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Forums Forums Answering Skeptics and Debunking Cynics John Edward, what else?

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  • #62593
    edward
    Participant

    First off, let me assure everyone that my screenname here is not a snide reference to JE. It is actually my name (since I am older than JE, I might point out that I had it first!).

    Secondly, I don’t like to think of myself as either a sceptic or a cynic (though I am decidedly cynical when it comes to politicians). Rather, when someone asserts something, I like to know why. If a salesman says “this car will give you 200 miles per gallon”, given that this is ouside of my experience set, I would say “prove it”. He, of course, making the assertion of something that is extreme has the burden of proof. This, I think, is a reasonable position to take, particularly where money changes hands.

    Those of us who adhere to a religion really do not ask “prove it”, religion does not allow for that. You believe or not.

    The first question that I have, basically, is this: If a trickster, who has mastered the art of cold reading, could convince an audience that he is communicating with the dead to the same extent that JE can, would that not cast doubt on JE’s “gifts”? Why subscribe to a supernatural explanation when an ordinary one would do?

    Having tried to cold read some folks, I am pretty convinced that it is not that difficult to convince people that “something is going on”.

    I have reviewed posts on this board and believe that a fair number of people here do not want to look under the hood of JE’s assertions. They are in pain, and he gives some solice. I would no more put these poor folks thru the third degree than fly to the moon. But this is independent of the question of whether JE is a cold reader of modest talent or actually communicates with the dead. If he is a trickster, what is the moral position with regard to the people he is making money on? Do the followers of JE have a moral obligation to ascertain his veracity (beyond anicdotes, I mean). Perhaps it is ok for JE to make millions if some number of people feel good, perhaps not.

    My second question is “does JE owe something more to his followers than “feeling good” in exchange for his millions and do the followers have an obligation to act responsibly and do due diligence with regard to JE’s claims?”.

    If the answers to my questions are “nothing will alter my beliefs” and “there are no obligations on either side”, I submit that we are dealing with religion.

    #72828
    ceceoh
    Participant

    For someone who demands proof, you make alot of assumptions. Assumptions about peoples finances, their religious beliefs, their “pain”, etc.

    If you have truely read the posts on this board, then most of the assumptions you make have been answered. Did you have a specific question you would like us to address?

    #72827
    edward
    Participant

    Originally posted by ceceoh
    For someone who demands proof, you make alot of assumptions. Assumptions about peoples finances, their religious beliefs, their “pain”, etc.

    I have made few if any assumptions. The pain part is pretty obvious if you read the posts. whose finances? JE? Religion only enters into it as the description of a belief structure. What does the “etc” refer to?

    If you have truely read the posts on this board, then most of the assumptions you make have been answered.

    Sorry, don’t get this point.

    Did you have a specific question you would like us to address?

    Actually there were two, labeled question one and question two.

    no need to be defensive.

    #72829
    Pam B
    Keymaster

    Thank you for your sincere introduction and very good skeptical questions. You hit a lot of points in your post – you make some assumptions, which I’m not sure are true or not, and I suppose it is a matter of opinion. We’ll not debate opinion here, because opinions are not right or wrong.

    I also began my interest in this study, from a very skeptical or cynical viewpoint. I did not accept at face value. I still remain highly skeptical of someone who says that they can do what John does.

    With regard to your comments about “cold reading”: Of course it would cast doubt. It should cast doubt, and one should do their homework on this issue before briskly coming to a decision to either believe – or not believe.

    I am aware of what cold reading is, and I’ve seen it done to the point where the “sitter” actually believes that the person is really communicating with the dead. I am aware that cold reading is possible and is sometimes “effective.”

    However, if you compare the quality and quantity of unique detail that John Edward can provide, compared to vague generalities of life that most of us share and the low quantity of really good guesses provided by a cold reader, you have a track record for John Edward that stands head and shoulders above the crowd of “cold readers”.

    To assume that we (members who have requested to have access to the skeptical discussion forum) don’t know what cold reading is, is a common, but inaccurate assumption about those who accept what John Edward does. We know cold reading exists, but have reviewed the possibilities on each side and have turned it down for an explanation of what John does.

    In my opinion, those who insist that John Edward is cold reading are guilty of two errors:
    #1 – only the sitter has the final word on whether or not the information is accurate, or could be guessed, or whether the information is so unique or of higher meaning than the meaning to the average person;
    #2 – have not studied and compared the sitter’s evaluation of the data being provided by John Edward, and have too swiftly brushed off the work as “cold reading” without truly investigating in an objective way.

    With regard to your comments about your belief that most of us don’t want to look under the hood:
    Because I know my own quest in skeptical discovery with regard to John Edward, and I see every request that asks for access to this folder, I am familiar with most “active” members of this group, I’d say that I’m in a better position to evaluate whether or not your statement is true. I just generally know the believers better than you do, because I’ve spent the last year conversing with them.

    I disagree with you about that statement, fully recognizing that we each come to the discussion with our biases. To assume that most of us just accept on face value would mean that we’re not very inquisitive or demanding of our acceptance of reality, and I honestly think more highly of this population, and the general English speaking population in the western world. Again – you’re entitled to your opinion. I’ll let other members speak for themselves. I’ve spoken for myself and my unique position.

    With regard to morality: It seems to me there is only one answer here, and the answer is obvious. IF someone like John Edward were a trickster, such has been exposed by skeptical inquirers in the past, of course there is a morality issue anytime someone tries to pretend to be something that they’re not, selling a service other than they advertise, especially if they gain in a material way.

    But if you were already aware of the obvious answer, and were simply using the question as a device to accuse John Edward of being a “trickster” then I will give you another personal insight:
    I have had the opportunity to meet John Edward, and others in his field, and I will tell you – that regardless of the final reality of what John does, he sincerely believes that what he does is exactly what he says he does and there is no “veneer” about this man whatsoever. If there were, I’m the type of person who would smell it a mile away. You give the analogy of a car salesman – I’ll tell you this, my husband will not let me go with him to a car lot, because I can sense the slightest bit of a lie, veneer or the slightest lack of honesty – and when I DO sense it, I make it known. I’ve met John Edward and I would bet my very life that he totally believes in what he does.

    Regarding your question about John’s millions: Please provide proof first, that he has “millions” and maybe we’ll talk ;) You make a big assumption here, that most of the public makes, that anyone on TV or in the public eye has “millions”. The sad truth is, this is not the case.

    Let’s forget the actual amount of money he has, and address the latter part of your question. You call it “feeling good” – we call it “psychological, emotional and spiritual healing. For me, the answer to your question is “No”, because we can’t put a price on the mother’s psychological, emotional and spiritual healing that she receives, when she is presented with evidence that her 5 year old son who has passed, is NOT in some dark, gloomy, lonely place, or has not “ceased to exist” in her life, and is with a loving family on the other side. If you don’t believe in the other side, and the major spiritual precepts of the after-life – all of this will be moot for you.

    Regarding this belief system and religion:No one will deny that we are dealing, in some areas, with a foundation of religious (some of us prefer spiritual, world view, or philosophical) belief system. We’ve been trying to convince the Professional Media Skeptics of this for over a year now, so that they will begin to understand that their attacks amount to bigotry and “hate” propaganda.

    But nothing is so black and white, that you can call it “dealing with religion”. Some of us are not believers because of religion at all. Some of us are believers because we simply believe it’s a part of naturally occuring nature. See our Science Moderator’s website at http://www.survivalscience.org. Some of us are Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist or Celtic Pagan. We’re here (in this belief system) for many more reasons besides “religion” Most of us have had our own ADC’s which is the first foundation in belief for what John does.

    #72830
    edward
    Participant

    Originally posted by Pam
    Thank you for your sincere introduction and very good skeptical questions. You hit a lot of points in your post – you make some assumptions, which I’m not sure are true or not, and I suppose it is a matter of opinion. We’ll not debate opinion here, because opinions are not right or wrong.

    No need to debate opinion. I am curious as to what my assumptions were.

    I also began my interest in this study, from a very skeptical or cynical viewpoint. I did not accept at face value. I still remain highly skeptical of someone who says that they can do what John does.

    Why?

    With regard to your comments about “cold reading”: Of course it would cast doubt. It should cast doubt, and one should do their homework on this issue before briskly coming to a decision to either believe – or not believe.

    Since I have tried it, I feel that I have done at least some homework.

    I am aware of what cold reading is, and I’ve seen it done to the point where the “sitter” actually believes that the person is really communicating with the dead. I am aware that cold reading is possible and is sometimes “effective.”

    Right.

    However, if you compare the quality and quantity of unique detail that John Edward can provide, compared to vague generalities of life that most of us share and the low quantity of really good guesses provided by a cold reader, you have a track record for John Edward that stands head and shoulders above the crowd of “cold readers”.

    Well………..Perhaps that is exactly what i am asking for. I have read one transcript of his show (unedited, supposedly) and he was not terribly impressive. If you throw out tons of open ended questions, you are bound to get hits. After all, I understand that a taping for his show is 3 hours, edited to 1/2 hour. Editing can do a lot.

    To assume that we (members who have requested to have access to the skeptical discussion forum) don’t know what cold reading is, is a common, but inaccurate assumption about those who accept what John Edward does. We know cold reading exists, but have reviewed the possibilities on each side and have turned it down for an explanation of what John does.

    In my opinion, those who insist that John Edward is cold reading are guilty of two errors:
    #1 – only the sitter has the final word on whether or not the information is accurate, or could be guessed, or whether the information is so unique or of higher meaning than the meaning to the average person;

    Gosh, it seems to me that the sitter provides the information …

    #2 – have not studied and compared the sitter’s evaluation of the data being provided by John Edward, and have too swiftly brushed off the work as “cold reading” without truly investigating in an objective way.

    All you can do is either read a transcript or watch the (edited) show. My question remains, would a trickster be as good?

    With regard to your comments about your belief that most of us don’t want to look under the hood:
    Because I know my own quest in skeptical discovery with regard to John Edward, and I see every request that asks for access to this folder, I am familiar with most “active” members of this group, I’d say that I’m in a better position to evaluate whether or not your statement is true. I just generally know the believers better than you do, because I’ve spent the last year conversing with them.

    I disagree with you about that statement, fully recognizing that we each come to the discussion with our biases. To assume that most of us just accept on face value would mean that we’re not very inquisitive or demanding of our acceptance of reality, and I honestly think more highly of this population, and the general English speaking population in the western world. Again – you’re entitled to your opinion. I’ll let other members speak for themselves. I’ve spoken for myself and my unique position.

    With regard to morality: It seems to me there is only one answer here, and the answer is obvious. IF someone like John Edward were a trickster, such has been exposed by skeptical inquirers in the past, of course there is a morality issue anytime someone tries to pretend to be something that they’re not, selling a service other than they advertise, especially if they gain in a material way.

    So, why not ask him for an objective test? The protocols in Arizona are seriously flawed and do not stand up to scrutany.

    But if you were already aware of the obvious answer, and were simply using the question as a device to accuse John Edward of being a “trickster” then I will give you another personal insight:
    I have had the opportunity to meet John Edward, and others in his field, and I will tell you – that regardless of the final reality of what John does, he sincerely believes that what he does is exactly what he says he does and there is no “veneer” about this man whatsoever.

    I am sure that there is not. But that exculpates him (to a certain extent) if he is a trickster, it has no bearing on what he does.

    If there were, I’m the type of person who would smell it a mile away. You give the analogy of a car salesman – I’ll tell you this, my husband will not let me go with him to a car lot, because I can sense the slightest bit of a lie, veneer or the slightest lack of honesty – and when I DO sense it, I make it known. I’ve met John Edward and I would bet my very life that he totally believes in what he does.

    Sure about what you say about Edward. But “smelling it” is not proof, as I am sure you will admit.

    Regarding your question about John’s millions: Please provide proof first, that he has “millions” and maybe we’ll talk ;) You make a big assumption here, that most of the public makes, that anyone on TV or in the public eye has “millions”. The sad truth is, this is not the case.

    You are right. My assumption is that given his rate for personal consultation and the typical remuneration for a principle in a syndicated show (and, down the road, the residuals), his book deals and so forth, he is not starving. I have some friends in the broadcast and entertainment and agency business, I will look into it.

    Let’s forget the actual amount of money he has,

    I guess that it is less what he has than what he is likely to get, and from whom.

    and address the latter part of your question. You call it “feeling good” – we call it “psychological, emotional and spiritual healing. For me, the answer to your question is “No”, because we can’t put a price on the mother’s psychological, emotional and spiritual healing that she receives, when she is presented with evidence

    an assertion, perhaps?

    that her 5 year old son who has passed, is NOT in some dark, gloomy, lonely place, or has not “ceased to exist” in her life, and is with a loving family on the other side. If you don’t believe in the other side, and the major spiritual precepts of the after-life – all of this will be moot for you.

    But, anyone can say that. It is not really a question of belief, it is a question of proof.

    Regarding this belief system and religion:No one will deny that we are dealing, in some areas, with a foundation of religious (some of us prefer spiritual, world view, or philosophical) belief system. We’ve been trying to convince the Professional Media Skeptics of this for over a year now, so that they will begin to understand that their attacks amount to bigotry and “hate” propaganda.

    Whoa….careful there. JE asserts that he communicates with those that have “passed over”, controversial on the face of it. To wrap this in the cloak of religion and “Hate” is a dangerious assult on free speech. All JE has to do is prove it.

    But nothing is so black and white, that you can call it “dealing with religion”. Some of us are not believers because of religion at all. Some of us are believers because we simply believe it’s a part of naturally occuring nature. See our Science Moderator’s website at http://www.survivalscience.org. Some of us are Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist or Celtic Pagan. We’re here (in this belief system) for many more reasons besides “religion” Most of us have had our own ADC’s which is the first foundation in belief for what John does.

    Religion is simply belief without objective evidence, that is all that I meant.

    #72831
    Pam B
    Keymaster
    Quote:
    Religion is simply belief without objective evidence, that is all that I meant.

    That my new friend, is a subjective statement of opinion, as there are many clerics and scriptural authorities that have claimed otherwise throughout the ages.

    The fact that you state that opinion, combined with your emphasis on “religion” may suggest that you are agnostic or athiest and have another agenda anway. Which would mean there’s no point in going on, and we would wish you nothing but the best.

    However, if you want to respectfully discuss myths about believers in this subject, and just how and why and what we believe, ask away. We’re here to enlighten others about ourselves, not to debate agnosticism or athiesm, and we’re certainly not here to persuade anyone to come to our belief system.

    #72832
    VTFlowerGirl
    Participant

    “Gosh, it seems to me that the sitter provides the information”

    Edward, you’re not paying attention here. It’s those that have crossed over that provide the “information”.

    ” I still remain highly skeptical of someone who says that they can do what John does. “

    “Why?’ “

    That question was already answered with this: “To assume that most of us just accept on face value would mean that we’re not very inquisitive or demanding of our acceptance of reality.” (Thanks Pam!)

    Your statement Edward is like saying “If you’ve seen one medium with extraordinary ability you’ve seen them all.” Obviously that’s not the case and why this board is focused as it is. We’ve followed John Edward long enough to know how he made his way and reputation and ended up where he is today. We’ve done the research and his record stands for itself, he’s proven himself to us here.

    “Since I have tried it (cold reading), I feel that I have done at least some homework.” I disagree. The homework part would be reading his books and finding out what John Edward says about John Edward. You can probably find them at the library.

    #72833
    scrambled6
    Participant

    It is obvious that you already know what your assumption are and made them clear and that is your right.

    Love Freedom of Speech, so here is a little more:

    From being a sitter myself, no information was given to JE before hand. The “specific” and “significant” messages that come through ONLY the sitter would know. His readings/messages are to detailed to be “general”.

    Regarding the editing. My reading was approximately 30 minutes. Here’s a news flash – they left out many mesages that were validated by me at the time.

    Also, it did not cost me a dime to have a reading on the show. You need to do more homework.

    If people want to “pay” to have a private reading done with JE, that is their right to do so. Who cares how much money he is making. He has to make a living. People pay for services when they see a doctor, a lawyer don’t they? No one ever questions how much money they are making or how much they have?

    Trickster…..that’s another good one. Hmmmm, well don’t you think if he was, he would of been caught by now?

    So let’s see – same old, same old –

    cold reading
    trickster
    making millions

    What else you got. So with all your assumptions, then why watch him. It seems to me that you mind is made up about him?

    #72834
    RSLancastr
    Participant
    Quote:
    Edward, you’re not paying attention here. It’s those that have crossed over that provide the “information”.

    Flora, whether or not JE is legit, there are many times when the sitter provides the information.

    Take the following (made up, but typical) examples:

    JE: “There’s a woman above you, whose name starts with a J”

    Sitter: “That would be my Aunt Jolene”

    … or …

    JE: “I’m getting a ‘five’ connection, meaning May, or the 5th of a month, maybe an anniversary, a birthday…”

    Sitter: “My son was born in May”

    Whether the “hints/symbols” (woman, letter J, number 5) were supplied by “cold reading” or by people who have crossed over, the actual information (Aunt, Jolene, son born in May) was provided by the sitter.

    There are of course, other times when JE gives more detailed information (white feathers, etc). But quite often, especially in the beginning of a reading, much of the information comes from the sitter.

    I believe that SGrenard says that this is neccessary in order for thepsychic to make sure he/she has got the right person, but whatever the reason, the sitter is the one providing the info during these types of exchanges.

    At least that’s my observation, and perhaps it is what Edward is referring to.

    -Bob

    #72835
    Pam B
    Keymaster

    edward, because you included your questions within your quote of my answers, they were not seen by myself and most people. Please, for clarity’s sake and the process of the board, simply restate your questions about our beliefs.

    Please remember we’re not here to discuss John Edward’s character, we’re here to debunk myths about our beliefs. Thank you.

    #72838
    scrambled6
    Participant

    THANK YOU Mr. Al!!!!!

    #72843
    AriesMoon
    Participant

    I would like to say, speaking only for myself and no one else, I do not consider myself to be a “follower” of John Edward. I have seen and scrutinized almost every one of his televised shows (many more than once), have been to one of his seminars (before his television show was ever aired) and have read his books. Based on this, as well as the “Arizona” study, I am 99% convinced that he is not a trickster. (I reserve that 1% of skepticism because I, personally, do not believe in ANYTHING 100%). However, the word “follower” to me connotes something more along the lines of an organized religion, as in, following a leader. JE is not my leader. I “follow” only my own heart, mind and intuition. Whatever else I might believe as far as my personal spirituality is concerned, is personal to me and I choose not to discuss or debate it.

    ~~Do the followers of JE have a moral obligation to ascertain his veracity (beyond anicdotes, I mean).~~

    My moral obligation in regard to ascertaining JE’s veracity is only to myself. What other people choose to believe, and why, is none of my business.

    ~~My second question is “does JE owe something more to his followers than “feeling good”~~

    JE owes me nothing.

    ~~ ……… and do the followers have an obligation to act responsibly and do due diligence with regard to JE’s claims?”. ~~

    I have acted responsibly.

    #72858
    Pam B
    Keymaster

    “edward”‘s access has been changed to “read only no posting” and has access to limited forums on this board.

    This is his comment elsewhere on a public discussion board:

    “I thought that the thread that i started might be illustrative. You want to know why I think JE is a vampire like my esteemed associated? Check out this website from a believer. Jesus wept.

    This is not mockery at all, just an illustration of the mental state that this SOB preys upon. “

    “edward” I disagree with your statement about being a cynic. Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to respond – in THIS forum.

    I’ll probably delete this whole thread very shortly, because now, it does not comply with our guidelines, of respectful discussion.

    This man came to push his agenda on us.

    #72859
    Pam B
    Keymaster

    gree, I wish for once, new members of this forum would read other posts where we already addressed the same issues – over and over again. Please, gree, use the search feature, it works!

    #72860
    RSLancastr
    Participant
    Quote:
    I wish for once, new members of this forum would read other posts where we already addressed the same issues – over and over again

    Pam, is there any way to change the default in this one forum so that it doesn’t just show threads from the last 30 days, but much furhter than that? It’s easy to overlook that the “filter” is on, and so assume a question has not been asked.

    -Bob

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