Bet they didn't see that coming
The UK regulator, Ofcom, has issued a clarification for purveyors of TV programmes based around psychic powers, basically reminding them that they are all frauds. Most advertising is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority, but participation television – where viewers are encouraged to call in, and pay, still falls to …
Sorry but were mostly scientists and techies on this site and from an early age we've been taught to never believe what you read, see or hear at face value, prove it.
When some dopey sod comes out with a a load twaddle about "reaching through the veil" and "Ohh, does anyone here have a brother or sister?" or "I'm getting something, is there a Mr Smith in the audience tonight?", I have to question the validity of such a comedy act.
Best psychic I've ever seen was Clinton Baptiste on Phoenix Nights, probably the most genuine I've ever seen in my life!
"Anyone claiming to be in touch with such a power (other than a recognised deity) must be very clear that they're doing so "for entertainment purposes only" and not just with a banner at the bottom of the screen either, it has to be stated by the presenters."
I'd like to see the same rule applied to recognised deities too, given there's as much evidence of being in touch with him is there is with dear departed auntie Norma.
Catholics have to say that the bread and wine they take during Communion is miraculously transformed into the flesh and blood of Christ after consumption, but the Pastafarians just go for it.
That said, I suppose the Catholics have little choice. If they claimed they really were eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ, then either they would be cannibals or Christ would be the Pillsbury Alcoholic.
LOL! Aren't the "fruit of the vine and the work of human hands (that) will be our spiritual drink" merely "props"? Is it for entertainment?
How about adult channels? (Do those exist in the UK?) I can imagine an enforced disclaimer on global adult entertianment channels (and, I've been waiting a LONG time to use this following":
"fruit issued from behind, jerk of human glands, it will be come -- our rhytmical slink... is for en(d)ter(s)tainment purposes only..." (C) 2011-12-21 DSSF
(DISS Claimer... I attended an RCC school from 4th Grade til 6th Grade...and saw in those 3 years more craziness than in all the other 10 years on public school -- combined! Hence, random thoughs and manufactured Spoonerisms along these lines.......)
The difference is that deities are often a matter of Faith, ie. the purveyor believes it and is not trying to hoodwink anyone. If Mother Theresa appears on your screen talking about helping the sick, or the Archbishop of Canturbury does a Philippine flood appeal, you can be pretty sure they were not doing it "for entertainment purposes only".
Many of these "psychics" believes it too, and honestly have convinced themselves they are doing a good service. Can you be convinced that religious leaders haven't done the same?
And I'm sure there are many religious leaders who do suspect they are only there to hoodwink people.
If Joe Power appeared on screen talking about helping the sick, these Ofcom rules on "Psychics" wouldn't apply anyway; so it's a null point.
It works both ways, but at least this is a start. In my opinion, the first country to ban non-educational religious broadcast will be a big step forward for logic and humanity.
I can't see it's any more fraudulent to claim to be able to talk to the dead as to claim that you'll still be around after you're dead, and that's a promise made to millions on TV every day.
It's only tradition that prevents ministers of religion being thrown in jail with the rest of the frauds, which is where they belong.
I remember Tony Blair being interviewed about the Iraq war... He stated that he prayed for guidance...
So our country went to war because of what the voice in his head replied. Or was it just for the oil or for some kind of back hand from G Dubya?
If the voice was claimed to be anything other than a recognised (who compiles the list?) deity you would get locked up, yet there is no more proof for the existence of "insert recognise deity here" than there is for the flying spaghetti monster. Which is exactly the point of FSM.
Lovely reading from the ofcom PDF:
“Advertisements for personalised and live services that rely on belief in astrology,
horoscopes, tarot and derivative practices are acceptable only on channels that are
licensed for the purpose of the promotion of such services and are appropriately
labelled: both the advertisement and the product or service itself must state that the
product or service is for entertainment purposes only”.
As an astronomer, I thoroughly endorse the notion that astrology is suitable for entertainment purposes only. Astronomy is better entertainment still, in my opinion, but I understand that not everyone wants to freeze their nadgers off while looking through a telescope.
I can see your future. Scorpio is rising into the house of Neptune, which shows that your future will contain both a flask of Bovril and cold testicles. However Venus and Mars are soon to achieve conjunction, which predicts a sudden warming of said testicles when you spill the bovril on them.
I also can see that with Uranus rising - that you can probably complete this joke yourself...
If you can afford that kind of kit, fine! Still, seeing a supernova with my own eyes beats googling for images of it (making your own images is a thrill, I know).
Alternatively, you move to southern France, where skies are clearer and frost is rarer (a man can dream).
A good remark I heard on stargazerslounge.com:
"There are people whose sleeping patterns are profoundly disturbed by the positions of moon and planets. Such people are called astronomers."
Does this mean that on Radio 2's Steve Wright in the Afternoon show Jonathon Cainer will have to admit he's actually a fraud or will he simply have to turn to his adoring Steve and say " Well Steve, I can see from Uranus that I'm only here for a little fun."
I dunno. I hope so.
Having seen from personal experience (recently deceased friend, on disability benefits, whose assets didn't cover the cost of a cheap funeral, but who paid out hundreds of quid to these bloodsuckers) how these scum fleece the vulnerable via their personal tarot reading hot-lines etc, I really think they need to bring back the old Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951, and also ban them from using premium rate services and in fact any electronic means of communication - face-to-face transactions, cash on the nail, in a fairground booth should be the only way they can operate. Step outside those bounds and it's a stake and a large pile of faggots - now that WOULD be entertainment!
"Cleaoly, if Miss Cleo practiced reality, she'd have seen the suit and jail/prison time coming....
Miss Cleo: Another One Bites The Dust
Feds Accuse Miss Cleo Hot Lines of Fraud
Inside Look of The Fake Phone Psychic Industry
Also Known as CALL CENTERS or BOOKSTORES
Nice to see Ofcom having sorted their priorities and cracking down on the evil pedlars of bogus psychic advice. Once they've solved the problem of losses to the British goat industry due to bridge dwelling trolls maybe they could devote some attention to the gentlemen from 'Windows' who phone me daily informing me of a problem with my computer and how they can fix it for a fee.
Culture, history and faith. Christianity has billions of adherents, the UK has been Christian for 1200 years, every village has a church, our national anthem begins with the word "God" and the Queen wears a big cross on her head. If you want a country where free religious activities do not exist, see North Korea.
I applaud Ofcom for putting legislation in place to help people legally recognise the boundaries of reality.
Makes me proud to be British and live in the country where the Army no longer record U.F.O sightings because everyone knows U.F.O's don't exist ...
Its good to have a thoughtful Government defining reality for me.
It has such historical oddities buried in it. Indeed, this decision derives from one of them. Prior to 1736 or so, witchcraft was punishable by death in England, although not normally by burning at the stake, which was reserved for the Continent and Scotland.
At that time, the Establishment came to the conclusion that, in fact, they could find no real evidence that witchcraft was real (although plenty of people were accused of it, and some even brought such accusations on themselves). So the legal principles were changed, along with the law. The witchcraft acts made all claims of being a witch (or other magical practitioner) illegal because they were fraudulent. In 1952, the last of these acts was replaced by a law that still makes such claims illegal, but now allows an escape clause: "for entertainment purposes only".
As it is far far preferable on so many levels for the people of this country to hand over a per household tax so that Dad's Army may be repeated indefinitely on BB2 than leave the provision of TV in the hands of the wizened American with the Australian accent and one less British newspaper than he used to have.
I may also raise ITV as an example of a media company that is supposed to work and sell itself and now has two settings - X factor and Downton Abbey
That Sky is at least £240 per year yet the BC has much better programming for only £145.50 per year.
It also doesn't have crappy adverts to increase that figure and radio broadcasts are included. I personally couldn't go without the radio 4 comedy broadcasts, Doctor Who, Buzzcocks, HIGNFY, Top Gear, and so many other quality programs the BBC provided and don't forget BBC news is unbiased unlike Sky 'news'.
The BBC is excellent value for money and isn't bloated, it works to a budget and its all accounted for, the Murdoch's on the other hand don't give a damn.
The thing about the BBC is, if you refuse to pay the license fee, you get fined and potentially sent to prison. If you refuse to pay the SKY fee they... cancel your service. That's it. You have a choice with SKY and other subscriber-based services but you have no choice at all with the BBC. If you watch TV, you pay for their output whether you like it or not, whether you watch it or not. I don't watch it, but if I were to choose to watch just the toss on ITV (which apparently not many people do these days given their collapsing viewing figures) I'd still have to pay for the BBC. I object to the BBC on that principle alone: they provide output I don't want or need and use threat of force to extract the funds to pay for it. I don't care how "efficient" they are, how much "value for money" they provide, they have no right to that money because I don't *want* to watch the BBC and I don't want to pay what is actually a significant amount of money when you're on a low income for a service I don't use, just so some middle class twat can feel smug about the "quality" of the BBC's output.
As a consequence I don't pay a license fee on principle. It means I can't watch television but, to be honest, it's not much of a loss.
But think about that... if I don't want to pay for the BBC, I can't watch live television without breaking the law. How is that in any way moral, ethical or fair? If it were Microsoft in the same position with computers you'd all be screaming moral outrage but, because it's Auntie and the goggle-box, suddenly it's perfectly okay to extort money from single mothers and the working poor to pay for a bunch of never-had-a-real-job trust-fund babies to prance around on TV and pretend they're worth listening to.
"if I don't want to pay for the BBC, I can't watch live television without breaking the law."
At home, that is. You can go out, to the pub for instance.
And Microsoft did try it. They're still trying it. There were deals where Microsoft got a cut on each computer a manufacturer sold, whether you bought Microsoft software or not. And now when you buy an Android phone, with no Microsoft product in it, you're probably paying a Microsoft tax.
@Robert Carnegie, really you're demonstrating my point (and I know MS tried it, that's why I mentioned them in the first place). There are some differences of course: a phone with data capabilities is an essential piece of equipment, even when you're a sparky, whilst watching TV is a luxury and largely pointless but, in both cases, the injustice of one party using the power of the state to extort money from others to pay for a service those others don't desire is the same. In that sense the BBC is marginally better inasmuch as they do at least provide a service of some sort, but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay so someone else can watch television.
My phone, however, is a Sony Ericsson. Unless I'm mistaken, Sony-Ericsson has no licensing deal with MS so for now I'm in the clear.
Except for the whole "it's made by Sony" thing, which is another issue...
And, for the record, there are far better things to do in a pub that watch TV. They only show football anyway.
I'm not saying that the BBC licence isn't a tax on owning and operating a broadcast-television receiving device, which now includes a PC if you use it that way - they're taking a view that watching live broadcast TV online still counts, but only if it is broadcast material and is live.
But it's an annual charge that is still under 40 pence a day - I calculate that it's US $0.62. For that, they create all BBC TV, radio, and online services.
If you choose not to use TV services, that's fine.
Well, it's better than being called a paid shill I suppose.
What part of "I don't watch tv" don't you understand? Top be frank I wouldn't watch anything from sky, either; it's all shite too now. My point, which you spectacularly failed to understand, was that the BBC is funded by people who don't want to watch or pay for it's output but may want to watch other channels, but who don't have any choice in the matter. Its funding is gathered by a set of odficious thugs who use the power of the state as a ckub to extact money from people who can't afford it. It regularly brings prosecutions against people who watch teelvision but never watch the BBC.
explain how that is in any way just.
I suppose ofcom could insist on seeing a photocopy of the cheque from the James Randi educational foundation for $1M after they've proved any evidence of paranormal activity.
See here for more: http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html
For anyone claiming this I suggest they go an collect their cash and then we can discuss it further over a bottle of something nice.
Other than my mate Mary the witch of course - she's great fun and I wouldn't have her any other way. She can see auras, read tarot, chat to spirit guides, and has a great cackle.
"Psychics" concoct one pathetic excuse after another why they can't spare a morning taking a cool million dollars from Randi. The common one is to pretend the money doesn't exist despite JREF declaring it on their tax returns. If that fails they'll concoct reasons the test cannot possibly work in conditions that prevent cheating or mere chance.
You'd think any genuine psychic would be around like a shot to pick up a cheque. I know I would. After all a million dollars would just be the beginning. Any winner would make tens, hundreds millions more hawking books, TV shows, lectures, readings on the basis of winning.
Yet mysteriously they all make their excuses. One can only surmise that genuine psychics are shy timid creatures who do not seek the fame and limelight which implies any of the numerous "psychics" who does seek the limelight is a complete fraud.
"You'd think any genuine psychic would be around like a shot to pick up a cheque. I know I would. After all a million dollars would just be the beginning. Any winner would make tens, hundreds millions more hawking books, TV shows, lectures, readings on the basis of winning."
Forget that, just go to a casino. If you even have slight psychic ability (say getting a red/black(/green) call right 53% of the time) you can make a metric fuckton of money out of any casino; although how long before the casino network throws you out is another matter. This goes for any person who claims that he has a "system" for gambling, who isn't a billionaire.
Well if there were genuine psychics then their personal forte could be astral projection, talking to dead people, picking up empathic "vibrations", telekinesis and so on. That's why Randi goes out of his way to allow the "psychic" to tailor the test in an agreed fashion to suit their claims. As long as the test was fair, precluded cheating by either side, or winning by chance and was self evident.
So if I claimed to be able to astral project the mutually agreed test might be to read 5 out of 6 numbers sitting under cups on a table in the middle of the room.
So yeah maybe there is a psychic who can see the future (though one wonders how you can see the future without altering it) in which case maybe they are cleaning up in Vegas and various lotteries. More likely is they don't exist at all.
According to their forum, at least 25 nutballs^H^H^H^H psychics have had a go. There are some incredible abilities out there. "Subluxation Identification", "Paranormal Urination" and "Breast abnormality detection" being among my favourites...
(Pardon me, madam. No, it's okay, I'm qualified to do this. Hold still, please...)
Does this mean that we're heading into a media state where only those who follow the received wisdom of current trends (that is, David Attenborough and the weird bloke who does stars and galaxies in caves and derelict buildings) can say anything on telly, or will it be good enough to say "it is my belief that the spirit of a dead squirrel is about to tell me where he buried his nuts"?
Where will the limits be in the future? Today, psychics and rogue healers, tomorrow Christians, Muslims and Jews, the day after, Global Warming sceptics, the day after that, opposition party members.
There is a clear line between the supernatural and the natural. Psychics, healers and religions ask you to believe without proof.
Global warming sceptics and opposition party members are essentially making fact based arguments, so it is possible to pick apart their arguments and see what are established facts, what are controversial/unknown issues, and what are irrational beliefs and biases.
When the theological arm of the house of lords tells us that the shops have to close at 4pm on a Sunday because that's what god wants, there isn't really much scope for reasoned argument.
"Oh no he doesn't"
"Oh yes he does"
"Oh no he doesn't"
The 'proof' these people provide is testimonial. Yes, people are planted to pretend they had an uncle Jack who worked in the fish market in Luton and wow, what a coincidence, that's who is speaking through the medium (why are so many mediums overweight?), but testimony is testimony.
Since our courts are based on evidence from witnesses, and much of our society is based on evidence from witnesses (we read reviews and opinions based on what people have experienced), is it safe for a ruling body to tell a section of the population that their evidence or experience doesn't count any more and, far worse, is fraudulent and that because a TV Executive can't prove it?
I'm not a psychic, I think it's bonkers and I don't understand why so many people want to talk to dead people when there's plenty of interesting people still alive, but do you think that everyone who has any kind of faith in something that hasn't been proved in a laboratory is either an evil charlatan who wants to deceive the world or is drunk on the cool-aid of a blind faith with no ground in between?
People want to believe in the teeth of the evidence. One of my party tricks is to do cold readings from tarot or playing cards. I state beforehand that I am doing a cold reading and that I am only so-so at it, and that this is a demo to show how 'psychics' and fortune-tellers work. Then I do it. Some are amazed and amused by my accuracy, while others have told me with tears in their eyes that I have a Great Gift and that I should not deny it. Some even asked me to 'read' for them every week. I could have made a few bob, but I am an ethical person. So: even having heard me say that I am making it up, they can't accept that their own reactions, some good guesses on my part, and the human predilection for pattern and meaning have combined to create a convincing psychic event . Belief is always easier than skepticism.
years ago my line boss saw me pissing around in a lunch break with the cards and said 'do me one'..
Well I think I got the moon reversed and death somewhere.. so I said jovially 'someone near to you will probably go MAD and DIE!'
Unfortunately his sister did exactly that the next week and committed suicide.
He told me never to bring them in again..
>The answers to many questions can often be found in a bottle of Talisker, IME :-)
>My favourite place to search is three glasses down a bottle of Laphroaig, but I salute you, sir.
Don't listen to these doomed heathens with their foul smelling malted brews children, true answers can only be obtained with the fruit of the Grape ! An Armagnac or Cognac are the only true paths to enlightenment !
(Available at a good supermarket or off-licence near you. Terms and conditions may apply)
"Anyone claiming to be in touch with such a power (other than a recognised deity) must be very clear that they're doing so 'for entertainment purposes only' and not just with a banner at the bottom of the screen either, it has to be stated by the presenters."
Am I allowed to make a bet now that they figure out a way not only to defeat the intended purpose of that, but to turn it into a selling point? No? Oh, all right.
The way that the word "entertain" is used in the bible is one possible element.
SolomanTheTroll saith in Ecc 9:
2 All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.
As it is with the good,
so with the sinful;
as it is with those who take oaths,
so with those who are afraid to take them.
3 This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. 4 Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
5 For the living know that they will die,
but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
and even their name is forgotten.
6 Their love, their hate
and their jealousy have long since vanished;
never again will they have a part
in anything that happens under the sun.
7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.
It turns out that few people can live with ever-present meaninglessness. Its also hard to go against your culture, so in the western materialist-Darwinist culture, exploration of non-Darwinist origin accounts is pretty much forbidden in the public arena. That leads people to reject historical christian theology (which previously provided origins/destiny based meaning for many people) in favour of fluffy new age/eastern superstition or flashy preachers of health and wealth gospels or esotericists all of which are eminently suitable for scam artists.
However, most people just hide from reality, spending their time either in escapist media entertainment or at the bottom of a bottle.
Ah, the bravery of modern scientific culture!
If they're psychic, why do they need to broadcast using an earth based transmitter?
The cost of psychic broadcasting is less than TV channel rental fees.
The church is still the biggest scam game in the world, and they dont have to say "services are for entertainment purposes only"
...I'm not sure if this is the right way to go. It just reeks of censorship. I don't believe in all that mumbo-jumbo, but far be it from me to tell other people they're not allowed to believe in it or tell other people it's true. If viewers are continually stupid enough to believe these claims it's their own problem. Wouldn't it be better to encourage people to think critically about what they see, rather than enforce it? And then where do we draw the line? It just looks like everyone's kicking up their secular heels without pausing to think of the ramifications. It wasn't so long ago that men of science were censored because they offended spiritual people. I'm not saying this is a totally wrong outcome, there are some obvious benefits on the table and we probably need certain standards for making claims on a public platform, but let's not become what we set out to overcome.