The CSICOP website currently has a preview of the feature story from the May/June issue of Skeptical Inquirer, on “the girl with X-ray eyes”, Natasha Demkina. Two articles are available, one by Ray Hyman on the actual testing of Natasha by CSICOP with Richard Wiseman for a Discovery Channel documentary, and the other which is a pure CSICOP propaganda piece from Andrew Skolnick (e.g. how much the girl earns for her readings has no bearing on the scientific testing of her claim).
This documentary, which has already been shown in Europe but is still pending in the U.S., has caused somewhat of a storm due to the fact that though Natasha ‘failed’ in terms of CSICOP’s guidelines, she still ‘guessed’ the answers at odds of 50 to 1. This has once again raised serious doubts over the credibility of CSICOP as a ‘scientific’ organisation. Physicist Brian Josephson has written an intelligent critique of the tests, as has biologist Julio Cesar de Siqueira Barros (more here). The Skeptical Investigations website also has some insights on the skeptics’ approach. As these critiques point out – the jury is still out on Demkina’s claims, but CSICOP certainly didn’t disprove them scientifically…it seems that the media conclusion is more important to them than the scientific judgement. Can they therefore be believed to be an objective source of ‘truth’?