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Ed Hudgins

Scorning Sicko Psychics

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Scorning Sicko Psychics

By Edward Hudgins

May 10, 1013 — Several days ago Amanda Berry escaped from a house of horrors where she’d been held as a kidnapped sex slave since 2003, along with two other women and her daughter, who was born of one of the rapes she suffered. The details of this shocking crime disgust all decent people and the monster responsible should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

But a bit of that disgust should be saved for a tormentor of Amanda’s mother, Louwana Miller. I mean the self-styled “psychic” Silvia Browne.

The year after her daughter went missing, this desperate mom appeared on the

w, where the psychic Browne told her, concerning Amanda, “She’s not alive, honey.” Louwana reluctantly accepted the psychic’s word. She gave up hope. Her health suffered and she died a year later, never knowing her daughter was alive.

Psychics, at best, are self-deluded, addled-brained individuals who, in their unfocused minds, believe they have special powers, but who don’t have the mental or moral power to question their own delusions. At worst, they’re vile exploiters who bilk money from the fears and suffering of the emotionally vulnerable.

Browne is a particularly disgusting example of such a creature. As a media hog she has been able to abuse far more victims than your average hole-in-the-wall tarot card or palm reader. In 2001 she was challenged on a TV show to take the James Randi Educational Foundation test, which offers a $1 million prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult powers. She agreed to do it but has dodged the challenge for a decade. Is this because she doesn’t need the money, having amassed a fortune from the gullible? No, it’s because she’s a fraud!

And if she were anything but a moral midget she would acknowledge that her life has been one of harming others, and she would spend the rest of it exposing and debunking others like herself. But she is unapologetic about her “Amanda’s dead” declaration, arguing “I have been more right than wrong.”

In a rational culture, psychics would be as rare at flat-Earth advocates. Sadly, psychics and their kind are still around; indeed, some of the more foolish police actually use psychics in hunts for missing persons.

You my readers here probably don’t need to be told not to visit psychics. But you might do a little consciousness-raising. Next time you’re in the company of others and walk past a psychic business or see a psychic ad on TV, remind them of Amanda’s mother and Silvia Browne. Remind them that lies kill hope and spread misery.
--------
Hudgins is director of advocacy and a senior scholar at The Atlas Society.

For further reading:

*Edward Hudgins, “Is Miss Cleo a Criminal? She’s Certainly a Fraud!” March 2002.

*Edward Hudgins, “Scientology, Seizures, and Science.” January 13, 2009.

*Edward Hudgins, “After The Apocalypse, Try Reason!” May 27, 2011.

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Ed,

We have been having a discussion about psychics here on another thread.

You suggest scorning them. Some others are suggesting government regulation, especially of their marketing messages (actually one other with some tacit acceptance by some others). The ultimate idea seems to be to force fools from spending their money on garbage. Sort of like trying to force people to stop smoking.

I already know, but which do you believe is the best alternative?

Do you believe individuals should scorn psychics of their own free will with no government intervention, or do you believe government bureaucrats are more qualified to speak for rational people and the Rational Ones need to care for the fools against their will?

:)

Michael

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Some of the worlds "great" religions were founded by dreamers of Dreams and seers of Visions.

So your dire estimation of such folk is right on point.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Hi Michael! Sorry I've been absent from discussions of late. Business travel and a few days vacation. I'll look at the other thread soon.

Governemnt regulation of ideas, even stupid ones, is dangerous. The same laws could apply to mainstream religions. I'm no fan of those either but, again. free expression is a foundation of a free society.

But some abuses by psychics and cults are covered by current laws, against fraud for example. The tougher nut are cults that maintain isolated compounds and keep members and--far worse--children--cut off from the outside world. Morman plural marriage cults and Scientology come to mind. There's a case in California where a woman who was formerly in the Scientology's "Sea Org" is suing for beinging forced to have abortions. I think she has a good case because members of that elite squad are cut off from outside influence, paid virtually nothing--they're considered priest-volunteers--overworked, and subject to North Korea-style brainwashing and interrogations. So there's an issue of whether this woman was in a position or had the free will to refuse the abortions. In cases like this the law does have a role, though scorning Tom Cruise, Greta Van Susteren and the like couldn't hurt.

But someone on the street who stops in to waste their money on a psychic is a different matter.

More to follow if needed!

Ed

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Ed,

I already knew you didn't want to regulate ideas. I'm just giving our resident apologist for government nanny-state a hard time. (He likes what you wrote.)

:smile:

I agree that civil damage is pertinent, but fraud is difficult to prove. The argument being proposed tried to equate fraud to something like reading tarot cards and a prophesy not happening. Anyone who goes to these places already knows that stuff is hit and miss, so I don't see outright fraud where theft is involved.

Scientology is a trip. I know quite a bit about it because I took up reading about it as a hobby.

I tend to view it now like Lawrence Wright--that it's morphing in a manner similar to the history of the Mormon Church and could very well become one of the mainstream religions in a century or so (just like Mormonism). It certainly has staying power after all the crap it has been involved with over the years.

But if you want to know about persuasion techniques, that religion has one of the best persuasion conveyor belts I know of for gettin' 'em in and keepin' 'em. It's one of the few religions that have no sudden revelation as part of it. It's all done by baby-steps--especially the gas-lighting part (i.e., getting a person to doubt his own mind).

Michael

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Hold on now! Let's be clear about what I was suggesting.

I never suggested, nor would I, regulation of ideas. That would be a full repudiation of everything I stand for. I also never suggested the regulation of the psychic industry, the shaman industry, or any other industry where "hope" is sold (including religion).

Here's what I proposed: I proposed that if a merchant is selling a service they cannot provide, that it amounts to fraud. And I think we all agree that fraud is and ought to be illegal.

In the case of psychics, it plays out like this: A psychic claims to have some special insight that they cannot demonstrate they actually have. In fact, no one has ever been able to demonstrate they have such insight. Yet they market their "psychic ability"... something that rationalists like you and I know they don't have, but an unsuspecting public does not necessarily know.

These are folks that someone like my sister, a crack baby that was adopted by my parents as a 10 month premature baby and will never be completely "normal", might be duped by because they peddle their ability as fact. They are the people that would exploit her gullibility under fraudulent pretenses. Or someone who is emotionally vulnerable, such as a woman whose daughter has been abducted, who is grasping at straws to find any answer for. These are people who are potential fraud victims.

Robert Baratheon was the only one to actually argue against the point I was making. No one else seemed to get it. He argued that it could not be demonstrated to be fraud in a legal sense, and although I find the argument persuasive, I still feel there is fraud here (in the moral sense, if not the legal sense) that needs to be dealt with.

Arguing that the public deserves protection from fraud is NOT the same as arguing in favor of government regulations.

If someone walks into a psychic's office knowing what they are getting in return for their money, then I absolutely support their right to hand their money over to those lying liars.

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Arguing that the public deserves protection from fraud is NOT the same as arguing in favor of government regulations.

How would you do it?

1. Make a law banning psychics. You don't want to do that because that's a regulation.

2. Require psychics to be licensed. Also a regulation. And it could turn bad.

3. Psychic and client make a contract with signatures. Then if the psychic doesn't deliver, maybe there is a case that will stand up in court. No new laws are needed to make a contract.

4. Inform people. Make a website exposing psychics. Expose fraud like James Randi did.

5. (Do you want to add to the list?)

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Arguing that the public deserves protection from fraud is NOT the same as arguing in favor of government regulations.

How would you do it?

1. Make a law banning psychics. You don't want to do that because that's a regulation.

A prophecy is an opinion. And opinions are like ass holes. All of us has at least one.

Each one is entitled to his own opinion. None of us are entitled to our own facts.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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This is cross-posted in both "Psychic" threads under News and Interesting Articles and under Ed Hudgins Corner and then I have nothing else to say.

1. I underwent surgery in 2010 after a round of diagnostic tests including blood chemistry and ultrasound. The last consent for I signed said that I understand that medicine is an art, not a science and that outcomes cannot be predicted.

It has been suggested at economics is also voodoo. Many false beliefs operate among the billions on this planet. How do you regulate their practice?

2. I followed D. L. DeLancey's link about the court ruling on the regulation of psychics. Not every appeals court ruling is correct or even insightful. Justice John Marshall Harlan was known as the Great Dissenter for his minority opinions, most famously in Plessy v. Ferguson. In this case, the court ruled that the Miss Psychic did not belong to an organized religion, or to a recognized system of beliefs. I would say that she does in the same sense that many religions (Buddhism, for instance) are practiced daily by millions of people who have never been inside a recognized, organized temple.

2.a. In ruling against Mormon polygamy, the U S Supreme Court said that you are free to believe what you want, but you are not free to do whatever you want in the name of religion, otherwise, we would be tolerant of human sacrifice. (Reynolds v. United States in Wikipedia. Quoting 98 U.S. 145 (1878) courtesy of Justiicia here: "Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship; would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice? Or if a wife religiously believed it was her duty to burn herself upon the funeral pile of her dead husband; would it be beyond the power of the civil government to prevent her carrying her belief into practice?")

3. As for "psychic powers" (so-called) police departments hire psychics. Now, in my view that would discredit the police, but, clearly, it works to the credit of the psychics who claim some success and seemingly can produce some official validation of that.
3.a. We all can "predict the future" with some success. I see myself at work in six hours.
3.b. How can you claim that we can put sensors on your head and make a machine move record the activity in your brain, but then claim that one human cannot directly perceive the thoughts of another? (ESP)
Crimes are harms involving persons or property. The facts in the case prove the prosecution's case or not. When it comes to beliefs whether religions, philosophies, and beliefs, all that can matter under law is an actual harm provable according to the rules of evidence.
In the book She's Such a Geek! one of the authors tells of talking to her advisor about picking a school for a Ph.D., and he tells her that she does not have the skills or talents for a doctorate. He refused to help her. She was crushed. She ended up in another career, of course. Is that not the kind of fraud perpetrated by a cult? They took her life, took her money, gave her hope, and then, for some unspecified reason, kicked her out when she was no further use to some middling temple manager? You can interpret events many ways. Finding the cogent explanation is the salient challenge.

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For what subject was she wanting a PhD?

Medicine is an "art," huh. Not a science? Tell that to the medical controllers and regulators who pretend it's a science and prescribe treatments and good luck with your lawsuit. Catch 22. Oh, just try trying to argue with your doctor's "art;" he's an artist after all, as he does his 1666th lobotomy on your brain.

--Brant

100,000 Americans died in hospitals in the last 12 months because of medical mistakes--all were under the care of a physician

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If someone walks into a psychic's office knowing what they are getting in return for their money, then I absolutely support their right to hand their money over to those lying liars.

But they don't know. If they did they wouldn't go. They are trying to succor their ignorance and assuage their fears. You must be aware of the fraud in the recruitment of Marines and that they the recruited don't care, especially if they get a real chance to legally kill people. I suspect "Are you a liberal, sir?" is one such. What god are you serving? Freedom? Oil? Bush? Obama? The guys who hit the beach? I'd guess people who go to psychics don't care either, as long as they like the taste of the food.

--Brant

once the bullets crack and whistle and IEDs blow up the perspective will change for the testosterone-driven kids, not the few real thugs who got balls.

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There are different kinds of wealth: money, health, property, knowledge, character, etc. The best way to (generally) help the poor is not to protect them from their poverty, you really can't anyway, but leave them to their own devices so they can deal with it on their own and rise above it--if they want to. Essentially "help" is welfare and welfare is grossly debilitating.

--Brant

"Hey! Teacher! Leave those kids alone!"

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Arguing that the public deserves protection from fraud is NOT the same as arguing in favor of government regulations.

How would you do it?

1. Make a law banning psychics. You don't want to do that because that's a regulation.

2. Require psychics to be licensed. Also a regulation. And it could turn bad.

3. Psychic and client make a contract with signatures. Then if the psychic doesn't deliver, maybe there is a case that will stand up in court. No new laws are needed to make a contract.

4. Inform people. Make a website exposing psychics. Expose fraud like James Randi did.

5. (Do you want to add to the list?)

I don't know how I'd do it. My suggestion that a client deserves to be fully informed was met by the wrath of this entire forum, so I'm not going to argue that point anymore. (Note: My inclination against arguing the point does not indicate a concession.). Apparently, the folks here, pretty much without exception, do not believe that clients of psychics deserve to be fully informed of the true nature of "psychic" ability. I'm not ready to accept that, but I'm also not going to waste anymore time arguing it.

And Mr. Marotta - where there is fraud, there is actual damage by definition. It's inherent in the nature of fraud. That's why it's illegal and unethical. So we don't need an extra conversation to figure it out. If one can demonstrate fraud, one has demonstrated actual damage.

And to all of you who still seem to think this conversation was about regulation - what do I have to do to make this more clear? My point was about fraud. FRAUD. That's why the title of my other OP was "Psychic FRAUD" (not "Psychic REGULATION"). I tried to make it as clear as a bell that IF psychics are taking money under fraudulent pretenses, THEN they should not be allowed to do so.

These "nanny state" complaints are unconvincing. You could use that argument against any petty crime that doesn't kill you. Hey, do we really need laws to protect consumers from unscrupulous, fraudulent business practices? Do we really need laws to protect smaller guys from being pushed out of the movie theater line by bigger guys? Do we really need laws protecting women from having their asses grabbed at grocery stores? Nanny state! Nanny state! Nanny state!

When you are so quick to flip the "nanny state" lever that you are entirely unconcerned with fraudulent business practices exploiting the unsuspecting, uneducated public (not every one has heard of James Randi, believe it or not), then I think your priorities might be in the wrong place.

Anyway, all I'm really concerned with at this point is ensuring that my argument is understood - not whether anyone finds it convincing. I am not arguing in favor of regulation of psychics. I am suggesting that there must be some way to attenuate those self-proclaimed psychics who are deliberately defrauding people out of their money.

Again, if people want to spend their money on psychics, that's their prerogative. As long as the deal is on the up and up.

Like Rand said, in any proper relationship, there are no victims. There are laws against fraud for a reason. And my point is that if a psychic is doing something fraudulent, they ought to be subject to the same laws that govern ALL fraud cases.

I'm asking that you simply understand my actual argument. Not that you accept it.

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Robert Baratheon was the only one to actually argue against the point I was making. No one else seemed to get it.

Kacy,

The problem is that not many around here share your optimism about government control. The general consensus is that once constrained but power-hungry people (like those who go into government) manage to open a legal precedent to encroach on people's lives, they will then work their asses off to expand that new power.

History seems to bear that out.

And speaking of bears, you are arguing for giving a very hungry bear just a little bit of honey and implying that it will then go away and feel good about what it has received. So I believe people don't speak to your point of how much that little bit of honey should be given the bear, 5 ounces or 6, because they don't want to face a hungry bear with its appetite whetted.

On another point, you keep supposing people are uninformed about psychics. I already mentioned the constant bombardment in the mainstream media of people saying it doesn't work. Go to YouTube and other places on the Internet. It's full of information that has a lot of traffic. So the idea that people are uninformed is just not true. Hell, look at the title of Ed's article right here on OL, "Scorning Sicko Psychics."

But acknowledging that fact doesn't fit your "protector of the weak-minded" narrative, right? So best just ignore that point and talk about giving the government more power.

(And what if the government officials like psychics? Hmmm? Hmmm? I bet there are oodles who read horoscopes and so forth regularly. They are the ones you want to enforce stuff with? Heh.)

As I said elsewhere, if you want to educate people about this, you have the entire free press at your disposal. Why not use it?

I'll tell you why you don't like that option. It's because many people will not agree with you and don't give a damn about your cause. So you want to force their compliance anyway.

Rejection hurts, huh?

Something to think about...

If someone walks into a psychic's office knowing what they are getting in return for their money, then I absolutely support their right to hand their money over to those lying liars.

But only if the psychics have a sign or clearly visible indication saying they are lying liars, right?

Otherwise, you are proposing that the public cannot spend money on them.

btw - Under your proposed system, how many years should a person serve in jail for insisting on spending his money on a psychic who refuses to put up a sign saying he is a lying liar? Two years or three? :smile:

Michael

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Ed,

We have been having a discussion about psychics here on another thread.

You suggest scorning them. Some others are suggesting government regulation, especially of their marketing messages (actually one other with some tacit acceptance by some others). The ultimate idea seems to be to force fools from spending their money on garbage. Sort of like trying to force people to stop smoking.

I already know, but which do you believe is the best alternative?

Do you believe individuals should scorn psychics of their own free will with no government intervention, or do you believe government bureaucrats are more qualified to speak for rational people and the Rational Ones need to care for the fools against their will?

:smile:

Michael

Let the beholder beware. There is no way a government ought to attempt to modify what people believe.

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Let's speak to fraud for a moment.

I don't know of--nor have I ever heard of--a psychic who claims to have 100% accuracy on predictions.

Also, I don't know of--nor have I ever heard of--a psychic who has made 100% wrong predictions.

So what is the fraud going to be based on? If it's based on predictions, and psychics have already said their predictions are not 100% accurate, then it stands to reason that the same law can be used against scientists the government doesn't like. After all, science people make predictions all the time and say these are not 100% accurate, that there is always room for error and unforeseen factors.

Is it going to be based on claiming occult knowledge? Like communication with ghosts and spirits? Well, let's look. Is it not reasonable for such a the law to get expanded to banning prayer in church unless a donation-accepting church posts a big honking sign saying prayer doesn't work on pain of conviction of fraud?

Or how about the government closing down churches altogether unless they post a sign saying "There is no evidence God exists, join us only if you want to be fooled"?

Also, why not go whole hog and start convicting losing football coaches of fraud because they claimed they were going to win and the people who paid them believed them? Legally this would be able to be done and would be a perfectly logical extension of the power.

I could go on, but I believe just these four examples make my point.

Michael

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Fraud is properly a matter for civil courts. Failure to conform to regulations, criminal. Of course there are many extant exceptions because you can legislate all over, around and about and through, rational political-philosophical theory, but Kacy, you are putting it all into one package. It's illogical to argue that civil justifies criminal even though criminal may help in a subsequent tort. I kill someone and am convicted of manslaughter which can only help the victim's family suing me for damages. Absent criminal conviction won't necessarily protect me from suit, however, as with the O.J. Simpson case(s).

--Brant

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Oh, BTW, we cannot say absolutely that psychic readings are fundamentally crap--that all psychics are frauds. That's only preponderance of the evidence. We all live in a band of perceptual reality we can only make wider by instruments and trying to answer questions we cannot--yet, and in most cases I think, never. Consider this trivial example that happened to me three decades ago (I have non-trivial examples): I was walking in a very small public park in northern New Jersey with my Father who had suffered a stroke some years before. (This park was where a lot of American revolutionary soldiers were caught sleeping by the British and slaughtered.) I was thinking, for some reason, about The Grand Canyon, not exchanging a single word of conversation. Suddenly, Dad started talking about The Grand Canyon for some reason. Coincidence? Now, I have had serious experience in the canyon as a hiker and on a boat trip. He knew about some of it. During the war he was a reporter in Arizona when and where I was born, so it wasn't that he was tabula rasa about the subject, but that one time was the only time he ever brought the subject up that I can recall. I was so struck by it at the time I carefully reviewed everything to see if I could remember anything I could have said or done to make him start talking about it. Nothing. Then I pretty much stopped thinking about it for there wasn't enough to think about. For mental clarity and exactness I'm very good--not fuzzy at all.

--Brant

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Oh, BTW, we cannot say absolutely that psychic readings are fundamentally crap--that all psychics are frauds. That's only preponderance of the evidence. We all live in a band of perceptual reality we can only make wider by instruments and trying to answer questions we cannot--yet, and in most cases I think, never. Consider this trivial example that happened to me three decades ago (I have non-trivial examples): I was walking in a very small public park in northern New Jersey with my Father who had suffered a stroke some years before. (This park was where a lot of American revolutionary soldiers were caught sleeping by the British and slaughtered.) I was thinking, for some reason, about The Grand Canyon, not exchanging a single word of conversation. Suddenly, Dad started talking about The Grand Canyon for some reason. Coincidence? Now, I have had serious experience in the canyon as a hiker and on a boat trip. He knew about some of it. During the war he was a reporter in Arizona when and where I was born, so it wasn't that he was tabula rasa about the subject, but that one time was the only time he ever brought the subject up that I can recall. I was so struck by it at the time I carefully reviewed everything to see if I could remember anything I could have said or done to make him start talking about it. Nothing. Then I pretty much stopped thinking about it for there wasn't enough to think about. For mental clarity and exactness I'm very good--not fuzzy at all.

--Brant

Think of all the times when you though of something and your father didn't bring it up.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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My suggestion that a client deserves to be fully informed was met by the wrath of this entire forum...

Kacy,

This is not correct. I didn't see any wrath whatsoever. I saw strong disagreement.

Wrath would have been people asking you to be banned and so forth--and me receiving lots of messages about doing something about you. Nothing like that happened.

There is another incorrect point you keep trying to make--that the people here don't believe clients should be informed about what they buy.

I don't know one person here who thinks like that. What they object to is your proposal of government forcing psychics to add messages to their ads and contracts and so forth admitting they are frauds, and of trying to make a criminal case of fraud out of religious beliefs. If that can of worms ever gets open, all hell will break loose. Don't you perceive that religious belief is a fundamental right in the USA? And don't you know where government control of belief goes? Look at history, man!

People object to your "nudging" religious belief under government control and/or calling it a crime (which is squarely under government control).

You say you don't want government regulation of psychics, but everything you propose involves the government coming down hard on psychics.

How about a suggestion--just one--from you that does not involve the government?

You might find more agreement if you did that.

People on OL don't think homogeneously, but in this case, I am proud of this place when I see most all are not letting the seed of government censorship and control get planted as a meme under the guise of protecting consumers by scapegoating an easy target. As you just saw, that is a tough sell to people who are familiar with the process.

Michael

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Do people really have a right to be informed about what they buy? Not if that requires the seller to inform them. For example Monsanto corn. Monsanto does not have an obligation, legal or moral, to inform you that the corn you are buying is Monsanto corn. Monsanto chooses to not inform buyers.

Monsanto goes further. Monsanto wants a law passed that would prohibit by force of law labelling truthfully non-Monsanto corn as non-Monsanto. The reasoning is such labelling would falsely and I guess fraudulently suggest that it is substantially different from Monsanto's patented corn. (I guess it is possible to get a patent on something that is not substantially different.)

Some people believe that the reason why Monsanto refuses to label Monsanto corn as Monsanto is that people would refuse to buy it. If non-Monsanto corn is labelled as non-Monsanto, that might have the same effect on Monsanto corn; people might refuse to buy any corn that is not labelled non-Monsanto.

I am puzzled by Monsanto. Most companies proudly label their products, and without any prompting by a law requiring them to. For example my monitor is 'Acer', my computer is 'HP', my vacuum cleaner is 'Miele', my battery backup is 'APC'. Seems to me, Monsanto corn being so superior to non-Monsanto corn, better taste and better nutrition, the label 'Monsanto' should be a marketing advantage after people are better educated about Monsanto products. A strange company. But they have their rights. And you do not have a right to be informed about Monsanto corn if that means Monsanto must inform you.

I quit corn a long time ago. They don't tell me what I'm buying, I don't buy it.

Now back to the subject of psychics.

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Do people really have a right to be informed about what they buy? Not if that requires the seller to inform them. For example Monsanto corn. Monsanto does not have an obligation, legal or moral, to inform you that the corn you are buying is Monsanto corn. Monsanto chooses to not inform buyers.

Monsanto goes further. Monsanto wants a law passed that would prohibit by force of law labelling truthfully non-Monsanto corn as non-Monsanto. The reasoning is such labelling would falsely and I guess fraudulently suggest that it is substantially different from Monsanto's patented corn. (I guess it is possible to get a patent on something that is not substantially different.)

Some people believe that the reason why Monsanto refuses to label Monsanto corn as Monsanto is that people would refuse to buy it. If non-Monsanto corn is labelled as non-Monsanto, that might have the same effect on Monsanto corn; people might refuse to buy any corn that is not labelled non-Monsanto.

I am puzzled by Monsanto. Most companies proudly label their products, and without any prompting by a law requiring them to. For example my monitor is 'Acer', my computer is 'HP', my vacuum cleaner is 'Miele', my battery backup is 'APC'. Seems to me, Monsanto corn being so superior to non-Monsanto corn, better taste and better nutrition, the label 'Monsanto' should be a marketing advantage after people are better educated about Monsanto products. A strange company. But they have their rights. And you do not have a right to be informed about Monsanto corn if that means Monsanto must inform you.

I quit corn a long time ago. They don't tell me what I'm buying, I don't buy it.

Now back to the subject of psychics.

The legal mode these days is that the seller must reveal any data about the products fitness as a product. That is why food companies are legally required to list the ingredients in their products. I am inclined to agree with this law. A normal buyer would not be able to determine in detail the ingredients of complex food products just by looking and tasting. Besides how would a person deadly allergic to peanuts know if there are any peanut products in the food he buys. It is a matter of life and death.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Do people really have a right to be informed about what they buy? Not if that requires the seller to inform them. For example Monsanto corn. Monsanto does not have an obligation, legal or moral, to inform you that the corn you are buying is Monsanto corn. Monsanto chooses to not inform buyers.

Monsanto goes further. Monsanto wants a law passed that would prohibit by force of law labelling truthfully non-Monsanto corn as non-Monsanto. The reasoning is such labelling would falsely and I guess fraudulently suggest that it is substantially different from Monsanto's patented corn. (I guess it is possible to get a patent on something that is not substantially different.)

Some people believe that the reason why Monsanto refuses to label Monsanto corn as Monsanto is that people would refuse to buy it. If non-Monsanto corn is labelled as non-Monsanto, that might have the same effect on Monsanto corn; people might refuse to buy any corn that is not labelled non-Monsanto.

I am puzzled by Monsanto. Most companies proudly label their products, and without any prompting by a law requiring them to. For example my monitor is 'Acer', my computer is 'HP', my vacuum cleaner is 'Miele', my battery backup is 'APC'. Seems to me, Monsanto corn being so superior to non-Monsanto corn, better taste and better nutrition, the label 'Monsanto' should be a marketing advantage after people are better educated about Monsanto products. A strange company. But they have their rights. And you do not have a right to be informed about Monsanto corn if that means Monsanto must inform you.

I quit corn a long time ago. They don't tell me what I'm buying, I don't buy it.

Now back to the subject of psychics.

The legal mode these days is that the seller must reveal any data about the products fitness as a product. That is why food companies are legally required to list the ingredients in their products. I am inclined to agree with this law. A normal buyer would not be able to determine in detail the ingredients of complex food products just by looking and tasting. Besides how would a person deadly allergic to peanuts know if there are any peanut products in the food he buys. It is a matter of life and death.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Take away nannyism and information would flow freely. Imagine consumer watchdogs operating for profit, with reputations to uphold, on a scale never seen before. The Big Corps would have no recourse to government favoritism (or targeting).

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My suggestion that a client deserves to be fully informed was met by the wrath of this entire forum...

Kacy,

This is not correct. I didn't see any wrath whatsoever. I saw strong disagreement.

Wrath would have been people asking you to be banned and so forth--and me receiving lots of messages about doing something about you. Nothing like that happened.

What you're describing is social wrath. I absolutely did incur the intellectual wrath of the forum, insofar as I was roundly accused of supporting nanny-state politics and wanting to regulate psychics in particular and ideas in general.

There is another incorrect point you keep trying to make--that the people here don't believe clients should be informed about what they buy.

You have been making the case that the psychic has no responsibility to inform their clients that psychic insights are not demonstrable. Since their "special psychic insight" is what they're selling, you are essentially arguing that a merchant does not have the responsibility to provide their clients with accurate information about the product or service they're selling.

This is what you're all arguing.

I think that a merchant who markets a service they cannot provide (or, at best, cannot demonstrate that they've provided) is committing fraud. That's what I'm arguing.

What they object to is your proposal of government forcing psychics to add messages to their ads and contracts and so forth admitting they are frauds, and of trying to make a criminal case of fraud out of religious beliefs. If that can of worms ever gets open, all hell will break loose. Don't you perceive that religious belief is a fundamental right in the USA? And don't you know where government control of belief goes? Look at history, man!

People object to your "nudging" religious belief under government control and/or calling it a crime (which is squarely under government control).

You say you don't want government regulation of psychics, but everything you propose involves the government coming down hard on psychics.

What I'm proposing involves the government protecting folks from fraud. That is a legitimate government function.

And this isn't about religious beliefs. Religion is a faith-based worldview that revolves around a central authoritarian figure, group of figures, or clergy. I'm talking about the marketing of a specific service - and that service is counseling informed by psychic ability.

Since no psychic has ever demonstrated that they have such ability, to offer such a service is fraudulent.

How about a suggestion--just one--from you that does not involve the government?

You might find more agreement if you did that.

You mean ask them nicely to stop committing fraud?

Anyway, my suggestion (the disclosure statement) was an impromptu idea I had that i posted after reading the story about Sylvia Browne telling that lady that her daughter was dead. The solution I offered was of secondary importance. My point is that if psychics are offering a service in exchange for money, and it's a service they cannot actually provide, then either the customer deserves to be informed of that prior to the transaction, or it's fraud.

All of this smokescreen about me wanting to regulate ideas and get government involved in religion is really a diversion. You don't seem to want to address the point that psychics are defrauding gullible (and sometimes vulnerable) people out of their money, and sometimes causing real damage in the process.

I will entertain arguments that what psychics are doing is not actual fraud.

I will not entertain arguments that attempt to absolve them from fraud in the name of free trade. No one has a "right" to commit fraud.

I reject any suggestion that a view supporting the protection of people from fraud amounts to a desire for government regulation. The two have nothing to do with each other. And I reject that laws protecting the public from fraud amount to nanny state policies. Fraud is a crime, and an indirect use of force against the defrauded. To protect the public from force and fraud is a legitimate function of government.

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