Monday, February 16, 2009

It's getting cold in here...

With the recent popularity of the TV show, The Mentalist, there's been a renewed interest in "cold reading" techniques that many skeptics claim is the foundation for psychic or mediumship readings.

Fraud exists everywhere in the psychic/mediumship world. At all levels. Sometimes that fraud is perpetrated with forethought, other times, it's just a byproduct of self-delusion. However, when you remove all the questionable and objectionable evidence from the mix, you are still left with volumes of evidence and experiments that beg the question, "Is there more to consciousness that meets the mind?"

So, back to the cold reading claim. I recently found a post ( that gives its readers very detailed directions in how to portray yourself as a psychic or medium. Here's the intro to the article -
"Want to be a hit at the next party? Perform a cold reading, and you can amaze - maybe even frighten - people with your psychic abilities. Don't worry though; no actual psychic ability is required. Cold reading is a classic trick used by magicians, soothsayers, TV psychics, and other entertainers and charlatans. By asking a person the right questions, listening carefully, and making a guess or two, you can convince even many skeptics that you really are able to communicate with the spirit world.
I am posting the intro and link here for two reasons. One, it serves as a warning to gullible people that bad psychics and mediums do exist, and they do use these techniques. Two, it serves as a reminder of how shallow and ignorant skeptical arguments are against valid scientific research into consciousness survival.

In any major research protocol dealing with anomalous cognition, rigorous steps are taken to eliminate any possibility of cold reading as a possible explanation. Eliminating this explanation doesn't prove "life after death", but it does require the skeptical community to shed, once and for all, their automated rejection of the question that is still hanging out there, and like I said earlier, begging investigation, "Is there more to consciousness that meets the mind?"

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