Saturday 23 June 2012

Richard Wiseman- Skeptocrat

Prof. Richard Wiseman has stated in a TV interview that he would like to see psychic mediums "legislated" and "regulated", see: . This is a very poor interview indeed; one-sided in the extreme. The programme is not necessarily obliged to provide another guest to give the other side of the story, but they could have had the presenters ask better questions! All Wiseman did was outline the points he made in his book Paranormality; see here for my HPANWO review of it: .   

It looks as if we're sleepwalking into a "Skeptocracy", a terrifying Orwellian scenario in which the will of the Skeptic Movement supersedes political democracy and is imposed on the sound-minded adult population of Britain, oblivious to our freedom-of-choice. I first came across this issue way back in 2007 when this thread appeared on the JREF Forum, discussing abandoned legislation enforced on psychic mediums by the city council in Philadelphia, USA: (As the archaic UK Witchcraft Act was dusted off to deal with the medium Helen Duncan in the 1940's) I immediately jumped into the fray; as you'll probably guess I'm "Porterboy". As always the dominant Skepperist membership used Skepdebating tactics which I found very frustrating and very difficult to deal with. (I've done an analysis of these tactics here: ) After leaving and coming back a few times I think I made my point. The "licensing" and "regulation" of psychics is simply a euphemism for suppression and restriction. This is ironic because very few psychic-believers I know of wish to regulate and restrict the activities of Skeptics. I personally would leap to the Skeptics' defence if this ever took place. Also, historically, it was Skeptics themselves who, like everybody in the scientific community, were on the receiving end of persecution during the centuries of Christian theocracy. It's sad therefore that Skeppers' cries for freedom of speech, human rights and civil liberties swiftly go silent when they move over to the prosecutor’s bench. Don't be fooled by the platitudes the JREF-members make like: "Psychics can still operate; they just won't be allowed to charge customers". They know very well that such a law would destroy the psychic industry as we know it, and this is their intention. I almost used a much harsher word in the title of this article to describe Richard Wiseman.

The justification for the Skeptic position is that they claim psychic mediums have never passed properly-designed experimental tests to see if their psychic powers are real. This is not the opinion of every scientist who has ever studied psychic mediums; in fact some claim that some psychics are indeed really psychic. However the Skeptic Movement has this self-image in which it has the right to speak for all science. This is false. To be a Skeptic is an ideological position, not a scientific one. This is Oxford Skeptics in the Pub's description of what a Skeptic is: “A skeptic is one who… rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims… A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves". But this is not a description at all, this is a slogan. There are many people who use science and reason, including many highly qualified and experienced scientists, who would not be described as Skeptics; in fact they’re usually labeled “believers” (and would probably oppose these new anti-psychic laws). Then again there are people who know nothing about science and never use its methods who say things like: “Nah, I don’t believe in all that crap! There ain’t no such things as ghosts or UFO’s. It’s all in yer head innit?” Yet this person would be described as a Skeptic. So it’s impossible to avoid the fact that it is opinions and conclusions about certain subjects that separate the people called “Skeptics” from those called “believers” or “non-Skeptics” and nothing else; not methods, not science, not education, not qualification; see here for more details: . Yet it is this falsehood that is being used to justify the Skeptocracy! It's not just a local problem in Philadelphia either; it's spreading further, see:  and: .

The argument about whether psychics and mediums are genuine or all charlatans is not the issue here. The issue is civil liberties, freedom-to-worship and human sovereignty. We hear a lot about these issues in the media at present relating to people who've chosen to reject belief in anything supernatural, but how about those who have not? We all have a right to hear both sides of the story before deciding whether we, as free sovereign adult men and women, personally think psychic mediums are real or not, and whether we want to pay them for their services. The decision has to be ours alone whether we do so or not.

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