But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (Bible, 2 Corinthians 12:9)
How many people would you have to get together in a room before it was likely that two of them shared the same birthday?…’Likely’ means ‘over 50 per cent probability’.
Would you believe that you need only twenty-three people to reach over 50 per cent probability?…The secret lies in the fact that we are talking of any birthday matching, not one specific birthday. What feels very unlikely may not be that rare an ocurrence.
(Derren Brown – Tricks of the Mind, pag 278)
Shown on 7 January 2005, Brown travelled to the United States to try to convince five leading figures that he had powers in their particular field of expertise: Christian evangelism, alien abduction, psychic powers, New Age theories and contacting the dead.
Using a false name each time, he succeeded in convincing all of the “experts” that he had powers, and four openly endorsed him as a true practitioner. The fifth expert, the Christian evangelist Curt Nordhielm, whilst impressed by Brown’s performance, asked to meet him again before giving an endorsement. The concept of the show was to highlight the power of suggestion with regard to beliefs and people’s abilities, and failure to question them. Brown made it quite clear with each experiment that if any of the subjects accused him of trickery he would immediately come clean about the whole thing, a rule similar to one of the self-imposed rules of the perpetrators of the Project Alpha hoax. His conclusion was that people tend to hear only things that support their own ideas and ignore contradictory evidence; this is known in psychology as confirmation bias. During the section concerned with religious belief, he ‘converted’ people to Christian belief with a touch. Afterwards, he ‘deprogrammed’ them of any such belief.