Penn and Teller are Full of Bullshit

August 11th, 2010

I’m a HUGE fan of Penn and Teller.  Love their magic act. And I love their show Bullshit.  But I watched an episode the other day that made me think that on this occasion they were full of bullshit.

It was a show they did on Feng Sui.  Now, for full disclosure, I have no strong feelings about Feng Sui. I have studied Chinese philosophy, but really don’t care much about Feng Sui one way or the other (though I do like modern-style interior decorating that maximizes space with few pieces of furniture…is that Feng Sui-lite? Anyway…).

What bothered me about the show was the way they went about “proving” that Feng Sui was bullshit.

They got 3 Feng Sui “consultants” to look at a house and then all 3 of them gave different opinions about how things should be arranged for maximum effect.

Penn says, “Hey if Feng Sui is a science then they should all give us the same answer.”

They don’t. In fact, they all give different answers.

So, Feng Sui is bullshit, right?

Let’s back up a bit.

Let’s take the subject of criticism and change it.  Let’s say I want to prove that Western medicine is bullshit.

So, I go into 3 different doctors’ offices for a pain in my stomach, and then I get 3 different diagnoses.  Hey, I thought this was “science”.  Shouldn’t I get the same diagnosis from all 3 doctors?  So, I conclude that Western medicine is bullshit!

Does that sound familiar?

Well, it should.  A lot of people who advocate “alternative medicine” use this argument all the time. ” Those doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, so I’m going to sun energy and positive thoughts to stop cancer.”

And it’s bullshit.

Just like your Feng Sui episode.

Come on, guys.  What’s up with that?

Uh-oh.  I hear it now.  Penn Jillette in that voice of his is saying

“Oh yeah, blog boy?  You think you’re so great.  Then how would you show that Feng Sui was bullshit!”

Well, Penn I’m glad you asked. Now, I’m a blogger, so I’d just write some sarcastic post called ,”Man Moves Couch; Wins Lottery–Feng Sui in Action. Baby!”

Now, if I were on TV…

I would have found some Feng Sui “mater.”  Then, I’d take him to the home of some dirt poor out of work guy.  Then have him re-arrange the poor guy’s house to bring him more “wealth” and then check back later to see how much more money the guy made as a result! I’m willing to bet the guy wold still be poor, and the “master” would be left there saying something lame like it “needs more time” or that the guy “disrupted the qi when he took a crap facing the wrong direction.”

Here’s the deal: the Feng Sui people claim you get all sorts of financial benefits from re-arranging furniture. So, make them turn around someone’s fortune by re-arranging their furniture!  If it’s true, the guy’ll win the lottery or something.

After watching the show, I think it’s just as probable that the Feng Sui “consultants” were charlatans who took an online course and decided to rake in the cash as Feng Sui gurus (wonder what other field I’ve seen that in…ahem, internet marketing, ahem)!

Watching a Feng Sui “master” try to explain why the poor guy isn’t wealthier even though he re-arranged his furniture would have been more effective and a little more honest than just having Penn rant about what bullshit Feng Sui is.  Heck, it would have been way more fun, just like when I get comments from “affirmations people” that affirmations don’t work for others because “they’re not doing it right”.  Watching them try to explain the “right way” is highly entertaining.

I usually love “Bullshit”.  But this one was lame.

Watch for yourself.  Tell me what you think


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