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The Wonder of TAM

by Mark Edward, Jul 15 2013

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What a utterly amazing weekend in Las Vegas!

TAM 2013 once again proved that critical thinking can be a non-stop roller-coaster ride that always far exceeds everyone’s wildest expectations. This one certainly exceeded anything I was expecting. Thanks to those who offered endless hugs, support and smiles. Special thanks and akknowledgement must go to my gal Susan Gerbic who won a special JREF award for her un-tiring efforts to get people activated with her Wikipedia projects: She’s a skeptic with a capital “S.”

Susan Gerbic gets her award and a hug backstage with Randi

Susan Gerbic gets her award and a hug backstage with Randi

Videos will soon be up at her site and we again thank everybody who made this TAM one of the most memorable both of us will always look back on. I had to stop and pause for a moment:  I was sharing the TAM stage with the greatest thinkers in mind reading and mentalism currently on the planet. Heady stuff that.

And thank you Randi for the brief but cherished private minutes we managed to once again share and that devious card trick you taught me. Sweet.

Ray Hyman and I talking The Real Work.

Ray Hyman and I talking The Real Work.

 

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5 Responses to “The Wonder of TAM”

  1. Jordan Brock says:

    Mark, you mentioned on stage this weekend that when you give a psychic demonstration you leave it up to your audience to decide if paranormal abilities are real or not. You implied that you don’t explain to them how you are just doing tricks and all other psychics are just doing tricks as well. This seems to me the difference between a psychic and a mentalist. Both deceive, but the audience knows the mentalist is just doing magic tricks. Can you please clarify this for me? I find it difficult to understand how a skeptic (the lower case thing is silly), who should feel a responsibility to make it as clear as possible that there is no evidence for the paranormal, would deliberately cloud the issue for an audience who would benefit greatly from a more direct approach. That sort of person isn’t really a skeptic at all, just a hypocrite. You didn’t have much time on stage to defend yourself, but I heard what I heard. Do you present people with clear evidence or do you pretend to be psychic and leave them wondering what is real?

  2. Mark Edward says:

    Read the past five years worth of my blogs here, Read “Psychic Blues” and Google my name and you will have your answer.

  3. Jordan says:

    “Thanks, Jordan!
    Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium will be auto-delivered wirelessly to your Kindle via Amazon Whispernet.”

    Okay, I’m on it.

  4. Jordan Brock says:

    I wrote a post about what sort of answers I found, take a look if you get a chance; I’d love to know what you think.

    Pick a side Mark.

    http://www.skepdick.org/skepdick-blog/

  5. Mark Edward says:

    Pick a side?
    Rubbish.
    Until you have had a “reading” by me, you will never understand how I perform one. I suggest watching my recent SRO wall to wall DragonCon sessions from the last two years. There is a world where skepticism and the solid entertainment of a good interaction with a total stranger in a cold reading can create even more skepticism. No disclaimers are necessary if this is handled the way I do it.
    If you haven’t seen it, you have no business admonishing me to pick a side.
    I don’t expect people who think in black and white or make a living doing card tricks or “wonders” with milk bottles to ever get it. Tricksters do tricks and have absolutely no idea how to listen compassionately to anyone. As Max Maven stressed in my TAMbush with Swiss; most magicians turned mentalists (and skeptics…) couldn’t do a decent cold reading to save their lives. They live in a narrow world of deceit and wizardly ego.
    Magicians on the whole just don’t have it in them. And neither does the average skeptic. Skepticism will never begin to reach the numbers it should and is prematurely doomed until everyone takes a hard look at the fact that people want someone to listen to their problems and relate to them. In the present environment we find ourselves in these folks could give a rat’s ass if you catch a bullet in your teeth or not – or whether you tell them it’s a trick. They want the attention on THEM and THEIR world. It’s people like Sylvia Browne, Theresa Caputo and John Edward that are raking long term millions, not Penn & Teller.
    If there was a way to extract that longing for attention away from religious bigots, cults and all the other forms of gross manipulation we have to put up with, we might stand a very slight chance of getting our message out. Right now we are simply out-numbered and I’m afraid seen by the lady in the grocery check-out line as another bunch heretical godless fanatics. My goal has always been to reach the largest segment of the population as I possibly can. I want my book in the check-out line right in Middle America’s face. You can’t get there by “picking a side.”
    Face it SkepDick: Do you think Mom and pop living out in Montana want to hear from a guy called SkepDick?
    I see the skeptic movement splintered, badly broken and divided because of fanatical disdain for anyone who doesn’t share their “pick a side” pressure tactics. Big “S” or little “s” doesn’t’ mean a fig to Joe America. You have read my book and after all is said and done, right now it’s out there changing people’s minds all over the world.
    Deal with that.
    As I said (…but was rudely interrupted while speaking) “Psychic Blues” is not a book written for skeptics just to curry favor with people who read blogs like here or SkepDick. I’m not a human being that exists solely for the skeptic movement. Their support has been minimal. There’s a much bigger world out there that doesn’t necessarily include Rebecca Watson, Christopher Hitchens or D.J. Grothe. That’s my audience. Maybe one day I’ll see you out there on the midway.

    I see all this in fighting, “take a stand” polariazing and ugly witch-hunting as the death kneel of the Randi era. The super egos of magic, intellectualism and smug self-worth are jockeying to take the reins of The Master, and if they do so without understanding the nature of human need, we will all lose.