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The Skeptic's View

Date: 10-17-04
Host: Art Bell
Guests: Dr. Michael Shermer, Whitley Strieber

Founding publisher of Skeptic Magazine, Dr. Michael Shermer, shared his viewpoint as to why he doesn't believe in paranormal phenomena and many extraordinary claims. He also commented on the emerging field of quantum science, suggesting that it is not connected with the thought process because quantum effects are happening at a subatomic level and the mental process occurs on a molecular level.

Here is a rundown of some of his explanations on a variety of topics:

  • Witchcraft: Their successes are basically "self-deception" fueled by "reinforcement from their followers."
  • Psychics & Mediums: Often use cold readings, and mention common items such as a watch in the case of men, that is likely they may have been given by a deceased father or relative.
  • Remote Viewing: What is considered a "hit" is subjective and the results are not replicable.
  • EVPs: The voices or sounds are related to a signal/noise problem and generally not decipherable.
  • Prayer: Studies which show prayer may help hospital patients have quicker recoveries have faulty methodology, in terms of what is being tested.
  • Dowsing: Dowsers were not able to identify hidden water containers under experimental conditions.

Anne Strieber Update

On Saturday evening, Whitley Strieber's wife, Anne, suffered a severe stroke. Whitley phoned in with an update on Sunday night, and said that Anne would be undergoing surgery on Monday morning to treat the brain aneurysm that led to the stroke. More details here.

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