Skepticism

I hope you've finished eating.

…because the video below might ruin your appetite.

The other night I watched the live season finale of Phenomenon, which was amusing if only for the revisiting of the Criss vs. Jim Callahan & Uri fight. Criss pulled out the envelopes he had during their fight, when he offered Jim and Uri a million dollars if they could tell him what’s inside. Criss opened one envelope on the live finale, showing that inside he had written “911,” in honor of the fact that no psychics stepped forward on September 10 to tell anyone about what was going to occur. Go Criss!

I was looking for a clip to show you, but instead found the below interviews with the involved parties, shot just after the first big fight. It starts with Uri, who tries to change the focus of the argument from “Jim is not a psychic and should not manipulate the barest emotions of others” to “hey, you can’t prove there’s no life after death!” Very sneaky.

Uri goes on to state that “we” still don’t understand e=mc2, and for some reason this validate life after death which in turn validates Jim Callahan channeling a dead person who can only write in mirrored text and describes a toy car as “metal box, 4 weels [sic].” Oh, and apparently Einstein discovered the law of conservation of energy. According to Uri. Which of course is wrong.

On a side note, have you noticed that Einstein is the anti-Hitler? Anyone who wants to prove a point in the quickest way possible will do it by one of two ways: saying that his opponent’s argument was supported by Hitler, or that his own argument was supported by Einstein. Then he’ll go on to quote something out of context which “proves” the relationship. Seriously, happens all the time.

Anyway, Uri’s stupid blathering is followed up by Criss Angel, who may not be the most eloquent speaker but who gives shout-outs to Johnny Carson and Randi’s televised debunking of Uri. He is very upfront about his skepticism, and it’s pretty cool to see a new prominent critical thinker on the scene.

Sadly, Criss’s skeptical rant is followed by Jim Callahan, who thinks that because his lame act was exposed for what it was, Christians should be outraged because Jesus doesn’t exist. Wait, what? Yeah, I don’t know either. Enjoy the circus by clicking below.

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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9 Comments

  1. Come on, these magicians are only acting and their act involves for the audiences to step away and believe the act, like we do when we watch a movie and fear for the life of the protagonist. Telling the audience it is a fake ruins the show, and it is just a show, a make believe. These guys (unless I'm mistaken 'cos I do not know them) do not seem to get money from people claiming they can get messages from their beloved departed ones nor they claim to know your future or heal you with some unnatural power, they are stage magicians. Give them a break and keep your (our) attacks for those who really deserve it.

    Note: I'm an unbeliever, a full fledge atheist, an skeptic, but I love stage magicians and I'm always thrilled by a good performance. I like a bit of magic in my life, be it in a fiction book, a good movie or a magician act.

  2. jserrano, there is a huge difference between us suspending disbelief while watching a magic act to enjoy it and the magician/performer claiming that he is a real psychic or does actual magic. Chris doesn't, stating all along that all he does is are clever tricks and is only debunking charlatans like Geller and Callahan who do, directly or by implication at least, claim actual powers. As can be seen by their nonsensical responses any time someone debunks them, i.e. a stage magician, mentalist whatever, would have no problem with any debunking, unless perhaps the secrets of his 'tricks' were divulged. For they would simply assume that their audience knew that it was an act. Only those with an interest in positing actual powers would have a problem with any debunking.

  3. "According to Uri, conservation of energy implies life after death. What a dumbass."

    I saw a similar argument in a text about Zen Buddhism when the idea of reincarnation was being explained. I mean, assuming that his interpretation was true, obviously we could say that any "energy" used for your living body could simply be dispersed in the universe randomly after you die. There's no reason to believe that it would somehow stay in a form that resembles you in any way.

  4. Rebecca, if you get enough people to use it, your new "law" could become Godwin's corrolary(sp?):

    Anyone who name-drops Einstein in a discussion that's barely related to physics automatically loses the argument.

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