Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why I Leave Skeptics Alone

There are quite a few magical practitioners who have it in for the "Skeptic Movement" founded by James Randi and centered around The Skeptical Inquirer magazine. I'm not one of them. While I do practice magick and know from personal experience that it works, I'm not fully convinced that proving this in an irrefutable scientific way is such a good idea. Furthermore, it is completely reasonable to expect there to be repeatable and consistant empirical evidence for any extraordinary phenomenon that we hope to subject to scientific scrutiny.

Skeptics actually perform two very valuable functions. First of all, they target confidence artists who trade on peoples' belief in the paranormal. Most people who make a living doing magick for others are fakes, plain and simple. Magick is actually a statistical effect, not a guarantee, and anyone who claims that their spells work all the time is lying - especially if they are asking for exhorbitant sums of money. Debunking these people is very helpful to society in general simply because money spent on their nonexistant services could be better spent by the desperate people these tricksters target and exploit.

The second function they perform is to undermine widespread belief in paranormal powers. Believe it or not, I consider this a very good thing, even as a magical practitioner. While I don't appreciate people like James Randi and Michael Shermer calling me an idiot, in the end their opinions are irrelevant to my own practices. A society in which I am considered deluded or misguided as opposed to dangerous is a much safer place for a magician like myself to live. In parts of Africa, Latin America, and Asia where belief in magick is widespread spellcasters often get strung up or burned by angry mobs. And even in the United States you get incidents like this.

In fact, if you can use magick effectively it is much better to live in a society that thinks you're a harmless crank than in one that considers you a demonic menace. So skeptics are really my friends, even when they consider me confused, insane, or both.

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