Monday, July 19, 2010

Funky Frauds Must Protect Their Financial Interests

Well, it looks like Jamie Funk isn't interested in my attempt to actually discuss astrology instead of insulting each other. He deleted my original post where I entered his contest for a free reading, then he wiped his multiple responses where he took a martyr's pose, stated that astrologers had been murdered and persecuted for centuries by Romans and Christians, then said that it was time for astrologers to "fight back" against the skeptics that wish them harm. Later, he said there would be no way I could ever win his contest, but that I could purchase a reading from him for double the price (his "skeptics special") and he would inform me as to why my life was so pathetic and miserable. In a later post he made a vague threat, stating that my miserable life was about "to get much worse." I then responded by apologizing for my first hostile post in the thread and indicated that if Jamie would come down off his cross, I'd drop the attitude and actually browse a couple of posts that he requested I read. That last response also went down the memory hole.

So, now the dissection: Am I angry? No. How could I be angry about denialists doing what denialists do? I might as well be upset at a flag for flapping in the breeze - it's what the flag was designed to do. What experience can be taken away from this brief exchange? Two things: First, astrologers have thin skins and are quick to break out moderation if they don't like your attitude - even if you attempt to rectify it. They have to protect the sanctuary of their echo chamber, or else risk losing followers, a valuable source of income. Second: When arguing with creationists, astrologers, and conspiracy theorists, always take a screenshot! I checked the Google cached page, and it showed my first prickly post, but not Jamies acidic responses.

I went back to have a look at the progress at the original thread "Dealing with Skeptics and Assorted Trolls" (I'm done linking to the Funky website), and it looks like Jason and George W.'s requests for evidence and/or an explanation of how astrology could work had been met with little more than jeering, insults, and claims that Jason & George are arguing against strawmen versions of astrology. Strangely (but unsurprisingly), when they request correction on their apparently false view of astrology, all they receive are more insults and claims that essentially boil down to, "Science doesn't know everything" and "Astrology is very old, so it must be true!". Things are progressing pretty much exactly as Jason said it would.

The one scary thing to come out of this exchange is how close I came to volunteering my personal information for Jason's intelligent offer for what could be a valuable experiment: he would obtain birth info from five individuals and submit one random person's data to Jamie. Jamie could do a personality chart, and Jason would return it to the five volunteers for review. Each would report back on how accurate an assessment it was of their personality, after which it would be revealed whose birth information it was. It would be an excellent way to see exactly how well Jamie's "art" works (or doesn't, as it would probably be). Of course, it's easy to see why Jamie would never agree to this experiment, isn't it? Falsifiability isn't something a fraud could ever subject themselves to - he has to make sure he only practices his art for those that already believe he has a "gift", so that confirmation bias can "prove" his powers.

I'll wager this is going to end quickly, with a whimper. After which, the astrologists will feel vindicated because they've banned or chased off skeptics attempting to shine the investigative light of science on the quackery of astrology. Then, the astrologers can return to making a comfortable living fleecing the gullible in the darkness. At any rate, considering Jamie's actions thus far, I don't think I'm that interested in proceeding further along with this waste of time.

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