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Subjectmatter
Skeptic Friend

173 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2006 :  14:16:13  Show Profile Send Subjectmatter a Private Message
I took up ms. Barbara With's (aka. skepticpsychic) offer of a free reading to SFN members. I hope it will be an exciting experience; whatever one might say about her, she does have a certain flair for words. At the very least she appears to enjoy typing - so I doubt that I will be bored. Although it would surprise me greatly if anything paranormal occured; indeed ms. With assured me in the first message she sent to me that she is not, in fact, a psychic.

Here are the first few emails exchanged:

quote:
Sent by Subjectmatter to ms. With

Dearest ms. Barbara With,
While I resent the tone with which you made this offer, and am somewhat offended by your nasty implications about the supposed dogmatism of SFN, I am intrigued by it and prepared to suspend my disbelief and interpret the offer in the spirit of friendship which I can only assume that it was given.

For this reason I would like to ask of you a 'reading', which I must confess to you - my previous experience of anything psychic is sorely limited - that I am uncertain as to what it entails.

I will also request your permission to share any experiences and correspondance with the rest of SFN. It is possible that it will be the source of some discussion and attempts to validate your psychic claims with it, I trust that you would not object? Be advised that while I will not share any correspondence from you if you ask that I refrain from doing so, with the exception of the actual reading which I must interpret as a gift of sorts from you; assuming that you will, in fact, deign to provide it considering the - I admit - less than charitable comments which I have made of you.

Eagerly anticipating your reply,

Yours &C
Subjectmatter

quote:
Sent by ms. With to Subjectmatter

Dear You,

First, you have my permission to share any of my email with the room. Tell them I am sorry. What horrible tone I had.

However, I am very sincere when I said SFN was instrumental in helping me learn about my own hyposcrisy. Granted, our interchange started on the very wrong foot. That part about not reading the fine print to discover that you are particularly fond of confronting people who claim to be psychic was true (making your claims of me being a retard slightly more accurate than I would care to admit). Had I read that first, in order to gain the knowledge I thought I was asking for I would have tried an entirely different approach that would not have started as adversarial as I did. More than likely I would not have posted at all. I also would have read James Randi's challenge before shooting off my big mouth about respecting him. Because again the truth is, I have a very renewed respect for him and his work. I think his challenge is very fair, and I have no right to say he's in it for the money.

Despite my terrible tone, your site does seem to be heavy on the dogma. I still don't agree with the RIGHT vs WRONG stuff. Perhaps because I have suffered deeply from mental illness, and I know so many others who suffer. It was very painful watching you talk about them like fucking morons. I also resented that you call people you simply don't agree with mentally ill. I supposed being raise in the viscious household I was, and the trauma, I felt some misplaced need to defend those people from your ill posed slings and arrows. In any case, please accept my sincere apologies.

As far as the reading, let's talk. I offered my reading to someone truly interested in learning about how I work and how to apply it to your life. I did not offer it to prove I am right and that you are wrong. And I sure don't want the SFN attack dogs on my ass.

I may be willing to participate but would need some criteria from your group as to how you would be evaluating the experience. Like I said, after my experience with y'all, it would be just y'all to devise some kind of wacky plan to want to "trap me" with the intention to discredit me.

So there's the rub: I am more than willing to explore what you think it is respectfully. I don't want to be called a coward, and I don't want to call you assholes. I am interested in working with open minded, truly critically thinking people who can also think critically about themselves. I have seen very little of that in the SFN. Your organization appears to have some pretty big issues that you don't seem to want to address. But then again, I admit that could be subjective because of my own belligerent attitude.

So given that I will NOT predict your future, can't tell you where your grandma hid the diamonds before she died, don't claim to know what will happen tomorrow, what number you wrote on your computer, what will be your reasons for the examination and what would be the criteria under which you would study it?

My work is strictly about inspiration, and a theoretial structure of human psyche and how to manuveur through it. In this way it is much more about "psychic" as reference to the psyche, not ESP. Is there a way for you to measure and determine if a reading was inspiring? At this point, would you find anything I said or did inspirating? Because the reading is just the beginning for my clients. I tell you the same thing I tell them: this is not about coming to sit on the couch and listen to me spew the truth. It's about me using my intuitive gift to help you gain insight into your life, find the conflicts and then inspire yourself to do something about them. Client's participation in the process is most of the effectiveness of the reading. If you aren't willing to participate in the suggestions of the reading, then I am not sure you can evaluate how accurate it is.

Given all that, how do you propose to evaluate the information?

Thanks
Barbara

The more I deal with her, the more her suger-coated insults seem comical and even sad - rather than offensive...
quote:
Sent by Subjectmatter to ms. With

It seems I didn't make myself clear; I was not suggesting, or at least I did not intend to suggest, performing any kind of study on your talents per se. I am merely requesting a reading as you would give to any of your clients for the pure subjective experience. Any kind of study would require resources in terms of time and effort which are way beyond what I am prepare to expend on this.

I only meant this as an opportunity to try something different; and as you say, rather than being paranormal you seem to have more in common with a guidance councillor than anything else. I propose to share the exchange with my friends solely for that reason - to share the exchange with my friends. What they then do with what I pass on is not something I can control, nor would I wish to.

As such I cannot make any promise to the effect that 'The SFN Dogs!' wont attack you, but the possibility that they will send you hate mail based on our correspondence is, in all honesty, very remote and fairly comical. You have a - ah - rather slanted view of us...

So please, just a reading like any other. Although if it could be done over the net that would solve an otherwise insurmountable logistical issue. Should it be the case that it must be done by voice then there are services, such as Skype, which may be of use. Else I am perfectly happy to do it by email.

Yours &C
Subjectmatter


Sibling Atom Bomb of Couteous Debate

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2006 :  14:32:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Nice start! It's good that Barbara has, however provisionally, agreed to allow this exchange to be shared here. I do note that she has set out to considerably diminish expectations. Good luck with this, both of you.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 01/20/2006 14:33:08
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2006 :  15:02:36   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
So you're the email attacker! Who'd of guessed?
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JohnOAS
SFN Regular

Australia
800 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  03:08:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit JohnOAS's Homepage Send JohnOAS a Private Message
Superbly written and handled, Subjectmatter. I was thinking of taking her up on her offer myself, but see that I needn't bother. I look forward to reading what transpires.

I feel your quote:
quote:
The more I deal with her, the more her suger-coated insults seem comical and even sad - rather than offensive...


is right on the money, and have a hunch that what you get as a reading will be a well meaning series of statements which could be interpreted in any number of ways. Something akin to a newspaper horoscope on steroids.


John's just this guy, you know.
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  11:10:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
On the possibility that some people here are "dogmatic" and the "US verse THEM" mentality:

Because dogma is a very much real and frightening thing, I am frustrated when people use the term to describe strong, critical opinions. Perhaps skepticpsychic is referring to Dude starting the thread on delusions, largely in response to her. Though others here have used words that amount to similar criticism of her and any self-proclaimed psychics, especially those who accept money for their psychic services.

But dogma is a very specific thing. First, it must be authoritative. No one here has claimed that some power outside of themselves agrees with what they profess.

Second, dogma is considered to be absolute. When someone spouts what they believe to be dogma, there's a metaphorical period at the end. People here, regardless of how strongly they say what they think, seem to debate in order to test their opinions. I am confident that anyone here would be willing to change any opinion they have if shown convincing contrary evidence/reasoning. I've seen people here agree they were mistaken all the time - including myself.

Third, in some very loose and less-used versions of the term "dogma" it could be said to include any belief thought to be objective. In other words, if we all agree that the earth is round and that is an objective, not subjective truth, then that is a dogma. (I'm getting this from this dictionary definition: A principle or belief or a group of them: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present” (Abraham Lincoln). -American Heritage Dictionary). But from context it seems unlikely that skepticpsychic meant it in that way, and even if she did, if we use "dogma" this way (which I think is a big mistake) then dogmas aren't bad because we all need to trust that some things are really real simply in order to function in the world.

As for "US and THEM", that is a terrible simplification. Skepticpsychic has not responded to any of our - often good - explanations of why we are frequently adversarial. For example, she said we don't need to debunk the Bible, and I wrote a short response explaining that we darn well did need to debunk the Bible because so many people use the Bible as a political weapon to get prejudicial politices through that we touch the lives of non-Christians and liberal Christians. She did not respond to that.

I am a Humanist Celebrant. I come to the defense of Unitarians, liberal Christians and other political allies of freethinkers all the time. I favor a pluralistic society where people and communities that hold all different beliefs - including dogmatic ones (example: The Amish) - can live next to each other without trying to kill each other. If I don't fight for my vision, I must submit to someone else's.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 01/21/2006 11:11:20
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ronnywhite
SFN Regular

501 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2006 :  13:15:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ronnywhite a Private Message
Some people who've posted views they were aware conflicted with those typical of SFN members have inspired (provoked?) pretty decent exchanges, with a minimum of the jokes, accusations of being warped, etc. etc. (I've participated in that, too.) To his credit, Monzina's even managed to maintain such into 2 extensions of the original thread, for the most part (Surface of the Sun.) Sometimes SFN comments are a little acidy and maybe inconsiderate (depending on how seriously those they're directed at take them) but on the other side of the coin, sometimes the visitors really ask for it.

But admittedly, I only took a cursory glance at the psychic thread and immediately concluded the claims were absurd and were symptomatic of mental illness with virtual certainty... I don't say that in a snide or condescending manner. I couldn't take that stuff seriously in the least, and although critical debate might actually help her to "work through" these fantasy beliefs, this is a person who could probably (and I hope does) benefit from medication and therapy, moreso than scrutiny of her beliefs on a website. I say this in honesty, with no ridicule or contempt for this person implied whatsoever.

Edited to krect gerammer and sbelling.

Ron White
Edited by - ronnywhite on 01/21/2006 13:20:02
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  00:32:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
Well I was looking forward to the data analysis but it seems that was an insincere part of the exchange and I am disappointed. At this point, there is no way to take any results reported to us seriously even if they were forthcoming.
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Subjectmatter
Skeptic Friend

173 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  04:08:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Subjectmatter a Private Message
This came from her yesterday (saturday):
quote:
Sent from ms. With to Subjectmatter

Thank you for the clarity. I understand.

And yes, I thoroughly agree I have a slanted view.

I am on my way on the road and have two days of travel ahead. Let me sit with this in my intuition and get back to you on Monday. I am leaning towards a written email. I was also thinking I could do a reading for the SFN group mind. Yes I can do that.

And yes this is much more psychology than it is paranormal. That's what I have been saying. It's just, the source of where this information came from, even the workshop curriculum, is all based on the act of channeling. So the process to obtain this information is paranormal, isn't it?

See why I am confused? I have often wished a team of doctors could talk to my associates and I, hear the full story and tell us what they think it is. Maybe Dr. Phil would take us on!

Get back to you on Monday. Have a great weekend,
Barbara
PS Do you have a name I can call you?

And my response (sent today, sunday)...
quote:
Sent from Subjectmatter to ms. With

It is well that we understand one another. Your generosity is much appreciated, I shall eagerly await our next contact.

I will refrain from speculating on the source of your writing; it is unlikely to be a constructive employment of either of our times. You know what you believe, let us leave it at that.

That being said, I think it may be worthwhile for you to see a psychologist. Although, as I cannot be expected to have the same aquaintances as you do - I do not know any person named dr. Phil - it is better that you decide for yourself who to see. Do make sure to select someone with the proper accreditation...

As to what you may call me, you may call me whatever you wish. I am entirely indifferent to that. Perhaps you can pick an extra inspirational name as part of the reading?

Yours&C
Subjectmatter



It seems to me that if she really wanted to test whether or not she speaks to Einstein, she could do so fairly expediently - at least to her own satisfaction. More likely she is comfortable in her beliefs and has no interest in upsetting them.

A tragic way of looking at life, and one I really cant respect. But it is her mistake to make; I cant tell her how to live. Nor will I voice my concerns, it would not do to alienate her at this stage.

Sibling Atom Bomb of Couteous Debate
Edited by - Subjectmatter on 01/22/2006 04:12:24
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Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  09:15:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Subjectmatter
Although, as I cannot be expected to have the same aquaintances as you do - I do not know any person named dr. Phil - it is better that you decide for yourself who to see. Do make sure to select someone with the proper accreditation...


I think she is referring to Dr. Phil, the TV-psychologist that is aired on Swedish channel 4 and 4+. The one who became "famous" on the Oprah Winfrey TV-show, but now has his own separate show.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Edited by - Dr. Mabuse on 01/22/2006 09:17:06
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trogdor
Skeptic Friend

198 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  11:49:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send trogdor a Private Message
just a little off topic
from McSweeneys
quote:
Dr. Phil's Inventions.
BY SCOTT SMITH

- - - -

Talking about stuff

Smiling through your tears

Not beating your kids

Going to the doctor when you have cancer

Taking a good look in the mirror

Christianity


all eyes were on Ford Prefect. some of them were on stalks.
-Douglas Adams
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  12:46:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
quote:
I was also thinking I could do a reading for the SFN group mind. Yes I can do that.

I'm unclear on this. Does that mean Ms. With is considering "reading" our alleged "group mind"? If so, I'd like to point out that she's already been freely giving her opinions about our "collective" psyche for some time. Or maybe she just means a personal reading of Subjectmatter, which can later be reported to our "group mind"?
quote:
And yes this is much more psychology than it is paranormal. That's what I have been saying. It's just, the source of where this information came from, even the workshop curriculum, is all based on the act of channeling. So the process to obtain this information is paranormal, isn't it?

Interesting. So, after some back and forth, Ms. With's stuff really is "paranormal," after all, though with psychology thrown into the mix. By saying she is using "channeling," she is making a very specific claim of being able to communicate with the dead, or, in the parlance of earlier times, necromancy.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 01/22/2006 12:47:23
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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  14:15:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message
Fercryinoutloud, she's not even a very good cold reader. She thought Halfmooner was female! Given her track record here and on her blog, I find absolutely no reason to believe a single word Babs writes.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  15:28:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
We are still left stuck at the familiar "show me some evidence" stage, aren't we?

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 01/22/2006 15:29:47
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ronnywhite
SFN Regular

501 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  21:58:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ronnywhite a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by R.Wreck

Fercryinoutloud, she's not even a very good cold reader. She thought

Psychics have "real powers," none of that deduction nonsense. Either he wasn't gripping the crystal hard enough, or he didn't calibrate it at the precise lunar epoch as instructed.

Ron White
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Subjectmatter
Skeptic Friend

173 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2006 :  12:25:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Subjectmatter a Private Message
This took a bit of a new turn yesterday, I didn't expect this. Of course, in hindsight I should have...
quote:
Sent from Ms. With to Subjectmatter

Friend,

After thinking about the best way under the circumstances to introduce you to my work, I would like to send you a CD of the group reading I did on Saturday before I left. It is the most powerful representation of the work I do. The concepts presented in that reading would be covered in a personal reading.

If after listening to it, you seriously feel this is something that would enrich your life and give you value in some way, I would be happy to channel some for you.

Please provide me with an address to send the CD to.

Barbara


I guess my reading will be delayed.

Anyway, my response:
quote:
Sent from Subjectmatter to Ms. With

If you say so...
I'll be happy to try it out.

[MY ADDRESS]

Yours,
Friend

P.S. I like it, it is a good name.

I tried to keep it simple.

quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Mabuse

I think she is referring to Dr. Phil, the TV-psychologist that is aired on Swedish channel 4 and 4+. The one who became "famous" on the Oprah Winfrey TV-show, but now has his own separate show.

I see. I have heard of him, but I didn't realize that he was this famous... Is he any good? (Don't answer that, I think I know the answer already...)

Sibling Atom Bomb of Couteous Debate
Edited by - Subjectmatter on 01/24/2006 12:28:16
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2006 :  13:04:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Good grief! It isn't as though it's the Randi Challenge Ms. With is dodging. Nobody was expecting her to do a reading under rigorous scientific conditions, just any informal way she wanted, with the procedings hopefully being reported back here for our separate digestion and discussion. I doubt our opinions of her performance would have much influence in the psychic community, anyway.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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