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Paranormal Skepticism/critical thinking

Stop Sylvia Browne

What a lovely way to start the New Year, catching up on all the blogging I missed while I was on vacation. While doing so, via Skeptico, I came across a most worthy project: Stop Sylvia Browne. In this site, Rob Lancaster has accumulated in one easy stop a lot of useful information that helps to show how Sylvia Browne cannot really do what she claims she can do and how what she does appears indistinguishable from cold reading. Rob’s manifesto:

Over the years, Sylvia Browne has been the focus of a number of skeptical pages on the web, but I don’t think that there has ever before been one site which focused solely on her. The goal of this site is to fill that void by providing a central place where she, her track record and all of her claims are examined and analyzed.

Although I will be approaching the subject from a skeptical viewpoint (the name of the site should show that), I will try to do so in as fair and factual a manner as possible.

Where I state a fact, I will try to back it up with references. Where I state an opinion, I will try to clearly label it as such.

Is she a well-intentioned spiritual leader, with actual psychic powers? Is she a fraud, making money by callously manipulating and using the bereaved? Or is she something else entirely?

This site will attempt to answer these questions.

Now, whenever you come across someone credulous about Sylvia Browne’s claims, you have another, more dedicated site to send them to, other than James Randi’s Sylvia Browne Clock. I think I’ll add this one to my sidebar.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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