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Details, Detectives and Drama PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Matt Chesser   

a brief analysis of criminological psychic predictions

Psychics as a whole seem to exhibit an almost parasitic attraction to spectacle - the more strange, outrageous, horrific or violent some event is, the more likely that some psychic will invariably allege gross incompetence and negligence upon the parts of those charged with preventing such disasters by claiming that they predicted the event far in advance and, undoubtedly, will wistfully decry on a time-lost web page "If only I was believed!" This has always galled me - as a criminology student, I like to think I am better informed about police and investigative methodology than most, and seeing the sheer amount of time and effort put into crime prevention laughed at is exceptionally aggravating, not to mention offensive. A prediction like this one made by the psychic Pernel[1] for 2009, therefore, hits me where I live:

Violence and crime are going to rise.

Though most criminological predictions are more detailed than this one, at least those obtained by normal methods of inquiry, I am nevertheless appalled that the efforts of thousands of hardworking men and women around the globe could be reduced to a seven-word phrase in any context. Bearing in mind that the first principle of policing is, as best stated by Sir Robert Peel (considered the founder of modern policing), is "to prevent crime and disorder,"[2] it's even a critique of police practices! Given that violent crime has been rapidly dropping since 1993[3], we'd like to think that we have some basis for carrying on with the current policies... they've been shown to work!

Considered a different way, however, this prediction is even more astonishing. Granting the supposition that Pernel is actually communicating with a paranormal entity, it's not Pernel's prediction at all - rather, Pernel is acting as essentially a messenger between the paranormal entity and us "normal" entities, so it's really the paranormal that's got it wrong! If the point of asking a paranormal resource in the first place is to obtain information unavailable by normal means, it seems fair to presume the entity would at least be aware of normal knowledge.

Law enforcement certainly is.

Citations:

[1]: http://psychicinsights.wordpress.com/2008/11/15/new-psychic-predictions-leading-into-2009/

[2]: http://www.nwpolice.org/peel.html

[3]: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/glance/tables/4meastab.htm

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written by Ambushbug, September 14, 2009
Not to suggest that most policing hasn't been working for the last 20 years, but I believe Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt answered the question of falling crime rates in their popular book, "Freakonomics". If I recall correctly, the ease of abortions after Roe V. Wade is the prime suspect (sorry couldn't resist) for the drop in crime rates as many of the children who would have been born into disadvantage and grown into criminal were instead aborted.
Now if only we could have a saner drug policy than prohibition . . . smilies/wink.gif
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written by Otara, September 14, 2009
"After all these years of correct predictions I guess missing one is ok."

Heh.

"There will be some problems with Israel and the United States."

Heh.

How on earth did you get as far as crime and violence rising?
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written by ConTester, September 14, 2009
There is another dimension to psychics’ presumption, one that is perhaps more subtle but no less egregious for that. They simply gloss over, assuming they’re even aware of it, that if psychics were in fact successful in law enforcement, the relevant enforcement agencies would surely make appropriate use of their services. That they do not is of course telling – almost as telling as the psychics’ clamourings about being ignored.
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Crime levels are easily predicted
written by Quakeulf, September 14, 2009
A level of anything can only go in either three directions: up, down or straight. It's a 1/3 chance of getting it right. Not exactly an impressive way to show off your psychic skills. No matter what arguements for and against a level changing, it's still a 1/3 chance there of getting it right. Wild guess work will in many cases be just as good as consulting a psychic, as long as you crunch the numbers beforehand. :'3
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written by MadScientist, September 15, 2009
What a pathetic third-rate psychic. A good psychic (yes, I'm aware of the contradiction), like a good astrologer or a good preacher would prey on the victims' tendency towards confirmation bias. "Crime and violence will rise" doesn't exploit the confirmation bias as well as "this year someone near to you will be a victim of the rising tide of crime and violence".

Anyone who wants to become a psychic has much to learn from going to church and observing the preacher:
"Oh no, god's not a fickle butthole, he loves your two-year old so much that he's made special plans for him and given him leukemia." Well, I can't word it as smoothly as a preacher - but they do play on that confirmation bias. You won the lottery? God must really love you. You got that job you wanted? You have god to thank. Your daughter was raped and murdered by a serial child molester? It's so horrible how other humans spurn god, but he has special plans for your daughter.

When things go well, take the credit; otherwise shift the blame (also known as "explaining away the problem"). It's worked for religion for over 6000 years - yes, since the creation of the world! (On a relative scale, anyone who claims the world is 6000 years old was born a few seconds or minutes ago - if they make the claim just after midnight you can say they were born yesterday.)
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wrong...unless you're right.
written by QHudspeth, September 15, 2009
so it's really the paranormal that's got it wrong!

Well...unless the paranormal is right and for some unforeseen reason we're all totally screwed! smilies/grin.gif
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@Ambushbug
written by grieve, September 15, 2009
Actually if you read Freakanomics a little more closely there were several factors two of which were directly related to policing, as I remember. The book focused on the abortion angle, since it is the least intuitive of the factors listed.
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written by mjh937, September 15, 2009
I went to Herc's website. By the standard of "evidence" that is used there you could "prove" anything. It was slightly entertaining, but absolutely nothing was proven. I know, I should not (and did not) expect it to be anything different.
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written by Herc, September 15, 2009
Thanks for checking my site.

I said I would channel an answer to any question in public.
A skeptic asked does pi ever end.
RANDOMO answered her question.

Instead of just waving your hands saying it's nothing, WHAT ARE THE ODDS?

An answer to her question happens to be "pi's digits are random", or simply RANDOM.

Out of 20,000 common words I got the RIGHT one. Right on cue.

So considering I went out in public claiming I was psychic and I could answer any question,
was it a hit or a miss?

Herc
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written by Squid, September 15, 2009
Um... Herc, you didn't answer her question, Randomo did. And pi isn't random at all. And no, pi does not end. This has already been proven by mathmatics. (The last I heard, pi had been calculated out to the billionth digit, or something huge like that.)

By the way, I tried googling 0202 premonition like you said to do, and couldn't find anything relating to you or any space disaster.

I do have a question I'd like for you to answer, but not with your psychic powers... just an honest answer. No Psychic Powers involved, okay?

What does Herc get by posting on this site?

After all, you're not making threats, like some others have, but you're not converting anyone to your position. So what do you get by coming here?

Squid
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written by Herc, September 15, 2009
http://groups.google.com.au/gr...0202&pli=1

I posted "proof of god 0202 2002" then on 1st Feb 2003 the shuttle exploded.

Again I was one day out. The post mentions my powers of 'preminition' but there's nothing specific, it's a PREMONITION.

If I answered meganerd's question how could you verify it was from the world and not made up by me? Why can't I use any medium I want?

You didn't answer my question, was it a hit or a miss? be honest.

Why post here? God told me to. Look into your alias for the answer - $quid. (even I realise that was a lame channel smilies/grin.gif )

www.m00.com/psychic any open minded opinions, anyone try the 'YOU can prove pyshic powers quiz?'

All the evidence is there, it will public knowledge who I am by next year. Use your skeptic powers for good or miss the boat.
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written by randi, September 15, 2009
I suggest we let "Herc" continue to post here, since he/she provides an excellent example of what I have to deal with, every day. I've blocked him/her on my email because I just don't have the time to deal with incoherencies, but this could be a good source of material for anyone researching strange folks -- of which we have so many...
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written by Squid, September 15, 2009
So, you posted "0202 2002", not "0203 2003" You're claiming credit for a prediciton "Proof of God" for something that happened a year and a day off from your prediction So, was it a hit or a miss? It was a miss, a very big miss, a miss by a mile... more like a year and a day.

By the way, the answer to "Proof of God" could be absolutely anything you wanted it to be. It's not a "2+2=4" type of question, so it is in no way valid for testing.

I also said don't use your powers to answer that question, but you did. (Or at least you think you did, since you wouldn't make such a "lame channel" comment if you didn't) Again, why do you come here? Don't look for answers from any outside source, but just answer the question yourself. What do you get out of this?

If you want to answer a question for me, I've got one for you... it's a personal question, it has signifigance to me, and I know the answer already. It can't be researched by Google or something similar, and I will honestly tell you whether you answered the question correctly. Get it right, and I'll believe. Here it is...

"Where does Squid derive their nickname from?"
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written by Herc, September 15, 2009
@Squid, was the 'Pi is random' answer a hit? BTW look up pi on wikipedia and there are several references listed on "are the digits of pi random". random doesn't mean different each time in this context.

That was the reason I posted to this thread, I made the channel yesterday I didn't channel again.

You guys are making anti-psychic posts, there WAS a prediction of 9/11, bad things happen so religion is dumb, etc. Besides I'm plugging my site isn't it obvious? smilies/cheesy.gif

I posted Proof of God, nobody listened, 365 days inclusive later the Space Shuttle exploded. Call it what you will.

I generally can't answer quiz questions I'm afraid. Only something you genuinely want to know, it has a purpose to be answered then.

Herc
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written by GMJ, September 16, 2009
I once questioned a "shaman" at a health fair and he became very angry. He said I was causing harm because it is necessary for people to believe everything he says in order for them to be healed.
He preached blather such as "there is no such thing as coincidence." I acknowledged that could be true because in my dictionary the word shaman is right after the word sham. No coincidence there! He did not appreciate the humor at all and ordered me to leave his booth.
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Statistics Only As Good As The Source
written by StarTrekLivz, September 16, 2009
This morning the federal prosecutor for Detroit (who brought down former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and former Councilwoman Monica Conyers -- wife of House Judicisary Chair John Conyers; note that 4 of the remaining 8 Council members are under investigation for various state, federal, and tax violations) was interviewed on Michigan Public Radio, and the subject of the interview is how the administration in Detroit has consistently lied for years about the crime figures to indicate that crime is going down.

The prosecutor, noting her caseload has not diminished, believes that crime at best has been steady, but probably as the result of the dire recession in Detroit and high unemploytment that crime has been on an uptick in the past year. She also reports things like murders recast as "assaults" or "drug related violence," that unsolved crimes were not included in the statistics and reports at all, and so forth. The situation in Detroit is particularly bad because the police department is under US Federal oversight due to a number of issues, and the Federal Overseer herself has just been removed for corruption charges.

The statistics are only as good as the reporting body, and the local prosecutor believes there is no reason to believe in the reliability of the local reports, due to the high level of local corruption.

That said, I think most of the posters on this sight are aware that psychics are like the old, bad joke about economists: they whisper something vague before an event, and then if it happens afterwards shout, "I TOLD YOU SO!"
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Apologies
written by StarTrekLivz, September 16, 2009
my prior post is riddled with spelling & grammar errors, but I hope the message is legible ....
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@Herc
written by pxatkins, September 16, 2009
Could you humour me and channel what the x in my handle stands for?
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written by Squid, September 16, 2009
Hi, Herc. Just a quick note... regarding the challenge. (Note I do NOT represent JREF or Mr. Randi in any way!)

You said you have concrete proof of your ability, and then mentioned Truman agents talking to you via satellite PA. Is this the ability you're claiming to have, or is it the question/answer thing you're doing?

The reason I'm asking is that it would seem to me that you couldn't use Truman as a Challenge application, since it comes from a completely mundane and rational source... a manmade satellite broadcasting from space and is controlled by US government agents. All of that points to completely normal sources, completely natural.

Again, just curious.

As for the shuttle... my family-in-law knew the astronauts and my wife was friends with them. (Btw, it didn't explode, it burned up on reentry. I know we're talking about the same thing, but I do like to be exact, especially about this.) So I think you can understand why I would be sensitive to such comments. Just mentioning Columbia, (or, for that matter, Challenger,) to my wife still makes her upset. It's something we take very seriously in my household. So I think you can understand why I'm sensitive to anyone saying they predicted or had a premonition about it. We miss our friends.

Squid
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termination of the JREF, Lowly rated comment [Show]
..., Lowly rated comment [Show]
written by Willy K, September 17, 2009
Clicking on the "..., Lowly rated comment [Show]" link does not work on my cell phone. smilies/cry.gif

I sometimes read the Swift Blog via my cell phone, the place I work at doesn't want anyone to connect to non business related web sites.
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written by pxatkins, September 18, 2009
Willy K ... you must have a 'smart' cell phone smilies/smiley.gif
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written by jensfiederer, September 25, 2009
Hopefully, the bit about 1/3 chance of being correct is meant as a joke.
While it's true that the rate must either rise, fall, or stay the same, the probabilities of those are not all even.
Under the assumption that the rate fluctuates randomly (no bias between up or down), the probability would be about 50%, depending on how closely the rate was measured (the higher the resolution of measurement, the closer to 50%).
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