The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Psychics on CBS News: Epic Fail

Posted by mattusmaximus on April 19, 2009

**Note: For more background on this topic, see previous posts Psychic Failure in Investment Scams and Psychic Parasites.

I just watched a fluff-piece on CBS News, and I think you’ll just have to watch it for yourself before reading my comments on it…

Notice, in the reporting there was not one hint of skepticism about these self-proclaimed psychics and their woo. Even worse, there was a hint of argument from popularity in that report where the reporter stated that in these tough economic times even more and more people are going to psychics for advice – with the implication that if more people are doing it, then there must be something to it.

Save your money, folks. Whether or not they truly believe in their powers, psychics are just pseudoscientific woo-mongers… this phenomenon is nothing more than a mixture of cold reading by the psychic & wishful thinking on the part of the person seeking advice (and sometimes by the psychic themselves).

It’s easy to become a supposed “psychic with paranormal powers” – just look at how skeptic Michael Shermer turned himself into one, and fooled a lot of people, in just a day. His story is called Psychic for a Day: How I Learned Tarot Cards, Palm Reading, Astrology, and Mediumship in 24 Hours, and it is a very revealing look into how many people not only allow themselves to be fooled, but actively want to be fooled.

I swear, sometimes I think that if I wanted to make a boatload of money and didn’t care about my scruples, I’d become a psychic, make stuff up out of whole cloth, tell people what they want to hear, and lie to them for money, too.

So, long story short, CBS “News” gets a big epically failing grade for crappy journalism. With TV coverage like that, no wonder these psychic scumbags continue to do good business.

One Response to “Psychics on CBS News: Epic Fail”

  1. […] mattusmaximus put an intriguing blog post on Psychics on CBS News: Epic Fail « The Skeptical TeacherHere’s a quick excerptThe BBC 4 radio channel just aired a program with Brian talking about Carl Sagan, and it’s terrific. Beautifully done, with personal insights, quotations, and interviews with Sagan, it’s well worth an hour […] … […]

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