Sylvia Browne has appeared on many television programs, but it is rare that the journalists she speaks with make the effort to ask difficult and probing questions about her claims. It’s as if they don’t even care to be the least bit skeptical — perhaps because skepticism and critical thinking aren’t good for ratings?
Skepticism and critical thinking are, however, very good for society in general, even if media figures fail to exercise them when they should. Fortunately, Quackwatch has done an investigative piece on Sylvia Browne, focusing on her continuing refusal to prove her powers in front of James Randi, despite promising to do so three times already. It also reveals failed predictions:
...Browne said that Randi needed to see a doctor because had a problem in his left ventricle (the chamber in the heart from which the blood is squeezed out into the body’s general circulation). Soon afterward, Randi saw a cardiac surgeon, who found no problem. If you think this example is benign, consider that most of Sylvia’s readings are with people who believe in her alleged psychic ability and therefore take her seriously. Health-related readings like this are commonplace with Sylvia.
People who make medical diagnoses without any training, without any skills, and indeed without any actual information about a person’s real physical state are nothing short of a menace.