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The Psychology of the Skeptic

Discuss PseudoSkeptics and their Fallacies. Share strategies for debating them.

Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby ProfWag » 07 Oct 2011, 02:47

craig weiler wrote:Arouet,
I do read what you write and you make unfounded assumptions. You immediately look for ways that getting psychic readings could be bad for people and do not consider that they could be good. You are taking statements, such as psychics doing counseling and assuming that you understand them in their entirety. I don't think that you understand counseling very well either, based on your statements.

Psychics, unless they are complete idiots, (and some of them are, they're like people that way) do not normally give advice, but rather provide information on the understanding that they are reporting on tendencies that people can change. It is up to the client to decide what to do with that information. They normally cover areas of the most interest to people: health, relationships, career, etc. Most people have one area that they are struggling with, some people have two. A psychic reading is not going to change that either for the better or the worse.

If people come with a problem and want actual counseling, about all a psychic can do is listen and that's what normally happens. Worse case, no change. It's up to the client to decide how they want to spend their time with the psychic and if they want to spill their guts so to speak, there's not much to do except go along with it. The people who seriously need counseling? More often than not, they're seeing a counselor already.

As far as advice goes, it is the rare person who takes anyone else's advice, even if they're paying for it. So that's not much of an issue. People are perfectly capable of blowing off advice that they don't want besides.

Once in a while people come to psychics because they are very psychically sensitive, but don't know anything about it and are completely freaked out. Psychics can help them feel normal.

really?,
That website is ridiculous.

Soooo, what do you do that's paranormal?
Oh, and I disagree that the site really? posted is ridiculous.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby NinjaPuppy » 07 Oct 2011, 04:15

Arouet wrote:???? Ninja, not sure what you had for breakfast this morning, but I think you're off in the wrong direction today!

Mallomars and coffee for breakfast this morning.
Obviously we're not going to regulate just people who give advice - friends, family, etc.. We're talking about professionals here! People who are paid for their services.

Maybe I have not paid attention to how this whole subject has morphed but I don't see that professionals are under scruitiny here. Psychics are the main topic of concern here. Yes, there are people who consider themselves professional psychics and who are paid for their services. Since Craig W. is someone who can shed some light on this area, he is one of the few people who is willing to give his insight. What any other so called professional does or doesn't do or think or feel isn't an issue. You can't compare Sylvia, et al to another individual. No two psychics are the same. Show people, rip off artists and con men however do pretty much follow the same game plans.

Now a good cold reader??? I don't know much about them. I did download Craig Browning's e-book but I haven't had a chance to give it a read yet. It's been sitting next to my printer for months with other reading material that I hope to get around to in the near future.

Think of these discussion topics like a recipe exchange. Not all of them are going to taste good and some will even make you ill but that doesn't mean it's not acceptable. You've got good cooks and bad cooks and even high paid chefs. Some come by it naturally and some need to learn the trade. All of them can give you food poisoning and even kill ya, either by mistake or intentionally but we still all go to eat out. Life is a friggin' crap shoot no matter what the profession.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby really? » 07 Oct 2011, 04:24

craig weiler wrote:



really?,
That website is ridiculous.


Frankly, that's only an opinion.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Arouet » 07 Oct 2011, 04:33

NinjaPuppy wrote:Maybe I have not paid attention to how this whole subject has morphed but I don't see that professionals are under scruitiny here. Psychics are the main topic of concern here. Yes, there are people who consider themselves professional psychics and who are paid for their services. Since Craig W. is someone who can shed some light on this area, he is one of the few people who is willing to give his insight. What any other so called professional does or doesn't do or think or feel isn't an issue. You can't compare Sylvia, et al to another individual. No two psychics are the same. Show people, rip off artists and con men however do pretty much follow the same game plans.


Craig B has often in this forum compared the work psychics do to counselling or therapy. Craig W just confirmed that they deal with a lot of the same topics as psychotherapists and councillors do. When someone goes to a properly licenced counsellor or psychologist there are protections in place. Not so with unregulated psychics.

Think of these discussion topics like a recipe exchange. Not all of them are going to taste good and some will even make you ill but that doesn't mean it's not acceptable. You've got good cooks and bad cooks and even high paid chefs. Some come by it naturally and some need to learn the trade. All of them can give you food poisoning and even kill ya, either by mistake or intentionally but we still all go to eat out. Life is a friggin' crap shoot no matter what the profession.


We have regulations and licensing etc. to try and push the odds a little better in the client's favour. We put positive duties on professionals to follow certain standards. As Craig B has pointed out these psychics often charge as much or more than other counselling professionals. Yet there are no standards for psychics.

I'm not sure why this is controversial. It's just the facts!
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Craig Browning » 07 Oct 2011, 04:58

Before I respond to the questions I should point out that in the state of Nevada and I believe parts of California, New Mexico, Idaho, Oregon & Washington state psychics are licensed after a very deep background check that include FBI and now days Homeland Security. It cost a small fortune to go through this process that sometimes includes a series of tests with psychologist, profilers, etc. The whole process takes a minimum of 9 months.

How many of your clients are repeat customers?

I don’t encourage a lot of repeats on purpose; I don’t want people using me as their security blanket. I believe my role when doing this work is to help people discover their own power – their own way of correcting the things in their life using the tools they have available to them. I will, when the client shows a more chronic sense of instability or distress, point them to local counselors and/or clergy (each case differs) so that they can gain a different kind of perspective. Frequently, I do work in tandem with counselors, including board certified hypnotherapists, psychiatrist, psychologists, and medical doctors.


do two established psychics (Craig B & W) differ on the subject of "real" psychics--i.e. I believe Craig B says something like less than 5% are actually "psychic" whereas Craig W says he's never known a fraud?

I personally believe we agree far more than we disagree, we’ve not taken time to chat during all of this silliness but it would seem that we see things within 85-90% of being the same. . . CW might embrace a higher percentage of folks as “real” simply because he’s not invested 40 years working in professional magic, but few have, especially at the level I’ve been at it.

t exactly would I expect to receive from a reading from both of you? Specifically, do you give financial advice, relationship advice, tell the future, read the past, etc.?

Financial, Legal and Medical advice is taboo and any “psychic” that extends such direction should be questioned if not investigated. This is not to say that I won’t tell a client that I see or feel certain issues in their future pertaining to health (something I’m known for) and at the same time I will aid clients when it comes to situations of theft or loss, even did so for a cop in Reno whose personal car got stolen, which lead to a major bust of a car theft ring based out of Palm Springs.

When it comes to economic issues I rarely have anything to say outside of the trend that seems afoot or scenarios like finding a new job, loosing a job, shifts in a career. I will express caution from time to time when it comes to major investments, relocation, etc.

How specific of answers do you give?

I hate saying it this way but, IT DEPENDS.

No psychic, just like any counselor, is going to connect and cultivate the level of empathy two people need for proper communication, with every person they come across. Too, if a person walks in that’s completely blocked off from the start, there’s very little I can do but hand them a can of generic psychobabble a.k.a. Cold Reading. On the other hand, when I have an open person that simply goes with the flow of life, I’m able to discern different odds and ends about them, sometimes gaining “flashes” of people, places and things in their life that I can ask about that will usually make sense either during the session or shortly thereafter.

There are always those exceptional situations in which things in the Reading aren’t making sense at first and suddenly the client registers on what the information is pertaining to. In one case the cards were showing me information about a long lost love, something about the military, inheritance and a wind fall. The lady absolutely couldn’t identify things at first and then suddenly started sobbing . . . her first fiancé was MIA in Vietnam it was the only tie she ever had to anything military. I told her that in 3 days she’d learn something about him and it involved money going to her. Three days later she called the store where the psychic fair was held raving about my Reading and wanting to reach me – she was awarded a life insurance policy on his death + interest.

I’ve had so many situations of this sort and not one single skeptic can explain the precognitive facts without using the famed “coincidence” cop-out while ignoring the hard hits. Tiz one of the reasons I feel that the majority of skeptics simply don’t want to believe, it’s just part of who they are.

During my last experience, the psychic told me to ask very specific questions for a better reading, do you do the same?

Item specific questions are ok so long as you understand that the information that comes back from a Reading may not fit your version of the issue and may seem light-years off base – the Universe telling us what we need to hear in regards to the “thing” not what we want to hear or hints of what “must” be done, etc. In the case of the car theft ring the client wanted specifics as to where his truck was, the answer was Palm Springs. It was meant for him to find this connection which lead him to connect with a special investigation squad studying car thefts in Nevada tied to southern California. The answer I gave became a catalyst that helped solve a much bigger issue.

Do you find you give better readings when the client opens up before hand about their life?

NO!

I deliberately want to know nothing about a client prior to a standard Reading. After my first session (what’s referred to in the trade as a “Cold Reading”. . . the true meaning of the term) I will “up-sell” them by asking them to complete a client card which gives me their full name, date of birth, and of course standard contact data. What folks rarely consider is that I get a copy of their handwriting too. The collection of information allows me to use legit tools of the psychic trade for completing a file on each client i.e. their numerology, astrology and graphology + notes from the session itself. As best I can tell I’m doing little other than any therapist would do and nothing covert; just relying on the tools of my trade so I can better serve the client on their next visit. . .

. . . and before you jump on that. . . yes, clients do return. . .

I don’t encourage any form of codependency but I don’t discourage return visits was a patron might wish to do initially. I do set my foot down however after the third visit if they have seen me within a six week period 3 different times. I don’t want to see people more than once every three months, preferably every six; it takes time for energy to change and thus, for circumstances to unfold. Such things are likewise based on the client’s own choices; what they do and don’t do.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Craig Browning » 07 Oct 2011, 05:03

ProfWag wrote:
Craig Browning wrote:As to all those nasty things listed above that psychics are "known for" you can't point to a single industry that the same kinds of things can't be said about, especially when it comes to the world of finance and big $$$ -- same horse, different color.

So that makes it okay to advertise and collect money for something you may not be? I agree that there are asses all over the place, as I've stated before, but that doesn't make it okay in my mind. And, like Arouet said, most of those industries are regulated. Just ask Bernie Madoff, Kenneth Lay, or Martha Stewart.


But who says I am not what I claim to be?

You may not believe what I claim I am or you may understand it differently than I do, but that does not mean my claims are wrong, immoral or any other such thing. If and when a "wrong" exists with my work is when I trespass and attempt to manipulate the lives of others in ways that cost them emotionally and/or financially. I can assure you that no one that I've ever done a Reading for will state that I'm guilty of any of these things. In fact, there are several that will state that I helped them get away of such predators and recognize that they don't need to rely on any kind of mediator unless they really need confirmation or clarity on things.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby craig weiler » 07 Oct 2011, 07:43

Did any of you skepics actually read the article I posted? Just curious.
A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Arouet » 07 Oct 2011, 08:04

While I won't pretend to have studied it, I did skim it over.

I think McLuhan buys into some stereotypes and impressions, but he came close to hitting one of my key points when he wrote:

I'm sure that this is not exclusive to sceptics - I've observed it in myself, although much less now than I used to - and I suspect it happens on both sides of all sorts of controversies. Nevertheless an unwillingness to engage with the opposition does seem especially characteristic of militant sceptics of the paranormal.


And the following paragraphs exhorting the reader to try and understand the other side.

I know you disagree with me Craig, but having spent quite a bit of time now conversing with various skeptics and proponents I am less and less convinced that we are all that different. I think we'd get a lot more done if we recognized that. It's not surprising - we're all people after all!
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby craig weiler » 07 Oct 2011, 09:22

Arouet,
You have never actually engaged me. You would need to trust me for that to happen, and you clearly don't. You have never seen anything from my side that I have been able to discern and I don't know if you're capable of it. Your reasonableness is only pretense. You're not actually reasonable in these debates. Just biased.

Even as I write this, I am certain that you will not have even a moment of retrospection over this, instead, you'll resort to asking me for examples so that you can nit pick them and defend yourself. But you'll miss the point: no one can show your deep biases to you; you have to look for them. It is a truth that you can only see by looking within and overcoming the immense cognitive dissonance that will result from that decision.

I have experienced strong cognitive dissonance many times as I was growing up. I got good at recognizing the symptoms in myself. It is the greatest mental and spiritual challenge a person can face; it takes great courage because the ego puts up a tremendous fight and in the end the outcome is utterly humiliating. But there is no intellectual or spiritual growth if you cannot do this.

Your skepticism is deeply biased. Can you see the truth in that statement?
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Arouet » 07 Oct 2011, 09:56

Craig, we all have our biases. Even you.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby ProfWag » 07 Oct 2011, 20:43

Craig B, I sincerely appreciate your time and honesty in answering the questions. It opened some thought for me.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Craig Browning » 07 Oct 2011, 23:29

ProfWag wrote:Craig B, I sincerely appreciate your time and honesty in answering the questions. It opened some thought for me.


You know me, my goal is always that of finding common ground. Arouet I believe it was, said it earlier, about how much closer most of us actually are than not, regardless of "sides". My view has always been "same thing, different terms and perspectives based on where one stands to look at an issue". This latter point being why I keep pointing folks to that little "challenge" of mine (and it's not nearly as time involved as some have implied -- 10-20 minutes in the morning and in the evening prior to going to bed, that's about it -- the reading time can be done while sitting upon thy throne. . . which is about the only way I ever get any reading done :oops: )
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby _Ice_Ages_14_Aces_ » 14 Oct 2011, 15:25

craig weiler,

I strongly agree with Arouet's conclusion that we are all biased and I am unfortunately a bit disappointed that you accused Arouet as being horrendously biased when sadly, you failed to realize your blind-spot (which is known as a special pleading argument)

Bias exists in all subjective judgement: aren't you biased against gay marriages, legalize marijuana, etc? I am, hence I'm biased...

The only way bias is eliminated, if not minimized, is by the use of blind and automated methods.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Craig Browning » 15 Oct 2011, 01:34

NOTE: I tried to post to this thread earlier and it didn't take for some reason, so if you find a "duplicate" laying around, just get rid of it.

I strongly agree with Arouet's conclusion that we are all biased and I am unfortunately a bit disappointed that you accused Arouet as being horrendously biased when sadly, you failed to realize your blind-spot (which is known as a special pleading argument)


Actually Arouet is one of the more cynical individuals on this forum even though he does seem to be reconsidering some of the things I’ve tabled a few dozen times in the past year or so; seeing things differently I guess you could say. As to Craig W or even my own “bias” well of course we are and defensively so given the attitudes and stigma we face on a daily basis. Skeptics NEVER stop and consider how much they wreck lives, cause horrid psychological and emotional damage, let alone how their double-standards condone one group of doing things exactly in the same way as the people they condemn do it and how that creates confusion & frustration in the minds of both, the consumer as well as the practitioner (seems that every time we do things to counter your excuses & arguments, such as getting “legit” counseling certification, you reinvent the debate). So yes, we are on the defensive for just reason.

The only way bias is eliminated, if not minimized, is by the use of blind and automated methods.


This is a great Mythconception in that any test can be cheated and any set of finding, changed. Not only have skeptics been caught red-handed making such “adjustments” but it is done daily in the Market & Research industry, advertising, even in the practice of legal action, medical services, and more. If this weren’t true we would not have a large contingency of scientists that are financially dependent on their sponsors from within the Petroleum, Chemical, Coal and Plastics industries (to name a few) arguing against a climate change situation here on Krypton that the majority of the world’s researchers are raising massive alarms over. . . and I do believe the Kryptonian analogy is far more on mark than some might be willing to accept. . . then again, there’s Noah and his little boat and how that tale rings similar bells.

No, I’m don’t believe in “fairy tales” but the essence of their wisdom; even ardent atheist can’t detract from such things when it comes to scriptures.


Bias exists in all subjective judgement: aren't you biased against gay marriages, legalize marijuana, etc? I am, hence I'm biased...


No, you’re not “biased” you’re a homophobic bigot and I’m willing to bet you have never realized that there are over 1,500 known species on the planet that are known for same sex pairing or that certain species literally change gender based on population counts in a given region, or even that some species have the male carrying the off-spring to term, etc, etc. I’m always amazed by the selfish arrogance of people who take this position while ignoring the realities of their own heterosexual world, its perversity and lack of respect for the marital union, etc. Your hypocrisy is the very thing that will eventually force society to recognize something that is just as innocent and valid as most of us romanticize “Love” and “Wedded Bliss” being.

I find it rare that someone who isn’t “of the faith” to take this position and most who do tend to have latent homosexual feelings. . . most typically, when psycho-analyzed. But I’m certain you’re familiar with the research on Gay Bashers and bullies.

When it comes to the Marijuana issue I’m betting yet again, you are unstudied on the facts and how it goes far beyond the right to smoke & grow or even the medicinal value of the weed. It is a renewable energy source for which there is no physical waste product once processed; its fibers being exceptionally strong and practical for everything from Paper & Rope making to the production of exceptionally fine fabrics, all of which are profit bearing industries this nation could excel in but refuses to because of the social bias cast on this plant in the 1920s.

Abuse of pot is not unlike that of booze, pharmaceutical drugs, food, sex or any number of things human beings use to “fill the void” in their lives. As an elixir however the sale of marijuana would give this nation a Tax boost that would go a very long way to filling that massive pit a certain Texan created for us during the early years of this century. Imagine that, new taxes without screwing the rich! Hell, legalization would give the rich a whole new tool by which to control and subdue the population; especially during the current up-rising we are seeing on the horizon.

You sir, must be a self-made man. . .
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Arouet » 15 Oct 2011, 01:48

Craig Browning wrote:Actually Arouet is one of the more cynical individuals on this forum


Cynical? I don't think so. What definition are you using?

Skeptics NEVER stop and consider how much they wreck lives, cause horrid psychological and emotional damage, let alone how their double-standards condone one group of doing things exactly in the same way as the people they condemn do it and how that creates confusion & frustration in the minds of both, the consumer as well as the practitioner (seems that every time we do things to counter your excuses & arguments, such as getting “legit” counseling certification, you reinvent the debate). So yes, we are on the defensive for just reason.


While I don't like your use of NEVER (why make such a generalization?) I do agree that some skeptics are overly harsh in their criticism of others and don't take into account that these are deeply cherished beliefs by some people.

As for the lives wrecked by skeptics along with horrid psychological and emotional damage? I'd ask you to justify that but I know you don't like to show references! :twisted:

I also agree that some skeptics are hypocrtical.
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