Because the universe is beautiful enough without having to lie about it

Fraud ratings

July 29th, 2008 Posted in Internet, Paranormal

As part of my new role as Cyber-Skeptic (TM), I thought I’d start monitoring some other numbers that people might find interesting.  So, here’s introducing the fraud ratings system.  Yet again, this comes thanks to those wonderful folks at Google.

Here’s the idea: Lots of people are earning a great deal of money trying to pass themselves off as having genuine paranormal abilities. I believe that no human being has any such abilities.  That’s all well and good, but I wonder how many other people think the same thing.  Well, we can find out using Google. Sort-of. It’s really quite simple.  First you perform a google search for a well-known psychic of some kind.  Let’s take John Edward, as he seems quite popular right now.  When you search for him, you get an estimated number of hits – in this case, 1,710,000.  Now, you do the same search, but add the word ‘fraud’ on the end.  This time we get quite a lot less: 60,100.  So you can divide the second number by the first, and multiply by 100. This gives you the fraud rating. Essentially this is the percentage of web sites about John Edward that also mention the word ‘fraud’.

OK, so here are the caveats:

  1. Just because a site mentions a psychic name and the word ‘fraud’, it doesn’t mean that it’s saying that guy was a fraud.
  2. Just because a site mentions a psychic name and doesn’t mention the word ‘fraud’, it doesn’t mean that it’s not saying that guy was a fraud.
  3. Those page counts are just estimates.
  4. I’m not saying these psychic mediums are all frauds, just in case they try to sue me. I’m just calculating some numbers.

So here are the numbers. I’ll work out the new versions each week and I’ll update the progress as time goes on.

  • John Edward : 4.1%
  • James van Praagh : 2.7%
  • Sylvia Browne : 3.4%
  • Uri Geller : 1.3%

So currently, of these four guys, John Edward seems to be the one that most people think is fraudulent (given the caveats above). Maybe I’ll try to update these another day using different terms. I’ll have a think about it.

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