Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Skeptics and Psychics

Let me start off this post by saying that I don't believe in psychics. I don't believe in abductions, ghosts, telekinetics, telepathy, precognition, televiewing, angels, or any of that crap. I've seen the human body do some amazing things, and I have gotten to see some really incredible people who can tell astonishing amounts with a glance - but these are not psychic powers, any more than an olympic champion or sharpshooter is psychic.

And I've seen a lot of psychics, witches, martial artists, and other people who tout these powers. Not once - and I didn't start as a skeptic - but not ONCE did these powers actually turn out to exist. Save the aforementioned astonishing physical and mental conditioning, that is. Given that these people, so far without fail, tell me I have 'great potential', I would think I would have been in some way affected.

One of the things that most skeptics - such as myself - hold as a giant whack against would-be psychics is that they never PROVE their psychic power to the world as a whole. Randi offers to give a million bucks to anyone who can prove ANY kind of psychic power.

But yesterday, I thought about it again.

Let's play pretend. I'm a psychic. I've got hoopy powers. When I show them to people, people immediately attach to me, essentially becoming acolytes. People often will want to use my powers for their gain, will beg me to teach them, etc. I will be very familiar with this, and I will view ALL people as acolytes and abusers waiting to be born.

With that in mind, let's review Randi's challenge.

A) I fail. All I've done is waste time and money, as well as weakening my follower's faith in me. End result: I lose.

B) I succeed. I gain some money - which I don't need, since real psychic powers would offer a trillion different opportunities to make money - and Randi touts me as a "real psychic". The next day, thirty million people show up on my doorstep. That, of course, isn't including the various government, corporations, and syndicates who are now interested in my powers. End result: I lose.

So... IF I was psychic, WHY would I EVER want to 'prove' it?

So, the basic idea of 'no proof' is flawed. They shouldn't WANT any proof to exist. They can get by just fine gaining new cult followers and taking up new jobs no faster or slower than they want. Thirty million people suddenly pestering you would be HORRIBLE. It would be a NIGHTMARE.

Hm. Well, it's too bad that there aren't any psychics, because if there were, they're awfully clever bastards!

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