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Point of Inquiry is the Center for Inquiry's flagship podcast, where the brightest minds of our time sound off on all the things you're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table: science, religion, and politics. Guests have included Brian Greene, Susan Jacoby, Richard Dawkins, Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugenie Scott, Adam Savage, Bill Nye, and Francis Collins. Point of Inquiry is produced at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y.
February 19th, 2010
Episode 212 of 569 episodes
Ian Rowland is a Mentalist and Mind Reader living near London, UK. The world’s foremost authority on cold reading, he is the author of the Full Facts Book of Cold Reading. In this book, Rowland has defined and categorized the different types of psychic readings, and created a taxonomy of cold reading techniques. Rowland was the first person to lecture on cold reading to the Magic Circle and his book has been described as “the definitive work” on the subject by Derren Brown, James Randi, Martin Gardner, Teller, and Banachek. Rowland is a prolific writer and a charismatic lecturer and entertainer who has appeared on television numerous times and performed in many countries around the world. Rowland performs better than the psychics. He convinced an audience he was a psychic medium for ABC’s Primetime, and during a BBC documentary one of his psychic readings was rated as 99.9% accurate. In this conversation with host Karen Stollznow, Rowland explains the history and meaning of cold reading, and how and why it works. He demonstrates how cold reading is a “Win-Win Game” and psychics are “right” even when they’re wrong. He claims that he can replicate any psychic ability. Rowland recounts some of his performances as a psychic, tarot reader, astrologer, and medium, and his “miracles” of spoon bending, psychic surgery, and hammering a nail into his head. Rowland also discusses the practical, non-New Age applications for cold reading, and how these strategies can be used for law enforcement and business, but why they probably shouldn’t be used for romance. A qualified yet reluctant spokesperson for skepticism, Rowland presents his “off-message skepticism”, and shares his opinion of what he thinks the movement is doing right, and what he thinks we are doing wrong.