The Power of Psychics Explained in One Graph

(via the amazing Jessica Hagy)

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About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Travis Myers

    I’m sorry, but Jessica Hagy really does not understand how graphs work.

  • Highlander

    How so? A Cartesian graph shows relationships between two or more things, this one shows the relationship between psychic powers and lottery winnings, specifically how those who claim psychic powers don’t seem to have any advantage when it comes to winning the lottery, which is something you would expect them to have if their “powers” were real.

  • Travis Myers

    But she put only one data point on the graph, so it does’t show whether or not people who claim psychic powers have an advantage, because you don’t know where the dot would be for someone who claims very few psychic powers. It would make a little bit more sense if she drew a horizontal line, which would demonstrate that everyone has an equal chance of winning the lottery regardless of the number of psychic powers claimed.

  • m6wg4bxw

    The psychics I’ve seen and heard usually claim limited ability, like “seeing” simple images or the beginning letter of a name. I think they’re charlatans, but even if they were legitimate, I wouldn’t expect them to pick winning lottery numbers.

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    Now let’s see the power of prayer graph

  • momtarkle

    Having just a line would be pointless.

  • 3lemenope

    What a horizontal line would indicate is that success at the lottery is absolutely insensitive to variations in alleged psychic skill. It would better illustrate the point the comic is trying to make than the one data point (which, being one data point, doesn’t allow for valid extrapolation).

  • momtarkle

    line: 1. Mathematics A geometric figure formed by a point moving along a fixed direction and the reverse direction.

    Pointless, like my attempts at humor.

  • Jim Jones

    The Randi Prize makes the same point.

  • Jim Jones

    > I think they’re charlatans

    Any lingering doubts can be resolved by Googling (cold reading).

  • 3lemenope

    I need to turn my pun sensitivity up.

    Or perhaps that would be unwise. :)

  • momtarkle

    Don’t be nice to me or I’ll do it some more.

  • tsig

    Why not?

  • m6wg4bxw

    Because it’s apparently outside the scope of their ability. If a psychic can divine only the first letter of someone’s name, I’d expect the same regarding a winning lottery number i.e. the first digit.

  • m6wg4bxw

    No lingering doubts here.

  • Bdole

    How’s mine?