Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Pushing it too far

Now if you have been talking about TV this week the chances are you have been talking about Derren Brown and his lottery trick. Last week live on TV he put together a show where he proclaimed to have managed to predict all six lottery numbers that were going to be drawn. On the show you saw a set of balls on screen but could not see the numbers and then after the lottery had happened Derren turned them around and they did in fact match the lottery numbers that were shown, however this doesn’t mean he predicted them.

Regardless of whatever technique you were to use to predict the lottery numbers the percentage chance you had of predicting them all correctly would still remain the same which is approx 1 in 14 million as there are that many different combinations that can come out. However Derren’s show was crafted so well that he got many people believing he had actually predicted the numbers.

This isn’t the first stunt Derren has pulled, over the last few years he had done Russian Roulette and a show on mind control how he managed to get people to do things they wouldn’t normally do. Now both of these tricks might like his recent stunt be fixed but these two were plausible that he could actually pull them off, with Russian Roulette you never have a worse than fifty percent chance of getting it wrong and the idea that you could through the art of suggestion get someone to do something is again very plausible. However with the lottery stunt I think he has tried to push the envelope too far and it has come unbelievable.

In the human spirit there I something that wants to believe that there is someone out there that could do something amazing and we would all love to be able to predict the lottery which is where Derren gets his fan base. I think if Derren tries too many of these stunts, too often I think he will lose any credibility he has. In my opinion Derren is a great TV presenter an a great illusionist but as for having the powers he proclaims I’m not too sure, I will however give him one thing he is great at getting people talking and if this show has caused people to try their hand at maths and problem solving to try and prove or disprove his trick it will have done something good.

I think it is a wise lesson for young people to learn from Derren Brown that if you push things too far that you may become unstuck so always be sure to think about what you are going to do and your next move before you do it because as soon as you lose your credibility then you’ve got problems.

Adam Sibley
Founder of the Talented Young People organisation
"Envisage it, Believe it, Achieve it!"
”Shaking up the Youth of Today”

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