Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Musings

A few interesting links popped up today on my radar.

The first one is the challenge issued by JREF (The James Randi Educational Foundation) to the psychics who took part in a recent Nightline TV program about psychic celebrities. As always, they BS-ed their way around the gullible, showing no real "powers". And we all know they are not showing up to claim the prize (as Sylvia Browne never did), because they know they don't have any special psychic powers, just the power to scam some people out of their money.
But to win $1 million, you better have the real deal psychic power in your back pocket. Participants must prove their worth on randomly chosen strangers in controlled environments, two conditions that take all the fun—and likelihood—out of pocketing people's money.
I like what JREF says:
“James Van Praagh and Allison DuBois have turned the huckster art of ‘cold reading' into a multi-million-dollar industry, preying on families' deepest fears and regrets,” he says in a statement announcing the challenge. “They should be embarrassed by the transparent performances.”

More from Time: Calling All Psychics: Prove Your Worth for $1 Million

Now, on to the second one... the scary prospect of an dumb a#$ running this country after the next presidential elections:
...the odds are that one of these years the world’s greatest nation will find itself ruled by a party that is aggressively anti-science, indeed anti-knowledge. And, in a time of severe challenges — environmental, economic, and more — that’s a terrifying prospect.
Republicans Against Science

I think Paul Krugman's analysis is dead-on. The disconnect from reality that is not only rampant and accepted, but that has become a virtue on the American right (a.k.a. G.O.P.) is frightening and could lead us into a future that's bleak. And when we get there, no amount of prayer will help us.