You can be skeptical and friendly at the same time.
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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.
I’m sorry, but Jessica Hagy really does not understand how graphs work.
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.
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.
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.
Now let’s see the power of prayer graph
Having just a line would be pointless.
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).
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.
The Randi Prize makes the same point.
> I think they’re charlatans
Any lingering doubts can be resolved by Googling (cold reading).
I need to turn my pun sensitivity up.
Or perhaps that would be unwise.
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