Sunday, April 20, 2008

Interesting Portents in the Tea Leaves

Good news from the United Kingdom. The British Government is planning on replacing the Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951 and bring such activities that are currently covered by it under the more mundane realm of consumer protection laws.

Of course, spiritualists, mediums, psychics, fortune tellers, diviners and more are opposed to this. For a start they say that this change will remove protection for genuine mediums. Having read the Fraudulent Mediums Act of 1951 the only protections it gives is to those acting in a purely entertainment capacity, so I can't see how getting rid of it harms genuine psychics.

Unless, of course, there aren't any genuine fortune tellers, and those who say that they are know it.

Carol McEntee-Taylor of the Spiritual Workers Association had the following to say:
"If I'm giving a healing to someone, I don't want to have to stand there and say I don't believe in what I'm doing."

She's quite free to say she believes in it. She shouldn't be free to say that it is a safe and effective treatment unless she can reliably show it to be so.

She also stated:

By repealing the Act, the onus will go round the other way and we will have to prove we are genuine. No other religion has to do that.

If you are providing a service of any sort in exchange for monetary compensation, you are not a religion. You are a business, and should expect to operate under the rules businesses do.

I think they're also worried if they have to include a disclaimer that they are only providing an entertainment service, they'll still be liable to claims of false advertising as there is no entertainment value in what they do (except for asking them why they didn't see this coming).

All round I'm in favour of this. Psychics, mediums, fortune tellers, clairvoyants, palm readers, tarot readers, feng shui masters and others are fraudsters. Speaking to the dead, telling the future, reading minds, and all the other stuff they claim they can do (except for take your money) is fake. People who make false claims and take money from people based on it are committing fraud, plain and simple. If they wish to make a business of it, they should be able to show that it works. Put up or shut up, to phrase it simply. If I sell computers that don't work, I get in trouble. If I sell predictions that don't work, I should also get in trouble.

Of course it will put a dint in their credibility if they have to make bold disclaimers up front that they are merely entertainers, but then again, anyone who was genuine has an easy $1,000,000 waiting for them any time they want it. But in any other industry, credibility has to be proven by having a demonstrably reliable product, so they shouldn't expect their free ride to continue forever.

End Post
Writing time: 44 minutes (including distractions)
Time since last post: 2 days
Current media: The Colour of Magic

No comments: