Dutch prisons use psychics to help prisoners contact the dead

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Snert Snert's picture

Of course.  By debunking frauds, he proves himself to be a quack.

Just out of curiousity, has Randi popped some of your bubble wrap in the past?  Has he taken away some of your childlike wonder at magic and the unknown? 

Because from where I sit, he's given a number of frauds some well deserved public exposure.

Fidel

I think Randi was a few weeks away from his clown school diploma but never graduated.

Snert Snert's picture

It sounds like Randi really hurt you, Fidel.

Fidel

He's a little man afraid of the unknown. Randi does make us laugh. That's his true talent, and I think he should think about finishing his clown school diploma and set an example for the younger groupees who look up to him.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Michelle wrote:

Actually, the public purse DOES pay for spiritual counselling inside prisons.  They're called "chaplains" and it's a very necessary service.  People don't stop being human because they're in jail. Furthermore, many denominations and faiths have prison ministries where they hold services in jail for inmates.  And I also agree that if there is demand for it, that Indigenous religious practitioners should be brought into jails.  It's the least the state can do when they criminalize Indigenous people at the rate they do.

People have a right to practice their faith and to have access to it, and just as the state pays for everything else for people in jail because they have no means of paying for it themselves since they are locked up and can't earn money, then I don't see why they shouldn't pay for spiritual counselling.

Now, this psychic stuff is pretty funny, I'll admit.  I mean, let's face it, they aren't clergy in any sense of the word.  But if people would rather see a psychic than clergy, then what do I care?

I'm not suggesting that spiritual counsel be denied.  However, I do have a problem with the idea of chaplains.  Hire a coordinator to arrange visitation from churches/religious orgs doing prison ministry (funded by the churches/religious orgs, not the taxpayer), by all means.  Make space available for worship.  Make sure time is available for such worship and supervision as needed.  But paying the purveyor of supernatural beliefs, whatever their stripe or origin, should not be the responsibility of the public.  JMO.

Another note:  There is a church that venerates psychic ability - the Spiritualist Church of Canada is their umbrella organization.  I don't suppose they're any worse than my SIL's fundy preacher claiming to see angels over the congregation in his church, but I don't suppose they're any better, either.

Fidel

Our fat-cat senators serve no useful purpose that anyone can identify. We could save $70 million a year just by forcing them to get real jobs, or encoruage these overpaid charlatans to check themselves into one of the private for-profit nursing homes they've helped pave the way for over so many years. But taking money from the taxpayers for showing up for work a few days of the year while, at the same time, lobbying for corporations and fundraising for the two old line parties is a direct conflict of interest with their imaginary roles as sober second-guessers of government. Shady Pines is where they belong not soaking taxpayers.

Snert Snert's picture

Ha!  I just played a quick Google hunch as to why Fidel is the President of the I Hate James Randi Club:  turns out that Randi investigates, debunks and laughs at "truthers". 

Michelle

I see what you mean, Timebandit.

But what if there aren't any religious organizations in the area that are doing prison ministries?  What if no one from religious organizations want to volunteer to do spiritual counselling for prisoners?

Snert Snert's picture

And what if the Church of Scientology doesn't give 'incarceration discounts'?

Do we pay?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Michelle wrote:

I see what you mean, Timebandit.

But what if there aren't any religious organizations in the area that are doing prison ministries?  What if no one from religious organizations want to volunteer to do spiritual counselling for prisoners?

But they do have prison ministries.  Lots of churches promote such ministries through their congregations.

I'm also wondering, with the fall in organized religion being taken into account, how big a role spiritual counselling actually plays in rehabilitation, as opposed to psychological counselling.

Sineed

The primary responsibility of chaplains in Ontario jails is to oversee the religious diets - if an inmate claims to desire kosher, halal, etc, the chaplain sanctions the kitchen to provide this diet as a variation on the "usual" diet everybody gets.  So the chaplain is a part of the infrastructure of services the jail provides to inmates.

Tommy Paine wrote:
Recently, I was witness to someone on the public payroll, in a place where people were not free to come and go, talk to a person who shared his religious beliefs.  No harm in that, except the person spoke loud enough, and chose his words in such a way that it was a flimsy pretext to prostyletise to others in the room.

I've worked in addictions for a while now, and in my experience, professions that involve providing services to vulnerable people attract a certain proportion of the religious proselytizers, whose approach to, say, addiction medicine is annoyingly simplistic, as their entire worldview is focused on getting the clients to find God rather than address their more complex psychological needs.  They are also aggravating to work with, as they tend to form little cults in the workplace of like-minded people, and can be nastily obstructionist, passive-aggressive, bullying, and suchlike, to workmates who don't share their views.

remind remind's picture

Sineed wrote:
..the religious proselytizers, whose approach to, say, addiction medicine is annoyingly simplistic, as their entire worldview is focused on getting the clients to find God rather than address their more complex psychological needs.  They are also aggravating to work with, as they tend to form little cults in the workplace of like-minded people, and can be nastily obstructionist, passive-aggressive, bullying, and suchlike, to workmates who don't share their views.

Yep, you are correct, they also move into service provision positions with  people who face challenges mental health wise. And then do the same to their "clients", they also do this, IMV, to get  acces to their votes. As working as a scutineer, one gets to see 'attendants" bring in their "clients" to vote.

Fidel

Snert wrote:

Ha!  I just played a quick Google hunch as to why Fidel is the President of the I Hate James Randi Club:  turns out that Randi investigates, debunks and laughs at "truthers".

[url=http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/12/say_it_aint_so_randi.php]James Randi is a climate change denier[/url] in addition to being a sympathizer with the crazy George Bush era war criminals on 9/11.

 James Randi's a whacko.

Doug

Why does a psychic need a job at a prison? Why not just divine next week's lotto number and live happily ever after?

Fidel

Doug wrote:
Why does a psychic need a job at a prison? Why not just divine next week's lotto number and live happily ever after?

I think the problem with 'science by Randi' and his groupees is that if psychics can't prove to have god-like abilities, then they must be charlatans. There is no in between with the whackos claiming to be doing science.

If someone said that a certain new cancer drug is efficacious for treating tumors only 17% of the time, does this mean the drug has nothing of value for cancer research?

Quacks like Randi should not be taken seriously when he comments on issues of human biology and climate science.

Randi's a whacko. If he's so afraid of the unknown, then he should probably do the work, graduate from clown school, and publish something in a peer reviewed clown journal, or something.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Snert wrote:

Quote:
 If not enough people believe it should be changed for scientology, no lobbing.  I know I wouldn't lobby myself but hey, if someone else wants to lobby for those large payments from the prison system because they think it will help the people in prison, go for it!

We seem to have gone from assuming spiritual counsel to be a right, to spiritual counsel being permitted on the condition that it's inexpensive, and that a majority agrees we should pay for it (which, really, becomes the question of "how plausible are these religious beliefs?")

Now for the record, I'm personally GLAD that we don't pony up the money so that some Scientologist criminal can proceed to become the best Thetan he can be, because I think that would be a giant waste of public funds, but then this speaks back to my original point that funding scam-artist "psychics" is also a giant waste of public funds.

Actually no, I am not saying spiritual counsel should only be permitted on the condition that it's inexpensive and that if the majority agrees we should pay for it and is not a right.

I am saying looking at reality there is no money to do what you propose and the system would have to be changed to incorporate more money to do what you proposed.  In reality if there are not enough people willing to lobby for something it won't be changed no matter how right they are.  

Are they right to want to pay tens of thousands to scientology?  I don't know, not my judgement call, not what this thread is about.  This thread is about how CURRENT money that is in the system should be allocated not hey should we invest more money so that spiritual practitioners who want tens of thousands per person should get that money.  If you want to start a thread on if we should lobby to fund Scientology and how we go about doing that go ahead it sounds like it would be an interesting read (not sure if I would be able to contribute much since I am not sure at this point what I think about that idea) but this thread is not about increasing money that is to be spent on people in prison it is looking at how the current budget is allocated and to whom.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
 this thread is not about increasing money that is to be spent on people in prison it is looking at how the current budget is allocated and to whom.

 

I had no idea that this thread was somehow restricted as you describe. So we can discuss whether a prison should or should not fund a Catholic chaplain, but we shouldn't discuss whether they should similarly fund a Scientology audit? Because that would cost more?

 

Sometimes rights cost more. And either spiritual counsel is a right or it isn't. If it is, find the money to fund whatever believers need. And if it's not, we could certainly discuss whether maybe the money spent on a chaplain (or a psychic, or an audit) could be better spent elsewhere.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Snert wrote:

Quote:
 this thread is not about increasing money that is to be spent on people in prison it is looking at how the current budget is allocated and to whom.

 

I had no idea that this thread was somehow restricted as you describe. So we can discuss whether a prison should or should not fund a Catholic chaplain, but we shouldn't discuss whether they should similarly fund a Scientology audit? Because that would cost more?

 

Sometimes rights cost more. And either spiritual counsel is a right or it isn't. If it is, find the money to fund whatever believers need. And if it's not, we could certainly discuss whether maybe the money spent on a chaplain (or a psychic, or an audit) could be better spent elsewhere.

Nowhere in this thread until you brought up Scientology and the need to spend tens of thousands on each person was there talk of increasing the funding for spiritual counselling and nowhere since has anyone talked about it except you.  So I feel it safe to say that this thread is not about increasing money spent for spiritual counselling based on what the community is discussing (wasn't it you in a thread about the word crazy that said that you would stay within whatever the norm is for the community well within this thread the community is discussing the current money spent not if there needs to be an increase.  Want to start a thread on if there should be an increase?  See how the community responds or doesn't respond because within this thread the only response that you got to the question of paying more than what is currently allotted is non existent).  

In the context if Scientology is a religion that a person in prison has a right to access, taking cost out of it, of course they do.  If money wasn't an issue (either it was provided for free or at a reduced rate or the budget was increased) if a person feels so swayed to practice Scientology and that is the religion they ascribe to they have every right to practice it.  If most of the population followed Scientology within a prison then hey, why not get a Scientologist in there to be the resident spiritual counsellor.  The point of access spiritual counsel within a prison is to help the person get to a better place.  If Scientology can do that great, I say go for it.  

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Nowhere in this thread until you brought up Scientology and the need to spend tens of thousands on each person was there talk of increasing the funding for spiritual counselling and nowhere since has anyone talked about it except you.

 

I certainly brought up Scientology, yes. Because it had been suggested that prisoners have a right to spiritual counsel, and that perhaps this right would need to be extended to spritual beliefs that were not part of the Judeo-Christian tradition (specifically, TV "psychics"). So I asked whether we should also include other religious beliefs, like Scientology, and to make sure we all know what that would involve, I also pointed out that that's likely to cost more than funding some communion hosts.

 

But I really don't see any of this as turning the discussion toward "should we pay *more*?" so much as toward "what, if anything, should the public pay for at all?" I'm not sure where lobbying or budgets come into it (is that where we got the existing chaplains? Enough Christian prisoners lobbied? Someone did some fundraising to pay for it?)

 

As I see it, it's a matter of deciding that prisoners do or don't have a right to access whatever spritual counsel their beliefs require, whether that be a psychic to communicate with the sprit of Grandma, or a Scientology auditor to help heal the inner Thetan.

 

And for the record, I think Scientologists are misguided in the extreme, but no moreso than someone who believes that a TV psychic is actually talking to the dead, nor someone who believes that the world was created in 6 days. But I do know that many people want to categorize them as frauds, or a cult, or somehow not a "real" superstitious belief, so they're a great test of people's commitment to rights to accomodation of religious belief. If you support the same rights for Scientologists as for Anglicans and Jews, your commitment is probably strong. If you support rights for Anglicans and Jews but would deny those rights to Scientologists on the grounds that their religion is "just made up" or some similar reason then your commitment is weak.

 

Quote:
 If most of the population followed Scientology within a prison then hey, why not get a Scientologist in there to be the resident spiritual counsellor.

 

Is that how it's done with, say, Jews? A rabbi to hear your concerns if there's a majority of Jews, but tough luck if you're one of four?

 

 

Doug

Fidel wrote:

Doug wrote:
Why does a psychic need a job at a prison? Why not just divine next week's lotto number and live happily ever after?

I think the problem with 'science by Randi' and his groupees is that if psychics can't prove to have god-like abilities, then they must be charlatans. There is no in between with the whackos claiming to be doing science.

If someone said that a certain new cancer drug is efficacious for treating tumors only 17% of the time, does this mean the drug has nothing of value for cancer research?

 

It's been thought of. If psychics really could do what they say, even just intermittently, they'd predict things better than someone randomly guessing would. In experiments designed correctly to prevent cheating, they don't.

Snert Snert's picture

Your nearest library is certain to have an introductory statistics textbook.

Fidel

Doug wrote:
Fidel wrote:
If someone said that a certain new cancer drug is efficacious for treating tumors only 17% of the time, does this mean the drug has nothing of value for cancer research?

It's been thought of. If psychics really could do what they say, even just intermittently, they'd predict things better than someone randomly guessing would. In experiments designed correctly to prevent cheating, they don't.

Phil Kessel didn't score a goal in every NHL hockey game he's played so far. Alex Rodriguez has failed to hit a home run very many games he's played as a major league ball player. In fact, no one can predict in which game they will score let alone which period or inning of any particular game. Are Kessel and Rodriguez overpaid charlatans? They surely have no talent, and every player beneath them in the all time points standings are surely having us on as to their abilities. It's a wonder anybody scores with any consistency. It's the same with medicine, Did you know that doctors and nurses make mistakes in hospitals? People actually die every day while in the care of medical professionals and while taking well researched pharamceutical drugs that work only some percentage of the time. Statistics say that eventually we all expire. In fact, none of us have god-like powers.

Fidel

And you should check one out some day.

Jessica Utts is a statistician, and she says there is something to psi.

Snert Snert's picture

So then it's her against the thousands who've demonstrated the opposite.

Here's the thing (and this applies to the WTC/Truther threads as well):  there are over 6 billion people on the planet.  If you look hard enough, you'll surely be able to find a cartographer who insistst the world is flat.

We don't revisit the possibility of the world being flat on the strength of that cartographer.

Though ironically your willingness to take the word of ONE statistician over the results of thousands is actually the same category of error as believing that Psychic Magic is real because in one experiment, one guy was able to guess the results of a flipped coin 60% of the time.  Now try it THOUSANDS of times.

 

Fidel

In fact there are not thousands researching psi. Parapsychology is relatively small area of scientific research compared to the rest of research into human biology. So youre full of baloney right off the bat. But then again, I think youre full of it most of the time.

Snert Snert's picture

I'll confess I didn't count them the way you presumably did.  Let's just say "an overwhelming body of evidence against".

I can see how badly you want to believe, but the X-Files was NOT a documentary.  I'm sorry if that steps on an innocent and childlike part of you that hopes there's more to things than meets the eye, but if it's any consolation, welcome to adulthood.  It was your parents who put the quarter under your pillow, the "eyeballs" at the haunted house were really peeled plums, and no, psychics don't talk to our dead relatives.

Fidel

And I see youre off of Randi. Is that because you've finally realized he's a quack climate change denialist, "9/11 debunker" and clown school dropout?

Papal Bull

Snert wrote:

I can see how badly you want to believe, but the X-Files was NOT a documentary.

 

Now I know you're full of shit.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
And I see youre off of Randi.

 

I was never "on" him. You make it sound like he and I were going steady and now I've dumped him. I just noticed that every time you said his name you spit on the ground and found that amusing. For what it's worth, I'm actually appreciative of the 411 re: his climate change opinion.

 

Quote:
Now I know you're full of shit.

 

You just got a file opened on yourself. Happy, mister? :)

 

 

Fidel

some people [url=http://www.parapsych.org/faq_file3.html]are afraid that psi might be true[/url]. For example, fear about psi arises for the following reasons:

Quote:
  • It is associated with diabolic forces, magic and witchcraft. 
  • It suggests the loss of normal ego boundaries.
  • People might be able to read your mind and know that you secretly (or unconsciously) harbor sexual and aggressive thoughts, or worse.
  • If you talk about it, people might think you're crazy.
  • If you think you experience psi, maybe you are crazy.
  • Your parents provided negative reinforcement for your any demonstrations of psychic ability (or past lives) when you were a child.
  • Thinking about psi leads to a medieval superstitious mentality, which will in turn support a rising tide of dangerous, primitive thinking.
  • With ESP, you might learn things that you do not want to know about yourself or other people -- i.e., accidents that are about to happen, and things you would rather not be responsible for knowing about. 
  • Psi might interfere with the normal human process of ego separation and development. Therefore, we have devised subtle strategies for cultural inhibition. 
  • If you are telepathic, how will you distinguish other people's thoughts from your own? Perhaps this will lead to mental illness. 
  • Many people have a self-destructive streak to their personality. What damage would result if psi were used in the service of this factor? Psychiatrist Jule Eisenbud wrote about this in his book Parapsychology and the Unconscious. 
  • If psi exists, how many of my other cherished beliefs will I have to give up? 
  • If psi exists, does that mean that a psychic could watch me while I am using bathroom facilities? 
  • If psi exists, then perhaps I cannot wall myself off so easily from the pain and suffering in the world. 
  • With mind-matter interaction, you might have to take more responsibility for what happens--whether to you, others, or the world around you.

The medieval inquisitions were a result of fear of the unknown. They wanted to believe that everything knowable was already known. They felt a need to monpolize the truth. Anyone daring to question truth according to the inquisitors was a heretic and had to be removed from society for fear of undermining the power of the inquisitors. South African apartheid worked in a similar way. Black south Africans who challenged segregation laws of white rule had to be removed from the population in order that the subdued masses continued to understand and accept their roles as inferiors in white society. Conservative fundamentalists of today have certain things in common with inquisitors of the past.

Fidel

Snert wrote:

Quote:
And I see youre off of Randi.

I was never "on" him. You make it sound like he and I were going steady and now I've dumped him. I just noticed that every time you said his name you spit on the ground and found that amusing. For what it's worth, I'm actually appreciative of the 411 re: his climate change opinion.

 So for how long have you and Randi the magic clown doubted mainstream science? Are you both heretics?

Snert Snert's picture

Say huh?  Did you mean "for how long have you and Randi doubted charlatans who pretend to bend spoons with their awesome minds?"

Fidel

There used to be a video somewhere on the internet of Randi performing in an old tv show called The Magic Clown. This little guy pops out of box and runs around the stage in black tights, and the children all laugh and clap their hands. It's really something. Of course, I can certainly understand why he'd be embarrassed by it. If ever I see it again, I'll post it here for the Randi groupees to have a good laugh at the man who taught them everything they know about science.

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