Friday, October 21, 2011

Anderson Cooper and John Edward ~ a new friendship

I'm just sick over this, well not sick but pretty close to it.  I've respected Anderson Cooper for years.  My avatar on the JREF forums is a picture of Cooper and Browne on CNN with the screen shot that says "Dead Wrong".  Cooper has always asked the hard questions and did his research, he never let anyone get away with vagueness, he slammed them to the floor.  Psychics were always handled firmly.

Now this.

Anderson allowed John Edward onto his show to give readings to his mother and himself.  Nothing skeptical mentioned from what I've heard.  This JREF SWIFT blog sums up how I feel.

Tim Farley on October 20th SWIFT blog talks about skeptical tools to measure how successful we are.  I concur we really need to be able to measure our impact.  We can't keep throwing darts into the forest if we never go and look to see if we hit anything.  When involved in any kind of event, there should be some discussion about how it went, what could we have done better and where did we go wrong.  We need to learn, and improve.

Tim asks the question.  Who of these psychics is more popular (Browne, Van Praagh or Edward)?  Interesting question.  Where do you concentrate your efforts if you have very limited time and resources?  I'm sure there are many ways of doing this, book sales on Amazon maybe?  Google search results?  Tim would probably have 34 different ideas if we asked him.

Here is a simple way.  Use the Wikipedia Article Statistics Tool.  It only takes 1.364 seconds and you will be amazed.   Keep in mind this tool has a bit of a delay.  So if we want to look to see if John Edward's Wikipedia page got any hits after his Oct 14th, 2011 debut on Anderson, we can just look it up.

Generally Edward has about 600 hits a day to his Wikipedia page.  On Oct 16th his page got 3.7K hits.  Then the next day 3.1K, then 2.7 and finally 1.6K  (maybe people were finally watching Anderson from their recording on Tivo?)

Wikipedia is a great way of judging popularity because it is accessed by the general public (believer, skeptic and fence sitter)  We can assume that Wikipedia users tend to be people who have access to the Internet, and I'm only looking at WP in English.

What kinds of things are people reading on his page?  There is quite a lot of skeptical content that I and other editors have left.  His page is patrolled quite carefully, I am one of them and have reverted edits from skeptics many times.  I've erased "he's the biggest douche in the Universe" at least 5 times this year alone, others have probably caught those edits before I got to it.  (BTW this isn't guerrilla skepticism)

I'm waiting for some other source (secondary) to pick up the JREF blog post so I can (or someone else can) put the article up on Edward's page.  We rather not put up primary sources if we can help it.

Lets just answer that question.  Which of these psychics is more popular?  Quick come up with your own guess before I reveal my answer.  Using Wikipedia as a resource we can come up with a few numbers.  I'm picking Sept 2011

Sylvia Browne - 14,003
John Edward - 16,244
James Van Praagh - 4,156

This just added Dec 25, 2011  

22K John Edward "fans" will read this quote from Michael Shermer this month "Pretending that the dead are gathering in a television studio in New York to talk twaddle with a former ballroom-dance instructor is an insult to the intelligence and humanity of the living".


  1. I wrote a rather scathing letter to Cooper about that. Nothing heard in reply.