A post I made in September of last year, in which I discuss a flyer I saw for something called “Psychology of Vision” has a very active commentary going on right now. Do have a look!
Something the commenters may not be aware of is that I made a followup post after Julian Edward, the Spezzano’s online publisher, had a chat with me on Twitter. It bears another look, but the important part is that he just about admits that it’s not based on evidence, to the point of saying
I’d say that a good half of people who attend the groups think it’s nonsense too but they use the tools and love it for that.
even Chuck himself says that his Psychology if a hoax. But he’s not interested in people believing it. Only in the results.
That cinches it for me – there’s nothing to POV, even if it is harmless (and whether it is depends on if you think spending money on something that isn’t what it pretends to be is a waste). The exhortations in the comments that people need to try it for themselves before judging may sound legitimate on the face of it, but what would result? People would spend money on something that at best only has anecdotal evidence supporting it, and at worst is an admitted fraud. The people who -do- try it merely end up either thinking it was a waste of money, or providing more anecdotal evidence! Based on my examination of the website, I concluded that it wasn’t based on evidence, and my chat with Julian Edward confirmed it for me. However, one more thing really tips the balance towards BS:
The major issue I take with POV and other such products/workshops/etc is the use of scientific terminology to sell something entirely unrelated to the proper, accepted use of that terminology. This is a massively popular tactic used to legitimize otherwise unimpressive and possibly useless products. See Deepak Chopra hawking quantum consciousness, for example – or really, any random beauty product sold in TV commercials. I -study- the psychology of vision. When I see those words being used to encourage people to pay for something that the -publisher- doesn’t think works, I get crazy irritated.
I feel the need to do something about this practice, so I promote science literacy and explain to people what psychology really is, and do what I can to teach people to think critically about these kinds of claims. I don’t have the time, money, or other resources to prove they’re fraudulent or report them to the police or a consumer advocate. I don’t get mad enough tear down the posters or vandalize them, like I did with psychic ads when I was in my first year of university. I will, however, scan ads I see around town and tell people what I think about them based on what I know about science and skepticism – and sometimes, I don’t need to pay for it and try it myself to find out that it doesn’t work.
That’s all I have to say about POV. Let me know what you think in the comments.