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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #1 
I saw this statement at the bottom of an ad for tarot & psychic hotline readings by phone. This to me is a disclaimer, and I was wondering if that statement is required to be advertised in certain publications ?

Also, I think some mentalist's use that disclaimer ( Uri for example ) and then go on to do their shows which display all kinds of psychic stuff.

If I was required to say " for entertainment purposes only " I would be shooting myself in the foot ,  right at the start of my program, not that I perform that often, but, I am a big fan of letting the audience decide if one has supernatural abilities or not, people aren't dumb, they know entertainment when then see it, so why do you need to tell them "entertainment" is what your about to witness ?

Only a small % of the audience will think you have real abilities.

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #2 
Fortune telling is illegal in many places. The disclaimer is for legal purposes.

It's like asking a real estate agent for legal advice on buying a house. They can't because they aren't lawyers. They're supposed to recommend you talk to a real estate lawyer.

Spiritual advisor. For entertainment purposes only.
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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
Fortune telling is illegal in many places. The disclaimer is for legal purposes. .


I got you.

In the biggest city near me (Stockton), there is one lone" gypsy house" in a area of about 250.000 people. They have no competition at all. They also have a big space at one of the area's biggest flea market. I don't think they do readings at the flea market because I didn't see a table set-up to do readings with.

Both the flea market area and the fortune telling house have some new, slick colorful banner's with Spanish language on it ( none in English ) with the graphic's of a card and a palm. And I suck at Spanish, but, they call themselves "Spiritual Advisor's" or "Spiritual Consultant's".

I wonder if they have some kind of disclaimer they use when doing there readings with. I would guess not. They are also located on a busy street. I've never been inside there so I wouldn't know.

In Stockton, there is a $100 fee to get a fortune teller's license. In the town I am in there is one gypsy house on a busy street too. I don't know if the city requires a permit to read tarot & palms with.

Does anyone have an opinion on mentalists giving a disclaimer before the show starts? I would like to hear your views about it. I am talking about a formal type of performance, rather than doing walk-around mentalism.

I also wonder if people like Richard Webster, Ron Martin & Doc Hilford gave a disclaimer before starting to read for the sitter ? I also think it would be wise to learn a little bit of Mexican folklore about fortune telling in this area.

Anyhow that's enough typing for now.

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #4 
Wondering...

Isn't the phrase "entertainment purposes" redundant? Perhaps there's a legal reason for the redundancy, but grammatically "For Entertainment Only" should suffice. 

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #5 
@Logan Five: "Does anyone have an opinion on mentalists giving a disclaimer before the show starts? I would like to hear your views about it. I am talking about a formal type of performance, rather than doing walk-around mentalism."

Yes, I do have an opinion on this.  I don't believe mentalists need to give a disclaimer, nor should they.  All but hardened skeptics want to believe there is something beyond the 5 senses and that supernatural phenomena and powers exist.  The skilled mentalist has the power to give people a glimpse of the possibilities, and to move people, much like an actor does.  And just as people are willing to suspend disbelief while engaging with a fascinating, moving, and emotion-stirring work of fiction, whether it be a motion picture, play or TV show, or an absorbing book, they are willing, arguably even eager,  to do the same while watching a mentalism show.

Does an actor break character during his/her performance, and candidly disclaim that what he/she is doing is not real?  I think not, and neither should a mentalist...
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic-Aly

Does an actor break character during his/her performance, and candidly disclaim that what he/she is doing is not real?  I think not, and neither should a mentalist...


I think you're wrong. Actually you are wrong. Breaking the fourth wall is not an every day thing, admittedly, but it's not so rare that it's hard to find.
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #7 
@Blathermist: "I think you're wrong. Actually you are wrong."

Gosh, Blathermist, don't hold back - say what you think.  As to being "wrong," it sure wouldn't be the first time.  
Actually, it's an area in which I have a lifetime of experience and that I'm quite good at (being wrong, that is, not mentalism).
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #8 
Hi Magic Aly. A question: Does
@Blathermist

mean you're aiming at me?
Or does it mean FAO. Or what?

I could have added a wodge of smileys to my fourth wall comment, to (hopefully) show no slight intended, but then I thought why bother? Emeffers are smart enough not to require qualifications.

As for being wrong, well, I know how you feel. It nearly happened to me once.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic-Aly
All but hardened skeptics want to believe there is something beyond the 5 senses and that supernatural phenomena and powers exist.


It's not about belief; it's about evidence. To date no evidence has been produced that proves the existence of what is commonly referred to as psychic phenomena. As a practicing skeptic for some 40 years now, I would willingly change my mind about the existence of any psychic claims supported by independently verified falsifiable evidence. Until that time I remain skeptical. At the same time it would tickle me to no end should evidence be produced.


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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #10 
What Anthony said.

Evidence based reality. Not wishful thinking.

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #11 
Still begs the question presented by Logan 5 - should mentalists give a disclaimer. My opinion was no; others are entitled to theirs.  But I never said there was "evidence." And people are entitled to want to believe something. There was no evidence that the world was round as opposed to flat pre-Columbus, but a lack of existing evidence never prevented the great explorations and discoveries...
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #12 
Well actually... The earth was generally regarded as round well before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Eratosthenes, for instance, proved it by experimentation around 230 BCE. 

Not trying to be a jerk, just clarifying for the record what a great many people commonly believe.

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #13 
I'm totally with MP and AV here, as readers might expect.

I have a bit of an addendum regarding evidence-based reasoning.  In about a week, millions of kids will have evidence that Santa Claus exists.  We have recorded visual evidence that David Copperfield can walk through the Great Wall.  Big Tobacco had evidence that there is no link between smoking and lung cancer.

Evidence needs to be independently verifiable - and the problem is that different people set the bar of verifiability at different heights.  For some people "I read it in a book" or "I saw it on a news show" need no further verification.  For others "I had an experience" is similarly exempt from verification.  For others "All my friends say it is true" is good verification.  For others, critical thinking tools such as rigourous experimentation, logical deduction and induction, Ockam's Razor, the scientific method etc. etc. provide the standard of verification.

As Mike says, it often comes down to wishful thinking.  People accept evidence with little or no verification if it matches the way they wish the world would work.
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Mind Phantom

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Reply with quote  #14 
If you ever get the chance to watch Derren Brown's Q & A act on youtube he does something that's very interesting. He spends the whole show telling the audience that he's not a psychic, that what he is doing is not real, the whole show mind you. Then when he actually does the Q & A, you can tell that people are amazed and that many believe that he has some kind of " ability " even after all those disclaimers, many people believe. Derren calls his act The Oracle Act it's on youtube.

Even after all his disclaimers...people still believe.

So, I think even if someone gave a disclaimer before a performance, the audience would FORGET about it...so that begs the question, why give one ?

I understand many of the skeptic's point of view, that is you don't give one, your committing " fraud " against your audience. I am not there to change other people's beliefs, I am there to entertain them, that's all. I've never given a disclaimer and I am not going to start either.

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #15 
There's an old saying: "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink." 

But is it fair to say "That horse won't drink, so I shouldn't lead him to the water?" 

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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic-Aly

There was no evidence that the world was round as opposed to flat pre-Columbus, but a lack of existing evidence never prevented the great explorations and discoveries...

There was plenty of evidence, but no one would accept this as proof. Well hardly anyone. Even after Magellan and the rest of the guys in the band, there were naysayers. As indeed there are today. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #17 

 I agree with Logan. Why bother with a disclaimer at all? People will believe or not. It’s also a bit patronising, even offensive. It suggests that "I’m so flippin superfab, you will believe I have super powers…..er but really I haven’t."

People of my experience and acquaintance will just say "Oh really?"

How many times have we heard disclaimers of the following breed: "No camera tricks were used in the performance of this miracle" and (in this day and age) believed it? 

 

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #18 
I had a friend who basically did a family friendly kid based show for a first night event some years ago.
In the show he did Mental Epic, an old mentalism chestnut.

After the show, an elderly Italian lady approached him (he's Italian too) and told him that all that magic stuff he did is nice. But that thing he did where he read people's minds, "that is a gift."

Which begs to ask the question, if you perform mentalism in a magic show, should you give a disclaimer?
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #19 
Nice story.  You know, somehow I can't imagine telling that nice Italian lady: "Sorry madame, I hate to dispel your illusion, but there is no empirical data to back up that what you saw was actual mind reading."
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #20 
Beliefs won't change unless challenged by the believer. Use disclaimers if required by law or if you feel them necessary. Easy-peasy.  
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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #21 
If it wasn't for disclaimers and warnings I might actually try to iron my clothes while wearing them. Phew, good thing the government helps prevent such tragedies.  

I can really see how telling the crowd the following disclaimer will help them understand a card trick is just a trick. "The next thing you will see is just a simple double backed card, I really cannot change the face of a card to a back, but the government requires I advise the feeble minded just in case the men believe I am the devil and women feint, Ok prepare yourselves and gird your loins I am about to turn it over, please avert your eyes if you are too terrified to watch and please see your doctor if you come down with syphilis after this performance".   

I agree with AV, if a disclaimer if required just do it and get move on. I would imagine a well worded disclaimer could be crafted and introduced into a routine ... "While my primary goal is to entertain you I will allow you to draw your own conclusions as to what is possible and what is not ..."

Wayne (How come I am itchy after watching an ambitious card routine?)

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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


It's not about belief; it's about evidence. To date no evidence has been produced that proves the existence of what is commonly referred to as psychic phenomena. As a practicing skeptic for some 40 years now, I would willingly change my mind about the existence of any psychic claims supported by independently verified falsifiable evidence. Until that time I remain skeptical. At the same time it would tickle me to no end should evidence be produced.


Av
I love my kids. The evidence though is purely circumstantial however, but I have certainty. It’s weird. Anthony are you skeptical whether or not I love my kids? I'm no trying to be flippant Anthony but am interested in how a skeptic reconciles this. not least because I like to live in a rationalist and empirically explainable universe. 

I truly can't explain how and why I love my kids. I can't show you any evidence other than the things I do. I can't point you to an article in a Journal. You can't disprove that I love my kids either. This is why I won't be intolerant of other people's Love's; for members of the same sex, or for celestial/supernatural beings, for football teams, for pets, etc.

Maybe science can define or categorise love. A mixture of neurotransmitters, hormones and blood chemistry. Doesn't come close.

Maybe one day science will fill in all the dots of love...I don't think I want science to though, (not least because someone would immediately try to Patent it.)

Just like I don't want the lady at the nursing home (bear with me this is a leap from where we were a second ago...) this morning who was certain she had mixed the cards without any intervention from me, over and over again, yet when we turned her cards over and my cards over, one by one, her cards were in the same order as mine. She was astonished, smiling, eyes wide, jaw dropped. I don't want her to find out, I don't want her to know.

I won't though for example, accept a person's assertion that the earth is flat simply because the way I have observed the world, when a ship sails away we stop seeing it from the bottom up. It doesn't just shrink until it's a dot. Beyond a certain point doesn't matter how strong your telescope is we can't see the object any more. That's enough for me. Round world it is. (plus all the other astronomical.....well, everything).

Regarding disclaimers I'm with MagicAly in post no 5. Especially as Logan defines the context of a 'formal type performance'.

I might stir the pot a little more though with my assertion that the 'For entertainment purposes only' should be given before a 'reading'.

Gareth
 
NB; The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of any member, lurker, magician, hobbyist or other Emmeffer*  alive or dead.

*origin of this term attributed to Blathermist (2017).....I love it.

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #23 
Gareth, the evidence that you love your children is demonstrated by your treatment of them, as well as the way they respond to said treatment. For matters of the heart, that is more than sufficient. In law and science, the standards are different. Confusing the standards only makes things, well, confusing.

As a skeptic I am not intolerant of others or their beliefs, so long as those beliefs do no harm. My skepticism of their beliefs is another matter. I can love the person and still question the beliefs.

In your case I have no reason to question your love for your children. In fact, having watched a video of you performing magic for them, I have additional evidence for your claim based on their enthusiasm and obvious joy at being with you. That wasn't fake, and even from this distance I have no problem calling it love.

Fair enough?

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #24 
To play devil's advocate here: 

So, the skeptic thinks Gareth loves his kids because of how he talks about them and how he videos himself interacting with them. But WHAT IF, in reality, Gareth hates them and mistreats them behind closed doors. The skeptic would never know this. The skeptic believes what he sees and therefore believes a falsehood.

In a similar vein, the skeptic sees a psychic entertainer performing a piece of mind reading. But, because it can be explained by numerous scientific and rational means, it is therefore deemed fake. When in fact the performer can actually read minds. Again, the skeptic believes a falsehood.

My conclusion therefore is that the skeptic, just like everyone else, chooses the world that they believe and live in. We all take sides whether it be  along political party lines, whether we should or shouldn't cut funding to the arts in schools, who has the better fast food burger, to whether or not all magicians should be able to do a decent pass. It's all what you want to believe. And sometimes, facts don't matter. It's just what you want to believe.

Me, I don't trust anything. I don't think Gareth really has kids. I think they are his neighbors and he rents them out to make it look like he's a good guy. And I think that Anthony, while he may call himself a skeptic has a subscription to every youtube channel dealing with UFO's and has a poster of Bigfoot hanging on his wall. Harry Lorayne is an alien with super advanced memory skills. And I'm just a liar and a cheat.

The above is for entertainment purposes only.
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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
... And I think that Anthony, while he may call himself a skeptic has a subscription to every youtube channel dealing with UFO's and has a poster of Bigfoot hanging on his wall... 

The above is for entertainment purposes only.


EVILDAN thanks for making me smile this morning, I actually subscribe to the Bigfoot Card Trick and Sleight Tutorial Channel and I am sure I have seen some familiar names there.

Wayne 

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #26 

Evil One, your wit with notwithstanding, it is difficult to know where to begin.

Empiricism is a valid measure of evidence in some cases. My observations of Gareth, combined with decades of studying and observing human behavior, lead me to the conclusion that he is forthright in his declaration of love for his children. Could I be wrong? Of course! And presented with evidence to the contrary I would readily change my mind. Skepticism rocks!

Skepticism is a philosophy, a way of navigating the world in an attempt to discern what is true, specifically from a science-based perspective. Skeptics learn to withhold their beliefs in abeyance of evidence to support them. Would I like to believe in telepathy? Sure. But I do not, and will not in the absence of evidence to support its existence. Stage mentalism, performed professionally, is excellent entertainment. Claims of psychic reading or reki or homeopathy are wholly unsupported by evidence and therefore I consider them suspect.  

Consider: The Evil Dan I know from this forum is helpful, knowledgeable, supportive, witty, and active. I have learned a lot from him and believe him to be a person of integrity and worthy of esteem. IRL Evil Dan may well be an asshole, but I doubt it. (See what I did there? “doubt it’? ::Snicker:[smile] Provided evidence otherwise I will maintain my belief of the Evil One as I know him from this forum. Skepticism rocks!

As to UFOs, it is interesting that you bring them up during a news cycle in which it has been revealed the U.S. government has been engaged in “secret” research into the existence of extraterrestrial visitors for the last ten years. As to Bigfoot, recent reports cited research into artifacts (bone fragments, fur, etc) said to be from Bigfoot’s cold-weather cousin, the Yeti, were actually lupine or ursine. So far that’s a big fat zero in the evidence column. I have a personal theory about Bigfoot, especially those sighted in Appalachia. I think they exist, but that they have learned to blend in with locals where they are referred to as hillbillies. No evidence to support my theory, but if you met some of my relatives…

Av      

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #27 
Anthony,

I'm a skeptic that believes in the possibility, but since it hasn't happened to me and I haven't seen proof - I doubt it.

Case in point.
Both my brothers left home at some point and weren't talking to my parents. Shoot forward a few years and I had this feeling they were going to be coming home. Sure enough, within a month they both rang the doorbell. I was the only one home. So I fill them in on what's been going on all these years. One notable point was that our grandfather died. My younger brother asks if he died last year around the end of Oct or beginning of November. I check the funeral card and sure enough that was the time frame. I asked if he saw the obituary in the paper. He said, "No, I saw him."
He explained how he was working security at a lumber yard, making his rounds at night when he saw someone go around a pallet. He should be the only one in the yard so he grabbed his flashlight and went around the other side. When he turned the corner, he saw a little old man standing there. He looked, squinted his eyes, then said his name as he took one step toward him. That's when he vanished from the feet up like some special effects out of a horror movie. And he said, that's when I knew he was gone.

Now, my brother has experimented with a great deal of chemical playthings in his past and I attribute most of what he claims he's seen in the past to "flashbacks." BUT....he nailed the time frame. I can't explain it.

Another thing. When my grandmother died my cousin was in church doing to readings so she was seated up in the altar area. At one point she looked at her mom in the front row and then turned away. To make a long story short, she saw my grandmother taking her handkerchief out of the sleeve of her sweater (that's where she always kept it) and used it to wipe away her mom's (my aunt's) tears. She said she looked away a number of times thinking she was just imagining things. But no, the image persisted and she was there.

I believe that my brother and my cousin saw what they said they saw. I'm still skeptical thought because I DIDN'T SEE IT. This is one reason I got into bizarre magick and performing séances...I want proof.
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #28 
Is a mentalist who acts as if he is reading someone's mind or predicting the future in essence deceiving (or attempting to deceive) the audience any more than a magician who says he is going to make a coin disappear with a wave of his hand or snap of the fingers or casting a shadow, does so, and then shows the coin has "vanished"?  Should the magician issue a disclaimer to the audience that what they are about to see (or have seen) is not real magic?  And, I am interested in who believes there are any ethical issues connected with the failure of an entertainer (be it mentalist or magician) to issue a disclaimer?
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #29 
No disclaimer for me.
I'm as real as you want me to be and I'm as much a liar and a cheat as the next guy...maybe even more so.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #30 
The brilliant David Foster Wallace once said "We all believe some things that aren't true." It's good to remember that on a daily basis.

Anthony's description of what skepticism is about is dead on. Just remember that skeptics, in the spirit of DFW, don't believe that everything they conclude is correct. Scientific beliefs change as new evidence emerges. 

If belief isn't based on evidence, then what is it based on? Hunches, anecdotes, intuition, wishful thinking et al? These are the worst types of "evidence." 

Just a few thoughts.

Mike
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #31 
Evil One, I can dig seeking answers to the big questions and wish you the best in finding yours.

Magic-Aly, the only instance I can think of that might involve ethics would be a mentalist or magician who performs some sort of "death-defying" effect for a general audience without first stressing a version of the old "don't try this at home" caveat. It need not necessarily be stated or implied that what is being presented is fake, only that it is inherently dangerous and should not be attempted without proper training and preparation. Think bullet catch, acid test, death saw, et al.   

Mike, I agree. Whenever I find myself thinking that I am right, I know that it is time to begin challenging my beliefs. Confirmation bias is the mother of all biases, and we all fall prey. The only defense is critical thinking!

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #32 
Anthony, Dang! I sure wish I had considered that before I used an audience volunteer for my 6-bullet Russian Roulette routine.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #33 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic-Aly
Anthony, Dang! I sure wish I had considered that before I used an audience volunteer for my 6-bullet Russian Roulette routine.


[rofl]
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #34 
You know, upon further review, I think my last post was a bad attempt at humor - not very tasteful at all - and for that I apologize!
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