Media Alert: _Contact: Communicating with the Dead_--ABC does Fox.

RobertR

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that group is very much pro-research
Agreed, Jack. It seems there's a different perception of the term "pro-research". Some people seem to think it means "coming up with data to prove this stuff", whereas skeptics think it means "subject claims to rigorous scientific analysis to see if they pass muster". Of course, they don't.

And I'd say James Randi's million-dollar prize to anyone who can prove a paranormal phenomenon is VERY much pro-research.
 

Will_B

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It is my understanding that SCI-COP has a no-research policy, they simply critique other people's research, and discourage others from participating in research. Hence the "SCI-COP" pun - they "police science". They're a brotherhood, essentially - defending against hucksters (which is good) and defending a strict materialist-only paradigm (which is too limited). If I'm mistaken - if they've started to do research, good for them.

I'd still like to see tv shows interview people from different fields, to get a range of input on any subject that is not yet understood.
 

RobertR

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They're a brotherhood, essentially - defending against hucksters (which is good) and defending a strict materialist-only paradigm (which is too limited).
What do you mean by "too limited?". Skeptics use science to address questions. If you're claiming that non-material things (ie spiritual things) can be addressed by science, that is a contradiction (science can ONLY deal with observable, material reality--the idea that science can deal with something that can't be observed or measured in any way is ridiculous). If you're claiming that skeptics should address spiritual questions, again that is ridiculous. It would be like calling a physicist to perform a baptism.
 

DaveF

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What do you mean by "too limited?". Skeptics use science to address questions. If you're claiming that non-material things (ie spiritual things) can be addressed by science, that is a contradiction (science can ONLY deal with observable, material reality--the idea that science can deal with something that can't be observed or measured in any way is ridiculous).
It's not quite that simple. The philosophy of science has some complicated aspects to it. But put simply, scientists (for better or worse) do get tackle philosophy, try and quantify stuff which might not be stuff
and theorize about the immeasurable.
And much science involves things which can't be examined in controlled laboratory experiments e.g. cosmology and origins science.
And then there's the whole realm of the "social sciences" (Psychology), which try and study animal behavior; something which is observable but not necessarily tangible or readily quantified or classified.
Yes, most science fits within the materialistic paradigm. But, it is my understanding that viewing science as wholly grounded in a strictly materialistic paradigm is a debatable premise.
More simply, science involves faith that the universe is a consistent, measureable thing. And that is not provable, measurable, or a material item

Ok, my brain hurts. Time for pizza.
 

Peter McDonald

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I watched some of it, mainly just the Bret Hart part. Obviously it's fake. All those things he seemed to "know" about Bret and his family aren't difficult to find out.

I already knew Owen and Dean had died. I already knew his mother recently died, and I already knew that his family was kind of "split" (Bret has said this before). Mr. Medium said nothing that couldn't be easily discovered over the net.

Peter
 

RobertR

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And then there's the whole realm of the "social sciences" (Psychology), which try and study animal behavior; something which is observable but not necessarily tangible or readily quantified or classified.
They are making a PHYSICAL observation of an animal's behavior (how ELSE can anyone make statements about an animal's behavior other than to observe it MATERIALLY?). Again, a completely material basis.
 

Alan Benson

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Sorry if this cut'n'paste seems lame or self-serving... I thought that maybe some people who like Michael Shermer might not be on his e-mail list... Here's Shermer's e-mail newsletter today about the broadcast:
For those of you who managed to sit through that awful ABC special last night, "Contact: Talking to the Dead," you saw George Anderson, a medium dubbed by the network (on their web page) as the "Edgar Cayce of our time," a man with a true "sixth sense." Of course, for such a prime time special he can't talk to just anyone's dead friends and relatives, he need to talk twaddle with the likes of Vanna White, Mackenzie Phillips, WWF and WCW champion Bret "The Hitman" Hart and the family of murder victim Bonny Lee Bakley who, we are told, apparently did not commit suicide. Now that's a shocker. What's next? Nicole Brown Simpson also didn't kill herself? Quick, call the LAPD!
This must be the psychic specials week, as on Sunday and Tuesday, April 28 and 30th, CBS is running a television miniseries "Living with the Dead," staring Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Jack Palance, Diane Ladd, and Queen Latifah. Then, coming this fall, Van Praagh gets into the TV series act alongside John Edward, with his own syndicated show entitled "Beyond," starting September 16.
Given all the hoopla, I thought I would present once again the section from my book How We Believe, on "Talking Twaddle with the Dead." It explains how psychics talk to the dead, plus the psychology of belief to explain those who buy into this flapdoodle.

He then reprints the article linked here...
I will freely admit that alot of what Shermer does is itself "entertainment," but I personally find his rants both fun and sound...
 

Mike Broadman

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More simply, science involves faith that the universe is a consistent, measureable thing. And that is not provable, measurable, or a material item
In a philosophical sense, yeah, I suppose it's possible for the universe to behave differently. But let's be real. Gravity will not start pushing us off the floor tomorrow. Electromagnetism won't change and start following a left-hand rule.

When scientific research is incorrect, it is due to the ignorance or failure of the researcher. This is part of the process, but it is faulty to confuse the process with the discovery.

To place science and things like astrology on the same footing because, "Heck, we don't really know anything, right?" is lazy and irresponsible, and perpetrated by those who need to find an excuse to push their lies and tarot card books.
 

MickeS

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Mr. Medium said nothing that couldn't be easily discovered over the net.

I'm not defending him, but he was not told in advance who the people were going to be, AFAIK.

He simply asks questions and picks up on the answers, body language and other reactions of the client to make his "contacts" seem real. It also depends on the subjects willingness to believe.

"I sense it's a male, but not your father, understand?"

"He's not your father, but he's LIKE a father, understand?"

"I see the name 'John'..."

/Mike
 

Jack Briggs

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Shermer, who is editor of Skeptical Inquirer and the author of several excellent books--among them, Why People Believe Weird Things--is a much-needed champion of critical thinking in a mostly credulous world.
 

DaveF

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To place science and things like astrology on the same footing
I don't mean to suggest that at all. I'm a scientist, in Optics (lasers, lenses, etc). My research is readily done withing a materialistic framework; philosophy doesn't intrude on my experiments.
But, to describe "science" as a wholly materialistic endeavor is too limited. If a "skeptic" wants to seriously examine "reality", it's necessary, I believe, to understand that even science requires faith.
And if you start looking at cosmology, origins science, quantum mechanics, evolutionary science, and the like, you can quite easily find yourself drawn into questions of philosophy, because the observations suggest strange things about the universe
 

Ken Chan

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even science requires faith
I get what you're saying, but faith is a bad word here; it gives the wrong impression. I would say that science has as one of its basic premises that the universe (shortly after the big bang) is consistent. This is both necessary proceed at all, and better yet, apparently true and proven to be useful. Sure, gravity could reverse itself the moment you read this sentence, but it's not something worth considering, unless you have a lot of free time. Quantum mechanics may seem counter-intuitive to average people, but that doen't make it inconsistent. It sure doesn't feel like the earth is rotating under me as it hurtles around the sun.

Skeptics like Shermer have to be entertaining. No one wants to listen to some boring guy drone on about how mundane the world really is.

//Ken
 

MickeS

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As I see it, the only way to prove that it would be true, would be to bring the medium and the subject into a room, blindfold them, put them back-to-back and let the medium write down everything the dead person communicates, and don't let the subject talk AT ALL.

Do this with 10 or so subjects, then check the accuracy of the results.

I don't know if any medium would be willing to do this.

/Mike
 

DaveF

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Sure, gravity could reverse itself the moment you read this sentence, but it's not something worth considering
It's certainly not something I dwell on daily. But, continuing on my own little sub-thread of metaphysics
I think it's important (if hard) to recognize the unspoken assumptions I make, within my worldview.
As for these mediums: I believe that the vast majority of them are frauds. As for some few -- the universe is a strange place, continually surprising us
 

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