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Skeptics of Tucson Message Board › Prophecy dot com

Prophecy dot com

A former member
Post #: 2
It just occurred to me that it may be possible to "debunk" prophetic dreams and prophecies in general with two tools that have recently become available. The first is, of course, the internet. And the second component of the debunking is a trait of even the most credulous minds. I am speaking on an odd variation of the self-serving bias. In test after test it is revealed that people attribute their personal actions to rational reasons and the actions of others to irrational reasons. So, for instance, SUV owners will say, "I own this SUV because I need it for off road use, but they bought an SUV because they're being trendy," or "I believe in God because of the chain of causality, but they believe in God because of they need a Sky-Daddy to tell them what to do."

This aspect of the self-serving bias quickly becomes apparent in even the most credulous of groups. They soon develop a counter behavior wherein they are publicly open-minded, but privately scoff at their competition. So, even Sylvia Browne will be vaguely "open-minded" on the Larry King show, but if you cornered her, and somehow gained her confidence, she would "reveal" that all the other psychics are amateurs. I dub this trait "faux-pen mindedness".

This is where the internet comes in. On my proposed website (and I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't versions of this already out there, or indeed if someone is already trying to do this, so if you have seen it, please send me along), if you have a prophetic dream or vision, you would enter it, and have it time-stamped. This way, you can "take credit" for your "prophecy". That is the motivation to get the credulous involved, in some small way. Now here's the catch. You aren't determining if your prophecy was fulfilled, everyone else is. No more post-hoc claims. No more filling in details three weeks later. No more nodding your head and saying, "I knew that would happen." If you "know" it will happen, go ahead and put your "vision" on the line. Other people will vote on your claims. And not just whether they were fulfilled or not, but how vague they are. If you have a dream that "someone" dies. Go ahead and post your dream.

I myself had a dream in which a prisoner on death row committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. He was bald. That is a pretty specific claim. I would be "amazed" by my "powers" if that happened by the time I went to sleep next. Those are my criteria for a positive hit. I am not going to scan the news for death row suicides by gun over the next twenty four hours. That's where the website comes in.

On the site, it will be easy for the credulous to police themselves. Every claim can be voted on for various criteria like specificity, verifiability, relevance, and veracity. So, the claim has to be specific, it has to be verifiable (no "I dreamt of a man on a bicycle, and the next day, Bernie Mac passed."), it has to be relevant (no "I dreamt my cat would throw up, and it did! I have the gift!"), and it has to come true. The actual categories are a little vague there, but you get the idea.

Naturally, the credulous will continue to believe no matter what. I can already hear the claims, "That's not how it works, sweety." Fine. Then how does it work? With this project, on the internet, we can take advantage of the self-serving bias of even the credulous themselves to do some serious debunking.

It would be nice to hear Larry King say, "Well, if you knew it was going to happen, why didn't you post it on Prophecy dot com?"

"That's not how it works, sweety..."

Right, you see, it doesn't work.
Jim L.
user 4873956
Phoenix, AZ
Post #: 94
There have been several sites like that:


I've never heard of any successful ones...
A former member
Post #: 3
Thanks for the good links, Jim. The last link is certainly along the lines of what it is I am looking for. The problem (as we experienced at the last meeting) with paranormal claimants is that they never seem to actually make any claims. They utter vague non-sensical, generalized tripe and then try to pin real world events... Well, you know how it works, I know how it works, all skeptics have a sense of how it "works". The question is, and the one I think can be addressed with the system I am proposing, is how to get the credulous to see how their visions "work".

So, imagine a website where the psychics themselves are encouraged to whittle their "visions" down to a coherent claim. Oh jeez! Who's dreamin' now! I'm the one living in a fantasy world!

Did you come all the way down from Phoenix for that meetup?
Jim L.
user 4873956
Phoenix, AZ
Post #: 96
Ron, no, I haven't attended any of the Skeptics of Tucson meetups yet, but I will make a point of it one of these days.
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