Evan slams Cilla’s psychic phone line

by Stephen Tall on April 7, 2008

The Mail tells us all:

[Cilla Black is] set to rake in profits from a website and phone line that offers premium-rate “psychic” advice to gullible callers. The spiritualists offer telephone advice on topics from medical problems to missing pets.

But we can reveal that broadcasting regulator Ofcom is considering a complaint after she toured television and radio studios earlier this year to promote “Cilla’s Destiny Calls.” The £1.50-a-minute phone line is part-owned by Cilla and her son Robert Willis, 38, is a director. Callers can have one-to-one conversations with scores of astrologers, tarot card readers and clairvoyants.

And the Mail also tells us how deeply unimpressed is the Lib Dems’ man of science Dr Evan Harris:

… her latest venture has alarmed Lib Dem MP Dr Evan Harris. He said: “This psychic advice line is a load of rubbish and it is sad that Cilla Black, already a rich woman, chooses to promote it.” He is critical of the BBC for allowing Cilla to promote a commercial service despite its public-service remit and will raise the matter with the Corporation.

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It’s excellent that we’re getting the positioning as the rational party. You can’t imagine a spineless Labour minister forthrightly stating that psychic hotlines are rubbish (which they are).

Where are the Tories on this, out of interest?

by Anax on April 7, 2008 at 10:28 pm. Reply #

You’d have thought she’s have seen this coming.

by Painfully Liberal on April 8, 2008 at 9:10 am. Reply #

The Tories are phoning asking who will win the next election.

by Robert on April 10, 2008 at 11:42 am. Reply #

I will just have to stir the tea laves a bit and get back to you on that one, I’m afraid 😉

by passing tory on April 10, 2008 at 1:09 pm. Reply #

As a professional clairvoyant/medium myself, I am often amazed by definitions and misrepresentations attributed to psychic phenomena by people who have no tolerance, understanding, or liberalism of free thought and believe. As psychics, somehow we are all omniscient and should know everything immediately, which is a falsehood because it does not work that way, unlike the Lib Dem Mp above, who makes such sweeping statements of personal bias and would have us all believe that he does actually know everything.

There is also another issue: The fact that someone can ‘insight to hatred’ my believe which is founded in the Spiritualist religion. I had thought that religious persecution – no matter what it is, becomes a criminal offence?

I expect that the Rt. Honourable above has never seen an angel and never will, although its highly likely that the ‘tooth fairy’ will buy him another fitted kitchen for 10k at the expense of the tax payer.

A. Nonymous (Somewhere in Coventry)

by A. Nonymous on April 15, 2008 at 10:59 pm. Reply #

Thank you for that post your right about one thing you made me laugh so your actually helping me. Nope religion hatred is when somebody is abusive, telling the truth cannot be against the law,but you can be had for fraud.

by Robert on April 16, 2008 at 7:37 am. Reply #

Good on Evan Harris for this. Unless they can prove otherwise, spiritualists and mediums are, as far as I can see, nothing but frauds no matter how sincerely they hold their views. If the advice were offered free it might just about be called harmless, but charging – as is advertised in lots of papers daily – is tantamount to fraud, surely.

by LiberalHammer on April 16, 2008 at 8:47 am. Reply #

A. Nonymous:

If you actually were a medium/clairvoyant you’d have no problem applying to James Randi and claiming your $1 million prize. I bet you won’t though, because you know deep down that if put to the test your gift would fail. (James Randi btw goes out of his way to accommodate applicants).

I suspect many medium/clairvoyants aren’t actually trying to defraud anyone. Fraud implies knowingly trying to deceive. Every “honest” clairvoyant either hasn’t or doesn’t want to actually find out what’s really happening.

They cannot explain something that’s happened to them (usually some coincidence like someone phoning them who they were just thinking of) because they don’t know enough about probability, neurobiology and cognitive science to make sense of it. Because they can’t explain it they think they have a gift and start offering their “services” to others.

Obviously there are others who are just simply frauds, preying on the insecurities and vulnerabilities of usually distressed people clinging to the last vestiges of hope.

“it does not work that way”

Just exactly how does it work? Is it a vision, or a dream that foreshadows some event. The less specific this vision, the more easily you can apply it to any event you like, and if it doesn’t “fit” then obviously it hasn’t happened yet.

Is your “gift” repeatable, verifiable. Can it be tested? As a medium, could you successfully and consistently detect someone who’s lying to you about the information they provide ( a control, in scientific terms ). Surely there could never be a spirit for a dead uncle that never existed? Could you, for a large group of people, out-perform a lie-detector; it shouldn’t be hard, lie-detectors are notoriously unreliable?

Or are you merely inferring things from what your “client” says, a skill Derren Brown so beautifully demonstrates?

I recommend having a look at some of his stuff on youtube. He can do everything even the most convincing medium/clairvoyant can do.

What’s more likely? Someone “gifted” is misinterpreting things, or using (consciously or subconsciously) psychological manipulation (something which has been convincingly demonstrated to perfectly mimic those alleged “gifts”) or they actually have a supernatural gift?

by MartinSGill on April 16, 2008 at 8:51 am. Reply #

Hold on a thought, Blair used a medium he asked does Saddam have WMD?, she said no, he now wants to have 90 days detention to put mediums in jail, “Ha mate your wrong Blair’s gone”, no he has not he is wearing a body suit and looks like BROWN. A master stroke.

by Robert on April 16, 2008 at 8:56 am. Reply #

“I recommend having a look at some of his stuff on youtube. He can do everything even the most convincing medium/clairvoyant can do.”

No he can’t. He cannot obtain veridical information about people he has never met who have been put in front of him as part of a scientific experiment. Genuine mediums can.

Not that long ago the repulsive Zwinge was paid handsomely by a TV company to demonstrate cold-reading. So laughable was his performance that the TV company had to stop filming.

by Sesenco on April 16, 2008 at 9:21 am. Reply #

I’ve moderated a few comments in this thread as they were both getting rather heavy on insults and light on other content, along with making a serious of serious personal allegations without providing sources. There’s plenty on this topic to discuss and debate, but please keep the discussion interesting and constructive. Thanks 🙂

by Mark Pack on April 16, 2008 at 9:49 am. Reply #

“Telepathy and clairvoyance were proved to exist betyond any scintilla of doubt by J B Rhine in the 1930s.”

Really? Not much development in the following seventy years, then.

by Anax on April 16, 2008 at 9:54 am. Reply #

Ignoring the personal attacks against me and James Randi in Senesco’s moderated post, I feel a couple of actual points should be addressed (for those following this discussion by email)

In the post Senesco stated:

“alleged “$1 million” is a complete fraud”

From Randi website. “The money is held in the form of immediately negotiable bonds held by Goldman Sachs, a highly respected investment firm. Anyone can verify that the money exists by requesting the information in writing from the JREF. They will in turn forward you the most recent account statement from Goldman Sachs.”

A bank statement (PDF) is also available at the website. (http://www.randi.org/challenge/goldmansachs_jan08.pdf). Given Randi’s fame, I’m sure Goldman and Sachs would have taken steps to prosecute Randi should that docment be forged. The current market value for that statement is around $1.1 dollars.

Given how easy this is to verify I therefore have wonder why Senesco should believe/state that it is a fraud and just how much effort he has made to validate his other claims.

Senesco also stated:

“Telepathy and clairvoyance were proved to exist betyond any scintilla of doubt by J B Rhine in the 1930s.”

and in a different context:

“in science a single demonstration of anything is worthless”

You are totally correct in that latter statement. J B Rhine’s experiments have never been duplicated (cf. Martin Gardner). Therefore they cannot be used as “proof” of anything and are in your own words “worthless”. All this “evidence” you claim exists has always withered and died once subjected to scientific scrutiny. All legitimate scientific studies, all those that passed peer review, have always been unable to draw a conclusion or failed to find any evidence of “paranormal” abilities. This “evidence” just doesn’t exist.

For those interested in the facts of the $1million challenge, there is considerable detail, including the rules, on the Randi Educational Foundation website (http://www.randi.org/).

No [Derren Brown] can’t. He cannot obtain veridical information about people he has never met who have been put in front of him as part of a scientific experiment. Genuine mediums can.

I accept that “genuine” mediums should be able to do that. Please provide credible, scientifically verified and peer reviewed evidence to support the claim that “genuine” mediums have indeed done any of this.

Not that long ago the repulsive [James Randi] was paid handsomely by a TV company to demonstrate cold-reading. So laughable was his performance that the TV company had to stop filming.

This ad-hominem against Randi at most that Mr Randi might be a poor performer, although his successful career as a performer would indicate otherwise. It does not indicate that cold-reading is anything other than a deception and can be accomplished successfully by an illusionist. Indeed, Derren Brown has done quite a number of cold-reading demonstrations (this youtube video for example: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=btP_vy5cQq4).

I love the word veridical, thanks for introducing me to it.

by MartinSGill on April 16, 2008 at 10:26 am. Reply #

Well at least it has started a debate. And to be perfectly honest, it does not matter what you worship, whether it is a sacred ISA| or your girlfriend’s Gucci bag. The fact is Great Britain has always stood out for liberalism in terms of accepting the right to freedom of belief, unlike many other places, that would have us do what we are told.

Also, I do not care if you believe or do not believe in psychic phenomena, but having said that, I actually work on a live psychic line myself. I had 5 people call back last week and tell me how spot on the readings and predictions had been. I can predict to an exact day. I do not use tarot cards or anything else, I just pick up the phone and tune in, so to have someone make a sweeping statement that it’s all rubbish just makes me laugh. I have helped countless people throughout the years, and know this because I get real public feed back.

There are many frauds in all walks of life, including politics, but that is not to say that we should label and tar everyone with the same brush of dishonesty. And as for this £1.50 a minute misinformation, I had thought that there was also corporation tax deducted, as well as advertising and the phone service provider – not to mention the psychics pay. So it is probably more like 20 pence a minute.

Love & light

A. Nonymous

by A. Nonymous on April 16, 2008 at 6:18 pm. Reply #

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