidance of coming to terms with death by accepting the lies of a con artist.

Being high helps many people to cope with this life too. Perhaps drug use should likewise be seen as complementary to the natural psychological healing process?

Gimme another happy pill, doctor.

This seems to be a crucial point in this discussion, as it keeps cropping up again and again. Let me try to distinguish again why I think the 'psychological closure' of an Edwards reading is not an avoidance of the issue, as is (for instance) taking a drug.

Let us distinguish between an emotional acceptance of death, and an ontological acceptance of death. By the former I mean that one comes to terms emotionally with death by directly confronting their emotional conflicts arising from the death; as a result, their psychological pain is soothed to some extent, the grieving is over, the sense of loss is not so acute, life can go on 'as normal,' etc. By the latter I mean that ones comes to terms with the ontology of death, assuming the standard scientific view of death is accurate; they recognize the (apparent) truth that death is absolute, their loved one is no longer alive in any meaningful sense, and so on.

Now, one can emotionally accept death without ontologically accepting death, and vice versa. It is true that if one believes Edwards, then one is not ontologically accepting death, insofar as their ideas of what death is do not correspond to what (we are assuming) death actually is. So one who believes in Edwards is ontologically avoiding death, yes. However, for those who believe Edwards, their belief can only assist them in coming to an emotional acceptance of death. They are not emotionally avoiding death; rather, they are tackling death head-on from an emotional standpoint, insofar as they are resolving some remaining emotional conflicts surrounding the issue. What is important in coming to terms with death, of course, is emotional acceptance of it; whether you ontologically accept death or not is really ultimately unimportant.

Belief in Edwards' claims can be contrasted with use of a drug since these two treatments differ in at least one important respect. Belief in Edwards entails directly confronting death from an emotional standpoint, if not an ontological one, and thus the believer actually resolves some lingering internal emotional conflict. On the other hand, taking a drug to ease emotional pain actually does constitute emotional avoidance of death, insofar as the drug user is not directly confronting his internal emotional conflicts but rather is using the drug to try to 'sweep them under the rug' and hope he won't notice them anymore.
 
  • #64
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
No its not. Being open minded has nothing to do with faith based arguments; in fact they are really opposites.
No, I meant there are two separate fallacies at work there. I wasn't connecting the two.
I am looking for the direct evidence that he does sociological or psychological damage. Many value judgements would imply that he does. I tend to agree but I don't really see the evidence.
That is of course the beauty of his fraud: there isn't much if any evidence he's doing harm. The only way to get it would be to track down and study the subjects of his fraud. And I highly doubt that will ever be done. And even evidence of his fraud (I've seen some, but its thin) doesn't prove he's doing harm (kinda been discussed already).

Its just like illicit drugs: you see the benefits immediately but the harm comes later. With John Edwards though, the show ends and you NEVER see the long-term effects.
 
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  • #65
BoulderHead
Originally posted by russ_watters
With John Edwards though, the show ends and you NEVER see the long-term effects.
I'd add that it is likely what short term effects are seen will only be those casting a favorable light on Mr. Edwards.
I mean, are they going to air a clip of someone saying; "that guy was so off the mark it was pathetic, what a fraud"?
No, you will only hear the hits, not the misses, which is one-sided and to me amounts to propaganda.
Am I wrong about this??

Perhaps it's time that we asked ourselves if we even have enough data to cast an informed and intelligent verdict...
 
  • #66
russ_watters
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Originally posted by BoulderHead
I see a more basic question being asked; Is “psychological closure” so beneficial to an individual that regardless of where it’s coming from it should be accepted?

No doubt the snake oil salesmen would all chant to the affirmative.
Your refution (refutation? damn, I can never remember that one...) of that point is a good one (so I won't add to it right now), but I think the question is a little presumptuous - there is another question even more basic: Is colusure even POSSIBLE without acceptance of reality? IMO, no.

The basic cause of pain associated with the death of a loved one is the loss - the fact that you won't ever see or talk to your loved one again (in this life anyway). John Edwards relieves the pain by temporarily removing the loss. But the loss is still there and sooner or later the people are going to have to deal with it. My guess would be as soon as they leave the show they'll start thinking about it again. This particular drug likely wears off fast. What's more, I doubt any of the "conversations" taking place on the show really reach a conclusion. It is a tv show afterall. So the subjects will likely just end up with MORE unfinished business.
Perhaps it's time that we asked ourselves if we even have enough data to cast an informed and intelligent verdict...
Heh, your post implies (correctly, I think - since I made the same point) that lack of evidence is in itself evidence of fraud.
 
  • #67
Zero
Has anyone read the latest Skeptic magazine? There's a pretty good article about the specific psychological harm of people like John Edward, written by a grief counselor.
 
  • #68
hypnagogue
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For what it's worth, from what I have seen of the show, Edwards usually shows 'follow ups' of particular cases, wherein the people who had received readings in a previous show some weeks before typically report, among other things, their continued feelings of well-being. Not to say this conclusive of anything, but for at least some people it continues to provide psychological benefits at least some amount of weeks after the reading.

Zero, it would be helpful if you actually informed us on the content of that article you refer to, buddy.

Russ, you say "Is colusure even POSSIBLE without acceptance of reality? IMO, no." I would appreciate if you addressed this point in response to my last post on this thread.

edit: for instance, are you saying that any religious person who believes in an after-life cannot attain psychological closure after the death of a loved one? Clearly one does not have to agree with science's view of death in order to come to terms with it emotionally.

In fact, I wonder what the results would be of a psychological survey which profiled the average emotional health over time of Christians or Muslims or somesuch after the death of a close loved one, as opposed to staunch materialists/atheists. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the former were actually able to emotionally tolerate death better.
 
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  • #69
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Zero
Has anyone read the latest Skeptic magazine? There's a pretty good article about the specific psychological harm of people like John Edward, written by a grief counselor.
Link? (I'm too lazy to Google).
 
  • #70
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Ivan you said- seems to me that debunking religious beliefs, when possible, is assumed without proof to be "good". The logic is implicitly that truths are better than lies. I don't see the evidence.

lie has a negative connotation attached to it. so instead i will use the word illusion. there is a problem about truth. they change constantly. thus in 12th century the idea of a square world was "truth". remembering this in mind can you give me any example at all that a deliberate illusion has been beneficial to human civilisation as a whole? i at least think that 1)if someone knows that an idea is not true and 2) still he preaches it to others as if it is true, then in the long run it shall do incalculable harm because 1)since he knows that he is lying surely other people can discover that he is in fact a fraud hence 2)as his influence grows through his false doctrines he will try to suppress the means by which other people can get at the truth. the only way he can do so is to discourage and ultimately destroy rational modes of thinking and learning and eliminate dissenting voices. if he succeeds the society he will create is one brainwashed into believing in only what he is saying. i am not saying that this John Edward will do such a thing, only that he has the potential to do such a thing, and the potential is very real. all religious and political dictators begin like inocuous and apparently well meaning frauds like john edward. hitler, poll pot, priestly class, north Korean dictatorship and many many more- all begin by trying to do good through a well contrived illusion.
 
  • #71
Ivan Seeking
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Real estate's scary side: Three beds, two baths, one ghost.

But one kind of property that causes real nightmares is a house that carries a supernatural stigma. "Psychologically impacted" houses -- in which a murder, suicide, or illness took place -- are a tough sale.

The reason: fear of ghosts.

http://money.cnn.com/2003/10/21/pf/yourhome/househaunting/

My counter argument is that Edwards is the effect; not the cause.

Sage, in a political sense your words are most omninous. This gets tough to argue because I tend to agree.

How many other examples exist where people live well adjusted but deluded lives? Most all who have ever lived well adjusted lives; say I the skeptic of all spirituality.
 
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quote-How many other examples exist where people live well adjusted but deluded lives? Most all who have ever lived well adjusted lives; say I the skeptic of all spirituality.-end quote.

i did not understand what exactly you are saying. please clarify.
 
  • #73
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by sage
quote-How many other examples exist where people live well adjusted but deluded lives? Most all who have ever lived well adjusted lives; say I the skeptic of all spirituality.-end quote.

i did not understand what exactly you are saying. please clarify.


If I take the position of being a non-believer of anything spiritual, then I can argue that throughout history we find that most people who lived happy lives, also believed in spiritual fantasies. Only in rare instances do we find any real evidence of damage. For example, I don't think the pope has caused any trouble lately. Almost any church has a spiritual leader. It is not reasonable to make them all Hitlers. Next, need we cite the longevity and health studies done on the Mormons [LDS] and the Adventist? Here we can point to scientific evidence that these beliefs [fantasies in this context] make for a healthier and longer life.
 
  • #74
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
If I take the position of being a non-believer of anything spiritual, then I can argue that throughout history we find that most people who lived happy lives, also believed in spiritual fantasies. Only in rare instances do we find any real evidence of damage.
You aren't looking hard enough then. Happy or not, religion has led to quite a bit of unhappiness, death, destruction, and hate. Some (though not me, though they have some convincing arguments) would argue that it is THE root of all political/social problems in the world thruout history.
 
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but even you ivan must agree that belief without reason can lead to bigotry which leads to hatred, war etc. religion is a different matter , because if god is a lie created by some unscrupulous fraud far back in the past, he must be a good one as the whole world believes in HIM. i don't think that god is a kind of lie that was created deliberately by some individual(s) for his own benefit, it is an illusion that is necessary for the survival of a human being in the face of adversities and was created by evolution and is a part of our psyche(taking god in his broadest sense). so a bishop may truly believe that god exists, for him and for most of us god is as real as a tree that stands in the garden. but a bishop does not claim to have miraculous powers, and hence is no fraud.

but a person like john edward claims such powers and hence is certainly a fraud. his claims are falsifiable and so he will fear that his trickery may be exposed one day. thereby hangs my argument. but then again was hitler a fraud? did he not believe in what he preached? i think he did, and that made him a dangerous lunatic. but not all his followers were mad. they were frauds and did everything to defend the lies created by hitler.(note my observations are on people like john edwards in general, because i don't know him. but such people abound in our country too and i give here the reasons why they should not be tolerated, whatever the motives.)
 

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