When the government throws a bunch of money at a problem, sometimes some of the cash sticks to . . . well, how should I say this politely . . . I mean after all this post has to make it through the rigorous review process that we have here . . . sticks to male bovine excrement.
Such is the case in Her Majesty’s United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, specifically in Wales. The UK Department for Work and Pensions (or DWP, or for those of you that can read Welsh, the Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau) is throwing £21 million (roughly US$30 million) at the problem of unemployment with something called the Want2Work scheme. Putting aside the fact that the name reads more like a plaintive text message from a job applicant than a government jobs program, at least one recipient of this government largess would appear to be undeserving (to put it mildly).
(By the way, dear reader, in case you had not noticed, I really like to use parentheses. Call it a character flaw.)
As reported in the Daily Mail, £4,500 (US$6,500) of taxpayer money has been awarded to the Accolade Academy of Psychic and Mediumistic Studies, run by Paul and Deborah Rees from their home in Brigend, Wales. Apparently they want to teach out of work Britons how to make money in the exciting and past paced world of woo.
One of the things that struck me from reading the article was the strong physical resemblence between Deborah Rees and Octomom Nadya Suleman.
But I digress . . .
You may be wondering just what kind of skills this “Academy” might teach people. According to Mr. Rees, “Our job is to provide substantial evidence to bring ease to people’s grieving.”
Ah yes. What a noble pursuit. At least one politician thinks that Her Majesty’s government might be wasting money. Conservative Welsh Assembly member Jonathan Morgan said: ‘It is an utter disgrace. The people administering the scheme should be disciplined for allowing this project to get public funding – and the money should be recouped.’
I have to say, I like the cut of this Morgan fellow’s jib. Mr. Rees, however, has a different take. He thinks that the £4,500 is an excellent expenditure of public funds. According to him, “People who feel their tax money has been wasted should remember that if they’d lost a child they would go to a medium to get peace that their loved one has passed safely and is in a better place. ” Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin responding to Mr. Rees’ asinine (can I say “asinine” on this blog?) assertion. Indeed, I am reminded of the famous saying of the phycisist Wolfgang Pauli, which he reserved for theories or theses so unclearly presented as to be untestable or unevaluatable, and thus not properly belonging within the realm of science, even though posing as such. They were worse than wrong because they could not be proven wrong. Famously, he once said of such an unclear paper: Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch! “Not only it’s not right, it’s not even wrong.”
So, let’s take a look at Mr. Rees’ assertions.
Assertion Number One: “People who feel their tax payer money has been wasted should remember that if they’s lost a child they would go to a medium . . . ” Of course, this assertion lacks any evidence to back it up. Indeed, common experience would seem to indicate that very few parents who loose children for whatever reason go to “mediums” (or would the proper plural be “media”?). And even if they did, who gives a rip. People do many things when they are greiving that do not deserve government support. Should the Want2Work program give money to any of the following that would be more than willing to provide solace to grieving parents: Scientology, The Unification Church, [insert any other such group here], heroin, alcohol, and the list could go on ad naseum.
Assertion Number Two: Most people will go to a medium “to get peace that their loved one has passed safely and is in a better place.” Not. Even. Wrong. Why would people need this peace of mind? Is the “passage” to the “other side” somehow treacherous? Is it easy to get lost? Do some “spirits” go to an other “other side?” Has any “medium” (at least one trying to make a buck) ever failed to find a loved one on the other side? I could go on, but I think you get the point.
Assertion Number Three (and clearly the best one of the lot): “Our job is to provide substantial evidence to bring ease to people’s grieving.” Unfortunately, the reporter did not think to ask Rees’ what this “evidence” might consist of. I suspect that it is merely the same old cold reading or hot reading flim-flam normally associated with “mediums.” Even so, if he can deliver “substantial evidence” of life after death, there is a million dollars (£700,000) waiting for him if can deliver the goods. I think that fact that he is going after a measly little £4,500 from the government instead of trying to get a million dollars from James Randi speaks volumes for his credibility.
At least not everybody is taking this outrage laying down:
Mark Wallace, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘The last thing our money should be spent on is this kind of hocus pocus.
‘At a time when people who are alive are losing their jobs, it’s absurd that money is being spent trying to contact the other side.’
Welsh Assembly chiefs have now launched an internal investigation into the funding of the psychic school.
Keep your eyes peeled to this blogpage. We will give you updates if we get them.
Tsar Bomba spends much of his time involved in conducting a 25 year long scientific experiment attempting to prolong adolescence beyond all previous limits. He is also the producer and host of the Dogma Free America podcast. You can reach him at dogmafreeamerica –at– q dot com.