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Just Dumb

Entry 331, on 2006-05-19 at 11:23:58 (Rating 4, Comments)

I vaguely remember an old TV program about a detective (its years ago and I can't remember the details) who always spoke in a Southern drawl. When he became philosophical he would say something like "you know, the problem with people is no that they are corrupt, or greedy, or evil... its that they're dumb." In general he was quite right.

I watched a documentary last night about how psychics help the police solving crimes. Because of a couple of popular programs on the subject its generally assumed that they are quite successful and that maybe the police even rely on them. I was always skeptical of this, and am a lot more skeptical now.

This particular case involved a father trying to find out what had happened to his adult daughter who had disappeared years ago. Her car had been found, but the police had made no further progress. So he got the help of a psychic, and a camera crew recorded what happened.

It was pure nonsense. On two occasions the psychic said she had strong feelings that she had found a body in a shallow grave. She even said something like: if you move any closer you'll stand on it. After hours of digging, some of it with a mechanical digger, nothing was found. She was totally certain she had found a body yet she was just plain wrong.

She claimed that she often helps police with investigations. But the police said this wasn't true, and challenged her to name one case. She couldn't, of course, and just said something like they don't want people to know about what she does. Who does she think she's fooling with that nonsense?

Contrary to the impression given by the TV programs, there has never been a body discovered by a psychics while the event was recorded on camera. The only so-called successes have been in very doubtful situations, and the facts have been warped beyond recognition.

Its really simple - psychics are fake. Some of them genuinely believe they have a special ability, and have even made themselves believe the delusion. Others are genuine charlatans and just want the fame or money (many charge out their time at well over $100 per hour).

The depressing thing was that even after watching the program, which clearly showed a total lack of success for the psychic and explained how the other programs aren't accurate, still 80% of people who answered a survey on the web site associated with the documentary believed psychics are genuine. As the old detective said: people are just dumb!

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Comment 1 (198) by John on 2006-05-20 at 23:05:50:

I'm surprised that so many people believe in psychics. Sometimes I think you are right about people being dumb!

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