Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
Note: additional editing on 2-21-09
A while back, I got a comment from some snarky deranged skeptic in response to my post on Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge. Because this person left an obviously phony e-mail address, it landed in the spam pile where I did not see it for a couple of weeks. Here it is in all its irrational glory:
Oh come on now, surely you can do better than that. To try and portray yourself as some kind of victim of a conspiracy by Randi’s organization to trick you because he wont let you cheat is fundamentally dishonest and quite disgraceful.
You need to get your head around one simple fact – you are NOT psychic. This of course means you are either a bare faced liar, or alternatively, you actually believe you are psychic in which case you are dangerously deluded and should seek psychiatric help.
Some may put forward the argument ‘what’s the harm’ if you believe this bunk. Well, take a look at this site: whatstheharm.net. They list countless examples of people seriously harmed and even killed by idiotic purveyors of superstitious nonsense such as yourself.
You are a lowlife and should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.
If you are psychic, you automatically feel bad as a result of reading this. I did too. There is no shame it it, it’s just how we are. Our first reaction to an attack like this is to feel upset and doubt ourselves. And you probably quickly regained your composure. Your logical mind took over and you realized that this comment was completely moronic and not worth a Chihuahua’s booger. (I wrote an article on What’stheharm.net)
Incidentally, when I was blogging on Daily Kos (Under the title A Well Kept Secret if you’re interested. I cross posted that blog over here. btw.) I got a ton of this nonsense every time I posted. And I learned something about skeptics; they’re completely full of crap. You probably knew this intuitively, but there really is nothing quite like seeing it firsthand. They always act like they know what they’re talking about, but they never do. For example, how many times have you seen or heard the phrase: “there is no evidence for psi?” Plenty I’ll imagine. but there is evidence. Lots of it.
Links that they provided went back to pseudo-scientific skeptic articles. They took turns ridiculing me and were impervious to evidence, managing to explain away everything. I tried arguing a few times; after all, I HAVE educated myself pretty well on this subject, but it was always pointless and eventually I gave up bothering with them.
Which brings me to the point of this article. Having gone through all that, I find I am experiencing a new emotion lately. When people go on about how psi doesn’t exist, I feel . . . insulted. I don’t feel that I have to stand by and listen to or read this crap. It implies that I am somehow deluded and crazy. Why should people who are psychic, who have never done anyone any harm, have to put up with being openly mocked and insulted. No one else has to put up with this, why should we?
I say that this is the gift of feeling insulted because in order to feel insulted you have to first feel that you have worth. You have to feel that your position has merit and that other people have crossed a line that is inappropriate. After all the research that I’ve done, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is inappropriate behavior to question psychic people and their abilities. The evidence shows that the way those few people treat us is as bad as racism and homophobia. Their justifications certainly have no more merit than racist and homophobic arguments.
When clairvoyants are denounced as frauds, when the existence of psi is dismissed and people are allowed to spread, well, lies, then we all suffer a bit because of it. These are not just insults to people trying to make a living helping people with their abilities these are insults to all of us. To imply that one of us is dishonest or wacko is to imply that all of us are.
I actually think that acceptance of psi will come from us, not scientists. There is already enough evidence to meet any sane scientific standard, so clearly more evidence is not the answer. I think that in order to end this farce, we need to stand up and demand respect. I also know that this is just about asking the impossible from the most sensitive and caring people on the planet. We are not by nature, confrontational. Just the opposite, we typically go out of our way to avoid confrontation.
I know that this is something that I hate to do even now. But I have also seen that there are some situations where confrontation is the only path that works, and I think that this is one of them. We would need to organize and push the media to be careful in how they treat us. We need to let them know that they are hurting and insulting perfectly decent people. They are prone to being sensitive and a lot of them probably are on our side anyway. What’s clear is that if we do nothing, nothing will happen. It’s up to us.