Time To Start Picking on People

I am getting frustrated, I am getting angry, and I am starting to see red.

I am also going to start doing something about it.

I have had enough with all the woo, bullshit, psychic-babble, pseudoscientists, and charlatans in this country. I have decided to take Mark Edwards advice and take action.

I'm not sure exactly how yet but I'm going to start by having regular rants at individuals in this country that piss me off.

The first is Penelope Taylor. She claims to be a psychic clairvoyant medium, who can communicate with spirit!! not communicate with spirits or with the spirit world, but with spirit. Does this mean she can talk with passion? or that she hit the meths too hard as a teenager?

Now I know these people are everywhere and I could just ignore her and let it be. However, after looking through her website this one sentence leaped out at me and clinched the deal;

Any paranormal group who may work in a practical scientific manner, may contact me as I am happy to team up, to tune into the other realms and dimensions.

WTF!!!!!

She will only work with people who can work in a practical and scientific manner!!!! She's a fraud who claims to speak with dead people, how can she ever hope to work in a scientific manner? Penelope if you really want to tune into other realms and dimensions in a scientific manner then I would advise you to start reading some books about physics not psychics!

She charges $90 an hour for readings either in person or over the phone. Not a bad scam if you're willing to defraud people. She does however put this caveat on her webiste;

I am NOT a fortune teller. I will only pass on guidance of future outcome nature if spirit shows it to me. It is my truth that to always know what is going to happen exactly; would take out earthly lessons away from us!! Spirit is not ALL KNOWING, as nor am I but I can tune in as best I can and make a link, to help you on your pathway.

My first suggestion would be to ask her spirit guide for some help with spelling and grammer, might boost her patsy's, I mean sales.

So where to from here?

Is there a legal way to get at people like Penelope through false advertising, or misleading the public? If we send enough email complaints to her ISP could we get the site taken down?

Does anyone know what sort of stuff can be said about a person before it becomes slander?

If there are any lawyers out there please get in touch. The only lawyer I know works in property so he's not much help.

Science is simply common sense at its best. ~Thomas Huxley

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Your own idiocy

Dude, have you ever actually paid for and recieved services from Penny? Are you actually qualified to comment on her ability? Have you any evidence to suggest that Penny can't actually do the things she says she can?

I bet you can't truthfully answer any of those as a "Yes". I have known Penny for 8 months now, and have seen her "at work". She has done spirit readings for me as certain members of my family and friends come through with a message for me. She has described these people, their appearance and personality, to a "tee" with never having met any of them.

Further to this, she did a reading for me once where she repeated a private conversation I'd had with an ex-lover verbatim. This conversation was very private and repeated to no-one by either party. She had never and has not since ever met this ex.

In future, be sure of your facts before you go saying anything that only makes you look dumb.

As to your questions I think

As to your questions I think I can probably make some guesses that aren't too shy of the mark. I don't speak for the OP but let's see..

"Dude, have you ever actually paid for and recieved services from Penny?"

Without a plausible mechanism to account for the "ability" or evidence (not hearsay) to suggest effect why waste your money? If it's for entertainment then that's up to you.. "fill your boots"... But it's hardly being presented as mere entertainment is it?

"Are you actually qualified to comment on her ability?"

I would say the only qualifications required to comment are membership of our species and a pulse.

"Have you any evidence to suggest that Penny can't actually do the things she says she can?"

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. ----- Christopher Hitchens

"I bet you can't truthfully answer any of those as a "Yes". I have known Penny for 8 months now, and have seen her "at work". She has done spirit readings for me as certain members of my family and friends come through with a message for me. She has described these people, their appearance and personality, to a "tee" with never having met any of them."

I know from experience that it's easy to be convinced beyond doubt when an event has emotional significance, you lose objectivity and surrender your incredulity all too easily. There many subtle cues and clues that can be read by those who know what to look for and we''re hardly ever aware we are offering them.

"Further to this, she did a reading for me once where she repeated a private conversation I'd had with an ex-lover verbatim. This conversation was very private and repeated to no-one by either party. She had never and has not since ever met this ex."

Please read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence

"In future, be sure of your facts before you go saying anything that only makes you look dumb."

If only everyone (you and me included) heeded this sagely advice. Sure maybe the OP could have toned it down a bit but we've all been guilty of the passions running high from time to time.

I look forward to reading the well designed study that provides the evidence of these amazing psychic abilities.

But till then I will be of the opinion that, just like all other attempts to prove psychic ability, the effect will just mysteriously disappear when scrutinized by those willing to seek answers rather than just affirmation of cherished belief.

I have no idea about libel or

I have no idea about libel or slander, but if you keep it fact based and provable you would have a solid base to argue it's fair comment and free expression. Libel is the term for written statements. These articles on defamation might give some ideas about what is fair comment and what is not - http://www.medialawjournal.co.nz/?page_id=273 or try http://www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/online/politics328/Defnotes.htm

Best I've done is one consumer law paper though, for a proper legal opinion you'd need to refer to a lawyer who specialises in the Law of Defamation.

I've googled a couple of psychic sites and they cover their butts by claiming that it's for entertainment only: "....Our Psychic services are for entertainment purposes only. Advice or content may or may not influence your decisions and/or behaviour. By accessing ******* psychic services you take full responsibility for any and all consequences acted upon using information provided by our services." If she doesn't have a disclaimer, this might be a way of getting action under the Fair Trading Act by saying she is making false representation or behaving in a false and misleading way. After all, this isn't just for entertainment purposes unless she clearly says so and she is making claims that are completely unsupported. She does not operate very far away from me I see, I'd consider sussing out what she's about if it comes to that. My natural scepticism might put off 'spirit' though.

Consumer affairs has some information on psychic scams and the various acts that apply which might be relevant - http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scamwatch/protect-yourself/no-the-sca...
You could also look into advertising standards perhaps for claiming a therapeutic purpose as claims are made that she works with people who are grieving and have relationship problems - http://www.asa.co.nz/code_therapeutic_services.php but I'm unsure as to whether this might apply in this case. There might be other areas of the code that are more relevant.

You could lose your house

The rules of slander in NZ are very clear. If any denigration can be traced to a particular person, either by direct name or inference, and that reputation is harmed thereby, resulting in loss of income or respect, then the perpertrator is liable for hefty fines if the victim wishes to take civil action.
It is a way of protecting small businesses, which are fundamental to the NZ economy.
It is okay to discuss ideas and to have opinions on them, but shooting the messenger is unlawful.
I notice that this website errs constantly in this, and it will probably take a well-publicised court case to act again as a deterrant. Otherwise it is simply unfair. Web-bullying is just another form of cellphone schoolyard stuff.
There is nothing wrong with being skeptical, and science depends on skepticism, but there is everything wrong with spiteful hate of one individual expressed in public.
So be warned, don't later claim you didn't know.

The rules of slander in NZ

The rules of slander in NZ are very clear. If any denigration can be traced to a particular person, either by direct name or inference, and that reputation is harmed thereby, resulting in loss of income or respect, then the perpertrator is liable for hefty fines if the victim wishes to take civil action.

unless what is said is true or fair comment. You seem to forget that quite often.

Mind you, if it's true or fair comment you could always drag a completely unrelated organisational body that you share with the commenter into the argument and apply pressure what way. I refer to this as the "go crying to mum" approach.

You're sinking a bit low

You're sinking a bit low there aren't you Ken? Thinly veiled threats? That's not very dignified.

It seems the path of being "offended and hurt" is trod mostly by those without either evidence or a convincing argument to support their claims.

The rules of slander in NZ

The rules of slander in NZ are very clear. If any denigration can be traced to a particular person, either by direct name or inference, and that reputation is harmed thereby, resulting in loss of income or respect,

And is not true, or fair comment,

then the perpertrator is liable for hefty fines if the victim wishes to take civil action.

See also:
http://www.medialawjournal.co.nz/?page_id=273

Heh... :) Some rather

Heh... :)

Some rather important points there that Ken left out, forgot or didn't know. (did you see what I did there?)

I'm not seeing any disclaimer

I'm not seeing any disclaimer on the NZ Psychic Realms site.

They also offer a workshop;
http://www.nzpsychicrealms.com/upcomingworkshops.html

It may be worth while taking one to see what they say. Unless they come clean it shouldn't be hard to get them shut down based on the ASA site.