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« Quentin Tarantino's: Kill Hugo The RantsRockstar's Challenge »

DuBois Revisited
2005.08.31 (Wed) 16:53

Well, it has been almost six months since we posted our original Allison DuBois Week Rants, and wouldn't you know: Allison is still out there promoting her bullshit "powers."

Checking over our web stats, we noticed a good amount of new traffic on the ADW posts coming from a site we hadn't visited before. It seems that Allison was on the radio this week, waxing philosophic about all the suckers she's fleeced — er, we mean the souls she's touched. In that icky, strange uncle, "bad touch" way. You can download or listen to the whole show on radio host Rachael Kohn's website (or listen to the mp3 we've stored locally). Notice that, on Rachael Kohn's site, the Two Percent Company's Allison DuBois Week is listed as the skeptical "authority" on Allison! Sorry, just a little shameless self-promotion — Allison brings that out in us.

The portion of the interview we're most interested in comes in at about 32:35 on the mp3 — in which Allison starts talking about those who are skeptical of her powers, or more accurately, skeptics in general. We've already discussed the Mighty Allison's feelings about skeptics — she doesn't like them because they tend to question her claims. And who can blame her, really?

Anyway, quoth Allison in her radio interview:

They can be pretty hostile. I think that speaks volumes — their level of hostility.

Yes, it does. We dislike you, Allison, in the same way that we dislike con artists, used car salesmen, and spammers who steal people's credit card numbers. Our hostility, Allison, bespeaks our justified outrage at such dishonesty and avarice. If being hostile toward such people is wrong, then we don't want to be right.

And, um, they need to get their blood pressure checked. [laughter]

Hey, thanks. Tom just got his checked — it was 120 over 78. In fact, none of the members of the Two Percent Company have high blood pressure, or any history of high blood pressure, and none of us are suffering from stress or anxiety due to the bumbling antics of psychics. So, if this was meant to be a prediction, you are, as usual, incorrect. [laughter]

Um, but, yes, we do deal with that. But with anything in life, you're gonna have some angry people that focus their energies in the wrong place, that have a chip on their shoulder.

Ah, but you see, Allison, we don't give a flying donkey fuck about you and the other self-proclaimed "psychics" on the market today. If you kept to yourselves and didn't try to sell your bullshit to others, we'd have no problem letting you live your silly little lives. However, so many "psychics" seem to be obsessed with validating themselves through television, "assisting" with criminal investigations, or other means; and you, Allison, are the current queen of the "psychic" media sluts. Thus, you have attracted our attention. Don't worry — once your short-lived stint on television is over and people forget who you are, we won't care about you anymore either. But until then, we feel an obligation to put your bullshit claims to the test.

Yeah, we know, you don't care that we showed your claims to be utter nonsense, and you don't care what the skeptics say about you. Luckily, though, you aren't our intended audience, and there are those who do care more about the truth than about validating your overinflated ego.

So, I kind of, uh, call it like I see it with them, and they make no difference in who I am — I mean, I will be a medium when they are gone, and when I am gone I will still have done what I do.

Wait...are you suggesting that you will outlive us? We'll chalk that up as another prediction, and keep you posted. And yes, much like a sidewalk huckster who makes a living shuffling a three card monty for the tourists, when you are gone, you will still have done what you did with your life. We hope that someday you are ashamed by that. At least the huckster had to practice.

And skeptics that do it professionally help nobody in their lifetime, and I look at it that way. How many people have they really helped to have a better life, or to feel better? And I think not many, if any at all. And I have thousands, and I know many other mediums that do as well, and we've made a difference in people's lives that skeptics can't take away. And they can try and dismiss it, but we'll still exist, ...

Hold the phone, sister. Once again, we find ourselves in the position of explaining why one of your statements is utter nonsense. Skeptics haven't helped anyone to have a better life or to feel better? We're not sure that you could be more wrong than you are right there, even if you tried really hard.

See, people like you seem to view "skepticism" as a dirty word. However, that simply isn't true. So let's clarify — skepticism involves applying critical thinking to situations and demanding evidence for claims. To you, we're sure such skeptical behavior is a dirty word since it wouldn't allow you to do what you do. But for us non-hucksters, skepticism is absolutely critical to the practice of science and to the understanding of the world. There is a huge difference between "skepticism" and "cynicism," though people like you tend to lump them together.

Now let's go through a list of just a few things that people of science — not all necessarily "scientists," but certainly people who used the scientific method, which requires a healthy dose of skepticism — contributed to the world. Heck, let's do it alphabetically, just for kicks: aeronautics, bionics, computers, differential calculus, electricity, first aid, genetic engineering, hygiene, internal combustion engines, jelly and jam, kinescopes, lasers, musical instruments, nanotechnology, On the Origin of Species, penicillin, quantum physics, refrigeration, submarines, telecommunications, ultrasonics, vacuum cleaners, water purification, X-rays, yogurt, and zero-point energy.

Gee, Allison...how exactly have you helped the world — in comparison to even the most minor entries in the above list?

Oh, that's right: you filled up people's heads with false memories of their dead friends and relatives in exchange for money, and you made yourself famous in the process. In contrast to, for example, Wilhelm Roentgen, who asked for no patents and refused the honor of X-rays or X-ray equipment being named after him. Clearly, you win.

... 'cause I believe it's genetic and a medium's probably born every day, so...kind of a futile fight.

Well, Allison, you may have a point when you say it's a futile fight trying to overcome the credulity that seems to sweep across the globe these days. Sometimes it really feels that way to us, as well. However, we disagree on the source of that feeling of futility. It isn't because a medium is born every day, as you suggest, but rather because a sucker is born every minute, as P.T. Barnum suggested so many years ago. That makes the job of critical thinkers very difficult indeed, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a fight worth fighting.

So, Allison: you keep counting on the suckers, and we'll keep trying to inform those who actually want to educate themselves about what a clown you really are.

Allison DuBois: Debunked! (2%Co)

— • —
[  Filed under: % Allison DuBois Week  % Bullshit  ]

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.twopercentco.com/rants/tpc-trkbk.cgi/205

Comments (9)

Rockstar, 2005.09.01 (Thu) 10:03 [Link] »

Two things -

If anyone knows how to email this woman, please direct her to the Challenge.

Second, I will go the credulous route and offer a testimonial on the topic "who have skeptics helped".

As a younger man, I had an interest in the paranormal, and had the same misguided thoughts the rest of the believers have. I stumbled upon the great Skeptic's Dictionary and The Amazing One's site.

Needless to say, my life is much better being "in the know", and I will never buy homeopathic cures, consult a psychic, or prevent my children from being vaccinated. This list kept short for brevity.

End of rant. Thanks.



The Two Percent Company, 2005.09.01 (Thu) 10:28 [Link] »

Oh, we know how to contact Allison — we've exchanged e-mails with her in the past. However, her site carries the following message:

Please do not send requests for readings or personal questions at this time. Allison simply cannot take on any new clients or cases at this time. When she becomes available in the future we will post an announcement. Thank you for understanding.

By all accounts, she sticks to this guideline that she's setup for herself, and she doesn't reply to such inquiries. So, you see, the Great and Powerful Allison has no time for your silly questions. After all, she's a television star!

That said, Allison refers all requests for readings to her good friend (and fellow Gary Schwartz "test" subject) Laurie Campbell. Perhaps she'll play?



Peter Holt, 2005.09.02 (Fri) 07:32 [Link] »

Excellent rant. It's always nice to be reassured that there are other sane people in the world.

I thought you might be interested in who really said
'a sucker is born every minute', it's a very good story:

http://www.historybuff.com/library/refbarnum.html

Peter



Fan-man, 2005.09.06 (Tue) 13:33 [Link] »

When I was a kid, my Dad used to take me along pheasant hunting at an old, unkept grave yard. The scene looked like something straight out of Scooby-Doo, so naturally I was scared. My Dad used to tell me not to be afraid of ghosts because it was the living you had to worry about. He said "somebody will pick your pocket while your eyes are closed worrying about ghosts."

Allison is the pick-pocket, only SHE is telling people to close their eyes. She capitalizes on people so desperate to communicate with a deceased loved one, that these people look for reasons to believe what she says. This delusional affirmation helps perpetuate the myth and so it goes and so it goes.

Allison isn't a bad looking broad. Maybe when her show gets cancelled and her popularity begins to dwindle, we can see her spread her legs in Playboy.



BIll McCormick, 2007.02.21 (Wed) 03:51 [Link] »

I have an idea- We should send someone like, say, Penn Jillette (though obviously not him since he's too high profile) to Schwarz to get tested. He or she should be thoroughly knowledgable of the cold reading scheme, and get "proven" to be a psychic by Schwarz. Then , they should get on Oprah and make predictions. Then, the next time they're on Oprah, they should admit to their fans that they were completely full of shit, and hopefully everyone will feel like a dumbass for believing them in the first place..

I don't think that will happen, I don't see any skeptics willing to put in that much time to debunking these assholes, but a man can dream can't he?

What we need are tv personalities with INTEGRITY, Like when Johnny Carson, with the help of the Great James Randi, helped blast Uri Geller into obscurity by publicly humiliating him on television... good stuff



ct, 2007.10.17 (Wed) 10:44 [Link] »

OK, enough of the bs. I had a reading with Allison before Medium came out. It was conducted over the phone -- she was in Arizona, I was in Maryland. Allison had 69 correct hits in less than an hour -- things she could not have possibly known -- some things going back to when I was a child. You can believe what you want, but realize that you do not speak for everyone -- especially those who have actually experienced a reading from Allison.



Bronze Dog, 2007.10.17 (Wed) 12:16 [Link] »

1. Do you have a recording? If not, I'm not going to rely on the hubris involved in relying on perfect memory.

2. A lot of things psychics 'couldn't possibly have known' (there goes the naysayery of woo, again) are easily inferred from conversation. Especially if the conversation involves tactics to bring them out.

3. If Alison's so good, why hasn't she won the JREF Paranormal Challenge, where cheating is carefully prevented?



The Two Percent Company, 2007.10.17 (Wed) 21:57 [Link] »

Enough of the bullshit, you say? We agree completely. Too bad that's all you brought to the table, ct.

I had a reading with Allison before Medium came out. It was conducted over the phone -- she was in Arizona, I was in Maryland.

Ah, yes, you were in Maryland — galaxies away from Arizona, where your life experiences and the human condition itself are so utterly alien to anything Allison might have experienced that there's no way she could "guess" anything.

Or perhaps that was just an incidental detail that you didn't want us to pick apart. Which makes us wonder, of course, why you brought it up in a manner that indicated its clear impact on the veracity of your claim.

Allison had 69 correct hits in less than an hour -- things she could not have possibly known -- some things going back to when I was a child.

"69" is a pretty specific number, ct. That is, it doesn't sound like something you'd just pull out of a hat, unless you have a particular fixation on a popular sexual position.

What we're getting at, here, is that we wouldn't mind you going over, point by point, every single one of these "69" correct hits. You said "69" — not 68, not 70, not 134. So, clearly, so many years later, you must have a list of these "correct hits" written down, which is why you're so positive about the number. Right? So feel free to let us know all 69 hits. And provide the recording Bronze Dog inquired about, since, you know, that would constitute evidence rather than the typical bullshit anecdote you've offered.

Or, more likely, you can admit that you just pulled the number "69" out of your ass, because it sounds to you like an impressive number of hits. Which is sad, really — don't you understand, ct, that a mere five or ten substantiated and significant hits would be much more impressive than a vague reference to "69" hits achieved by quite-thoroughly-debunked DuBois, that we're supposed to buy into just on your say so?

If you really want to understand the experience that you had with Allison, then we invite you to answer the following questions. How do you define a "hit" exactly? If Allison referred to a "G name," and you have a second cousin named Jeffrey (sounds the same as "Geoffrey") did that constitute a "hit" for you? Did you have a firm definition of a "hit" going into the discussion, or did you assess hits on the fly? And what about the misses? How many of those did she have? Counting hits without misses is no way to calculate a batting average, man.

Of course, all of this is semi-useless. It's far too late (years, according to you) to put proper controls in place, and unless you have a recording of the conversation, then we are at the mercy of your all-too-fallible memory (that's not an insult, ct — unless you take offense at our assumption that you're human). But perhaps, at least, you can learn something here. Perhaps.

Do you know the two main things that allow make-believe psychics to make a living? They are subjective validation and cold reading. Look up what these things are — heck, just follow those two links and read those pages from top to bottom — and you will see how you were fooled by the Great Allison DuBois. Because — and, in Allison's case, we have zero doubt about this, ct — fooled you were.

You see, we've seen people who freely admit that they are just pretending to be psychics, and yet they have elicited reactions just like yours from their marks. For a great example, watch the Penn & Teller Bullshit! episode on Talking to the Dead. You can see a small part of it on Penn's site, but unfortunately not the most important part, the segment with Mark Edward. In fact, we have a brief clip you can watch. He does the same act as the rest of the psychics, only he's the first one to admit that he's just pretending. He's simply using the skills you (hopefully) read about above. It just isn't very hard to fool people, ct...most especially those who have no problem being fooled.

You can believe what you want, but realize that you do not speak for everyone -- especially those who have actually experienced a reading from Allison.

And there we have it, ct: the involuntary and somewhat subtle admission that you are full-blown gone over to the woo side of the Force. You implore us to "realize that [we] do not speak for everyone" — which is silly, because we never claimed to speak for anyone besides ourselves.

What we do claim, and — unlike you — back up with references, research, and evidence, is to present facts. And only the woos believe that facts themselves can differ from one person to another...and that therefore these facts "can't speak for everyone."

Grow...the fuck...up. The world is the world; reality is reality. Perception does not alter reality — no matter how hard you wish that "wishing makes it so," it won't make it so. (Kind of a Catch 22 there, you see.)

Claiming that our facts "do not speak for everyone" is straight out asserting that reality is "different" for you because of what you believe. Nope, sorry. It doesn't work that way. You can believe anything you want. We personally believe that Allison's claims are a crock of shit. But we back that up with, you know, solid evidence, citations, and — one more time for the idiot who didn't even bother to enter the theatre and buy cheap seats — some fucking facts.

If you truly don't see the difference between Allison's line of bullshit (along with your own vague and unsubstantiated claim) and our, for instance, alphabetical list of actual things that have happened — with links to help you learn about them, even — then there's little we can do for you. If you can't see the difference between Allison off-handedly declaring that those who don't buy her bullshit, and who are angry at her for taking advantage of gullible dupes (like you), need to get their blood pressure checked...and our own response that our blood pressures are just fine (which we can back up with medical records, by the way)...then you probably don't understand what the hell we're getting at when we talk about facts.

In the long run, ct, you just refuse to acknowledge reality. Believe what you want to believe about Allison...but don't for one fucking minute expect us to buy your bullshit (any more than we do hers) without one fucking shred of evidence to back it up.

Now, unless you have a genuine interest in understanding how you were duped by a pathetic sideshow act, take your overly credulous bullshit and just go away.



little stain, 2008.05.26 (Mon) 11:21 [Link] »

great articles!

btw x-rays are called roentgen-stralen (beams) in dutch.. haha




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