Skeptic Answers Your Questions on Psychics

Q: I was one of the biggest skeptics in the whole world — I questioned everything — always. I taught my kids that we didn't know for sure whether there was a heaven so they had just better live their lives like this Earth was their heaven — then if there is one later that would just be a bonus! Then my 20-year-old son was killed in a car accident, and I can no longer be a skeptic — I HAVE TO BELIEVE!! My question to you is: Have you ever lost someone you loved more than life itself? It's much harder not to believe if you have. Does John make me feel better — NO — nothing makes me feel better, but I feel as if I NEED to BELIEVE — in him?? — not really — it's really that I need to believe the dead can be around us and can communicate with someone {yes, I always think: if him, why not me?}. John Edward allows me to believe — makes it all right to believe. Whether he is a fake or "the real deal", do you really think that allowing me, or others like me, to believe is so immoral? — Judy Morrow

A: I am so very sorry that you lost your son. I have lost my parents, which was extremely painful, but as a parent I can only imagine how much more painful it would be to lose a child. I completely understand why you "have to believe," as you so poignantly said. Sadly, tragically, John Edward and the other media psychics know this and count on it. In another way, however, your son still lives in the beautiful memories of the time you did have together. That can never be enough, of course, nor replace the real thing, but it is all any of us has once our loved ones are gone.

Q: Do you believe in god, creator, or higher power? How and why do you think we are here on earth? Are you an agnostic? — Julie Molnar

A: I do not believe in God. I was once a born-again Christian, but when I really examined the reasons for my belief, and for belief in God in general, I realized that the evidence was too slim to make that belief commitment. I wrote a book about this entitled How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God.

Q: I wanted to thank you for opening up my eyes. I guess there is a part of people that want it to be true. But as I heard your thoughts on it, I understood that this is not true. I again want to thank you for opening up my eyes when it comes to John Edward. And I will not be one of those people to pay hundreds of dollars to have someone guess and play off of my emotions.

A: Thanks. We're trying to save souls — one mind at a time.

Q: If all Edward's apparent hits can be explained by guesswork, body language, prior knowledge, etc, how does Shermer explain highly specific hits when the medium has no visual, auditory or other sensory means of communication, e.g. when sitters are proxy or when readings are double-blind, as in some of the experiments conducted with Edward and others by Professor Gary Schwartz of Arizona University? Is Shermer not aware that such tests have been conducted since the 1880s, and that there is a vast accumulation of written evidence inconsistent with his explanation? — Montague Keen

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