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Study shows psychic mediums really can read your deep secrets

  1. Mar 29, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    "Study shows psychic mediums really can read your deep secrets"

    Allegedly...

    http://www.sundayherald.com/40843
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 30, 2004 #2
    Sounds a bit...subjective?
     
  4. Mar 30, 2004 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    run Randi run! :biggrin:
     
  5. Mar 30, 2004 #4
    Somehow, i don't think Randi has anything to fear...his test would likely be simpler, but less subject to bias, subjectivity, and outright fraud.
     
  6. Mar 30, 2004 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    I meant to go get them.

    I grant you, as I have said before in other threads, in spite of my over all opinion [suspicions?] of Randi, he is usually right. He debunks many frauds and he is wise to most forms of trickery. When he starts interpreting specific events, however, I find that he falls far short of being reasonable...in some cases. I find that he is not objective given a situation in which he can't prove his position. I find that he is competely unwilling to consider anyone elses point of view or claims of personal experiences.
     
  7. Mar 31, 2004 #6
    The problem with personal experience is that it is incredibly inaccurate. I mean, look at this "study"...according to the link you provided, what actually happened? The "mediums" made guesses about people, and then the people decided if the guesses applied to them or not. To me, that is far and away too subjective. What were the guesses, and how did the people decide if the guesses applied to them or not?

    A more accurate test, and simpler by far, would be to have the "mediums" tell us whether each person is a man or woman. That's it. Check about 1-2000 people, and if they are up around 80-90%, then it would be something worth looking into.
     
  8. Mar 31, 2004 #7
    The article doesn't give any examples of the type of information the mediums suposedly picked up on. It is essential to know this to judge if the test has any validity.

    I saw a debunking program on TV years ago in which a guy standing in front of an audience made a series of statements like, "You're the type of person who will only put up with so much and then you will say something." and "You're the type of person who is casual enough about money that you don't account for every penny you earn or spend."

    The audience had a list of these statements and was told to check off any that applied to them. The result was that everyone in the audience found that 80% of the statements applied to them. Each statement is specifically crafted such that most people will believe it applies to them specifically.

    If the mediums in this test were simply making these kind of generic human statements phrased in the form of specific statements, then this test is meaningless.

    If however they were making specific statements that couldn't apply to anyone else such as "Your name is Alicia Gonzalez, you are 38 years old, you are divorced but have three children, all girls, your parents are both living but your father is being treated for hypertension. (And the clincher:) in grade school you had a crush on Billy Wilson for two years, a fact you NEVER RELATED TO ANYONE", then there is probably something to the medium's claims.
     
  9. Mar 31, 2004 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    The problem with some personal experiences...in other cases there can be no doubt: Either event X happened or it didn't. The issue of certainty must be considered. If I say that I am 100% certain that I saw Tsunami levitate, assuming that I am sane, healthy, and sober, unless we have some very unusual extenuating circumstances, either I am lying or not.

    In no way am I defending this report. Not only the methods but the source is suspect IMO. Some of these groups do a better job than others, but this "experiment" does sound pretty bad.
     
  10. Mar 31, 2004 #9
    They let you get away with this because....


    The whole "either you are lying or not" thing is bloody nonsense, chum...you are very likely to have just seen the wrong thing.
     
  11. Mar 31, 2004 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    So if I claim something that can't be explained, it must be wrong?
     
  12. Mar 31, 2004 #11

    Ivan Seeking

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    get away with what?

    Really? You are not capable of certainty? Don't you trust your own judgement given absolute certainty?
     
  13. Mar 31, 2004 #12
    LOL, I don't trust eyewitnesses farther than I can throw them...we see what we want to see, our brains fill in details that don't exist, we match something that we don't see clearly to something we expect to see, etc. Our brains are expert at lying to us...part of consciousness is a quick approximation of reality, oftentimes instead of actual reality. This ability, for good or ill, was wonderful for keeping us from being eaten by tigers 3 million years ago, but lousy for giving eyewitness accounts of things.
     
  14. Apr 1, 2004 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    Gee, maybe I should refrain from crossing the street. I may not be able to trust my own eyes! :biggrin:

    Obviously humans can be fooled. Your assumption is that they are all being fooled or are mistaken all of the time. Evidence for this? No; because it's not true. People do actually correctly perceive events around them every day; all over the world. You simply wish to choose when and when not to believe them based on your own bias.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2004
  15. Apr 1, 2004 #14
    *yawn* Here we go again, I must be biased because I am not biased towards subjectivity. Really?

    When we look at a TV, ddo we see individual dots of light? No, we see the illusion of whole, moving pictures? When we go to the movies, do we see a string of individual photos? No, we see the illusion of an uninterrupted stream of movement. When the police ask eyewitnesses what they saw, do they get identical matching descriptions? No, usually they get conflicting descriptions that they piece together to get a rough idea.

    Our brains do a great job of taking incomplete observation and creating the illusion of complete observation, as a kind of mental shorthand. Magicians and con artists take advantage of that fact.

    Here, let's take your earlier question another way:
    Did you go and look under Tsunami? Check for wires, a hidden platform? Did you bother to ensure that there actually were no "very unusual extenuating circumstances"? Or did you just trust your notoriously untrustworthy vision? That's my problem with this sort of thing, frankly; nobody ever looks behind the curtain, people rarely make sure it isn't a con.
     
  16. Apr 1, 2004 #15

    Tsu

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    Uhhhh, Zero? Ivan said IF he said he was 100% certain...
    AFIK, I've never levitated in my life. (Although, I HAVE been known to walk on water...) :wink:
     
  17. Apr 1, 2004 #16
    Being 100% certain that you have seen something is absolutely not the same as being 100% certain that something has actually happened.
     
  18. Apr 1, 2004 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    Oh yes, I didn't mean to say that I actually saw Tsu levitate. I was only using this as a hypothetical example. I have seen her head rotate 360 degrees before but that's another story. :tongue:

    All of your arguments only justify the position that not all eyewitness accounts can be trusted. It does not imply that no eyewitness account can be trusted. In some cases, like I said, if there are some unusual or extenuating circumstance, such as if Tsu hired a magician to pull a trick on me, then we have the exception to the rule, but often we have no reason or evidence to suggest that this is the case. Also, if I said that I was certain that I saw her levitate, then obviously this means that I actually looked. This is the reason for citing certainty in the first place.

    If someone catches a glimpse of a "shadow person" from the corner of their eye, then big deal, it means nothing. Alternatively, if as has happened someone says that their dead son appeared in the bedroom and had a conversation with them; and that they sat on the bed and spoke for nearly fifteen minutes, then I don't tend to suspect that this was a prank by a third party. Then, if the person making the claim is otherwise sane, healthy and sober, and if their certainty is absolute, then it becomes a simple matter of choice to believe or not. Maybe it was a hallucination and maybe it wasn’t. If there is no direct evidence for or against such a claim then science really has nothing to say about the matter except that we have no way to explain this claim. To say that this didn't happen just because we don't want to believe it is nothing but wild guessing.
     
  19. Apr 10, 2004 #18
    Or psychiatrists could give the person seeing his/her dead son zoloft and everything will be okay.
     
  20. Apr 10, 2004 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    Okay, your theory is that depression and normal grieving causes hallucinations that can be cured with a simple antidepressant. Got it. :biggrin:

    Really though, your suggestion that everyone who reports these kinds of experiences is delusional is not supported by the evidence. Many, many people report one or two isolated paranormal experiences, and that's it. Unless we have some evidence that they have mental problems, to assume that anyone who claims to see or experience something that you don't understand must be delusional, is fallacious. We can either pick and choose what we want to believe or we can stick to the evidence.
     
  21. Apr 10, 2004 #20
    Couple points:

    First off, I'm concerned that you don't have a clear understanding of the difference between delusional and hallucinated. Delusional people have false ideas, not hallucinations.


    Secondly, it is not true that a person has to have a chronic or clinical case of mental problems in order to have an isolated hallucination. The brain is an organ just like any other in the body and an unfortunate confluence of circumstances can lead to an isolated glitch.

    Example of an isolated hallucination by a person who was not mentally ill or deluded: A friend of mine had gone for four days without sleep once. He was driving with another guy when he spotted a giant white rabbit sitting in a vacant lot. He stopped the car and told the other guy he'd better drive.

    This is a case of someone who was hallucinating, but who was not delusional. He realized the rabbit was an hallucination. Had he thought the giant rabbit was real, he would have been both hallucinated and delusional. If someone reads this and believes there really are giant white rabbits, even though they have never seen one, then they are deluded, but not hallucinating.

    Hallucinations exist. Isolated hallucinations exist outside of any chronic mental illness or neurological disorder. These are medical facts. That being the case, the facts in hand support a suggestion that reliable people reporting "paranormal" experiences are mistaken or were hallucinating.
    There is nothing outlandish about such a suggestion, given the medical evidence.
     
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