This week, beacon of truth FoxNews had an interview with two champions of reason: John Edward and Sean Hannity. Removing tongue from cheek, I present to you an interview that demonstrates two things: 1) it’s still cool to be “the skeptic” and 2) to quote Southpark, “John Edward is the biggest douche in the universe.”
Note that the article is entitled “Medium John Edward Explains Ability.” Really? Did whoever titled this piece actually read or see the interview?
John Edward, when asked why he doesn’t defend what he does, had this to say:
Because as soon as — as soon as you have to defend something, then you're admitting that something needs defense. So I kind of, like — I come from a place of I'm a spiritual person. I believe in God. I would never defend my belief in God. People either do believe or they don't believe, and that's OK. That's their choice.
So I feel the same way about this. As soon as I go to a place I have to defend it, I feel like you immediately lose. I have no problem explaining it, though, or trying to teach about it.
Well, guess what John… if you want us to believe that you can TALK TO THE DEAD, yes, you’re going to have to defend it. Do so succesfully, and we'll give you $1,000,000. This "non-answering" is a favorite technique of so-called psychics and mediums, as it puts all the pressure on the person who has questions, and make them feel guilty for somehow doubting such an esteemed individual. Alas, we skeptics are like that.
Imagine if I claimed I could run a 4-minute mile. Would you believe me? Why not? That’s actually more believable than talking to the dead. After all, nothing in our experience leads us to believe that the dead speak. That’s rather the point of their being “dead.” But we do know people who can run a 4-minute mile, so why not just believe me?
You don’t believe me because A) it’s a rare ability, and not one that I look like I posses and B) it would be easy for me to prove it to you. In fact, it would take me 4 minutes.
You woudn’t take me seriously if I just refused to answer the question, and no one should take Edward seriously when he does the same (or Geller, or Browne, or Altea, or Van Praagh, or….).
It’s no surprise that Hannity claims he’s “a bit of a skeptic.” That’s the label folks want these days, especially those who aren’t actually skeptics. It’s cool to be a skeptic, but of course, proclaiming that you are one doesn’t mean you are. Take a look at this exchange:
HANNITY: All right. I'm a bit of a skeptic.
EDWARD: I've been involved with astrology, numerology, you know, energy, alternative belief philosophy, reincarnation. And I want to give people the opportunity to say maybe.
HANNITY: That's fair. You see, you can't explain certain things as a person of faith. I can't explain what faith is to a nonbeliever
A “person of faith” is NOT a skeptic, but he had to start off saying he was to gain credibility with the audience. That’s right: “skeptic” means “credible” to the masses these days.
It’s a shame that he wasn’t credible enough to actually ask the right questions. Such as... why won't you take the challenge, even if it's only to shut the JREF up and earn $1,000,000 for charity? Or, why don't you talk to the dead about things that matter, like lost wills or where Ted Bundy buried his victims? I'm just repeating what Randi has been saying for years of course, but nothing's changed to prevent us from asking the same questions.