Having just blogged about the intelligence of the general public, I should note that sometimes the general public is profoundly stupid. A Barrie, Ontario mother dropped her 11 year old autistic daughter off at school, went home, and later received an alarming phone call:
The frightened mother rushed back to the campus and was stunned by what she heard - the principal, vice-principal and her daughter's teacher were all waiting for her in the office, telling her they'd received allegations that Victoria had been the victim of sexual abuse - and that the CAS had been notified.
How did they come by such startling knowledge? Leduc was incredulous as they poured out their story.
"The teacher looked and me and said: 'We have to tell you something. The educational assistant who works with Victoria went to see a psychic last night, and the psychic asked the educational assistant at that particular time if she works with a little girl by the name of "V." And she said 'yes, I do.' And she said, 'well, you need to know that that child is being sexually abused by a man between the ages of 23 and 26.'"
* * *
But things got worse when school officials used the "evidence" and accepted the completely unsubstantiated word of the seer by reporting the case to Children's Aid, which promptly opened a file on the family.
"They reported me to Children's Aid," Leduc declares, still disbelieving. "Based on a psychic!"
Whoa. Do you suppose that if charges were filed in this matter that they would be resolved in trial where the accused is bound and thrown into a river to see if he sinks or swims? Or would it be more appropriate for a more senior psychic to simply render a verdict without actually examining the evidence? PZ Meyers is furious:
That educational assistant who made such a ghastly accusation on the basis of no evidence at all should have been immediately warned that she would be fired for spreading false rumors like that. The administrators at that school who took such idiocy seriously ought to be removed from their position of trust — they are clearly unreliable. The government officials should not be harrassing Ms Leduc — rather, they ought to hunt down and fine the creepy scammer with the pathetic letter-guessing psychic fraud scheme.
* * *
This is what happens when a culture tells people that reason and evidence are optional, and faith is touted as a virtue. I'm sure that educational assistant thought she was doing a good thing and was trying to protect Victoria…but the filters had been stripped from her brain, she had no tools to make rational assessments of the evidence, and so she charged in to do something vile and destructive, instead.