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Skeptics Beware?

by Mark Edward, Dec 04 2012

Witch doctor Phil is on the defensive against skeptics. For whatever reasons (because he can?) he’s ratcheting up his P.T. Barnum approach to psychology with another side-show of un-proven pseudo-science.

In his latest ratings mongering he has really stooped to new lows.

Last night’s “show” promised the following:  

Skeptics Beware: The Psychic Intuitives Are Here

December 3, 2012
Psychic medium John Edward is back by popular demand and ready to take on his skeptics, including Dr. Phil! Then, John and intuitive counselor Colette Baron-Reid team up to help a grieving mother find answers into her daughter’s disappearance more than two years ago. And, celebrity numerologist Glynis McCants breaks down the numbers behind some of Dr. Phil’s most talked-about guests this season: Robert Blake, Nadya Suleman and Dina Lohan. Plus, Glynis details how the numbers could help you find Mr. or Ms. Right!”
 
This chide represents a monstrous up-tick in scurilous programming. Can it get much worse than this insulting style of skeptic baiting? I take this as a gross challenge to those of us who are most offended by Phil’s “I’m skeptical” buffoonery he expouses without backing his limp aside up with any credible science, while giving endless air time to some of the worst grief vampires in history.
 
I’m amazed that the leaders of Skeptic Magazine, JREF, CFI and other bastions of critical thinking we support with our dollars and have come to look toward to push back against this sort of bashing are not up in arms. Where’s the outrage?  Are we deluging Phil with the most vehement denunciations we can muster?  This at least deserves a full page in the New York Times! Come on people! Randi? You have tons of money and resources for this kind of thing.
 
I sent a personal message of challenge to Phil’s website before writing this, but it will likely be ignored and deleted as with other comments I have posted since sending him “Psychic Blues” several months back. I can’t rail against this hulking machine alone. I have requested to appear on his show. Can anyone help make this happen? I’m minutes away from Phil’s studio and ready to hit the streets, put on a coat and tie or whatever it takes. Those of you who know me and my style know I will rip this guy a new one if given half a chance.
 
I can only hope that we see some movement within the movement lately so fractured with derisive in-fighting and political chattering. Let’s stop the bickering over all the elevator crap and get back to business.
 
Because meanwhile, Phil and Co. are laughing their asses off and enjoying the poking and prodding.
 
They know we are floundering.
 
My sadness in the midst of all this is only tempered by my resolve to keep fighting my part in whatever way I can to show the bottom feeding producers in Hollywood that people like Robert Blake, Nadya Suleman and Dina Lohan are the exception and not the rule when it comes to quality television.
 
So get on-line, write a letter and DO SOMETHING.
_________________________________________________________
UP-DATE FROM THE ORIGINAL POST:
________________________________________________________
Below is a list of people who can do something about Dr. Phil’s reckless new stance. If everyone reading this picks just one or two emails or makes one phone call, we can make a difference. Although I would prefer a full-page in the New York Times, in “wanted poster” fashion saying something like:
 
DR PHIL
(Photo Here)
PROVE YOUR PSYCHICS CAN TALK TO DEAD PEOPLE
OR
GET OFF THE AIR
 
Simple and to the point, right? But alas, I have not the deep pockets of JREF, CFI or SKEPTIC magazine. I’m calling them out. While we wait for something more than a press release from the above, here’s a starter list for anyone who is as angry as I am:

Shareholders.im@pg.com, jennifer.ousley@att.com, drucilla.cessac@att.com, investor@newscorp.com, ir@timewarner.com , Raymond.Kerins@pfizer.com, Joan.Campion@pfizer.com, GM@IRNavigator.com, investor.relations@capitalone.com, executive.offices@clorox.com, investorrelations@hertz.com, investor_relations@medco.com, investorrelations@lowes…

Focus Features : Adriene Bowles President, Worldwide Publicity and Executive Vice President, Marketing

Proctor and Gamble Marie-Laure Salvado Director, External RelationsNorth America MDO  /  513.893.7643 /  Salvado.ml@pg.com

Dave McCracken NA MDO External Relations:  513.983.6248 /  mccracken.ds@pg.com

Gerri Cunnigan NA MDO External RelationsOne Procter & GamblePlazaCincinnati,OH45202: Gerri: 513.983.0816 / cunnigan.ge@pg…

HH Gregg: hhgregg Appliances, Inc.c/o Corporate Headquarters Inquiries4151 East 96thStreetIndianapolis,IN46241.866.974.7344 /http://www.hhgregg.com/content2/ContactUs

 Howard Nguyen DDS (Dr. Phil Dentist) 1610 N El Dorado St # 7Stockton,CA95204-5930 / 1.209.464.7658 or direct 1.209.482.1271 / drhowardnguyen@yahoo.com  

  Padgett Communications (supplies Dr. Phil Show)4600 140th Ave. Suite 210Clearwater,FL33762 / 888.233.4724

 Party City / 25 Green Pond Rd.,Ste. 1Rockaway,NJ07866 / (973)983.0888/http://www.partycity.com/category/customer+service/contact+us.do

 Oasis Brands, Inc.817 Cedar CreekGradeWinchester,VA22601/ 1.888.998.4778 / sales@oasisbrands.com

 ADVERTISERS:  

Aaron’s: http://www.aarons.com/contact.aspx

Allergan      http://www.restasis.com/_footer/contact.htm 

Alli / https://www.myalli.com/ContactUs.aspx /

Angel Soft http://www.angelsoft.com/contactus.html

Betty Crocker/General Mills   http://consumercontacts.generalmills.com/ConsolidatedContact.aspx?page=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bettycrocker.com&js=True

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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15 Responses to “Skeptics Beware?”

  1. Mark Edward says:

    As I was seething and mulling over the possibilities for action in this whole medium mess, I stumbled upon this KINO film write-up. Gotta see this one if I can. As crazy as it sounds – maybe this is a better way than going to a medium?

    Probably cheaper:

    “Alps” is a mysterious and moving investigation into the process of mourning, a stunningly original follow-up to director Yorgos Lanthimos’ Oscar-nominated debut, DOGTOOTH (2009).

    “An oddball group of four people (made up of two hospital employees, a gymnast, and her coach) form a secret society that sets out to ease the grieving process for those whose loved ones have died. For a fee they will act the part of the missing family member, learning their hobbies and eccentricities in order to help the customer accept their loss. As methadone is to heroin addiction, so are the Alps, as they call themselves, to the mourning process.”

    How bout that instead Dr. Phil?

  2. Trimegistus says:

    Trouble is, it’s hard and unrewarding to go up against popular media figures who promote quackery. They’ve got a bigger megaphone and can simply ignore critics.

    It would be useful if skeptics could come up with a way to hold media organizations accountable for promoting lies. Any ideas?

    • tmac57 says:

      Being that it is an advertising driven business model,the only effective way to influence them,is to convince them and their advertisers that they are losing eyeballs because of the content of the shows.That is not an answer of course,just a narrowing of the target.

    • MadScientist says:

      Well, there’s the beauty of “self-regulation”. No matter what horrible things advertisers do, they can always say “we were just following our rules!” and it’s all OK. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination, but consumer protection groups seem to have grown much weaker in the past 30 years or so.

  3. Mark Edward says:

    Tmac is right. Narrow your targets people!

    I just took fifteen minutes to go on-line and find a list of shareholders, advertisers and even Phil’s dentist.

    See above changes.

    I’m never really confident with threatening and boycott’s, but personal emails and phone calls stating the facts can move mountains. I have seen success before with this. Please go back to the up-date and see a list, get busy with one or two emails or phone calls and please spread this list to whoever you can think of. We need to show a presence or face the consequences of more producers pushing our noses in their bullcrap.
    Enough!
    Activate!

  4. Mark Edward says:

    I just read the Wiki page for Phil McGraw (Dr. Phil) Wow. No wonder he’s scraping the bottle of the barrel. I had no idea he’s such a rat bag. Time for him to go away.

  5. Janet Camp says:

    D. Phil, Dr Oz, Dr Chopra, Dr This, Dr That, the list goes on (all hoping you will think they are an MD of course (and some ARE!).

    Write all the emails you want–unless there are billions, no one making megabucks off of these TV shows is going to give it a thought. Boycotts, if well-organized are much more appealing to me.

    I write rebuttals to the NYTimes whenever they do crappy science reporting and all I usually get is a onslaught of counter attacks accusing me of being “close minded”, “a science cultist”, “disrespectful of the beliefs of others”, and even “un-American”. When I write to reporters, they always insist that they are only offering “both sides” of the “argument” and never answer the false equivalency question.

    Most people remain firmly in ShruggieLand, not realizing the damage being done as pseudoscience continues its creep into medical schools and institutions. The NY Times reports today that a number of states are being lobbied to include chiro and acupuncture in writing up their new Obamacare statutes. Can reimbursement for psychics be far behind–after all, Dr. Phil, et al, have them on their shows, it must be true!

  6. Mark Edward says:

    Another way to get the word out is to help us (Susan Gerbic and myself) find people who have been taken advantage of by Phil on his many shows on psychics, psychic detectives and so on. By compiling a list on contacts of these folks, we can eventually mount a campaign to let the the world know the “get real” harm this bozo is doing.

    Please email me or Susan if you can lead us to people willing to share their stories.

  7. Huxley says:

    But why? If people want it so what? Does it hurt me that he’s on TV? No, so why should I care? I prefer that people worry about their own bussines, and that goes both ways. Christians don’t bother me with their god stuff, and I won’t bother them.

    Dr Phil is on commercially funded TV (as far as I know), and until my tax money is used on this stuff, or otherwise forced on me I see no reason to get upset about it.

    • tmac57 says:

      Tim Farley has an entire website dedicated to answer “why should I care?” type questions.
      Here’s the link to the section on psychics:

      http://whatstheharm.net/psychics.html

      • Huxley says:

        Ok, so gullible people get scammed. But they do so totally voluntary. (Except in the case of children, but parents make bad decisions for their kids all the time. And some of those were child abuse, which is illegal anyway.)

        I maintain my position. I see no reason to work hard to keep stupid people from harming themselves, when they work so hard to do just that. Who am I to dictate choices for other grown up people? I don’t have that kind if hubris. Just let it go, makes your life much easier. (queue Dr. Strangelove subtitle..)

      • Daniel says:

        There’s the ordinarily gullible person that was probably going to be taken in by some other scam if not from a psychic, and the person that has suffered a tragedy and is clinging to anything. I’ll be honest that neither of them keeps me up at night, but I appreciate that there are people out there fighting the good fight if only to do a service to people that might be in the latter position.

        Going after psychics is also very important in places like India (where they’re called “Godmen”) where desperately poor and often illiterate people are taken advantage of.

        Still, it is important to distinguish between the storefront psychics that are really there for entertainment purposes and the true scam artists. For me, spending disposable income on Ms. Cleo is just the same as spending it on going to sporting events or Adam Sandler movies (both of which I do). It’s very different though when a grieving parent wastes resources on psychic to locate a missing person.

      • tmac57 says:

        Fine,if you don’t care then that is your choice.I was just answering why anyone should care.
        In the face of the many harmful instances that
        ignorance ,fraud,superstition,etc. play in our society,we can turn a blind eye to it,or seek to change it.You clearly have made your choice,but Mark’s choice(and many others) is to do something about it.
        Do you have a problem with that?

      • Huxley says:

        No I don’t. Like I said I don’t much care what others do as long as it doesn’t affect me. If that’s what they want to do that’s fine, go ahead. It was more a response to the “call to arms”..

        It’s also out my belief that the human capacity for idiocy and gullibility is endless, and reason will never win.

      • Daniel says:

        Huxley: I can only speak from my experience, but outlets for skeptical/reasoned thought have had an effect on my beliefs. The best example being JFK conspiracy theories. I saw Oliver Stone’s film when I was younger and was thoroughly convinced at the time. It took a while, but debunkers exposed the film as a total fabrication. I also believed in alternative medicine, UFOs and alien abductions for a little while.