Did anybody watch....

Discussion in 'U.K.' started by Merlin, Jan 15, 2005.

  1. Merlin

    Merlin Member

    ...'Messiah' on Channel 4 last week? (I can't remember which day it was on). It had this guy called Derrel Brown travelling round the states posing as a psychic medium/healer etc. In one part of the documentary, he was with a large group of people who were all skeptical about the existence of God and of spirits, but somehow this dude made another guy fall over to the floor and when he got up, Derren asked him if he believed in God the guy said 'yes'. A little bit later on Derren asked several other people in the room and nearly all of them said they believe in God (one said 'maybe') but previously all of those people were skeptical about God before meeting Derren.

    I thought it was a really interesting show but I can't establish it's genuinity for sure. Apparently the point Derren wanted to make is to see if he could convince others of his psychic 'gift' (Derren himself doesn't think of himself as having one) and if they would believe him without question. That was the actual result of his research.
     
  2. ZePpeLinA

    ZePpeLinA Jump around!

    yeah i saw it too...but i just found it a bit hard to believe he converted people like that...it's clearly hypnotism like Meng says...but it coul also be all staged, for the sake of entertainment. it was interesting to watch though.
     
  3. Koolaid

    Koolaid Member

    I thought it was very good....Being a big sceptic I am glad there are people like him (and James Rrandi) out there putting out alternative idea's rather than excepting everything on face value.
     
  4. SelfControl

    SelfControl Boned.

    The disclaimer troubled me. I mean, he says all the way through that people automatically believe what they're told without solid evidence. Well, at the start of the show, it says "no actors or stooges were used". Would it not have been appropriate to just lie about that; to use actors and see if anyone actually checks?
     
  5. jonny2mad

    jonny2mad Senior Member

    if you go to http://www.infidelguy.com you can listern to some of his shows via real player or window media player for free .
    I dont know when they will play them again and sometimes the link on the main page doesnt work but Ive heard the same psychic show twice in the last few days.
    there are also some other great shows for sceptics and atheists
    koolaid james randi is a terrific guy and one of the best close up magic artists in the world.
     
  6. SelfControl

    SelfControl Boned.

    The other thing that bothered me about the show was: he always says how disgusted he is about people who use "cold-reading" to pretend to talk to the dead. He's now shown that he knows exactly how to do it. Why doesn't he tell us?
     
  7. JOsie

    JOsie Member

    the secret psychics and hypnotists club would cut off his arse and bury it in the desert...such is the punishment for revealing the secrets of ye olde...psychiks...or something
     
  8. Jaz Delorean

    Jaz Delorean Senior Member

    a magician never reveals his secrets...

    i think he's just very clever and has studied how the mind works, he can't read minds or make people do things, he CAN influence, very subtley, but it's all very clever...
     
  9. weaselpop

    weaselpop Member

    yeah, that was brilliant. I hope it was a hoax though, because it's frightening that people have the power to mess up your mind like that.:eek:
     
  10. showmet

    showmet olen tomppeli

    Well it shows how it really doesn't take much to get people believing in the most insane things ... in the absence of knowledge people have a great capacity to create explanations for themselves. I think we have an innate propensity to reject not knowing in favour of simple explanations which our tiny little minds can grasp ... like God. Far easier to believe in that than to have to think hard about the messiness of not actually knowing very much. Simple coincidences and otherwise understandable pyschological phenomena are all it takes to convince the weak minded of the existence of magic ... this is what faith based religions are based upon.

    The one flaw which annoys me about Brown's debunking of the spiritual is the way he always goes for showmanship iinstead of a complete explanation of his techniques, always leaving room for doubt. But that just shows he is a magician not a scientist. But yeah, it's good that there are people like him out there in popular culture making people think about what they believe rather than blindly following.
     
  11. Koolaid

    Koolaid Member

    James Randi has written a book that exposes all these techniques and shows you exactly how to do a cold reading....is not difficult to be honest...

    The book is called Flim-Flam: The Truth About Unicorns, Parapsychology and Other Delusions
     
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Member

    Yeah it is pretty scary. The idea that someone else can manipulate your own personality against your will. I like to think as having control over my own mind, and certainly over my religious or philosophical beliefs. In that same demonstration I mentioned, some people walked out because they felt uncomfortable about such control, that is, assuming the whole thing wasn't a hoax.
     
  13. SelfControl

    SelfControl Boned.

    Rough translation: "I hate cold-reading so much, I'm not only going to let those who profit from it continue to do so, I'm also going to let others make loads of money telling you why you shouldn't make money out of it." Or something.
     
  14. Koolaid

    Koolaid Member

    Definately or something..... seeing as you have no idea what you are on about......Do you even know about the JREF or anything...
     
  15. SelfControl

    SelfControl Boned.

    Not a clue. I just don't like Brown making himself out as this altruistic figure when he doesn't really do much to prevent financial exploitation of the paranormal that he claims to deplore.
     
  16. showmet

    showmet olen tomppeli

    I really don't think that has anything to do with it... as far as I can tell he is just interested in exposing the mechanisms at work behind the traditional props of spiritualists... if he deplores anything it's the fact that people pass this off as fact when it is simply illusion.
     
  17. Koolaid

    Koolaid Member

    well said showmet :)
     
  18. SelfControl

    SelfControl Boned.

    Well, he did actually say in that program that he found the whole cold-reading thing sick and disturbing. And the program didn't tell you anything. It was obviously meant to Make You Think, but he didn't expose those mechanisms at all, he just said they might not actually be psychic or magic (everyone knows that, even when they don't know how it's done and don't want to know, they know it). He made the show out to be something to help you make your mind up, but then didn't give you any new information, other than "ner ner, all other psychics are STOOOPID".
     
  19. showmet

    showmet olen tomppeli

    Nonsense - many, many people believe that spiritualism and psychic abilities are real. What he does is replicate them with the admission that what he is doing is in no way paranormal but simply applying some known psychological techniques. As for him not actually going into depth about what the techniques are, I would agree that this is a flaw in his approach if he really seeks to debunk spiritualism - see my first post in this thread.

    I imagine what he finds "sick and disturbing" is people who take advantage of these techniques to convince people they are actually performing psychic feats. Personally I think many who profess to have this ability do indeed convince themselves that what they are doing is supernatural when in fact it is perfectly natural... it is frequently not understood by those who witness it and, quite possibly, not understood by many who perform it.
     
  20. SelfControl

    SelfControl Boned.

    My problem was: I know why he finds that kind of exploitation so disgusting, I just don't understand why he doesn't want to just end it; if he told us how it was done, a whole section of society is now not going to be fooled by those techniques.

    And what I meant about everyone knowing it is: we do all know it's impossible. If we want it to be true enough, you'll believe it. But that's a flaw in the subject, more than the "psychic". The point of the show seemed to be to illustrate how easily fooled we are, rather than make fun of the "psychics", but there's not a great deal said. If you're going to do something like that, you can't really leave much room for ambiguity, otherwise it's self-defeating.
     

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