Can tarot cards predict the future?

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience' started by birch, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. birch Valued Senior Member


    Well, thats incorrect because it can predict the immediate future. The far future not as reliable as too much in flux. If the prediction is incorrect, the cards were not read correctly. The cards are never incorrect, the reader can be.

    James r, forget what i say and i dare you to try them. You are an intelligent man who would be able to discern if they are not real. Buy a deck of cards and ask it questions you want answers to and keep a log and decide for yourself.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Well done! In those last two statements you have said that tarot cards are unscientific. You have made them unfalsifiable, with any apparent failure due to the person and not the cards.

    So, where is your actual scientific testing of the power of these cards? Or is anecdotal evidence all there is?
    Where is the evidence that tarot cards are any more successful than simply guessing? How many questions did the person ask that did not pan out as predicted (but obviously that is an issue with the person, not the cards).
    Birch, you believe in them, great, and I couldn't be happier for you.
    But I await any peer reviewed paper on the matter.

    Out of curiosity, do you believe in free will? Randomness? Predestination? Fate? The ability to choose our own destiny?
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    What nonsense.

    The Cheerios in my bowl can predict the future with perfect accuracy. It's just that Cheeerios readers tend to read them wrong.
    Prove me wrong.
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  7. birch Valued Senior Member

    You dont know what you are talking about but believe what you want that its nonsense. When the cards lay out when you focus on a thought or question, it will mirror it.
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    The issue is not proof; the issue is faulty logic.

    To wit:

    What you propose is a tautology. "The cards are never wrong, just the reader." The assertion is self-fulfilling, therefore can never be wrong,

    The exact same thing can be said about my Cheerios.
    The Cheeerios are always right. It's just that there are so few good Cheerios readers around.

    When framed like this, you know instantly that it's a ridiculous claim, yet that healthy skepticism fails you when you look at Tarot cards.

    No one needs "proof" - not in the Philosophy forums - certainly not in the Fringe - but one does need critical thinking skills.

    Regardless, Tarot cards and Cheerios are off-topic. We continue to discuss it at peril of having this thread moved to somewhere even more anarchaic than Philosophy.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  9. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Only tea leaves tell the truth but again few can read them correctly.

    What I dont understand is why folk wish to know the future, I know what the future holds..... one day you die, so if the cards or tea leaves dont mention that each time then they lie.

    So what joy is there in knowing the future?

    If something good is going to occur why not let it be a pleasant surprise and if something bad is going to happen who wants to fret whilst waiting.

    If the cards tell me I will meet a new love I probably would never leave the house.

  10. birch Valued Senior Member

    Funny that, since this isn't anymore philosophy than speculation on ghosts. lmao

    You think you are using critical thinking skills when you say the cards are bs just because a reader can be mistaken in reading the cards. It's not. It's illogical to say humans can't be mistaken. Oftentimes, a reader looking back in hindsight can see where or how the cards were misinterpreted in a reading. It takes practice and skill to be able to read the cards and a lot of fine tuning perception. For instance, a reader told a client that the ace of cups reversed which was coming up repeatedly was an indication that she was pregnant with a female child, which she was but actually it symbolized a miscarriage as the cup was upside down, loss and blood flow. There are only a certain number of cards and it can only utilize those cards to convey the answer. This is why it also takes intuition as well understanding what the cards are trying to convey. This is one of those areas is hard to prove yet here you are basically saying it's bs because it doesn't stand up to the methodology of hard core science. That is bs as well.

    That's the thing, not everything stands up to scientific scrutiny but that doesn't make it any less legitimate. It's just the nature of it. Intuition isn't scientific but real and can be correct. That's just the nature of certain things.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  11. birch Valued Senior Member

    Very simplistic thinking here. It's not about indicating you will die each time you read divination as we all know we will. It's about addressing questions or particular concerns within a reading. It's not about joy in knowing the future, as i've already said before, it can read current situations you want more info on as well as future events or even ways you can change certain situations, depending on how the question is asked and what your intention is with a reading. Sometimes, as in tarot cards, it will show an actual physical death with a tarot reading, it will have the tarot card of death coupled reinforcing cards which indicate a physical death. The layout, positioning as well as types of cards and what they are next to etc are also important in reading it correctly. The death card can symbolize just the ending of a cycle or of a situation, not literal death always.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  12. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Yes but I like it that way.
    Have you ever thought of becoming a reader?
  13. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Actually there is considerable science behind intuition and "gut feel".
    Just Google it.
    Plenty to read on the matter.

    I note you have also ignored the question posed to you of whether you believe in freewill?
    I am curious whether you do or not.

    As for tarot cards - there is currently no scientific evidence that they work - if you think otherwise please post a link to it.
    No controlled test has ever (afaik) shown readings using tarot cards to be distinguishable from readings using random cards.
    Noone has ever taken Randi's $1m for showing it works.
    Oh, yes, that'll be because readers of tarot cards will feel they can't read correctly on demand, or under such pressure etc.
    I.e. any excuse for failing.

    Tarot may work.
    But as yet there is zero indication that it is anything other than a sham, cold-reading, and indistinguishable from such activity in the absence of the tarot cards (or using random cards).

    But this is a thread about the brain in a vat thought experiment, not whether tarot works or not.
  14. birch Valued Senior Member

    The scientific methodology is bogus then because it clearly does work for people who know how to read cards. If there is no real situation you are asking about, the cards will reflect that. For instance, it will not show cards of illness, loss of job, relationship issues, pregnancy etc if thats not occuring. This makes ME suspicious about how they are testing it.

    As far as intuition, if the science community agrees with it, its just giving it is own latitude.

    As for this topic, its the same with tarot cards. Read the meaning. The point i made was obviously that its no different than paranormal speculation even though its about brains in vats under philosophy. Im not discussing tarot cards itself but using it as a point.

    If its off topic to some, dont keep replying to continue this thread off tangent
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  15. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    There is no evidence that it does.
    Indeed - any failure is on the part of the person, not the cards.
    I got that much.
    Just like with the bowl of Cheerios, and presumably your inability to read them: your fault, not the Cheerios.
    Well, it's trying to understand what is actually happening.
    Taking the "woo" out of those who claim it is something more than it is.
    You're not making a very good point, if I may say so.
    This thread is about the possibility of something, but a possibility that we can never test.
    Whereas you are stating that tarot cards actually work (albeit that you admit they are outside the remit of scientific enquiry).
    There is a difference between the examples.
    Do you see the difference?
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    This is awesome. it should be enshrined.
  17. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Birch, I note that you also once again failed to answer the rather simple question that I asked (and that had been asked of you previously), presumably through oversight on your part:
    Do you believe that we have freewill?
    If you could please answer, that would be most decent of you.
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Look what you wrote there. The cards are never incorrect, the reader can be.

    What you've done there is to remove any chance of actually testing whether cards work or not. Because if the cards predict something that is true, then the cards work. And if the cards predict something that isn't true, well then the cards still work, but the reader made some kind of error.

    In other words, its impossible even in principle to falsify your claim that tarot cards "work". No evidence could ever conceivably show the claim that the cards work to be false.

    Nothing in science is like this. Even for the best scientific theories - in fact especially for the best scientific theories - there are always tests that can be done that could prove the theory to be wrong.

    It might help to think of this is terms of risk. Every time you throw a ball in the air, the theory of gravity is at risk, because if the ball doesn't fall down again then the theory of gravity is wrong. In comparison, what risk do your tarot cards take? None. They could never be wrong, no matter what happened.

    Another problem with tarot cards is that they don't speak clearly for themselves, do they? Somebody always has to interpret the meaning the cards supposedly show, in terms of the question asked of them. For example, the Death card might be said to predict change. But change in what? It could be anything. And, let's face it, change happens all the time anyway. It's a fact of life. So, what will a reader do when she gets the Death card? She will inevitably read it as predicting change, relevant to some aspect of the person or situation that she is using the cards to interrogate. To be on the safe side, usually the specific reading will be vague and qualified. Things will change, but the cards won't predict whether they will change for better or worse, for instance. But either way, the cards are guaranteed to be right. And, if they turn out to be wrong in some sense, then that's the reader's fault, not the cards' fault.

    Not surprising, really, when you think about it.

    The cards are all vague. They must be interpreted and they can be interpreted in many different ways. If you're focusing on something that is likely to change in your life and you turn up Death, then you'll think about the ways that the thing you're thinking about could change.

    In this sense, the cards may lead you to think about things in particular ways, but that's all you're doing - thinking about things. The cards aren't doing anything magical.

    Is it possible that a human could be mistaken in thinking that the cards work?

    Yes. It's much easier to retro-dict than to pre-dict. When you're looking back in hindsight, you already know how things turned out, so you know how you should have read the cards. The cards can't ever be wrong, by assumption, so you conclude that you were wrong.

    This is a good example of revising things in hindsight. The cards are, of course, far too vague to say anything about a pregnancy directly and clearly. They must be interpreted. And, when the interpretation turns out not to match the facts later on, we'd never blame the cards, because we know the cards don't lie. Therefore, the reader is at fault, as usual.

    In other words, you do whatever is necessary to maintain in your mind the believe that the cards "work", no matter what. Twist the story until it fits the facts. Revise the prediction if it doesn't fit. And so on.

    Some people are very skillful in terms of their "intuition" - so much so that sometimes it can seem like magic to other people, and even to themselves. But it can be that they are simply socially aware of subtle signs and signals that people give off all the time, and/or they are experienced and knowledgeable about how things tend to pan out for people in specific situations. And so on.

    Can you see in your own explanation here that you're giving the cards a lot of leeway. They could mean this. They could mean that. It all depends. It depends on the question asked. It depends on your intention. And so on and so forth. And if things don't work out, then it must have been a bad reading, and you can think of lots of reasons that could happen.

    It's very easy to get the impression that it works. For one thing, you tend to remember the hits and forget the misses. You don't keep a record of all the times you "messed up" a reading and things turned out to be wrong. But you always remember the times when the reading got it perfectly, amazingly right. And if, in a session, you make 40 different predictions about things, and two or three of those turn out to be exactly right, then you (and the person you're reading for) will forget the 38 "off" predictions in a second and remember just those two or three "amazingly" correct ones.

    A common example given of this kind of stuff is that weird feeling you get that your Mum is going to phone you, then the phone rings and - what do you know? - it's your Mum. The problem is, nobody remembers all the times they got a weird feeling that Mum would call and then ... she didn't. And besides, most people know their Mum pretty well. They know when she's most likely to call.
  19. birch Valued Senior Member

    Okay, this all sounds rational but the cards dont work the way you think. Its a medium for something to communicate through. You are uniformly creating parameters that are unrealistic though conveniently neat. Its like saying all the people on this forum must be the same and must answer questions in the exact same manner using the same style, wording, examples etc. They may give the same answer but differently still. So thats where the reader can tell. I have asked cards the same question which it answered several times with the same answer repeatedly but not exactly the same way but the answer basically was.

    You are right, there is no way to prove or disprove because especially the type of rules you have for proof which really chop the proof in this situation.

    This is something that i cant convince you of. Some may think people see what they imagine or want to see in the cards whereas i think you or those who dont see or recognize outside of these parameters are the ones who really are not seeing. Its like colorblindness. People's brains are programmed or wired to operate and notice certain things to another consider unreal.
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    I'm not saying that there's nothing "in" tarot reading. I'm just suggesting to you that, perhaps, what seems like the mystical powers of the tarot cards could be, in fact, a well-developed emotional/social intuition of the reader. I'm also suggesting that neither the reader nor the cards always get things right - the reader is only human so that is to be expected - but it's silly to believe that the "fault" is entirely and always in the human and never in the cards.

    Again, it's not surprising to me that you can ask the same question several times and get "the same answer" with different cards. The cards are vague enough that you may be able to work out ways to make them say what you want them to, consciously or otherwise. In fact, if you really believe in them, then your smart mind will go to some lengths to make things seem to "fit" nicely.

    Anyway, just something to think about.
  21. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    A simple question, that you seem to continually overlook, for which I would appreciate an answer:
    Do you believe that we have freewill?
    If you could please answer, that would be most decent of you.
  22. darksidZz Valued Senior Member

    They don't predict they future, they exist in multi-time. They simply convey what they know. Tarot is based on mystical tree of life, it is a living thing
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Goal accomplished: split into a woo forum.

    Carry on.

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