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FORCE ONE

by Mark Edward, Aug 22 2009
4ZJCAIOHXDLCA8UCN4OCAH1CR6LCAH9J8QNCA4D548MCA15Q4HMCABCTJF8CA50F1G9CAM0JGP8CABEVBNOCATAW4KVCAVHRZMKCAV0CQYRCAFO9B59CAB0K8V6CA6UQ3LKCAFQD6M6CANGMIFRCAZE6ZL1In the last few weeks it has become increasingly obvious to me that there are many more folks out there in the world who are “closet skeptics ” than I could ever have imagined. There is a huge pool of rational thinking citizens who are as fed up as myself with phony psychics, fake medical claims, mediums talking to dead people and every other scam we see hyped through mass media. In my latest podcast on Bryan and Baxter’s Warning Radio (www.warningradio.info/Warning/Home.htmland at a meeting I attended last weekend for the Center for Inquiry West and their Independent Investigations Group (IIG), I found that there are many who want to act, but for a variety of reasons, are holding back from actually taking a more militant stand in public. This is understandable. In our litigious society with its politically correct standards and whacko agendas, it’s hard to want to move out of your cubicle for anything and not much seems worth getting someone else upset over. So what can we do about that?

2CQCAWU5QKXCAC6QD1KCAZTEWXOCALEREG1CAE74T0SCA3FB03YCAFPC7RXCAOQ9ANZCA5IT3E0CAQYSI00CAN30M9JCAZ2955DCAZAP2WRCAZ5E02RCAH3YK3ZCAQ48XGDCAVC0J0ACACWC4OBCAYFWATCHere at Skepticblog, I have been advocating a new proactive approach I call  Guerilla Skepticism and an even more on-the-offensive Ambush Skepticism to try to get people off their asses and into the street. My degree is in art and I spent my formative college years in the seventies studying what was then called “Happenings” and what later became recognized as “Performance Art.”  This was never an easy discipline. It embraced pioneers of this art form who did everything from burning the skin off their bodies for their art to spending weeks at time in an art gallery inside a locked cage with a live wolf. The Art school at Cal Arts had a hard time accepting it as art, and the Theater school next door had a hard time calling it theater. Whatever it was, it showed me that people can become devoted and passionate about what they have to say. I did things on crowded street corners and in laundry mats. I performed street magic, ate fire and juggled at the Department of Motor Vehicles. In short: I got into the public eye. I grew up in the 60′s, where people had strong ideals and when needed, took to the streets. These days ideals seem to have been replaced by social networks who would rather have meet ups and talk than protest and affect real change.

What is it going to take to get skeptics to stop thinking and actually start fighting back? CS2CA6YOUMTCACGCOAFCARTQ9VCCASK6MF8CALJ1GQKCAGTH5XWCA6XRCJ4CAZBYLMFCABCNHKXCA4V81DPCAPS6Q55CAX5NS3NCACPBFPVCAGMNOSACASBQEIXCAMB99AECARR5YVJCA6MIDLKCATMBY2FWill we eventually see people like Connie Sonne in office as Attorney General or do we have to sit through another person like John Ashcroft who thought calico cats were harbingers of the devil? Ashcroft covered with blue curtains the partially nude female statue of the Spirit of Justice which stands in the Great Hall of the Justice Department.  He was doing what he thought was his duty as an elected official. Today we are surrounded by lunatics that make my generation of Nixon and Haldeman look like tiddlywinks in comparison. Wake up Ladies and Gentlemen! Little by little we are losing our grip. What’s next, “Connie Sonne: The Musical?”

XCVCAMUIQ24CAXNI9Q8CAT6FPCNCANX5I2YCAMM39QNCA43JXI6CAF8QFD5CAW8FJV8CAU5DEMDCALBZWL1CA3RXDBQCA9OQIBHCAOUTRCGCAFMAOT8CAKVUI5FCAOD71MPCAZD8BUACAU0YYVTCAIL8HKLI realize that many will say that it’s easy for a person like myself to call for something radical than to actually go out and do it. But I’m sorry, that’s just another cop out. I have plans. I am doing things right now. Some of which I have already shared in past posts here and some operations that will remain “eyes only” for those who I know I can trust and who I know will actually put these plans into motion. We need a coordinated “Delta Force” of our own skeptical movement to go out and get some real attention.

Let’s call this hands-on group of woo fighters for right now: FORCE ONE. It’s a force whose time has come.

The Next Wave of Psychics Coming Your Way

The Next Wave of Psychics Coming Your Way

Make no mistake, there’s a whole new flock of “executive psychics” being trained by ESP Bootcamps and mediums like Lisa Williams coming out of the woodwork. Lisa has a petition on her website to get another season of “Life Among the Dead” on Lifetime. Did anyone  ever think we would see a serious show with a title like that and not expect a “Tales from the Crypt” format? ” How about a petition to keep shows like this off any channel?  If we don’t make a concerted effort we may find ourselves on the losing end of a culture that venerates seers, witches and demons above reality and who may scape-goat us skeptics as the rabble-rousing trouble-making undesirables of our society. I hate to invoke Godwin’s Law and the detestable Nazi era, but it’s the intellectuals that go first folks. Check your history books.

Coming to a Theater Near You: Life Among the Dead?

Coming to a Theater Near You: Life Among the Dead?

At the CFI meeting I attended, I put forward my call to arms. People talked to me later in private and voiced the opinion that many were on my team, but were either afraid of legal complications, didn’t see themselves as “activist types” or were waiting for someone else to step up and initiate something to get the ball rolling. I’m officially staring my own ball into momentum right now. We can do this.
My view is that once more militant skeptical “sleeper cells” get their feet wet by taking some concrete actions and receiving media attention, these events can snowball into a  full-fledged social phenomenon. Once thinking people  (especially youth groups who are into viral and high-tech modes of communication) catch on that it’s not only acceptable but cool to be our kind of rebels and that science is more powerful than myth, we will gain a solid foothold on the very media that chase after us and our dollars. It’s already happening on places like Facebook, Twitter and Ideablob. There’s no excuse anymore. 
Let’s look at a few of the common objections:

1) Legal implications: We have plenty of lawyers on our side who could be brought into the FORCE ONE circle. We are only standing up for what is right and legal. We are not subversive. We are concerned citizens. Our ranks are filled with teachers, professors, scientists and leaders from all walks of life. Our free speech is protected under the law. As I mentioned before in previous posts: Do you think any of the thousands of phony psychics,medical quacks or faith healers give a crap about the law? No, they don’t! So why do most skeptical minds always remain so polite and civil? Why do so many free thinkers shrink from seeing this situation for what it really is? Mediums claim to talk to DEAD PEOPLE. Isn’t selling tickets to convince an audience you are talking to dead people taking money under false pretenses?  Where’s the cops? It seems so obvious to me and I’m not even a law student. Where’s the justice here? If you doubt there is harm being done every day, go to Tim Farley’s site, www.whatstheharm.net and read all about it.  You already know all of this! I’m preaching to the choir.

2) Not “Activist” types: Anyone who seriously attends a skeptical meeting or hangs out with people who have a conscience, has a brain and uses it to think are activist types. It’s just a matter of how you are going to activate. You may not have to march around the auditorium with placards at Sylvia Browne’s next big gig, (BTW: She’s back on tour right now with Montel…) but you can print flyers, write letters to newspapers, buy fortune cookies to hand out or make phone calls to other people without fear of being hauled off by the police or being harassed by the woo people. What you do doesn’t have to be confrontational. Leave anything weird or wild to me or someone who isn’t afraid to get up in front of people and act up. That’s how FORCE ONE will get noticed. The environmental movement has Greenpeace. The anti-war movementt has Code Pink, The gay movemnet has Act Up. Now the skeptic movemnet has FORCE ONE. We will take it to the streets and to the limit. I’m willing to take a few arrows. Are you?

If not, …then why not? Give me a good reason to stay in the shadows.

3) Waiting for someone else to step up: Do I need to describe how lame that excuse is? If we wait too long it will all be over and we will be left wondering how it all happened. Boom: …. we are the minority. We are already dangerously close to that status right now despite the growing numbers of the skeptical movement. We need to keep momentum growing. As I stated in the beginning of this post: there are thousands of people waiting to know what to do. Let’s show them. The only way to grow is to become visible. People in other countries around the world aren’t afraid to protest, march and let their voices be heard. What’s wrong with Americans? Is it something in the water?  Chem-trails? What then?

Is this who you want in charge? (Gary Spivey, medium at large)

Is this who you want in charge? (Gary Spivey, medium at large)

There are skeptics willing to do this. Remember: 90% of doing any job is just showing up!  So show up somewhere! Check Sylvia’s or Lisa William’s tour schedule. It’s right there in front of your Googling face!

I know you are out there. Now all we need to do is organize. And organize we will. I’m working on it every day. But WE (meaning those of us with a backbone) can’t do it without YOU (that is, those of you with a backbone or who are willing to grow one.)  I know, I know. How dare I write such quarrelsome attacks? Well, those of you who get what I’m saying will get it and those who don’t will just go on making excuses. That’s just the way it is. FORCE ONE will leave you behind in the dust. One day you will  read about us.

N23CA1JIFOICA5SRTKQCA50JGFDCAQ5XFVJCA6RXTHUCAXWV819CAZK959QCA6U8PUJCAZDDOT0CAYEC44XCA1UKBILCA2W77RACAM09OFICAFPG8BKCAORYB3CCAX17KWXCARC9KYOCAI0HVKJCAL4JNK1To be clear, I’m not writing about tar and feathering the neighborhood tarot reader or the little old lady who reads tea leaves at your local coffee house. We can live on with all that sort of woo in our midst. Those are a fairly harmless lot of dabblers. It’s the big fish who do the real harm that I’m after. You know who they are. Turn on your television.

My dream is a dream that can be realized. One day people like Gary Spivey, Chris Moon, Lisa Williams, Chip Coffey, Connie Sonne, Sylvia Browne, James VanPraagh, John Edward, Lisa Williams and the swelling of new con artists, charlatans and monsters yet to be unleashed upon the unwary may wake up one morning in a cold sweat and (in the worst case scenario even just for a moment) wonder, what are those FORCE ONE people up to today? And in the best case scenario; media like the Fox Network will be forced to open up their eyes and reportage to the reality that FORCE ONE are out there, getting in the faces of the phonies and becoming a real force to be reckoned with.

It can happen. P9VCAGIJPX1CAGU5VMRCANGNLGACA330FX6CAQ551FDCAXTH1BACAW4AUFSCAUC0UR9CAFU5YWACAII1SXTCAWQ2KVRCAX7J6UHCAMBPU2ZCASLZO1FCAD98D7CCAOJH364CAVESK9TCAKJOWS4CA229IQM

 

May the Force Be With You…

 

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Rating: 4.0/5 (7 votes cast)
FORCE ONE, 4.0 out of 5 based on 7 ratings

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286 Responses to “FORCE ONE”

  1. Kerry says:

    Correction: according to Snopes Ashcroft’s calico cat/devil story is not true. http://www.snopes.com/critters/gnus/calico.asp

  2. flawedprefect says:

    I see skepticism as the vaccination against virulent bullshit. If there are enough of us vocal about our skepticism, we will provide a “heard immunity” for those who wish to sit on the fence.

  3. Indiana says:

    I support your idea on principle (and have always acted toward undermining the clearly nonsensical claims whenever I get a platform to stand on), but I am concerned that your passion may lack discipline. It is one matter to stoke a fire in people to do what they know is right. It is quite another to make sure that fire doesn’t burn out of control.

    Greenpeace, which you mentioned, is a perfect example of what I mean. While I applaud the fact that Greenpeace has shifted the Overton window for discussion of environmental issues in a positive way, the fact is Greenpeace has done many stupid and reprehensible things, even to the point of seriously jeopardizing human life.

    The benefit of leaving the debunking to the professionals – like yourself – is that:
    1) You know the game, so you run a small risk of looking like a complete ass (and undermining the movement) when you challenge a particular charlatan. The “average Joe” (even though, in this case, the “average Joe” is statistically likely to be smarter than the average average Joe) might do more to undermine the sceptical movement by looking like a fool than they would by keeping silent.
    2) You are media- and publicity-savvy. You recognize how lame it is to play the Hitler card, and do so (in this post) only grudgingly. But can you expect such wisdom and restraint from just about anyone? I watch with amazement at the loons a certain “vulpesian” US news network has done to rile up wackos with automatic rifles to scream “Nazi” (at Jewish Senators!!!), who do disrupt the causes they oppose… but at the cost of becoming fringe lunatics in the eyes of middle-of-the-road, reasonable people. Scepticism has never been popular; how much less popular do you think it might get if you inspire a horde of Nazi-name-calling placard-wavers to show up at any event that promotes mysticism or anti-science?
    3) You know how far is “too far”. But will the waves of fervent anti-woo protesters – heady with the thrill of finally being able to speak out – will they also know how far is “too far”? You took care to point out that tarring and feathering local palm-readers is too far. What about throwing paint on Sylvia Browne while she is doing a performance? Greenpeace did something like that, after all. (Or was that PeTA? I always get them mixed up.)
    4) You recognize that the people to target are the pushers, not the buyers… but not all sceptics are that sensitive. All too often I read rants by people who forget that those who fall for woo are not the criminals, and that name-calling them is counter-productive. The audience should be reached out to, not attacked – the woo-peddlers should be attacked – but can you trust that everyone working under the FORCE ONE banner will be sensitive enough to recognize the difference? And to make sure that they don’t antagonize the audience too much, while attacking the pusher?

    If all this sounds like I am trying to undermine your effort, let me make clear that I am not… by officially endorsing FORCE ONE. With your permission (which I will contact you about later), I will add an article about FORCE ONE on my own blog, and when the University opens in a couple weeks, I will speak there about your recommendations. (I have always endorsed this idea in spirit, but having a name will make it that much more effective.)

    You see, I do think you have a good idea, and I do trust that sceptics in general will Do The Right Thing – they’re smart people. But while I am not trying to undermine your efforts, I do urge caution. I want to make sure that you are aware of the risks that come with starting a fire – whatever your reasons for starting that fire (and in this case, I agree that your reasons are good) – and have prepared for them in one way or another.

    • Max says:

      The chick who ranted about “the T4 policy of Hitler” to Barney Frank was a LaRouche cultist.

      • Indiana says:

        No kidding? Hm. I don’t really follow American politics except for the lulz – I’m not American, I’m just an observer enjoying the show on their spare time.

        But if that’s so, it’s a rather convenient example to yet another point. ^_^; You rile up your party supporters to go down to town hall meetings and behave like fanatics (because it is a fact that Nazi name-calling is not the sole domain of LaRoucheists in this case)… and the real wackos are going to show up, and you’ll end up being lumped in with them. Then you have to expend energy explaining why your Hitler-placard-waving shouters are not the same as their Hitler-placard-waving shouters… and all of a sudden you’re mired in trying to remove the stain from your organization’s name rather than getting your message out.

        As with the crazy lady case, where I don’t really care enough to chase down the truth of who she was, most people simply aren’t going to bother to separate real Force One anti-woo protesters from whoever else shows up if their actions and messages are similar enough at first glance. If you make a call to action without putting explicit limits on what that entails – as the health care protester people have been doing when they tell people to go out, fight, show the government that you’re fightin’ mad, and shout down people at town hall meetings (which the leaders have been telling people to do) – then you will not be able to justly say “that person wasn’t acting according to our standards”… because you didn’t set any.

        I’m all for stepping up and “activistating” for the cause of reason, I just worry that a call to activism carelessly made might cause more problems than it solves. Maybe Mark Edward’s goal for this post was just to light the fire, and in later articles he’ll lay out the parameters. I’d just like that assurance before I commit to anything more than a passing comment to check it out.

      • Mark Edward says:

        Doing something is always better than doing nothing.

  4. Skepacabra says:

    The performance artist crowd would be a great group to reach out both because they have large numbers and aren’t afraid to look silly in public.

    I don’t know if similar groups exist elsewhere but in NY there’s a group called “Improv Everywhere” that organizes massive flash-mob-like performance art stunts/pranks/etc. often involving hundreds if not thousands of people. For instance, every year in January, they have No Pants Day where hundreds of people nonchalantly ride around the NYC subways for about an hour without their pants (of course they’ve got underwear). They all just go about their business and pretend not to know each other. And if anyone asks, they respond like it’s no big deal. Another stunt they did was get hundreds of people to all simultaneously freeze in position in Grand Central Station for one minute. They post videos of their work on YouTube and they almost always get media attention.

    Now I don’t know where the leadership of that group or similar groups stand on particular types of woo but if we could come up with ideas for them that happen to align with skeptical activism, maybe they’d be open to those suggestions. Just a thought.

  5. CH says:

    “Force One” sounds rather militaristic. Especially when you type it as FORCE ONE. I’m not sure. It’s just my opinion, of course, but I hope you change your mind about it, and that you haven’t stitched it into any shirts/ordered buttons/etc.

    (The good thing about skeptics tends to be that they aren’t insane, and therefore don’t pick insane sounding names. It’s helpful, I think.)

  6. Jim says:

    I really have no idea what this “call to arms” is endorsing. I don’t know what it is that is being suggested skeptics do. The only concrete things mentioned are in relation to Sylvia Brown’s tour:

    …you can print flyers, write letters to newspapers, buy fortune cookies to hand out or make phone calls to other people without fear of being hauled off by the police or being harassed by the woo people.

    But what should the flyers say? And I’m not suggesting that this needs to be so unified that we must all use the same flyers. Nor am I saying that people aren’t smart enough to figure it out on their own once the sentiment is known. What I’m asking is what kind of thing should it say? “Psychics are frauds”? “Sylvia Brown is a scam artist”? Who is that going to convince? I mean, I’m not sure anything would convince a lot of these people, but whatever could be said to someone who was able to be convinced couldn’t be said on a flyer. Or a fortune cookie, for that matter. And I have no idea what to think about getting together “other people without fear of being hauled off by the police.” Why would anyone get hauled off by the police? Is there a suggestion here that people should be out front with posters on sticks yelling at Sylvia Brown when she gets there? Maybe throw some fake “ectoplasm” at her? Because that definitely seems like it wouldn’t convince anyone. And if that’s not what’s being suggested, then I don’t know why anyone would be the least bit concerned about being “hauled off by the police.”
    So, what exactly is this “Force One” supposed to do?

    • Susan Gerbic says:

      Make people think about giving money to woo. Also to get the scam artists like Sylvia pause to think that Force One will be attending her show that day.

      http://www.stopsylvia.com has a story about Sylvia canceling a show because she thought a skeptic was going to be in the audience. She has shown that she is really worried about this kind of thing. Read the story about the day the stop sylvia creator showed up to her show, that is priceless!

      • Jim says:

        It seems like the point of this kind of thing should be to get people to reconsider their beliefs in woo. Again, it’s not that I don’t understand that we want to “Make people think about giving money to woo.” My question is how do we go about doing that? It doesn’t seem like showing up and making a scene would accomplish that goal. If you disagree, why? Would someone with a sign make you consider that she might be legitimate?

        I can’t find the story about Sylvia Brown cancelling a show because of a possible skeptic in the audience. Is that speculation, or did she actually say that was her reason? I mean, wouldn’t someone like that expect that some of the people in the audience were non-believers? It would seem that you would have to cancel all your shows if you had to cancel every time there was a chance someone who didn’t buy into your nonsense would be in the audience.

      • tmac57 says:

        Jim, I think what Mark is after, is raising the profile of skeptics in the media, so as to give us a platform that is wider than the internet blogosphere, which we are already doing well with. He is trying to ignite the creativity of skeptics with a ‘call to arms’, but leaving the specifics up to us to figure out. The ideas that he put forth are just examples, but surely, with all the brains and talent that resides in the skeptical community, we can make ourselves more visible to the mass media, and do it better that the woo meisters out there. All that is missing is the will to act, and the rest will follow.

      • Jim says:

        I have a blog myself (http://appleeaters.com), and I’m all for that kind of thing. I would have assumed that’s what he meant except for all the talk about lawyers and being willing to get arrested. I mean, the first objection he thinks will be levied against his call to arms are the “legal implications.” What is he suggesting anyone do that would result in anyone being worried about the legal implications? Further, he wants us to get together “other people without fear of being hauled off by the police.” Why should we be concerned about getting arrested? Surely not because we’re just writing blogs or op-ed pieces. I suggested that perhaps he was talking about protests, but, as I said earlier, I don’t see what standing outside a performance with a sign on a stick is going to do to convince anyone that psychics are frauds. Maybe I’m just wrong about that. Maybe people see a sign that reads “Syliva Sucks!” and think to themselves, “Wow, now I see the problem with thinking that someone has genuine magical powers,” but i’m skeptical.

      • Susan Gerbic says:

        As usual thanks for your clear-headed thinking Tracy.

  7. Susan Gerbic says:

    Here is the article about RSLancaster’s meet up with her…

    http://www.stopsylvia.com/articles/ispeakwithbrowne.shtml

    I will have to ask someone more versed in Browne lore to find the article about canceling a show because of a skeptic in the audience.

    I think that the idea of Force One is brilliant, just look at the movement anonymous that is attacking the Scientology. They are all over the media and the meet-ups are well organized and growing. If the Scientologists aren’t shaking in their boots they are nuttier than I thought.

    Some events could be confrontational, others just subtle things that make people think and maybe laugh. I wore my stopslyvia.com shirt one day in Denver (I think she had just been there the week before) and sadly no one said anything but I’m sure people looked (says Dark Entity on the front) I’m sure this isn’t the guerrilla skepticism that Mark is advocating for Force One. But I’m non confrontational and this is my way of being out there, maybe someone read it and said “I didn’t know there was a critical site for her…my mom is really into that maybe I will turn her on the the site?” Maybe someone will be brave enough to come over and talk to me about it? This is just my way of being out there.

    Other things we can do are to read skeptical magazines in public places, again non confrontational but maybe will strike up a conversation. Why not donate your older skeptical magazines to public places? Many of us got our start reading these magazines?

    Your signature line for your personal email can also have links to critical thinking sites. Whatstheharm.net and stopsylvia.com are both great sites for newbies to learn about the skeptical movement.

    Mark had a great idea about using fortune cookies to make people think. Go to woo events and hand out (individually sealed) cookies. Ask if you can do a reading based on their fortune inside. With a bit of practice most of us could give a good cold-reading based on the fortune. Then when your done if the person is receptive and agreed that you were “correct” then you could nicely explain that you were cold-reading and why you were able to be so accurate. This should lead to discussions about how psychics give readings. Mark even suggested that you say things like, because of the shoes you are wearing I can tell you are someone that likes to be outdoors or because of your delicate hands I can tell that you aren’t the rugged type and these kind of comments. Again they will lead you to discussions that you might not have had that will open up to better conversations.

    Again, these probably aren’t the type of things that will cause the media or psychic attentions to stand up and take note. But they are a start for the timid personalities like myself. Once I discover how fun it is I think I will be able to move on quickly to more adventuresome things.

    Not trying to put words in Mark’s mouth, but I think the idea of Force One is going to be for select trusted people, not just for some skeptic to go off on their own using the name. The events will be well planned and recorded.

    Bought my first batch of cookies today (could not find sealed, so these will be for practice on friends not strangers)

    Susan

    • tmac57 says:

      Susan, your comment about skeptic magazines gave me a thought. Why not ‘donate’ your used skeptical magazines to doctors offices, by just cutting off the address label, and the next time that you (any of us)are in a doctor’s office for whatever reason, just leave it with the others. That could potentially reach hundreds of others, and who knows, maybe even spark a subscription or two. Also, we could donate them to our local libraries, I personally have never seen a copy of Skeptic at my local library, but then again, I live in a smallish town in Texas.

      • Susan Gerbic says:

        This is a great idea, but I don’t get rid of my issues. I think donating a subscription to a library might work well. I keep thinking I will check into this, the larger library in my area does get the SI as I have seen it there, but I haven’t checked lately.

        Just leaving the magazine in a doctors office is a great idea.

  8. oldebabe says:

    Battling the psychics whom you enumerate had best be left to people like you, Mark, who understand their `shtick’, I would think.

    Generally speaking, tho, skeptics can look for ways to get friends and family, and maybe, luckily, the occasional stranger, to think for themselves for a moment – and maybe longer. My contributions have been teeny-tiny, but anyone can do them: I say “You think WHAT?” and “Of course not” when confronted by a piece of idiocy or `paranormal piffle’ (per M. Shermer), and when someone says “God bless you”, I respond with “Never mind any God” or “How do you know”? tho I’m not specifically an atheist – it’s just so irritating (I could write a tome about why). And I take every opportunity to say “I’m a skeptic” or “I’m a critical thinker” in conversations with colleagues. I do get some glances, and some surprising responses (for example one man looked aghast, and asked “Aren’t you afraid to die?”), but sometimes there is affirmation. Is it doing any good? I dunno…

  9. Susan Gerbic says:

    Here is the article I was thinking of. http://www.stopsylvia.com/articles/n…aksaway2.shtml it is most of the way down where the ExMinister talks about going to a Montel Show. I remember this discussion on the JREF site, some people were talking about going to the taping and were just discussing it. The next thing they knew the show was canceled, apparently the Browne people monitor the JREF discussions and lurk. Not stupid people are they.

    Susan

  10. AdamH says:

    Thanks for your thought-provoking post, Mark. I sincerely applaud your enthusiasm. I’ve certainly found myself making the common objections you describe, as well as others. Perhaps what most undermines my potential activism is “analysis paralysis”: I get bogged down in contemplating optimal strategies for activism, especially when I realize that even deciding on the initial steps is no simple matter.

    Despite the relatively little time I’ve spent engaging in “popular” skepticism — beyond what arises in my career as a research methodologist and stats consultant — I’ve given some focused thought to skeptical activism. At the risk of repeating things I’ve said elsewhere (e.g., as ‘PsyStat’ on the Center for Inquiry forums), here are three inter-related points that seem worth considering, some of which echo others’ remarks.

    1. EVIDENCE-BASED ACTIVISM: Skeptics tend to support science, right? And we’re typically bright folks, right? So why don’t we *use* science to promote skepticism? It seems to me we can bring critical thinking to bear on many of the issues involved in generating skeptical activism, by (a) researching carefully what’s worked in the past for similar efforts, (b) incorporating relevant ideas from pertinent academic disciplines (e.g., mass communication, interpersonal communication, social psychology, sociology), and (c) conducting some empirical research of our own to figure out what works and what doesn’t (more on this below).

    2. ULTIMATE AIMS: It might behoove would-be activists to set down a few foundational goals or objectives around which to focus their efforts. I don’t mean specific, proximal goals, like rallying 400 people for a flash-mob event outside the next Sylvia Brown appearance, but rather broader and perhaps abstract aims that can be used to guide the choice of activities and judge whether they’ve been effective (see below). For example, if our aim were to decrease belief in the supernatural or increase support for science in some context, we could consider a wide variety of activism efforts that are likely to accomplish that aim without backfiring.

    3. MEASURABLE IMPACT: For various purposes such as allocating limited resources, motivating current activists, and recruiting new ones, it’d be really nice to demonstrate empirically that at least some of the activism efforts have actually worked — in the sense of tangibly accomplishing (or progressing toward) one or more ultimate aims (see above). Am I the only one who wonders whether things like atheist bus campaigns actually do any measurable good or, perhaps, worsen the situation in some way? I’d be much more likely to get behind an instance of skeptical activism — with money, person-hours, etc. — if someone showed me that it’s been demonstrated empirically to be a good use of resources. Otherwise, I have better ways to spend my time, dollars, etc. Granted, it may not be easy to show convincingly that a given effort was causally responsible for some favorable change, but with carefully planning and perhaps advice from experts in relevant fields (e.g., quasi-experiments, field experiments, program evaluation) I bet it’s doable.

    In short, I’m all for skeptical activism that’s actually effective at accomplishing important goals, and I think science should be exploited wherever possible to decide what to do and assess how well it works.


    AH

  11. Susan Gerbic says:

    “Am I the only one who wonders whether things like atheist bus campaigns actually do any measurable good or, perhaps, worsen the situation in some way?”

    Your well thought out numbered critique proves that you AdamH are in tune with yourself and are over analyzing. I can tell all this by your handwriting by the way.

    I’m studying to be an historian (or at least just get the degree) so from my perspective I don’t think that we will see a measurable difference or no difference for many years. How to measure it is totally subjective with arguments that laws are being passed favorable to the non-religious OR the rates of hostility towards the bus company are down are just a few. And these might just contradict each other?

    I don’t know, but I do know that they are doing something. No one can possibly know the repercussions of any action until it is implemented and time has passed (how much time? Again, who knows?)

    Science does work to combat woo. I was just reading a book last night on how the Scopes trial and the science reporting impacted society in a positive manner. At the time they knew there would be a fuss over the trial, but not at the levels that it did.

    We can’t stop teaching that science is cool. The perception of mad scientists and bad science is definitely something that needs to be explored, but not probably for us in this forum. Mark is advocating for media attention, and to try and make these scam artists realize that they aren’t going to have it so easy. Tolerance towards woo in our government and schools will no longer be allowed.

    What kind of reception are the scientology people getting these days when they try to ask for help by the mainstream? What impact has the protests been having on their recruitment? It still may be too soon to tell but although I’m curious about the answers, I know that waiting to act just because the impact or outcome has not been analyzed would force these people to have remained home discussing what masks to wear.

    • AdamH says:

      Just a few replies, Susan:

      Although empirically assessing the impact of a given activism effort can be tricky, I don’t agree that “how to measure it is totally subjective.” Behavioral and social scientists have devised impressive ways to evaluate the impact of large-scale interventions (e.g., public-health campaigns, evidence-based social policy) with a fair degree of reliability and validity. They’re imperfect, for sure, but probably better than sheer ignorance. As an example, on the CfI forums I’ve described and critiqued a randomized experiment for comparing two atheist-bus campaigns’ effects on increasing doubt about god (in the thread ‘Social Experiments “for” Skeptics: #1.1′); I’m sure that with some focused thought a group of skeptics could improve on that substantially.

      This isn’t the appropriate place to delve into detail about evaluating the effects of large-scale interventions, and the best strategies would depend on particulars of the specific activism efforts. However, I’d encourage anyone interested to look into organizations like the Campbell Collaboration (www.campbellcollaboration.org) and the American Evaluation Association (www.eval.org) as well as topics like field experimentation and place-based randomization.

      Although I tend to agree with you that “no one can possibly know the repercussions of any action until it is implemented and time has passed,” I do think we can often *predict* the major repercussions with a useful degree of accuracy if we’ve done our homework and perhaps some empirical studies on sufficiently similar actions. That’s one of science’s great strengths: supporting predictions about future events based on past observations for a similar class of phenomenon. I’d think skeptics might be in favor of using scientific approaches to advance their cause … unless maybe they don’t really believe in the power of science for guiding decision-making or don’t realize science is applicable to problems like allocating activism resources.

      Onto another of your comments: Do you have any solid evidence that “science does work to combat woo”? I hope you’re right, but it’d be nice to have some compelling evidence that something recognizable as “science” was causally responsible for — not just that it preceded temporally — some measurable, observable detriment to something that’s arguably “woo.” When you (or someone) comes up with examples, this will be a great basis for illuminating how we can empirically assess the value of science (and perhaps skepticism), and maybe this would help build an empirical foundation for skeptical activism.

      Finally, although I agree that over-thinking activism to the point of not acting isn’t useful, it also seems prudent to avoid doing more harm than good. Maybe garnering media attention is a worthy goal, but why might we believe that any given way of doing this would ultimately help more than it hurts? Before investing resources in this (or whatever) tactic, I’d like to see some careful thought put into issues like (a) what types of media attention are most likely to achieve positive skeptical ends without unduly negative side-effects, or (b) what sort of follow-up activism has the best chance of capitalize on any interest generated by this media attention. Of course, whether any particular person or group undertakes any particular activism effort isn’t up to me; I’m just saying that I think — with, admittedly, no empirical evidence — more skeptics would be on board with a given activism effort were it supported by empirical evidence.


      AH

      • Susan Gerbic says:

        “I do think we can often *predict* the major repercussions with a useful degree of accuracy if we’ve done our homework and perhaps some empirical studies on sufficiently similar actions.”

        In the mean time creeps like Browne are telling more parents that their kidnapped children are dead. Booger-eaters like Jenny are telling parents not to vaccinate their children, cancer patients are skipping treatments for nonsense water therapies, Oprah is touting books like “The Secret” or whatever sells this week and surgeons like Dr. Oz are allowing non-touch to heal during surgery.

        Just take a look at Tim’s whatstheharm.net site and then scroll over to the jenny (can’t spell her last name) body count website. This woman with the help of Oprah is getting her own TV talk show!

        If you want to analyze the results of what others are doing to make change, then do so. That is your skill maybe how your brain works, but what is needed right now are people willing to do something. Mark Edward is willing to guide us, shouldn’t we take advantage of his years of experience?

        “but why might we believe that any given way of doing this would ultimately help more than it hurts?”

        Look around AdamH, spin through your TV dial, look at the magazines at the checkout stand, ask teenagers who their heroes are and you will see that we are already loosing. We are barely holding onto rationality in some voting blocks, we are very close to losing evolution being taught in some school districts. My Capstone for my BA (social and behavioral science BTW) was on science illiteracy and science education since Sputnik. I did a small replication of the [then] current [2000] results. I found that 1/4 of college students (with at least one science class) believed that the Sun moved around the Earth. Ten percent thought that man lived at the same time as dinosaurs. And about 15% (can’t quite remember) did not believe in evolution. This is from Monterey, CA one of the more educated wealthy areas in CA.

        So AdamH can you feel the frustration?

        “Think, Thank, Thunk” ~ Winnie the Pooh

      • AdamH says:

        I believe we’re mostly talking past each other, Susan, so I don’t consider continuing the discussion a good use of my time. You seem to be charged up for activism, so I wish you the best and sincerely hope your efforts help more than harm.


        AH

  12. Trimegistus says:

    I’m afraid you lost me at Ashcroft.

    Seriously: this call to arms to organize and fight woo and fraud is a great idea. But the moment you dragged in old partisan grudges and party propaganda, you lost me. If being a skeptic means picking on Ashcroft and ignoring, say, Van Jones (the President’s “green jobs czar”) then I’ll stay home.

    The moment being a skeptic means shackling yourself to one political party, repeating their propaganda and ignoring their own crackpots and frauds, it has ceased to be a productive enterprise.

    Call me when you’re serious.

    • Susan Gerbic says:

      Never heard of Van Jones?

      Ashcroft being a Republican has nothing to do with the issue. It has everything to do with him being a nutcase. Plus the fact that he was considered to be the best that the President could find. The public sphere just shrugged and said, “oh well, just another nut” not, “I don’t think so” like we should have.

      • Trimegistus says:

        You’re making my point for me, Susan. You don’t know or care that the President’s “Green Jobs Czar” is a “noetic sciences” crackpot — but you think John Ashcroft is a “nut” because he is a moderately devout Protestant.

        If we’re going to ignore crackpots in power now in order to nurse grudges against people long out of office, this isn’t about stopping woo, it’s political partisanship. Which is not the skeptic mission I’m willing to sign on for.

      • Susan Gerbic says:

        Have you actually been reading my posts? “this isn’t about stopping woo, it’s political partisanship” WHAT!

        I don’t care about Democrats or Republicans this a skeptic blog! I care that our President thinks that the best candidate for the job is a nutter, and the public puts up with it.

        “Grudge” are you kidding? Again this is a skeptic blog, and I am just making the point that Ashcroft’s views on black cats, public art and dancing SHOULD signal a RED ALERT and not just a shrug. I’m not advocating that we should have removed him from office, what I’m advocating is that the people representing our interests should not be of that caliber. People who go around clothing statues should not be in charge.

        I don’t care which side of the political fence they are on, if they think the Easter Bunny is real then they have no business in office. And the people should care. That is my point.

      • Trimegistus says:

        So it’s a “RED ALERT” that a man who was attorney general four years ago was a moderately devout Protestant, but you neither know nor care that the President nearly nominated an anti-vaccination fanatic and conspiracy theorist to a Cabinet-level position. Yet you maintain it isn’t about partisan politics? From where I sit it sounds like it’s ALL about partisan politics.

      • Beelzebud says:

        Trimegistus: So you’re criticizing him for NEARLY appointing someone? oy…

  13. Red Foreman says:

    Seriously, you must have an incredible amount of time on your hands to instigate such an effort. Gee, if you have that kind of power behind you, perhaps you might consider doing something useful with it. Petition against a show? That’s just stupid. How about just not watching it? Your desire to organize an army of skeptics is actually pretty silly.

    While I might agree with your opinion on some of the names you mentioned, I hardly agree you can lump them all together as “monsters, frauds, and charlatans”, unless you have verifiable proof they are such.

    Generally, the people I encounter who are opposed to psychics are really more or less attention seekers who are jealous of their celebrity.

  14. Susan Gerbic says:

    “Generally, the people I encounter who are opposed to psychics are really more or less attention seekers who are jealous of their celebrity.”

    That’s a pretty bold statement lumping all of us together…hope you have verifiable proof that we are such.

    • Red Foreman says:

      Note my use of “generally”. That Mr. Edwards writes for this blog is at least one verfiable fact he is an attention seeker. Furthermore, I am not Chip Coffey. I’m just a fan. It always amazes me whenever I comment on blogs like this, the commenters and/or blogger thinks it’s Chip. Too funny. Like he would waste his time here…Kind of makes me look bad, but so what.

  15. Mark Edward says:

    Good responses from everybody. Thanks for your support. “Improv/ Everywhere” sounds like my kind of people. In fact, it’s interesting to note that back in 1971 at Cal Arts, we did the bit where at a prearranged time with sychronized watches,we all stood stock still in the main gallery. It was a great moment and looked fantastic on video (1/2″ Beta tape!) These sorts of active things do cause attention and are non-violent alternatives to sitting on the sidelines.

    Does anybody remember “Turn Your Back on Bush? Yes, I know the action was a political statement that time, but that’s not the point I’m making at all Timegistus! Try to pry yourself free for a moment. Read this: from their sitewww.turnyourbackonbush.org:

    “On January 20th, over 5,000 people turned their back on President Bush at his Inaugural parade. This simple, direct action was taken by people from all walks of life: grade school students and ministers, veterans and artists, union organizers and single mothers, military families and environmental activists. People travelled from every corner of America – individuals by plane from New Mexico, three busloads from Wisconsin, and carloads from Louisiana, to take an action that lasted minutes, but which will reverberate for the next four years.”

    This is what I’m talking about. Nobody is asking anyone to “sign on” to any agenda just yet and tee-shirts may be a long way off, In fact, wearing such badges defeats tha underground nature of the activism I’m advocating. Just do it. Don’t wait for me or evidence based data,ultimate aims or measurable impact! I leave all that for someone else to ponder over, preferably the news media or bigger fish than us.

    As for the name: YES! it has the ring of something militaristic doesn’t it? That’s the idea folks! What do you want, flowers and puppie-dog faces? Give me a break. People are dying out there because of people like Jenny, Sylvia and Oprah!

    All this hand-wringing is getting those of us who have a fire to start nowhere.

    And then there’s Red Foreman:

    “Gee, if you have that kind of power behind you, perhaps you might consider doing something useful with it.”

    Gee Whiz Red Foreman, what do you consider “useful?” Like so many naysayers,all I read is negativity coming from you and not a single positive suggestion. I consider posting here at Skepticblog and advocating doing something besides sitting in front of a computer screen or armchair criticism useful to the skeptic movement. What can you offer? Maybe you can live with people like Lisa Williams and John Edward coming to your town to spread their doctine of speaking with dead people, but I for one would like to challenge the very premise they stand for. It’s called sceince. If it takes getting out on a street corner and talking sense to one or two people who might stop, listen and hesitate buying a ticket to such a load of exploitive blather, I know I’ll sleep better and maybe one or two bereaved people who are in pain might seek a qualified couselor who is versed in the proper way to provide them help with their problems instead of getting a hook into someone for life. The list goes on and on. And on your other comment:

    “Generally, the people I encounter who are opposed to psychics are really more or less attention seekers who are jealous of their celebrity.”

    I tried to write something in response to that one, …but I just can’t bring myself to even honor it with the time it takes to give it a thought. It’s just too lame for words. I would rather not have people like you involved with FORCE ONE anyway. You ar just too far gone. As I stated:Those of you who get what I’m saying will get it and those who don’t will just go on making excuses. As oldbabe wrote:
    “Battling the psychics whom you enumerate had best be left to people like you, Mark, who understand their `shtick’, I would think.” Maybe she’s right. That’s eaxctly what I’m going to do. If you are with me, I will find you, if not, remain complacent and read about it later…

    In the meantime, please listen to this podcast when you can:

    http://www.warningradio.info/Warning/Warning%3A_Archives/Warning%3A_Archives.html

    • Red Foreman says:

      Ironically, you responded to it anyway.

      Many legitimate psychics, including Chip, will tell you that they do not allow their clients to get “addicted” to them and/or use them to communicate on a regular basis with deceased loved ones.

      I think it is a waste of time to appoint yourself and your joiners as saviors to the people who are willing to look beyond the mainstream belief systems. Sure, there are people out there taking advantage of others. Look in any industry, any religion, any political arena and you will find that. You know, bad apples and such.

      As for standing out on street corners and speaking out against the belief in psychic ability, I doubt you’ll be regarded any differently than some of the people (clad in sandwich boards with doomsday quotes) who are out there right now spouting their personal beliefs. My inclination, and I might be the only one, is to skirt carefully around them and continue on my way. Good luck with that plan.

      It really is hypocritical to call me negative when you’re trying to organize a militia designed to break people down, attempt to put them in a “cold sweat”, and call my comment “lame” because I called you on your obvious search for attention. Are you not trying to put together a pilot for a reality show? Making any progress on that? Sour grapes anyone?

  16. kabol says:

    i still want t-shirts. someone needs to produce and market a decent selection of pro-skepticism, anti-woo t-shirts. off to listen to the warningradio podcast now…

  17. Susan Gerbic says:

    Kabol it isn’t up yet! I just checked. You can listen to my interview if you want, but the one with Mark and I on it should be up anytime soon.

    • kabol says:

      my browser set-up doesn’t like the plug in deal anyway, i’ll have to figure something else out :)

      • Susan Gerbic says:

        I was having problems also from their website. So I listened to it on iTunes, no problem.

  18. Boredagain says:

    I suggest everyone create a force-one Meet-up group on meetup.com to start. If one of us starts one in each city we are in around the world it would be a great launch of this idea and a place for others to join and share ideas. This is an easy way to get started wihtout having a clue how to program a website, even if you don’t want to go out and cause a ruckus, you can just be the organizer who collects dues, pays the site fee, inputs events on the calender, ect… you can have assistant organizers who run the individual events, or host meetings to discuss ideas. I’m going to start one in Phila tonight.

  19. Max says:

    Give me a good reason to stay in the shadows.

    Just don’t make a false dichotomy between staying in the shadows and making an ass of yourself a la Greenpeace. If you act like a clown, people won’t take you seriously. I have to fight the temptation to automatically take the opposite position of militant activist clowns.

  20. Mark Edward says:

    Max,
    I have worked with many clowns in my career. I don’t do balloon animals or plan to make a fool of anyone. Any actions will proeeed with class and a sly subtlety that may have alluded other groups like Greenpeace. I’m a performer, not a soldier. I make mention of other groups as examples of those who have attained the character of being notorious or widely known. That’s the plan. I’m all for avoiding the same things you are. As far as being militant, that may be extreme, but perception being eveything; I see no other way to get the word out. There is no false dichotomy here. Choose to act, but act in some way. I have stated many ways to do this. To not act is up to you. To remain middle of the road or apathetic is also up to each individual as well. This is just my way of dealing with “ligitimate psychics.” Got a better way. Let’s hear it. I’m all ears. My grapes are very sweet. Taste them.

  21. Mark Edward says:

    Right, it’s legitimate.

    • Red Foreman says:

      From your bio: “He has performed as a psychic entertainer at the Hollywood hot spot Magic Castle as well as world-class venues, nightclubs and corporate events.”

      Just wondering if you consider yourself “legitimate”.

  22. Mark Edward says:

    Duh. It says “psychic ENTERTAINER” Red. Obviously you don’t know the difference between someone who works on stage in nightclubs and corporate events entertaining and someone who takes money from bereaved people claiming to supposedly “talk to the dead.”

    Mediums have never been entertainers and they have never claimed to be such. They claim a privileged supernatural connection to DEAD PEOPLE. This has never been proved. If it has, prove it to me now. I’m waiting.

    Otherwise, it’s a false claim and the operator of such cons is obtaining money under false pretences: clearly an illegitimate enterprise.

    To educate yourself, I suggest checking out people like Derren Brown, Keith Barry and The Amazing Kreskin – or my act, then compare them with the “acts” that Chip Coffey, Chris Moon and Sylvia Browne perform to get their money.

    Do your “legitimate pyschics” call what they do entertainment Red? Do they work in Magic Castles, nightclubs and corporate venues? I don’t think so. They would be laughed or booed off the stage. Instead they work in churches, convention auditoriums and anywhere there is the misery of human loss to exploit. Ask anyone outside your own flock about that and they are likley to agree that taking of payment for those services rendered “talking to dead people” is seldom a lighthearted romp and one “act” is decidely more dishonest, disingenuous and legally unscrupulous than the other.

    Ask anyone of the people who have seen Derren Brown’s or my act, then compare that crowd to the fleeeced masses who have lost money to what you call “legitimate psychics.” You will find one happy to have been entertained and the other feeling ripped off and unhappy or still caught in a web of manipulative vice they are likely to awaken from sooner or later. It’s simple: One is right and one is wrong. If you can live with yourself and look in the mirror every morning after doing your kind of “legitimate” show, may you have a lifetime of dead people to talk to in your loneliest moments.

    • Red Foreman says:

      My show? I’m not claiming to be a psychic and if you’re suggesting that I am here undercover to protect “myself”, you are wrong. As stated before, I am a fan and a friend here to defend someone who has been slighted for no good reason–other than your hateful and bitter desire to ruin someone else in hopes of furthering your personal agenda.

      Have you ever attended an event with Chip Coffey? You prove it. Prove to everyone here you have a right to dispense such venom. “Entertainer” or not, you still use the word “psychic” in your bio. By your own rantings this would suggest you are a fake and a monster who justifies your act with the rationale your audience is “happy” to have paid for it.

      I have met legions of people who are quite content with their dealings with psychics. Furthermore, not all psychics claim to speak with the dead. You might want to do some research on the differences between psychics, mediums, empaths, intuitives, clairvoyants, etc. before you incite an army of your misinformed minions to protest them. As for the shows some of the psychics and mediums appear on, I would classify them as entertainment. If people didn’t enjoy watching the shows…you might have some semblance of an argument.

      Finally, you should always use a comma when addressing someone in a sentence, Mark.

  23. Mark Edward says:

    Call your psychic friends what you will. Here at Skepticblog, we call them fakes. There is no argument. You make the claim. It’s up to you to prove it. As for you “legions,” as P.T. Barnum so wisely put it; “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Tick, tick, tick.

    • Red Foreman says:

      Exactly. And I’m sure at least half of them read this blog.

    • Red Foreman says:

      ~Half the “suckers”, that is.

      Did you not make the claim–in the first place–that they are fakes and monsters? It puts the burden of proof on the both of us, I think. I’ve really spent way too much time here already(I love a fun argument,though). So, I’ll just gamble looking like I’ve wimped out on providing proof by saying it’s not worth explaining. It’s personal.

      I’m not trying to organize a protest based on my opinions. I have no intention of showing up at the Magic Palace with my hate posse with a master plan to sit in the front row with our backs turned.

      I never set out to defend all people claiming to be psychics, but I will defend those who are worthy of my respect. Really, thank you at this point, though, for being fair and honest enough to keep my comments up. I think it’s great you are able to assess that no one has ever left your show disappointed.

      If you do manage to rally enough of a volunteer army, I hope you’ll pick your battles wisely.

      • kabol says:

        I never set out to defend all people claiming to be psychics, but I will defend those who are worthy of my respect.

        which ones? (i’m guessing chip is one)

        what, exactly, makes a psychic worthy of your respect?

        the ones that dot their psychic i’s with social and cultural “good works” here and there?

        any smart and manipulative psychic is going to understand that helping little old ladies and saving puppies helps keep his/her gullible target audience all the more captivated.

  24. NotChipCoffey says:

    Let me first state that I am not Chip Coffey. He does have a lot of fans, you know, and if he took the time to address everyone on the internet who didn’t believe in him then he’d have time for little else. And “closet skeptics?” Oh yes, very closeted group of people we’re talking about here. The fear of persection must be a terrible burden, because as a society we have fully accepted psychic phenomena as fact and those that disagree are ridiculed and cast out, in many cases stoned. That being said, I’m glad they can finally emerge into the light of day and that you have provided them a sanctuary. I wish you luck in your pursuits but warn you that the masses may scourn you, perhaps even brand the few who dare join you with a big red “S.” As far as the reality show angle, I’d suggest maybe a short film first, documenting the pain and suffering you endure for your non-beliefs. Get people to understand the plight of the closet skeptic. Wait. Psychic lovers in next office getting suspicious that I don’t believe. Hold on, gotta throw them off, “What was that, Bill? Yeah, I did bring my tarot cards. Hold on, I’ll be there in a minute. Tell the client that the Prince of Cups says it’s a go. I’ll check the magic 8 ball in a minute. Tell Sheila to re-read the chicken bones and for god sakes, will someone check the astrology ticker to see what day we should do the product launch?” Gotta go, but count me in. I’ll be back.

  25. kabol says:

    Furthermore, not all psychics claim to speak with the dead. You might want to do some research on the differences between psychics, mediums, empaths, intuitives, clairvoyants, etc. before you incite an army of your misinformed minions to protest them.

    the difference in all of those prettily empyreal titles boils down to this: some are full on con-artists, some are just delusional.

    it’s usually pretty easy to tell which is which. if they’re media whores, i call full on con artist.

    i haven’t attended a chip event (far too expensive!) but i read about someone who was at one of the many, many college engagements chip and ryan buell have somehow managed to wrangle. (scary thought, that. these kids should be listening to educational lectures, not paranormal crap)

    the person went up to chip with a sealed envelop and asked chip to tell him what was written on the paper, and chip evidently freaked out and started squealing “I WILL NOT BE CHALLENGED!”

    LOL!

    • Red Foreman says:

      Certainly an interesting story! Still. You weren’t there. How much is a show at the Magic Palace?

      • kabol says:

        i have no idea how much a show is at the magic palace. i’m not interested in debunking magic shows. magic is an art form and people are *fully aware* that they’re being tricked while they’re being entertained.

        what, you didn’t like my anecdote? that’s really too bad, cause anecdotes are all that psychics have as “evidence”.

      • Red Foreman says:

        I’m really more addressing the fact that people have a choice to spend money on anything they want. If they enjoy an afternoon with a psychic and walk away amazed, what a crime.

        My other point is you should use *your own* example as evidence–if that’s what you want to call your little story. It truly proves nothing, except that Chip is not a circus monkey who performs on command. Who’s to say your “friend” wasn’t being a complete snarky asshat when he tried to hand the envelope to Chip? That part of the story could easily be left out.

      • kabol says:

        google news “psychic fraud” — what a crime indeed.

        of course chip’s not a circus monkey who performs on command – he’s a manipulative twit who performs for large sums of money.

        oh no. i just called chip coffey a manipulative twit. i wonder if i’ll get sued. i’ve heard that chip likes to threaten to sue people.

      • kabol says:

        Who’s to say your “friend” wasn’t being a complete snarky asshat when he tried to hand the envelope to Chip? That part of the story could easily be left out.

        i never mentioned “friend” and i don’t even remember the person’s name, but nice try. as for whether he or she was being a snarky asshat, all i can say is more power to ‘em and that should have no bearing on whether chip can or can’t use his psychic powers to know what the envelope contained. i mean, c’mon – chip has a 100% accuracy rate on “paranormal state”. what’s a little sealed envelope?

      • Red Foreman says:

        You really are just a nasty, small, bitter person aren’t you?

  26. NotChipCoffey says:

    Ok, that was a little sarcastic. Here’s the problem with science: It’s only as good as what scientists understand. For example, crop circles have been around for hundreds of years. Scientists from hundreds of years ago attributed the phenomenon to “wind.” Why? Because that’s all they knew. The problem with many scientists is that they don’t believe it until they can wrap a scientific explanation around it, and everything does have a scientfic explanation, we’re just not there yet. Here’s the other problem: Short of God speaking directly to them, most skeptics will never believe. Any evidence is ignored or written off as “we can’t explain it, but it has to be fake.” And lastly, you may believe it’s all fake, but that doesn’t make it true. I’m not a scientist, but your theory seems to be that none of it is real. If that is your theory (we can use this word, can’t we, scientist?) I believe the burden to prove that theory is on you, not the psychic. Especially since you’re the one that seems to be taking the fight to and accusing them, so prove your accusations. Back up your venom. Show us all that you’re not just bitter and are absolutely right. That seems like a better idea than organizing a mob to further your agenda.

  27. kabol says:

    I believe the burden to prove that theory is on you, not the psychic.

    sorry, but you’re mistaken in your belief. happens all the time with people who prefer to take the easy route and just accept and believe in the “paranormal” instead of the harder route which involves asking tough questions and objectively examining the results.

    That seems like a better idea than organizing a mob to further your agenda.

    yeah, skeptics should probably take a page out of how woo folk organize their mobs to further their agendas. they seem to be doing a better of job of it.

    • Red Foreman says:

      Clearly you’re missing the point. They aren’t organizing mobs, because it’s stupid, pointless, and mean.

    • Brandon says:

      You said..

      happens all the time with people who prefer to take the easy route and just accept and believe in the “paranormal” instead of the harder route which involves asking tough questions and objectively examining the results.

      I say…
      Maybe believing in God, Supernatural occurrences and abilities, and accepting these things as the truth IS the “harder route.” And dismissing them or trying to explain them away is the cowards way out!

  28. kabol says:

    clearly you’re unaware of all of the hundreds of events that these people organize in the name of woo. go to chip coffey’s website and check out his future and past engagements just for one set of examples.

    i agree that the media’s mob inducing paranormal programming saturation is stupid and pointless. and pretty mean since they’re wasting a whole lot of slots on that crap.

    what really blows is when they gear this stupid stuff toward and/or feature children.

    • kabol says:

      ooops, the above was in reply to “red foreman”‘s
      Clearly you’re missing the point. They aren’t organizing mobs, because it’s stupid, pointless, and mean.

  29. Mark Edward says:

    No Red, you are wrong there again. These are not just “opinions” any longer. These are lines being drawn in the sand. You can have opinions and talk all day, but FORCE ONE is going to call you and your legions out to task. All you have to do is prove your claim and FORCE ONE will back off gracefully.Until that time, any business that takes money for tears and the chance to sell more grief and misery can’t be permitted to profit in any society that has a conscience. Note I use the word buisness, not persons. Watch your back.

  30. AUJT says:

    @Red Foreman

    “Generally, the people I encounter who are opposed to psychics are really more or less attention seekers who are jealous of their celebrity.”

    Yup. This is typical uber woo fan spew. You guys really need to get better material because this is old tired rhetoric and the only people that buy into are the woo sheeple. The uber woo think that everyone wants to be a TV star/celebrity because that’s what they want and they only know what they’re familiar with. They have absolutely no sense of personal integrity. The concept totally escapes them.

    @Mark Edward

    I’m behind you 100% my friend. I like the name Force One. The woo need to know that there are people out there willing to actively counter them.

    Chip Coffey is looking forward to being able to sue someone for calling him a fraud/liar/jerk/skank. He’s chompin’ at the bit.—>http://twitter.com/chipcoffey/status/3429629588

    Coffey tries to intimidate people so that people will be afraid to challenge him. A low level form of terrorism if you ask me. Same mindset anyway.

    RIGHT ON FORCE ONE!!! Time to kick some fraud/liar/jerk/skank ass! Figuratively speaking of course ;-)

    • Max says:

      Hustler Magazine v. Falwell set a legal precedent.

    • Red Foreman says:

      And this site and your comments are not typical ‘uber’ skeptic ‘spew’? I bet you’re in your mom’s basement excitedly sewing your special paranormal protest cammies right now in anticipation of your first mission. Don’t forget to include the patch that says, “We Know Everything And Are Here to Protect the Ignorant” and a jaunty beret–it really ties the look together.

      “Low level form of terrorism”. I suppose attempting to organize and/or join a militant group of skeptics who are intent on bringing people over to their side doesn’t fall under that umbrella–even if I’m being told to “watch my back”. Who is threatening who?

      I have yet to see anyone here do anything more than name-call and/or make threats. This subject has grown tiresome. I gather most of you are nuttier than fruitcakes and equally unwelcome at holiday parties.

      Fair warning. I don’t take well to threats. You don’t know me and should never assume I don’t have superior resources at my disposal.

      • Susan Gerbic says:

        “protest cammies”

        I suppose you meant jammies?

      • Red Foreman says:

        No. I meant cammies as in camouflage.

      • Red Foreman says:

        Actually,LOL.

      • kabol says:

        and a jaunty beret–it really ties the look together

        i’m gonna have to vote down the jaunty beret idea — that’s far too similar to chip’s set of jaunty scarves.

      • Red Foreman says:

        Well, if you’re looking for a guerilla type movement, you might want to fit in.

      • kabol says:

        I have yet to see anyone here do anything more than name-call and/or make threats.

        you obviously haven’t read the entire blog.

        just showed up due to a “chip coffey” google alert?

        This subject has grown tiresome. I gather most of you are nuttier than fruitcakes and equally unwelcome at holiday parties.

        aw shucks, i bet you say that to all the folks who call psychics out with a passion, hence threatening to slow down the money train.

      • Red Foreman says:

        You’re right. I haven’t read the entire blog. It bores the crap out of me. I’m already kicking myself a little for dignifying it with my attention.

      • kabol says:

        darn those stupid google alerts will get you into all kinds of hot messes.

  31. AUJT says:

    The archived files at Warning Radio will not load for me. ???

    • Susan Gerbic says:

      I had the same problem, I just listened to it on iTunes. I will see if I can get some help from the Warning Radio guys.

      • AUJT says:

        I got it to work on a different browser. How did Apple fall behind Windoze in the media dept……..

  32. Angela says:

    Mark, after reading all of the dialogue please allow me to say, in less eloquent writing, that you, sir, are absolutely the most ignorant asshat I’ve ever had the displeasure to read. (I saw somewhere above the term asshat and that is my new word). You are judging others harshly and when someone returns the favor to you, well, in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson, “you can’t handle the truth”! I consider Chip Coffey to be my friend, psychic or not psychic, he is my friend. And I’m telling you that he has more heart and more humanity in his pinky than you have in your entire body as solely evidenced by your writing. His care and concern for people is beyond your knowing and scope of understanding. He does not deserve to be berated by you in this manner. Whether you believe in his abilities or not is one thing. But to attack a good man’s character is another.

    SHAME ON YOU! And as I have nothing to gain or lose by saying this – screw you Mr. Edward and your little blog too!

    Have a wonderful life you self-absorbing imp. :)

    • Susan Gerbic says:

      Who let the flying monkey loose?

      • kabol says:

        more like flying monkies plural. actually, more like rabid chihuahuas. very often when someone disses chip online it’s like someone cracked open a pinata full of nuts.

        I consider Chip Coffey to be my friend, psychic or not psychic, he is my friend.

        your friend pretends to talk to dead people for money and hence takes advantage of grief for personal monetary gain.

        what a swell fella.

      • Just Jes says:

        And can you guarantee that he doesn’t speak with dead people….?? Your not simply questioning some one’s supposed ability, you are making the statement with nothing more than your opinion to back it up. Can Chip prove his ability? Why yes. Using scientific methodology, this man on more than one occasion, for more than one group, has been able to “scientifically verify” his ability. Not just once, but more than once, more than twice, etc.

        Since you have made the statement he is a “fake”, what evidence do you have to prove your statement?

        Hey, I don’t believe every psychic is legit. I hate psychic friends network and hate even more those that take advantage of others. That being said, before you make such staunch statements you need to be able to prove or disprove your statement. And with regards to this issue, until you can prove your statement to be the correct and true one, all you are doing is committing slander and be liable in those statements you write and those comments you speak.

        People MIGHT give more credence to your opinion if you could substantiate your statement. Especially in the face of (in one case) a man who has proven his ability.

        Lastly, if you have such a problem with people selling products and services (be it false pretenses or not) then you quite simply MUST have a problem with our capitalistic culture whose entire premise is being to buy and sell any type of product, at will, and to the highest bidder.

        Good gads…. if you have the kind of time to give a rats ass about mysticism and or religion / religious practice, can’t you find a topic more deserving of such energy??!!!! REALLY???!!!

      • kabol says:

        And can you guarantee that he doesn’t speak with dead people….??

        he can’t guarantee that he does. says so right in the fine print on his website.

        is it just me, or do the woo seem to think kabol is the skeptic most evil? hey, i see a LOT of other evil skeptics here. go woo all over them!

        Can Chip prove his ability? Why yes. Using scientific methodology, this man on more than one occasion, for more than one group, has been able to “scientifically verify” his ability. Not just once, but more than once, more than twice, etc.

        oh c’mon! this has got to be a joke!

        And with regards to this issue, until you can prove your statement to be the correct and true one, all you are doing is committing slander and be liable in those statements you write and those comments you speak.

        so chip should sue me for slander and “liable” then. why don’t you ask him to do that? i think it would be a hoot!

      • Mark Edward says:

        Didn’t you just attack my character? Call me for a reading some time. I know you want me.

  33. Brandon says:

    A message to all skeptics, from a reformed skeptic:

    Until I was accidentally and thankfully plunged face first into the world of the paranormal, I was kind of like you folks. I was raised in a strict Southern Baptist home where if it couldn’t be explained and it wasn’t in the Bible then it didn’t exist. To my dismay, most of my family still thinks that way and practices those beliefs. I accredit that mostly to the fact that they, like yourselves, obviously haven’t seen and experienced the things that I have. I hold still today, and always will, my basic Christian beliefs, in fact I am an ordained minister of my faith. But, because I am an open-minded, educated person, I put myself out in this world. Rather than hiding behind an online persona and using $100 words to disguise my filler statements as actual pearls of wisdom, I have discovered a world I was not seeking and people and I never intended to meet. Because, believe it or not, some things just happen; things that you can not explain, things that a scientist can not test or recreate with constants, variables, formulas, or focus groups. These things are not normal, they are paranormal.

    You say that your “ranks are filled with teachers, professors, scientists and leaders from all walks of life.” Well sir, ours are as well. You also noted that Your “free speech is protected under the law.” Again, so our ours. I can’t think of a single person who studies this topic, on your side or mine, who hasn’t heard the name James Randi, I‘m sure that you have he‘s quite obviously your hero. His challenge will most likely never be met, nor would anyone else’s. It has nothing to do with him being a world renowned skeptic or famous illusionist, but simply because psychic or paranormal gifts can not be proven with science. For that matter, I don’t believe that any scientist will ever get indisputable evidence of an intelligent haunt. I am a paranormal investigator, I am convinced that there is such thing as spiritual beings who exist within our plain of existence. Most scientist would laugh at me for this belief, I find it equally hysterical that an adult human can be convinced that this entire universe from it’s largest planet to it’s smallest molecule are all the result of a cosmic accident.

    I am not writing this to start a political debate (I’m republican in case you were wondering) or a holy war, I would actually prefer it if no one responded to this seeing as it is unlikely that I will visit your site again. My purpose here is to warn you that you are wasting not only your time, but also that of your devoted readers. How you think you are any different than I am I don’t know. We’re both mice chasing cheese here trying to convince an entire world that we are right and our opposition is wrong. The difference between my people and yours, is that my people are not attempting to start protests and political movements to benefit our cause. I realize that my words are not likely going to sway your soul in either direction, especially since you probably don’t believe in souls, but I would ask one thing of you. Please stop running down the names of decent people. I know personally one of the individuals you boldly decided to judge and defame here in this article and if you met this person tonight you would be typing a retraction tomorrow. I don’t believe that everyone you named is a legitimate psychic or medium, in fact I don’t believe that most people who claim these abilities are legitimate, but it bothered me to see the name of a friend, who has and uses a God given gift to help people, dragged in the dirt like this.

    No one you named is dedicating their lives to ruining yours, I doubt that any of them have pages of their websites dedicated to your destruction, so please, live and let live. You seem to be moderately intelligent people, intelligent enough to earn a degree in performance arts. I realize the job market is probably low for street performers right now, especially since the liberals have this economy in such a mess, but surely you people can find something better to do with your time than allowing your jealousy to overrun you. Thank you for your time… asshats!

    • tmac57 says:

      You misspelled ‘assets’.

      • Brandon says:

        That was a nice response; very well thought out!

      • Red Foreman says:

        Yes and since you’ve appointed yourself “spell checker” you might want to go over some of the comments from your skeptic cronies.

      • kabol says:

        oh duuuude. you should see the illiterate masses that follow skanks like chip coffey around the internet. i guess that’s part of these psychic’s MO – they DO like to target ignorant, undereducated sorts. even children.

      • Red Foreman says:

        Judging by your grammar, punctuation skills, and lack of proper capitalization, I would place you around 1st grade. So, I guess the playing field is pretty level in your assessment.

      • kabol says:

        evidently not, since i see through the charade quite easily — my language arts aside.

        boy, it sure would be awesome to have a PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE right about now. you know, like the one chip doesn’t actually have.

      • Red Foreman says:

        Dude, you could not be more delusional. The only charade here is you.

      • Red Foreman says:

        Also, it would frighten me to learn you have a degree.

      • kabol says:

        oooo — three lame little lobs in a row!
        that’s the spirit, “red”: when you know you’re owned in a discussion, ad homs awaaaaaaay!

      • Red Foreman says:

        Pointing out that you’re delusional is not an ad hominem response. It’s a reference to your allusion that I am Chip. Did we not go over this already?

      • Red Foreman says:

        You really think you’re owning this?

      • kabol says:

        my little allusion was 40 comments ago. i see it’s really bugging you. the charade that i see through, despite my (according to you) limited language skills is the charade of supposed psychic ability.

        keep up, red!

    • kabol says:

      a reformed skeptic

      somehow i doubt that, but i really am a skeptical person.

      who has and uses a God given gift to help people

      sure, if the price is right and the camera time is sufficient.

      • kabol says:

        oh yeah, and if by “god given gift” you mean a touch of cold reading skills,

        with a dash of a post-9/11-honed skill in psychological manipulation of fear,ignorance and grief added in for good measure.

  34. Brian M says:

    I enjoy throwing out the “Dihydrogen monoxide” ban on people. Most people get a kick out of it, and then start thinking about other things. I feel like at least I planted the seeds of doubt in their heads.

    When I see someone falling for some woo, like “aromatherapy”, I calmly explain why its not what it claims to be. When they go “well, the placebo effect is good, so why ruin it?”, I explain how deferring real treatments hurts everyone.

    I may not be on the big stage, but I am doing my job in the trenches. It may not make me popular, but I wasn’t all that popular to begin with.

    One person in a group I was eating supper with was skeptical of food, and all the preservatives. When she made a rhetorical question of something to the effect of preservatives being harmful, I said “thats the magic of science, we can create this working and safe preservatives”. She seemed uneasy about that, but dropped it. Many times, people don’t hear the other side of the argument. Perhaps this will make her think about future claims.

    Perhaps thats what we all need to be reminded of. That even the small things count. People listen, especially when you say you prefix it with “I can save you a lot of money on XYZ woo product!”… “How!? What supplier?!”… “Science”.

  35. AUJT says:

    ““We Know Everything And Are Here to Protect the Ignorant” and a jaunty beret–it really ties the look together.”

    Your basement remark is old and tired as well. I have no interest in “protecting” the ignorant. Educating them, yes and stopping the dissemination of BS from snake oil salesmen.

    “I suppose attempting to organize and/or join a militant group of skeptics who are intent on bringing people over to their side doesn’t fall under that umbrella–even if I’m being told to “watch my back”. Who is threatening who?”

    I’m threatening no one and I couldn’t care less about your back and whether you watch it or not. You really don’t get it, don’t care to or you’re defending the BS for your own personal gain. And no, it’s far different for the skeptics. It goes to intention. Read up.

    “I gather most of you are nuttier than fruitcakes and equally unwelcome at holiday parties.”

    LOL! I’m well paid to show up at holiday parties. Very well paid. ;-) Nuts are good. Frauds, liars and cheats are not.

    “Fair warning. I don’t take well to threats. You don’t know me and should never assume I don’t have superior resources at my disposal.”

    Oh stop. Nope, I don’t know you and you’ve been threatened? But I *do* know that you do not have “superior resources” at your disposal. But I’ll consider myself “warned”. *snore*…

    And thanks Max! “In Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988), the United States Supreme Court held, in a unanimous 8-0 decision (Justice Kennedy took no part in the consideration or decision of the case), that the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantee prohibits awarding damages to public figures to compensate for emotional distress intentionally inflicted upon them.”

    • Red Foreman says:

      You *don’t* know anything about me or my resources and really I was addressing Mark Edwards. He’s the one who suggested I “watch my back”. I guess I was remiss in lumping all of you hate mongers together as one person. So many of these lame debunking sites are operated a la the “Wizard” with one guy and his sycophantic alter egos. You even make references to flying monkeys. Makes one wonder….

      • Red Foreman says:

        Big surpise that you’re another person paid to be at parties. Too bad the masses don’t realize that clowns and magicians are so full of hate. Perhaps I should start a guerilla movement to let them know….

      • kabol says:

        there was no mention of what the the job was. maybe he/she’s a bartender. or a stripper!

      • Red Foreman says:

        You seem to have a thing for topless people.

      • kabol says:

        i suppose my two comments could be construed as “a thing”.

        you seem to have a thing for scam artists fleecing the gullibe/grieving.

      • Susan Gerbic says:

        That was me! I made the flying monkey comment.

    • Just Jes says:

      You said: Your basement remark is old and tired as well. I have no interest in “protecting” the ignorant. Educating them, yes and stopping the dissemination of BS from snake oil salesmen.

      I say: If your job is supposedly to educate the ignorant with regards to “woo”, I say what qualifications do you have to educate people with regards to this topic? The only education I heard tell of whas some degree in performing arts? Was that a certificate? Associates? Bachelors? and HOW does performing arts qualify you to do anything more than “act” and “perform”…. certainly not a degree in philosophy, religion, history or anything remotely scholastic enough to make you at expert to do just what you claim.

      Being a skeptic only qualifies you to give your skeptical opinion. Being a performer only gives you the practiced ability to sell your own line of BS and sell your own brand of crap or skepticism with believability. I do believe you are the very thing you are trying to warn others of. Us “common folk” call people like you the kettle calling the pot black.

      So…. doesn’t that actually make you the salesman?

      • kabol says:

        AUJT, why are these woo’s off the ole chip
        t-shirt slogan!

        baiting us regarding our educations?

      • AUJT says:

        I dunno but I find this format difficult to navigate. Is there a way to view posts differently as in most recent posts first?

  36. AUJT says:

    “Thank you for your time… asshats!”

    You’re welcome… prick!

  37. kabol says:

    I was remiss in lumping all of you hate mongers together as one person.

    since when is looking askance at and/or making fun of questionable money-making schemes hate mongering?

    i often wonder how the likes of Gary Spivey, Chris Moon, Lisa Williams, Chip Coffey, Connie Sonne, Sylvia Browne, James VanPraagh, John Edward, Lisa Williams can stand themselves, knowing deep down that they’re conning people.

    i mean, i know that as with any kind of person who would take advantage of others willfully — it’s the money. but still…there’s something really sinister and disturbing about people like psychics and religious leaders doing it under the guise of “helping others”.

    • Mark Edward says:

      Watch the Penn & Teller “Talking to the Dead” episode. You will see how bad it gets when medium Rosemary Altea rips into a set of parents (that she had specially placed in the audience beforehand BTW) and gets them to nearly break down in front of the cameras. Tears weren’t enough for her: One of the couples had their daughter commit suicide and the other died of cancer. Nice folks these pro mediums huh?

  38. kabol says:

    wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have a whole “skeptics network” in the TV/film industry? i have visions of a skeptic run studio contacting the most malodorous media psychics surreptitiously via their sundry artful agents and inviting them to some sort of ego-stroking, money dangling televised event — but the event’s audience would be populated by FORCE ONE in force.

    oh, the hilarity that would ensue.

    • Red Foreman says:

      Thanks for finally proving my point, kabol. Your ultimate goal is getting yourself on television. My work here is done.

      • kabol says:

        yeah, that’s pretty shallow of me to have considered, huh?

        there’s nothing worse than skanks who whore themselves out for media time – unless it’s psychic skanks.

    • Brandon says:

      It would be funny, until a genuine medium made contact with that great aunt you were so close to and you walked away a believer. That would be hysterical.

  39. NotChipCoffey says:

    You people are unbelievable. First, Susan, I noticed you accused “Red” of lumping you all together and your request for verifiable proof of her accusation. Ummmm… where is all the verifiable proof that all psychics are fake? Huh. Or, is the burden of proof always on us when debating with you? That’s awesomely convenient. Thinking about switching sides so I can spew accusations without having to back them up. Also, in any industry, you have con-artists, psychics being no different. Why not take your activism to those that steal old people’s retirements? Or mechanics that charge you for parts they don’t replace? Or HVAC contractors that gouge you for service that’s not needed? I can go on and on, but are we to assume that all mechanics, plumbers, doctors, a/c repairmen, etc. are all con artists? No. I have a theory of my own regarding your mission. You don’t care about people getting ripped off. You care about hitching your wagon to a thriving industry and profiting from the very people you despise. That also makes you a hypocrite. In no way can this mission of yours be confused for altruism. You’re trying to champion people who don’t want or need your assistance. You might as well stand outside a church and call them all idiots for believing in something that offers them peace and tranquility. Even if you are right and somehow prove that all psychics are fake (which you aren’t and science will prove its existence before you prove otherwise, guaranteed,) all you’ll accomplish is making people feel like fools and ripping faith from their hearts. That would make you all self-serving douches. In closing, if you really want to help people, try helping those that have had their lives destroyed by real con artists and criminals who prey on the weak, and leave those that wish to believe alone.

    • kabol says:

      i think i’m tearing up a bit. who has a tissue?

      leave those that wish to believe alone

      not a problem if they’d just build a wall, keep to themselves and stop spewing their nonsense via the media to the masses (particularly and sinisterly aimed at the younger masses and the undereducated masses.

      next thing you know we’ll have psychic kiddie camps and ghost hunting shows on the cartoon network. oh yeah, already done.

      • NotChipCoffey says:

        Oh my god. You’re right. Believers are a very forceful bunch, jamming their beliefs down your throat while you mind your own business. And I’d like to apologize on behalf of those that persistently try to convince you that you should believe in ghosts. I tried to talk them down, but I believe they’re ready to protest outside your headquarters as we speak. That would be entirely consistent with a group that wants to force its beliefs on you. A-holes. Thank god you guys aren’t like that.

        And as a parent, I’d like to personally thank you for defending my children from learning that there might be life after death. They find blinking out of existence and becoming worm-food much more reassuring, anyway. But why stop there? I understand in Sunday School they’re teaching the kids about some omnipotent spirit and some nonsense about being good to others so they can go to this place called “Heaven” when they die. I think they’re called churches and they number in the thousands. Go Force One! you can do this.

        We should also let parents know that you now decide what we should be teaching their children. Do you have a blog I can just direct them to? Or maybe your own bible or something. Let me know on that.

        Meanwhile, in the next meeting I’ll bring up the wall idea. We hate to annoy you and regret that our uneducated babble is upsetting you. We can only hope that you’ll help us despite our ignorance. Please don’t think we’re ungrateful, we’re just really dumb and don’t know any better than to bite the hand that feeds us.

        Oh, and thank you for not clouding this issue with your own personal hate agenda. I think that would only confuse things. Keep on keeping on. You’re doing great.

      • kabol says:

        LOL! good job on the snarky sarcasm! a bit wordy, but super sarcastic!

        Believers are a very forceful bunch, jamming their beliefs down your throat while you mind your own business. And I’d like to apologize on behalf of those that persistently try to convince you that you should believe in ghosts.

        it’s not me i’m worried about.

        you know – in all of your over-wrought sarcasm, you actually bring up a great point:
        paranormal = religion.

        i suppose a kids TV show telling them in a factual manner that there are ghosts in their houses, demons at their door and/or psychic abilities in their brains is probably a good idea for someone who actually wants their kids to think that way.

        but the point was that this is ALREADY BEING DONE and hence the mob mentality message is NOT from skeptics as you couple of chip groupies keep trying to imply, it’s from believers. and it’s out there. all over the place.

        how many paranormal shows air how many times a day on television? how many (way too pricey and completely silly) paranormal “$pecial event$” take place every month? how many blockbuster “based on ‘true’ events” paranormal movies are out there?

        so why not a FORCE ONE in response to this rash of irrationality?

        you know, i wasn’t really all that on board before, but now i’m convinced. it’s sort of how my skepticism was solidified by my early perusals of such trash TV as “paranormal state”, “ghost hunters” and “psychic kids”.

        yay skeptologists!

        yay JREF!

        yay team FORCE ONE!

      • NotChipCoffey says:

        Go Team Force One! I think you’re entirely missing my point. The difference between the old person that has their retirement stolen and a person who has handed a psychic money for service is simply this: One is factually a victim of a crime. Not believed to be the victim of a crime, in your opinion, but one is an actual crime where the victim complains about being robbed. The one that pays to visit a psychic is not listening to you while you pretend to be his/her champion. He/she already knows your point of view and doesn’t care. Secondly, I don’t know what they learn in Sunday School and don’t care. I’m jewish, so I have my own basket of crap I don’t believe. My point again, not up to you decide what children’s parents decide to teach them (provided it is lawful,) unless you would also like to take it upon yourself to drop the Santa bomb to the children of the world.

        And lastly, here’s why this whole thing is retarded. A survey taken among U.S. residents showed that 41% of people believe in ESP. So the notion of a “closet skeptic” is beyond ridiculous. Since when is the majority closeted? That’s like, “I find that more and more people are ‘closet’ white.” You act as if you’re inundated and forced by society into believing something you don’t and are forced into hiding by the legions of cult believers. Guess what? You’re not. Change the channel. I assure you there are plenty of channels not showing psychic programming. I’m somehow able to watch TV for hours and hours without ever seeing any, so you may want to give your cable company a call and get upgraded to more channels than the 4 to 6 that periodically air these shows in between house flipping and decorating programs (I’ll bet your house is wicked cool, though.) No one is trying to get you to believe. We don’t care.

        What you’re doing is force feeding your beliefs on the MINORITY while calling them ignorant and uneducated. You view them as morons, so don’t for a minute pretend that you care about them. You despise them for their ignorance and want to prove to them how stupid they are and how smart you are. I’m pretty sure that makes you evil. “But… it’s for the children..” Whatever. You’re a Douche. Good luck with all that.

      • kabol says:

        I think you’re entirely missing my point.

        which one? you’re all over the place.

        I assure you there are plenty of channels not showing psychic programming.

        i don’t think they’ve overtaken the science channel yet. and probably not those religious ones.

        A survey taken among U.S. residents showed that 41% of people believe in ESP. So the notion of a “closet skeptic” is beyond ridiculous.

        okaaaaay. so all of a sudden ESP encompasses everything paranormal? according to the stats that PN believers like to crow about, not sure where they got them, paranormal is king with the masses.

        We don’t care.

        hmmm, yes – i see. your apathy is oozing all over this comments section.

        What you’re doing is force feeding your beliefs on the MINORITY while calling them ignorant and uneducated. You view them as morons, so don’t for a minute pretend that you care about them. You despise them for their ignorance and want to prove to them how stupid they are and how smart you are. I’m pretty sure that makes you evil.

        you just typed a whole lot of misrepresentation and projection – interesting little straw man for your apathy field!

        btw, like i said — UNDEReducated.

        Excellent rebuttal to my many points.

        obv that wasn’t the rebuttal. i’m so shocked that you would attempt to portray it as such.

        RMFEs.

      • kabol says:

        oh, btw – my exact word was “undereducated”.

        ignorance stems from a lack of access to education.

        but you can refer to yourself as uneducated if you’d like.

      • NotChipCoffey says:

        Excellent rebuttal to my many points. Listen. You’re on one side, I’m on the other. You represent skeptics, I represent believers. Until conclusive proof is brought forward either way, we’ll never agree. That’s why your cause is silly, as would be my cause if it was to get you to believe. No amount of protesting or activism will change that. Instead, let’s direct those efforts into finding out the actual truth.

      • Brandon says:

        Hey I like Scooby Doo, and by the way if you don’t want to see those shows, or if you don’t want your kids watching them…. TURN THE CHANNEL. I don’t watch shows that I don’t like, it’s rather simple.

    • Susan Gerbic says:

      Wait, wait, kabol this one’s mine!

      “Ummmm… where is all the verifiable proof that all psychics are fake? ”

      Where is the proof that smurfs don’t exist? There might be one just around the corner, maybe I should look out of the corner of my eye? Where is the evidence that the moon is NOT made of cheese, I mean it might be we haven’t dug all the way down. Give me a break! You can’t seriously be making the claim that not ALL psychics are fake? Have we ever found ONE psychic that was real? I mean I missed that memo, was it on CNN while I was at work or something?

      Was the Nobel prize awarded to Gary Schwartz and I missed it? How is science still being taught with the knowledge that psychics do exist? WOW! If you have some proof that even one person has been able to communicate via ESP or dowsing or anything like that I think the world would love to know about it.

      You can’t prove a negative, its as simple as that. It is up to people making claims that psychics exist, to prove that claim. Otherwise we have flying elephants, bigfoot and talking monkeys, living amongst us.

      “Also, in any industry, you have con-artists, psychics being no different.”

      So glad we both found something to agree on!

      “No. I have a theory of my own regarding your mission. You don’t care about people getting ripped off.”

      Wow, what a bold statement. Guess what it doesn’t even upset me, you are stating your theory. I’m guessing it isn’t the kind of theory like gravity or evolution or something serious like that. More like a the theory that psychics are really nice people trying to help people…you know something unfounded like that.

      “You care about hitching your wagon to a thriving industry and profiting from the very people you despise. ”

      Another great statement coming from someone on a blog who knows nothing about me. It is laughable really, but whatever, another one of your theories.

      “You might as well stand outside a church and call them all idiots for believing in something that offers them peace and tranquility.”

      How do you know what I do on Sundays? Peace and tranquility is good for another laugh.

      “Even if you are right and somehow prove that all psychics are fake (which you aren’t and science will prove its existence before you prove otherwise, guaranteed,)”

      First we have to find ONE psychic that is real, then we can start weeding out the fake ones.

      If science can prove psychics are real that would be great! What a world that would be. Until that time I think I will stick with the knowledge we now have.

      “all you’ll accomplish is making people feel like fools and ripping faith from their hearts. That would make you all self-serving douches.”

      I’m really impressed with your estimation of my power. Ripping faith from their hearts, wow! A douche? I’m not calling you names, why do you feel like you have to?

      “In closing, if you really want to help people, try helping those that have had their lives destroyed by real con artists and criminals who prey on the weak, and leave those that wish to believe alone.”

      As you stated earlier, con artists = psychics. You made my point for me, thank you.

      I can’t wait for the grammar and comma police to check this over!

      • kabol says:

        more tee shirt slogans (from susan)!!!!

        Was the Nobel prize awarded to Gary Schwartz and I missed it?

        First we have to find ONE psychic that is real, then we can start weeding out the fake ones.

      • NotChipCoffey says:

        Susan, the knowledge we currently have? Ok, I’m game. What’s that knowledge?

      • kabol says:

        i’m not susan, but my answer is that they are either intentionally conning people or they are unintentionally conning people (delusional).

        maybe even a little of both along the way.

      • kabol says:

        oh yeah, i was gonna add that either way, there should be no fee for these unproven and non-guaranteed ‘services’. but of course, the crafty psychics get around that little obstacle by using the “for entertainment purposes only” fine-print disclaimer.

      • NotChipCoffey says:

        Again, I asked for knowledge. Not your opinion. What have you learned that has taught you that all psychics are fake? That’s what I want to know. I’m sure you have evidence to support your theory, as I have plenty to support mine. My only claim is that you can’t possibly know. None of you. The wise man admits that he knows nothing (and there’s not one of you here, as far as I can tell.)

        The difference between you and I is that I’m willing to consider that you’re right. And I know you’re not Susan, but this is for her. A Smurf is a cartoon. We’ve already proven that the moon is not made of cheese, so I think that was a poor example. And Bigfoot? Well, actually there has been tremendous strides in determining that it may actually exist. If that’s so incredibly hard to believe, they’ve just discovered some type of giant seal with a trident tail that hangs around Florida. It’s bigger than a manatee. Scientists are stunned (as they usually are when they find out they’re wrong or discover a new species, which is all the time.) Imagine, a big monkey living in the forest. That would be the weirdest thing ever! Even weirder than ghosts, I think. And sorry to use so many commas, my dear, but I try to insert pauses so your head won’t explode. And yes,,,, you’re a douche.

        With that, good luck to all of you. I’m done here. You can have your pompous playground back.

      • Susan Gerbic says:

        Well I guess NotChipCoffee has taken his ball and gone home. Oh well, its just possible he will pop up again, maybe as a sock puppet! Better watch my comma usage just in case.

      • kabol says:

        we need to make a special tee for NCC – the slogan will be:

        “someone please prove my negative for me, douches”

      • NotChipCoffey says:

        You should be less concerend about your comma usage and more concerned about your “crazy.” Then again, you’re obviously not too good at picking your battles.

  40. Nayr says:

    Is this post some kind of test? I am wondering because I was once involved in a cult, kinda. It wasn’t a religious cult, I have never had any use for religion, but a political one. My cult had political views that were well outside of the mainstream and honestly were pretty stupid and insane.

    Anyway this “call to action” sounds very familiar. We believed that the media was against us but that if we could just be more active then our message would take off and most people would come to see how right we were. After all we had THE TRUTH on our side. Right?

    Now I do believe that skeptics have a much better handle on reality than other groups claiming THE TRUTH, but this post just seemed to irritate my woo detector a bit.

    So I guess I will have to decline your offer. I have had enough activism to last me for the rest of my life, but I hope my words don’t discourage any one else. Have fun storming the castle!

  41. kabol says:

    if a skeptical movement isn’t your thing, there’s always this one.

    i hope posting that doesn’t earn me demerits from skepchicks.

  42. AUJT says:

    @NotChipCoffey

    “You don’t care about people getting ripped off.”

    You have NO idea what types of activism anyone’s involved in here. Did you notice the name of this site and specifically what it addresses? Focus NCC. Oh yeah, your job is to confuse and blurry the focus. I forget, my bad. Nice try NCC.

    “try helping those that have had their lives destroyed by real con artists and criminals who prey on the weak”

    Psychics for hire are real con artists and prey on the weak, ignorant and gullible. That or they are delusional.

    BTW I’d bet good money that Chip Coffey peruses these sites trying to defend himself. From his POV, he’d be an idiot not to. He couldn’t stop himself if he wanted to.

    @Red Foreman
    “You *don’t* know anything about me or my resources”

    I know enough. I’m confident that you do not have “superior resources” on any level. But don’t worry yourself about it. You’re beginning to get huffy.

    “Perhaps I should start a guerilla movement to let them know….”

    You already have.

    @Nayr

    “Anyway this “call to action” sounds very familiar.”

    LOL! Rest assured this “cult” of reasonableness will not be offering or drinking the Kool-Aid. I suppose the founding fathers of the US with their “call to action” were a cult. Sorry Nayr but gimme a break.

    • Nayr says:

      I am not saying that skepticism is a cult. Only that the language sounds very similar to what I experienced in a cult. I am not sure if that observation is of any value to anyone here, but it seemed relevant enough to mention.

      Your question about the founding fathers is an interesting one, especially with consideration to my background as a political extremist. The founding fathers were a fanatical and militant minority calling for an armed revolution. I am glad they did, but you have to admit that without the benefit of hindsight they would have seemed like crazy and violent extremists.

      Wait a minute. What was the question again? Oh yeah, were the founding fathers a cult? Definitely maybe.

      Take a break. I’ll check back later.

      • kabol says:

        interesting points, but cult leaders brainwash, obfuscate and generally lie.

        i don’t see any of that behavior flying much with a bunch of cynical skeptics…

        oh wait! mark edwards is a mentalist! he’s brainwashing me!

        ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

      • Red Foreman says:

        Remeber. You’re the one who said it first.

      • Red Foreman says:

        That would be “remember”. I do know how to spell.

    • NotChipCoffey says:

      Ummm… you BELIEVE that psychics for hire are fake, along with many others. And you know what? Some are, which I’ve already stated. Like every industry, you have your crooks. You lumping every psychic into that group based on nothing more than your opinion is irresponsible and arrogant. For you to state as fact what you cannot possibly know is as far from scientific as it can be.

      But you know who you should complain to? The police departments that hire psychics to help them solve murders and find missing children. I mean, the police might be a little more peeved than your average fan when they find out that you think they’ve been conned. I actually just read some great stories about some psychics being heralded by police for their efforts in solving crimes, using terms like “accurate in every detail,” “couldn’t have done it without her,” etc. Uh oh. They have the police now. I’d be careful if I were you guys. Getting pretty hot out there.

      • kabol says:

        tell me NCC, which psychics do you consider NOT fake, and what “evidence” makes you think they aren’t.

        LOL! you just opened the “psychic detectives” barrel of woo doo.

        I actually just read some great stories about some psychics being heralded by police for their efforts in solving crimes, using terms like “accurate in every detail,” “couldn’t have done it without her,” etc.

        well, if you read stories about psychic efforts solving crimes, then it must be real!

        Uh oh. They have the police now.

        maybe just the retired ones who wanted some TV time and maybe a little extra cash.

      • kabol says:

        mark’s good buddy (heh) alex from skeptiko has some “psychic plus detectives solved a case in NJ” BS all over the internet. and i do mean all over. it’s spamming forth from all KINDS of PN blogs and forums.

        sadly, i had to really dig to find this little podcast of sanity and reason. i think this should get posted to every one of those woo websites that mentions this case. guerrilla-sssstyle!

        http://odeo.com/episodes/24582806-Skepticality-102-The-Great-Psychic-Detective-Challenge-Interviews-Benjamin-Radford-Dr-Phil-Plait

      • Just Jes says:

        I can say from personal knowledge (not from TV or articles) that the use of psychics for finding missing people or solving crimes has worked in many cases. I have seen hardened, fact based policemen, scoff at the idea, make fun of the psychics who were brought in to assist and then have to turn and eat crow when the missing link that solved the crime or brought the missing person home came from a psychic. Did the psychic want public attention or a TV show out of it? No. In fact…. they didn’t even get paid.

        Your opinion that all stories are fake, is no different your expectation that people should believe the skeptic dribble you write as being cold hard fact.

        You can’t have it both ways. Point is, not all stories or writing or opinions are true and not all are false. It’s up to people to individually check the facts and make an opinion. If their opinion differs, so be it.

        Problem is, this world we all live in isn’t made of hard and fasts, black and whites and strict scientific fact. You can’t change that religious theories and experiences over thousands of years have managed to transcend cultures and geographic location. Our found Fathers moved to the now US to be free from zellots and extremists who felt life had to be lived one way and one way only; leaving no room for conflicting belief systems. That is why our county was founded with the idea of tolerance.

        Your group and it’s skepticism wants to tear tolerance from our world and make every thing and everyone fit into this nice little box that consists of your own beliefs.

        How sad would our work be if every one was similar? If there was no room for other ideas? Lifestyles. Faith. Religion. Tolerance.

        I may hate your opinion, but your simply having it makes this world a more interesting place. And while I don’t agree with intolerance, I am tolerant enough to “let it go”. The fact we can debate an idea is one of the things that make our country so wonderful.

        In your world, we would loose the differences that make us unique. Loose the ability to debate as we would loose creativity of thought and idea and lifestyles. And yes, “woo” would go away with it.

        But what is so wrong with “woo”. Just like, what is so wrong with “skepticism”?. Isn’t there room in this world for both to coincide with out a militant call to action?

      • kabol says:

        I can say from personal knowledge (not from TV or articles) that the use of psychics for finding missing people or solving crimes has worked in many cases. I have seen hardened, fact based policemen, scoff at the idea, make fun of the psychics who were brought in to assist and then have to turn and eat crow when the missing link that solved the crime or brought the missing person home came from a psychic.

        many cases? ok – name one. give us one example.

        just one.

        seriously.

        one.

      • Boredagain says:

        Sorry, you should have said “all fakes”; otherwise they would be able to prove their abilities. I don’t know how you think you’re going to get away with the “some are fakes” line here, but you are just as delusional as your master if you believe that will fly.

      • NotChipCoffey says:

        Hmmmm… the knowledge you now have? Please, enlighten me. After all, I’m undereducated. Ignorant. Bestow your wisdom on me, oh kabol. Teach me what you’ve learned that proves that all psychics are fake. Oh, you can’t. You can point to your education and my lack thereof as reasons you are right, yet nothing in either of our educations has offered proof either way. I think that makes your education worthless on this topic. Unless, of course, you have proof. the best you can offer is an educated guess based on what you’ve learned. And I imagine you spend more time trying to disprove than prove, which only means you seek out information to support your own theory without looking at the evidence contrary to it. But of course, no evidence is good enough for you.

        Some might say that a perfect example of ignorance is stating an opinion as an absolute fact (that would be you.) But guess what? You’ve inspired me. I’ve spoken to three active duty police officers that worked on cases involving psychics, all of which had wonderful things to say, each attributing the success of their case to the psychic. I knew you were just going to discount it as you would any evidence contrary to your closed-minded opinion, so I took the liberty of calling them myself. I suppose you’ll want them to do lie detectors and when they pass those I’m sure you’ll explain that anyone can pass a lie detector. As I said before, short of the hand of god slapping you, you’ll never believe.

        Lastly, I call you a douche because you are one. You’re concrete. Unwaivering. Nothing will convince you. You’ve made up your mind before the results are in. You’re willing to persecute based on nothing more than your own opinion. You are an “earth is flat” person. A Witch hunter. You fight learning because you think you know it all and anyone offering any opinion other than yours is ignorant. That’s what makes you a douche. Call me whatever you want. Coming from a douche such as yourself, it means nothing.

        And if there is an afterlife (notice I say “if” even though I believe, because I am not a closed-minded douche and won’t make up my mind until I’m offered proof,) I do hope you’re not there.

      • kabol says:

        wow, you must feel better now!
        alas, you replied to boredagain, not me.

        but since you thought you were replying to me, i notice you never bothered to answer my simple question:

        “tell me NCC, which psychics do you consider NOT fake, and what “evidence” makes you think they aren’t.”

        also, at least 4 different people here have patiently explained to you why the burden of proof is on the skeptical community – yet you either refuse or are unable to understand their very clear answers.

        i may be a douche, but at least i don’t keep repeating the same question when it’s been answered repeatedly.

      • kabol says:

        OOOPS, meant to type the burden of proof is NOT on the skeptical community, of course.

      • kabol says:

        You can point to your education and my lack thereof as reasons you are right, yet nothing in either of our educations has offered proof either way. I think that makes your education worthless on this topic.

        i’ve never mentioned your education nor my own – that’s all coming from you.

        i simply opined that the TARGET audience for psychic scam artists is the undereducated/ignorant and that this subset makes up a large part of their following.

        you’re choosing to identify yourself with that subset, as is your right.

      • Mark Edward says:

        I thought you were “done” here?

      • kabol says:

        that negative still needs proving.

      • NotChipCoffey says:

        I was done, but I decided I’m having too much fun. You know who else consulted a psychic regularly? Just wondering if he falls into the “undereducated and ignorant” target audience. Ummmm… Ronald Reagan. Fascinating story, actually. He’d even base policy on her predictions. I saw an interview with Nancy Reagan a couple of years ago discussing it. Obviously, they tried to keep the whole thing under wraps at the time because of nuts like you. As I said, fascinating.

        Oh, and as I stated, you might have missed it. In fact, I’m sure you did or just chose not to address it. I spoke to 3 ACTIVE detectives who had nothing but positive things to say about the psychics they worked with, all admitting to being extremely skeptical and shocked by their precision. I asked each if they minded that I mention them here. All declined because they don’t want you nuts bothering them. Weird. But as I said, you won’t believe me and you won’t believe them because you have made up your mind. You’re so blinded by your own opinion that you refuse to recognize any fact or evidence that doesn’t jive with it. Again, very douchey stuff.

  43. AUJT says:

    “I understand in Sunday School they’re teaching the kids about some omnipotent spirit and some nonsense about being good to others so they can go to this place called “Heaven” when they die.”

    And how they should be killed if they don’t obey their parents and how they should kill anyone that doesn’t believe in their god ect. Are they not encouraged to read the bible?

  44. Mark Edward says:

    Keep it up. All of you are making my point and taking it far beyond where I imagined.

    There will be no tee-shirts – berets or flag waving. But we will be there in FORCE.

    • kabol says:

      There will be no tee-shirts

      oh crap. forget it then.

      ;)

    • Nayr says:

      I would reconsider that if I were you. To create a “movement”, you need stuff like tee-shirts and flags. You don’t really need berets though, so good call there. I guess.

      I still think that your post is some kind of trick to see how many self-identified skeptics will fall for what appears to be typical cult/crazy-political-group boilerplate.

      Is that the point that you are making? That skeptics are also susceptible to this kind of stuff?

      • kabol says:

        hey now – skeptics are people, too.

        how do skeptical gatherings like TAM rate in the sinister implications idea of skeptics banding together as a force against woo?

        are skeptics not also allowed to have summer camps and TV shows like the woo do? (evidently not so much)

        heh, i said woo do.

      • kabol says:

        “skeptics are people, too”

        btw if that gets used on a tee shirt i want a cut.
        or at least props.

      • Nayr says:

        You know what would be really cool. Some black shirts with silver piping. On one side of the collar there could be a skull, representing our awareness of our own mortality and the rejection of life after death. On the other side we could have two of the letter “s”, representing science and skepticism.

        If you go with that, I want props.

      • Susan Gerbic says:

        I think the “woo do” suggestion is the best so far! Maybe under the smiley face?

        We must have unicorns (but then with or without wings?)

      • Brandon says:

        Nayr, call me crazy but didn’t NAZIs wear SS? I’m just saying! And yes Mark, you predicted it Godwin’s Law has been proven… you must be psychic!

  45. AUJT says:

    “but you have to admit that without the benefit of hindsight they would have seemed like crazy and violent extremists.”

    Depends on the POV. They’d had enough. Some of us skeptics have had enough, many of us have. I had enough the night Paranormal State aired. That’s what did it for me. At some point the BS gets too much and that was my point. I went to the A$E website and posted “AE should be ashamed” and thought that’d be the end of it but I was met with a woo brigade and decided that they needed to be countered on a level of at least equal intensity. Every snake oil salesman that watches A$E’s “real life dramas” showed up there at some point LOL! From shakti helmet salesmen to Rudolph Steiner and Waldorf woo followers. It’s been quite educational!

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing the skeptical movement to a national revolution, simply pointing out that many things depend on your perspective.

    The woo twist, misquote and mischaracterize anyone and everyone that challenges them. So be it. They wanna play, I’ll play.

    • kabol says:

      as skeptical “vigilantes” go — i must give you props cause i’ve seen you in action. you’re like clint eastwood on that woo ass, only funnier.

      :)

  46. Max says:

    As I mentioned before in previous posts: Do you think any of the thousands of phony psychics,medical quacks or faith healers give a crap about the law? No, they don’t! So why do most skeptical minds always remain so polite and civil? Why do so many free thinkers shrink from seeing this situation for what it really is? … Where’s the cops? It seems so obvious to me and I’m not even a law student. Where’s the justice here?

    Sounds like a call for vigilantism to me.

    • kabol says:

      have you ever participated as an open skeptic at a forum flush with woo? if so, does that count as some kind of personal vigilantism?

      • Max says:

        No, here I’m specifically referring to breaking the law. I’m not reassured by Mark’s commentary on legal implications, which begins with, “We have plenty of lawyers on our side” and then points out that our enemies don’t “give a crap about the law”, perhaps implying “Why should we?” Or did he say it just for motivation? I’d like to think it’s the latter, but in the context of “Where’s the cops? … Where’s the justice here?”, it could be the former.

        As it stands, it’s open to interpretation.

      • kabol says:

        i didn’t get the impression mark edwards was advocating breaking the law. he listed it as a “common objection”.

        i got the impression he was referring to a few of the woo peeps’ penchant for hollering “libel!” or “i have unlimited resources at my disposal” or somesuch.

        you know, like chip coffey’s indignantly self righteous tweet about “what out you internet bashers, there are now precedents” (paraphrasing) while he linked to the google lawsuits regarding someone on the internet calling someone else a skank.

        skank, in case you hadn’t noticed, is now one of MY new favorite psychic adjectives!

      • kabol says:

        i mean noun. skanky would be the adjective.

        blast my language challenges.

  47. AUJT says:

    “Instead of imagining what kids learn in Sunday School, focus on what they really learn.”

    Magical/fantastical non critical thinking at best. And if they happen to read their bible they get really crazy or really confused. I read my bible and got really confused and perhaps a little crazy until I figured it out with the help of Joseph Campbell, John Shelby Spong et al.

  48. Mark Edward says:

    “We must become the change we want to see.”
    Mahatma Gandhi

  49. AUJT says:

    @Mark Edward

    ““We must become the change we want to see.”
    Mahatma Gandhi”

    I have that T-shirt! Really. See? Gandi had T-shirts. ;-)

  50. AUJT says:

    @Max

    “No, here I’m specifically referring to breaking the law.”

    I didn’t get that from the blog. These jerks could be brought down easily while staying within the confines of the law. Solidarity, assertiveness and persistence is key.

    Attorneys are always handy to have around though, doncha think? I’m sure that they’d be of considerable assistance if suing someone for fraud.

    • Max says:

      If the woo peddlers don’t give a crap about the law, then yes, the legal recourse is to sue them for fraud, file FTC complaints, etc. but I don’t think that this is what Mark had in mind for FORCE ONE. No, Mark was responding to worries that FORCE ONE activists may get sued.

  51. Mark Edward says:

    No, I wasn’t particularly worried at all about FORCE ONE getting sued. But before I stick my neck too far into any nooses, I will want to know how far I can go. Just common sense. This also keeps what I will call “The Jerk Factor” from taking place: i.e. too mnay stupid gaffs that cause the group to look like jerks or cause more problems than solutions. FORCE ONE is planned as a proactive movement, not a knee-jerk jerk bunch of renegades. Careful planning, manipulation, misdirection and a systematic approach that incorporates the solidarity, assertieveness and persistance AUJT mentioned are all part of getting the right kind of attention. Remember: we are fighting fire with fire. I didn’t spend nearly ten years in the belly of the psychic beast to come away looking like a fool. There will be copycats, saboteurs and people who will try (probably already in the works…)to make us look like jerks, but I’m in contact with people who know how to do these things right, so don’t expect any amateur dramatics. This is a serious situation that calls for serious actions, hence the lawyer bit.
    BTW: Baxter from WARNING:RADIO just called and let me know that the podcast I did with them two weeks ago is now up and ready. Please listen to it to get more of where I’m coming from. It’s at http://www.warningradio.info/Warning/Home.html
    We are happening.

  52. kabol says:

    FORCE ONE is planned as a proactive movement, not a knee-jerk jerk bunch of renegades.

    well that seals it for me then. no tee shirts and no knee-jerk jerks. i’m done for. at least i can still call psychics skanks.

    Careful planning, manipulation, misdirection and a systematic approach that incorporates the solidarity, assertieveness and persistance

    i think your “psychic” side is taking over! stop that!

  53. Mark Edward says:

    “Psychic side?” Nope. I just fight that woo fire with some wooish style fire of my own. It takes thief, …etc. I think after 30 years I know most of their tricks, lies and excuses. The more they complain and bellow, the more I can pinpoint the targets.

    Remember all those 50′s sci-fi films where the ever-expanding monster gets choked with it’s own lust for more endless power, energy or whatever? The scientist(or Mr. Spock)figures out how to jam the craw of the beast full of its own crap, confound the ultimate computer with logic, etc.

    Greed will out. That’s what will eventually take place. Look at what happened to The Psychic Friends Network. I was there. I know. Over 100 million was made in the first five years and in the end lost. Chapter 11 Bankruptcy ensued and Dionne Warwick and Linda Georgian vanished into obscurity, broken and eradicated like the bad actors they were.

    FORCE ONE will hurry along the inevitable.

    Like I said originally, I’m not concerned with the harmeless mom and pop seeress’s tea leaf consultations or the gentle palm reader down the block, nor the Sunday school teacher working to invoke spirituality in their students. That would be foolhardy and indeed a mean spirited crusade. No, it’s the conscious crooks who know better and their supporters who also know better,(read about Skeptiko’s Alex Tsakiris here in my most recent blog)and have not one jot of spirituality to show for their bank accounts that I’m after. Hiding behind God and the Bible is the lowest form of infamy. Like feigning patriotism, it’s the last refuge of the scoundrel.

    It’s these very sorts of abusive holier-than-thou types that have been drawn out of the woodwork right here on this blog that will propel FORCE ONE where it needs to go.

    Keep howling.

    • kabol says:

      It’s these very sorts of abusive holier-than-thou types that have been drawn out of the woodwork right here on this blog

      they were awfully rampant and rabid and immediate after i joked about red being chip.

      i was just starting to think maybe nayr was right and you WERE punking us.

      but then i remembered good ole google alerts. (chip loves ‘em)

      punked or not, it’s been an entertaining day and FORCE ONE all the way!

      tee shirt slogan alert: a little FORCE ONE a day keeps the woo away.

      that was just awful.

    • Susan Gerbic says:

      “Remember all those 50’s sci-fi films where the ever-expanding monster gets choked with it’s own lust for more endless power, energy or whatever? The scientist(or Mr. Spock)figures out how to jam the craw of the beast full of its own crap, confound the ultimate computer with logic, etc.”

      Disney did this in Aladdin! Aladdin tricked the evil Ja’far into wishing himself into a genie (so he could be all powerful) but Ja’far forgot that being a genie meant he had to live in a bottle thingy. So Ja’far became a genie and Aladdin put him in the bottle and threw him into the dessert to live with his stupid parrot.

      Just saying…

  54. kabol says:

    speaking of conscious crooks — evidently chip coffey is going to be on a podcast and they’re soliciting questions for him at their forum:

    We plan to ask Chip (and he knows this) about some of the allegations related to the info he does or does not receive from the producers of Paranormal State when he appears on the show. We’ve started a thread on our website forum (available at http://www.spookylogistics.com) to solicit questions from our audience. If you have any questions you feel we should ask, please chime in.

    I hope you catch the show!!

    Regards

    Chris ‘urkotic’ Scales
    EERIE Radio
    http://www.spookylogistics.com

    sigh – i don’t suppose chip will ‘fess up and say it’s all a big lie and he’s now joining FORCE ONE….he’ll probably just spin and avoid and…well…persistently misdirect and manipulate.

    ;)

    • AUJT says:

      Kabol, do you have a specific link to that thread on the forum?

      • kabol says:

        no, i couldn’t find it myself. hence the email.

        that’s kind of interesting, isnt’ it?

      • kabol says:

        i meant to use a question mark “hence the email?”
        like do they expect the questions to be emailed to them?

      • AUJT says:

        I looked through the site a bit, saw no references to Chipples and no forum threads devoted to questions for him.

      • kabol says:

        no mental medium here,(maybe a wee bit mental) but i’m getting an odd con vibe from this whole situation.

        chip is part of a con? say it ain’t so!

  55. Mark Edward says:

    Great.

    This is a fantastic opportunity to ask THE BIG QUESTIONS and listen to Chipper squirm.

    For example, try asking him what the term “pre-show” means to him and ses what he says.

    TAPE RECORD EVERYTHING.

    THINK MENTALISM NOT SPIRITISM

    THINK MANIPULATION NOT CONSULTATION

    I could list a thousand things to ask, …bit that would be telling.

    Yes, expect that he will spin, edit and avoid – but ignoring this chance to get a word in from the new underground would be sad. Do it!

    Right now he’s probably in defensive mode. He’s easy to confuse and deflate.

    OBVIOUS QUESTIONS ARE THE BEST:
    1)Ask him if he really does have the power to talk to the dead, how come he needs a television show?
    2) How much does he make take home per episode?
    3) What does he do with his spare time?

    Personally, I would like to know answers to these three simple questions:
    1) The breed, color and name of my first dog and what he used to do with his nose. Can you ask my dead mother to give me that Chip? I’m waiting. Mom would know.
    2) What kind of cigarettes my dead father used to smoke. He should know that at least.
    3) What my dead mother thought she was in a previous incarnation. She may have re-incarnated into that again. It was always her ideal.

    I’ll be waiting here for something from The Other Side. Use my name if you can’t think of good questions of your own – or go ahead and use my questions and my name. I’m sure he’d be glad to hear my name mentioned.

    If Chip could get any one of these three questions answered with his box or whatever he does on his shows, like Connie Sonne’s three tries at TAM7, I would be very impressed with even one accurate answer.

    He could clear up an awful lot of quibbling and misunderstandings.

    • Brandon says:

      I’ve been with him before a gallery reading, he records nothing, no eaves dropping… NOTHING! In fact he was late because we were BSing. And NO I did not get a reading.

      • kabol says:

        I don’t suppose anyone in a ‘gallery’ ever fills out personal information and provides it to someone beforehand — like say the event coordinator? maybe even someone like brent fair….just a thought.

      • Just Jes says:

        Actually, no. No personal information is provided. He comes alone. He did not get paid for the event. The gallery readings were free and paid for his own trip to the event.

      • kabol says:

        LOL!

        no one mentioned which event, why – which one are you talking about?

        sounds like someone is attempting some brent fair damage control!!!

        sure – chip does his PN events for free. riiiiight.

        and no one chip knows gets any info ahead of time (like names, addresses and credit cards for the tickets)

        riiiiiight.

      • Max says:

        Does he have accomplices eavesdrop?

      • kabol says:

        And NO I did not get a reading.

        why not? too pricey? no discount for forum-policing- -reputation-damage-control pals???

      • Mark Edward says:

        Right YOU didn’t get a reading. Others probably did. What YOU don’t see can’t hurt YOU. Besides, I can blow Chip out of the water with just cold reading. Might I suggest a competition? Your place or mine. I’m game.

    • kabol says:

      someone forwarded me this link – sadly, chip canceled his interview in light of some of the questions that were generated to which google alerted him:

      http://www.ghosttheory.com/paranormal/eerie-radio-interview-chip-cancels/#comment-2959

      chip states:

      I was slated to make a guest appearance on Eerie Radio this coming Sunday. I briefly met the folks from this radio show at an event in Indiana a few months ago. My friend, Greta, who often helps me with publicity and scheduling, set up the interview.

      Yesterday, I received a Google Alert (aren’t they wonderful?!?) regarding my appearance on the show. It seems that Chris Scales from Eerie Radio recently sent out an E-mail, soliciting questions that potential listeners of the show wanted the hosts to ask me during my appearance.

      The Google Alert led me to a web site where a few chronic “Chip bashers” were having a bit of a field day with their plans to submit questions.

      Time permitting, I am generally willing to do radio interviews. I am not, however, willing to do any show during which the hosts intend to goad, challenge or disrespect me. I will not defend my work and/or any of the TV shows I appear on … and I will not engage in debate on potentially incendiary topics.

      Therefore, I will not be making an appearance on Eerie Radio on Sunday or at any time in the future.

      And here’s a news flash for any radio or TV show host(s) or producer(s) who invite me to appear on their show(s): if you are discourteous to me or “push the envelope” too much, WE’RE DONE! I’ll hang up the phone during telephone interviews or leave the studio/set during live appearances.

  56. kabol says:

    now those are some excellent questions! i’ll get ‘em on there for you.

    If Chip could get any one of these three questions answered with his box or whatever he does on his shows

    i think his latest psychic tool was wearing (ping pong) balls on his face. (ganzfeld)

    • Susan Gerbic says:

      Damn you kabol for working the words “ping pong ball” and “face” into this blog!

      • kabol says:

        plus i managed to keep the phrase “balls on his phase” intact :)

      • AUJT says:

        The moral of the story is wash your (ping pong) balls after they’ve been on Chip Coffey’s face because you never know where that face has been.

  57. Sam says:

    Ah, sounds like little Markie Edwards is upset that no one has offered him an itty bitty wittle tv show of his own . . . . aaaahhhhhhh. Poor little baby. *gag*

    This whole thing is pathetic. You’re pathetic and your minions are just as equally pathetic. You’re friggen special man by trying to smoke out free speech while saying you have free speech.

    Here’s a suggestion Mark. (and I’ll do this in baby steps so you can understand seeing as you have no real education. . .)

    Go to your bathroom.
    Open the cabinet.
    ake out all the medication bottles.
    Open said bottles.
    Take a pill from each bottle.
    Put them in that trap you call a mouth.
    Swallow.

    Now, after your medication kicks in and you’re an actual human being again read your “blog”. I think you’ll see that
    Y-O-U
    A-R-E
    A-N
    I-D-I-O-T!

  58. AUJT says:

    @Sam

    “You’re friggen special man by trying to smoke out free speech while saying you have free speech. ”

    Speaking of smoke, you should put the crack/meth pipe down.

    Let the woo talk as much as they want to I say. There’s nothing more fun to watch than a well hung woo and without exception they *will* hang themselves. It’s an affliction. They can’t help themselves. Poor woo woo.

    • kabol says:

      plus there’s that infamous woo excuse/flawed reasoning accusation of jealousy once again. (we need to work the most-used woo excuses into a tee shirt slogan!)

      sam does seem a bit confused; he’s mixing up censorship with trying to stop/expose fraud.

  59. kabol says:

    i mentioned brent fair in a reply above – in case anyone doesn’t know, he’s evidently a more traditional kind of scammer – according to the outraged and out-of-luck would-be ghost hunt attendees all over the internet, brent fair sets up paranormal events, sells advance tickets and then disappears with the money.

    AFAICT, he’s pals with chip coffey, or he represents chip coffey? people seem to be upset with chip for not knowing what’s going on. some psychic, huh? google it if you’re interested.

  60. AUJT says:

    @Mark Edward

    “It’s at http://www.warningradio.info/Warning/Home.html
    We are happening.”

    I listened to it last night. It seems the WR hosts are up for Force One. Right on!

    You made mention of Carlos Castaneda. I’ve not seen nor heard him referenced in quite some tome. I read Tales Of Power when I was sixteen and found it very interesting that it was listed as anthropology on the spine. I recall thinking that surely it was fiction, maybe the result of a bit too much mescaline.

    Great interview!

    • Mark Edward says:

      Thanks for the kudos. I met Carlos C. when I was in Art School. A very cool man. To rip him off and turn his writings and thoughts into an excuse for selling bad psychic readings is just about as wrong as something can be.

      • AUJT says:

        I’ve spent much time contemplating some of CC’s ideas. Acting from a point of “impeccability” comes to mind.

        I sat CC down after The Second Ring Of Power as I thought he was a little [way] out there with much of that one from a literal stand point. Although I did flip through a few of his later books.

  61. kabol says:

    NCC opined:
    Let me first state that I am not Chip Coffey. He does have a lot of fans, you know, and if he took the time to address everyone on the internet who didn’t believe in him then he’d have time for little else.

    heh, understatement!!!

    (too wordy for tee shirt slogan but how did i miss that gem?!)

  62. AUJT says:

    @Just Jes

    “If your job is supposedly to educate the ignorant with regards to “woo”,

    It’s not my job. It’s my passion. One of several.

    “I say what qualifications do you have to educate people with regards to this topic?”

    Extreme experience. And BTW I found that I know more about the xtian religion than many pastors, probably most of them.

    And, while I may be slow to understand, I AM a very quick learner. I’ve found that I can hold my own with PhD’s in a variety of fields. As most any seriously curious more mature person can. :-)

    Also BTW, re: education, you only have to stay one lesson ahead of your students. Perhaps not the ideal situation but it’s all that is required. And if you’re a parent, you *are* an educator “qualified” or not.

  63. kabol says:

    notchipcoffey informed us:

    You know who else consulted a psychic regularly? Just wondering if he falls into the “undereducated and ignorant” target audience. Ummmm… Ronald Reagan. Fascinating story, actually. He’d even base policy on her predictions. I saw an interview with Nancy Reagan a couple of years ago discussing it. Obviously, they tried to keep the whole thing under wraps at the time because of nuts like you.

    if this were true (and that ‘s a big if – can you imagine? presidential policy dictated by a psychic!!) perhaps reagan was influenced by his wife who, to my knowledge, does not have a college education. she likely had some personal issues which might have made her susceptible to a belief in psychic power. (if, of course, any of this is even true.) that said, providing only one single famous exception to my theory wouldn’t make my theory any less correct since i’m speaking in general terms.

    I spoke to 3 ACTIVE detectives who had nothing but positive things to say about the psychics they worked with, all admitting to being extremely skeptical and shocked by their precision. I asked each if they minded that I mention them here. All declined because they don’t want you nuts bothering them.

    how conveeeeeeenient. (that you’re unable to mention them for whatever reason) sadly, the other woo willie wonka also wasn’t able to provide me with the specifics that i asked for regarding his/her tale regaling us with the prevalence of psychic know-how within the police force.

    But as I said, you won’t believe me and you won’t believe them because you have made up your mind. You’re so blinded by your own opinion that you refuse to recognize any fact or evidence that doesn’t jive with it. Again, very douchey stuff.

    it’s not that i’ve made up my mind, it’s just this persistent little issue that there isn’t enough evidence to convince me that these spectacular claims about the wonders of all things psychic are factual.

    actually, there’s no evidence at all.

    • kabol says:

      i guess nancy did have a college education. even so, i stand by my OPINION that psychics’ target market is the undereducated. i believe it’s one of the main reasons they’re starting to target children.

    • NotChipCoffey says:

      Actually, there’s a lot of evidence, you choose to recognize none of it. That’s been my entire point. Any evidence offered is wasted on you because you perceive it all to be fabricated, no matter how convincing and difficult to fake. No proof will convince you.

      And here’s your other problem. If I tell you that I’ve personally experienced something, whether it be seeing a ghost myself or talking to detectives that have worked with psychics and loved it, you don’t believe me. At all. Or any of the millions that have experienced it for themselves. You think we’re all either delusional, confused, undereducated or ignorant. You never consider the possibility that we saw exactly what we said we saw.

      And Reagan’s psychic? Joan Quigley was her name. She was actually an astrologist. She planned Reagan’s press conferences, travel dates and even his surgery. She was brought in unofficially after his assassination attempt, mainly becuse prior to that she had predicted that day would be a very bad day for the President. That’s when she went from Nancy’s buddy to dictating where and when the President would be. Donald Regan wrote a book about the entire thing, mainly on how it was affecting policy. Nancy Reagan held an interview confirming that Joan Quigley became the unofficial/official planner for Reagan’s activities. Also, as governor of California, Reagan signed a bill into law that allowed astrologers to be regulated, licensed by the locality and compensated for service. That was in 1974. He was also very superstitious, throwing salt over his shoulder before every meal, making sure he always had his lucky coin, etc. That sounds to me like a man who believes there’s a little something more to life than what we see.

      And as I said, the detectives I spoke with were repeatedly harassed by douches like you when they came out publicly and have no desire to have the attacks renewed. Is it really so hard to believe? I read some articles, got some names, googled a number, lifted my arm, used my hand to grab the receiver, punched some numbers, asked to speak to someone, they answered, exchanged some pleasantries and after about 3 minutes I was able to at least prove that you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. 3 times. Believe me, I’d love to give you their names so they can shove it in your face, but they have no interest in wasting their time with you or stirring up a hornet’s nest for nothing. After all, you’re Guerillas. You’re FORCE ONE. Scary.

      • tmac57 says:

        Well, I spoke to those 3 unnamed detectives, and they told me that NotChipCoffey is lying, and we should never believe any thing that NotChipCoffey says, because he is NotChipCoffey! So there !!!

      • kabol says:

        LMAO!

      • kabol says:

        That sounds to me like a man who believes there’s a little something more to life than what we see.

        well, that does it then. if ronnie believed, count me in.

        RMFEs.

        like i said, he’s only one famous example of an exception to my idea about the psychics’ target market. that does’t mean i’m incorrect with thinking they target the undereducated.

        And as I said, the detectives I spoke with were repeatedly harassed by douches like you when they came out publicly and have no desire to have the attacks renewed. Is it really so hard to believe?

        what’s hard to believe is that if they already came out about it once, and you just found them on google – why you can’t mention them here.

        i’d think psychics would be shoving a psychic-solved case – any psychic-solved case – down our gullets if they actually had one.

        supposedly there are hundreds, if not thousands of them – but no one seems to be able to provide an example.

  64. kabol says:

    after canceling a supposedly proposed podcast where questions were solicited online, the real chip coffey stated (on his facebook acct): And here’s a news flash for any radio or TV show host(s) or producer(s) who invite me to appear on their show(s): if you are discourteous to me or “push the envelope” too much, WE’RE DONE! I’ll hang up the phone during telephone interviews or leave the studio/set during live appearances.

    well, there goes my idea of a TV show featuring media psychics with a FORCE ONE audience in a skeptics-run studio….

  65. AUJT says:

    @NCC

    “I spoke to 3 ACTIVE detectives who had nothing but positive things to say about the psychics they worked with, all admitting to being extremely skeptical and shocked by their precision. I asked each if they minded that I mention them here. All declined because they don’t want you nuts bothering them.”

    I have talked with police as well and the PD’s *always* say they don’t use psychics and to contact the psychic in question and ask them to specifically name who they worked with and the psychic refuses. At some point a PD will have a judge issue a cease and desist order to psychics that claim that the authorities use them. Watch and learn.

    But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that the “detectives” that you spoke with are unfamiliar with cold reading techniques. It truly amazes me that you believe how you can fool people and what amazes me even more is that some people will actually believe your BS. Those are the ones you’re really after isn’t it?

    • Mark Edward says:

      Another film reference: If you haven’t seen Tyrone Power put the hoodoo on the hick cop in “Nightmare Alley,” it’s one of the great cold-reading sequences in film history – and proves your point about so called “detectives.” A classic.

  66. AUJT says:

    @kabol

    I wouldn’t be surprised that Reagan consulted psychics. It would explain much. It sure wouldn’t explain how he could get shot though huh? You been paying attention to the “C Street” controversy?—> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8Ovkl5j3aU

  67. kabol says:

    hey, we could always rickroll woo events — like someone did to some scientologists…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZPh2U21etE&feature=related

  68. AUJT says:

    We could make it a tailgater! Have our own little alternative comedy/magic/musical/educational sidewalk show right outside their venue.

  69. Mark Edward says:

    Just for fun, I suggest watching the September 28, 1965 episode of the original “Fugitve” televsion series, “Crack in a Crytal Ball” featuring Larry Blyden as the psychic. Here’s the rundown:

    “Psychic Sal Mitchell and his wife Joan come to a town where Kimble works as a gas station attendant. Mitchell has a scheme to improve ticket sales for his performances by acting as an adviser to police about a string of robberies. But when the robberies are solved early, Mitchell appears out of luck, until he happens to notice Kimble’s wanted poster at the police station.

    Mitchell and his wife embark on a plan to fool Kimble and arrange for his capture under circumstances that will prove Mitchell’s psychic abilities are real.

    Sound familiar? It should. This classic 60′s social comment clearly shows how fake psychics manipulate the police to gain a fake form of sham noteriety. One of my favorite examoples of dramatic skepticism and no doubt an episode of a popular program that inpsired many a con artist.

    • Max says:

      Ben Radford’s interview on Skeptiko was facepalm-inducing. Ben argued that if the police doesn’t solve the case, then the information provided by the psychic detective is not useful, even if it’s accurate. By that logic, not only is the phychic useless, but also the helicopters, the search dogs, and everything else.

      • kabol says:

        what’s face-palm inducing is the psychics who come out of the woodwork now on a high-profile missing child/persons case — some even go so far as to drive around filming themselves making “psychic predictions” about various areas all over the general locations, so that they’ll have plenty of video to show how spot on they were once/if the case gets solved.

        an example of this would be the psychic with her cadaver dogs who ‘investigated’ the caylee anthony disappearance last summer — driving all around the orlando area video taping herself getting “feelings”.

        to date — how many psychics have solved how many cases???

        zero.

      • Max says:

        How do you know it’s zero?

        Even if it’s zero, to use Alex Tsakiris’ analogy, how many forensic psychologists have solved how many cases?

      • kabol says:

        you’re right – i don’t *know* it’s zero, but i’m making a fairly educated guess that it’s zero – and it’s for the same reason that skeptics make the argument that psychics are frauds: the inordinate lack of proof for the claims made and the plethora of evidence against the claims made.

      • kabol says:

        how many forensic psychologists go around setting up websites rife with claims that they HAVE solved cases, or making TV appearances? how many forensic psychologists set about taking money left and right from desperate people who have missing children/family members? how many of them come forward nearly 20 years later to say “see, i DID solve it!”

        dare i say zero?

      • Mark Edward says:

        How did Tsakiris manage to get his slimy self injected into this post!

      • Kevin says:

        I’ve gotta agree with you on this one Max. I was a bit embarrassed for the Skeptical point of view presented by Ben’s response.

        Anyone involved in law enforcement and solving cases will tell you that there are MANY tools and pieces of evidence required to solve a case.

        You guys peeked my curiosity so I went back and listened to the Radford/Skeptiko interview. The police indicated that they did receive useful information from the “Psychic.” Forget about how the “Psychic” got the information. It either DID or DID NOT help the case. Radford seemed to stick to the position . . . yeah but that information by itself didn’t solve the case.

        Come on! As educated Skeptics, we need to do better than that. That kind of intellectually lazy response doesn’t put our best face forward.

        Regards,

        Kevin

  70. AUJT says:

    @Mark Edward

    Seems all The Fugitive eps were on youtube at one point but they’ve all been removed due to a “terms of use” violation. I can’t find them anywhere else. You see ‘em please lemme know.

  71. Mark Edward says:

    AUJT’s two execellent links provide yet another target for FORCE ONE to consider bringing out in the open. The whole “psychic detective” genre is in need of a complete makeover. Where are the Skeptologists when we need them?

    • kabol says:

      oh don’t even get me started on psychic detectives. you can see here how i never shut up once i get started…..

      AUJT and i were actually banned from posting at TruTV because we had some rather unpopular POVs about psychics who make police case-solving claims – many of whom were featured on a TruTv show in just such a (false)case-solving light. (not to mention the discussions we were having about chris moon’s dead-folk phone)

      i don’t think batboy was banned from there. batboy’s definitely better at curbing his sarcasm for the woo folk than i am. :)

      • AUJT says:

        I was told that I was banned for promoting psychics by posting links to their sites when in fact, I was reporting the abuse. I was not allowed to respond to the charge. Very bizarre. But that’s exactly what I expect these days.

  72. AUJT says:

    Activism: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    - Gandhi