Thursday, 12 August 2010

"Dear Psychics, from Science" (No. 24)

Not done one of these for a while, hope I'm not too rusty. Anyone think it's time the grief-exploiting crowd-pleasing liars that are psychics get a bit of a communique to the smartest of all anthropomorphic personifications?

Too bad if you don't because that's what I'm doing.

"Dear Psychics

Hello, it's me, T.A.P.O Science.

(By the way, T.A.P.O = the anthropomorphic personification of-, just so you know. I put that in to save a bit of time when writing this, but on reflection the act of explaining it appears to have lengthened my passage massively [fnarr!] so it's been a waste of time. But speaking of gargantuan wastes of time, back to you...)

This missive is an attempt to try and reconcile our differences. For starters, I won't be making the obvious jokes about 'why don't you read my mind?' when referring to our methods of communication. I wouldn't expect you to be read my mind, even if you genuinely could/can, as I am the personification of all human scientific knowledge and wisdom; attempting to read my mind would be akin to cleaning your ears out with an industrial sandblaster, so I'd advise you not to.

But it's often pointed out to me that I 'don't know what the mind is capable of''. And you know what? It's true. I will hold my metaphorical hands up and admit it; the mind is very much a grey area to me. It's generated by the grey matter too, which seems appropriate. But the mind is something that is presently unquantifiable, unqualifiable, unmeasurable and largely unknowable with the tools currently available to me (rest assured, I'm working on that).

This is why most people think the properties of mind are largely debated by philosophers. Even my behavioural scientists study neural activity and map it onto behaviour, skipping the bit with mind.

There's gaps in my knowledge, is what I'm saying. And hell, given the weird complex nature of quantum physics, parallel realities and the observer effect, who's to say mind reading, predicting the future or even speaking to the dead is impossible?

Although invoking the use of Quantum properties to read minds throws up even more questions, what with the fact that the properties of quantum mechanics means that quantum information cannot be copied, only transferred (a process which destroys the original). Reading someone's mind would effectively wipe it, and that would never do. That would mean that people who choose to go and see psychics would be very ill-informed, credulous and ignorant individuals who believe whatever their told, and I think we'd have noticed if that was the case!

So, I'm not saying that what you claim you can do is impossible. The claim that YOU can do it, I find ridiculous, but for now let's take you at your word. So if your claims are genuine and you wish to gain some valuable credibility, would you be so kind as to clear up the following points?

1: I notice that the majority of your public displays involve instances of imparting personal details about people, speaking to their deceased loved ones and making 'accurate' predictions about their lives. Please, what is the telepathy/necromancy/clairvoyancy ratio a proper psychic must possess? Or is it like Biology/Chemistry/Physics to a scientist? i.e. You tend to pick up bits of all of them if you get seriously involved in the field?
If this is the case, do you have the equivalents of doctors and professors? Specialists who focus on one specific area? E.g. Predicting future events that occur on Tuesday afternoons between 3.45 and 5.0, contacting people who died in the Victorian era of the pox? Please, enlighten me.

2: The tarot card thing, is that anything to do with you? I was just wondering how darkly lit rooms and ornate clothing helps predict the future via the medium of randomly shuffled pictures of things?

3: Speaking of cards, someone who can predict the future and read minds would be unstoppable in a casino. Do you ever have trouble when you fancy a gamble? My people get in trouble for just being aware of probabilities, so you guys must have one hell of a time. What's the official casino policy when you show up? And before you argue that using our powers to gamble would be unethical, bear in mind you seem to make most of your profit exploiting the bereaved and/or gullible.

4: Why do dead people stutter so much? It's true that the causes of stuttering are psychological in many cases, some sort of performance anxiety is believed to be an issue, but I'd have guessed that 'dying' would rule out most concerns on that basis. If it was a physical stutter then having no physical form would surely sort that out. But every time you talk to them it's always 'D- d- d- d- da- da- da- dav - dav- Dave? No, Dav- Davina? yes, I meant Davina'. Often, even when you're talking to a live person, supposedly reading their mind, they mentally stutter but no vocally. What's that about? Or is it the rate at which you can receive information is quite low, like dial up internet? Why not just wait for the full message to download then, people wouldn't mind and it would probably take less time that the whole 'shout out letters and hope somebody recognises what I'm saying' approach.

5: Do you hear peoples thoughts (dead and alive) constantly, or is it only when you're being paid to do so? If it's the former it must get annoying, especially in the shower and places like that. And how come you don't just eventually snap and run screaming naked down the street with your head in a lead bucket? If you can control it, what part of the brain is it that's processing the stimuli? I've looked through all the lobes and I can't seem to find any nucleus or region that seems to fit the bill. There's the limbic system of course, which activates when you lie. Just saying...

6: How do you get on with Christians? You push the argument of there being an afterlife (which they like) but also dabble in undeniably occult practices (which they really don't). I would include the other religions in this question too, but like the Christians, they keep saying it's none of my business. I'd be fine with that if it was a two way thing, but they keep interfering with my textbooks and I'm supposed to just sit there and take it? I'm the one with the nukes and the Universe-imploding accelerators, they have old books and shouting.

7: Do you ever channel animals? That sounds like it would be hilarious.

So yeah. I'm sure there are other issues, but if you could answer these questions for now that would be great. Please reply via any physical means you can (if you attempt to send it via psychic link, you'll just get a 'busy' signal).

Love and kisses

Science (BA Hons)

Email: Humourology (at)
Twitter: @garwboy


Skeptic Flyer said...

They Do talk to animals.

And it is hilarious.

lizzie said...

in my opinion, your best letter yet ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Science,

In answer to your questions

1. People specialise. The labels you give would depend on the mechanism you attribute to the phenomena.
2. Darkly lit rooms. Whilst I know the truth of it, such dressing helps others believe. This makes it much easier. Imagine trying to teach science, would a receptive open student be preferable? Having said that the good psychic can believe enough for both.
3. Most successful business people believe they have a 'psychic' edge. Why piss around in casinos when you can run multi billion dollar corporations.
4. Communication can be very clear, dont confuse the wheat with the chaff. Fortune tellers(specialisation - also seen as scum by psychics) make a living from it and are putting on a show, and yes, cold reading is a perfectly acceptable part of that, whats the problem again?
5. Spiritualists are largely Christians. Wiccans have the oldest (60 year old) religion, and are generally teenage girls, they dislike Christians for some imagined slight centuries ago. People are people.

Just the thoughts. said...

Nice one.
The crystals have told me to ignore anonymous’ comments. I have asked all the dead anonymous what they think. I'm still awaiting a reply but I know they will tell me that they are anonymous for good reasons, mainly to avoid their families being tracked down by anonymous tormentors.
And no I am not psychic but I hear dead people are.

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