Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 9.28

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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27 Comments

  1. “How ignorant about religion are religious people? – Staggeringly little ”

    Don’t you mean, “how much do religious people know about religion”? There’s a bit of a difference, and it fits your comment better.

  2. I’m all for regulating fortune tellers.

    My wife had a reading done by a psychic at a Renaissance festival last year, and the guy told her that she might have a gluten allergy. This year, he told her that she should be taking aspirin to increase fertility.

    Should a psychic be operating at a Renaissance fair? Sure. Why not? There were several fortune tellers operating there, with various degrees of seriousness, and it was a marginally accurate Renaissance activity. Should Renaissance fair psychics, or “real” psychics for that matter be dispensing medical advice? Fuck no!

    But try telling my wife that.

    So yes, if psychics are going to operate, they ought to be regulated so that this sort of thing can be actively discouraged.

  3. It doesn’t surprise me. Most of them believe what they are told by religious or orhter authorities, rather than read their own ‘holy’ books and think/question. It’s easier for them that way, but it tends to make them into obedient little drones that may or may not be following their creed’s true beliefs. It also opens up way too much space for abuse by the religious authorities to “program” them, so to speak.
    I think this was one reason the Catholic hierarchy resisted translating the Bible into the vernacular. They were afraid the peons would misunderstand it, but they also realized it would open up their stances to questions they’d rather not answer.

  4. I think I may have discovered a new career. Forget academia, I will now make a living by suing the journals which reject my research papers for “wrongfully raising the standard of scientific evidence”. Who needs to perform tedious research and vet all my findings when I can just throw something together in a day and win a couple million off the suit?

  5. I saw the Guardian article linked from NPR Science Friday on Facebook- the comments there were right in the spirit of the article. My favorite:

    “This is an off-topic remark, attempting to tie the new scientific finding to my own pet issue, in which I will abuse previous posters for their lack of comment upon said issue, a lack which is obviously caused by their low intelligence/moral standing.”

  6. @Danarra: Me too! Actually, I got credit for the last 6 questions, but “not answered” for the 1st 8. Also they tricked me by displaying “Our server is down, try again later” after question 10, then when I clicked reload, it displayed question 11, which was worded almost exactly the same way as 10, so I just clicked the answer without reading it, thinking it was the same question, and got it wrong even though I knew the answer. Hell, I took the course in course in comparative religions in Jr High, where we did study the Bible (or some of it) as literature, along with lots of other religious texts. I would have paid lots more attention if I thought it was illegal!

  7. @scribe999: The ones who feel it’s their prerogative to dispense medical advice; yes, I think I could get behind that.

    @Buzz Parsec: They can be competent at cold reading. That doesn’t bother me. If they’re honest about it being cold reading, or at least blatantly obvious, even better. My big thing, though, lately, is that they typically shouldn’t be dispensing medical advice.

  8. @Peregrine: I cited cold reading, because that’s the only skill a psychic could be competent at. If the licensing is supposed to separate the competent psychics from the frauds, what other aspect could be tested? (Okay, I know they are trying to separate the conscious hucksters from the naive true believers, but what’s the point?)

  9. @lisavilisa: Here you go

    @Buzz Parsec: Nagh; just hire some hot, young, New Age hippie chick to handle all the front counter stuff for you. I think you’ll find it really adds to the ambiance of the whole “psychic” experience.

    Also, it helps if she has a name like “Moonstar” or “Nightshade”, or something like that. Or if she doesn’t, if she’s willing to adopt a stage name on-the-job.

    Also, as an added bonus, hippies know where to score the best weed.

  10. Ha! I just got kicked off an online consumer questionnaire when I told them I “would not consider alternative herbal or homeopathic treatment for a cold or flu”. Good to know some company has hired a marketing firm to assess their consumer base.

    Re: The psychic thing – there are some people who are excellent at cold readings who don’t have the slightest idea that that’s what they’re doing. They really believe.

    There are others – John Edward springs to mind -who are barely competent at cold reading; watching him once on TV, I was astounded that the audience didn’t pick up his transparent errors and fumbling groping for someone to respond to his blather.

    OTOH, I fully believe in my own ability to prognosticate. Every time I warned the Offspring that he’d be sorry if he did/didn’t do something, he was.

  11. How can anyone here take Pew seriously. Have you looked into who they are, who they represent and who funds them? Sun Oil money, ultra right wing agenda couched in the nicest, kindest terms, pretending to be environmentalist, pretending all sorts of things. “Trust” Magazine!

  12. So my mother finally died from her metastatic cancer last week (not looking for sympathy – it’s been pouring in from friends and family all over, just telling a story here), and a few days before she died, the priest from the church where we held her Roman Catholic funeral mass offered to come down and give her the Sacrament of the Sick (aka Extreme Unction, aka the Last Rites). Being far less Catholic than my parents (we stopped going before I was 4), I didn’t realize that the confession and communion he offered her as well were a separate thing. I know a few priests and that always seems to be bundled together when they visit home hospice patients, so I just thought that was part of the process. I now know that isn’t the case.

    So after the funeral, one of my sister’s friends – who says she’s VERY Catholic – didn’t understand why my SIL was comforted to know that my Mom had confessed and received communion on top of the Sacrament of the Sick. This woman was confused and didn’t understand the significance of the rites (you know, some of the major ones of the RC religion).

    I – who had to be nudged by my family to know when to go up and say my reading because I had no idea when that had to happen in the cycle of the mass (a.k.a. “The Catholic Olympics” of the kneel-sit-stand sequence of a Mass) – had to explain to her the significance of the three rites.

    So nice to know that people who browbeat you about their religion understand its’ major rites and symbolism.

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