Oh please don't get me started on this one Admin.
Anyway, don’t newpaper reporters have a responsibility to report the truth and not what we are spoon fed by TV companies?
Sorry I digress, but there is something else going on here that needs a closer look –
Townhouse TV’s Exec Producer Malcolm Allsop originally hyped the show saying,
Rubbish. While skeptics Chris French and Philip Escoffey may have monitored the tests they certainly weren’t designed by them – 23 tests and not a double blind in sight! Flawed tests = worthless results. Of course, Malcolm Allsop’s declared purpose was also at odds with the format of a show that was constructed to establish a ‘winner’ - so assuming the very existence of the ability they were claiming to investigate. (!)“We want to test if they can actually do anything under test conditions and if there is a rational scientific explanation for what we see.”
Needless to say the skeptics weren’t allowed any time to fully explain what else could be going on here. They were merely meant as window dressing – invited solely to create the illusion of scientific rigour. Techniques like cold reading are a psychic’s stock in trade, similarly subjective validation and confirmation bias all play a part in both deception and self-deception – none of which was explored.
Put that together with a pronounced pro psychic bias shown inadequate testing regime, sloppy protocols and the commentary which frequently declared the prosaic as ‘remarkable’ or ‘extraordinary’ and you have a fudge designed purely for entertainment but with a pseudoscientific veneer. One look at the ‘Facts and Theories’ on the Psychic Challenge web site will give you the general idea where they repeat the old “we only use 10% of our brain’ myth along with a few other gems of ignorance.
What’s the harm – its just entertainment isn’t it? As I write the legitimisation of psychic ability as a reality tested by science is taking place, helped by that show. Despite psi ability having yet to be established as scientific fact anywhere, this sort of nonsense has a habit of seeping into the public consciousness as ‘proven fact’ – after all weren’t these psychics ‘scientifically tested’ on TV? Diane Lazarus is already heavily trading on her instant credibility afforded by the show – pure gold for her but the truth loses out again.
Organisations like The Association for Skeptical Enquiry (ASKE) and the James Randi Foundation offer psychic tests conducted with proper scientific rigour and protocols. Passing tests of this calibre is the only reliable measure of psychic ability and not what Townhouse TV wants us to believe.