Saturday, April 19, 2008

Burn the witch!

The Witchfinder must be chuckling in whatever afterlife he went to.

A change in UK law means that psychics can be prosecuted for claiming to be psychic. The onus is no longer on the prosecutor to show that they are a fake, the onus is now on the accused to prove that they are genuine. Somewhat of a departure from the 'innocent until proven guilty' format we are used to here.

Strangely, this does not mean that the Pope will have to prove he really does represent God, nor that imams will have to prove the reality of Allah before they are allowed to preach, nor that physicists will have to prove the Higgs boson exists before spending vast sums of taxpayer's money to look for it, nor that politicians will have to prove they have a brain before taking office.

No, these laws are set up specifically to prevent psychics claiming to be psychic. Well, there are an awful lot of frauds out there who should be dealt with in the most severe way possible, but among the chaff there might yet be some wheat.

Can we find it? Well, let's see. Under the new laws, if you want to express them with utter pedantry, if I were to post a photo here that I claimed showed a ghost, you could bring a prosecution against me. It won't get too far because I don't ask for money but by the letter of the law, I'd be claiming a psychic phenomenon and therefore liable to be hauled into court. The case might fail but the damage to credibility will already be done. Score one to the witchfinders.

You won't have to prove I faked the photo. I'd have to prove I didn't. Proving a fake can be done. Proving not-a-fake is impossible because it will always come back to 'He could have done it by some means we didn't detect'. The same is true of any psychic phenomenon. A magician can replicate it, so the psychic must have done it the same way. Nobody can see him do it because he's so quick, but that's how he did it allright. We just didn't spot it.

As with the Inquisition, as with the Witchfinders, once accused you are guilty by default. There is no way to win such a case. There never was.

Prepare for malicious prosecutions brought against anyone the sceptics don't like. Ladies, get rid of any black cats you might own and concrete over that herb garden now. For God's sake, don't cackle or you're done for.

And if you haven't read up on the 1600's, best do so now. We're just about to go back there.

There might even be a civil war. Plague, anyone?

5 comments:

Romulus Crowe said...

Just a thought.

The day this law comes in, everyone in Europe should go to their local place of worship, of whatever religion, and demand that the priest produce absolute evidence of their God.

If they can't then the law states they must be prosecuted because they are making a claim of a paranormal entity and accepting payment for it.

Then we'll see some fireworks.

Southern Writer said...

Speaking of which: Oh. My. God. Can you say STUPID? What the hell is the matter with your government over there? What idiot is responsible for being so anal and shortsighted as to write such a law, and who are the nitwits who passed it? I think your call to expect the same from churches is spot on. Does Prince Charles know about this, because I've read he's a bit on the metaphysical side, himself. As well he should be, as Diana spins in her grave.

Dr. Brainiac said...

That's what happens when "The Stupids" run things. We're not far behind you.

Romulus Crowe said...

SW - I remember a scheme to wrap certain corpses in copper wire, attach magnets to the coffin and generate free electricity from them when they rotated. Where did I hear that? It was on someone's blog, I'm sure.

Our government have proven themselves to have class A double-firsts with honours in stupidity. Nothing they do can surprise anyone now. If they make it to the end of their time in parliament without being nailed to something I'll be amazed. Heck, pass the hammer. I'll do it.

The thing is, a medium claims to speak with someone who was once alive. Someone who definitely existed. The messages they relate might not be clear but there is a possibility of verification. It is possible that the medium will be able to prove that they really are in conversation with someone dead. Not easy, far from it, but possible.

Of course, it's also possible to prove they're making it all up. Agan, that's not always easy (and replicating it doesn't prove they faked it) but it can be done.

However, here's a challenge -
a) Prove God exists.
b) Prove he doesn't.

Can't be done. So the Pope, for example, has enormous power and wealth on the basis that he is the earthly representative of a supernatural being whose existence is not only unproven, but untestable. How many priests, of how many religions, draw wages on the basis of this unproven supernatural claim of theirs? How many accept money from their congregation?

If this law comes into force it has to be applied fairly, I think.

It could get interesting.

Romulus Crowe said...

Dr. B - our lot have disarmed the population. No guns, it's illegal to carry even a pocket knife and the sale of swords (specifically Samurai swords) has been stopped. I don't know why they picked on that kind of sword. Only three of mine fit the description and none of them are any practical use. They're ornamental. All the new law means is that I'm stuck with them forever. I can never sell them.

Your government has an armed population so they have to be a bit more restrained with the lunacy.

However, our government have tried their best to ignore and delete British history. If they had looked back to the last civil war, in the 1640's, they might have learned something. The peasant armies had, initially, none of the weapons of the King's men. They made do, and they won with one little bit of knowledge.

Anything can be a weapon.

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