"How do you know they arent psychic?"

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Mikhael's picture
"How do you know they arent psychic?"

Listening to a lot of atheist experience and similar shows, this question comes up a lot when people talk about prophesy or wierd experiences, visionary dreams, etc, that get attributed to god/mary/saints. And being someone who has struggled with religion, I often have this question pop into my head.

Of course my immediate answer is, "we don't have any proof that ESP and psychic phenomena exist, duh".

But well...we don't have any proof For the existence of the deities in the bible either. I just attribute more leeway to that since the supposed seers talk about Jesus or mary.

But like...the more I think about it the more I have to admit, shit man, for all I know, they're having quantum level psi field shared hallucinations.

Like I'm not here promoting psychic phenomena, only sharing my realization that I have no business going straight to god did it, when there's no more proof of god than there is paychics, aliens or time travelers

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Grinseed's picture
I think self professed

I think self professed psychics are really happy there is no subjective evidence for their claims. Otherwise, they could be called out on their bullshit and face some dire consequences.

Nyarlathotep's picture
When rigorously tested,

When rigorously tested, psychics can't out preform chance (can't do better than just random guessing).

What you typically get instead of a rigorous test are long winded, word salad excuses as to why they shouldn't be rigorously tested. Just like religious claims.

Do you think that is a coincidence?

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Nyar

@ Nyar

Took the words from my mouth.

When psychic claims are tested they 100% fail their claimed objectives. Like religion they do not count the misses, only seek to maximise the publicity on their rare successes.

boomer47's picture


Keeping it simple: I have never yet seen credible evidence proving there are such creatures as psychics , faith healers or mediums who speak with the dead.

Same goes for any claims for the supernatural or paranormal, including spoon bending ,telekinesis , reading human auras and of course all forms of fortune telling , from reading tea cups, to tarot cards and astrology.

James Randi had a ONE MILLION DOLLAR prize on offer to anyone who could prove any kind of psychic power The offer stood for many years. The prize never claimed.

I especially despise the frauds who prey on grieving, gullible people by pretending they can contact the dead. Also faith healers who give false hope to the desperate. I include televangelists among that group of human pond scum. In the long run, I guess that is what religion does; it makes false promises and gives false hope to the desperate who are especially terrified of dying. (actually, a thoroughly reasonable fear)

Below, a clip of James Randi, examining homeopathy and other scams---including psychics. I recommend his other videos. A great debunker.


Whitefire13's picture
“...only sharing my

“...only sharing my realization that I have no business going straight to god did it, when there's no more proof of god than there is paychics, aliens or time travelers“

You got it!

Tin-Man's picture
Mikhael! How the hell ya been

Mikhael! How the hell ya been doin', big guy? Good, I hope. In regards to psychics, here's a little true story I hope you enjoy. I've told it on here somewhere before, but damned if I remember where. Guess I'll just have to tell it again...

Way back when around the mid to late 90's I was working on our precinct-level drug task force team. It was a small team of four to six officers. Anyway, we naturally had our regular places we took our lunch breaks during our shift. One of those places was a Mexican restaurant that was located directly across the highway from a long-established and very well known Psychic/Palm Reading shop.

Well, one evening we stopped to eat at that restaurant. And as we were walking from our vehicles to the entrance, one of the guys gestured toward the shop and stated, "Hey, did you guys hear about the lady who owns and operates the psychic shop over there? She got killed in a car wreck a few days ago." Without missing a beat or breaking stride, I replied, "Humph... Some psychic she was. You would think she would have seen it coming and avoided it." Would you believe my teammates actually started booing me for that?... *chuckle*...

Cognostic's picture
@Mikhael: Re: "How do you

@Mikhael: Re: "How do you know they are not psychic." The question is ill formed but your commentary shows you are starting to catch on. Think about how you phrase a question. This question makes no sense at all. No one has to know psychic abilities are not real to not believe in them.

You have been on the site long enough to begin asking "rational" questions. NO ONE HAS TO 'KNOW' THEY ARE NOT PSYCHIC. The question is, "What is the evidence for psychic abilities." And the answer - "THERE IS NO FUCKING EVIDENCE, but there are thousands of people out there conning people into believing this bullshit.

Rational / Skeptical people do not believe things until such time as evidence supports the thing to be believed in. Belief is allocated to the degree of evidence available.

You are creating a false dichotomy with your question and shifting the burden of proof. The question is ill formed. "How do we know psychics are not real?" No one has to know, the burden of proof is on the psychics. Each and every time we have tested a psychic, EACH AND EVERY TIME, the psychics have failed. Watch James Randy on YouTube.


You and I are looking at the stars in the night sky.
Suddenly I say to you, "The number of stars in the sky are even."
You tell me, "I do not believe you."

Have you asserted that the number of stars are ODD? NO You simply claimed that you did not believe my assertion THAT THEY WERE EVEN. How in the hell could I possibly know such a thing? What evidence could I have?

This is the exact same thing as asserting psychics are real.
I tell you psychics are real and you are completely correct to say "I don't believe you." It does not mean you are asserting psychics are not real but the question you phrased makes the assertion that someone has claimed psychics are not real. IF YOU MAKE THIS ASSERTION YOU ADOPT A BURDEN OF PROOF.
YOU MUST NOW GO ABOUT DISPROVING ALL PSYCHICS. NO ONE NEEDS TO GO THERE. The time to believe in psychics is when they can produce results under laboratory / experimental conditions.


Whitefire13's picture
As a side point...

As a side point...

A psychic is a human that can be tested.

“Alien life” is plausible given the vastness and age of the universe. We also have observed “life” in the most hostile environments here on earth.

Time-travel is a mathematical possible but beyond our technical/energy ability; however, it is plausible that “one day” in the far future it might be possible (I can’t rule it out given our technological and energy advances in just 100 years).

It’s the claims surrounding the above that has to be proven.

Eg. I have a dog. I talk to my dog. My dog can make sounds. Now, I make a “claim” that my dog literally “talks to me” (in a more exceptional way than my interpretting it’s signals for food, potty time or play).
That is an exceptional claim that should not be believed, until such time I can provide testable evidence.

Re: Cognostic excellent point ... would you word the question to my claim “How do we know Whitefire’s dog doesn’t talk to her?”

Cognostic's picture
How do we know Whitefire's

How do we know Whitefire's dog talks at all? It's more likely Whitefire is interpreting the dog's behavior to mean various things and then counting the hits and ignoring the misses. What dog is not at your feet when you are eating a hamburger? How hard is it to tell that the dog wants a bite? When the dog begins writing books we will have something to talk about.

boomer47's picture


Your dog has a signal for potty? My doesn't. The little prick just goes and I seldom catch him. I've tried keeping him on a lead for hours Nothing. Take him off the lead, and---new pressies on kitchen floor the instant I turn around. .

He has one dominating signal: Ball.Play. His favourite thing is killing tennis balls, of which he owns 69. (Ebay $15 delivered) His second favourite thing is barking. This can be stopped by picking up his ball and bouncing it. He hears from outside and comes belting inside. His third favourite thing is chewing buttons off whatever is within his sight. Seems to be over chewing up books.

Oh, he hates all other dogs, attacking on sight. (A rescue dog, he was apparently never socialised with other dogs) So no dog park. and no walkies,. I sometimes take him to the beach at 6am. .

I don't suppose you'd like a free ,three year old Jack Russell? He likes people and tolerates cats. Don't know about children. I don't think he's ever seen one.

Mikhael's picture
Hey guys thanks for everyone

Hey guys thanks for everyone's response

I want to make it clear just in case that I wasn't advocating for the existence of psychic powers. My stance on it is, I have heard enough anecdotal stories and theories to say hey, maybe some day we will learn somethi g about time or consciousness we don't know yet, but I don't put any stock or believe into it

Instead I was merely comparing the evidence. I am still very much in the mind set of accepting religion as a viable explanatiton. It stitll seems like it should sit in the box of things that can explain apparitions, healings etc, and yet I do not consider psychic phenomena to be in the list of things to explain it, and I'm starting to see that that answer is hypocritical

Cognostic's picture
@Mikhael: RE: "religion as

@Mikhael: RE: "religion as a viable explanation."

Religion is not an explanation, it is an assertion. "God did it!" "Jesus answers prayers." etc... This is not an explanation in any way, shape, or form.

EXPLANATION: " a statement or account that makes something clear." "a reason or justification given for an action or belief."
With religion people use abstractions to explain abstractions. They use assertions to explain assertions. They do not explain.
Jesus is lord. (Assertion)
How do you know?
The bible says so? (Assertion)
Why should I care what the bible says?
The Bible is the word of God (Assertion)
What makes you think so?
The Bible says it is the world of god (Assertion)
Yes, it does but why should I believe what the Bible says?
Because the bible is the word of god. (Assertion)

All interactions with theists follow this sort of bullshit interaction. Assertion after assertion after assertion with no evidence or explanation at all. Religions do not explain, they assert!

Whitefire13's picture
Mikhael ...” like it should

Mikhael ...” like it should sit in the box of things that can explain apparitions, healings etc, and yet I do not consider psychic phenomena to be in the list of things to explain it, and I'm starting to see that that answer is hypocritical”

Lol. When I left formal religion I had (over time) retrained my brain and thinking process. The one crutch I couldn’t shake for years though was prayer. I KNEW I wasn’t praying to “anyone” but it was soooo ingrained (from the time I was a baby) I couldn’t fall asleep if I didn’t pray first. I felt stupid. Then I settled on the fact I could continue to talk to myself, just left off the “amen”. My nightly self-talk started to express more gratitude or I don’t know, sometimes “deep thoughts on life” It wasn’t carrying the previous patterns asking for protection, help, forgiveness, etc.
Eventually, I began falling asleep without the ritual.

In other words there are emotions tied in with religious belief and a sense of “comfort” in “knowing” ( in my religious upbringing apparitions and modern day miracles were the demons).

David Killens's picture
@ Mikhael

@ Mikhael

"How do you know they arent psychic?"

I don't give a shit until they prove they ARE psychic.

Nice to see you again Mikhael, but you still have this hiccup in your skepticism. You should never accept any claim unless the claimant can prove their claim. You still seem to accept and then attempt to disprove.

Mikhael's picture
I really don't think I'm

I really don't think I'm getting my point across here very well

This was never "maybe they are psychic". Instead it's suppose to be "of course they aren't psychic there's no proof for psychics - ooooh I see"

David Killens's picture
Now I understand better

Now I understand better MIkhael.

Cognostic's picture
Mikhael: But you did say

Mikhael: But you did say they may be psychic. That is the whole point. The very question you ask attempts to shift the burden of proof to the listener and demand the listener prove there is no such thing as a psychic.

"How do you know" - You are asking me if I know for a fact that there is no such thing as a psychic. How would I possibly prove that? All I know is that there has never been anyone claiming to be psychic or any claimed psychic event that has withstood critical inquiry. I can not assert that there is no such thing as a psychic without facts or evidence supporting my claim. So far, it appears, I can be 99.99% sure there are no psychics. But to say for a fact there are no psychics is to commit a black swan fallacy. All psychics I have seen have been frauds, therefore the next psychic I see will be a fraud as well. This is fallacious at its core and it is EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID WITH YOUR QUESTION.

Mikhael's picture
Alright, now I see the point

Alright, now I see the point you're making. I meant the statement to be more tongue in cheek than serious, to make one realize there is no more reason to blame one thing for another, like when someone has a near death experience and sees light, sobthey "know god exists ," the question is, pk, you think you felt a god, what leads you to believe it is the biblical god and not Shakti?

Naturally none of those things has any more evidence than the other, it's more about questioning ones cultural defaults

David Killens's picture
I do not believe anything

I do not believe anything until I have sufficient proof. You still appear to accept a statement, then attempt to prove it wrong.

boomer47's picture
@David Killens

@David Killens

"I do not believe anything until I have sufficient proof. You still appear to accept a statement, then attempt to prove it wrong."

Not sure I'm quite that pedantic. I'm inclined to accept what an expert in their field says until I have reason to doubt them . EG one of my favourite public intellectuals is physicist professor Brian Cox. I tend to accept his science based arguments (below is clip with him demolishing one of Australia's climate change deniers , who was a member of parliament at the time)

BUT metaphysics isa different animal entirely. Questions such as the existence of god(s), free will vs determinism and even the mind body dichotomy are not questions which may be solved by reasoned argument or at least have not ben so far in recorded history.

I accepted Richard Dawkins argument demolishing irreducible complexity by arguing as evolutionary biologist . However, I do not simply accept anything he argues on a metaphysical question such as the existence of god, This because in my opinion he's a poor philosopher and because it is my position that cannot be argued into or out of existence. (at least so far)

Chris Hitchens was worse imo. I read "God Is Not Great". It's a polemic, not a philosophical work, in my opinion. Written by a bigoted journalist. The man seemed to have a very limited knowledge and understanding of Islam, This ignorance allowed him to make the most absurd claims a about Islam as a religion--- It is no more reasonable to speak of Islam ,with its billion believers in any general sense, than it is to speak of christianity, or even catholicism in that way.

My point; Questions all claims (demand proof) which fall under the general umbrella of humbug and crackpottery. It's a big area, and includes, but is not limited to:

Claims about god(s) , the soul, an after life, angels, demons, heaven, hell, paranormal (psychics, mediums, near death experiences as proof of anything except themselves) fortune tellers, astrologers, faith healers, televangelists, homeopathy, chiropractic, using magnets to heal) ---- Dragon, mountain trolls, leprechauns or fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Clip one; Brian Cox VS Malcolm Roberts, home grown Aussie ignoramus and dickhead


Clip 2: The Cottingley Fairies Hoax. I include this because the hoax is a photographic one. This was in 1917, when photography was a relatively new medium for ordinary people. The original negatives were sent to Kodak laboratories at the time and declared genuine. They fooled no less a person than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, inventor n of Sherlock Holmes . Sir Arthur even wrote a non fiction book based on the photos "The Coming Of The Fairies" Context: this was just after WW1 .Sir Arthur had lost his son. He also believed in spiritualism as did millions of others desperate to contact loves lost to the war.


Cognostic's picture
@Climate Change:

@Climate Change:
I don't know why they call it climate change. Plate Tectonics, Climate Cycles, Changes in Ocean Currents, Massive Forest Fires and Volcanoes have always ensured that the Climate on the planet will change. We have had at least 6 Ice Ages. Of course the climate is Changing. It is always changing.

I really like Brian Cox. I'll go watch yours if you watch mine.


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