The Girl With X-Ray Eyes

imageNatasha Demkina, a young girl living in Saransk, Russia, began to receive a lot of media attention around the middle of last month. It started with an article in Pravda, which hailed her as the 'Girl with X-ray vision'. You see, Natasha possesses the unusual ability to peer through human flesh and spot diseases and injuries that are lurking unseen within people's bodies. Or, at least, this is what Pravda claimed. It didn't take long for more newspapers to catch onto the story. The British Sun has been the most relentless about pursuing it. They've actually flown Natasha to London and are now parading her around like some kind of weird curiosity. Does Natasha really have x-ray eyes? Well, I doubt it. But I'm sure The Sun is going to milk this for all it's worth.


Posted on Tue Feb 03, 2004


Some readers here already may know about the Australian kook Victor Zammit and his hilarious web site"> Zammit is one of our most hatemongering critics -- even more malignant than Archangel, as hard as that is to imagine. He's accused Ray Hyman, Richard Wiseman, and me of acting like "Klu Klux Klan wizards" and calling us "rapists," among other unpleasant things. He's got a whole bunch of diatribes against us on his web site, such as this gem:

<font color="red">"THE 'RAPE' OF SCIENTIFIC METHOD Debunking skeptics ambushed an innocent legally under-aged gifted psychic Natasha Demkina and 'raped' the objectivity of scientific method to attain their negative results. The experimenters blatantly violated the rules of scientific method and abused their position. They willfully bastardized scientific method to bring about negative results consistent with their entrenched negativity. A permanent MONUMENT OF SHAME will be built for these heinous debunkers as a permanent LEGACY of their entrenched negativism."</font>

And he's also added several ill-informed rants written by other "critics."

The hilariousness of his attacks moved me to see if I could be as funny. So I created a spoof "Victor Dammit" web site. Close to a year ago, the retired attorney threatened me with legal action (and suggested that his friends in New Joisey might pay me a visit to tie my legs in a knot) if I didn't immediately take down my satirical web site. I'm still waiting for his law suit and for the horse head in my bed. wink And the Victor Dammit site is still getting close to 100 visitors a day.
Posted by askolnick  on  Tue Nov 08, 2005  at  10:34 AM
Hi Skolnick,

You said:

Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  04:10 AM
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  04:12 AM
Hi Guys,

Skolnick said:

"The hilariousness of his attacks moved me to see if I could be as funny. So I created a spoof 'Victor Dammit' web site."

I congratulated Andrew when he created this site, and indeed I highly recommend it. As a matter of fact, it is the only work of CSMMH that is totally devoid of serious flaws grin

Best Regards,

Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  04:16 AM
Part 1-
Hi Everybody,

All right. Being in this forum has been a positive experience for me. And despite disagreeing on Skolnick in many issues, I list below the changes that I have so far considered necessary either in my website or in the way I present myself, etc.

1- I will stop referring to myself as a
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  04:49 AM
Part 2
5- Also, in the link below:
I will change the following items:

What the translator actually said was: "If you did it my way, I would probably guess not five but seven of them.". It was not something that Natasha said after the test, as a post hoc excuse, as Skolnick is trying to deceive his readers into believing. It was something that Natasha said before the test!

I will indicate the exact words from the translator, credit Skolnick for them, and indicate that despite that Natasha was referring to the future.

6- Also in this article:
From: "even if she got those two conditions wrong, she would still get five and pass".
To: "even if she got those two conditions wrong, she would still get five and pass". (this is my free rephrasing of Wiseman
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  04:51 AM

A preview of my article. Feedbacks are highly welcome:

In the link below, Hyman tries to back up their sloppy test on Natasha once more. Did he succeed this time? Let
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  06:40 AM
25.) It is imperative that the Test Proctor be allowed to explain in the Discovery Channel program that the CSICOP/CSMMH test is not in any way a definitive test. It is too simple and brief to determine the truth of Natasha's claims with comfortable certainty. It can only help decide whether further study of Natasha's claimed abilities are warranted.
See this link for it:
In no way are they saying in the protocols that they would or would not go further. Hyman is unnecessarily and strangely changing the meaning of things here.

Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  06:41 AM
WOW, I've been off line for over six months and this thread is still going strong.

I am surprised that anyone would still believe that this girl has X-ray vision in spite of the overwhelming lack of evidence her supporters are able to produce.

I am also very surprised that askolnick hasn't given up in the face of such overwhelming closed-mindedness of "X-ray Girl's" supporters.
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  08:00 AM
Julio, I'm impressed with your great response to Skolnick's "feedback." There is such a distinct difference between you and your positive manner and thoughtful willingness to incorporate changes, and the manner in which Skolnick attacks and ridicules you and your work. You manage to maintain a positive attitude and gain further insight even from Skolnick's worst insults and attempts to ridicule you. I'm still going through all you've written, but just wanted to say: Good work! And thank you for helping bring focus on the real issues with the Demkina "testing" by csicop-csmmh.
Posted by Archangel  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  11:53 AM
Posted by Archangel  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  12:07 PM
I have to say that the
Posted by Archangel  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  12:09 PM
And yeah, skolnick, I realize that my own insulting manner shines a light on my own flaws and ugly parts. Yadda, yadda...
Posted by Archangel  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  12:52 PM
Hi JoeSixpack,

Since you have been away for sometime, just to bring you quickly up to date:

We are not talking actually about Natasha anymore, who, as you properly pointed out, may be only an illusory phenomenon (that is, illusory in her alleged x-ray like vision - YES, I agree with you in which there is lack of evidence, altogether, for her "powers"). We are now concentrating on another hoax that popped out of this case. The CSICOP hoax.

So far, we have been unable to either prove or disprove Natasha (we nevertheless have strong indications of serious problems in Natasha's alleged "abilities"; thanks to CSICOP). But we have indeed been able to prove here that the hoax of CSICOP and CSMMH really exists and is a menace to true scientific and rational thinking.

I am sure you will agree with me on that one too.

Best Regards,
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Thu Nov 10, 2005  at  03:25 AM
Hi Archangel,

Thanks for your encouragement. You say:

Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Thu Nov 10, 2005  at  03:58 AM
<center>Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle!
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel!
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.</center>

Guess that makes me the "montrous crow" grin
Posted by aaskolnick  on  Thu Nov 10, 2005  at  08:35 AM
Nah, you
Posted by Archangel  on  Sat Nov 12, 2005  at  01:09 PM
I also think that skolnick
Posted by Archangel  on  Sat Nov 12, 2005  at  01:26 PM
Hi Archangel and Skolnick,

Good postings, Archangel. We must also remember that Skolnick has not answered (and never will, as it seems...) the questions that I asked him, those ones where I pointed out the very many mistakes in their test and in their conducts.

Well, I am not going to be in this forum for much too long. I will present in my next posting the remainder of my critique of Hyman's latest "article" about their test on Natasha. Then I will post a message highlighting the issues that Skolnick and friends did not answer.

As a matter of fact, Natasha's supporters have been much too nice on CSICOP and appendixes... There is one violation of protocol from the part of the researchers that is particularly devastating: the subjects were to show proof of their clinical conditions, and they simply never did!

Now, if CSICOPers really think their work is a "scientific investigation", then I suggest that they send their article to a good scientific journal (either Nature, Science, or even old Jama itself) and precisely state in the "Material and Methods" that:

"We had agreed that the subjects would show proof of their alleged clinical conditions at the moment of the test; unfortunately, due to our sloppiness, they did not, and they never will. We, to be honest, do not really know for sure if they indeed had their alleged clinical conditions. As a matter of fact, while we recruited those guys and ladies, we only asked about the target condition, and we even failed to ask if they had any of the other conditions that would be looked for by Natasha. As a consequence, it is possible (even though not likely, we hope) that all the subjects have all the conditions, except of course for the seemingly healthy athletic afro-american lad, who, nonetheless, might have several additional ailments, including bullet woulds, piercings and tatoos all over the unseen parts of his body. Our colleague Skolnick was willing (even happy) to dig deeper into this issue particularly, but as he got closer to the lad's pelvis he remembered that old movie, "Hair" it seems, at the moment the army medical white officers were inspecting the black recruit, and poor Skolnick just fled in horror of, how can we put it, "getting stuck in the evidence"... grin grin grin

By guys,
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  04:45 AM
Criticizing Ray Hyman

I have already posted the first part of this critique. Now comes the last part (in five pieces). It refers to the article by Hyman on the Skeptical Inquirer, Sep-Oct 2005, where he tries once more to save this swampy test of theirs on Natasha Demkina. The link to Hyman's article is the one below:

My critique on the next postings...
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  04:53 AM
Part 2
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  04:54 AM
Part 3
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  04:54 AM
Part 4
Here Hyman seems to be presenting a statistical analysis that indicates that their criterion of five hits would be appropriate for the claim that
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  04:55 AM
Part 5
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  04:58 AM
Hi Skolnick,

Even though I will stick to my decision of calling myself from now on "Julio Siqueira, M.A. in Clinical Bacteriology", I would like to present to this forum some piece of information to explain further why I don't think I was so "terribly wrong" as Skolnick seems to believe.

At the link below (Biologists from Canada), I found the terms that I will present below:

Terms used:
professional biologist
non-practicing biologist
working biologist

Also one interesting line in this link from biologists in Canada (the link above):
"Consider that there is currently no requirement to work as a biologist in order to maintain one
Posted by Julio Siqueira  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  05:15 AM
Julio Siqueira refuses to understand that the reason I will no longer answer his "questions" is that he is incapable of distinguishing fact from falsehood and no amount of reasoning with him seems to help. For example, he still insists there is nothing wrong with deceiving people about his profession. He's an elementary school English teacher. He never held a job in his life as a biologist or in any other field of science. Yet he has been passing himself off as a "biologist," "microbiologist," "clinical bacteriologist," etc. The only credential he's ever earned (if we can even believe that) is an academic one -- he has a non-Ph.D. degree in clinical bacteriology.

Siqueira suffers from the same disordered thinking that many promoters of the paranormal share. They believe that deception, which serves a "higher truth," is not deception. By passing himself off as a scientist rather than as a grade school English teacher, he thinks he will further the "truth" as he sees it.

Why does he insist on practicing this deception? Because his arguments are almost entirely based on arguing from authority -- and he's the authority. Arguing as a grade school English teacher is hardly as persuasive as arguing as a "microbiologist." With this self-appointed title, he feels he can argue with even the highest authorities in science. One of the most ridiculous example is where he tried to correct the conclusion of one of the world's leading authorities on what sarcoidsoses look like -- even though the only thing Siqueira knows about sarcoidosis is how to spell it. The distinguished scientist didn't bother to answer the kook's email.
Posted by askolnick  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  06:11 AM
Julio Siqueira is trying to put another fast one by us:

<font color="red">"At the link below (Biologists from Canada), I found the terms that I will present below:" </font>

Like many pseudoscientists, Siqueira is good at finding references to pass off as supportive of his arguments, because he thinks no one is going to bother checking the reference. So, what does the Association of Professional Biologists of British Columbia's web site actually say is the meaning of "biologist"? See for yourselves: Constitution and Bylaws revised 2005.pdf

<font color="blue">
"<u>Biologist</u>" means any person whose <u>principle occupation</u> is concerned with Biology;"</font>

What chutzpah this guy has. The definition provided by the organization Sequiera cites shows that he is NOT a biologist. Obviously, he didn't think anyone would check.

Siqueira is an elementary school English teacher, who goes around deceiving people about his profession. Unfortunately, his falsehoods don't end there. His self-appointed mission is to attack skeptics and he is willing to mislead and lie to do so.
Posted by aaskolnick  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  02:07 PM
Hmmm. That link did not come out correct. Trying again: Constitution and Bylaws revised 2005.pdf
Posted by aaskolnick  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  02:10 PM
Skolnick, quit posting your lies and sophistic reasoning. Anyone reading this forum or Julio
Posted by Archangel  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  04:38 PM
I've been invited to give a lecture on the CSMMH-CSICOP testing of Natasha Demkina at the University of Toronto on Friday, Nov. 25. I will be showing the Discovery Channel program and discussing the many errors in the program. I also will discuss the campaigns of disinformation and defamation by Natasha's supporters. I hope some of them will be able to come so I can answer their allegations face to face. I'll post more details about the time and location of my talk later this week.
Posted by askolnick  on  Mon Nov 14, 2005  at  06:32 PM
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