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Old 30th March 2010, 02:03 PM   #81
remirol
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Originally Posted by wardenclyffe View Post
Well, she now has three "prominent skeptics" (and we know how much she likes those) saying that the results of the earlier test warrant another test. While Mr. Wagg might not represent JREF on the podcast, he certainly revealed that discussions about testing her have happened at JREF.
What is wrong with that? She'll fail the second test too. Why is this a problem?

What is the big deal about applicants getting tested? I always thought that was the goal, was to get them tested?

Quote:
If so, then go for it. Another high profile failure can't hurt.
I completely agree. Let her get tested until the testers are ready to say "You fail too much, we're not testing you anymore".
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:09 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by remirol View Post
Given your above statements, what is your opinion of StopVisionFromFeeling.com?
To be honest, i havn't been there, but i will go and give an honest assessment of the site.

I can see what your getting at though, and sorry if i am off the mark by anticipating your question, but when doing something that is anti someone like stopvisionfromfeeling.com. What you have to remember is that yes that person is going to get some publicity out of it, but is what your getting out of it mitigating that?

To clarify.

If i am me, some fairly unknown schmuck , and i make a great website that is against John Edwards and this catches on, i am going to be getting more out of this than Mr Edwards. No one knew who i was or what i thought before hand, but assuming the site is good enough to attract attention now they do. And if Mr. Edwards decides to make a comment about it, he is now promoting me, because the people who hate him now know i exist, and even the people that like him know. They might not like me, but they are going to give my website hits, and they are going to tell their friends about that jerk that hates john edwards.

But to flip that, if i am someone well known, and i decide to take on some psychic grandmother practicing out of her apartment ( or even just let her talk). She is the one that is getting the most benefit.
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:13 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by bookitty View Post

<snippola>

This is cynicism, not skepticism.


I can only speak for myself, and what I'd say is ""Why, yes, it is. And it's born of an extended period of dealing with this particular case. So what?"


Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
We do ourselves a disfavor by not recognizing that.


Who's this 'we' white man?


Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
It might be more difficult to remain skeptical when dealing with Anita but that's all the more reason to do so.


What's important for me is to keep in mind everything I've learned already about this person. I don't need to approach this most recent development as either a sceptic or a cynic; I'll approach it as someone who has the experience to know exactly how this is going to unfold.

YMMV
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:14 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
62 posts already. About a failed test applicant who is currently suspended. Who appeared on a podcast. It's like this with every post she makes, too. It gets immediately dissected, compared to previous statements, commented on off-site. I hear the StopVFF site even has a "secret room" dedicated to discussing her.
It's not a "secret" forum. It's a private forum, and I have not kept its existence a secret. I have close to 100,000 words from Anita in the form of Skype chats and e-mails. I have shared most of that information privately in that forum with a select group of people from whom I solicit advice. I also stated publicly after my first chats with her that she was flirtatious and that I had the distinct feeling I was being manipulated. I decided to cover my ass by documenting every private exchange and sharing it with others so there would be no dispute about the reliability of my evidence should the event arise. If you recall, I have been threatened with lawsuits and police action and been publicly accused of sexual harassment and adultery by her.

I don't appreciate the implication that there's something wrong with having such a private forum.

Quote:
Anita has made some mistakes. There is a lot of bad blood on both sides. These days some people will immediately jump to a worst case scenario without exploring any other option. This is cynicism, not skepticism. We do ourselves a disfavor by not recognizing that. It might be more difficult to remain skeptical when dealing with Anita but that's all the more reason to do so.
I have decided to post the e-mail that Anita sent to me in regards to this interview. Last summer I told Anita that I would no longer consider anything she sends me to be private and would post it at my discretion. I have repeated this statement publicly many times and posted several things she has sent to me since. I'm sure that on several occasions Anita wanted me to post what she sent. There is nothing illegal or unethical about me posting the following.

First, the background. I have repeatedly told Anita not to contact me except through a lawyer after revoking her posting privileges on my website for threatening a lawsuit (again). I blocked her on Skype, but somehow (registry problems, I think) she became unblocked. She started a Skype chat that went as follows:

Quote:
[3/20/2010 7:59:39 PM] Anita Ikonen: My goodness what on earth is this! Jim Carr! ... All I can say is YAY! I've missed you, buddy! (clap)
[3/20/2010 8:00:00 PM] Anita Ikonen: Yay! Jim Carr!
[3/20/2010 8:02:17 PM] Anita Ikonen: Yay! Lets have a webcam chat!
[3/20/2010 8:09:02 PM] Anita Ikonen: You can talk to me (and see me) all you want, and ask me anything at all.
[3/20/2010 8:09:18 PM] Anita Ikonen: We have a lot of catching up to do, you haven't even talked to me since the IIG test!
[3/20/2010 8:09:49 PM] Anita Ikonen: I like to girltalk with you.
[3/20/2010 9:20:02 PM] Anita Ikonen: Would be such great fun to call you up.
[3/20/2010 9:20:17 PM] Anita Ikonen: I wonder what you sound like...
[3/20/2010 9:20:31 PM] Anita Ikonen: You probably sound like you look.
[3/20/2010 9:21:09 PM] Jim Carr: Get away from me. I don't know how you became unblocked, but it was not intentional. If you want to reach me, do it through a lawyer.
[3/20/2010 9:21:25 PM] Anita Ikonen: Oh, gee. You added me.
[3/20/2010 9:21:31 PM] Anita Ikonen: Bye, grumpy you.
[3/20/2010 9:21:35 PM] *** Jim Carr blocked Anita Ikonen ***
Five days later she sent me an e-mail that languished in my spam folder until yesterday. Here it is in its entirety.

Quote:
Hi Jim Carr,

First of all, please do not respond with "do not contact me unless it is
through an attorney" because I already know you feel that way. However,
this is something that should interest you and I am sure you appreciate my
offer.

In case you did not receive this over my Skype messages,

[7:20:28 PM] Anita Ikonen: Jim, can I talk to you and really listen to you
and hear your arguments? I am at a crossroads in what I am doing and I
feel entirely helpless and unable to decide for myself and it is at times
like these when I need to talk to a Skeptic.
[7:20:49 PM] Anita Ikonen: Kind of like when a former believer in a faith
needs to talk to a priest.
[7:21:02 PM] Anita Ikonen: I used to have this conversation with you
several times in the past.
[7:21:17 PM] Anita Ikonen: It is at these times when I ask, "Jim, what am
I really doing here?", and I ask you to tell me.
[7:21:38 PM] Anita Ikonen: Remember when I've asked you to tell me what is
real and what isn't? It is one of those times now.
[7:22:01 PM] Anita Ikonen: I've also called some of the IIG members in the
past and had this conversation with them, well, it is not a
conversation...
[7:22:13 PM] Anita Ikonen: ... it is at times like these when I stop
talking, and I just need to listen.
[7:22:58 PM] Anita Ikonen: I guess I could call IIG members who I know
would tell me.
[7:23:08 PM] Anita Ikonen: I also asked Jeff Wagg to tell me, but he is
busy at the moment.
[7:23:18 PM] Anita Ikonen: Are you there? I know you could tell me.
[7:23:30 PM] Anita Ikonen: Tell me, Jim. Is my claim really falsified?
[7:23:39 PM] Anita Ikonen: Is there no point in having another test?
[7:23:43 PM] Anita Ikonen: Why am I so adamant?
[7:23:50 PM] Anita Ikonen: Why is everyone else telling me otherwise?
[7:24:08 PM] Anita Ikonen: Why are now some Skeptics telling me to go on
and to have another test and to apply for the JREF MDC?
[7:24:21 PM] Anita Ikonen: I'm torn apart and in the middle and I just
don't know and I have no thoughts.
[7:24:29 PM] Anita Ikonen: So, someone else needs to tell me, and I need
to listen.
[7:24:49 PM] Anita Ikonen: I was hoping that could be you, you have done
that before.
[7:25:11 PM] Anita Ikonen: ... Isn't that what you're trying to do? With
your website? To "stop" me?
[7:25:20 PM] Anita Ikonen: Well, now is one of those times when that could
happen.
[7:25:33 PM] Anita Ikonen: EXPLAIN to me, why it is so.
[7:25:50 PM] Anita Ikonen: I rarely listen, because I am so stubborn and
defending what I know to be true, but...
[7:25:56 PM] Anita Ikonen: what if it isn't true at all?
[7:26:06 PM] Anita Ikonen: TELL ME the truth! Show me the evidence!
[7:26:43 PM] Anita Ikonen: Because I don't know what is real and what
isn't, in terms of my claim. Help me understand. Explain it to me, in the
way that you understand it.
[7:27:02 PM] Anita Ikonen: I'm listening. And I know you want to tell me.
[7:27:03 PM] Anita Ikonen: So tell me.

I managed to get a hold of Jeff Wagg and we had that discussion. I
recorded our conversation in audio and with his permission I would like to
put that on my website.

I would like to offer the perspectives of more than just one person and
since you have shown yourself to be very opinionated and interested in my
continued investigation I would love to offer to put your views on my
website.

Would you have a Skype call with me that we record, and after editing to
your approval it would be available on my website
www.visionfromfeeling.com Everyone who stumbles upon my website would thus
for sure have access to your opinions about my claim.

Skepticism is all about considering opposing views and allowing for the
most sensible ones to come forth, so in order to have a skeptically
intended website I would want to have your opinions on it, and thought of
this as an easily accessible form.

But it would have to be a dialogue between you and me. It could be as long
as you want, and with the exception of profanity and other content
unsuitable for children, you could say anything you want.

Do let me know if you are interested, but please do not bother responding
with your typical "do not contact me again unless it is through an
attorney" or that would just seem petty. A lack of response from you will
suffice in presenting the point of view that you are declining my offer.

Thanks,
Your favorite woo,

Anita
You can accuse me of "immediately jumping to a worst case scenario" if you want. I disagree. As I said before, I have 100,000 words from here, most of which you haven't seen. I know the patterns of manipulation. You can read this e-mail where she told me she was dying and signed off saying, "So! In case something happens! I LOVE YOU!"

I have repeatedly told her I will never talk to her by voice much less engage in a webcam conversation, yet here she is asking yet again. Notice where she told me, "You can talk to me (and see me) all you want, and ask me anything at all." (emphasis added) If you recall, she received infractions for accusing me of adultery and denying that she ever initiated any flirting with me. However, as the members of my "secret forum" will confirm, she told me last year:

Quote:
[4/9/2009 8:06:47 PM] Anita Ikonen: Btw I'm naked. LOL
[4/9/2009 8:07:01 PM] Anita Ikonen: Just got out of the shower.
[4/9/2009 8:07:15 PM] Anita Ikonen: Oh dear...
This was after a few hours had gone by without me responding to her on Skype. It was clear manipulation, and I believe her latest comments imply the same thing. So, yeh, Bookitty, I do compare her statements to things she has said in the past. That's what critical thinking is all about. That I arrive at my conclusion quickly doesn't mean that I have not carefully considered the evidence.

ETA: For those who might think this is some sort of personal attack, let me try to piece it together for you. The invitation to see on her the webcam I consider manipulation because of my statements that I would never do so and the fact, which she acknowledges, that I only want contact through a lawyer. She has threatened me with lawsuits and police action. She has made public comments about me regarding sexual harassment (see below for a few).

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...21#post5452721
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...70#post5452770
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...00#post5452700
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...55#post5396455

Let's not forget that in what might be the only time on the JREF Forums, the moderators granted a moderated thread limited to two participants: myself and Anita. She dropped out of that interview thread after a while and despite repeated requests, never went back. Knowing all of this, why would she be wondering about how I sound and telling me that I can see her all I want just so we can have a one-on-one conversation that will be edited and placed on her website?

BTW, Bookitty, that thread is crystal clear evidence of how I tried to deal with her fairly and in a polite manner. I asked for that thread because at the time the general VFF thread was getting way too noisy. I wanted to give her a chance to express herself clearly without getting sidetracked. She abandoned it and preferred instead to bask in the attention given to her in the open threads.

Last edited by Uncayimmy; 30th March 2010 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:16 PM   #85
remirol
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Originally Posted by sadhatter View Post
But to flip that, if i am someone well known, and i decide to take on some psychic grandmother practicing out of her apartment ( or even just let her talk). She is the one that is getting the most benefit.
My point exactly.
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:24 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by remirol View Post
What gold, precisely? What is she selling? What target audience is more likely to give credence to her because of Jeff's name?

Seriously, who cares?

OK. What's the next step after RationalAlchemy?

In the end, something concrete has to come out of it. What's the concrete benefit?
You are using the argument from ignorance. You do not understand how someone can get a benefit from this, so you assume that they cannot. Which is exactly the point i am trying to make. Does it seem possible to you that someone with experience you may not have regarding promotion, may know ways of gaining publicity out of an event that you are unaware of?

The gold i speak of is things ranging from sound bites, to promotional materials ( look at the robbie thomas poster in the robbie thomas thread to see what i mean.), to simple statements that will endear her to her fans. And maybe soften detractors.

Agents don't provide anything " concrete" they work with variables, and they are good at their job, if not a lot more actors would have a lot more money.

Your argument seems to be a lot of " who cares, i don't think that does anything" , but coming from experience, it does.

To answer the specific question regarding " whats next after rational alchemy" , well i am not a mind reader brother. But if i was her agent, i would be giving some calls to local radio, or possibly some other fairly large name podcasts or internet radio shows, i would be hitting up skeptical sites, but with a focus now on trying to get a few believer based programs into it as well so that she could take advantage of the appearance on the skeptical podcast. And spin it however she wants to an audience that is not going to question her.

It seems to come down to the fact that you don't believe that i have the appropriate experience in promotion to be able to make the claims that i do. Which is fine, i really, have no way to debate this as i have no proof of my experiences, but if you have access to anyone who you know does this professionally, ask them and see how it synchs up with what i have said.

At this point that is all i have because i am not going to sit here and demand you take my anecdotes. I could be pulling this out of my hat for all you know, so i will leave it up to you to verify with someone you trust and can confirm their credentials.
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:32 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by Akhenaten View Post
I can only speak for myself, and what I'd say is ""Why, yes, it is. And it's born of an extended period of dealing with this particular case. So what?"

Who's this 'we' white man?
Granted. Really bad assumption on my part.

Originally Posted by Akhenaten View Post
What's important for me is to keep in mind everything I've learned already about this person. I don't need to approach this most recent development as either a sceptic or a cynic; I'll approach it as someone who has the experience to know exactly how this is going to unfold.

YMMV
I arrived late to the VFF party. Jumped into a thread about something or another, ready and willing to discuss the matter at hand. I was immediately offered several other threads going back at least a year, quotes from unrelated threads and a link to StopVff. It was all damming stuff, much of it run through the filter of opinion.

I regret to admit that I hopped on the bandwagon and joined in with ascribing significant malice to everything she said. After a while this felt wrong. There are other possible explanations, they might not be correct but they are being ignored.

For example, when Anita was first considering her migraine theory, she contacted a migraine support group. This was considered proof that she was a narcissistic woo looking to take advantage of that group.

However, there is the possibility that she was excited and impulsive. Having come up with a theory, she looked for a way to test it. Being impulsive and jumping a few steps isn't the most scientific way to go about things but neither is it malicious.

That might not be it either, but it was never discussed. All that ever gets discussed is the worst case scenario.
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:32 PM   #88
Uncayimmy
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Originally Posted by sadhatter View Post
This is what good agents do, they spin stuff like this into pure promotional gold, do you think actors or bands give up percentages for no reason? Heck, if i sat down for a couple of days with VFF i could have pages of ways to take advantage of this situation.
Agreed. On her website VFF says, "UncaYimmy is also the author of my *fansite*, StopVisionFromFeeling.com. (I don't need to be stopped. I am conducting a harmless and very interesting investigation.)"

Unfortunately, there's no way to do a stop site and prevent it from being spun by the target. And there will always be publicity that you'd rather they not have. Like anything else, there is a cost-benefit ratio.

When Anita contacted a migraine sufferers Meetup group to offer "treatments" to the members, I contacted the Meetup coordinator and provided her a link to my site. She expressed her gratitude and soon thereafter closed the Meetup group to the public.

When Anita announced the date for her IIG test, I contacted her school newspaper about it. I provided a link to the site. They used information from my site in their article. The article had the effect of Anita's woo spreading around campus. Since then I have been contacted by several staff and students expressing interest and gratitude for the site. Comments like, "I had heard some of this stuff from her, but I had no idea it went this deep."

I have also received a handful of e-mails from people who were checking her out for whatever reason. They appreciated the site. I even had an e-mail from someone whose significant other was into the Alenara the Breatharian nonsense, and it was grateful to see all this information because its SO was harmed by it (my site is #4 in Google for Alenara and #3 for Alenara Breatharian).

On balance I think it's had a positive effect. Still, she calls it her "fansite" and that sucks. Before I put up the site, she was touting her Health Questionnaire for her "study" and claimed it was based on the work of a "brilliant skeptic" (me). I finally managed to get her to remove that claim because her form was nothing like the one I created.

Let's not forget that VFF toured Poland as Alenara the Breatharian giving multi-day lectures. If you look around, she is cited as a prominent breatharian who explains it better than anyone else. She's good at self-promotion and spin, so you have to be very careful in dealing with her.

Anyone who did their homework would know this.
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:43 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
For example, when Anita was first considering her migraine theory, she contacted a migraine support group. This was considered proof that she was a narcissistic woo looking to take advantage of that group.

However, there is the possibility that she was excited and impulsive. Having come up with a theory, she looked for a way to test it. Being impulsive and jumping a few steps isn't the most scientific way to go about things but neither is it malicious.
It's malicious if for the last 10 months people had been telling you that your abilities were not real, that you were dangerous, and that practicing medicine like that is illegal and unethical. When the Meetup group has a notice that says no practitioners are allowed, it's rude to ignore that. I know she knew because she was the one who told me about the notice.

Here's how she introduced the topic.

Quote:
I've just found an organization for migraine sufferers right here in Charlotte. I will contact them immediately. They are listed on the meetup site just like my local Skeptics group is, at http://www.meetup.com/CharlotteMigraine/ I will attend their next meeting and give everyone the treatment. I am quite sure they won't mind a try. If it works it works, if not then I will apologize profusely and post my failure on my website and will have learned something. This isn't about me. It's about them.
<snip>
I have written to the NC Attorney General describing what I do and asking whether I may attempt this treatment with the local Charlotte migraine association.
<snip>
I am now e-mailing the man I treated to ask whether he would accompany me to the next meeting at the migraine association. Provided that I am invited, that is. The organization states that they do not want practitioners to attend, just pain sufferers. But I am asking.
In that conversation I told her what she was doing was illegal and unethical. I repeatedly explained she had no basis for getting the hopes up for people who are suffering (I told her I suffer as well). You can excuse this as impulsive, but the evidence speaks otherwise.

Your criticize us for jumping to the worst case scenario, but what are you doing? You're assuming we're all wrong and acting out of malice when in fact several of know far more about her and her antics than you do. We're following the evidence. Why don't you start looking at the evidence yourself instead of making assumptions?
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Old 30th March 2010, 02:56 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by UncaYimmy View Post
When the Meetup group has a notice that says no practitioners are allowed, it's rude to ignore that. I know she knew because she was the one who told me about the notice.
In that conversation I told her what she was doing was illegal and unethical. I repeatedly explained she had no basis for getting the hopes up for people who are suffering (I told her I suffer as well). You can excuse this as impulsive, but the evidence speaks otherwise.
I have to further clarify here, that at the time Anita contacted that migraine group, and prior to the owner making it private, the owner had a message in the home page of the group that specifically stated that the group was solely for migraine support, and she did not want the group to be approached by people offering "cures" or "treatments" of any kind. It was a very clear statement that Anita completely ignored in her rush to test her theory, despite several people cautioning her that her offer of 'treatments' was directly in violation of the owner's expressed wishes. Perhaps Anita wasn't being intentionally malicious, but she was certainly being rude, thoughtless, and self serving-which I believe was the point that all of us tried to make on the issue.
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Old 30th March 2010, 03:12 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by UncaYimmy View Post

Your criticize us for jumping to the worst case scenario, but what are you doing? You're assuming we're all wrong and acting out of malice when in fact several of know far more about her and her antics than you do. We're following the evidence. Why don't you start looking at the evidence yourself instead of making assumptions?
No, I don't think you are acting out of malice. I believe that your primary reason for doing this is concern. I also think that this mutual grudge has gone on too long to know where it started.

I also don't think that you are wrong and I've never said that. All I have said is that there might be other possibilities and that I would like to see those discussed.
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Old 30th March 2010, 03:19 PM   #92
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After thinking about this I'm going to revise my position a little bit. I still think the way Anita received attention in this "interview" only contributed to the circus around her, but that was because of how the interview was conducted. Jeff Wagg even said something like "I'm sure we'll get a lot of critism for providing Anita with a platform but we should explore the issues."

Of course, no one really has a problem with interviewing Anita - the problem is when you give someone a platform and basically let them sit on it unquestioned. Not even one question was asked of a skeptical nature to explore Anita's many documented failures, and all of the people in the podcast even encouraged her to continue wasting time doing more tests even though shes failed.

The ONLY time any amount of skepticism and critical thinking was applied during the entire "interview" was when Mr. Wagg pointed out that although technically Anita beat chance in her test, she still didn't win it and beating chance in this case was much like flipping a coin and coming up with two heads in a row. A good point, and a excellent example of critical thinking that skeptics should encourage, but it was the ONLY critical thinking I could detect in the entire interview between the fawning over Anita.

Anita again in the interview tried to use her excuse of "I knew I failed ahead of time and mentioned it during the test, therefore I didn't really fail." I am astounded that none of the "skeptics" challenged her on this fallacy.

Last edited by LightinDarkness; 30th March 2010 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 30th March 2010, 03:26 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Jeff Wagg View Post

If she says she can do things, she has to provide evidence in order for me to believe it. She has not done so, and she agrees with that. But she still has the belief. I think that's fascinating, and worth exploring.
I stand amazed at this.

Someone claims to have paranormal powers and has failed to demonstrate them when tested, and you think "exploring" this is fawning over her in an interview? An interview in which, even though Anita's failures are well documented, NO ONE even tried to explore the rational explanations that science would suggest is behind these "powers" she thinks she has?

When the woo explanation fails, why continue to explore the issue before Anita will even consider the alternative (and much more likely) scientific explanations like false memories and mental health disorders?

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Old 30th March 2010, 03:26 PM   #94
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Mr Wagg

Why did you NOT challenge this statement made by Anita to you:

"I recently had an experience where I tried to heal a man who is having devastating migraines, and he thinks it worked so now I'm having to investigate whether I'm a healer"

You said in response: "lets stick with one subject here, tell me about the ghosts, that's what you started with so let's go with that......"

You then ask her if she has seen ghosts.

This question I am putting to you has nothing to do with being cynical and everything to do with being um, you know, kinda, sorta skeptical about "healers".

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Old 30th March 2010, 03:28 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
No, I don't think you are acting out of malice. I believe that your primary reason for doing this is concern. I also think that this mutual grudge has gone on too long to know where it started.
Mutual grudge? Huh? She alternates between telling me she loves me and threatening lawsuits. I don't know how you can call it a grudge on her part. As for my part, I don't consider myself as holding a grudge because it implies that I am not fairly weighing the evidence. My feelings about her are irrelevant and, quite frankly, you really have no clue what those feelings are. Forget my feelings and present your evidence.

Quote:
I also don't think that you are wrong and I've never said that. All I have said is that there might be other possibilities and that I would like to see those discussed.
Then bring them up and discuss them. Be prepared, however, to have your "possibilities" examined in the light of what by now is about a textbook's worth of other information about her.
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Old 30th March 2010, 03:37 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by UncaYimmy View Post
Forget my feelings and present your evidence.


Then bring them up and discuss them. Be prepared, however, to have your "possibilities" examined in the light of what by now is about a textbook's worth of other information about her.
Thank you, that is more than fair.

The possibility that concerns me the most is that Anita is truly leaning towards skepticism. That she may be reaching out and looking for a way to reconcile her past with her future. Some people have interpreted this as a new form of attention seeking. I disagree.
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Old 30th March 2010, 03:41 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by UncaYimmy View Post
Mutual grudge? Huh? She alternates between telling me she loves me and threatening lawsuits. I don't know how you can call it a grudge on her part. As for my part, I don't consider myself as holding a grudge because it implies that I am not fairly weighing the evidence. My feelings about her are irrelevant and, quite frankly, you really have no clue what those feelings are. Forget my feelings and present your evidence.


Then bring them up and discuss them. Be prepared, however, to have your "possibilities" examined in the light of what by now is about a textbook's worth of other information about her.
I think you are the target here for Anita' defenders because you've done so much work in documenting her claims....documentation which, as you have shown, strongly suggests she doesn't have paranormal abilities but does have a penchant for getting attention.

You continue to provide an invaluable resource in terms of simply documenting Anita's claims - a resource which sadly Anita's few supporters here do not like. Those who attack you for your work are simply demonstrating their inability to use rational thinking.

All that being said, I must agree with the sentiment earlier in the thread that we are promoting Anita by engaging in threads like this. The evidence is out there and indisputable - Anita has no paranormal abilities. No further commentary is needed, if we need documentation we have websites like Stop VFF for posterity. Any other discussion of Anita should cease because we are feeding the attention whoring.

That doesn't mean we have to ignore her per say - she is engaging in activities which are harassing members and things like her migraine woo come close to stepping over the legal line. I think its good to simply note what she is up to, and when she encounters new people, to inform them of who she really is.

Its a fine line to dance, but I think we can start by simply not giving her the attention she wants on the forums. Document her activities (as UncaYimmy has done), note the overwhelming evidence that she has no powers, and provide nothing else.

I realize its hard because shes harassed so many people and for me, her new area of woo (migraines) is personal and something that I really feel is going to hurt people. I'm the worst example on the board in terms of giving her attention she doesn't deserve. In that vein, I'm going to stop replying to threads about her.

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Old 30th March 2010, 03:47 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
Thank you, that is more than fair.

The possibility that concerns me the most is that Anita is truly leaning towards skepticism. That she may be reaching out and looking for a way to reconcile her past with her future. Some people have interpreted this as a new form of attention seeking. I disagree.

really Bookitty?
Then why did Anita say this to Jeff Wagg:

"I recently had an experience where I tried to heal a man who is having devastating migraines, and he thinks it worked so now I'm having to investigate whether I'm a healer"
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Old 30th March 2010, 03:54 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by LightinDarkness View Post
And in that vein, I'm going to stop replying to threads about her.
LiD, very sane course of action to take, especially here.
It will be interesting to see if the people who find her fascinating and leaning toward skepticism engage with her, especially when it comes to setting up test protocols for her. You know, like many people here have tried to do over the past 18 months?
Yep, will be interesting to see the money put where the mouth is.
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Old 30th March 2010, 04:00 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
I also don't think that you are wrong and I've never said that. All I have said is that there might be other possibilities and that I would like to see those discussed.

One of those other possibilities, the best supported, most highly evidenced possibility, is off limits for discussion. Jeff Wagg mentioned it in the Rational Alchemy interview and inferred that skeptics were out of line to discuss it. And a handful of posters here have been disciplined, some even suspended, for broaching the subject. So as far as discussing other possibilities, at least the most reasonable one, JREF policy forbids it.
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Old 30th March 2010, 04:10 PM   #101
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ETA: Never mind. I wouldn't have gotten an answer, anyway.

The important thing, apparently is that Anita continue to explore and promote her beliefs, without being asked to provide any evidence to support them, or to consider alternative, rational explanations for them. Of course, she should also practice her guessing game, so she can pass the next test she manages to line up.

And, well, if someone gets hurt in the meantime, by believing her misinformation, at least she won't have been written off as untouchable.

Good luck with that, folks.
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Old 30th March 2010, 04:11 PM   #102
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LiD: It would please me to beyond words if nobody responded to VFF. However, in my 20 years of experience in on-line discussions, I've never seen it work. Even in newsgroups with fewer than a dozen regulars, somebody still responds.

My purpose in starting this thread was twofold. First, I wanted there to be a record of reactions from JREF Forum members about the announcement on Anita's site. Second, I thought the interview was a huge mistake and a poor reflection on the JREF.
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Old 30th March 2010, 04:17 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Farencue View Post
really Bookitty?
Then why did Anita say this to Jeff Wagg:

"I recently had an experience where I tried to heal a man who is having devastating migraines, and he thinks it worked so now I'm having to investigate whether I'm a healer"
Faith (believe without proof) is basically irrational but part of the human tradition. Those who have veered away from a long-held faith do so in different ways. Some people wake up one morning and go "What was I thinking!?" Others might chip away at it a little bit at a time. "Well, x doesn't make sense but there is still y..."

A person raised as a Christian might start to question a few things in the Bible, then leave his specific church, then start reading the apologetics, followed by Dawkins until finally, years later, they end up with whatever form of agnosticism or atheism suits. At any time in between they might still self-identify as a Christian.

If they were to come across an atheist during this time of exploration, they might discuss their concerns or discoveries. If the atheist only hears that they still call themselves Christian, there will be no discussion.
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Old 30th March 2010, 04:50 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Professor Yaffle View Post
[a bit off topic]With this, and the endless IM messages she seems to send you, this seems to be leaning towards stalker/obsessive territory. If you feel it is in that sort of realm, I would strongly recommend that you disengage from her entirely - including not participating in threads about her here, maybe handing over your STOP site to someone else. I say this purely out of concern - my sister dealt with someone displaying very similar behaviour, and it really is the best course of action.[/a bit off topic].
The sentiment is appreciated and something I've heard before. Actually, I was told of this possibility in my Secret Forum long before the obvious signs were out there. I agree with your assessment but not necessarily with the steps I should take to deal with it. Believe me, though, I take it seriously and have considered your recommendations before and again this time.

I agree that this is a bit off-topic, so I hope this slight derail doesn't go any further. I'll be happy to entertain PMs or discuss it over at StopVFF in more detail.
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Old 30th March 2010, 05:24 PM   #105
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Here's my take on the topic, not that anybody cares, LOL.

If a skeptic runs into someone who claims paranormal abilities, a true skeptic (like a true Scotsman) is going to be open-minded initially, give them a chance to explain their abilities, and make sure that anything unusual or even close to paranormal is ruled out before dismissing them.

That's what I did when I first read Anita's posts and sent her the pills to analyze. When she failed such a simple test of her claimed abilities, I switched from skeptic to cynic and disbelieved anything else.

If a skeptic who'd known Anita for years saw me offering her the test with an open mind, he'd be rolling his eyes and saying, "oh no, not more attention! Don't take her seriously! She's already failed every test put to her! She'll go on forever, constantly changing her claims." I would have seemed to him like yet another patsy.

But apparently no one in the JREF circle knew all that then, so at that time, no one criticized the open-minded JREF members who helped her.

The problem seems to be that Jeff came to the interview as I came to Anita with the pills. Yet many of us assume (rightly, I think) that Jeff's interaction with Anita should have included the context that's been discovered in the JREF forum. Those who've fought long in the Anita wars here are rolling our eyes and saying, "oh no!" because now we do know the background.
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Old 30th March 2010, 06:03 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by sadhatter View Post
You are using the argument from ignorance. You do not understand how someone can get a benefit from this, so you assume that they cannot.
You are wrong. I am challenging you to support your handwaving with actual examples of precisely how it is supposed to help her. I understand quite well how marketing works and am far more experienced in it than you realize; I also understand exactly how "skeptics" both are and aren't being taken for a ride here.

Consider this: Rational Alchemy decided to interview Anita about her IIG test. They asked Jeff to also be a guest. Should he have declined or accepted? If so, why?

Quote:
Agents don't provide anything " concrete" they work with variables
Sounds like woo to me.

Quote:
It seems to come down to the fact that you don't believe that i have the appropriate experience in promotion to be able to make the claims that i do.
I think that marketeers of all flavors simultaneously vastly overestimate and misunderstand the actual effects they have. For example, since UncaYimmy put his website up, is Anita more or less well-known?

Precisely my point.
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Old 30th March 2010, 06:05 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by Pup View Post
The problem seems to be that Jeff came to the interview as I came to Anita with the pills. Yet many of us assume (rightly, I think) that Jeff's interaction with Anita should have included the context that's been discovered in the JREF forum. Those who've fought long in the Anita wars here are rolling our eyes and saying, "oh no!" because now we do know the background.
Precisely. I think Jeff was completely correct in his approach, because he was a guest at a non-JREF-sponsored interview. The audience for Rational Alchemy may or may not consist of people who are even members of the JREF, much less those who followed the drama-filled threads here in GenSkep. It doesn't reflect well on the JREF to come across frothing at the mouth and being obviously "out to get" someone.
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Old 30th March 2010, 06:17 PM   #108
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I want to state for the record that I think Anita has all the paranormal abilities of an eggplant. I agree with many of the posters here that her claims of paranormal abilities need to stop, one way or another. However, I have to wonder if we are going about it in the best way. Maybe we need to go back to the calm, rational, and conversational methods that were used initially. Yes, I know how well they worked (they didn't) back then, but maybe it is time to try again. She "seems" to be more willing to look at things a bit differently. Maybe if we engage her in calm and rational conversation, keeping the acrimony and accusations out of it, perhaps there is a slight chance we can help move her a bit further towards our ways of critical thinking, and away from the woo state of mind. It may not work, and may even give her more attention than she may deserve, but shouldn't we at least make the attempt. Maybe the woo veneer is starting to crack a bit. Maybe this is a crossroad, where she will either cross over to the light of rationality, or forever be lost in the void of woo-ness. I may be being naive and overly optimistic, but what do we really have to lose, other than some time, which we seem willing to spend criticizing her every statement anyway. I might be completely out to lunch on this, and I freely admit to the likeliness of it, but it may at least be worth discussing. I don't know one way or the other if this would be a good idea. I am merely putting it out there for discussion.

I have the tar on boil, and the chicken feathers bagged and ready, should you all decide I need to be tarred and feathered for making the suggestion.
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Old 30th March 2010, 06:30 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by TheSkepticCanuck View Post
I want to state for the record that I think Anita has all the paranormal abilities of an eggplant. I agree with many of the posters here that her claims of paranormal abilities need to stop, one way or another.
You cannot change someone else's behavior. :/

Quote:
However, I have to wonder if we are going about it in the best way.
It is my opinion that you (collective "you") are not.

Quote:
Maybe we need to go back to the calm, rational, and conversational methods that were used initially. Yes, I know how well they worked (they didn't) back then, but maybe it is time to try again. She "seems" to be more willing to look at things a bit differently. Maybe if we engage her in calm and rational conversation, keeping the acrimony and accusations out of it, perhaps there is a slight chance we can help move her a bit further towards our ways of critical thinking, and away from the woo state of mind.
Not bloody likely, IMO, but you (collective again) certainly need to go back to the calm, rational, and conversational methods, frankly. The way it's being done right now is atrocious and has done nothing more than make VFF more determined than ever. Look at RSL's website for the right way. Note how it is calm and rational, and doesn't spend a great deal of time trying to force Sylvia to admit she's wrong. Sylvia never will; she's a con artist through and through. RSL's approach has always been to educate others that Sylvia is wrong; it is completely irrelevant what Sylvia says except where it provides more fuel for the fire (incorrect predictions by Sylvia).
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Old 30th March 2010, 06:59 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by remirol View Post
Consider this: Rational Alchemy decided to interview Anita about her IIG test. They asked Jeff to also be a guest.
He was not a guest. He is part of the regular cast as is Alison, another JREF staff member. If you're unaware of the basic facts, it would be better if you took a less active role in this discussion.

Quote:
Precisely my point.
You keep using that phrase in this discussion after other people have made their points. How about saving us all the trouble and make your precise if uninformed points at the outset rather than using this post-hoc, "what you said is my point" technique that so far seems rather ineffective at either being precise or making a point? I really have no idea what you're arguing, but I'm pretty confident you lack the depth of knowledge about VFF to be making any sweeping claims about her popularity or ability to spin bad press.
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Old 30th March 2010, 08:34 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by bookitty View Post
Faith (believe without proof) is basically irrational but part of the human tradition. Those who have veered away from a long-held faith do so in different ways. Some people wake up one morning and go "What was I thinking!?" Others might chip away at it a little bit at a time. "Well, x doesn't make sense but there is still y..."

A person raised as a Christian might start to question a few things in the Bible, then leave his specific church, then start reading the apologetics, followed by Dawkins until finally, years later, they end up with whatever form of agnosticism or atheism suits. At any time in between they might still self-identify as a Christian.

If they were to come across an atheist during this time of exploration, they might discuss their concerns or discoveries. If the atheist only hears that they still call themselves Christian, there will be no discussion.
I've read the above three times, and I still don't get what you're driving at other than to say that sometimes people come around slowly while for others there's a pivotal event. In what way is Anita doing either?

Let's go back to her very first posts here:

Quote:
It is only recently that I have found the courage to share this [her claims] openly.
We found out that this was a lie, didn't we? She was making the claims as Alenara years before she ever came here. The same claims.

Quote:
I am not looking to verify this so that I could start to use it publicly.
We've learned otherwise, haven't we.

Quote:
I am quite humble to the fact that many things that seem real, are not what they seem, so I do not claim to actually have this ability even though it seems so.
That's far from the truth. She was claiming to have this ability for years before making that statement.

Quote:
Thank you for suggesting some good ways to test my ability. I will try some of them when I find the time. They are easy to arrange, and I agree that they can not prove an ability but could indicate if I do not seem to have extrasensory perception after all.
After 18 months she still hasn't found the time. In the few tests she has done, she has failed miserably, yet we know she hasn't backed away from her claims.

Quote:
What would convince me that I am misinterpreting what I observe is if when checked against facts I would find out that my observation are consistently incorrect. I am quite open to finding out that this is not ESP at all, and I think that a test might be able to let us find out.
That's a funny one knowing what has transpired since November 7, 2008.

My point, Bookitty, is that if you read Anita's opening post on the JREF Forums and follow the thread for just a couple of pages, you will see the same false humility and willingness to falsify her claims. What she is doing now is no different than what she has done before. It's a pattern that she has repeated on this board.

So, the ball's in your court. What is she saying or doing now that is substantially (or even slightly) different than what she has done for the last 18 months? What am I missing in her words and behaviors to indicate that this is simply not more of the same?

I could tick off a dozen things she could do to indicate she has begun to change, but I won't because I don't trust her not to use them insincerely.

BTW, do you think it's a coincidence that since she can no longer post on my board, will have been unable to post on this board for five of the last six weeks due to being suspended, and the IIG talk has worn off that suddenly she has an interest in posting audio interviews with the most prominent people from all three organizations on her website? That doesn't strike you as a bit suspicious in terms of her motivations? It's not like there are thousands of posts explaining why she's wrong about her claims that she could be reading. No. She needs personal interviews to put on her website in order to start coming around, right?

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Old 30th March 2010, 10:02 PM   #112
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Jeff Wagg beleives he can let his woo-shield down when having discussions outside of the JREF..... Looks like the wheels of ''rational reasoning'' are falling off.
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Old 30th March 2010, 10:11 PM   #113
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I'm puzzled over the amount and severity of the reaction to VFF here. When I finally checked out one of the many threads aimed at her to see what the fuss was about, I was taken aback by the level of hate towards her which, I noticed, she handled calmly and very well.

Sure she's deluded and might have some degree of mental health issues (or not, I don't know), but there have been several people like that who've come here who haven't received nearly the attention and hate that VFF has. If she is merely an attention seeker, as some of you say, then you've given her a good home at JREF forums, even to the extent of having a StopVFF website dedicated to her!

Sorry, but VFF is no Sylvia Browne. Doesn't come close. So why make such a big deal?
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Old 30th March 2010, 11:00 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by Tumblehome View Post
I'm puzzled over the amount and severity of the reaction to VFF here. When I finally checked out one of the many threads aimed at her to see what the fuss was about, I was taken aback by the level of hate towards her which, I noticed, she handled calmly and very well.

Sure she's deluded and might have some degree of mental health issues (or not, I don't know), but there have been several people like that who've come here who haven't received nearly the attention and hate that VFF has. If she is merely an attention seeker, as some of you say, then you've given her a good home at JREF forums, even to the extent of having a StopVFF website dedicated to her!
If you see "no reason" for this type of "hate" and think that she has handled things "calmly and very well," then I think it's safe to say you haven't even read this thread in its entirety, much less the whole saga. Let's look at the latter first - calmly and well. VFF is on her fourth suspension.

November 30, 2009 - Visionfromfeeling has been suspended for 1 day for breaching a previous mod warning about the use of threats.

December 11, 2009 - VisionFromFeeling has been suspended for 7 days for repeated breaches of her Membership Agreement.

March 7, 2010 - VisionFromFeeling has been suspended for 7 days for attempting to circumvent a warning regard her signature, her ability to have a signature has also been removed. ETA 9th March: Following on from ignoring a warning to stop spamming me via PMs VisionFromFeeling's suspension has been extended.

March 27, 2010 - Visionfromfeeling has been suspended for 3 weeks for repeated breaches of her Membership Agreement.

This violations included personal attacks. Around the holidays she received 5 infractions for personal attacks, but no members were suspended because the admins said they were unable to deal with the situation promptly.

She has threatened me with lawsuits and police action on more than one occasion. She has harassed me by phone. She has publicly accused me of adultery and sexual harassment. She has repeatedly lied to people here. Check out the Harassment thread on my website for more details including how she attempted to get a member here fired from her job.

If that's handling things "calmly and well" then we'll just have to disagree.

As for the level of hate, to whom are you referring? That's a strong accusation to level at people. People here have been mistreated by her after giving her more than a warm welcome (the link to her first thread is above). After time there comes a certain level of understandable frustration and impatience. I think it's unfair to call it hate.

ETA (oops)
Quote:
Sorry, but VFF is no Sylvia Browne. Doesn't come close. So why make such a big deal?
Hopefully she will never come close as long as www.StopVisionFromFeeling.com and the Bad Psychics website make her antics known. Maybe if skeptics had taken steps like this several years ago she wouldn't have gone on a tour of Poland as Alenara the Breatharian giving lectures telling people they could live on air and prana. Maybe when she told people she could use her special abilities to see prana they might have looked around the web and found out just how unreliable she is.

The idea is stop people like this before they get in Montel. It's much harder once they're on the bestseller lists and talk show circuit.

Last edited by Uncayimmy; 30th March 2010 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 31st March 2010, 12:21 AM   #115
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Okay, I have to admit I wasn't aware of all the personal stuff. If what you say is true, then I have to offer my apologies.

I also have to admit I haven't read much of the threads about her, but for a reason: for me, who isn't involved, they're just endless, tiresome rounds of bickering. Even if your anger at her is justified, it's not what I come here for. Your perspective is obviously different, so again, my apologies for shooting from the hip.
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Old 31st March 2010, 12:28 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by Tumblehome View Post
Okay, I have to admit I wasn't aware of all the personal stuff. If what you say is true, then I have to offer my apologies.

I also have to admit I haven't read much of the threads about her, but for a reason: for me, who isn't involved, they're just endless, tiresome rounds of bickering. Even if your anger at her is justified, it's not what I come here for. Your perspective is obviously different, so again, my apologies for shooting from the hip.
I actually agree with your sentiments. The emotional investment of many here in someone who is essentially a harmless woo is a sight to behold.
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Old 31st March 2010, 01:26 AM   #117
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OK, I don't know how the quote within a quote dealy works, but here's the discussion:

Originally Posted by wardenclyffe
Well, she now has three "prominent skeptics" (and we know how much she likes those) saying that the results of the earlier test warrant another test. While Mr. Wagg might not represent JREF on the podcast, he certainly revealed that discussions about testing her have happened at JREF.

To which Jeff replied:

Originally Posted by Jeff Wagg View Post
No, I didn't. I know of no such discussions.
I went back and re-listened and this is what I was talking about (found at 39:15):

Jeff Wagg (referring to groups that might test her other than IIG): "There's the JREF, um you know, we've talked about that a little bit."

I interpreted that to mean that the JREF had talked a little bit about testing VfF. After re-listening, I realize that other interpretations are possible. I have no idea how VfF or the audience interpreted it.

But no matter the meaning of that particular phrase, I think there's a problem Jeff Wagg's contention that, "There are many groups that would be willing to test you, so that's not really a big issue." I think that is a big issue.

Perhaps there are groups that would be willing to test her. Maybe they have the wherewithal to haul an ultrasound machine out to verify the results. Maybe they can find a bunch of people who are missing kidneys. Maybe. I'm surprised the IIG was able to do it, so others might be able to as well. But I'm guessing that the test will have to be conducted by the JREF or it won't happen at all. I don't know who she could convince to do it.

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Old 31st March 2010, 08:02 AM   #118
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I'm curious as to why Jeff Wagg agreed to the interview with Anita specifically.

There are any number of people around who claim paranormal abilities and are unable to demonstrate them.
I am wondering why Jeff decided to pick Anita in particular. Especially as her claims actually have been debunked (as opposed to someone with paranormal claims who hadn't yet been tested).
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Old 31st March 2010, 08:17 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
I actually agree with your sentiments. The emotional investment of many here in someone who is essentially a harmless woo is a sight to behold.
Agreed.

Originally Posted by Ashles View Post
I'm curious as to why Jeff Wagg agreed to the interview with Anita specifically.

There are any number of people around who claim paranormal abilities and are unable to demonstrate them.
I am wondering why Jeff decided to pick Anita in particular. Especially as her claims actually have been debunked (as opposed to someone with paranormal claims who hadn't yet been tested).
That is a excellent question.
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Old 31st March 2010, 08:24 AM   #120
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I'm curious as to who this Nigel Aves is, who seemed very keen to credit Anita with 2 successes out of 3 tests. If success was defined in a certain way by the protocol, there was probably a good reason for it, and going back to redefine 'success', without, apparently, knowing the ins and outs, doesn't seem like a good way to proceed to me.
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