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July 13, 2008

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That crap with the kids is sad and distressing. I swear those idiot parent just want something, anything, for their kids to have a special talent. If the kid isn't destined for Juliard, Harvard, the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), MIT, or some other prestigious institution, then well, lets just pretend they are psychic. That will make them special.

There is also a good part about over-imaginative kids.
They do need a lot less time to play with them. They just play on their own. The bed part is that they loose focus very soon.

"...it seems to me she was proposing a false dilemma: either the kids are psychotic or they’re psychic."

That's a good analysis. (Although I've just been reading the comments on last year's post about the Secret. If these kids grow up to be like some of the commenters on that thread, my tip would be "psychotic".)

Who knows what these "special" kids are gonna turn out like after years of hearing this nonsense from their parents, maybe also from their school and their therapists.

"There is also a good part about over-imaginative kids. They do need a lot less time to play with them"

I guess you are being ironic, but in many if not most cases they are over-imaginative because they have been left alone too much. They create a fantasy world to compensate for the missing care and attention.

Just yesterday my 3 year old, upon being startled by a motorcycle mentioned, "when I was a tiny baby in your belly, I was also afraid to sit on daddy's motorcycle."

I did at one time ride with my husband when I was pregnant and was (for obvious reasons) a little edgy.

Now what if I had a touch of the woo-woo? Kids always say stuff like that, and as they're learning mess up past and present tense.

And what my daughter said has a logical explanation. She's a big girl now so she equates being scared with being a baby, literally. No recollections from the uterus, just child psychology.

"...it seems to me she was proposing a false dilemma: either the kids are psychotic or they’re psychic. But surely there’s another possibility – they’re just highly imaginative and perhaps over emotional due to stress in their lives?"

Yep, this is exactly the same problem I had with CS Lewis (well, that and his annoying condescension for his child readers). You may recall that Lewis' infamous Lord, Liar or Lunatic "dilemma" insisted that since Jeebus wasn't obviously barking insane, and told the truth sometimes at least, that leaves "lord" as the only possibility. Wrong: Jeebus was obviously just highly imaginative, a little overemotional, and very confused.

(I think it was in his book about a lion, a witch, and a magical clothes-hamper, but I'm not sure. Regardless, it's a total waste of time to read, why not pick up some nice Douglas Adams instead. I promise he won't talk down the side of his nose to you or fill your head full of meaningless religious BS.)

I have to object to the term "over-imaginative". I don't think there is such a thing. However, it's nice when one can tell the difference between one's imagination and reality. As long as that distinction is kept in mind, the more imagination, the better.

How many adult "psychics" claim to have "discovered their gift" in childhood? I'd hazard a guess the vast majority do. It seems most psychics find their belief in the paranormal around the same time most kids believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny and when a lot of kids have an invisible friend and/or hold regular, lengthy conversations with their toys. It seems so common that one could argue that's what a childhood imagination is for.

If I might add, we had our second episode of "The One", Australia's new "psychic idol" show last night. The Bingo card got a workout although they were doing blind reads, not cold reads so they don't get to ask questions. I've reviewed it at:
https://thinkingisreal.blogspot.com/2008/07/one-episode-two.html

Last week I made a prediction about this week's show and was exceptionally accurate (on a psychic's accuracy scale). It was great because I got to show my kids the prediction after the show and point out how I'd predicted hit after hit based on simple assessment of the previous show.

"It seems most psychics find their belief in the paranormal around the same time most kids believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny and when a lot of kids have an invisible friend and/or hold regular, lengthy conversations with their toys."

I honestly question whether most "psychics" actually believe in the paranormal. I think more often than not they're simply charlatans who've recognized a way to scam people out of money.

Jeremy:

I think more often than not they're simply charlatans who've recognized a way to scam people out of money

Is this the same Jeremy who just recently posted over on the Moses Code?

No. (Unless he just crossed the Atlantic.)

Darn! I thought I'd just won the office pool.

I've no doubt some of the big name TV psychics are scammers, pure and simple, and that there would be many lesser-known scammer-psychics out there too. However, I also accept the possibility that what we might take as intuition, or even common sense, some people might mistake for spirit guides and if they receive affirmation for this belief as they grow up, then it will likely stick with them as surely as religious views do with so many people.

Of course, there's no way for us to differentiate (is there?) so the question is, how do we address the issue such that we condemn the scammers but show at least some sympathy for the true believer? Do we condemn and ridicule the lot or do we only ridicule the process and leave individuals out of it?

Personally, I tend to apply the "what if it was a different industry?" test. If they claimed, against all evidence, to be pilots, builders, lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc, how would I treat their claims - even if they genuinely believed their delusion? Pointing out the lack of ability seems the only logical option in such cases, even if it risks hurting someone's feelings. "For the good of the many" and all that.

"Now, I’m not an expert on child psychology or anything"

Obviously not but Lisa Miller is! Considering her credentials i would take her word over yours any day seeing as how you haven't even watched the show. She went to YALE you don't think the idea of an over active imagination occurred to her??? What is really sad is that these kids have to grow up around in an environment of ignorance.

Lisa Miller, Ph.D.
Tenured Associate Professor of Psychology and Education
Director Child & Adolescent Clinical Psychology
Teachers College, Columbia University
President, Division of Psychology of Religion
American Psychological Association
Lisa Miller, Ph.D. is a leading clinical psychologist who works with children and parents with the goal of bringing families closer together and more full of sharing. She works with psychic kids and their parents to offer support and to clear a path for psychic children in our culture. Dr. Miller helps children and their parents understand their experiences as having meaning and showing direction for their lives.
Dr. Miller and her lab extensively research spirituality in childhood, adolescence and as part of thriving families. She is an emenant scholar in the field of psychology and spirituality and has extensively published in mainstream academic journals and lectures nationally and internationally.
Dr. Miller graduated from Yale College and earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been funded both by private foundations and the National Institute for Mental Health. Dr. Miller is a tenured associated professor at Columbia University, Teachers College and current President of the Division of Psychology of Religion of the American Psychological Association.

What's wrong with you people? Who are you to judge the actions of concerned parents? Shame on you! Several of the parents on the show thought their children were lying and had previously had them clinicly tested with no results that is why they turned to the show... also the services they provide are FREE.

warrior:

Look up "Appeal To Authority". It's the logical fallacy you are relying on.

[07.19.08 Edit - "Skepticio" changed to "Skeptico". Thanks Bronze Dog - my eyesight is getting worse!]

Dr. Miller and her lab extensively research spirituality in childhood, adolescence and as part of thriving families. She is an emenant scholar in the field of psychology and spirituality and has extensively published in mainstream academic journals and lectures nationally and internationally.

How can there be a field of spirituality? I haven't seen anything demonstrating the existence of the supernatural. Same reason I consider theology to be a fake field.

And as Skepticio (apparently Skeptico either got a typo or a different person) points out, argument from authority. If she's got a better explanation, you should be talking about her data, not the magic letters after her name.

What's wrong with you people? Who are you to judge the actions of concerned parents? Shame on you! Several of the parents on the show thought their children were lying and had previously had them clinicly tested with no results that is why they turned to the show... also the services they provide are FREE.

Apparently what's wrong with me is that I care abut the truth. And anyone who thinks we can't judge people's actions is a true elitist. Everything can and should be open to criticism.

Who cares about the service being free? It's still injurious to the children. It's teaching them that it's okay to uncritically accept the supernatural.

What's wrong with you people? Who are you to judge the actions of concerned parents? Shame on you! Several of the parents on the show thought their children were lying and had previously had them clinicly tested with no results that is why they turned to the show... also the services they provide are FREE.

Yes, how dare we question that the parents might have made a bad decision when a child is thinking they see ghosts and that is scaring the fuck out of the parents.

I don't exactly understand what you're talking about with the clinical testing; its not very well written.

And lastly, as Bronze Dog said, it doesn't matter that its free. Generally, free just means they're deluded into thinking what they do actually works. Alternatively, they might get payment from other sources which are related to what they do. I'm not sure who exactly you're referring to thats doing it for free; is it said clinical testing? The kids? The show (in which case they get payment from other sources, eg advertising)? The psychologist (probably gets paid by the show)? Clarification would be nice.

Warrior,
Please note: There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with this statement:

"Dr. Miller made a big deal of stressing that these children are not “psychotic”. But it seems to me she was proposing a false dilemma: either the kids are psychotic or they’re psychic."

Note the words "it seems to me". Skeptiko is signalling that he is arguing a point, not stating a fact. You can argue with it by giving reasons why it doesn't seem so to you, or by pointing out unfounded assumptions. You don't argue by saying "But she has a Phd and you don't".

Now Dr Miller's words:

"…I think it's our job to listen to [the children] and support them in really integrating their experience into their on going growth and development."

She has assumed, without evidence (beyond her own subjective interpretation) that these children a) have psychic powers; and b) that these "powers" need to be "integrated" into their ongoing growth and development.

This is unsound psychological practice - Phd or not. As a practicing psychologist she should know better than to base her work on unacknowledged and unfounded assumptions. No doubt she has invented her own "theoretical framework" to support her unfounded and unacknowledged assumptions, but it is poor psychological practice.

You can't base professional psychological work on a bunch of assumptions - especially assumptions which have not once ever held up under proper testing.

(I've had these kinds of discussions before with new age university lecturers. They hold fast to their beliefs and keep teaching their courses even when a their subject has personally admitted fraud. There's no talking to some people.)

Why the hell are you paying any attention to this crap at all? It just makes you look obsessive and silly.

Maybe because it makes people believe in things that are false, and often pay for it? If you're going to pay 300 dollars for a psychic reading, it shouldn't be because nobody told you psychics aren't real, it should be because you're an idiot who didn't pay attention.

It's also entirely possible that, in this case, reinforcement of the children's imagination/delusion could lead to psychological problems later in life or lead to psychological problems causing this "seeing of ghosts" going untreated.

Darrel:
Why are you paying attention to what I am paying to, you obsessive idiot? Get a life.

Warrior:

Obviously not but Lisa Miller is! Considering her credentials i would take her word over yours any day seeing as how you haven't even watched the show. She went to YALE you don't think the idea of an over active imagination occurred to her???

Although it's been pointed out before, I'd like to provide an illustration of the point.

Authority and credentials are not enough to make an argument for you, you need evidence as well.

For instance, Sir Isaac Newton was one of the greatest minds to have ever lived, one of the most influential scientists to have ever graced the field. He developed calculus and the law of gravitation. He was a member of the Royal Society and later its president. He was elected Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. He was warden and Master of the Royal Mint. He was an associate of the French Académie des Sciences. And yet he believed in and studied alchemy, trying to find the Philosophers Stone. He looked for hidden Bible code messages. He wrote more on religion than he did on science. He believed he was chosen by God to understand scripture in ways others couldn't.

Authority and credentials alone count for nothing here. It is the evidence that matters. The evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of the non-existence of psychic powers.

If the idea of an over active imagination did occur to her, then she needs to provide the evidence and reasoning for why this was dismissed.

What is really sad is that these kids have to grow up around in an environment of ignorance.

You're entirely right. Although not in the way you think you are.

She works with psychic kids and their parents to offer support and to clear a path for psychic children in our culture.

As Yakaru has pointed out, this relies on the assumption that psychic powers and psychic children exist. Something for which there is no reliable evidence. PHd or not, this means her work and conclusions are baseless.

If she had actual reliable evidence that psychic powers exist, why hasn't she published it? She would almost overnight join the ranks of Newton and Einstein and mankind could possibly take a huge leap forward.

Instead, she appears on a tv show.

Think about that.

She is an emenant scholar in the field of psychology and spirituality and has extensively published in mainstream academic journals and lectures nationally and internationally.

And despite all this, she has not one shred of irrefutable evidence that psychic powers exist.

Think about that.

MK3333:

What's wrong with you people? Who are you to judge the actions of concerned skeptics? Shame on you! All of the skeptics on this blog think that woos are lying and have previously had thousands of them tested with no positive results, and didn't need to turn to a reality tv show... also the services we provide are FREE.

Darrell:

Why the hell are you paying any attention to this crap at all? It just makes you look obsessive and silly.

And what does your comment here make you look like?

Interesting - didn't know that Newton "looked for hidden Bible code messages. He wrote more on religion than he did on science. He believed he was chosen by God to understand scripture in ways others couldn't."

...He also predicted the world would end in 1749, which he revised(probably in 1750) to 2063. - Clearly wrong again, as every thinking person knows the world will end Friday 21 December 2012 when the Mayan Calendar ends!

And of course the Indigo Children are here to prepare the ground for the post 2012 generations of Crystal and Rainbow Children.

-Any child born to parents who believe this stuff or come into contact with teachers, therapists, neighbors, relatives who believe this stuff, will have their identity and psyche twisted to accommodate this lunacy.

But it panders to the egos of new age parents and gets the cash rolling in to the publishing houses. Who cares if it's child abuse? Anyone who raises a voice against it is just negative, obsessive, cynical, "has a problem", can't prove the nonexistence of an indigo flavored aura, bla bla bla.

Jimmy,

anohter great example of this sort of thing you mentioned about Newton is crystal clear with Tesla. The worst part is that he came p with so much good stuff that it is hard to show people that 1/2 of his stuff was nonsense.

The response is always something like, "I'm supposed to believe you and not Tesla?!?"

Same with the philosophers stone.


Check out McCain recently about Al Gore's speech. McCain said something to there effect of "If he said it, I believe it"


ok.... that last one was more of a counter example. :) I really enjoyed Gore's speech (I can accept some of his hyperbole if it will fire up the apathetic country to get their energy house in order)

yuakaru,

Wow! Sorry I hit a nerve there friend, I don't really care that much. Don't take it so personally.

Just seems like it's the people who sit around watching Psychic Kids on Larry King and saying "yeah, right" are the people who could use a bit more life in their lives.

Jimmy Blue,

I think it makes me sound like somebody who was wondering in passing why somebody would waste time watching Larry King at all, never mind tracking and logging the Psychic Kids episodes. You'd see that but, like yakaru, you took my silly comment so personally that you were blinded to what it was saying.

Darrell,
How about thinking about exactly what it is you want to say.

Then after thinking about it and getting the content clear, decide if it's really worth posting.

Thanks.


Darrell:

I think it makes me sound like somebody who was wondering in passing why somebody would waste time watching Larry King at all, never mind tracking and logging the Psychic Kids episodes. You'd see that but, like yakaru, you took my silly comment so personally that you were blinded to what it was saying.

See, you still miss the point. So let me spell it out:

Because this is stuff we are interested in.

I knew exactly what you were saying, but you failed to see how silly your comment made you look. Two minutes on the blog would have explained why and shown your comment to be pointless, and yet you typed it anyway. So again I'll ask in the spirit of your silly comment, how do you think it made you look?

It's people like her who push the field of psychology farther back into the dark ages.

How did she manage to get all those mainstream credentials and positions and funding? (Gary Schwartz is another one.) There must be zero oversight in these institutions and organizations.

I have a very hard time believing that children who are encouraged by respected and trusted adults to think their imaginings are supernatural events will turn out better off than if you offer valid explanations for such experiences and reassurances (e.g. hypnopompic and hypnagogic experiences, stress related hallucinations, normal visual anomalies, normal 'deja vu,' etc.). My own child has had these types of experiences and he is relieved to find out from me that no creatures from the dead are lurking in our home but that the human mind plays tricks on all of us - some more than others.

And children who are hallucinate often ought to get the help they need. This psychologist should lose a lot of credibility with this tv show. We can hope. I would never let my child go to a pschologist who doesn't hold a firm grip on reality herself. I say SHAME on her and SHAME on the mainstream institutions that support her twisted views of children who hallucinate. People with mainstream credentials can do a lot of damage to mainstream perceptions about what is real and what is fiction. That's why it matters.

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