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Medium: The Dubious Claims of Allison DuBois - Part IV
2005.03.17 (Thu) 00:00
The Success Rate of Allison's Powers:
"Well, maybe you're right. I don't like being wrong one bit. But, maybe this once I might be a little wrong."
— Lady Elaine Fairchilde, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Previously, we discussed the seemingly flawed research conducted by Dr. Gary Schwartz which medium Allison DuBois leans on for validation of her powers, as well as Allison's questionable claims to have assisted various law enforcement agencies on active cases. Today we'll look at Allison's specific claims about the efficacy of her powers.
A criticism often leveled at skeptics is that they expect too high of a success rate from practitioners of the paranormal. As the story goes, these powers aren't perfect, and they don't always work. We've seen defenses of psychic abilities that state that a power may only work 3% of the time, but that when it is working, it is accurate a whopping 90% of the time. By doing some basic math, we calculate that our illustrative psychic in this example has a staggering success rate of...2.7% — hardly impressive. (Of course, we'd be hard pressed to understand the difference between psychic powers "not working" and psychic powers "working inaccurately" — but then, we never said that we were psychic.)
So how do Allison's powers stack up? Let's look at two accounts in which Allison addresses her accuracy. First, from Science Fiction Weekly:
Allison, have you ever been wrong on a case you were working on?
And from Zap2It TV News:
While early criticisms about the pilot have centered on just how infallibly omniscient the character of Allison seems to be, DuBois maintains that she's never been wrong while working on a case, [noting] that "the things you would think couldn't be true, happened."
Now that's amazing! How does she back that up? As far as we can tell, she doesn't. Not at all. Ever. We are simply expected to take this on blind faith. The inimitable Dr. Schwartz, who has a "special place in his heart" for Allison, has said he has scored her at 73% to 94.4% effective (while providing few actual details of the methods or of what constituted success), so even he doesn't seem to be able to back up this level of claimed success.
So how can Allison truthfully make this claim? We've thought of a way. In fact, we at the Two Percent Company are going on record right here and now by saying that our collective psychic abilities have never been wrong while we were working on a case with a law enforcement agency. How can we make that claim? Simple — we've never assisted any law enforcement agencies with any of their cases, so how could we have been wrong? By the same logic, we must admit the possibility that Allison is being truthful, too, especially in light of the fact that the very agencies she has claimed to assist have flatly denied working with her.
That aside, what happens if Allison is wrong when she uses her abilities? From Science Fiction Weekly:
Dubois: And I've been told I was wrong before. And I'm looking at this going, "I'm not wrong. I know what this is." And then it pans out later, but I still have to sit there and grapple with the fact that I know what I know, but I'm being told that I'm wrong. And so I really had to get to a place where I know what I know, and you can look at me and say I'm wrong, but I know in the end you're going to realize that's the way it is. You just haven't seen it.
It sounds like Allison didn't watch enough Mister Rogers growing up; if she had, she'd know that it is bad manners not to admit when she's wrong. This tactic isn't so odd for psychics, though; she's just employing the standard John Edward defense for cases in which she appears to be wrong — she blames the subject for "not seeing it." That sounds an awful lot like the old office saying:
Rule #1: The Boss is always right.
Rule #2: If the Boss is wrong, see Rule #1.
With that kind of logic, maybe it isn't so hard to be right all the time after all.
— • —
Having examined all of Allison's claims to fame, tomorrow's Rant will take a look at how she responds to skeptics who question her abilities. Frankly, with all of the convincing evidence that we've waded through over the past few days proving her powers as a medium, we can't imagine why any filthy skeptic would question the great and powerful Allison, but hey — to each his own.
The Two Percent Company's Allison DuBois Week:
— • —
% Monday: An Introduction to Allison DuBois
% Tuesday: Dr. Gary Schwartz's Research
% Wednesday: Allison's Track Record Assisting Law Enforcement
% Thursday: The Success Rate of Allison's Powers (this Rant)
% Friday: Allison's Answers to Skeptics
Disclaimer: Throughout our posts, we are presenting statements and opinions of various third parties. The Two Percent Company makes no claims as to the accuracy of the statements of any third parties. In addition, any statements attributed to the Two Percent Company are strictly our opinion, and are not meant to be statements of absolute fact.
— • —
[ Filed under: % Allison DuBois Week % Bullshit % Two Percent Toons ]
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