The show, which aired 12/28/05 at 9:00 CST, was just what I expected from the man who asked "but if evolution happened, why are there still apes?". 3 of the world's biggest frauds: Big Fat Idiot, Chuckles Van Praagh and some chick named Char Margolis were in studio. Dr. Bryan Farha, represented the sole true skeptic in my opinion. The other guy was a Rabbi who just argued that the psychics' view of the "spirit world" and religion was wrong.
Chuckles started the lunacy with this statement (you can read the transcript right here) :
To a certain degree and it has been tested there are certain percentages of ["the sprit world"] that have been proven to a certain degree in percentage certainly but there are certain scientific methods which also have not been invented yet or come up with a method that they can actually measure something like this.
Damn! I have certainly never seen that many certain uses of the word "certain" in an appeal to gibbersh at any certain time. And get this - there are no scientific methods that can measure the spirit world. I agree - the only thing that exists that we can't measure or observe is NOTHING.
Oh boy does the bullshit fly after that. Larry King wonders what good it does when Syl tells someone their dead brother's name was "Herbie". Syl decides that's a good thing - the
MARGOLIS: It's really interesting you say that because that was my father's name and out of all the names in the world why would you bring that up? See to me...No, it's called two completely different people have the same fairly common name. Big deal.
KING: Because one of my best friends is named Herbie.
MARGOLIS: OK but he...
KING: It had nothing to do -- I didn't get a feeling.
MARGOLIS: But to me -- but to me that's a sign.
BROWNE: It's called synchronicity, yes.
For what it's worth, the Rabbi does point out that no psychic has ever "predicted" anything worthwhile. Where's Osama Bin Laden? Who cares if you know my brother's name is Herbie? Dr. Farha tries to jump in to rebut the buttheads, but gets shushed. Imagine that...
Char then claims responsibility for finding Dean Martin's son Dean Paul after "Dino" crashed his National Guard fighter jet in the mountains of California. I'm trying to find information to verify this, but a google search comes up empty. The few sites that do cover Dino's death mention nothing about Char or her magic powers. I'll provide any findings in an update. Until then, we'll assume she's making it up.
At this point, Chuckles busts out the old fourth dimension bullshit and LK actually points out that he can't prove it. But Chuckles knows we all have magic powers:
Two- thirds of Americans have had experiences where, telepathic experiences where they thought about someone. Five minutes later the phone rings and it's that person. This is a sense that every single person has experienced.
Ok, well I would point out how many times I've thought about someone and they didn't call me 5 minutes later. Chuckles is taking advantage of our ignorance of the law of large numbers and confirmation bias - basically the fact that we receive hundreds of thousands of phone calls in our lives, and are bound to be thinking of the caller at least once. However, we forget the 99,999 times it didn't happen and pay close attention to the one time it did happen. This is typically how I descibe psychic bullshit to fence sitters. They simply don't consider those two facts.
Just because things cannot be proven scientifically in the scientific method or the way you choose it to be in your paradigm, your way of thinking, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Wouldn't you know it - I checked Skeptico today (hey, rockstars are busy and take a couple of days to write articles, sheesh) and he comments on this! Says he:
[cut]...which the obvious rejoinder would have been: just because I can’t prove to everyone that you’re a fraud doesn’t mean you aren’t one.
(I'll skip over the whole discussion of mysticism, since religion and psi have same amount of evidence.)
Dr. Farha then proves his open-mindedness when questioned whether he was open to the possibility of another dimension:
I am open to that dimension. I'm open to the possibility. I'm not open to the idea that these people have proven it.
Exactly. No one has. Dr. Farha then asks Sylvia why she has not taken the JREF Million Dollar Challenge, and shows her documentation that the money exists (which she slanderoulsy said did not on an earlier LKL). Sylvia provides the usual reasons the frauds back out of the test - Lloyd Auerbach says you can't win, Randi changes the rules, he'll run away from the challenge when it appears they'll win, etc.
It's at this point my blood began to boil. I'm serious, I think I could've passed the Challenge myself my body temperature raised to such a degree. Chuckles has the gall to say:
Let me just say something. The skeptics (INAUDIBLE) use this thing about taking a test and proving it, the emphasis should be on them to prove it to us this is not real and I would say they always raise the bar.
What. The. Fuck. If you make a claim that is extraordinary, why should I help defend you? It's called burden of proof. Were I to say give me $1,000 and you'll marry Natalie Portman, is it up to you to prove me wrong? Or would you ignore me till you had some proof?
I believe Dr. Farha made a serious mistake by not explaining the scientific method right here. I was twitching to get on the air. First he could explain burden of proof. Then, when the psychics say that psi can't be proven by science, ask them this:
Does psi produce effects that we can observe or measure?
If yes, then it can be tested scientifically through DBTs. If no, then I have to say there is only one thing in the known universe we all agree produces no observable effects.
The Big Sylvia Browne Thread