Grant Rants

Posts Tagged ‘new age

The stupid it burns: March of the Psychics edition.

- February 7th, 2011

Ah, the psychics are back in Niagara, peddling their brand of con-artistry, always ready to make an easy buck off of the backs of the desperate and the gullible.thestupiditburns

Ok so this is not exactly new. These yoyos have been around for, well, forever. The difference now is that there isn’t any reason to take them seriously. Hundreds of years ago a clever man with even a moderate skill at reading people’s body language and navigating through what a person says or does not say, could fool the ignorant into thinking he had supernatural powers to tell the future or talk to dead people. Today, we know that while having skills at observation and deduction can be impressive, there is nothing supernatural about it.

So you’d think that people, having the benefits of science in the 21st century wouldn’t buy into anymore right? Yah, well, people think Glee is a great TV show, so what do I know?

So many people fall for this clap trap, including  a Niagara Falls psychic fair over the weekend. The purveyors of this nonsense even have helpful advice about how to properly select your own psychic.  It’s no different than say, choosing a family doctor we are told:

If you’ve never dabbled in the spirit world, it turns out finding your first psychic isn’t much different from picking a doctor, accountant or lawyer.

Yes, it’s just like that. Doctors and lawyers and accountants have professional credentials and high levels of education and training that you can easily examine and check if you wanted. A psychic just needs to buy a cheap set of cards from the local toy store or some “crystals” and can start charging you money. Clearly, it’s the same thing….well, maybe for lawyers.

It just goes on getting worse. We’re given an explanation for how psychic powers actually work:

People who aren’t familiar with psychics can be overwhelmed by the different tools they use. If you’ve never had a reading, how do you know if you should have your palm read? Or a tarot card reading? Or even crystals?
It’s not that important, said Cheryl, a Hamilton medium who uses only her first name for privacy reasons, and the organizer of the show that ran three days at the Stamford Lions hall on Portage Rd.
The tools are just different ways of picking up on the vibration that exists within the person whose fortune is being read.
“Every living being has a vibration,” said Cheryl, who uses a deck of tarot cards handed down to her from another psychic she learned from.
“Basically, it all comes down to the vibration of who you are. That should come through regardless of the tools you use,” she said.

Really? And what is this vibration? What causes it? How it is detected. What scientific evidence can be offered to suggest it is even real? Is it more than zero? I have a tuning fork that vibrates like all get out. Can I read the future with that?

This is typical, however, of how the entire new age industry works. Offer an answer with confidence that makes it sound like you know what you are talking about, when in fact it’s total nonsense. I mean replace every use of the word “vibration” with “jabberwacky” and see if the meaning has changed in the least.

Like homeopathy peddlers, psychics rely on you not asking questions and above all to avoid that annoying thinking and junk. It’s like, so close minded and stuff to demand actual evidence. It’s all about the vibrations, man.

Then things get down right bizarre, even for standards of new age mediums:

Hair reading is one of the more uncommon methods, said Ted Leydon, a New Jersey-based reader who gets images of someone’s future by brushing their hair with his fingers.
It’s a technique he discovered when he was a boy and would finger-brush the hair of his older sisters….
When he reads their hair, their thoughts are going to their hair to his hands, said Leydon, who has visited more than 100 countries, but hasn’t encountered another psychic who reads hair like he does, he said.
“I would catch the energy from the working on their hair. It sometimes comes across with their innermost feelings.”

You get that? Hair reading. When you think something, your thoughts travel from your brain, into your skull, then into your scalp, and through your hair follicles into the fingers of the creepy man running his hands through your hair, and then are transferred from his fingers into his brain.

Of course, even this doesn’t have it’s own internal logic does it? Is hair fetish guy reading your “inner most feelings” or the your future? Or both? Also, one has to ask this guy several questions: What if I am wearing a wig? What if I am bald? Does hair colour or shampoo make a difference? Does my hair’s ability to transmit thoughts change as I age and my hair turns grey? What is the process by which thoughts are transferred to hair?

My hypothesis is that little hair gremlins riding teeny tiny hybrid cars made from cheese and dandruff get telegrams from the vibrational elves that live in your brain. They can take those telegrams to the hyper-dimensional dwarfs who exist on the psychic’s fingers who can then break the Morrison-Gaiman hyper-time barrier to bring those messages to his brain. What? Tell me how that is wrong?

The bottom line is psychics are frauds. Con men. QED. The most talented among them are pretty good at assessing your body language, picking up clues about who you are from what you say or don’t say. No psychic ever has even been able to demonstrate any ability to do anything whatsoever beyond common place observation and deduction and guess work.

As Carl Sagan used to say, extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence. And now, take it away, Richard: