Tag Archives: prediction

10 People who predicted the end of the World… More than once.

by The Locke via The Soap Box

the end is near_225pxWith the recent Blood Moon there are several people going around that are “predicting” that the end of the world is near… again. Most notable of those predicting the end of the world is Pastor John Hagee.

This whole “end of the world” thing has once again got me thinking about all of the people who have made doomsday predictions, and more than once.

I decide to look around Wikipedia and have found quite a number of people who have made multiple doomsday predictions that didn’t happen.

So here are ten people that made multiple end of the world predictions:

Harold Camping

Harold_CampingIf I’m going to start this list I might as well start it off with him.

Harold Camping, the now infamous evangelical preacher and founder of the Christian radio station Family Radio, used some mathematical equations, along with some calender dates and dates in the Bible, to predict when the Rapture was going to occur, and the eventual end of the world itself.

Most of you are probably thinking I’m referring to his failed 2011 end of the world predictions, which I am. I’m also referring to his failed end of the world prediction for 1995, and his three failed end of the world predictions in 1994.

One would think that someone whom had failed to predict the end of the world four times before that no one would listen to this guy’s last end of the world prediction. But alas, not only did people listen, but they also spent millions of dollars on an advertisement campaign that basically told people they were about to die.

Pat Robertson

Pat_RobertsonI’m sure most people in America know who Pat Robertson is. He’s the host of The 700 Club, as well as the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent University, and is considered to be one of the most famous televangelists in the United States, if not the world.

He’s also made a failed prediction about the end of the world… twice.

His first failed prediction was that the “Day of Judgement” would happen sometime in late 1982. He didn’t give a specific day when it would happen, only that it was going to happen sometime around then.

For his second failed prediction he did give a specific date of when it the end of the world might happen, that date being April 29, 2007. Ofcourse for this prediction he didn’t actually say that the end of the world would happen on that, only that it might happen.

Warren Jeffs

Warren JeffsLeader of the notorious polygamist cult the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and convicted child molester, Warren Jeffs predicted, twice while in prison, that the world would end.

His first prediction for doomsday was for December 23, 2012. When that failed to occur he blamed his followers for that failure due to a “lack of faith” (because apparently you have to have a lot of faith inorder to make the apocalypse happen) and then moved his prediction to New Years Eve of that year.

I guess his followers still lacked enough faith to bring about the end of the world. Or maybe he just got the date wrong again?

Or maybe he’s a obscene liar as well as a pedophile.

Herbert W. Armstrong

HerbertWArmstrongHerbert Armstrong was the founder of the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College. Throughout his lifetime he and and his advisers met with numerous leaders in various governments throughout the world, for which he described himself as an “ambassador without portfolio for world peace.”

He also made four end of the world predictions, all of which clearly failed.

His first end of the world prediction was that the Rapture was suppose to occur in 1936, and that only followers of his church were going to be saved.

When that failed he revised he prediction that the end would happen sometime in 1943, and when that failed he revised it again for 1972, and when that failed he revised it again and said that the world would end in 1975.

Considering that fact that he failed to predict the end of the world four times, why anyone, more or less heads of state, would ever listen to this guy is beyond me.

Ronald Weinland

RonaldWeinland_250pxFounder of the Church of God, Preparing for the Kingdom of God (damn that’s a long name) a splinter sect of the Worldwide Church of God (what a surprise), and convicted tax evader Ronald Weinland predicted that Jesus Christ would come back and that the world would end on September 29, 2011… and May 27, 2012… and May 19, 2013.

You’re not reading that wrong. Ronald Weinland, three years in a row predicted that the world would end, and each and every time he did… nothing happen.

No word yet from him on whether or not the world is suppose to end this year.

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5 Thing’s I’ve noticed about… 12/21/2012

by via The Soap Box

2012_failIt’s been almost a year since 12/21/2012, the day that the world was suppose to end… or change (depends on who you asked).

Now there was a lot that didn’t happen that day that was suppose to, and there were certain things that day that did happen, just not what some people were expecting.

I’ve looked back upon what did happen that day, and I’ve come up with the five different things that I’ve noticed about that day and the whole doomsday prediction itself.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about 12/21/2012:

5. Nothing really important happen that day.

cat nap_250pxWell… not necessarily nothing per say, but in terms of the world shattering event that was suppose to occur (at least according to some people who mistook the ending of the Mayan calendar as being a Mayan prophecy foretelling the end of the world) nothing happened that day that was even worth bothering to remember.

The only thing that I really remember from that day is that me and several fellow skeptics laughed at all of those people who seriously thought the world was going to end that day, and the History Channel showing a bunch of programs about doomsday (because that is what the History Channel does).

Basically that’s all that happened that day. Skeptics had a good laugh, the History Channel showed a bunch of BS (well a little bit more BS than usual) and that’s it… well, that and fact that…

4. Millions of Doomers realized how stupid they were.

embarrassed 924The amount of people who thought the world was going to end that day (or atleast something big was going to happen that day) was probably in the millions, most of which I’m pretty sure were relived that nothing happen (although I’m sure a few were disappointed, especially those who thought it would bring about some kind of human “transformation”).

I say again that while I am pretty sure that most people who believed that the world would end that day were relived that it didn’t happen, I’m also pretty sure that a lot of those people felt stupid for trusting some non-prophesy that a few people who were allegedly smarter than them completely mis-interpreted and got it into the public mindset in such a way that it ended up taking off like wildfire…

Ofcourse what probably made a lot of people feel stupid for believing in the 12/21/2012 end of the world prediction is the realization that…

3. It’s not the first time a major doomsday prediction has fail.

Apocalypse_by_DearJuneThe 12/21/2012 was not the first major doomsday prediction to fail, nor was it the first major one to create a kind of mass hysteria that caused people to waste their time and money on to prepare for, as well as possibly ruin relationships with the people in their lives. The 12/21/2012 prediction wasn’t even the first major doomsday prediction of the century that failed. Infact it was the third major doomsday prediction of the 21st century that failed (the first one was the Y2K prediction, and the second one was Harold Camping‘s Rapture prediction of 2011).

Now I went to the Wikipedia page listing doomsday predictions (and these are just some of the more famous ones) and there were huge amount of them, and obviously they’ve all failed to come true. Infact I actually counted the number of doomsday predictions between the time I was born and the 12/21/2012 prediction, and according to the list the world should have ended atleast 47 times since my birth…

Now in my opinion the whole 12/21/2012 should never have been taken seriously in the first place. This is not only due to the sheer fact that doomsday predictions always fail, it’s also due to the fact that…

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The Death of Sylvia Browne

by via The Soap Box

sylviamontel_250pxYesterday one of the world’s most famous fake psychics (I know, that’s redundant) died.

Sylvia Browne, who had made many appearances on TV (most notably The Montel Williams Show and Larry King Live) died yesterday at the age of 77 (she had predicted should would die at age 88).

Now being a skeptic and someone whom believes that all psychics are frauds (apart form those that are mentally ill and really do believe that they have psychic powers) many people might assume that I am rejoicing, and perhaps even celebrating her death (especially those who believe that people can have psychic powers, or just people who don’t like skeptics).

To be quiet honest I’m not sure how I should feel about her death, because there are just so many feelings I have about it that I can’t seem to focus on one to just go with.

On the one hand I am sort of glad that she’s gone because now she can no longer hurt people and mess with their emotions with her stage magician like “readings” while at the same time exploiting those people for fame and money.

On the other hand I’m also a bit angry, not only because of her exploitation that she basically got away with up until she died, but also because she would never would come clean about being a fake, despite the numerous failed readings and predictions she has had. Now that she’s dead, she never will.

Yet on the other hand I also feel a tad bit sad for her . . .

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The great psychic con

Georgina GuedesGeorgina Guedes via News24

Last week, I read an article about how a “psychic” in the US duped a whole bunch of clients out of $25m.

Why don't you remember this headline?

Why don’t you remember this headline?

I am not a believer in or a fan of psychics, whether they are of the fraudulent or genuinely-convinced-of-their-own-flummery sort. However, hanging with the tree-hugging, open-minded, spiritually attuned crowd that I do, I often get to hear about my friends’ attempts to lift the veil.

I hear them report, with delight, of the positive things that their medium has told them. Six months later, when only a few of these things have materialised (even a broken clock is right twice a day), I am informed that psychics can’t be right all the time, or that it takes them some time to warm up in a session.

And even when they do get something right, it’s generally of the “I see tension associated with your mother”, or “you will have a bout of ill health”, sort of predictions.

Almost all psychics are cons

So, really, people who visit psychics would do just as well to put a bundle of scraps of paper with possible outcomes inscribed on them into a hat and draw them at random, for all the worth or insight that a psychic truly offers.

psychic_scam_362px_250pxBut then, what really boggles my mind is that these people happily traipse back for another dose of fantasy dressed up as prediction, even when the previous lot proved to be mostly off the mark.

The article about the conwoman psychic in the United States says that she told her clients that she was able to predict the future, modify the past and influence the Internal Revenue Services. Taking R25m of her clients’ money is a pretty big scam, but aren’t all psychics purporting to be able to predict the future? And taking their clients’ money for it?

So while this woman was clearly a con artist, taking money from gullible victims, actually most psychics are exactly the same thing – just dealing in smaller bundles of cash. Why aren’t they held accountable? When does it become a crime?

Regulate the profession

There should be some kind of regulation for this profession. Psychics should have to register, and if their predictions are off the mark more than, say, 25% of the time, their licence to practice is discontinued. I doubt that many of them would make the cut.

However, I believe that many people would still visit discredited psychics, seeking out the kind of false comfort that can be delivered by someone with the “second sight” telling you that everything is going to be OK.


[END] via News24

Psychics Boost Believers’ Sense of Control

Benjamin Radfordby Benjamin Radford via Discovery News

A new study has found that people who believe that psychics can predict the future tend to feel more in control of their lives than those who don’t.

A group of Australian researchers from the University of Queensland led by Katharine Greenaway offered the hypothesis that belief in psychic prediction would be positively correlated with a sense of control over one’s life.

psychic 1208“If it is possible to predict what the future holds, then one can exert control,” the study reports. “Having insight into what will happen in the future would therefore allow people to control their outcomes in a way that would guarantee personal success and survival.”

Several experiments were done to examine this phenomenon. In one of them, two groups of people were asked to read passages either promoting or disputing the idea that scientists have found evidence of precognitive psychic powers.

Afterwards, each group was asked to rate how much they agreed or disagreed with statements about how much control they feel they have over their lives and circumstances.

Those who read the information confirming the existence of psychic powers agreed more strongly with statements such as “I am in control of my own life” and “My life is determined by my own actions” than those in the other group.

The Psychology of Prediction

What’s behind this psychology of prediction? Humans are a pattern-seeking species, and we constantly look for ways to make sense of the world around us. Many superstitious people, for example, find — or, more accurately, believe they find — ways of knowing and even influencing the future. Gamblers may wear a lucky shirt to a casino, for example, or an athlete might perform a small ritual before a game to assure good luck.

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September 11: Who Needs Nostradamus?

Shortly after the tragic events of that day, people stormed the Internet with searches on what Nostradamus might have predicted about it. Why?

Via paranormal.about.com

T2_911_Bridge_300pxIt didn’t take long after the tragic events of September 11, 2001 for people to begin seeking meaning in the devastation. People logged on to the Internet and in record numbers sought information on what Nostradamus – the famed 16th century French prophet – might have predicted about the tragedy. Nostradamus is credited for predicting many other major events from his time to ours, including two world wars, so certainly he must have foreseen an event so cataclysmic and profoundly affecting as the destruction of the World Trade Center towers and the thousands of deaths involved.

Over the years, people have exhausted themselves attempting to bend, twist and otherwise mutilate interpretations of Nostradamus’s quatrains into something that looks like they pertain to the September 11 tragedy. Some even made up quatrains that Nostradamus never wrote and attributed them to the great seer. The truth is, however, that none of Nostradamus’s writings quite fits. As we discussed in the article “The September 11 Tragedy: Was It Prophesied?”, Nostradamus seems, by most accounts, to have missed this one.

Not everyone agrees that Nostradamus missed this prediction. David Ovason, for one, in his book Nostradamus Prophecies for America, makes the case that Quatrain 6:97 predicts the disaster, but such interpretations can often be highly creative exercises.

ccccc

Nostradamus

Why do we need Nostradamus to have said something about it? Why were people so hungry for verification from a long-dead prophet? Perhaps it’s because we need to make sense of a seemingly senseless act: If the horrific events of that day had been prophesied, then perhaps they have meaning in a grander scheme that we cannot quite comprehend. It helps us cope with the horror. If a prophecy exists regarding 9/11, this somewhat twisted thinking goes, then perhaps it was meant to be; it was the hand of fate.

I’m not saying that people consciously want to think that 9/11 was meant to be. But on some crazy level, if it was prophesied it puts a degree of order back in the universe. The insane events of that day – two airliners crashing into the twin towers, the suicide pilots who took thousands of lives along with their own, the sight of those magnificent buildings crumbling into great clouds of dust and debris, the people on the street fleeing in terror – they are all so extraordinary, so unreal and so powerfully disorienting that we had to find ways of touching reality again.

Seeking Nostradamus’s words were, for some people, a way to try to do that. A prophecy would help put meaning and order back into a world that, at that time, seemed so meaningless and chaotic.

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Belief in Psychic Abilities Increases Sense of Control

By Christine Hsu via Counsel & Heal

A new study reveals that people given scientific evidence that supports the ability to predict the future feel a greater sense of control over their lives.

u-have-no-controlResearchers had one group of participants read a paragraph stating that scientists had found evidence supporting the existence of precognition and another group of participants read a related paper that goes against those findings.

Afterwards, participants were asked to fill out surveys.  The study revealed that people who read the paper confirming the ability to predict the future agreed more strongly with statements like “I am in control of my own life”, “My life is determined by my own actions” and “I am able to live my life how I wish” than the group who read a paper denying the ability to predict the future.

In a second experiment, participants who were made to feel a loss of control and then asked to read the same paragraphs reported feeling an increased sense of control after reading about the existence of precognition, but not when they read that it did not exist.

Im-in-ControlHowever, those who were made to feel more in control of their lives before reading and filling out surveys reported no differences in their subsequent sense of control.

Researchers said the latest findings suggest that psychic predictability can provide people with a compensatory boost in perceived control.

“Humans are predisposed towards prediction; we like to know what is going to happen in our lives. Belief in paranormal abilities like precognition can help people meet this need for predictability by making us feel as though we can control our destiny,” researchers wrote in the study.

“We found that people were drawn to predictability when they experienced loss of control-even to the extent of endorsing seemingly irrational beliefs about precognition,” they added.

The findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE.


[END] via Counsel & Heal

5 Things I’ve noticed about… Doomsday Prophecies

Via The Soap Box

doomsday_300pxThere’s been a lot of doomsday predictions and prophecies over the years (and I mean a lot), and fortunately none of them have ever come true. While I have noticed a lot of things about them, there are five things that I have really noticed about them that tends to stick out.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about doomsday prophecies:

5. They have a bad track record.

Every single doomsday prophecy and prediction ever made has always failed to come true, including the big ones that a lot of people believed would happen and were actually preparing for. The most recent example of this is 12/21/2012 ending of the Mayan Long Count Calendar, which many people thought would mark the end of the world, despite the fact that nothing in any Mayan religious texts ever stated this, and even if there was, it wouldn’t have meant that the world was ending anyways…

Thinking about, it’s actually a pretty good thing that these doomsday prophecies and predictions has such a bad track record…

4. They tend to get pushed back.

DOOMSDAY 1021_200pxWhile sometimes when a doomsday prediction fails it will go away, more often then not they just get pushed back to a later date, or will inspire someone else to make a similar prediction for a later date.

One of the most common types of doomsday predictions to this are the New World Order type of predictions. These are predictions that proclaim that the imaginary “New World Order” is going to take over the world and kill lots of people in the process. These types of predictions have failed every single time to come true, and have been pushed back so many times I can’t even count how many times now, and that’s just from Alex Jones alone…

3. They’re pretty vague.

Most of these doomsday predictions and prophecies are quite vague and often times lack many details, if any.

While some of these predictions will at least say what type of disaster is suppose to occur, sometimes they don’t even do that. This causes people to add in their own details about what is suppose to happen, which often times gets very… strange.

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Top 10 Reasons Humans Are Obsessed With the Apocalypse

by via Listverse

Readers – the end is nigh. Any day of the week there always seems to be some terminal apocalypse just around the corner, poised to finally bring ruin to us all – and severe distress to the gullible. This is true not only in relation to the 2012 Mayan prediction, but regularly throughout human history – going right back to pre-Roman times.

Why our fixation? Writing strictly on a not-for-prophet basis, here are the Top 10 reasons for our obsession…

• 10 – An inflated sense of self-importance

el-mito-narciso-el-psicoanalisis-L-zvVDEn_250pxMuch stems from our difficulty in grasping the tiny walk-on part we all have amid the sprawling enormity of deep time. The human brain just can’t compute the vastness of it. For many, the world doesn’t only revolve around us – it stops around us too. 1 in 7 people in the world right now believe it will all end during their lifetime.

• 9 – It provides a sense of meaning

The idea of an apocalypse pushes all the right buttons at a psychological level because the idea of ‘there’s no meaning’ is a little freaky. It represents the fundamental struggle between order and chaos.

Human societies have always tried to create some kind of framework of meaning to give history and our own personal lives some kind of significance.

• 8 – It’s about a basic human need: power

preaching_crowd_ii_250pxApocalyptic predictions are a way for people to try to control the way their (and others’) world works.

The one thing we can never predict is the time and manner of our own deaths. What you get during times of particular discontent – war, famine or general bad times – is a rise in apocalyptic preaching and ideas. And at those times we seem to lap it up like there’s no tomorrow.

• 7 – It’s a collective death wish

Rev-Jim-Jones_250pxImmanuel Velikovsky, writer on ancient catastrophes, had an unsettling theory that mankind blocks its memory of the failure of civilizations of the past, while simultaneously desiring those catastrophes – much like a collective death wish.

Considering war, global warming, financial collapse and other ways we might collectively destroy ourselves – this is a little worrying. But we need to distinguish between the end of our species (far more likely) and the end of the planet (highly unlikely).

• 6 – We’re all bored

bored_worker_cropped_crop380w-denverprblog-com_250pxLife can seem grindingly dull sometimes. Same job, groundhog day – yawn, as the hipsters say.

Wouldn’t a little injection of chaos alleviate all that crap? After all, aren’t depictions of apocalyptic events from the movies downright sexy? We’re sure we’d have Milla Jovovich or Megan Fox running around in tight leather pants saving the world. Might spice up a dull Wednesday morning, non?

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2012 Psychic Predictions Roundup: Laypeople and Professionals Both Continue to Fail

More psychic failures …

Exposing PseudoAstronomy

Download the Predictions Roundup Document (PDF)

Introduction

Continuing a tradition that I started in 2010 and continued in 2011, I am posting a “psychic roundup” to celebrate the end of one Julian calendar year and bring in the next. In previous years, I have focused on Coast to Coast AM audience and professional predictions, and my conclusion has been, in one word: Bad. Average around 6% correct.

This year, I have branched out to other sources for three primary reasons. First, Coast has changed their format such that the audience predictions are more annoying and outlandish and it’s no longer one per person. Second, Coast is no longer doing a night or two of professional predictions where they bring in several guests per night to discuss the year ahead. It’s just a few people scattered over January. Third, last year, I was criticized for relying on Coast with people…

View original post 1,362 more words

2012 Failed and Forgotten Psychic Predictions

via Relatively Interesting

psychic_250pxAnother year has come and gone, and with it, a slew of failed and forgotten psychic predictions.  Each year, the world’s “leading” psychics lay down their predictions in January, and then we review them one year later to see how they did.  Before reviewing their track record for 2012, let’s consider a handful of significant news items that were not predicted.

What the Psychics Didn’t Predict for 2012

Here’s what the leading psychics failed to predict in 2012:

  • New York and New Jersey being hit with Hurricane Sandy.  Some warning to the victims would have been greatly appreciated.
  • Century 16 movie theatre shooting where 12 people were killed and dozens injured
  • One of the worst school shootings in American history which left 26 dead in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • The crisis in Syria reaching new heights
  • Discovery of the Higg’s Boson
  • Cruise ship “Costa Concordia” running aground in Italy, killing 15.
  • The death of Whitney Houston (despite the fact that Psychic Nikki listed 121 celebrities that need to “watch out” or may die in 2012)
  • CIA Director David Patraeus’ affair and subsequent resignation

To see a comprehensive list of major news stories that occurred in 2012, visit HitoryOrb’s website.  There are many more that qualify as significant, and an equal number that were not predicted.  It’s only fair that psychics are judged not only on what they predicted, but what they failed to predict.

And now, let’s see how some of the world’s leading psychics, seers, and mentalists fared.

Year 2012 Psychic Predictions and Their Results

The psychic predictions below were compiled from the paranormal section on About.com, along with each Psychic’s individual websites.  The authors have made their best efforts to research the results, and their comments are in italics and red.  Feel free to add your own comments at the bottom of this article..

Judy Hevenly

crystal ball FAILURE_300PXJudy Hevenly is a teacher, astrologer, and writer, whose forecasts have appeared in many publications and newspapers worldwide. Her clientele includes royalty, former presidents, Hollywood movie stars, and heads of state. Judy was also called in to work at the O.J. Simpson trial. She is featured in the book, The 100 Top Psychics in America.

  • Unemployment in U.S. to fall to about 9.5 percent. Jobs in demand will be healthcare, science, technology, senior caretakers and jobs overseas.  It’s actually at 7.7% at the time this article was written.
  • An Emmy Award for Anderson Cooper TV talk show.  He did not win an Emmy.
  • A baby boy for Kate Middleton and Prince William.  Now, Kate is indeed pregnant in 2012, but the sex of the baby is still unknown to the public.  Either way, this prediction has a 50% of being correct, and those odds ain’t bad.
  • A tsunami in Hawaii; major wildfires in Canada.  There was a small tsunami in Hawaii after a strong earthquake of the coast of British Columbia, Canada.  As for the wildfires – there are always wildfires, and so “major wildfires” is ill defined.
  • Gold bar, $2,000 an ounce; oil, $130 a barrel.  Gold hovered around $1,800, but never hit $2,000.  Oil did not hit $130, not even for a single day.
  • World population hits 7.6 billion in 2012. Do the math and you can figure the number out – this shouldn’t count as a prediction.
  • Iran to become Persian Gulf major refinery.  I thought they already were, at least since 2008 and at least since 2010 according to this article (see graph indicating gas and oil production).
  • Barack Obama re-elected president.  50/50 chance on this one, and she got it.
  • Russia to become a member of the World Trade OrganizationThis happened in August 2012.
  • Facial recognition software will add a new level of security to U.S. computers.  Whose computers?  Households?  Military?  Government?  This isn’t clear in the prediction.
  • Breakthrough in the cure of Lyme disease.  This is highly subjective.  What constitutes a breakthrough?  By who?  Can any quack claim it for this prediction to be right?  Journalists will often use the term “breakthrough” to showcase positive results.
  • Power outages in Paris, Las Vegas, London, New York, and Los Angeles.  Now, technically she got New York right due to Hurricane Sandy, but she did use the term “and” between all those cities, meaning they should have all been affected…
  • Throwback to the 1960s with longer skirts for women in the fashion world.  Men will also wear shoes with black soles…
  • Angels will actually be seen walking among us by some with extraordinary powers of perception.  Absolutely did not happen, since there’s still no scientifically valid evidence to suggest that angels exist.

Psychic Nikki

crystal_ball_01In 2011, Nikki — “Psychic to the Stars” — says she predicted the Japan earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Wall Street protests in New York City, the devastating Joplin, Missouri tornadoes, the deaths of Elizabeth Taylor and Amy Winehouse, and the trouble in Syria. Here’s what she sees for 2012 (note, this is only part of the list):

  • Earthquake in Mexico City destroying most of the city.  Did not happen.
  • Major breakthrough in the cure for breast cancer.  Again, define “breakthrough”.  In our research, nothing really qualified (using “revolutionary or epic” as a baseline).
  • Giant earthquake in California.  Did not happen.
  • Animals and birds, wild and domestic, will attack people leading up to the end of 2012.  This is a ridiculous prediction.  No comment.
  • Weird weather conditions worldwide including snow in Hawaii, Las Vegas and in the Caribbean.  As far as I know, there was no snowfall in these locations, although Las Vegas would be the most likely candidate.
  • Major earthquakes in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska.  Sneaky – pick a few major state/provinces along the Pacific Ring of Fire where earthquakes are common, and you’re bound to get one.  And she did – British Columbia.
  • Giant prehistoric Sea Monsters under the sea.  Swing and a miss.

LOTS MORE . . .

Hindsight Bias

via Unnatural Acts that can improve your thinking

“The mind that makes up narratives about the past is a sense-making organ. When an unpredicted event occurs, we immediately adjust our view of the world to accommodate the surprise.”–Daniel Kahneman

Hindsight bias is the tendency to construct one’s memory after the fact (or interpret the meaning of something said in the past) according to currently known facts and one’s current beliefs. In this way, one appears to make the past consistent with the present and more predictive or predictable than it actually was. When a surprise event occurs and you say “I knew it all along,” you probably didn’t. Hindsight bias may be kicking in.

Hindsight bias accounts for the tendency of believers in prophecies and psychic predictions to retrofit events to past oracular claims, however vague or obscure (retroactive clairvoyance). For example, after the Challenger space shuttle disaster that killed seven U.S. astronauts on January 28, 1986, hindsight bias was used by followers of Nostradamus to claim that he had predicted it in the following verse:

D’humain troupeau neuf seront mis à part,
De jugement & conseil separés:
Leur sort sera divisé en départ,
Kappa, Thita, Lambda mors bannis égarés.

From the human flock nine will be sent away,
Separated from judgment and counsel:
Their fate will be sealed on departure
Kappa, Thita, Lambda the banished dead err (I.81).

Of course, to make the obscene retrodiction complete, Nostradamus’s minions would have to speculate that teacher-astronaut Christa McAuliffe was pregnant with twins to make nine the total in the “flock.” The belief that one can predict the future is often due to little more than the power of hindsight bias.

Hindsight bias also seems to account for the tendency of many people to think they can explain events that weren’t predicted after the events have happened. It is unacceptable to many people to think that major events like a respected Wall Street investment manager running a Ponzi scheme that cost people perhaps as much as $50 billion wasn’t predictable. If only somebody had paid attention to this and that detail, Bernard Madoff could never have pulled it off. What is true is that a major impact event like this can be easily explained after the fact. The explanations may satisfy people and lead them to believe that they now understand how such an event happened, but there is no way to know whether collecting many facts and using them to explain what occurred will help prevent a similar event from happening in the future.

Why do we engage in hindsight bias? There are several reasons.

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Recency Bias

via Unnatural Acts that can improve your thinking

Recency bias is the tendency to think that trends and patterns we observe in the recent past will continue in the future. Predicting the future in the short term, even for highly changeable events like the weather or the stock market, according to events in the recent past, works fine much of the time. Predicting the future in the long term according to what has recently occurred has been shown to be no more accurate than flipping a coin in many fields, including meteorology, economics, investments, technology assessment, demography, futurology, and organizational planning (Sherden, The Future Sellers).

Doesn’t it strike you as odd that with all the intelligence supposedly going on that such things as the breakup of the Soviet Union, the crumbling of the Berlin wall, the former head of Sinn Fein meeting with the Queen of England, the worldwide economic collapse of recent years, the so called “Arab spring,” the recent attacks on U.S. embassies in several Muslim countries, and a host of other significant historical events were not predicted by the experts? Wait, you say. So-and-so predicted this or that. Was it a lucky guess or was the prediction based on knowledge and skill? If the latter, we’d expect not just one correct prediction out of thousands, but a better track record than, say, flipping a coin. Find one expert who’s consistently right about anything and we still have a problem. How can we be sure that this sharpshooter isn’t just lucky. If thousands of people are making predictions, chance alone tells us that a few will make a right call now and then. The odds in favor of prediction success diminish the more events we bring in, but even someone who seems to defy the odds might be the one a million that gets lucky with a string of guesses. You flip the coin enough times and once in a while you will get seven heads in a row. It’s not expected, but it is predicted by the laws of chance. Likewise with predicting how many hurricanes we’ll have next year or what stocks to buy or sell  this year.

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Shoehorning

via Unnatural Acts that can improve your thinking

Shoehorning is the process of force-fitting some current affair into one’s personal, political, or religious agenda. So-called psychics frequently shoehorn events to fit vague statements they made in the past. This is an extremely safe procedure, since they can’t be proven wrong and many people aren’t aware of how easy it is to make something look like confirmation of a claim after the fact, especially if you give them wide latitude in making the shoe fit. It is common, for example, for the defenders of such things as the Bible Code or the “prophecies” of Nostradamus to shoehorn events to the texts, thereby giving the illusion that the texts were accurate predictions.

A classic example of psychic shoehorning is the case of Jeanne Dixon. In 1956 she told Parade magazine: “As for the 1960 election Mrs. Dixon thinks it will be dominated by labor and won by a Democrat. But he will be assassinated or die in office though not necessarily in his first term.” John F. Kennedy was elected and was assassinated in his first term. This fact was shoehorned to fit her broad prediction and her reputation was made as the psychic who predicted JFK’s violent death. In 1960 she apparently forgot her earlier prediction because she then predicted that JFK would fail to win the presidency. Many psychic detectives take advantage of shoehorning their vague and ambiguous predictions to events in an effort to make themselves seem more insightful than they really are.

Court TV exploited the interested in so-called psychic detectives with a series of programs, one featuring Greta Alexander. She said that a body had been dumped where there was a dog barking. The letter “s” would play an important role and there was hair separated from the body. She felt certain the body was in a specific area, although searchers found only a dead animal. She asked to see a palm print of the suspect—her specialty—and the detective brought one. She said that a man with a bad hand would find the body. Then searchers found a headless corpse, with the head and a wig nearby. The man who found it had a deformed left hand.* The letter ‘s’ can be retrofitted to zillions of things. Many scenarios could be shoehorned to fit “hair separated from the body” and “bad hand.” (Fans of psychics will overlook the fact that Alexander’s reference to the bad hand was supposedly made after looking at the palm print of the victim.)

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Illusion of skill

by Robert T. Carroll

The illusion of skill refers to the belief that skill, not chance or luck, accounts for the accuracy of predictions of things that are unpredictable, such as the long-term weather forecasts one finds in farmers’ almanacs and the predictions of market gurus about the long-term ups and downs of the stock market. The illusion of skill also accurately describes the apparent accuracy of remote viewers. Given all the guesses remote viewers make about what they claim to see telepathically, chance alone would account for some of those guesses being somewhat accurate. Much of the accuracy ascribed to remote viewers, however, is due to the liberal and generous interpretations given by themselves or “experts” of their vague and ambiguous descriptions of places or things. Also, subjective validation accounts for the illusion of skill of “experts” in such fields as palm reading, mediumship, astrology, and criminal profiling.

Stock gurus–people who predict the rise and fall of the price of stocks and have large numbers of people who act on their predictions–are essentially part of an entire industry “built largely on an illusion of skill” (Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow, p. 212). No market guru has gone broke selling advice, however, despite the fact that market newsletters are–in the words of William A. Sherden–“the modern day equivalent of farmers’ almanacs” (The Fortune Sellers, p. 102). In 1994, the Hurlbert Financial Digest found that over a five-year period only one out of 108 market-timing newsletters beat the market. You might think that that one did so because of skill, but you’d be wrong. Chance alone would predict that more than one out of 108 would beat the market.

Keep Reading: Unnatural Acts that can improve your thinking: illusion of skill.

Psychic Defective: Sylvia Browne’s History of Failure

The most extensive study of alleged psychic Sylvia Browne’s predictions about missing persons and murder cases reveals a strange discrepancy: despite her repeated claim to be more than 85 percent correct, it seems that Browne has not even been mostly correct about a single case.

via CSI | Psychic Defective: Sylvia Browne’s History of Failure.

Psychics’ prediction about murder case proves predictably wrong

Jane Furlong is a murder victim …

Claims about the Jane Furlong case made by psychics on the television show Sensing Murder have been called into question by the New Zealand Skeptics.

The two psychics featured on the 2007 broadcast – Deb Webber and Kelvin Cruickshank – had already made differing claims about Ms Furlong’s alleged killer.

Mr Cruickshank described a balding man with tattoos, motorbikes and a pay-back motive, however Ms Webber believed the killer was a BMW-driving, 50-year old finance company associate.

Mr Cruickshank also stated that Ms Furlong’s body would likely be found under concrete at a demolition site inside Auckland, and both psychics indicated that this was likely to be in the Auckland Doman. However police this month confirmed that Ms Furlong’s remains had been found 86km away at Port Waikato’s Sunset Beach.

NZ Skeptics spokeswoman Vicki Hide says there was no resemblance between the information provided by the psychics and the discoveries later made by police.

FAIL.

AGAIN.

Read More: TV psychics ‘exploited’ Furlong – NZ Skeptics – Story – NZ News – 3 News.

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