Simon Singh goes after psychic Sally Morgan again. This time, his concern is the apparent health information she gives to clients during her readings.
One of the common responses to criticism of psychics is to suggest that even if their powers are illusory, there is no harm done. After all, the audience seem to enjoy the show and Sally and the theatres certainly enjoy the profits.
Although Sally’s typical responses appear comforting (eg “Granny is very proud of you”, “Uncle Bert still likes a giggle, I can hear him now”), her most memorable messages can be disturbing and it is debatable whether they help those who receive them.
Source: The Guardian (U.K.)
Then, from transcripts of recorded readings, there is this:
Sally: Yeah … this is to do with his health, he should take kelp and zinc, and he should take extra iron, but not as just a solid iron tablet. It should be maybe a multi-vitamin with iron in it but it’s a small amount. Okay, that’s one advice for his health.
Subject: You’ve mentioned health, what about my health?
Sally: You’re very … there’s nothing wrong with you
Subject: So … no HIV or anything?
Sally: Oh don’t tell me that!
Subject: I hope not, I pray. I’ve never been tested
Sally: Never say you don’t need … You don’t need to be tested. I’m looking up to God here …
Subject: I have a fear of needles.
Sally: Well I’m looking up to God here and you haven’t got it. Okay. So as long as you remain sensible with your partners, you have not got it.
As Singh points out, is she qualified to give such advice? Does she have a line to God? This is pretty serious stuff, HIV. What if she is completely wrong? What if this advice is followed instead of medical advice?
Yes, people have their choices to make, but when alternatives to treatment are marketed as something to rely on, that the person giving that advice knows best, is this ethical?