I wasn’t on the BBC yesterday in the end because the debate about mediums & psychics charging money was shortened because of recent tragic events that the program wanted to cover. Fair enough, and besides, I got to have my lay-in so it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t get to watch the show live as I was editing the next episode of ‘Righteous Indignation’ but from what I’ve heard it was a good debate with the awesome Wendy Grossman making extremely valid points from a skeptical angle.
This morning on Facebook a friend posted a link to a group on there entitled ‘Complain to the BBC about their unfair treatment of mediums’. I’m sure you can guess what the point of the group is from the title, but the main page of the group says:
Today’s Sunday Morning Live show on BBC1 had a debate in which they suggested that mediums should be banned from charging for their services. They used 4 cynics, 1 skeptic and only 2 mediums in this debate. There were no mediums in the studio during the whole debate, they were only consulted via a video link. I think this was a very biased debate and the BBC should apologise since Spiritualism is a recognised religion in Britain.
You can view the programme here for the next few days:
Moreover, the BBC seemed to have no concept of what mediumship is.
PLEASE, PLEASE COMPLAIN to the BBC, thank you.
The BBC have no concept of what mediumship is? I was confused by that because it often seems to me that those claiming to be mediums or psychics have no concept of what it is! For example, when interviewing Steven Upton from the Spiritualists National Union he said that there is no such thing as a ‘psychic-medium’ and that psychics and mediums are two different things. A mediums service, he told us, is to ‘provide evidence of survival’. Yet, loads of mediums do other things besides that while using that label – healing, insight readings, tarot cards etc.
There’s no official definition because there’s no compulsory regulation of mediumship… so perhaps what the creators of this group meant was ‘the BBC don’t use our personal interpretation of what mediumship is’, which would make more sense.
I may be different from other sceptics, but I do have some respect for Spiritualists – hey, I used to bloody be one in everything but name, and I have respect for the way in which the SNU regulate their members as best they can. Though, I am of the opinion that a lot more needs to be done to regulate those trading as mediums or psychics to prevent people from being conned out of their money by frauds who use psychology tricks and misdirection to make people believe they have abilities. Knowingly and unknowlingy.
However, I was genuinely surprised to see that people were complaining en masse to the BBC about the “unfairness” in the debate because there were “4 cynics, 1 skeptic and 2 mediums” which wasn’t, apparently, balanced and respectful of their beliefs.
I think there is something wrong when people demand respect and balance for their belief systems when, actually, they’ve been given a platform from which to defend their beliefs in the show they’re complaining about. There were two mediums in the show, not to mention the fact that others could Skype in with their opinions had they wanted to. They were being represented, how much more is needed exactly? Is this a numbers game? Could one or two more mediums have made a difference? I don’t think so…
There were three guests in the studio who were non-believers, and one via Webcam. Sure, that’s a ratio of four vs. two, but the question being discussed was whether mediums should be banned from charging money for what they do.
I don’t believe that all four non-believers were of the opinion that they should be banned. So how is it unfair?
Some serious points were raised by Wendy Grossman, points that anybody would agree with whether they were a medium or not. Had I been on the show I too was going to argue that charging should not be banned, but that regulation and education of the public was a must – to help weed out charlatans, and ensure that those mediums who do operate with a fee do so fairly while trying ‘to provide evidence of survival’. Would a “genuine medium or psychic” disagree?
The whole point of ‘Sunday Morning Live’ is to encourage debate surrounding a thought or question sent in to the studio – that’s exactly what it did.
If mediums and psychics watched the show in the hope that they would be given a platform from which to promote their industry and religion without their claims being challenged, then they need to learn what ‘debate’ actually is and how it works.
Also, I think it’s worth pointing out that nobody has to respect what anybody else believes in. To clarify that point – I respect and defend your right to believe what you want, but it doesn’t mean I will respect what you choose to believe in. To demand that people respect what you choose to believe is unrealistic and stubborn, and when people don’t respect your beliefs don’t throw your toys out of the pram – that’s life, deal with it. We all have to.