Anti-Science

Million Dollar Preliminary Challenge conducted tonight

PLACE: The Middle East club
TIME: 12:30 a.m.
PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT:

CLAIMANT (C): (APPROACHES RESEARCHER) Yo, your glasses are sweet.
RESEARCHER (R): Thanks. (POLITE SMILE)
C: Damn you are looking fine. (PLACES HAND ON R’S LOWER BACK)
R: Um. (MOVES AWAY FROM C, LOOKS DESPERATELY FOR FRIEND RETURNING FROM BAR)
C: When’s this band going on? It’s late. What is it, like 12:30 or something?
R: (GLANCING AT CLOCK ON BACK WALL) It’s 12:30.
C: (TRIUMPHANTLY) Yeeeeah, see? I’m like, totally psychic and s***.
R: (SKEPTICALLY) Oh really.
C: Aw, yeah!
R: Okay, then what am I thinking right now?
C: (PENSIVELY) You’re thinking . . . you want to do a sexy dance for me.
R: (BLANK STARE)
C: (HOPEFUL GRIN)
R: You’re not a very good psychic.

SUMMARY OF DATA COLLECTED

TEST: What is RESEARCHER thinking?

CLAIMANT’S PREDICTION: “sexy dance”
ACTUAL THOUGHT: “If you get any closer I will stab you in the face.”

RESULT:
FAIL

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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38 Comments

  1. Lines I will use on Rebecca if I am lucky enough to ever hit on her:

    1. Kiss me if I'm wrong, but global warming is a hoax.

    2. A psychic told me you wouldn't have sex with me.

    3. You must be using Reiki on my pants, 'cause I didn't feel anything.

    4. Baby, this drink must be homeopathic. It's watered down, and I'm twice as

    attracted to you.

    5. Making love organically sucks. Let's use a condom.

    6. You're the cutest disinformation agent I've ever give fluids to.

  2. Everyday I give thanks that in my single life I never, never, had to go through something like this: from either end of it. But then again, I'm often psychologically unable to make eye contact with those "find a book" terminals at Borders, much less ask the human clerks for help: putting my hand on a stranger's back is pretty far out of my universe.

  3. Wow,

    Man, I am so "the" mind reader! The clock on the wall says "12:47".

    Cool huh?

    I noticed you slipping your earring off and puting over your ring finger in a vain attempt to look married so I wouldn't come over.

    That's an old trick. Lucky for you I've seen that one before.

    But let's talk more about me and my incredible lower back massage technique.

    Please! No! Not in the face!

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaah…

    rod

    Seriously though, don't go to jail. "Accidentally" stab him in the leg!

  4. Well SONOFA…"Yo, your glasses are sweet" is MY pickup line. That bastard stole it from me and dragged it through the mud. What's next, someone rendering "I like your lady-parts" non-viable?

    Also, one of my favorite pick up lines (which I've never used but always like to offer up as an example of why I'm both insane AND single) is the following:

    (said in a low, mysterious, attempting-to-be-seductive voice)

    "Hey. You know, they wrote a Broadway musical about my life…maybe you've heard of it…it's called Cats? "

    (And no, it's not meant to make any sense. Don't overthink it)

  5. Mercury (aka "Mikal_Dmon"),

    I've held your previous two dozen comments in moderation, which apparently has made no dent in your posting habits. I'm letting this one through only because I want a public record of it and I'd like for you to clarify exactly what you mean by that.

  6. Simply put my friend, not everyones is convinced of your preconceived

    notions, that suggest these anomalies do not, or can't happen.

    We both know, I hold a unique interesting in the paranormal (as do you )

    but my research yield different results..I'm currently working on a few projects, which may provide some tangible evidence, you seek..

    Didn't mean to ruffle your feathers,I'm really a nice person..

    Lady Mercury

  7. I didn't anything wrong!

    and if science is already written, then why do we keep

    inventing new innovations and finding new frontiers? Some believe

    everything is a miracle and some do not.

    Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

    Take care my friend Lady Mercury

  8. Very well..

    If you obtain 3-5 spheres, of equal shape and size

    ONE BEING A CRYSTAL,I bet I can pick the genuine crystal

    every time, without even touching it.

    you can even use a handkerchief to disguise the spheres

    if you like. I won't guarantee 100% accuracy, (never been tested)

    but no joke, I am that damn good..

    Under a lie detector test I will also admit my encounters and anomalies,

    if you want something on record, this could also be a great one..

    I can't prove I've had precognitions, but I can testify to them and be

    complexly honest with my experience.

    Isn't this a start?

  9. Never been tested, empaths are honest, even if you don't like the answer.

    I detect a reaction around live crystals,some call the sensitive.

    As long as I feel this reaction, I will get it RIGHT every time.

    I don't practice being wrong,I practice being right

    you can shuffle it as many times as you want, I will find it,

    by placing my third eye directly over each one..

    The trick is, that it isn't a trick.This is what I can do to demonstrate

    my sixth sense.

  10. Man…he's back? ::Sigh::

    Damnit, Dmon, you've distracted people from my humourous comment above! Now how will I ever receive the validation I crave from the faceless, nameless millions of the interwubs??

  11. Expatria, you're lucky. The musical about my life is probably "Les miserables". At least, that's what it feels like on an interpersonal level. Luckily I haven't been in any industrial accidents (yet).

  12. Sadly, ExPat, he never left. I'll go back to sending his comments straight to the trash, I think.

    Mikal,, you didn't answer my question about your level of accuracy. Test yourself first. If you pick the right sphere 90% of the time, then I might actually care. Otherwise, don't waste my time.

  13. I believe the best pickup line for Rebecca nowadays would be, "Stab me in the face if I'm wrong, but isn't it about 12:30?" Or perhaps, "I have a live crystal in one of my pockets, why don't you use your third eye and find it…with 33% accuracy?"

    Come on…I smell t-shirts!

  14. Hmm. I'm detecting the smell of T-shirts as well…I think it's time for another pick-up line contest! Last time we did Evolution/Darwin-centered lines…I think this time we need to go the opposite route and look for skeptical or woo-mocking pick-up lines. Wouldn't that just be an EXCELLENT way to generate buzz for Rebecca's upcoming radio endeavors?

  15. How about:

    Guy: What's your sign?

    Rebecca: Caution.

    Guy: But obviously, you didn't heed the warning. You should have ducked.

    Actually, thanks to someone on the blog (Blake Stacey?) I can now correctly answer the question "what's your sign" with "ophiuchus". Before, I would have answered with "Exit" or "Yield".

  16. Hello BigHeathenMike, 33% is not an insignificant amount for anything

    and you are also putting words in my mouth, because I said over 50% accuracy on pure skill, not guessing.

    however your more than welcome to try yourself.

    SHOW ME how easy it is..

    No offense,I learned that you guys talk a good game,

    but can't back it up..

  17. I have some jokes..

    Rebecca: i don't believe in Psychic

    Mikal:How many have yo meet

    Rebecca:None, they were all fake

    Mikal:I'm psychic

    Rebecca:not unless you're psychic 100% of the time

    I'm an expert..

    Joke 2

    Rebecca: I don't believe in Superman

    Superman: I can fly and everything

    Rebecca: unless you talk to fish , you can't be superman

    You guys are real funny..

    Take care Mikal Dmon

  18. Mercury,

    We talk a good game but can't back it up?! Are you out of your three-eye-having head? Here's something you can do: start a website and get video of a local news crew testing you (a simple press release should be enough to get some trainee reporter to show up). Then put that up on your aforementioned site and/or on YouTube. Then maybe we can talk about your supposed abilities.

    Until then, you are the one talking big without a shred of evidence that we should take you any more seriously than some crazy person who shows up and says he/she can fly around the town and look in the buildings with x-ray vision.

  19. BigHeathenMike

    As a crazy person who shows up and says he can fly around town and look in the buildings with x-ray vision, I resent your comparison to the odious Mr. Dmon. I may be a bit off my rocker, it's true, but at least I'm not a prat about it.

    Yours, etc.

    Expatria

  20. dseiver, even if an alledged psychic guessed correctly that you were holding up two fingers (a 1 in 5 guess), if they're not merely guessing they should be able to see which fingers, which opens up another 10 possible configurations. That's a 2% chance of being completely right.

    I think anyone who can get an average of about 15 % correct answers would doing very well in that case.

    Of course, if, like Mikal they claim a 100% accuracy rate, bring it on …

  21. Telling crystal from glass? easy.

    Firstly, most crystals are denser than a glass of similar composition, and substantially denser than high alkali glasses in common use.

    Secondly, most crystals are anisotropic, meaning that their index of refraction is a function of crystal orientation. So spinning a crystal infront of a steady background will change the way that [electro-magnetic] "energy is focused" (i.e. that light is diffracted) through that crystal. If you have a polarized light source and good shades, you can observe that an anisotropic crystal will also repolarize the light. So if you really want a good test of crystalline vs glassy, the variable index is the best way to go.

    Incidentally, Waterford crystal, the material most commonly referred to as "crystal", is actually a high Pb glass. This gives it a high (but constant) index, and a high density as well.

    Lab "my sixth sense is physics" Lemming

  22. It makes sense.

    I think a crystal ball made from actual crystal would be quite expensive, because crystals that size are probably not so common.

    On the other hand, using glass with a high lead content will make it very clear and reflect and refract light very colourfully. And it's just a matter of casting an glass sphere and polishing it.

    But yeah, the difference between glass and crystal would be obvious to anyone who's seen both side by side. And as said, the weight would be different too. It's even possible that both materials react differently to temperature changes and humidity (meaning one might remain colder for a longer period, and show a little condensation, while the other doesn't), etc…

    But if you cover them with something, you could put anything spherical underneath. I'd like to see that test, and I'm sure the results would be very close to a 20% hit rate in case of 5 spheres (i.e. random chance).

    I also predict these results will not convince Mikal that he's NOT psychically gifted. He'll figure out some excuse as to why he got the results he did.

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