Anti-Science

Sylvia Browne Snippet #2

WOMAN: Hi Sylvia. I have a brother who was murdered, do you know who did it?

(Audience laughter, which I’m assuming is merely the result of a shock of hearing something so bold and not because they think murder is funny)

WOMAN: It was horrible, do you know a name or anything that they . . . ?

SYLVIA: Honey, I can’t do that here, that’s too open you can . . . I’ll tell you what you can do, you can call the office. And listen, talk to Michael.

WOMAN: Okay. (At this point I actually breathed a sigh of relief that Sylvia decided against further exploiting this woman’s tragedy in front of a live audience.)

SYLVIA: Yes and let me tell you something, it was two people, though, two people did it. Male and female. Okay? (I am suddenly wishing there was such a thing as a hell specially built for the Sylvias of the world.)

SYLVIA: And what bothers me is they were close to you. (Gasp from audience. Let’s take just a second to appreciate this from the woman’s point of view. Her brother is dead, she thinks he was murdered. She feels no closure. She is scared and upset and desperately needs someone to help her through this. Perhaps she has a few friends and family members who try to help. She comes to Slyvia hoping for a definitive answer, and in return she now trusts no one in her life, because everyone, male and female, is a suspect. Friends, family — everyone. Now she has lost her brother and so much more. She has lost trust in the people closest to her in the time she needs it the most. To make matters worse, I have seen clips of Sylvia using this exact same line on other victims. This is standard for her, showing she obviously feels an insufficient amount of guilt that might convince her to stop such a thing, regardless of how much cash it makes her. Do you need any other reason to Stop Sylvia?)

SYLVIA: (moving on) Yes . . .

+++

Click here for the audio.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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43 Comments

  1. It's also worth noting that murders are most often committed by people known to the victim. 4/5 I believe. So she probably wheels that line out every time she hits on someone that is related or close to a murder victim.

  2. ::Sigh::

    Have you ever seen a person bang their head against a wall for hours at a time? I feel for you, Jack, because that wall isn't coming down any time soon no matter how hard you bang into it, and all you're going to get out of it is a headache.

    Mr. Dmon has taken a faith position. He redefines his argument, moves his goal posts, and accepts your logic as only valid in some cases. The fact that he is unwilling to show any proof of legitimate cases is unimportant to him, as he seems to not care about proof. Thus, his arguments are faith-based and, as such, inarguable.

    It's just not worth your time and headaches to continue, Jack…you and I both know you're right and that your logic is sound, but you know the deal with faith and logic…

  3. I'm writing something up, so I'm chained to my keyboard right now :(. I don't often engage true believers, for obvious reasons. But Mikal hasn't been rude, just persistent. Besides, it helps me sharpen my own arguments. Occasionally I find out I don't know the exact answer to someone's response and working out why is a good exercise.

    I'm not going to repeat myself again and again though. It's boring for other people. Unless he provides a new argument I'm going to refer him back to the other thread. Any new arguments are fun to bust ;-).

  4. Well you know something Expatria,

    yellow flag on he filed Unnecessary roughness!

    I didn't know this was a study group where I have to

    provide hours of research to post a simple thread!

    I didn't receive any requirements deeming me

    responsible to do anything.

    Please don't put words in my mouth,Never once said faith!

    Find it,show me!! If not please apologies I certainly proved

    I'm capably of owning up to a mistake.What say you?

    Take care M.Dmon

  5. N.R. Miller your just starting trouble,and anything I say must requires

    an encyclopedia w/timeliness while you guys can say whatever the hell

    you wont.

    I smell a trap and Spidy senses are tingling

    I would suggest you ask a medium.

    Take care M.Dmon

  6. It is follows that if murders are mostly carried out by people known to the victim, that a relative of the victim is likely to know the murderer. Often they've lived in the same house as victim, and their circle of friends overlap. So Silvia Brown's statement is a sick bet with good odds.

    But, I digress…

    I'm afraid, for the sake of fellow memoirs of skepchick readers, I'm not going to engage with you until you provide evidence or an argument that wasn't used in the previous thread.

  7. you couldnt even take a stab at it?

    Couldn’t make an educated guess yourself?

    It's an open forum and I don't see why I need

    to address everything like an expert,I am not.

    I can play with it,you can too,so can everyone else,

    so your criticism falls to everyone..why must you be

    so cruel to a heart that's true

    Take care M.Dmon

  8. Mikal –

    Let's chat for a moment about putting words in other people's mouths. Please feel free to scan my posts and find where I said that you needed hours of research to say anything. Please indicate where I told you that you had requirements to post on this thread. When you have done this, then I will take seriously your claims about my putting words into YOUR mouth.

    For my part, I think I demonstrated why I think your position is faith based and not logical. If you have difficulty in understanding the gist of what I said, that's fair and I have no qualms about explicating it further for you.

    My point was merely that your claims are made in ignorance of the research that is out there, and that you have used the tactic of "special pleading" to avoid culpability or admissions that you have made statements contradictory to the evidence.

    When other people have provided you with links demonstrating evidence contradictory to your claims, you have moved the goalposts again and again. It is in doing this, NOT in lacking "hours of research," that you are in error. This is why I have deemed your points "faith-based." Faith is merely belief without reason. Perhaps you would rather I say "faulty logic."

    Honestly, did you think that posting to a skeptical web-forum in favor of the paranormal would be an easy thing? You act as if we've done something wrong in disputing your claims, but what did you expect? Don't blame the ants if you coat yourself in honey and stand above their nest.

    On that note, this is the last response I will make directly to your posts. These comments are meant to be in regards to the Sylvia Browne appearance transcribed above, and I refuse to divert the thread any further by arguing who-put-words-in-whose-mouth with you. You are entitled to your opinions, of course, but if you cannot defend them against reason then you may want to reexamine your choice of venue in which to air them.

    Cheers!

  9. Yes Mikal but nobody else here thinks that sylvia brown can talk to the dead. We all think she eats babies and haas many types of sex that the romans would cringe at.

    You have made yourself her defender and have made many statements claiming to know that cold reading is how a psychic gets psychicy. But then fail to continue your reasoning when sylvia, after being cold readinged into being psychicy (excuse my technical language) still has to take guesses.

    And when confronted with reasoning you run off.

  10. after being cold readinged into being psychicy (excuse my technical language) still has to take guesses.And when confronted with reasoning

    you run off.

    Sorry my friend that's my disinterest level decreasing

    when I not interested I tend to do that.I may fight battles

    but I pick my wars

    Take care My friend M.Dmon

  11. Mikal, I just deleted your previous post because it was way over the line. One more like that and you're gone. I was going to cut you some slack because you're obviously a child, but I'm not going to put up with more of that.

    For everyone: being sarcastic is fine, losing a little patience is fine, but don't start flinging excrement around my blog.

  12. You know something that's crap!You let someone

    belittle me like that,but delete my reply

    Expatria comments are un called for and disingenuous

    since I never made those accusation ..I think Expatria needs a

    serious time-out and a spanking!

    How is that fair to me?

  13. How is that fair to me?

    Expatria comments are berating and

    disingenuous considering I never once made those accusation..

    I also don't appreciate your deeming attitude toward me

    If you expect me to play nice I expect respect in return

    Seems logical

  14. Sorry my friend that’s my disinterest level decreasing

    when I not interested I tend to do that.I may fight battles

    but I pick my wars

    Hmm, to me that seems to translate as: I don't fight unwinnable wars, such as those against logic.

  15. “and what bothers me is they were close to you.”

    that bothers you? no shit I bet it bothers the fuck out of the woman.

    What if this was just a random murder, he’s walking home, and he gets mugged. Gets killed. Murders like that go unsolved very often. But tricksters know that you (like in movies) need the maximum drama to hold the audience. So she makes up some shit that will RUIN what may or may not be left of the personal relationships in her life.

    And becuase I love poking at disformed babies with sticks I have to ask:

    Mikal, why would a psychic need to make an educated guess? She’s warmed up by this time. The audience is warmed up with some other psychic… even in your world where this crap exists, the magical hoo-doo is flowing, shouldnt her “connection” be as strong as its ever going to be?

  16. I saw some of the clips of Sylvia on YouTube (on the Montel Williams show). Maybe it's just selective editing, but she comes across as a cold hearted bitch. She seems to have no empathy or understanding of the grief people are going through. If *that* is what is on offer from a pseudoscience that people claim "gives comfort", then contacting the dead is in a sorry state indeed.

  17. Redundant as this may be:

    Educated guesses are all well and good, but that's not what people are going to Sylvia Browne for. If she advertised as "I will tell you some actuarial statistics about likely causes of death based on what I can see about you in a glance" she may have a different audience to the ones she has now.

    I can't get over how nasty she appears to be in these transcripts. How can anyone want to go and see her? (unless they're wearing a hoodie and doing it for the sake of skeptisism everywhere!)

  18. I wish these things stayed in the 1800's side show tents. Cause THOSE I'd go to see.

    Imagine one of those cool carnival barkers with the handlebar mustache and that thing on their forearm that all the barbershop quartets wear (but i have no idea what it's use is).

    "Come one come all, see the frog-lady…. what?

    Really?

    You're sure? I mean she really looks like a frog… Yeah that neck thing.

    Oh well ok then- Come see the psychic woman!"

  19. "So your saying that you don’t have any sort of awnser to why a psychic would need to make an aducated guess…. you couldnt even take a stab at it? Couldn’t make an educated guess yourself?"

    Obviously, only psychics can make educated guesses.

    Seriously, Sylvia really F'd this one – especially since this woman will be looking at everyone she knows, wondering if they are the killers. She will do this without any reason, and evidence, anything but the words of a money-grubbing attention whore. This poor women, who already is suffering, has had the wounds torn open and salt poured on them.

    Want to bet this poor woman will get charged full price for her "private" reading, which will tell her nothing concrete, and will do nothing but more damage to her life. Disgusting.

  20. Well if she is she's not a good one… I mean her misses are insane compared to her hits.

    Hell George Noory from Nutjob to Nutjob AM thinks shes a hack, and he's a Nutjob. Nice guy but a nutjob none the less.

    You listen to that thing with the miners?

    Where she gets the news report that they're all alive and she says that she knew it with her psychic superpower and then when she finds out the news story was wrong and that they were all dead she says she knew they were all dead and never said they were all alive….. that'd be fine and dandy if she wasnt like on the radio where they just hit rewind and play back her stupid bullfrog voice telling everyone that she knew all the miners were alive with her psychic superpower crap.

  21. I work nights now, and I was driving home and heard the whole thing live. Simply unbelievable. But since Noory has said that he'll believe anything until you prove that it is wrong (the opposite of reality)…well, he's a perfect tool for the likes of her. What's really funny is when Noory questions the people who are too far out in space for even him. What happened to his open-mindedness?

  22. Ah nutjub to nutjob AM is a nice show to listen to and laugh. Noory has alot of time to fill and knows what his audience wants, he can only go so far though before it claws at his eyes and his head explodes. So now and again reason prevails when he is faced with his own death by nuttier nutjobs.

    I think he's a decent guy, he's not shilling anything but a forum for nutty ideas, and even nutjubs need a place to spout off because as nutty as they are they do deserve a chance to be heard. Of course that just lets us all know which nuts need to be nutcracked.

    OK I'VE PULLED THE NUT ANALOGY TO FAR NOW I'LL STOP.

  23. What happened to his open-mindedness?

    Maybe he finally took the advice of us skeptics: His mind isn't so open his brain falls out… well, at least, not so open it falls all the way out. There's still some notable leakage.

  24. "BTW, I googled for Mikal Dmon, and found out that (assuming the name is right, and how likely is two people to have that name?)"

    Mikal recently registered on the Skeptic's Guide forum with the same email in that link, around the same time he started commenting here. One and the same, I'd say.

  25. Well Mikal I thought originaly that you simply had a world view you enjoyed… but now that your job is on the line there is very little chance you're looking at evidence clearly or even allowing the possibility that you are wrong.

    And as far as grandpa goes NA-NA-NA-NA! I'm younger than you I'm younger than you! (Dances around and sticks his tounge out)

    Of course I do drive an old man's 2002 Buick, but it's so damn comfortable I can't help myself.

  26. Expatria wrote:

    "Mr. Dmon has taken a faith position. He redefines his argument, moves his goal posts, and accepts your logic as only valid in some cases. The fact that he is unwilling to show any proof of legitimate cases is unimportant to him, as he seems to not care about proof. Thus, his arguments are faith-based and, as such, inarguable."

    Mikal Dmon wrote:

    "Well you know something Expatria,

    yellow flag on he filed Unnecessary roughness!

    […]

    Please don’t put words in my mouth,Never once said faith!

    Find it,show me!! If not please apologies I certainly proved

    I’m capably of owning up to a mistake.What say you?

    Expatria wrote:

    "[…]

    For my part, I think I demonstrated why I think your position is faith based and not logical. If you have difficulty in understanding the gist of what I said, that’s fair and I have no qualms about explicating it further for you.

    My point was merely that your claims are made in ignorance of the research that is out there, and that you have used the tactic of “special pleading” to avoid culpability or admissions that you have made statements contradictory to the evidence.

    So Mikal, spouting unfounded claims is fine, but according to you, by challenging those claims we're being rude?

    Nobody says you can't make wild claims. But around here, on a skeptical blog, and in the affiliated forum, you can't expect to go around making wild statements without someone asking you to provide some proof supporting the things you're saying. You don't have to know the dictionary or encyclopedia by heart, but you have to be willing to open it up and look up the facts when someone is convinced you didn't get them right.

    Either prove us wrong or don't. But if you don't even want to bother backing up your words with something that might support them, then don't expect anyone here to take you seriously anymore. Among skeptics, you either put up or shut up, because that's what it means not to take anything on faith.

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