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A Response to Laura's Comments PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

A few days ago, I published this article, which was as much rant as commentary. I was upset at the seemingly endless stream of psychics offering their "gifts" to the world, while actually just getting in the way.

A Swift reader by the name of Laura took issue with my article. I shall address her comments after each paragraph break.

She said:

Where do I start.....oh yeah, looks like YOUR site "James" takes donations. Trying to make money off of bullying people and their beliefs? I guess so. Well, anyhow, the way you seemed to "cut and paste" certain excerpts from their site to read the way YOU want it to sound is so "media like"...good job, heh. Here is a great idea...IF YOU DON'T LIKE or BELIEVE IN WHAT SOMEONE HAS ON THE INTERNET, THEN DON'T READ IT! Or, if you just happen to read it and don't like it.....SHUT UP! (those were your words right? Hope I don't get in trouble for plagiarism).

Bullying people and their beliefs? Do you really think that would be a successful strategy to raise funds for a non-profit organization? Keep in mind, that the psychic site I mentioned, which has now been taken down, was a for-profit venture. Though the "readings" were free, the site sold many different woo-woo products. As for my cut and paste, those comments were two of four on one page. I omitted the other two because they were irrelevant. I posted the "psychics" comments in their entirety.

For respect of families and people that requested help on that site I won't mention names but I do know that the site was there to help people that understand certain people have "gifts" and even may have been let down by law enforcement or needed that extra puzzle piece. Their services were offered for FREE and I respect that. These psychics didn't wake up one day and say "lets just make some crap up". They have been HELPING people for years and not asking for anything in return. There are many people like myself that have been helped with no strings attatched plus not every detail (for the respect of family/friends) is or was posted on that site so you were only reading the tip of the iceburg.

It's a shame that you didn't give an example of anyone being "helped." I invite you to tell your story, as it may convince me. If psychics are real, I want to know about it.

They truly are amazing people/psychics because I know first hand they had immediate information (not "vague" info like you accused them of) that no one could know. So if you are a non-believer.....thats fine, just don't be a dream crusher to those who never did anything to hurt you. Maybe more people need to think outside of the box......many people in this world are.

What they said on their site was vague. If they have the ability to not be vague, I don't know why they didn't take the chance to display that on their site. As for dream crushing, the JREF is an educational resource. We have no interest in crushing dreams, but we do have an interest in establish the truth of a matter. If doing so crushes dreams, I suggest that the wrong dreams are being cherished.

You are wrong when you say these people haven't hurt me. In my opinion, they're getting in the way of police work and in a case where the victim is deceased, they are interfering with the normal grieving process. This is harm, and though it has not happened to me personally, I will use my position here to make the facts known.

Thinking "outside the box" is a valuable skill, and one we use here at the JREF. Believing what psychics say is an example of thinking inside the box.

So, what's next for you......attacking different religions you don't believe in? There are PLENTY of horribly cruel and dangerous websites out there that you could attack. Also, maybe a little research before making accusations and hurting others would help. I thought that would be taught in "media 101" (guess you were sick on that day). Well, congratulate yourself for ruining a good thing and for hurting the innocent.

Attacking religions is outside our purview, but we will examine religious claims with a skeptical eye. As for research, I dare say that Randi and the JREF have done more research into so-called psychics than any other organization. What you call a "good thing" I consider to be dishonest and cruel. But you're right about one thing... there are PLENTY of horribly cruel and dangerous websites out there that promote belief in psychics, alternative medicine, and other unproven things that people stake their lives on. We're a small organization, but we'll do what we can.

Say what you want.....No one will change MY opinion and your words will never hurt me so I will just sit back and laugh at your ignorance.

And that's the end of the discussion as far as I'm concerned. Laura has just informed us that she has a closed mind. Not only that, she's claiming that she's the sole possessor of truth, and that anyone who disagrees with her is ignorant. That's a shame, but I'm hopeful that she'll consider evidence some day. Unlike Laura, I will change my mind in the light of enough evidence, and that includes belief in psychics. I simply haven't seen enough evidence yet.

So Laura, I do thank you for your comments, but you miss some key points.

First, the JREF offers $1,000,000 for any psychic who can simply demonstrate their ability. What more can you ask from us? We have the money waiting, and yet no one has taken it yet. As I administer the challenge personally, I know for a fact that it's legit. You can know that too if you or one of your friends applies. Why wouldn't they win the money, if only for the chance to donate the money to charity or a victim's family?

Second, you said in another comment that the site was taken down due to the media. Most websites welcome media attention, as it broadens their audience and impact. Why would that be a reason to take the site down? Think about that. They drew my attention, and if they were legit, that should have been a positive for them.

If Laura chooses to respond to me (jeff@randi.org) I'll be sure to publish her response here.

 

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written by popsaw, February 21, 2009
I believe these scammers are fair game for a severe scolding, besides. Any person that uses their supposed' Pretending they exist to help people whilst in truth actively seeking to maximize profit.
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@kodabar
written by JeffWagg, February 21, 2009
In general kodabar, I agree with you. It's best to try to engage and discuss rather than simply attack. But at times, I think it's important to vent some steam. The arrogance shown by so-called psychics galls me, and I made that publicly known. Remember what Laura said: "Say what you want.....No one will change MY opinion and your words will never hurt me so I will just sit back and laugh at your ignorance." If that's her attitude, what inroad do I have to open a dialog with her?
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written by daveg703, February 21, 2009
@kodabar
I'll say no more.

Good! smilies/smiley.gif
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Room for Venting
written by GMJ, February 21, 2009
What these "psychics" are selling is by definition a non existent service and abitity. Psychic powers simply do not exist and saying so is as obvious as pointing out that the Earth is not flat. If every once in awhile skeptics blow off some steam and just vent I feel it is appropriate. Psychics who charge money for their "services" are by definition scamming people who ae often in pain and very vulnerable. Aybody who claims to have psychic powers is a liar.
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written by Kuroyume, February 21, 2009
Slight correction: Anybody who claims to have psychic powers should back it up with proper evidence otherwise that person is a liar.

As Jeff says in a way, the best stance we can take is to sit on the fence, wait for conclusive evidence of psychic abilities, and not dismiss it out of hand. The probability that these actually exist (given what we know of the real world by scientific examination) is extremely small. It is up to the claimant of such things to provide the evidence in a rigorous way that their claim holds up to scrutiny.

The problem is that when put against the wall to provide said evidence, most of them run and hide (Sylvia Browne, case examplar) or use improper evidence (testimonials or only the 'hits'). The situation is only made worse by the wide-spread belief in 'super'natural phenomena which many psychics use to explain their so-called 'gifts'. My stance on this is: if it has any effect in the natural world, it can be examined. Claiming unexaminability is not a claim, it is a cop-out.
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Can you say "cold reading?"
written by Mully410, February 21, 2009
Great post, Jeff. I'm often accused of being closed minded http://tinyurl.com/c5dcqx when, in fact, the opposite is true. Show me evidence of psychics not using cold reading http://tinyurl.com/d3ajlq and I'll be happy to believe.
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I seem to rememner...
written by K. Söse, February 21, 2009
Please pardon my lack of documentation, but isn't Laura's statement:
"Say what you want.....No one will change MY opinion and your words will never hurt me so I will just sit back and laugh at your ignorance"
part of the very definition of woo-woo?
I know I've read James Randi explain that those who believe woo-woo respond in a similar manner.
When I read it, I imagined myself somehow searching and finding a reference like this on the JREF site. Then cutting and pasting and paraphrasing (sp?) it into my posting.
The statement also reminds me of Tim Minchin's social commentary/comedic poems and songs.
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Pretty Hopeless
written by Stanfr, February 21, 2009
I agree with Jeff here, close-minded individuals like Laura will not be convinced by any sort of reasonable dialogue. They are too heavily invested in their delusions. No different than drug addicts who can't be forced to recover, Laura will have to first become receptive to logic before she can change.
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Harm done by psychics
written by Barbrykost, February 21, 2009
My husband was a detective and lieutenant in a large county's homicide division for many years, and he had a problem with interference from psychics. None of the investigators ever felt that useful information was being offered by the helpful psychics who contacted a victim's families or the department, but they had to give the appearance of paying attention or a defense attorney could later claim that they had not properly investigated other avenues of interest. Even answering the phone took up valuable time and wasted man power. Over the course of 17 years he was involved in more than 1500 homicides, and no information from a psychic ever provided useful information.
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written by GMJ, February 21, 2009
'Psychics" have a tendency to say things that sound vague, but are in reality meaningless.
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"Shut Up" was not the best title for the article
written by Skeptigirl, February 21, 2009
Aside from everything else, I was disappointed to see "Shut Up" in the title, Jeff. It reflected poorly on the JREF.
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written by daveg703, February 21, 2009
I'm still waiting for a single example of anyone from any law enforcement agency anywhere in the world, to state, "Yes, the information supplied by [such & such psychic] was of some help to us in solving this case." Never happened, probably never will.

By the way, I find two things rather curious:

1- Nearly all (or all?) the alleged psychics claiming to help solve cases of murder or missing person are women.

2- Why don't we ever hear of them "helping solve" burglaries, murders of known criminals, or arson? Is it because there is no good publicity in such things, or because they can't find any grieving relatives to prey on?
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written by Curmudgeon, February 21, 2009
Aside from everything else, I was disappointed to see "Shut Up" in the title, Jeff. It reflected poorly on the JREF.

It does not reflect poorly on JREF or anyone else. It is realistic and should be more common. Why should charlatans and fakes, preying on already traumatized people, be afforded niceties and courtesy? It's little different than Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler. People who handle these frauds with kid gloves are a big part of the problem.
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written by jeff in chicago, February 21, 2009
Laura says: These psychics didn't wake up one day and say "lets just make some crap up".

I think that's exactly what they did. And I, too, want them to shut up.
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Religion?
written by mjr, February 21, 2009
>Attacking religions is outside our purview

I was wondering about that. You go after the small-time psychic conmen and leave the huge mega-gigantic conartists. Who has ripped off more people, Uri Geller, or The Pope? They both claim psychic powers. At least Geller doesn't claim to be divinely infallible.
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further discussion of rudeness
written by Skeptigirl, February 21, 2009
written by Curmudgeon, February 21, 2009
It does not reflect poorly on JREF or anyone else [to use, "Shut up"]. It is realistic and should be more common. Why should charlatans and fakes, preying on already traumatized people, be afforded niceties and courtesy? It's little different than Neville Chamberlain appeasing Hitler. People who handle these frauds with kid gloves are a big part of the problem.
Because out-right rudeness is not called for when addressing an argument one is clearly right about. Resorting to terms like, "shut up", imply you don't have anything better to say.

This is my opinion, just as one doesn't allow obscenities on the forum or you wouldn't generally use them in a Swift article either.
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Know your audience
written by Paul Murray, February 21, 2009
When posting this kind of stuff on the 'netz, it's important to address yourself to the right audience. Not the choir, and not the die-hard woos: neither are going to change their minds. With the sheer amount of woo out there, it is possible for a reasonable person to be genuinely misled about the reality of paranormal phenomena. That's who we should always be writing to - even when replyng to someone else.
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"Laura" - what if the "psychic" was talking about you...
written by Radwaste, February 21, 2009
...and accused you of crime?

Would the possibility of jail time cause you to examine their methods?

There is nothing supernatural about carefully observing someone. Market hagglers and car dealers do that every day. The next time you're talking to or about a used-car salesman, consider that they and the "gifted" are doing the exact same things: sizing you up, saying what you want to hear, and capitalizing on your own humanity to emphasize the "good" and make you forget the "bad". Oh, wait. You're not going to change your mind. Well, don't be a hypocrite. Welcome the used-car saleman to the psychic world at once!
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written by Willy K, February 21, 2009
Laura, I hope you are reading the comments here.

I don't expect you to change your mind completely, I just hope you have said to yourself "Hmmmmm, maybe there is more to what these guys say, they can't all be rude a-holes!"

You came with some pretty strongly worded statements, you shouldn't be shocked that you were rebuffed just as strongly.

If I, or any of the regulars at JREF, can prevent YOU from being ripped off, our efforts have been worth it! smilies/grin.gif
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@skeptigirl
written by JeffWagg, February 21, 2009
Profanity has its place, as does the phrase SHUT UP. I chose it to have an impact, and it was successful in that.
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I second Jeff's motion!
written by Radwaste, February 22, 2009
We have here constant reminders of the ways self-professed "psychics" do real harm. Where is the logic in calling for politeness, for conciliation, for going easy on these people? They are the victimizers, stealing every bit as much as the common street thug, and we - I, at least - do not need to be "nice" to them simply because they lie and cheat people rather than stick a knife to their victim.
If you identify yourself as a sympathizer - as a willing victim, that is - some tact is useful, but I am heedful of Ben Franklin's advice that there are no bigger liars than the charlatan, other than their customers.

The most polite expression may shock you. If abrupt language gets your attention, it works. If it blots all reason from your mind, said reason wasn't very much at home to begin with.
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The Song Remains The Same
written by Roadtoad, February 22, 2009
Wow. Sounds to me like Miss Laura is sort of like my grand daughter: When she doesn't get her way, she stamps her feet, cries a rainstorm, and declares things unfair.

There are myriad differences between the claims of religion and the claims of psychics. The religions offer something for the next life, for the most part, while the psychics are out for gain in this one. They do far more serious harm, in my book, while the worst thing about pastors and the like is they make you feel terrible about yourself, even as they pick your pocket with their demands for tithes and offerings. Ultimately, the more outrageous the claims of the ministry, the easier it is to say, "Prove it," and to walk away.

A psychic, one who's claiming some special "insight" into another realm, is far worse. If it's your child who's missing, or someone else you love, and you want to find them, you'll do anything, pay any price, just for some word. Even if a psychic is right one or two percent of the time, they play on your hope that the one time they're right is when you need them to be.

It's cruel, obviously. They don't give a rat's ass how badly they screw up your life, or the investigation. They get their payday, walk away with press that says they "assisted" in the investigation, and go on with their rather despicable lives, bilking others out of their hard earned money, and leaving the missing still lost. (Anyone who claims the Shawn Hornbeck case was an anomaly is seriously deluded.)
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Randi and religions
written by KRL, February 22, 2009
Randi and JREF take no position regarding religion(s). Randi has continued to this day to speak and write about those who, under the guise of religion, prey upon the sick, the fearful and the weak, all targets for psychics and religious charlatans.

There is no justification for treating any of these snake oil salesmen with anything but visible, utter disdain. They steal with their lies, deceptions and dogmas. Just because they don't use a gun doesn't make any less guilty.

Right on, Jeff. Write On!
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Shameless Psychics
written by Willy K, February 22, 2009
An article from a local newspaper. smilies/sad.gif

Psychics' help sought during economic downturn:
....In general, she said, people seek out astrologists or other alternative mediums when they are in a crisis, or have a specific question about their present and near future. Ms. XXXX charges $100 for a initial reading, $75 for follow-ups. For small groups, she charges $35 a person....
http://www.newstimes.com/ci_11756306

These dirtbags would steal a blind mans cane and tell him he should follow his "inner vision." Of course, the psychic would help him "see" for a small fee. smilies/angry.gif
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written by Yahzi, February 22, 2009
How is it she can say, "my mind is made up and NOTHING can change it," and yet Jeff is the one who takes the knocks?

smilies/angry.gif

The first people to whine about "tone" are always the ones who are trying to avoid "substance."
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More power to you, Jeff
written by jcwept, February 22, 2009
'Shut up' is confrontational, but isn't the ethos of the JREF, simply expressed, 'Put up or shut up'? And this sleazy site was closed down - what a great result!
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written by Roo, February 22, 2009
I think Laura would have made a much better case for her beliefs had she opted to reasonably state those cases where she believed a psychic had been of use (and someone saying anything similar to "the killer wore shoes" is NOT being helpful), rather than resorting to an uppercase rant. If she provided some genuine PROOF, and we chose to snort and pick at it, THEN she would have every right to laugh at us. Until then, I find it quite sad that someone who hasn't provided any specifics sees fit to sneer at rational debate. Perhaps "Shut up" IS a bit succinct, but at least it's honest.
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written by bosshog, February 23, 2009
I came across a quote from H.L. Mencken that seems apropos:

"The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.
True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge."
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Careful
written by philosaur, February 23, 2009
I'm surprised no one called out GMJ on this:

What these "psychics" are selling is by definition a non existent service and abitity. Psychic powers simply do not exist and saying so is as obvious as pointing out that the Earth is not flat.


I'm not at all saying that psychic powers *do* exist, just that we have to be rigorous in our logic or else we start espousing the same fallacies as the believers.
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written by Careyp74, February 23, 2009
"Put Up or Shut Up" is a fairly common phrase, but it is not the same as just saying "Shut Up." Shut up isn't vulgar, but it is childish. Other similar phrases are:
I know you are but what am I
Poo Poo Head
I'm telling daddy
and You Stink!
It doesn't matter if there is a place for it or not, or who you are talking to. Act childishly and I am not going to take you or what you say seriously.
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Why be polite? I'll tell you...
written by Squid, February 23, 2009
In the original thread, I wrote to Laura politely. I did not ridicule, insult, or belittle her. I treated her the same way that I was treated when I was a believer. And guess what? I opened a dialogue with her. She talked with me and was willing to think about things, simply because I treated her nicely.
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The Great Defender
written by drowven, February 23, 2009
Whilst perusing cracked.com I found an article about The 8 Most Obnoxious Internet Commenters. It seems to me after reading through Laura's comments that she is an example of the Great Defender. Spouting lines to make you feel like a bad, evil and judgmental person for being justly outraged at someone bilking people in pain. I think a major point is this.
IF YOU DON'T LIKE or BELIEVE IN WHAT SOMEONE HAS ON THE INTERNET, THEN DON'T READ IT! Or, if you just happen to read it and don't like it.....SHUT UP!

This quote single handedly denies everyone that disagrees with her the right to judge and even decry the practices of hucksters. The one thing that you cannot control is what people observe and how they respond to it. Denying the basic action of outrage is in effecting stating that Laura's belief is correct and anyone disagreeing with her opinions should be muzzled. Now it could be argued that Jeff did this somewhat as well, but his article seems to be more focused on stopping crooks than stopping them from voicing their opinions. Laura throws this little gem in the other article as well.
As an adult I never thought I would have to deal with being called "a stupid person". You don't know me and I am far from stupid. I am a caring, compassionate person that has worked in hospitals saving lives since I was 17yrs old. I could have been a doctor if I could have afforded schooling. I am married (15yrs now) and have 4 children that are in all advanced classes. I still love to learn even though I am currently waiting on a heart transplant. So, if that makes me "stupid" then I suppose I don't have an updated definition of the word. I hope that answers your questions of the difference of "learning" and being "trained" and either confirms or denies me being "stupid".

Sorry for the long quote, but this is a common trolling tactic meant to get somewhat sympathetic members on the board to defend her and continue the vitriol being throwing around. In the end I think this is a good case for being hit by a troll rather than someone who is genuinely interested it advancing discussion or anything of that nature. Having waited a bit to post I can see that Laura isn't back nor will she appear until she has a chance to sow a little bit more chaos in the comment section.
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Great Fund Raising Idea
written by markbellis, February 23, 2009
Non-profits are perfectly entitled to raise funds by selling stuff or asking for donations - JREF is educational...'psychic' websites only make you stupider, so there's no public good from them......Say, I reckon you could sell some of those MOVA globes that Randi has behind him in those videos, particularly if you got a logo or signature on the base.... say, for only $ 99.99? (Callback to prior column) smilies/grin.gif
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written by Alan3354, February 23, 2009
There's no reason to feel bad for Laura. She saw it coming - she's psychic.
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written by mama1974, February 24, 2009
How about finding the case (any case) that has been solved by "amazing people/psychics" and post that proof instead of this sad response? On the flip side, JREF has post many cases proving that these con-artists have hurt people.
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written by Roo, February 24, 2009
How about finding the case (any case) that has been solved by "amazing people/psychics" and post that proof instead of this sad response? On the flip side, JREF has post many cases proving that these con-artists have hurt people.


Good luck finding any. Proper proof of genuine psychic ability that has helped anyone tends to be about as easy to track down as hens' teeth, whereas proof of the various failures is widely documented by impartial sources. But my mind is open. I'd love to read a story where a psychic or medium genuinely assisted anyone (other than by just being a seemingly-sympathetic listener for their clients' problems).
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Hen's teeth might be a bad example.
written by drowven, February 24, 2009
This link shows http://www.sciencedaily.com/re...083601.htm that stating that something is as rare as hens teeth is a bad analogy. Just FYI.
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Does outshouting the opposition mean we win?
written by pxatkins, February 24, 2009
I think you've missed the point, Jeff. This was not about the closing of a woo site, it was about the way we treated a dissenting voice. Some of us are suggesting it could have done it better, and the weight of down-votes will not devalue that opinion.
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written by Bruno, February 24, 2009
IF YOU DON'T LIKE or BELIEVE IN WHAT SOMEONE HAS ON THE INTERNET, THEN DON'T READ IT!

Makes one wonder why she bothered writing in.
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More Plagiarism
written by bosshog, February 25, 2009
Dear Laura:
IF YOU DON'T LIKE or BELIEVE IN WHAT SOMEONE HAS ON THE INTERNET, THEN DON'T READ IT!
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re: BLUNT TALK, or - is SHUT UP appropriate?
written by expharmaguy, February 26, 2009
My 2 cents worth here - there is a fascinating chapter in Malcolm Gladwell's new book, "Outliers", where he points out that politeness, social conventions, and polite euphanisms, may have actually played a very large part in some fatal airline crashes. The use of polite, er, excuse me Captain, did you notice the weather, where a more correct - STOP - TURN LEFT NOW would have saved the flight, is fascinating - especially the cultural connotations of polite society. Put plainly, despite our URGE to be polite and respectful, sometimes blunt talk will save lives, and is the correct policy.
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@pxatkins
written by JeffWagg, February 26, 2009
Just to be clear, I was telling psychics to shut up, not Laura. I encouraged her to keep talking.
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written by Careyp74, February 27, 2009
expharmaguy, that is interesting. Was there an actual event where they were going to crash, and the co-pilot, or whoever, instead of pointing out whatever it was they were going to crash into, simply said "did you notice the weather?" Does the author give any specifics on these anecdotes?

On a side note, has anyone else here felt in the past year that maybe JREF should get an editor for the website? Maybe a cursory glance by someone besides the writer to get rid of mistakes, spelling or otherwise?
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careyp74 - Bluntness / Plain talk vs. politeness
written by expharmaguy, February 27, 2009
Careyp74 - Gladwell gives specific examples, with transcripts of actual cockpit recordings just prior to crashes - he even relates it to societal politeness - the short summary is, you want your pilot to be American, Australian or from New Zealand, and definitely NOT from excessively polite Japan, Colombia, etc. Truly fascinating - also the fact that, overwhelmingly, at the time of the crash, the PILOT is flying the plane, not the co-pilot - again - counter-intuitive, but devastating for reasons of politeness, the co-pilot will hesitate to correct the pilot, but not vice-versa. The book is fascinating- lots of specific examples.
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@Jeff
written by pxatkins, February 27, 2009
>Just to be clear, I was telling psychics to shut up, not Laura

Yes, I can see that, Jeff ... taking the purveyors to task is probably always the correct action. My disappointment comes from the number of people who took advantage of an opportunity for some believer-bashing instead of seizing an opportunity to educate. Isn't that what the E in JREF stands for?
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written by Kuroyume, February 27, 2009
When education doesn't work, the E stands for 'eviscerate'... smilies/wink.gif
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written by Roadtoad, February 27, 2009
@Kuroyme:

Inappropriate. It isn't funny, it's offensive, and counter to what has been demonstrated by Jeff and other JREF representatives.
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written by Kuroyume, February 27, 2009
So, you have no sense of humor whatsoever. Sorry for your loss....

Bye.
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written by Cuddy Joe, February 28, 2009
I have no problem telling psychics to SHUT UP, whether in person or via blog entry headline. If it seemed childish or disappointing to a few readers, too bad. There are woo collectives who might not warrent a SHUT UP, self-deluded folks like dowsers or those goofily pleasant Alien Contactees, but psychics, the scam artists among scam artists? Oh no... SHUT UP is point on.

What I find childish or disappointing is 'skeptical correctness', where hypocrites will think, feel, and believe a thing but never ever say it.

As for always being polite when addressing believers, all this tends to do is push their impolite SCREW YOU SKEPTIC reply a few minutes or sentences down the road.

What should we think of people who will only accept new knowledge unless it is offered politely? Most of the important things we learn in life does not come to us politely. If there's a rattlesnake under my chair and a sweet nothing in my ear finds no purchase, by all means - scream at me impolitely.
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