'When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.'

Amy Bruni Has A Point…

I used to identify as part of “the skeptic movement” but after a lot of consideration I stopped doing so after being unable to agree with the actions many took in the name of “skepticism” which, for me, has always been more of a methodology than anything else. I wrote about this a while ago here. Recently, Amy Bruni- who used to be on the US hit television show Ghost Hunters –made a post on her Facebook page that reprimands skeptics for their behaviour. It was (I believe) because the Guerilla Skeptics (GS) group recently made information public (here and here) about a number of undercover stings they did on Chip Coffey who claims to be psychic.

Bruni said

I don’t see people who believe in paranormal and psychic phenomena accosting “skeptics” at their conventions and gathering – or posting constant blogs and forums about how skepticism is terrible.

Strangely enough, we really don’t care what their belief system is – because it is their right. And personally, I don’t care or have to justify what I believe to someone else. So, why do they feel the need to constantly bash what we do?

So, why do they feel the need to constantly bash what we do? Arrange “guerrilla stings” on psychic and paranormal conventions? I mean – puh-lease, you must have something better to do. Truly – there’s a while lot of bad in this world. And if your “cause” is to take on people whose thoughts on fide and existence are different from yours (but causing you no harm), I think it’s time you take a little look at yourself.

Some people have (rightly) pointed out that Bruni doesn’t seem to understand what skepticism is in this rant and is using the behaviour of a few bad eggs to dismiss a whole methodology. However, she has since made a clarification that suggests the above was written out of anger and that she does actually understand rational inquiry perfectly well. She says

Critical thinking IS severely lacking in this field and it makes us easy targets. Which brings me back to my original post. Again, I have nothing against skeptics in general – but I do have everything against the methods some are employing and the fact they are attacking people who I love and trust intensely.

I hear you, Amy. It seems to me that Bruni isn’t suggesting for a minute that Coffey has the right to not have his claims questioned. Her issue is with the way in which the GS went about doing so.

Psychics in general routinely refuse to have their abilities tested in controlled conditions that would rule out positive hits being the result of chance. The results of their public readings often suggest they could be using other non-paranormal techniques and that warrants further questioning. I personally admire the research into psychics that the Good Thinking Society does and inspires others to do. They go to a show and report on what they see as an audience member. In recent years this method alone- with no stings or intentional misleading involved -has shed light on techniques that Sally Morgan might be using at her psychic shows simply through the power of observation… methods that some audience members report she has since occasionally stopped using so much.

That’s pretty powerful.

I have written previously about my concerns with the actions of the GS which you can read here and here. The GS claim that they’re not trying to change the minds of the people who already believe in Chip Coffey and his paranormal abilities and that they’re just trying to educate the general public… but I’d like to politely suggest that they’re doing nothing more than shouting into an already noisy echo chamber and serving their own interests. Both of their stings provided us with no new information, by the way, so although using tricks to exposure scams can work (Randi exposing Popoff, for example) I think it’s important to make sure the ends justify the means…

As someone who uses rational inquiry to investigate paranormal claims and the strange experiences that people report having I’d stand with Amy Bruni and Chip Coffey believers any day rather than associate myself with “skeptic activists” who don’t seem able to see past their own noses. It isn’t always about being right and it isn’t always about point scoring. There’s a whole human side (dare I say humanist side?) to being involved in paranormal research that so many people miss and that’s pretty tragic, don’t you think?


  1. Michelle Kennedy

    18 February, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I would stand with Amy and Chip any day. As for those bashing skeptics, some are afraid they might be proven wrong, afraid of the truth, so they get louder and louder and serving no purpose. As for me ? Yes i do believe, I have had my own experiences, 1 was scary, 1 was comforting cause it was my grandma who had just passed, it has been years now, but i still miss her like crazy.

  2. Rational Inquiry two words strung together ra•tion•al adjective; rational based on or in accordance with reason or logic. in•quir•y noun; an act of asking for information. In short rational based information. I understand these two words and have little problem understanding their meanings. So I suppose my question is this. Who in the distant past decided for all of us what is rational? What is logical? At one time it was considered rational to think the earth was flat. It was logical to believe that one could sail a ship off the earth and into oblivion. I could go on and on with examples of what we once considered rational and logical truths, but after much thought and you guessed it rational inquiry I’ve decided that it has nothing to do with these two simple words and much more to do with what we as a society deem it is permissible to believe. Do we restrict ourselves from believing outside of the preformed box because we’re afraid of what we don’t understand or is it a simple case of arrogance? I suppose it could be both. We are the infants of the universe, children struggling to understand the world in which we live. I think it’s a little premature to pour preconceived notions of what we think is possible or impossible into molds and let them dry. There is so much we have yet to learn. I think Socrates said it best when he said “I know that I know nothing.”

    • Well, scientific scepticism is about questioning whether claims are supported by empirical research and have a good quality of evidence to support them. The scientific process is all about examining new information and updating conclusions if the information suggests the conclusion is wrong – that’s why although we used to think the earth was flat we now know that not to be correct.

      The personal truths that people hold tend to be a result of personal bias and confirmation bias, and also- when it comes to paranormal ideas -logical fallacies.

  3. Yeah, It IS about being right. Since nobody has EVER produced evidence that these people can do what they pretend they can then it IS about being right and informing the public don’t to take such things seriously UNTIL it is actually proven that these people are capable of doing what they promise. So far nobody’s been able to do that.

    So go ahead and continue into the research of the paranormal but until any of this gets shown to be more than the wishful thinking of gullible people or the outright deception of scammers then I say we continue to shine a light on such fakes.

    Personal experience doesn’t cut it for me. Our mind is capable of believing many things but that makes it no more true. This goes for religion as much as Bigfoot and Ghosts. We are not sure what we see so our minds fill in the blanks

    Take this woman for example. She’s a new “faith healer” that just popped up this year…. Should I be thinking about her “human” side or the fact that she’s a fraud and a scammer??

    • Hi Alan,

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I use scientific scepticism and rational inquiry to research alleged paranormal occurrences with the aim of finding the rational causes, so I know all about how evidence works and how confirmation bias can influence how we interpret our experiences… but thank you for trying to demonstrate it to me through the use of misplaced capital letters.

      Oh, by the way, you’re over-simplifying the situation by saying things are either real or fake. It could also be the case that people genuinely believe they have a paranormal ability when they don’t and aren’t intentionally misleading people. You have to take it on a case by case basis. If you have evidence that someone is scamming others then that’s GREAT and I hope that you’d take it to the right authorities or media outlets to spread the word. I, on the other hand, was talking about the people who may get misled by people claiming to be psychic and the human stories behind their belief which many people are quite happy to dismiss out of hand. Ho hum.

  4. As a Psychologist I value empirical research it is the back-bone of our discipline. A central theme of science and scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or at least empirically based, that is, it should depend on evidence or results that can be observed by our senses. It should be noted that scientific statements are subject to and derived from our experience or observations and empirical data is based on both observations and experiment results.
    In the process of accepting or disproving any hypothesis, facts (evidence) are coupled with inference which is the act of deriving a conclusion on the basis of observations or experiment. However, scientific evidence or empirical evidence is evidence where evidence does depend on inference thus it enables other researchers to examine the assumptions or hypothesis employed to see if facts are relevant at all to the support of or counter the hypothesis. In the event this strenuous type of research is applied to paranormal phenomenon and the results disprove the existence of paranormal phenomenon I would have to conclude that you’re hypothesizes that paranormal ideas are logical fallacies is merely a speculative one and not proven by empirical research or empirical evidence.

  5. Hayley, I enjoyed reading your blog today. Keep up the good work, you’re a sane voice in the multitude of those who are clamoring for attention out there. Be well! – Leslie (quiet-one)

  6. aCtuaLLy THis wOuld be mislPlaced capiAl LettErs but I bet you knew that. You seem to know everything.

    And NO, I am NOT (my way of accentuating the word while in text form absent of the nuance of vocal intonation …Ho hum…) “over-simplifying” anything. Something is either true or it is NOT true. It is either real or it is fake. There is no both in this equation. Things can be sometimes real but that is only after finding the rational cause. We both know that the cause has never been the “paranormal” don’t we?

    I guess you missed the point where I said *”of gullible people*…” Thereby already addressing your “aren’t intentionally misleading people”. The point is moot, either someone has proven to actually be able to do what they say or they haven’t. Since we both know they haven’t (maybe they will in the future) then I’ve no problem saying it isn’t real until evidence shows otherwise.

    What’s the different between talking about the scammer or the scammed? Both voluntarily go into it with their eyes open. The only difference is one is dishonest and the other is desperate.

  7. I have had psychic abilities my whole life. I’ve grown up with them. I don’t use them to make money and that’s because, for me, that’s not part of why I’m here. Those that are psychic and earn there living from it are doing nothing wrong but trying to tell those who need uplifting, warning, signs of loved ones passed, things that help those people come to acceptance of their loss and are able to help them move on.

    When someone like Chip Coffee, or the late Sylvia Browne, give a reading and then later it is found that a mistake was made, skeptics stand up and point fingers and say, “There you go, they are nothing but frauds!” There isn’t a human being on earth that doesn’t make a mistake including a psychic but skeptics go out of their way to point fingers at others when they should often be pointing their fingers at themselves. I’m sure that when psychics find out that they’ve erred, it is as devastating to them as it is to the people that they’ve passed their information on to. Mistakes are just that, mistakes. They are not malicious or intended to cause pain; they are simply mistakes.

    There are many things that have forewarned me of things that will come to be. Sometimes it’s just a dream of a walk with a friend and a conversation that will take place in the future and I usually don’t remember the dream until the actual conversation takes place. I have spoken with people that I felt should be warned of something that will come to pass if I felt it was warranted. People can say I’m a fraud but I know that in two cases in recent years, those that I warned took the warning seriously and did something to avoid the situation completely. I gave the warning out of friendship to them. They could have just blown me off but a lot of the people that I worked with at the time had some kind of abilities.

    Skeptics would laugh over something like that and tell me that I’m just making it up. I’ve never made anything up in my life other than writing stories that someday I may get published. Skeptics seem to feel the need to prove that there is no such things as psychic abilities and those that ‘pretend’ to have them are frauds and skeptics want to make sure the world knows that. However, in the end, skeptics have never proved to me or to anyone else that those who have genuine abilities are frauds.

  8. After reading the comment thread here, one side comes across as zealous and dogmatic, the other as rational and open-minded. Alan, thanks for providing such a well-rehearsed example of the type of behavior Amy Bruni was referring to.

    Actual scientific inquiry asks “What is going on here?” and does not dismiss any possible conclusion – even if those conclusions fly in the face of accepted knowledge. Microbiology and bacteriology were originally dismissed as fairy tales, because early researchers asserted that tiny creatures, too small to be seen, were making people sick. Now, antibacterial soap is a mainstay of modern healthcare.

    Who are any of us to say that the investigations being done into the paranormal field won’t follow the same path as microbiology? If you truly believe in knowledge and rational inquiry, you cannot be afraid to ask “What’s really going on here?” and you cannot be afraid to accept whatever answers you get – even if they don’t mesh with your existing belief system. If you can’t – or won’t – do that, you aren’t a skeptic. You’re a zealot.

  9. I think we should tread carefully, even with those who people think deliberately use fraud as part of their game; people can be self-deluded, I’ve been there, you can be using ‘tricks’ but not have any cognition that you are, I’d like to see properly qualified medical doctors in the field of psychiatry examine many of these cases/people…for if they are mentally ill by definition, then they are vulnerable people. Any skeptic who wholly believes that a fraudster must always know they are being a fraud, are not thinking critically.

    As for GS, believers, ‘the enemy’, don’t tend to go round to QED or other gatherings of so-called skeptics and protest or try and beat them into submission because their world-view is counter to their own, if they did wouldn’t any skeptic say they were being illiberal? Why is it different when the aggressors are alleged skeptics and rational thinkers?

    We each have our own right to find our way in life, we wouldn’t walk into the village of a previously uncontacted Amazonian group of indigenous folks, and force them to change their way of life and beliefs: “No, there is no tree spirit, no need to offer food and thanks to the tree…there is no magic potion that will counter the bite of that snake…”, why do we treat our own differently? The evidence is out there, people can choose to look for it and accept it, what I have noticed is that the kind of behaviour by GS actually creates a siege mentality, and adherents of the various metaphysical beliefs become even more entrenched.

    Do people really not have enough going on in their own lives, that they have to keep telling others how to live? Especially, as I have said previously, the targets could be vulnerable and mentally ill…true, some fraudsters do target the mentally ill, but, so far, I have seen not one medical mind trained in and with a successful career in psychiatry address things metaphysical and the mental state of believers and alleged fraudsters. A degree in psychology is not qualification enough to assess the mental fitness of people…

  10. Actually Alan, evidence has been produced, replicated, and published on psi phenomena. In fact science has all but admitted that psi exists, we just don’t know how it works, or why.
    In fact Richard Wiseman drew a patently false conclusion to his research replicating Rupert Sheldrake’s animal psi experiment.
    I applaud your use of the attorneys tactic of “it’s either A or B” but real life isn’t like that. You know that. That’s a way of getting people to fully commit to an idea that is nuanced. There are frauds out there. But there are genuine psychics too. Your argument forces a choice between either they are all genuine or all false. Very few things in science or life is that cut and dried.

  11. I am tired of people bullying other people on the internet. What happened to civil debate, and if you came to a stall, then you just “agreed to disagree”. People seem to be out for blood these days. I agree with Amy when she says “..you must have something better to do. Truly – there’s a while lot of bad in this world. And if your “cause” is to take on people whose thoughts on fide(life?) and existence are different from yours (but causing you no harm), I think it’s time you take a little look at yourself.”

  12. James, I will happily call BullSh*t on your assertion that psi phenomena has been scientifically proven. It has NOT. Feel free to post evidence of such a claim. We’d be more than happy to read it.

    “But there are genuine psychics too.”

    Again, NO there are NOT. The amazing Randy has been offering a MILLION dollars to anyone who can show a legitimate psychic ability. As I’m sure you know, NOBODY has ever claimed the prize. Why is that? It seems that even an honest psychic could use that money to better humanity or the promotion of psychics if they didn’t want to keep it themselves. But imagine that, nobody’s ever achieved that…

    Paranormal or psychic abilities do not exist until proven. It is not the other way around. One doesn’t conclude that something exists until it is proven to exist. And it has NOT.

    • Alan, if you have nothing to add to the conversation then I suggest you take your thoughts and write them elsewhere. You’re not furthering this conversation at all and, if anything, your comments are quite hostile.

    • http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/Parker2003.pdf

      Alan, read this. If this is too heavy I would recommend Dr. Radin’s book “entangled minds”.

      You can continue to ignore evidence and loudly proclaim psi doesn’t exist, it’s a free country. Just so you know you are in the same category as those who still think the earth is flat, that deny evolution as “just a theory”, and antivaxxers.

      Just so you know, it’s not my assertion that psi exists. It’s overwhelming evidence from the scientific community.

    • Also I may add that the Amazing Randi’s challenge is not a scientific experiment. Randi pre screens contestants. Why would he do that if he is certain that psi doesn’t exist? I have given you scientific and academic evidence, and your rebuttal is an entertainer. Try again.

  13. Tricia, “rational and open-minded” people do not accept unproven (dare I say imaginary) things as truth. That is not “rational”. Sure, you’d like to think you and those like you are “rational” because to think otherwise would force you to acknowledge that your not being rational or sensible with your thought process. The rational person will withhold belief in something until evidence is produced that shows otherwise. It is not the other way around.

    As for Amy, I don’t care what Amy has to say. She believes in magic (or at least ghosts and Goblins). I’m going to have to presume you do to… Her opinion means little to me. She is not one of those “rational” people you are speaking about.

    “Actual scientific inquiry asks “What is going on here?”

    So what IS going on here? One doesn’t “conclude” that something exists or give an explanation without evidence. That evidence has not been shown to lead to validating any of these “conclusion” so far. It is perfectly rational to withhold believe in something, even bacteria, until evidence is produced that proves that conclusion. Even early Doctors had to prove their claim before it became accepted that bacteria was indeed the cause of illness.

    Maybe there will come a time when evidence will be produced that shows psychic and paranormal activity is also true but this isn’t that time. No evidence has come forward that upon testing hasn’t been deemed to be from another source so why believe it’s true before that?

    As for Deborah, What you experienced was called “Deja Vu”, the sensation that you’ve dreamed or experienced something before. We all get it from time to time. It’s a memory loop but the mind it feeding that info to you only milliseconds after it happened, giving you the impression that you’ve experienced it before. You cannot alter this perception and if you try that attempt just gets added to the perception. You also cannot stop and foretell the future, by writing down or telling someone what will happen next. You have no control over it. It is just neurons firing in your brain. That is why you don’t recall it until the moment it happens. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    Who are any of us to say that the investigations being done into the paranormal field won’t follow the same path as microbiology?

    It very well may and I encourage investigation, but we both know that most “Investigators” are really just looking for confirmation for something that they believe without proof. The truth is that when real investigators actually do use a rational and scientific mind they always find an alternative cause that is NOT paranormal. Buy hey, keep searching but just don’t tell people that ghosts exist while evidence shows otherwise.

  14. This right here is the whole point though: “I have nothing against skeptics in general — but I do have
    everything against the methods some are employing and the fact they are
    attacking people who I love and trust intensely.”

    She is directly saying “how dare you show me evidence that someone I trust is lying to me”!

    The fact that she trusts someone is apparently proof that this person is absolutely trustworthy and she is insulted by the fact that someone may disagree with her assessment.

    Frauds must be debunked for everyone’s sake. And here, as always, we have victims protecting the frauds and getting rather angry at the people who are actually trying to help.

    As for the very unintelligent comment about not seeing anyone attending skeptics conferences and posting how skepticism is terrible, I just really have to ask: are you joking??? Not only is skepticism attacked whenever possible, but such attacks are, wait for it: WELCOME in the skeptics community. That IS the whole POINT of skepticism, QUESTIONING and DOUBTING, trying to DISprove claims!

    If any of you want to criticize skeptics and their “beliefs” or claims, or criticise skepticism, PLEASE DO, because that is actually what skepticism IS all about. The only way anyone can improve themselves is by rethinking whatever they believe and by being exposed to criticism of said beliefs! That and ONLY that is how TRUE beliefs survive and delusions disappear.

    The fact that you people are always SO insulted when someone criticizes your beliefs, says volumes about those beliefs of yours.

    • Except that the skeptics in question did not gather any evidence. The best they had was “this is what we think he is doing”. That is the argument that true believers in the paranormal use and get crusified for.
      I am skeptical by nature, and I am highly skeptical of celebrity psychics and paranormal researchers. I agree that fraud must be exposed, on both sides of the argument. If Chip Coffee is to be outed as a supposed fraud for 0 evidence and just the hunches of these skeptical investigators, then I would assume skeptics would similarly be outraged by Dr. Wiseman’s supposed debunking of animal psi ( despite the fact that conclusion was not supported by the data and was drawn after only 4 days).
      As you said, it says volumes about skeptical beliefs when skeptics become insulted when people challenge them, or when the draw patently false conclusions, or offer hunches as evidence.

    • “Except that the skeptics in question did not gather any evidence. The best they had was “this is what we think he is doing”. That is the argument that true believers in the paranormal use and get crusified for.”

      This is so not true. Why are yo making such things up?

      How exactly do you imagine them gathering evidence? Yes, they started with “this is what we think he is doing” and then they went and tried to gather evidence for that hypothesis. That is how things are done. What exactly is the problem with that procedure?

      And the difference between them and the “believers in the paranormal” is ONLY that the opinion of these skeptics was based on the tricks other such frauds were proven to be using, while the “believers in the paranormal” have no such data to base their opinions on. Slight difference, wouldn’t you say?

      “I am skeptical by nature, and I am highly skeptical of celebrity psychics and paranormal researchers. I agree that fraud must be exposed, on both sides of the argument.”

      What exactly is the other side of the argument that needs to be debunked, here?

      “If Chip Coffee is to be outed as a supposed fraud for 0 evidence and just the hunches of these skeptical investigators, then I would assume skeptics would similarly be outraged by Dr. Wiseman’s supposed debunking of animal psi (despite the fact that conclusion was not supported by the data and was drawn after only 4 days).”

      Again, you are not making any sense. Chip Coffee is to be outed as an actual fraud because that is what he is. Until he, or someone else, actually proves that there is anything paranormal or supernatural, he remains a fraud. There is no “innocent until proven guilty”, here. This is not the court of law, it is the court of science and reality and things work differently here. You have to prove something before using it or claiming that it is real. Chip Coffee is making claims that he cannot support and is taking money from gullible people, who are therefore victims of his fraud. And he has to be stopped.

      Do you understand the burden of proof? Do you understand that Chip did not meet the burden of proof? Do you understand what that means? Do you also understand that the burden of proof is not on Wiseman, but rather on the liars claiming animal psi? Is all of this really that difficult to understand?

      “As you said, it says volumes about skeptical beliefs when skeptics become insulted when people challenge them, or when the draw patently false conclusions, or offer hunches as evidence.”

      What skeptical beliefs? o.O

      You are, again, not making any sense. Skepticism is not claiming, it is rejecting unsubstantiated claims. Do you understand the difference?

      So, WHEN did any skeptic become insulted by a challenge? PLEASE provide an example of that before you continue to claim that further. Especially because there is no possible way that you can challenge something that does not exists, but please go ahead and provide an example? I would love to see it.

      You do not seem to understand what skepticism is. Or you did not read my previous comment at all? Allow me to copy/paste because you have completely missed the point of skepticism: “Not only is skepticism attacked whenever possible, but such attacks are, wait for it: WELCOME in the skeptics community. That IS the whole POINT of skepticism, QUESTIONING and DOUBTING, trying to DISprove claims!”

      Please tell me which part of that is confusing so that I can clarify it?

      No skeptic can ever be upset about criticism, that is nonsense. It is a contradiction to what skepticism is. I really don’t know how else to put this. If you talk about skeptics being upset or even “outraged” by criticism or challenges, then I am sorry but you do not know what you are talking about…

      Even Wikipedia can help, here: “Skepticism is generally any questioning attitude towards knowledge, theories or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.”

      See: questioning attitude towards beliefs stated as facts.

    • Hi Predrag,

      I completely agree with 99% of your points but I do disagree about skeptics not being upset by criticism. That does happen within the skeptic movement a lot unfortunately 🙁

    • Hi Halyley, I believe you, of course.

      When that happens, we have two possible cases. One is simply that they are also human and thus make mistakes as well, but they definitely need to work on that because it does not agree with skepticism.

      And the other is the case where people keep attack something by ignoring the given evidence and valid arguments. Like, for example, creationists do and other quacks… They keep repeating attacks that have been refuted over and over again at which point it is no longer about the attacks and criticism, but rather about simply being annoyingly stubborn.

      This also goes to the point that of course not all rebuttals will be valid. Not all attempts to disprove something will be successful. Skeptics are of course not perfect. They make mistakes as well as non-skeptics. Being a skeptic is not a magical path of always being right…

      However, the main point and strength of skepticism and science is general is its self-regulating nature based on self-doubt. When scientists and skeptics claim something that is false, it is almost exclusively other skeptics and scientists who prove them wrong.

      But that is the only way the truth can be found.

      On the other side we have undoubting belief and acceptance of claims that people would like to be true, or want to be true, or well actually find reasonable even when it isn’t. And the anger, and sometimes even aggression, caused by any mention of criticism.

      There is a human phenomenon, which both skeptics and non-skeptics alike share, called “cognitive dissonance” which explains a lot about this issue. That, and the “amygdala hijack” are THE two things to get familiar with in order to understand why people react the way they do to criticism.

      Also, just yesterday I saw this TED lecture that explains even more about how, and most importantly WHY, people react to criticism the way they do: http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong

    • Hi,

      I know all about cognitive dissonance and biases due to my rational approach to the paranormal. I’ve also seen the talk by Kathryn Schulz in person, she makes some very good points. As does Carrie Poppy in her talk from QEDcon a few years ago here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9677GQocFw

    • I’m not making things up. I am taking those points from what the skeptics have actually said. May I suggest you read what they actually wrote. I understand the burden of proof completely. I posted a link to evidence for psi earlier in this link. I suggest you read it. It’s obly 20 pages. I also recommended a book by Dr. Dean Radin. You’re inability to understand the argument does not invalidate the evidence. And o told you what the other side of the argument was. You either conveniently forgot, or have no argument so you just pretend it didn’t happen.
      You are accusing Mr Coffee of fraud. Fraud is a crime. This may not be a court of law but you still can’t accuse a person of a crime and back it up by saying “that’s what I think must have happened”.
      Since you know so much about the burden of proof is on the claimant. You are claiming that Mr. Coffee is committing fraud and have not offered evidence. I’m not a Chip Coffee fan, I won’t defend him. Post evidence that he knowingly defrauded anyone and I’ll read it and join you in denouncing him. But I’m not going to do it for the hardline skeptical reasoning “he has to be a fraud because psi doesn’t exist”.
      Now I didn’t attack you at all, but my responses weren’t all that welcome by you. You did not refute any point made, you just reiterated your previous post. If Coffee is a fraud, post evidence. If you don’t think psi exists, read the paper I posted and respond to that. Stop arguing from ignorance, and stop the ad hominem attacks on those who disagree with you.

    • Uhm, I am not sure if you are just bored and therefore actively trolling this thread OR if you really believe the rather sadly wrong stuff you are writing, but either way, after scrolling up to find your famous evidence for psi, I have to conclude that you are not worth wasting time on anymore after this current comment. And here is why.

      The very abstract of your “evidence” says, and I quote:

      “Although the list is not offered as providing compelling evidence or “proof” of psi”.

      Obviously, you do not understand that something that says itself it is not evidence or proof, cannot be cited as evidence or proof. Talking to someone who posts as evidence or proof a paper whose author himself says it is not evidence or proof is a waste of time. You need help, sir.

      Further more, since you obviously don’t know this either, the “European Journal of Parapsychology” – no a scientific journal.

      Also, the scientific consensus does not view psi as a real phenomenon. So, please, stop lying about scientific evidence for psi, because you obviously do not know what evidence actually is, or even what science actually is. Psi is not science and there is absolutely No evidence for it.

      And also, since you forced me to scroll up and read your crap above, Randi is “screening” contestants to figure out the trick they are using and to find a way to show that it is a trick. Again, you do not understand how debunking works. In your mind, Randi is supposed to accept blindly the claims of contestants and then probably just hope that somehow it will be shown that they are frauds. As I explained about the skeptics in the above article, and as you lied that you understand, the same thing applies to Randi, he starts with a hypothesis that the contestants are frauds and then tries his best to prove that. That is how things are done in the debunking process.

      It is actually the fact that he is certain that psi does not exists that forces him to screen contestants. Saying “Why would he do that if he is certain that psi doesn’t exist?” simply proves that you really do not know what you are talking about.

      I am sorry, but I will give my best to avoid answering to you anymore. You have said more than enough to warrant such action from me, or anyone else here, for that matter…

    • Also to answer your first question: there is nothing wrong with that procedure. I didn’t question their procedure. I stated that their sting failed to gather evidence for fraud, and they claimed that he committed fraud by methods the did not have evidence for, but must have happened. That is not skeptical behavior. That is textbook true-believer syndrome.

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