James Randi - Science, Magic, and the Future of Skepticism
Posted: 11 July 2006 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Randi outlined some classic "hijinks" executed by preachers and tricksters in order to recruit and convince believers of the supernatural.  Peter Popoff and others "heal" people, others use the old "one-ahead" envelope reading trick, and so on.

What religion-based tricks or scams have you all heard of or come into contact with?

Last year a man came to one of our meetings and told us he was convinced of demonic possession by a priest who pulled the following stunt: He brought an egg into the room of a person supposedly "possessed" by demons, and then, after a slight-of-hand switcheroo, cracked a spoiled egg (thought to be the same egg) which was black on the inside.  The evil taint of the demons in the room spoiled the egg.  This man was convinced; convinced enough to demand response from our group of atheists and skeptics…

Any others?

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Posted: 11 July 2006 07:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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James Randi - Science, Magic, and the Future of Skepticism

Randi outlined some classic “hijinks” executed by preachers and tricksters in order to recruit and convince believers of the supernatural.  Peter Popoff and others “heal” people, others use the old “one-ahead” envelope reading trick, and so on.

What religion-based tricks or scams have you all heard of or come into contact with?

Last year a man came to one of our meetings and told us he was convinced of demonic possession by a priest who pulled the following stunt: He brought an egg into the room of a person supposedly “possessed” by demons, and then, after a slight-of-hand switcheroo, cracked a spoiled egg (thought to be the same egg) which was black on the inside.  The evil taint of the demons in the room spoiled the egg.  This man was convinced; convinced enough to demand response from our group of atheists and skeptics…

Any others?

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Posted: 11 July 2006 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Really it’s anything that purports a “miracle”.  The images of the virgin mary depicted in water stains and in tree bark is said to be the work of god.  Then there are the crying statues.  What makes those so bad is that the person intentionally rigs it so that they will appear to be weeping.  That means they know they are creating a hoax.  At least if you say that a potato chip is shaped in the likeness of Christ it is probably because it randomly happened to look somewhat like Christ.  Oh, and by the way, don’t you think its odd that people recognize Christ and Mary but yet there are no pictures of them that we can compare them to.  There may be paintings and drawings, but many of them look completely different from one another. So people aren’t recognizing a similar likeness, they are merely recognizing what they think would be a similar likeness.

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Posted: 12 July 2006 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Just finished the section of “The Blind Watchmaker” in which Dawkins makes the point that what one considers miraculous depends on the observer’s frame of reference, i.e. the average life expectancy of the observer.

For example a person who is a bridge player would consider being dealt a perfect hand in his lifetime miraculous but if the same event occurred to an alien with a life expectancy of 1 million years such and event would be not so unusual.

Jim

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Jimmie Keyes
Tavernier, FL
http://secularhumanism.meetup.com/1/
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (MLK Jr.)

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