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Forums Forums Answering Skeptics and Debunking Cynics New skeptic to the board

last updated by  Gail 16 years, 2 months ago
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  • #62824
    asafoetida
    Participant

    Hi. I’m asafoetida and I’m a skeptic.

    (Hi asa!)

    I found out about this board from the James Randi Forum where I post under the name dogwood. I have read the rules and I understand that this is a tight-run board that doesn’t tolerate foolishness. I respect that.

    For the record, you should know that I have watched the show and I don’t believe that John Edward has any paranormal abilities. I also have a very negative opinion of him that I will not elaborate on out of respect for the forum rules and your beliefs. What I want to know is, is there any point in my posting here at all?

    I can post politely but if no-one here is interested in another dissenting and negative opinion, then I will leave and not bother you any more. Fair enough?

    asa

    #75246
    kimk
    Participant

    Not interested…fair enough?

    #75240
    Yardbird
    Participant

    Hi Asa-

    Glad you have made a decision about Mr. Edward’s abilities, and are willing to stick by it. I appreciate that you have freely posted your intent- a hallmark of a true skeptic (which in my opinion has gone to the wayside in recent years).

    I can only speak for myself, but this board is to reflect upon the messages that Mr. Edward receives in a positive light. It is unfortunate that you consider your point of view a “negative opinion”, because you will not be well-received here, and may find yourself choosing your words carefully in order to stay within respectful guidelines. You are correct in your assumption that no one would be interested in a negative opinion. Perhaps you may want to peruse other forums where the context of the board isn’t moderated should you choose to express that opinion.

    As for a respectful “dissenting” opinion, I myself have dissenting opinions about some (not all) organizations and professional skeptics who choose to vocalize their negative opinions in the hopes to instigate vile replies, or to simply troll to shake things up. While I continuously visit such websites, read articles, etc. by such dissenters, I do not pose my opinion in light that I respect theirs. To each his own, you know?

    I guess I would ask what you would like to see from this board that would help ou decide whether posting here is in your interest? I’m unsure of what you think you may gain from discussion if your beliefs are so strongly against the majority here.

    Thanks for visiting- Yardbird

    #75297
    Pam B
    Keymaster

    Absolutely ditto what Yardbird says. We can’t answer “why post here at all” if we don’t know what you’re hoping to gain by posting here. If you’ve already made up your “negative” opinion, you’re not a skeptic about our subject, you’re a cynic. There’s nothing here for cynics.

    I’d like to point out there are 1147 posts in 79 threads worth of discussion here, and that you may want to breeze through to see what HAS been allowed.

    #75294
    RC
    Participant

    Hi Asa,

    I’d sincerely like to know why you are interested in posting messages on a private John Edward “friends” discussion board. There are many discussion boards with little to no moderators where cynics, skeptics, and believers discuss JE and other mediums. I post on those boards often because I enjoy the debate. If you want some links, e-mail me.

    This is a discussion board by friends, for friends of John Edward. What part of that is so hard to understand? You don’t believe in JE’s abilities, fine. You don’t like him, fine. Then ignore this website–it’s not for you.

    I’ve been reading messages on this board and others for about 4 months now. You are not going to change any minds on this board. It’s a waste of time. Everyone here knows where they can read the opinions of skeptics. This is not a cult and Pam does allow us to look at other websites after we finish our Kool-Aid.

    RC

    #75295
    asafoetida
    Participant

    kimk,

    Yes that is fair enough. I hope you don’t mind if I wait for a few more replies. I am sincere however. if most of you don’t want me here, I’ll leave. I see no point in wasting my time or yours.

    Yardbird,

    (Cool nick btw, Clapton fan too?)
    Thanks for your straightforward reply. Perhaps I’m a little confused (certainly not the first time) but I thought this particular forum was specifically for answering skeptics. Am I to understand that this only applies to “outside” postings from skeptics? Replying to news articles and such? I assumed that it also applied to “in-house” skeptics.

    Yardbird, I also believe that skepticism should be applied to skeptics as well. I believe that ALL view-points should be challenged. No-one gets a free ride. As for my motives for posting here… well, I could give you a the standard reply about learning from differing opinions. It’s true, but it’s not the whole story. I believe that as a skeptic, it’s my responsibility to encourage others to examine their beliefs critically. I may not be the most qualified to do so, but I try my best. Perhaps you should re-think your reluctance to reply on these other boards. It’s good that you respect others beliefs, but respect does not require silence and not everyone will view you as trying to “shake things up”.

    Pam,
    Having an opinion does not imply cynicism. Were I a cynic, I would have dismissed Mr. Edward’s claims out of hand without first reviewing his show. This is not the case. I have watched “Crossing Over…” and I am skeptical of his claims. No, I have not read all the threads in this forum. I have “breezed through” quite a few, including much of the info at Survival Science. I recognize that much is “allowed” here. What I’m really asking is, Am I welcome here? Your assumptions about me, though perhaps well-founded, suggest that you are the more cynical between the two of us. Thanks for the honest replies,

    asa

    #75320
    sgrenard
    Participant

    As a former open minded skeptic myself, I found that the best way to decide what is and isn’t real was to ask a lot of questions and then, as somebody who has spent thirty years in the medical profession, written books, conducted large medical studies in the U.S. and overseas, seek out the scientific basis, if there was any, for what John Edward and other psychic mediums do. And I did this and here I am, finding myself as the Science Moderator. To that end, and with the enlightened assistance of Pam and the other moderators here, a foundation was established and a content driven, non-commercial (not for some of the onward links but for us) website (http://www.survivalscience.org) was set up to disseminate recent scientific work that helps to explain what John and other mediums do.

    We are not interested in doing missionary work or to convert anyone; we ask people who find this site to read what’s there and make up their own minds. Having DEBATES that devolve into “Yes it is, No it isnt” are a waste of time and effort. Disputing established work, demanding we (or I) state hypotheses and whether or not studies on psi, say at Princeton’s PEAR Labs were designed with predictability rather than observation in mind is a waste of my time and our members time. We are not these researchers. Ask them these questions. We have read their studies and the analysis of their studies and they are compelling for us. I found, for example, Claus’ arguments to be far less compelling and in some cases inane.

    Now for most of the skeptical arguments, all of us here “have been there and done that” and this is why many say its boring. I think of this whole process as school. Every semster a new class comes in and somebody who has been doing this over and over again now must try and convey the same material yet again. Except that school here doesn’t start every semester, it’s much more random and conceivably it starts every day whenever a new person with doubts enters the room. So I hope you can understand why many also find it mentally un-rewarding to discuss these things ad infinitum. In fact the only reason I bother at all is not really to try and convert some close minded person from another site but rather to make sure that the FENCE SITTERS have all the options at their disposal.

    If you are a serious “student” and true open minded skeptic, do some homework and research the threads here. Visit the above site and if you have any serious questions, let us know.

    PS: If you havent been to http://www.survivalscience.org lately, it has been revamped and we have added a debunking debunkers section. In the opening paragraph we provide links to Randi’s site, CSICOP and The Skeptics. We embrace skepticism but harshly criticised the way it is practiced by some people and try to illustrate that. Be sure and check out the material that has been added here.

    #75083
    asafoetida
    Participant

    RC,

    I truly thought that the “answering skeptics” forum was for people like me to contribute. I’m beginning to see that this is not the case. As far as other links go, I guess I can just do a google search, but thanks for the offer.

    I think your “What part of that is so hard to understand?” comment to be unnecessarily sarcastic. I posted my opinions openly and honestly. There are certainly other skeptics here that take a harder line than I do. I’ve been nothing but respectful and honest.

    I never suggested that this was a cult or anything like one.

    asa

    #75192
    sgrenard
    Participant

    As you are no doubt aware we have seen the thread at Randi’s site that erupted with Claus Larsen’s discussions here and find the remarks offensive, rude, senseless, and misleading, especially Claus’ replay of how this was discussed. To illustrate the sort of responses Randi’s group engenders, Pam allowed that some selected remarks may be printed here and they were. Indeed, many got a good laugh and others were seriously offended. This is not a subject which can be trifled with in this way. I wonder how Mr. Ed (sorry I couldn’t resist) will feel when he loses someone dear and near to him if he has anyone in that category. So if you travel in that pack you get associated with them. I am sure you remember the old saw that “You are known by the company you keep.”

    If you are not such a person, fine, but we have no way of knowing that. The previous recommendations stand.

    #74939
    marcia
    Participant

    I find it a little disconerting to respond to someone who chooses to use a name that includes as a foe….that implies first and foremost that I am to consider you an adversary. Again, not the reason for this board or the intent of it’s members…..thus the word “friends” of John Edward. You are clearly stating that you are not a friend, certainly not of his, and by association, of ours.
    Having said that, I am willing to hear what you have to say, as long as it doesn’t develop into as someone said previously….you say it’s black, I say it’s white. I visit skeptic boards, I never stoop to calling anyone stupid, although I will say I could safely use the term hostile. Why the hositility? One of the things I see as a common theme is that skeptics want to “wake me up” or alert me to the fact that I am so pitiful that I am being taken in. So ok, I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you have the interest of John Q public at heart, which is frankly more than you allow me…..so what can you specifically tell me, other than the fact that I haven’t thoroughly researched the art of cold/warm/hot reading or mentalists trickery anything that would change my mind? Because I am familiar with it and can’t quite make it fit John Edward…….pray tell how do you? Can you tell me what information you have that I don’t or how I am misunderstanding the information I do have about the art of cold reading that could be construed as you being the expert and me being the novice? When I have read skeptic sites discussing a reading, it seems to be those folks slipping into the the very vague generalities they accuse John of using in order to make their point. I often find myself wondering if we have been watching the same broadcast. Can you tell me what seminars you have attended and what your experiences have been that might have led you to a specific conclusion that there was collusion of any sort as that seems to the most recent popular conclusion.
    I am willing to listen to anything you think might provide edification on the subject, but I am not willing to have myself or other members called names or be belittled in any way. If you are able to do that, then you have my attention….my concern is that in actuality, that is not your true desire. Can you prove me to be mistaken?

    #75486
    asafoetida
    Participant

    sgrenard,

    Sorry to hear that you’re no longer open-minded. If you had bothered to read my post you would have seen that I have looked over the threads on this site as well as the Survival Science site. Even if you started writing before my last post went through, you made a lot of assumptions.

    I understand that you get a lot of screaming skeptics here, but you shouldn’t assume that we all are. And I really don’t see what Claus has to do with me. I’m familiar with his postings at JREF, but we have never so much as exchanged a “howdy”.

    If skeptical arguments are boring to you, perhaps you should rename this forum. It is a tad misleading. And from the responses I’ve seen so far, including yours… you really have no business claiming that you embrace skepticism. Every response, with the exception of Yardbird’s, has been filled with gross assumptions and pre-judgements.

    As far as “knowing me by the company I keep” goes, it’s obvious that YOU haven’t read too many threads at JREF. That board is filled with people that believe in John Edward, astral projection, cartomancy, astrology, doomsday prophecies, the evil of modern medicine, UFO’s, and photographic demons.

    And sgrenard, you would have a way of knowing what kind of person I was, if you had bothered to ask.

    asa

    #75494
    sgrenard
    Participant

    Marcia I am sure “asafoetida” didnt mean to use a name which means “as a foe..” although it plays out that way.
    It is a plant used as a digestive remedy and for some Asian recipes:



    Asafoetida (Ferula foetida), also known as Narthex or Hing. Recognized by its overwhelming odor which has given rise to at least one of its many popular names, “devil’s dung”. A member of the umbelliferae plant family, it originally was a native of Persia, Afghanistan and neighboring regions where the plant is greedily eaten with relish by the native people and sheep of the region. The gum resin consists of the milky sap obtained from an incision of the green matured root. It is possible that the resin in commerce may be derived from several related species, although the best quality and most productive is from the official plant. The major biochemical agent responsible for its characteristic odor is an organic sulfur compound found as part of the essential oil which makes it very similar to the essential oil of garlic (allyl, allyl persulphide and two turpenes) for which it is commonly substituted in food preparations.

    #75567
    marcia
    Participant

    Wow, I think I liked my assumption better. BUT….I would be interested to hear the answers to my questions. I don’t know the other person refered to at the Randi site and I won’t apply any criteria that matches them to this person. I have to admit to being doubtful that my mind can be changed…..but I will also say I am am always willing to hear a compelling argument. I just want to hear one that’s different than the cold reading gig…..I know it to death so to speak. And I would like to ask asa another question…..what exactly was the point of the the Randi disertation from Feb 22 I believe….some “if I were John Edward, this might be my disclaimer” business. Please explain to me how in any way, shape, or form, that could be described as informative, educational or beneficial? How can you look at that and classify it as anything other than juvenile? I find it difficult to take the man seriously when that’s what I am being given to view. May I have your response to that please?

    #75578
    sgrenard
    Participant

    Asafoetida:

    I actually made no assumptions whatsoever. I merely said that in many cases people are known by the company they keep and
    if you are not one, “fine.” But coming in here the way you did indicates we have no way of knowing that.

    The rules were made clear to you. You were given recommendations.

    We are not bored by skepticism, what I said was that many people here have taken this class already and are bored. However, this does not mean we will stop answering skeptical questions or stop pointing people to the information to help them decide.

    And what I said was that I was once openly mindedly skeptical of the process being discussed here but no longer am skeptical. This does not rule out being open minded, it just rules out being skeptical of the work of genuine mediums I have had the opportunity to validate. I continue to be an outspoken skeptic of many perpetrators of fraudulent mediumship, including most recently the Miss Cleo operation. Randi in all the months “she” (actually the firm she worked for as an actress) was bilking millions of dollars from charging people’s phone bills $300/hr said three lines about her himself. And this was after I complained to a buddy of his. I interviewed people who worked for “her” as telephone solicitors and directed them to the authorities. After the recent FTC action, Randi still said NADA. Instead he quotes 4 lines of a newspaper article written by someone else. It’s funny because I predicted a week earlier this is what he would do and I do not even consider myself psychic.

    #75545
    marcia
    Participant

    And Asa, if you are still with us……I will also state that I definitely lean towards being a believer in John Edward. I should also say that I emphatically believe in life after death. I consider them connected, but not necessarily 100% tied to each other. If I may bring up another issue…….may I ask exactly what are your ties to James Randi? How do they compare to my attachment or association in my belief as it applies to John Edward? See, here’s one of the problems I have with Mr. Randi….it’s his way or the highway. You want to post…..you must be screened……you want to believe something differently….you must be a dolt……I get none of that here, and on a grander scale…certainly not from John Edward. I also don’t go to his website and see a blatant plea for “donations” to his cause. If I remember correctly, a few hundred dollars will get me membership and a coffee mug from Mr. Randi. I’m sorry, not only can I not compare the true “openess” of these individuals, I can’t even begin to compare their intent. I think there is the very real possibility you are being taken in by the very type of individual you are being told you should vilify. Please don’t tell me that a million dollars couldn’t expose a fraud through some other means that a “challenge” if Mr. Randi’s concern was truly for that of the public. He claims at one time to have been a magician…….I think the fact of the matter is that he still is…..only he’s taking his members money all the while employing the old “bait and switch” routine….which is a far older gig than that of cold reading….and it’s you that fallen for the trickery…..not us……because I am still at least slightly open to the possibility I could be wrong about John……you are not the tiniest bit open to seeing anything at all negative about your “leader”. I also do not consider John my leader……I consider him a teacher of sorts, but no my leader. I also first and foremost remember that he is a human being…….your leader treats him as less than that, and I find that very difficult to overlook.
    I must retire for the evening, but again, I am very curious to hear what you have to say and even more curious to hear how open you are to receiving anything I have had to say this evening.

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