Why was he interviewed?
Mark is the skeptic who was handing out critical thinking leaflets outside Sally Morgan’s show and was threatened (on hidden camera) by Sally’s husband, I was writing about all that a couple of days ago.
So this latest interview can be watched in the ITV player in a browser (go here). I’m not sure if it is possible to view it outside the UK.
So assuming you don’t get to watch the 10 min segment, because it has been blocked for those outside the UK, here is how it played out …
- For the Initial pitch the presenter talks about what happened to Mark (sitting on the left in the picture above), and asks …”Should we trust psychics, or is it time to question their abilities?” … I think you can guess my answer to that question.
- They then turn to Mark and Colin and drop that question in their laps … (Yes, welcome to daytime TV, all clearly setup to ensure a heated discussion)
- The interviewer asks Mark about the leaflet he hands out, and Mark explains that psychics can use tricks to appear psychic, so he simply wants people to understand that, and to work it all out for themselves.
- Interviewer asks, “So do you think some could have psychic powers?” … Mark replies, “I don’t rule it out, but I don’t personally think so, I’ve not seen any evidence for anybody being able to speak to the dead” (good answer)
- He is then asked, “So why are you doing this, have you had a bad experience?” .. he replies, “Not personally, but there is the potential for real harm” He their goes on the explain that the response from the audience has been great.
- The “Psychic” is then asked, “Are you doing any harm?” … being the smooth PR guy that he is, he responds, “I don’t think so, and there is a great deal that Mark says that I agree with. I’ve been advocation for some time now that spiritual healers and mediums should be registered”, he then invites Mark to attend his show and says he would be welcome.
- Mark is asked by the presenter if he would ever go, he confirms he would, and while he has not seen Colin’s show, he has seen others. He is then asked if it is a bit tricky to stand outside Colin’s show handing out leaflets if he has never seen it. Mark then explains that he is not talking about Colin specifically, and that he just wants people to be thinking critically about psychics in general.
- Colin leaps in … “I don’t disagree with that, I have no problem with Mark being outside handing out leaflets”. Goes on to explain that if contacted, he would be welcomed to spend the day with them, and can simply turn up.
- Mark asks, “If I was to go to one of your shows, would you be doing something supernatural there?” Colin replies, “Well it depends upon what you mean by supernatural, you talk about psychics, but I’m a spiritualist medium, an ordained minister, a councillor”
- Mark then asks “Would you speak to the dead if I came to one of your shows?” … gets a “Yes”.
- Mark explains that this is the issue, people go to these shows and expect to be actually talking to the dead
- Colin is back to banging on about people doing this needing to be properly trained and registered, and again claims that the does agree with Mark [Psychic school .. really! … and who gets to test them?]
- One of the presenters that suggests to Mark that people get real comfort from this, so what is the problem?
- Mark explains that people then become dependent upon that psychic from then on … Colin disagrees … and the only way they get access is via the medium, and to do so they have to keep paying.
- Colin explains that people come to get their message and that he then tells them to move on and not become message dependent.
- Mark replies, “Well you are being really responsible then”
- Colin … “This is why I want people to be registered” … proceeds to list off various spiritualist churches that would all all agree with him.
- Presenter asks Colin … “How do you qualify for something like this?”
- Suggests that he has had training as a councillor and also is ordained. (I bet it’s not C of E)
- Presenter points out that counselling may indeed be important, and then asks if he came along to the show and Colin talks to his dead granny, how does he know that he can actually do it and the guy down the road is simply faking it?”
- Colin is back to his “There is a need to be registered”
- So presenter then asks, what panel gets to work that out, how can they ever know?
- Mark chips in, and makes the observation that there have been attempts to test psychics, and also that generally psychics are reluctant to be tested, then asks Colin if he would be willing to be tested
- Colin says that he has been in the business for 38 years, and that he has gone done that path and they just get you to keep repeating over and over, and claims that those that test never draw any conclusions.
- Mark points out that if he went to one of his shows that he would want to know for sure that Colin really could speak to the dead, then proceeds to invite Colin to do a test with Chris French … and in reply Colin proceeds to wiggle verbally … he can’t be seen in public to say no, and yet he also can’t accept and then duck it later, so he says that he will talk about it, and that then nicely permits him to graciously duck.
- Presenter then announces results of their poll …73% said yes, 27% said no they don’t believe that psychics are real.
- Mark comments that he is a little surprised that it is so high. They then review some of the comments.
To wrap it up, the presenter talks about his own experience, explains that he is a natural skeptic, and mentions that he went to a show with a friend who was very open, and watched in amazement as the friend gave the “psychic” lots of information and is then impressed when it simply gets played back – it was an example of classic cold reading. “Psychic” Colin is asked to comment, and sure enough he does not really address the criticism at all (no surprise) and simply repeats the need for regulation and how much he agrees with Mark.
Final question, “Mark are you going to continue to hand these leaflets out?”. Mark confirms he will, and Colin says he is quite happy for that to happen outside his shows.
I will now use my “psychic” ability to predict that Mr Fry will in the end not actually permit himself to be tested.