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Old 27th April 2007, 12:01 PM   #1
ksbluesfan
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Philly Shuts Down Psychics

MSNBC considers this to be peculiar news. I think it's great news. I guess we had better common sense 30 years ago.

Click here for MSNBC story.

Quote:
Fortune-telling no longer in the cards in Philly
City closes psychics, astrologers and tarot-card readers

PHILADELPHIA - They never saw it coming.

City inspectors shut down more than a dozen psychics, astrologers and tarot-card readers after learning about a decades-old state law that bans fortune telling for profit.

Inspectors did not make arrests or issue fines, “but they will if these people try to return to work,” said Dominic E. Verdi, deputy commissioner of the city Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Verdi said the law, on the books for more than 30 years, makes fortunetelling “for gain or lucre” a third-degree misdemeanor.

Police alerted his department to the law a few days ago, Verdi said. “I was surprised,” he said.

He said inspectors have closed 16 shops since Tuesday and he expected them to close more.

The law has been on the books for more than 30 years, but Philadelphia officials say they only found out about it a few days ago, when police told them.
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Old 27th April 2007, 02:45 PM   #2
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That's excellent. Did you forward it to Mr. Randi?
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Old 27th April 2007, 02:56 PM   #3
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So, does this mean that SB has to cancel her Philly lecture?
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Old 27th April 2007, 03:10 PM   #4
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Awesome. I guess if they want to tarot-card read for free, there's nothing we can do about that.
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Old 27th April 2007, 03:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by PastBrowneFan View Post
So, does this mean that SB has to cancel her Philly lecture?

No, it means that tarot readings in Philly will be performed for free-will gratuities only ("Tips" and "Love Offerings") while you spend about $30+ per hour to patronize a coffee house, beauty shop, or "reading room" at a new-age church.
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Last edited by Fnord; 27th April 2007 at 03:16 PM. Reason: My psychic told me to.
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Old 27th April 2007, 04:11 PM   #6
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Hey, I liked your first response, too.

Yeah and anyone with a four-year degree in psychology or divinity and other of the pieces of paper Joyce has on her wall (http://www.heartandsoultherapy.com/) just has an opening as a "counselor". Or "spiritual teacher".
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Old 27th April 2007, 05:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by EeneyMinnieMoe View Post
Hey, I liked your first response, too.

Yeah and anyone with a four-year degree in psychology or divinity and other of the pieces of paper Joyce has on her wall (http://www.heartandsoultherapy.com/) just has an opening as a "counselor". Or "spiritual teacher".

Yeah, I changed it because my first answer was more speculative on my part, while the second one relates to events that I've actually witnessed.

But if the shoe fits, buy them both!
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Old 27th April 2007, 08:35 PM   #8
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Someone pointed out to me that the laws have actually been on the books since 1865.

I fear Fnord's prediction about my fair city's chralatan brigade will be true.
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Old 27th April 2007, 10:37 PM   #9
Kaylee
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Originally Posted by PastBrowneFan View Post
So, does this mean that SB has to cancel her Philly lecture?
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
No, it means that tarot readings in Philly will be performed for free-will gratuities only ("Tips" and "Love Offerings") while you spend about $30+ per hour to patronize a coffee house, beauty shop, or "reading room" at a new-age church.
Originally Posted by kookbreaker View Post
Someone pointed out to me that the laws have actually been on the books since 1865
I wonder what triggered the enforcement now. The city inspectors said they didn't know about the laws until the police informed them. OK, but why did the police decide to inform them now? There's a story here, and I'd love know what it is!

Originally Posted by kookbreaker
I fear Fnord's prediction about my fair city's chralatan brigade will be true.
Yes, it seems that the law would probably be very easy to defeat as written.

ETA: How will the customers rationalize that their fortune tellers didn't see this coming? Some people are hard to protect.

Last edited by Kaylee; 27th April 2007 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 27th April 2007, 11:12 PM   #10
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This is appalling! These city inspectors should be ashamed of themselves! And by the reaction of members so far I think you need to readress the idea that skepticism is not a religion.

I was under the impression that skepticism was a means of informing, but this is enforcing. This is taking away people's free choice! No longer do we hear "I'm a skeptic so I advise you not to see a clairvoyant" This is "I'm a skeptic so I forbid you to see a clairvoyant"

Look at it from another scenario: The Philadelphia inspectors bow to the whims of Christian funadamentalists and force bookshops to remove their books on science. How would you feel then?... Exactly! But forcing people into skepticism is no different from forcing them into belief!

If you skeptics really want to be different from religions then stand up for people's free choice! Put your side of the arguement across and leave them to make up their own minds!

Surely RandFan is with me on this.
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Old 27th April 2007, 11:31 PM   #11
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And just because the psychics are still allowed to practice without charging money doesn't make it OK. It means they can no longer practice for a living which makes it more difficult for them. It means that people who want to visit psychics (Including those who've heard the skeptics's viewpoint too and have, through their human birthright, chosen to reject it) now have a harder job because the professional infrastruture is no longer in place.

This is not an attack against fraudulent psychics. This is an atttack on the fundamentals of human freedom!
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Old 28th April 2007, 12:12 AM   #12
I less than three logic
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Originally Posted by Porterboy View Post
And just because the psychics are still allowed to practice without charging money doesn't make it OK. It means they can no longer practice for a living which makes it more difficult for them. It means that people who want to visit psychics (Including those who've heard the skeptics's viewpoint too and have, through their human birthright, chosen to reject it) now have a harder job because the professional infrastruture is no longer in place.

This is not an attack against fraudulent psychics. This is an atttack on the fundamentals of human freedom!
There a plenty of laws protecting consumers from con artists, and I don't see this one as any different. Are all those laws attacks on human freedom? Also, if their financial predicament becomes too bad I know of a guy that is willing pay 1 million dollars for a single demonstration, that should tide them over for a while at least.
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Last edited by I less than three logic; 28th April 2007 at 12:22 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 28th April 2007, 12:38 AM   #13
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Who says they're con artists? You do; I don't! Lots of other people don't. What right do you have to make our minds up for us? Skeptics have the right to have their argument heard, not to have that arguement enforced by law.

Also the difference between supposedly fake psychics and other con men is that other con men are prosecuted in court first. How many of the Philadelphia psychics have been found guilty by due process?

The Christian fundamentalists in my imaginary scenario would say. "We have the right to impose this ruling because science if a con." What's the difference between that position and your own? Both of you are supporting laws which force others to conforn with your own vision of life.
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Old 28th April 2007, 12:47 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by I less than three logic View Post
Also, if their financial predicament becomes too bad I know of a guy that is willing pay 1 million dollars for a single demonstration, that should tide them over for a while at least.
If you think that the fact nobody has ever won Randi's $million supports your argument that psychics are fake then get out there and tell people! Let it either sink or swim in the marketplace of ideas!

This is surely preferrable to passing laws dictating to mature adults what they may or may not believe.
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Old 28th April 2007, 01:57 AM   #15
I less than three logic
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Originally Posted by Porterboy View Post
Who says they're con artists? You do; I don't! Lots of other people don't. What right do you have to make our minds up for us? Skeptics have the right to have their argument heard, not to have that arguement enforced by law.
My opinion on who is and isn't a con artist is irrelevant, just like yours. The law makers decide who fits that category when they create the law, which was then approved by the Governor since this is a state law, and can be overridden by the courts. If you don't like the law, vote in people to change it for you or get voted in yourself. Besides, your argument is nonsense anyway, this could be applied to any form of cons. "Who says pyramid schemes are cons? You do; I don't! Lots of other people don't (typically those making the money). What right do you have to make up our minds for us? Blah, blah, blah."

Quote:
Also the difference between supposedly fake psychics and other con men is that other con men are prosecuted in court first. How many of the Philadelphia psychics have been found guilty by due process?
This is only because the police chose to waive the charges, and you're right, they should have been prosecuted.

Quote:
The Christian fundamentalists in my imaginary scenario would say. "We have the right to impose this ruling because science if a con." What's the difference between that position and your own? Both of you are supporting laws which force others to conforn with your own vision of life.
This is more nonsense. What definition of con do you think science fits into? Fortune telling, on the other hand, fit Merriam-Webster's definition of con, 7con, just fine.

Quote:
Main Entry: 7con
Function: noun
: something (as a ruse) used deceptively to gain another's confidence; also : a confidence game : SWINDLE
Telling people that you can see the future sure seems like a deceptive way to gain another's confidence, then using this confidence to get them to buy your advice fits the definition of swindle pretty well too.
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Last edited by I less than three logic; 28th April 2007 at 02:39 AM. Reason: added link
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Old 28th April 2007, 02:07 AM   #16
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This reminds me of the debate we had a few months ago over that documentary "The Trouble With Atheism".

I'm not a Christian. In fact I see the Church as a con-artists' organization. But does this give me the right to demand that all churches be closed down? No! I know many Christians who've heard the skeptics' side of the debate and decided they still want to be Christians. Well good luck to them!

Actually this action in Philadelphia may well be illegal. Isn't the freedom to worship written into the US constitution? This is why the Indians are allowed to take Mescaline, a class-A drug it might be, but the Indians have an exemption certificate because Mescaline is such an important part of their religion.

I think this ruling in Philadelphia proves Robert Liddle's point. Almost everyone declares "I believe in freedom!" Well most are hypocrites! They don't even know what freedom is! Well Voltaire has given the best definition to date: "Supporting Freedom means passionately campaigning for the right to free speech for those you disagree with." Who wants that? Most people can't handle that. They want to give people the right to free speech, but only if they're agreeing with what they say.
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Old 28th April 2007, 02:09 AM   #17
I less than three logic
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Originally Posted by Porterboy View Post
If you think that the fact nobody has ever won Randi's $million supports your argument that psychics are fake then get out there and tell people! Let it either sink or swim in the marketplace of ideas!

This is surely preferrable to passing laws dictating to mature adults what they may or may not believe.
What they believe is irrelevant, what the fortune tellers are claim give people in exchange for their money isn't. People can believe in fortune telling all they want, they can even go to them all they want, but unless the fortune tellers can prove they're actually selling what they claim to be they are in the same category as any other fraud.
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“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball ninety million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” – Douglas Adams

Last edited by I less than three logic; 28th April 2007 at 02:47 AM. Reason: added a word I forgot to make the sentence make sense :)
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Old 28th April 2007, 02:12 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by I less than three logic View Post

This is more nonsense. What definition of con do you think science fits into? Fortune telling, on the other hand, fit Merriam-Webster's definition of con, 7con, just fine.
.
Then how come so many people want their fortune told? Mature adults of sound mind who've chosen that path. It's not their definition of a con.

"Science is a con": this is not my view, but it is the view of many Christian zealots. Because science is not in the Bible it can't be true in thier eyes. This was my point: What if it was the Christian zealots in power now in Philly? Do they have a right to impose their opinions? If not then why do you?
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Old 28th April 2007, 02:13 AM   #19
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Isn't fortune telling against christian beliefs as written in the bible?
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Old 28th April 2007, 02:15 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by I less than three logic View Post
What they believe is irrelevant, what the fortune tellers are claim give people in exchange for their money isn't. People can believe in fortune telling all they want, they even go to them all they want, but unless the fortune tellers can prove they're actually selling what they claim to be they are in the same category as any other fraud.
But by resricting the industry behind clairvoyance you are restricting their ability to practice their beliefs. This is dictatorship! The right to believe in something without proof is a right too. You can't say: "Well OK, you can believe in it, but only if it passes the criteria of my value sphere. Mine not yours."
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Old 28th April 2007, 02:16 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by chillzero View Post
Isn't fortune telling against christian beliefs as written in the bible?
Yes it is, and I'm equally opposed to Christians who try tooppress different viewpoints. That includes those who try to oppress Skepticism.
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Old 28th April 2007, 02:18 AM   #22
I less than three logic
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Originally Posted by Porterboy View Post
This reminds me of the debate we had a few months ago over that documentary "The Trouble With Atheism".

I'm not a Christian. In fact I see the Church as a con-artists' organization. But does this give me the right to demand that all churches be closed down? No! I know many Christians who've heard the skeptics' side of the debate and decided they still want to be Christians. Well good luck to them!

Actually this action in Philadelphia may well be illegal. Isn't the freedom to worship written into the US constitution? This is why the Indians are allowed to take Mescaline, a class-A drug it might be, but the Indians have an exemption certificate because Mescaline is such an important part of their religion.

I think this ruling in Philadelphia proves Robert Liddle's point. Almost everyone declares "I believe in freedom!" Well most are hypocrites! They don't even know what freedom is! Well Voltaire has given the best definition to date: "Supporting Freedom means passionately campaigning for the right to free speech for those you disagree with." Who wants that? Most people can't handle that. They want to give people the right to free speech, but only if they're agreeing with what they say.
Are you capable of any response other than these non-sequiturs? I couldn't care less what they say. They can say anything they want. What they can't do is charge people for things they don't provide. It isn't the con that is illegal, you can fool people into what ever you want, it is the selling and profiting on that con that is illegal.
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“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball ninety million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” – Douglas Adams

Last edited by I less than three logic; 28th April 2007 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 28th April 2007, 02:21 AM   #23
I less than three logic
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Originally Posted by Porterboy View Post
But by resricting the industry behind clairvoyance you are restricting their ability to practice their beliefs. This is dictatorship!
This is completely non-sequitur again, they can still practice all they want. The removal of money changing hands doesn't restrict it one bit.

Quote:
The right to believe in something without proof is a right too. You can't say: "Well OK, you can believe in it, but only if it passes the criteria of my value sphere. Mine not yours."
So your position is that no frauds should be illegal? As long as the people paying for it believes it, it's ok.
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“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball ninety million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.” – Douglas Adams

Last edited by I less than three logic; 28th April 2007 at 02:39 AM.
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Old 28th April 2007, 04:19 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by EeneyMinnieMoe View Post
Awesome. I guess if they want to tarot-card read for free, there's nothing we can do about that.
Why would you want to do anything about that??!!

Christ, I hope there aren't people here who want to ban people from using tarot or giving readings for free or whatever. That would be an extremely alarming fundamentalist viewpoint.

The issue here is the lawfulness taking money in return for certain services. Not the actual service itself. That would be like saying prostitution should be illegal, and then regretting that you can't also outlaw sex.
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Old 28th April 2007, 04:41 AM   #25
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To quote Insanity Prawn Boy, "That's right."

Not only is there nothing we can do about free readings of whatever kind, we shouldn't even be trying. It's distasteful to me personally that people can mislead others about aspects of their lives and those of loved ones, but if they are doing it for free, a) It's not legally or morally fraud, and b) They almost certainly believe in what they're doing.

As a more "militant" sceptic in my everyday life, I'll always try to persuade people that they're intellectually and emotionally buying into nonsense, and they'd be better off if they read up on some sceptical info. But I wouldn't advocate legal or other measures that might physically prevent them from doing it.

I realise that "I suppose there's nothing we can do about that" was just a throwaway wistful comment about the many people out there who are deluding others into believing things which almost certainly aren't the case. I dislike the idea too. But hinting that "sceptics" are against ANY practicing of this sort of bunkum plays into the hands of people like Porterboy who are able to paint us as killjoy fundamentalists.
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Old 28th April 2007, 06:05 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by I less than three logic View Post
So your position is that no frauds should be illegal? As long as the people paying for it believes it, it's ok.
Not quite. My position is that nothing should be defined as fraud unless the consumers of that service are kept in ignorance of the complete and total deal they are receiving. Psychics should make no pretention that their services can be proved scientifically if they cannot. Also customers should be freely informed of the skeptical side of the debate. And that's where you come in. Bear in mind that many believers in the supernatural have made the decision to do so on a completely informed basis.

Quote:
they can still practice all they want. The removal of money changing hands doesn't restrict it one bit.
And what if my hypothetical Christian bigots told a university that they could not pay their science professors a salery because their opinions contradicted the word of God? Would you stand for that? Would you say: "It's OK. They can get a day-job and take an interest in science in my spare time."? That doesn't sound fair, I think we agree. So why's it fair the other way round? Remember Voltaire.

I don't live in Philadelphia, but if I did there's no doubt that I would find it harder to be a practicing Spiritualist than I presently do.
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Old 28th April 2007, 10:06 AM   #27
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I am sure that fortune telling is a con. I'm not sure that the government should do anything more than inform.

If someone has all the facts and voluntarily chooses to ignore them, and are hurting no one else but themselves, the government is not performing a moral service by preventing an informed, voluntary exchange of money and services between two adults.

Here's a possible solution. Before doing a reading, the psychic has the mark sign a statement that says, "I know that I am being fooled, defauded, cheated and lied to, and that no scientific proof exists that psychics have any paranormal or supernormal powers. Nevertheless, I choose to be deluded, fooled, defauded, cheated and lied to because I want to. Now leave me alone."
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Old 28th April 2007, 10:24 AM   #28
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This reminds me of a quote I picked up from a file of quotes out there on the internet:

Originally Posted by A New York City detective
I've gone into hundreds of [fortune-teller's parlors], and have been told thousands of things, but nobody ever told me I was a policewoman getting ready to arrest her.
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Old 28th April 2007, 10:30 AM   #29
Kaylee
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Originally Posted by Porterboy View Post
Then how come so many people want their fortune told? Mature adults of sound mind who've chosen that path.
That's an interesting question. Because it does seem that there are more adults that believe in this than lets say in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus and with little more justification -- so why?

Well first of all I think that some of the people who patronize fortunetellers do so just on a spur of-the-moment-and-just-for-a-lark-kind-of-thing. There are many store-front fortune tellers who don't charge that much, and I would guess they get a lot of business on the weekends, probably after their clients have had a little too much to drink.

I think other fortune tellers, palm readers, etc. are hired because someone, is giving a party and is under the mistaken impression that by hiring one of these guys he is doing something unique. I worked for a corporation that use to hire some of these guys occasionally for entertainment value only. In the special events department head's opinion, he was just going for an alternative to a band or a magician and that was the extent of it as far as he was concerned.

So those two scenarios take care of one category: people who consider psychics just another entertainment option but don't actually believe in what they have to say. I'd like to know what percentage of business that category of customers takes up -- but I don't think there's any way to find out.

I think there's another category of clients or potential clients out there who have had inexplicable experiences and as a result are willing to swallow anything anyone has to say about the supernatural.

I think that means that the fact that hallucinations of all types (vision, hearing, gustatory, tactile, etc.) commonly occurs even among those that are not mentally ill or don't have epilepsy isn't well known, unfortunately, among the public. Also hypnagogic dreams are probably not well understood among many folks also.

If those facts were better known, I think there would be less people who would be willing to think that there is something to the "paranormal".

I also think that as neuroscience and other sciences becomes more advanced we will have other explanations for minor inexplicable experiences that some people have had, and the effect of that will be that less people would be open to the idea that there is something to the "paranormal".

When I first joined I posted in a thread about some of my inexplicable experiences. What I didn't post was the reactions of the few friends I had decided to confide in. Most of them had the same opinion as I did (and still do) -- inexplicable things sometimes happen. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't continue to use the evidenced-based science philosophy that has served our society so well. It just means that our senses only directly perceive a small part of our vast universe and that there are still many more things of a scientific nature for us to discover. It also means that we have to remember that our senses aren't always reliable.

However, one of my other friends had also had an inexplicable experience, and as a result she believed everything the professional "TV" psychic's had to say was on the level. I was very surprised to hear that because it just didn't reflect any of our previous conversations or how she lived her life. I tried to discuss this with her and say that this didn't necessarily follow, but I didn't succeed in making my point -- and she just didn't want to discuss it any further.

Before I joined this forum I never thought much about professional psychics. If I did I just assumed that most people considered them an entertainment option (like the head of the special events deptartment of a corporation that I had once worked for) but that was the extent of it.

After I started posting at this forum I gradually realized that there were many people who really believed in psychics and were getting seriously hurt by them. This conversation I had with my friend helped me understand how so many seemingly rational people could act so foolishly.

I also think there are other broad categories of people who believe in psychics, including:
  • People who find the whole thing fun but whether they truly believe this deep down or not -- who knows.
  • People who are unnerved by the responsibilities of adulthood and find consulting with fortunetellers to be a comforting security blanket.
  • People who have lost loved ones and are in a temporary desperate state of mind.
  • And of course people who just don't have any common sense at all.
Back to the OP's main point. Should psychics be barred from selling their services directly? Well in general, our society doesn't have a problem in preventing people from profiting from con jobs so I don't see why this should be any different.

I also don't know quit frankly what good the law will do. People who want to make a living this way will find a way around the law. Like Fnord said some will sell something else (food, drinks, artwork, whatever) and offer the fortune telling as a freebie. In reality their customers will be there for the fortune telling and not for the other service or goods -- but the law won't be broken. Others will open up churches like Sylvia Browne did and will just call themselves ministers and carry on as usual.

My 2 cents FWIW.

ETA: I like Sherman Bay's solution (in post #27). Only problem is that there will always be some people who think that because the govt. allows the transaction to occur with just a warning -- it's actually probably OK. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say that ciigeratte smoking isn't probably that unhealthy because if it was, the govt. would ban it.

But despite that, I still think it's a good solution. A big sign saying the same thing could be required tb be put up at the place of the fortune teller's business also. :smile:

Last edited by Kaylee; 28th April 2007 at 10:44 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 29th April 2007, 03:15 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Sherman Bay View Post
I am sure that fortune telling is a con. I'm not sure that the government should do anything more than inform.

If someone has all the facts and voluntarily chooses to ignore them, and are hurting no one else but themselves, the government is not performing a moral service by preventing an informed, voluntary exchange of money and services between two adults.

Here's a possible solution. Before doing a reading, the psychic has the mark sign a statement that says, "I know that I am being fooled, defauded, cheated and lied to, and that no scientific proof exists that psychics have any paranormal or supernormal powers. Nevertheless, I choose to be deluded, fooled, defauded, cheated and lied to because I want to. Now leave me alone."
Well done! You're position respects individulal liberties and is therefore one I completely endorse.

Using those words in the disclaimer might be correct from your point of view, but, being a Woo, I would put it diferently. After all, if the customer knows the truth about the product they're receiving then it's not, by defintion, fraud, nor cheaing, nor lying. I wold say: "The customer is advised that he/she enters into this service in the knowlege that is it is based on faith and intuition and has no existance in emprical science." Most Woos already know this. I've spoken to many of my fellow Woos who have looked at the Skeptical arguement as well and chosen to reject it.
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Old 29th April 2007, 04:32 AM   #31
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I think you give your fellow irrationals too much credit. Most I've met and seen online would like to believe that there's some real-world scientific basis (be it EM, quantum physics, or whatever) to what they're buying into, because the sensible side of them recognises that if it doesn't, it's not just a question of faith; it's all in their heads. If woo exerts no effects in the real world, it de facto does not exist.

By believing this, yet staying away from learning too much in the way of actual science or critical thinking skills, they can eat their woo and have it too.

Which leads me to ask, are you in fact suggesting that psychic phenomena exist, but are not detectable by scientific methods?
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Old 29th April 2007, 06:38 AM   #32
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Wow, just because people want to do something, it should be legal?

Should stealing be legal, just because thieves want to do it?
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Old 29th April 2007, 06:50 AM   #33
tkingdoll
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Originally Posted by neon View Post
Wow, just because people want to do something, it should be legal?

Should stealing be legal, just because thieves want to do it?
This is a false dichotomy. Look it up if you don't know what it means.

By your logic, religious worship should also be illegal.

If you want to use this sort of schoolyard reasoning, you might consider this statement: "Wow, just because some people don't believe in something, it should be illegal?"
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Old 29th April 2007, 06:53 AM   #34
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I think Porterboy has a point. We shouldn't arrest all those legitimate psychics just because there are a few bad apples. What he should do is find one of those legitimate psychics in Philly that have proven their abilities and use she/he as an example to overthrow this law. After all, all it would take is one genuine psychic to show this law for what it is, right?
Go for it, Porterboy! Show all these doubters what intellectual integrity really is!
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Old 29th April 2007, 02:12 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Big Les View Post
I think you give your fellow irrationals too much credit. Most I've met and seen online would like to believe that there's some real-world scientific basis (be it EM, quantum physics, or whatever) to what they're buying into, because the sensible side of them recognises that if it doesn't, it's not just a question of faith; it's all in their heads. If woo exerts no effects in the real world, it de facto does not exist.

By believing this, yet staying away from learning too much in the way of actual science or critical thinking skills, they can eat their woo and have it too.

Which leads me to ask, are you in fact suggesting that psychic phenomena exist, but are not detectable by scientific methods?
Maybe, but that's a long story; beyond the scope of this thread.

I don't agree with your view of irrationals, although you're dead right about some of them. And I know that there are psychics who are fraudulent by my own definiton too: ie they use psychology and secret cameras etc to learn things about their victims then pretend to have found that information by psychic means. M Lamar Keene is the most prime example.
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Old 29th April 2007, 02:17 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
I think Porterboy has a point. We shouldn't arrest all those legitimate psychics just because there are a few bad apples. What he should do is find one of those legitimate psychics in Philly that have proven their abilities and use she/he as an example to overthrow this law. After all, all it would take is one genuine psychic to show this law for what it is, right?
Go for it, Porterboy! Show all these doubters what intellectual integrity really is!
Thanks, mate. But as I said above: The requirement for proof should be a choice. Not everyone wants or needs proof to accept something as real. Seeing as this is understood by the psychics' customers then it's unfair to restrict their access to these professionals by banning them with laws and rules. It's basically just as bad as Woo's banning people freom reading books on science.

If this law was overturned then I'd be delighted and I sincerely hope that there will be an appeal. (If anyone involved is reading this then by all means use my words for your case if you wish.)
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Old 29th April 2007, 04:12 PM   #37
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So you're basically advocating caveat emptor? That works up to a point; as societies we allow companies to tread a fine line between marketing guff and actual fraud (e.g. Neurofen and Supermarket's own Ibuprofen being identical) but in those cases the information is right there on the packet. With "psychics" there is no "packet"; no system of regulation, and no way to know what it is that you're getting for your money.

You've acknowledged that, even assuming psychic powers exist, there exist frauds. How do you determine who is genuine and who isn't?
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Old 29th April 2007, 05:00 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Porterboy View Post
Who says they're con artists? You do; I don't! Lots of other people don't. What right do you have to make our minds up for us? Skeptics have the right to have their argument heard, not to have that arguement enforced by law.

Also the difference between supposedly fake psychics and other con men is that other con men are prosecuted in court first. How many of the Philadelphia psychics have been found guilty by due process?

I understand you fears about taking away people's liberties, but last time I checked fraud was a crime, and if these people aren't commiting fraud then they should be able to show the courts that they are providing a genuine service.


Originally Posted by Porterboy View Post
Actually this action in Philadelphia may well be illegal. Isn't the freedom to worship written into the US constitution? This is why the Indians are allowed to take Mescaline, a class-A drug it might be, but the Indians have an exemption certificate because Mescaline is such an important part of their religion.

I the indians should be allowed to take mescaline because everyone should be allowed to put whatever they want in to their own bodies, but certainly shouldn't be getting special legal treatment because of something the believe. Should muslims be able to stone people to death because it's an important part of their religion?
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Old 29th April 2007, 05:03 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Porterboy View Post
Thanks, mate. But as I said above: The requirement for proof should be a choice. Not everyone wants or needs proof to accept something as real. Seeing as this is understood by the psychics' customers then it's unfair to restrict their access to these professionals by banning them with laws and rules. It's basically just as bad as Woo's banning people freom reading books on science.

If this law was overturned then I'd be delighted and I sincerely hope that there will be an appeal. (If anyone involved is reading this then by all means use my words for your case if you wish.)
Maybe you are right-it should be legal to cheat people as long as you can get away with it and/or the victim...I mean customer is too embarrassed to admit they spent hundreds of dollars for a cold reading. It isn't as if they have a legitimate need to spend the money on anything else, like family, food, utilities or rent.
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Old 30th April 2007, 06:39 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Porterboy View Post
Thanks, mate. But as I said above: The requirement for proof should be a choice. Not everyone wants or needs proof to accept something as real. Seeing as this is understood by the psychics' customers then it's unfair to restrict their access to these professionals by banning them with laws and rules. It's basically just as bad as Woo's banning people freom reading books on science.

If this law was overturned then I'd be delighted and I sincerely hope that there will be an appeal. (If anyone involved is reading this then by all means use my words for your case if you wish.)
In most Western countries of today, if you want to for example sell something you call "orange juice", you are in fact required to use actual orange juice concentrate, and nothing else. This is to give the consumers the freedom to know that when they see two (or more) different brand products called orange juice, they should be able to rest assured that these products are in fact orange juice, and not just soemthing called "orange juice" when it is fact merely water with yellow coloring in it.

I really don't see why the same principle shouldn't apply to psychics. They claim to sell orange juice, but it's just coloured water. That's per definition a fraud in the eyes of every proper consumer law.

But of course, it's not hard at all to get your psychic services opened again. All you have to do is to prove that's really what you do. One possible way to prove this would be to, say, pass the Million Dollar Challenge...
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