Anti-ScienceSkepticism

The Mystery of Intuition Finally Revealed by Crackpot Author

Recently I’ve been digging into the idea of intuition, particularly the notion that women possess some grand insight that men lack. I wasn’t planning to post a blog entry about it, but this morning I was going through emails looking for something to write about when I opened my Google alert for the word “psychic,” an alert that has often inspired Skepchick posts. Of the five links, two mentioned the word “intuition” in a paranormal sense, implying knowledge gained by supernatural means. One article took it to a whole other level of riduculosity (it’s not a word . . . yet): from the Summit Daily News we have an interview titled Author dispels mystery around intuition.

To be sure, there is an awful lot of mystery that needs dispelling. Let’s see how the author does!

Anne Salisbury, PhD, wrote a book called Eureka!, which she says is your “complete resource for tapping into intuition and improving your personal and work life. The Eureka System delivers to you an easy seven-step process that helps you increase your intuitive abilities and make the right decisions quickly.” Well that sounds promising! Actually, it sounds like self-help claptrap, but I’m willing to give her a chance. After all, she has letters after her name, and it’s possible she’s referring to “intuition” in a way that does not imply paranormal means. For instance, she could mean that intuition is a form of knowledge that we develop over time through our experiences, a hypothesis proposed by some scientists that seems to be backed up by recent research. Let’s move on and see what else she has to say.

SDN:What sparked the writing of this book?
Salisbury: I realized the power of my intuition growing up as a psychic child.

I take it back, she’s a fruitcake.

I’m just kidding of course. I already suspected her fruitcakiness after the intro to the interview, wherein she and her husband are described as “psychic psychotherapists, intuitive business consultants, pet psychics, hypnotherapists, life coaches, intuition experts, educators and speakers on intuition.” How does a person fit that much crazy onto one business card? It boggles the mind. They also “run the Transpersonal Hypnotherapy Institute, which she describes as a distance learning school, along with the Intuitive Advantage, an intuitive consulting firm.”

You may be curious about the PhD she attaches to the end of her name. According to her bio on the Transpersonal Hypnotherapy Institute’s web site, she got her doctoral degree from Greenwich University, with a dissertation on intuition. Wow, Greenwich University is a pretty great school in London. Wait, no . . . that’s the University of Greenwich. Greenwich University is, according to the Australian government, a now-defunct correspondence school that was operating off of Norfolk Island. The helpful Aussies tell us that:

To our knowledge, Greenwich University has never been accredited by any recognised government accreditation authority to deliver higher education awards. It authorises itself to award degrees in its company objects.

They also mention that degrees handed out by the University were lawful under the government of Norfolk Island, the nation of Australia at no time recognized the degrees as valid. They even tell us that in 2002, legislation was enacted to protect the use of the word “university,” overturning the 1998 Greenwich University Act under which this laughable institution was previously allowed to operate. Do you realize that we’re talking about an operation so shady they had their own act named after them? Hilarious! (UPDATE: the former Chancellor of Greenwich University wrote in to correct this fact: all Universities get an Act, so this should read: Do you realize we’re talking about an operation so shady they spurred the Australian government to draft and pass legislation regulating the word “University” more tightly? HILARIOUS!)

On a side note, I’m unable to figure out if that Greenwich University has any relation to this Greenwich University, which is based in Pakistan and presents its credentials on its web site as such:

Educational experience that takes the students beyond their classroom learning’s.

Anyway, back to the interview. For some reason, the interviewer – one Leslie Brefeld, who can be contacted at this address – chose not to bring up any of the above information, in favor of allowing the interviewee to prattle on with a lot of nothing-speak, like this:

The sooner we all start accessing our intuition — our true intuition — for complex decision-making, the more success we will all have as a nation. I’m sure you have heard of paralysis by analysis. Well, after you have done all of your research, then you have to make decisions. That is when your intuition comes into play.

“Paralysis by analysis” sounds like she read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and thought, “Huh, that was pretty vague and sort-of-sciencey-sounding, but I bet I could write it with 90% more bullshit.” She goes on to say in the interview:

So yes, “Eureka!” is a little intellectual, yet you have to start with the facts and satisfy the analytical mind first. The next book, “The Eureka Factor,” out in 2009, will give more stories and focus on the heart. We start with the head and then move with confidence into the heart.

Hearing that it’s “a little intellectual,” I’m suddenly intrigued to read it. I rushed to the web catalog of my local library, but sadly they appear to have never heard of Dr. Salisbury or her crazy book, much like most employers or legitimate institutions of higher learning have never heard of Greenwich University. I guess I’ll just have to miss out on all that intuitive goodness.

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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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11 Comments

  1. This book reminds me of the ever popular Blink. It’s so much easier and less time consuming to go with your gut, so books like these really appeal to people who don’t want the hard work of actually thinking. Sigh.

  2. As someone who is currently working on his PhD I have a serious dislike for people who use un-earned letters to support their ridiculous bullshit. Particularly Gillian McKeith, who I could happily see skull-fucked to death by panthers.

  3. Well, technically there isn’t really a species called the “panther”. It’s a synonym used for the totally (or almost) black variant of various species such as cougers, leopards, or jaguars.
    In essence, there are plenty or panthers to go around and there will certainlly be some with a wierd fetish for scraggely mummified corpses with fecophiliac tendencies

  4. @LBB: Well in honor of skepticism, let’s take a look at the evidence! :D

    In my comment I said that I wanted in on “..McKeith being skull-fucked..” (therefore making it clear that it’s not ME who’s on the receiving end of the feline phalus).

    I also said “..by panthers..”, and although I concede that literate, blogging panthers are a growing minority these days… I think it’s safe to assume that I am not one of them! :P

    Henceforth, through the methods of critical analysis and deduction, we can come to the conclusion that I wanted to watch the scam artist getting what she deserves!

    (Disclaimer: Any intense and seemingly sadistic feelings of dislike towards Gillian McKeith presented by Jamalam in this or any other comment have been grossly exaggerated in the interests of comedy and free self-expression)

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