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Category Archives: Psychics

Well it’s about that time again Carlos fans. The Skeptics of Carlos blog carnival has rolled into town once more for your skeptical entertainment.

Oh, by the way, recently I have been trying to analyze topics and issues from a “true-believer” start point. This is mainly because the other day a Mormon tried to convert me with his “techniques that he could try out on me” (or so his colleague whispered to him before they approached me). So I will be writing this carnival post from the view point of a true believer. *clears throat* Heh hem.

Have you ever gone to the doctors when you’re sick? I haven’t, prayer is all I need, but if I were to I wouldn’t be taking any advice from a doctor such as Karen Stollznow over at the skepbitch! She doesn’t even condone the use of popular “alternate” medicines such as homeopathy and chiropractic! Every time I get a cold I take homeopathic tablets and I’m better in 2-3 weeks, see it works! She must be nuts…and to talk to her mother that way? She must be an atheist. Oh and be very wary of the evil lesbian/sexually confused ghost, Klara that haunts Dr. Stollznow. We should probably perform an exorcism on that evil haunted house, she doesn’t believe it is haunted but I know it is! Armidale sounds like a dreadful place.

Next up is Naontiotami from Homologous Legs. He shows his obvious evil atheism and devil worship as he tries to pull the wool over our eyes about creationism in his article, Institute for Creation Research: Evolution: Real Science or Nonsense? Doesn’t he know that it is fact? And where does he get off slandering the good natured Christians at the ICR, they put a good twenty minutes into their research and he could at least give it the time of day and take it seriously.

Oh and there appears to be a new non-believer/infidel podcast doing the rounds. Gary Curtis and Tim van Gelder have decided to burden us with more sin as they delve into critical thought and logical fallacies. Again the foul atheists bow and scrape to their God of science and critical analysis. If you want to learn about debating why not find some of Kent Hovind’s debates, those are real eye openers plus I am pretty confident…No I am convinced that he would wipe the floor with these non-believers! Humbug indeed.

Andy (Dawkin’s and Randi’s lap dog) over at Thinking Is Real seems to think that us believers need saving. Well I have some “good news” for him, he is the one that needs to be saved. He seems to think we have a reason for why we are skeptical of something, but he is wrong, some things just make sense! For example, we are skeptical of evolution because it goes against Gods word right? Look around you! God made all of it, it’s so obvious! Where was I? Oh yeh, anyway, Andy is fighting for what he believes in (or is it what he doesn’t believe in? I can never tell with these atheists) so at least I can give him a small amount of credit.

Hm, the Podblack Cat? Is that even a real name? I don’t think so. And her tardiness would seem to indicate that she has not been touched by the Lord as she doesn’t care about other peoples time or feelings (:P)! But moving on from that. In her latest post she has written a short run down on skeptical films for people to watch and enjoy. I almost liked this article until she showed her obvious racist tendencies when she referred to the film Magicians, calling it a “black comedy”. Those damn non-believers always have to have a stab at someone!

Well, thanks so much for tuning in for another Skeptics of Carlos. Oh and if you are interested in a complete and utter heathen who is trying to indoctrinate the youth of Australia, you should read more of Skelliot’s blog. You can even submit your own articles to the web site he is building, The Young Australian Skeptics, which will be going live soon!


An orchestra of car horns blew as my brother slid across the bonnet of a Mercedes. He landed, cat like, on the other side and sprinted onto the side walk towards the Asia centre. I stumbled behind him followed closely by his good friend Kat, cars screeching to a halt as we failed to get out of the way of them. I saw my bro in the distance standing at the door of the Asia centre casually leaning against the wall. I felt obligated to get to the auditorium on time so I sucked in a large breath of air and bolted up to the building.

Took your time didn’t ya? We are going to miss the start of the talk.

Chuckled Josh.

We barrelled down the stairs and found a seat in the auditorium, luckily there were some fantastic seats right in front of the stage. We sunk into our seats gasping for breath.
Normally I don’t think we would have been this eager to get somewhere, but this was something special. It is National Science Week and we were off to see Michael Shermer and Lynne Kelly.

We were not disappointed. First was the Shermernator with his talk, Why Darwin Matters. Needless to say Shermer was fantastic. He lashed the key note with humourous asides and the core focus of the talk was highly persuasive. Well, persuasive to someone with an open mind. There was one old chap who stood up and disagreed with everything Shermer said. This on its own is fine, but when every argument he put forth was the same old creationist/religious apologist pre-debunked crap it kind of felt like he was trying to have a pissing contest. He brought out Shannon’s law (obviously completely misunderstanding how we measure information) and also reused the old Letters in a box analogy. It was a veritable shotgun blast of challenges that he most likely knew Shermer wouldn’t be able to address in full.

All in all it was a great talk and was very funny.

Next up was Lynne Kelly of the Victorian Skeptics. Her talk on Taromancy didn’t disappoint. She focused on cold reading and her personally made “Ancient Chinese” Tarot cardesque form of cold reading which used “masks”. She showed us how she works with a client and how even the most skeptical mind can be fooled if the cold reader is clever enough. The talk took a sombre note when she explained how psychics and pseudo-science can harm people with a truly sad story about a Melbourne couple who chose to forgo science based medicine at the advice of a psychic, ending in the death of a child.

This was definitely one of those talks that you wish you could take a non-skeptical friend or family member to. I hope in the future that we can have many more events like this and keep spreading scepticism and the scientific method. To continue the Science Week trend, later this week I’m going to the Melbourne museum to try and get into the fossil archives to take some photos for YAS.

Oh, I almost forgot, make sure you get your Young Australian Skeptic submissions in soon! The first articles are coming in now from people such as:- The Skepbitch, Podblack and Naotiotami! Your article can be about anything you want (as long as its science based or attempts critical thought) it can even be a video if you wish, or a sound bite. So hurry up!

Welcome to the world of tomorrow! Blogs are old news, the age of the podcast has begun and in honor of the dawning of this new age I thought I would do a skeptical podcast run down of the casts that I currently (or have in the past) listen too!

Geologic Podcast

Do you want to laugh? Well, if you do, then listen to George Hrab on his podcast. The show consists of sketches, his mother rapping, religious morons and many of his absolutely side splitting characters (all played by him). He even has cameos by famous pod caster Soccer Girl! (A podcast I have not yet listened to by the way.) I am not kidding when I say Mr Hrab is funny, all I can say is go check it out for yourself and then send me (or George, preferably me) money for finding it for you. It is recommended that you listen to episode 31.1 if you want to catch up and get in on the “in” jokes.

Skeptics Guide to the Universe

No self respecting skeptic skips this weekly podcast. Hosted by Steven Novella, an academic neurologist and full time skeptic, and the skeptical rogues, Robert Novella, Jay Novella, Rebecca Watson (the Skepchick) and Evan Bernstein. The SGU is a must listen for any skeptic, or non-skeptic for that mater, in their weekly rounds of the podcast scene. In the show they discuss current topics in the news and skeptical community as well as devastating break downs of pseudo-science and woo. Their regular interviews are truly entertaining. The Amazing Guru of skepticism James Randi also has a regular section called Randi Speaks where he attacks certain issues head on. If you love knowledge, and who doesn’t, tune into the SGU and join its already huge (35,000 last time I heard?) listener base!


Again, a must listen for any self respecting skeptic. Join Derek and Swoopy as they delve into a specific issue each week. Generally their show consists of an interview with a prominent personality in skepticism or science but their older shows were more like SGU in structure. My favourite recent episode was the No Intelligence Allowed! interview with Professor Richard Dawkins and Dr. Michael Shermer about the new ID movie Expelled.

Are we alone? – SETI Podcast

Are we alone? Who knows! But damn it’s fun to speculate. That’s what the SETI podcast is all about… well, not really, they explore deep into different scientific issues as well as the astrobiology topics it is based on. Each podcast focus’ on one or two topics and consists of interviews and fantastic banter between the two hosts. Seth Shostak is the senior astronomer at the SETI institute.

Scientific American

This is a podcast that I don’t listen to regularly, but when I do listen I enjoy it thoroughly. The podcasts are usually fairly short and consist of mainly scientific topics (duh). My recent favourite episode was their interview with Mark Mathis who they proceeded to basically rip apart. It was hilarious to listen to him back peddle when met with a difficult question.

Cj’s Skeptical World

Unfortunately CJ’s no longer makes his podcast, but what he has made so far are highly entertaining. Listen to CJ as he spews mind bending rants about Woo and science in the American and world media. He even gives this blog a fleeting mention.

I hope this quick run down has helped you to decide on what you want to listen to. With each packet of knowledge I receive I come closer to world domination, please help me in that goal by commenting and posting your favourite Podcasts.

Just the other day I found a show, that you might have heard of, called Britain’s Psychic Challenge. Basically they have a group of “psychics” who take on certain challenges to test their mental prowess. Now I know what your thinking, ‘oh dear here we go another psychic proponent show’. Well, yes and no. They had a team of three skeptics who watched over the proceedings who tweak challenges so that they are more scientific or so that the psychics find it harder to cold read. The question, ‘are they really “skeptics”?’ still stands but I am fairly convinced they were genuine as they didn’t say anything dubious throughout the show.

The tasks on the other hand were fairly basic for even the most amateur cold reader. The first “challenge” was set in an hotel that was once a nunnery, and at another time, an orphanage. The “psychics” were asked to walk around the house and tell the testers what they felt/detected. All of them felt the presence of a little girl, a nun and an old man. All of these were previously identified, to the viewer only, as ghosts that had been previously sighted in the building. At first this seems astounding but when you examine it closely it becomes obvious cold reading. Firstly, what are the first things you would think of, as a cold reader, when you step into an old building that has many rooms. Well, you would think of an orphanage or something similar, and usually orphanages were run by catholic nuns, and generally there would be an old man in there somewhere. Heck, you may as well cover all the bases of what the building could have been in the past, you’re sure to get a hit sooner or later. Apparently the girl ghost had been seen running around barefoot, and what do you know, one of the “psychics” identified a “curly haired little girl” who was running around barefoot. Again, an easy case of educated guess work, most little girls don’t wear shoes inside anyway so, at surface level, this sounds like an extraordinary hit. However, some of the other “psychics” were so far off the mark with any prediction that I almost felt embarrassed for them…almost.

In the next challenge the psychics were asked to identify the maker of a clay pot out of four people. Needless to say the results were dismal. Only two of the “psychics” guessed the right person and it was obvious when a few members of the group picked a particular gentleman, that they were cold reading the peoples clothing to guess the maker. After the psychics had had a go at it, they brought in “non-psychics” off the street to give it a shot. Four out of the four non-psychics guessed the right pot-maker. Embarrassing.

The following challenge was fairly straight forward. They had approximately fifteen women in a room and gave the psychics two handbags with about three items in each. They then asked the psychics to give the hand bags to their rightful owners. NONE of the psychics managed to give even ONE bag to the right owner. The group of random non-psychics however, managed two hits.

The final challenge was the most interesting but also the easiest to debunk. They sent the psychics to the oldest pub in Yorkshire. The building was built in the 1600’s so obviously it must have a rich history. From the beginning the viewer was informed that the cellar of the place doubled as a makeshift surgery and hospital for sick soldiers in a civil war at the time. When the psychics entered the cellar they began fishing for hits. One of them asked if it had anything to do with Guy Fawkes and when he was told no, he went to the next obvious option, a hospital or hideout, as if he was checking off a list. One of the psychics even went so far as to say the positions of the beds! “The beds were positioned along the sides of the walls” he said. Ok, lets think about this. Firstly, where else do you put beds in a tiny cellar/hospital. If the beds were in the middle of the room wouldn’t it be a tad hard to navigate between the patients? So this is just logic and not psy at all. Secondly, what was happening in England when this old building was built. Seeing as most of the buildings in Yorkshire with cellars are fairly old it would be obvious they existed through some sort of war. Which war exactly doesn’t matter because even if they just say “sick people in the past” it’s a hit! And what do people who are scared and injured do when they are in a war? They go underground! That being said, even with such an easily cold read location only two of the “psychics” managed to get a hit. They all failed to mention a specific time, the best they could do was say “old” or “way back in time”.

While some of the experiments were questionable, this show strongly grounds itself on the side of the skeptics and for this I am thankful. So many programs support psy and woo that it’s almost ridiculous. I have only seen one episode but I hope that the rest follow the trend. Who knows, maybe in the end they will admit they have no powers? Not likely.