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← Derren Brown takes on faith healers in new show

Derren Brown takes on faith healers in new show - Comments

TheRationalizer's Avatar Comment 1 by TheRationalizer

I'm looking forward to watching this! I wish more people would debunk crap like this.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 12:29:03 UTC | #618783

Aerandir's Avatar Comment 2 by Aerandir

The video is unavailable in Poland. :-/ Here is it for people like me.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 12:41:13 UTC | #618788

mmurray's Avatar Comment 3 by mmurray

Isn't this the same as this.

Michael

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 12:52:19 UTC | #618794

Hellboy2's Avatar Comment 4 by Hellboy2

Hasn't James Randi been doing this sort of expose for years?

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 13:07:30 UTC | #618800

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 5 by xmaseveeve

Comment 4, hellboy,

Yes, and Randi is brilliant, but, despite his doing it for years, this evil fraud still goes on. When confronted with proof, many people still dig in their heels and choose to believe! This is different because the 'faith healer' really is just an ordinary person, neither trying to scam them nor pointing out they've been scammed by others. It's less a case of 'this is all rubbish' than 'this person is not for real'. It has to sink in, without pushing, that if this one's not for real then the others might also be fakes. It'll be downhill from that point, and the exploited might really see the light through this device. DB is amazing. Even if one sick old lady can afford to buy a pint of milk, rather than being milked for blood money, it's worthwhile. I'm really looking forward to it. Happy springtime everyone!

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 14:20:25 UTC | #618826

jcob82's Avatar Comment 6 by jcob82

I would love to watch this but the video is unavailable in Kazakhstan where I am currently living but I hope a lot of people do watch this especially in the States.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 15:38:33 UTC | #618838

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 7 by MilitantNonStampCollector

Comment 4 by Hellboy2 :

Hasn't James Randi been doing this sort of expose for years?


Yes but the sad truth is that consciousness needs to be constantly raised to the fact of this nonsense i.e. If this nonsense is ever to go away for good then the army of reason must be on the attack at all times. It's no use in assuming it will just go away.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 16:12:50 UTC | #618845

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 8 by Vorlund

Comment 4 by Hellboy2 :

Hasn't James Randi been doing this sort of expose for years?

On you tube there is his excellent talk called the sleep of reason where he gives homeopathy a good hiding. He does admit though that once he exposed a batshit faith healer and his website was inundated with requests from desperate and deluded people for contact details of the nut job so that they could be healed.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 17:38:15 UTC | #618863

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 9 by Carl Sai Baba

Debunking this stuff may need to become so common as to be declared boring before the impact is significant.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 17:42:15 UTC | #618864

paulmcuk's Avatar Comment 10 by paulmcuk

He did a pretty good job of debunking psychics/mediums a while back so I'll be interested to see this. Not that it will do any good in terms of changing minds. The faithful will simply say that he (and his protege) maybe tricksters but the REAL faith healers are powered by god. Derren himself talks of people insisting to him that he really does have psychic powers even while he's telling them he's a fraud. At best it gives atheists (somewhat feeble) ammunition in arguments with religious friends along the lines of "I saw this guy on TV prove it's all fake..."

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:02:30 UTC | #618877

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 11 by Neodarwinian

Sad. The despair he talks about. The people getting no better and blaming themselves for a lack of faith.

Religion poisons everything.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:11:46 UTC | #618882

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 12 by xmaseveeve

It should be illegal to ask people for money in this way, in exchange for healing. Maybe this prrogramme will prompt legal restrictions.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 18:25:12 UTC | #618897

SheilaC's Avatar Comment 13 by SheilaC

There'll be plenty of people he won't convince, but maybe he'll save quite a few from being scammed. I suspect that people who aren't ill (and therefore desperate) will take more notice, but of course they might become ill later, and still remember.

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 20:06:54 UTC | #618936

xmaseveeve's Avatar Comment 14 by xmaseveeve

Comment 13, Sheila,

'but of course they might become ill later, and still remember'

I hope they google 'faith healers' and get this show!

Sun, 24 Apr 2011 23:54:11 UTC | #618999

sbooder's Avatar Comment 15 by sbooder

The best debunk for this sort of thing is a film called Elmer Gantry (1960) with Burt Lancaster, it is brilliant, if you have never seen it make time to.

Although it is not about faith healing altogether it really gets to the heart of the exploitation these people use.

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 07:35:17 UTC | #619088

ferg's Avatar Comment 16 by ferg

Derren Brown rocks! Whatever about James Randi. Brown manages to get viewers from all sections of society, and in this country at least he is a major white knight of the spirit of enlightenment.

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 10:17:32 UTC | #619133

the great teapot's Avatar Comment 17 by the great teapot

Comment Removed by Author

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 11:30:44 UTC | #619158

Veronique's Avatar Comment 18 by Veronique

Yes, Randi has been doing this for years. So did some of the smarter ancient Greeks warn about the dangers of being sucked into god belief. That hasn’t stopped the proliferation of religious sects and godheads of one sort or another.

The more Randis and Derren Browns there are out there being able to convince media magnates that they are ‘good’ copy and that means reaching TV and live audiences, the better.

Again and again and again. That’s what is needed. Let’s face it, we can be very thick. We can believe rubbish because we are thick. We need to be told by debunkers all the time. So, yes, Yorker and I will be watching Brown as we have done with Randi – again and again and again.

Cheers

V

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 11:59:39 UTC | #619165

monkey's uncle's Avatar Comment 19 by monkey's uncle

I'm watching this now. Typing this during one of the advert breaks. It's a fascinating program.

Derren Brown has to use his usual hyperbole but its a pretty good expose of the faith healing scam non the less.

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 20:45:55 UTC | #619388

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 20 by MilitantNonStampCollector

Comment 19 by monkey's uncle :

I'm watching this now. Typing this during one of the advert breaks. It's a fascinating program. Derren Brown has to use his usual hyperbole but its a pretty good expose of the faith healing scam non the less.


Hardly hyperbole.

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 21:10:07 UTC | #619396

monkey's uncle's Avatar Comment 21 by monkey's uncle

Comment 20 by Derek M :

Comment 19 by monkey's uncle :

I'm watching this now. Typing this during one of the advert breaks. It's a fascinating program. Derren Brown has to use his usual hyperbole but its a pretty good expose of the faith healing scam non the less.

Hardly hyperbole.

I've counted at least 5 “If this goes wrong the whole project is blown” moments.

I'm not talking about his treatment of the faith healers. They deserve this. But his motivation is to make a TV program that a lot of people will watch so that the rates for the advertisements around it will be high.

I still think that it's a pretty impressive program (so far) but I think that its important not to lose sight of his motives.

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 21:22:54 UTC | #619401

frax71's Avatar Comment 22 by frax71

Comment 21 by monkey's uncle :

I'm not talking about his treatment of the faith healers. They deserve this. But his motivation is to make a TV program that a lot of people will watch so that the rates for the advertisements around it will be high.

I still think that it's a pretty impressive program (so far) but I think that its important not to lose sight of his motives.

Of course, but that is the nature of ratings sensitive commercial tv. The companies involved in making this documentary will always promote programming that they can sell. However, there is an element of public service broadcasting here, as these charlatans need to be exposed

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 21:50:11 UTC | #619411

Flapjack's Avatar Comment 23 by Flapjack

Well many shows use hyperbole and artifice to make a better edit... you may as well say makeover shows are a fraud as the person has probably walked past a mirror several times or walked into their front room before the so-called "Big reveal" and are probably reacting on take 10 but that's just part of the inbuilt artifice of TV. So long as there's nothing intrinsically misleading about the central point being made I don't mind a little bit of pre-ad break hype.

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 22:16:50 UTC | #619423

TheRationalizer's Avatar Comment 24 by TheRationalizer

Not bad, but not great either. The stories if people who have suffered was very saddening. The guy's show at the end of the programme was a disappointment, how large was that audience? 30 people?

I disliked the repeated "I am not criticising genuine religion" disclaimers. He only needed to say it once to the would be pastor "James", I felt his repeating was sucking up to the religious.

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 22:26:23 UTC | #619430

hitchens_jnr's Avatar Comment 25 by hitchens_jnr

It was worth watching just to see the face of the actual faith healer at the end, when "Pastor James" went off message. Priceless.

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 22:35:06 UTC | #619433

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 26 by Alan4discussion

I think he made some very good points, effectively exposing frauds. I don't think the small audience mattered, The TV audience will not be small.

Comment 24 by TheRationalizer

I disliked the repeated "I am not criticising genuine religion" disclaimers. He only needed to say it once to the would be pastor "James", I felt his repeating was sucking up to the religious.

I think the point needed to be made strongly, because undoubtedly the charlatans will try to dress this up as an attack on Xtianity rather than an attack on themselves. The gullible will remain woo steeped, even if they no longer give the sharks financial support.

Comment 25 by hitchens_jnr

It was worth watching just to see the face of the actual faith healer at the end, when "Pastor James" went off message. Priceless.

+1

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 23:13:57 UTC | #619445

frax71's Avatar Comment 27 by frax71

As the rcc( and xtianity in general ) seems to have declared an open season on atheists, it is gratifying to watch an expose' of the lowest form of religious woo. That is the exploitation of the sick and the bereaved for financial gain. These people are the lowest of the low. Now let's see if Widdecombe et al try to put some distance between themselves and the claims of " gods annointed healers "

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 23:36:24 UTC | #619452

jameshogg's Avatar Comment 28 by jameshogg

After some consideration, I think I have to say that Derren Brown is my favourite skeptical enquirer (on top of being my favourite illusionist), even ahead of Christopher Hitchens who would be my second. And this is for the following reasons:

A few people here might be tempted to think that because he said the attack on faith healing was not a comment on religion and faith, it meant he was somehow bending over backwards to avoid confrontation.

I have to ask a question in regards to this issue:

If he did make direct confrontation with religion, would it have made religious viewers more or less open to what he was saying?

I think the whole point of avoiding the confrontation was to increase the chances of believers listening to him, which ultimately had to have been the primary aim of the program (secondary being to obviously raise the concern with non-believers too). Criticism of religion can wait until next time. You only need to look at the last scene in the documentary to know that the crowd was actually quite welcoming towards the bombshell that he was a fake, something I honestly did not expect. In fact, it may very well have been a result of Nathan proclaiming that he was still a believer in God and Jesus ... if he wanted to attack religion in the process of the bombshell on stage, to be honest I find it quite hard to imagine that the message would have hit home. They may have even gone to another faith healer in rage if that happened.

Derren and Nathan could have potentially saved lives here. It is progress.

It is ultimately the believer who can make the difference by not giving money to the charlatans, seeking the proper help they need, and surviving, which surely as the human beings we are must want for our fellow creatures, and I doubt that consistently throwing believers into the deep end of the pool, as if that will somehow get them to change their minds, would have done anything. I do remember Derren once said something along the lines of "I have been in many discussions with believers to know that there is no point in asking the cliche questions about evil in the world, the need to pray in the first place, etc because I already know that they will have an easy and convenient answer prepared for me. What's the point? It makes me wonder if ought to take a different approach."

This echoes something I've known for ages: if you really want a message to hit home in the mind of a believer, you simply cannot give him more than he can bear. Otherwise, well, that's just it: the message won't hit home and you'd be a fool to think it would.

And this is why I regard Derren as my favourite inquirer. He is in some respects a dark-horse contrarian. I may even go so far as to say he may be the most underrated supporter of reason out there. He has an almost, shall I say, magical ability to be open-minded, to support curiosity and imagination justifiably alongside scientific thinking in a rational manner, and to be beautifully intelligent and clever (you can absolutely see it in his book "Tricks of the Mind" - the way in which he describes the blunt fairness of an Alternative Medicine test, and probably this quotation which still gives me shivers, "Isn't it something of an insult to a truth I hold dear to say that it is true just because I believe it is?")

The difference between him and others is that he is in a position to reject the idea of gullibility, and we can all learn from this lesson. What magician, in their right mind, would call their audience gullible just because they didn't see the sleight of hand, or they fell for the misdirection? How can ANYONE say something so absurd? And in a sense, is it not the same with the the desperate believer who has witnessed a powerful illusion of the blind being able to see, and the deaf being able to hear? I'll repeat that: the blind being able to see, and the deaf being able to hear. If the audience has no explanation towards such a spectacle, and can't think of one no matter how hard they try, we'd well and truly disgust the spirit of science and nature by replying with something so wicked as "ignorance is no excuse".

That miracle is to them what a powerful magic trick is to you. Here's a bit of advice: don't mock others for being ignorant; teach them. And make it your mission to teach them in a way that really will resonate with them. If you really want to mock anyone and everyone for not knowing a Sahara's sand-grain's worth of knowledge, by all means do so. But I would gladly make a trip to any city library with one whom I'd want to teach and say without any shame: "Here, in this space of literature, and in this world of wonder, I stare before my own ignorance and know that there is nothing to be ashamed of. I hope you too, sir, don't have to be ashamed either. There is much more here than we can ever know in our lifetimes. If I were a professor, and you were just a child, the difference between our levels of knowledge would be minuscule compared to all that could ever be known. Compared to everyone else, you don't feel so stupid and uneducated now, do you? I personally don't feel so smart and educated, myself."

I might paraphrase Christopher Hitchens here too: "He who knows the extent of his own ignorance is to me the definition of an educated person."

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 02:09:32 UTC | #619475

Rachel Holmes's Avatar Comment 29 by Rachel Holmes

Really enjoyed this programme. OK, perhaps "enjoyed" isn't the right word.

I recommend "Marjoe" to anyone interested in this subject. Marjoe Gortner was a child preacher who went on to become a travelling faith healer. Having reached the point where he could no longer bear to deceive people, he invited a camera crew to interview him and watch him do his thing.

It's an old film but as relevant as ever.

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 06:44:47 UTC | #619511

Flapjack's Avatar Comment 30 by Flapjack

Completely agree with JamesHogg - unless you merely wanted a programme that simply preached to the deconverted, it's far better to lay out the empicical evidence of the scam minus the confrontation and allow your audience to draw their own logical conclusions from it. And it was a very tricky balancing act throughout to reenact the whole thing without becoming part of the problem, but I admired the way in which Derren respected his audience rather than essentially telling them straight off the bat "You're all a bunch of gullible sheep and you've been had".

Also agree with hitchens_jnr. that watching Nathan deliver his closing address in which he went off message with the other faith healer present was painful but priceless. I almost felt sorry for the other guy, then I remembered his schtick about "homosexuality is wrong" and his blatant charlitanism from 2 nights previous and I thought, no, sorry mate but you kind of had that coming.

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 07:51:12 UTC | #619520