It was amazing that the psychics struck out on their readings except Mr. Edwards who instead of doing a reading he talked about Van Praugh’s reading.
Leon Jaroff, who wrote an article for Time about Edwards said that he did not believe in the soul. Now he did not say he was an atheist but I’ll guess he is one. He (and you) may claim this is a scientific belief but it is also a religious one. How many fundies are there that will not change their belief no matter what evidence is presented. The ability to talk to a spirit can not be accepted by one with Mr. Jaroff’s personal belief system. So he can not even entertain the idea. Also after Van Pruagh did a bad reading over the phone Jaroff got to do a rebuttal. He totally blew it. Instead of talking about what Van Praugh actually said and how the caller didn’t get a bit of it he went on a sort of pat answer about what they sometimes say.
James Randi as far as I know does have this challenge but if He sets up the test and He runs the test and He judges the test do you really think anyone has a fair chance of passing? If I were a psychic I would not take Randi’s challenge.
Finally Shmuley Boteach was there and his problem with them talking to the dead was that the message from the departed was too banal to be real. WHAT?!? Jesus how many banal guests have been on Larry King? Does that mean it’s not real?
What I don’t understand is why didn’t Van Praugh simply do a reading on Larry King or some staffer at CNN. How could CNN squander a real opportunity like this. Sylvia and Van Pruagh were there with Larry but everyone else was videoconferenced in. So this give the psychics an excuse when do a reading over the phone as distance may interfere. If they had done a live reading then the skeptics could have taken it apart piece by piece. But no we get to listen to small fragments and halfway through the discussion we bring even more guests. So we go a mile wide and an inch deep on the subject.
It seems to me that this was a blown opportunity on both sides. It was almost like watching politicians ‘discuss’ an issue but each side spits out rhetoric and by the end of the night there was nothing I hadn’t heard before.
I am a skeptic. I am skeptical of psychics and I am skeptical of the skeptics who criticize them.