Saturday, June 1, 2013

#577: Chip Coffey & Lisa Miller


Chip Coffey is a psychic from Elmira, New York, who has appeared as a medium on various television programs dealing with the paranormal, primarily Paranormal State” and the revolting Psychic Kids”. The latter show, among the most cynically exploitative ever aired on television, is discussed here and here. Coffey’s role is to be a mentor for children who have allegedly experienced psychic abilities (primarily seeing ghosts), which strongly suggests that he is not a particularly good person. Coffey is, among other things, also the proud recipient of a JREF Pigasus Award for 2009 for being the psychic who tricked the most people with the least effort.” There is some background for the award here, and some rather stunning examples of why Coffey heartily deserved it.

Lisa J. Miller is the co-host of Psychic Kids. She is in fact Associate Professor of Psychology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and she justifies the show thusly: “this is an opportunity to share more broadly with our culture the psychic experiences of children and to understand what their experience says about our own daily lived reality.” More sanity-oriented people may reasonably ask some questions about how on earth someone notionally related to anything having to do with science could end up where Miller does without compromising one’s personal integrity, but we’ll leave that question open here (it’s discussed here). What I’m concerned about is that clients who come in with psychic experiences are wrongly diagnosed as being psychotic,” says Miller. She does seem to think that we (Westerners) are deficient as a culture because we don't follow the example of advanced spiritual societies like China and Mexico, where psychic experiences are apparently more widely accepted.

Here’s a discussion of Examiner.com’s Elizabeth Costanza’s endorsement of the show.

Diagnosis: Coffey is a creepy skeevo; Miller a staunchly deluded (POMO seems to feature prominently) scientific alibi. Together they form a not insignificant threat to sanity, truth, civilization, and the well-being of real people. Appalling.

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