The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

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Joe Mckay
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Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby Joe Mckay » December 31st, 2018, 8:03 pm

We all know the brilliant bluff used in Al Koran's The Gold Medallion routine. It is the most famous piece of dual reality in mentalism.

I have always been fascinated by the ingenious linguistic deception that lies at the heart of this routine. With the correct presentation it is easy to be mislead into conflating the word "inscribed" with "engraved".

With that in mind - I want to see what others think of an unusual theory (conspiracy theory???) I have.

It is my contention that medicine has never actually cured anyone of a disease.

Instead - they eradicate diseases by developing vaccines. This means they can protect the healthy population from said disease. And once everyone suffering from that disease dies out - they can chalk it up as another victory to science.

The important point here is how easy it is to conflate the idea of eradicating and curing.

This eradicating/curing confusion is a linguistic trick that lies at the heart of modern medicine. People hear the word eradicate and assume it means the same as cure. But sadly it doesn't since you can eradicate a disease without actually curing anyone who suffers from it in the first place.

It is like "curing" poverty by simply shooting poor people.

Sure poverty is eradicated from society. But in doing so - not a single poor person is helped.

I am curious if others feel there is a parallel here between The Gold Medallion trick and modern medicine?

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erdnasephile
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Re: The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby erdnasephile » December 31st, 2018, 8:21 pm

It is an intriguing idea, but with greatest respect, my answer would have to be No.

Based on my first-hand experiences this week, I can personally verify that there are at least 3 people who will see the New Year who otherwise would not have because their condition was cured. No linguistic trickery involved.

Joe Mckay
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Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby Joe Mckay » December 31st, 2018, 8:32 pm

This "linguistic" trick is what lay behind the eradication of Smallpox. Which - I believe - was the biggest public health success of the past hundred years. Apparently it killed over 300 million people during the 20th century.

Nobody with Smallpox was cured. Instead - everyone else was vaccinated to stop it spreading. Or - to be more precise - enough people were vaccinated to stop the disease from continuing to spread. Once a certain proportion of a population is vaccinated - there are not enough potential hosts for a disease to continue spreading.

I am sure this is the approach that medicine takes (or is planning on taking) when it comes to other diseases as well.

Of course - this is a tremendously good thing on the whole. I just find it interesting that there is a parallel with the subtlety underpinning the Koran trick.

Note - I say idiotic things about 30% of the time I open my mouth. So there is a 2/3 chance that the above is baloney! :-)

Diego
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Re: The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby Diego » January 1st, 2019, 5:19 pm

To say medicine hasn't cured anyone is ridiculous. Different types of cancers that were once death sentences for many, are now
treated/removed every day.

The Koran Medallion: The use of words in the presentation is definitely a key factor. However I do remember when Al Koran
was on The Ed Sullivan Show, he did it for Ed who was impressed, and for the benefit(!) of the TV audience, he asked for
a camera to zoom in on the medallion that he was holding, so everyone could see it what was written/inscribed.

Bill Mullins
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Re: The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby Bill Mullins » January 1st, 2019, 7:52 pm

Joe Mckay wrote: It is my contention that medicine has never actually cured anyone of a disease.


Joe -- Antibiotics have cured many people of many diseases (for example, gonorrhea and other venereal diseases) .
Quinine and other anti-malarials have cured malaria patients.
Many cancer patients have been cured by chemotherapy.
Anti-fungals cure athlete's foot.

performer
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Re: The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby performer » January 1st, 2019, 8:24 pm

Diego wrote:To say medicine hasn't cured anyone is ridiculous. Different types of cancers that were once death sentences for many, are now
treated/removed every day.

The Koran Medallion: The use of words in the presentation is definitely a key factor. However I do remember when Al Koran
was on The Ed Sullivan Show, he did it for Ed who was impressed, and for the benefit(!) of the TV audience, he asked for
a camera to zoom in on the medallion that he was holding, so everyone could see it what was written/inscribed.


I expect this is the show you were talking about. Or maybe not since he does the trick for a member of the audience rather than Ed. And he doesn't get the camera to zoom in on anything. Perhaps he was appeared on the show on a different occasion?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WI7edJ9_KoE

I spent an evening with Koran once. He seemed to dislike magicians even more than I do! Very bitter indeed about them. As for the Medallion trick I decided to go against prevailing wisdom over this and got rid of the bloody box and just took the damn thing out of my pocket. It certainly made the whole thing a lot easier.

The weird thing is that not only did it not make the blindest bit of difference the reaction was better! Sometimes you have to think out of the box----- literally.............

Diego
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Re: The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby Diego » January 1st, 2019, 9:03 pm

Mark you seem to be right....the clip does seem like the appearance I saw, as I remember
the nice introduction Sullivan gave, but there are no camera zoom-ins for anything Koran does on this appearance.
Perhaps it was a different show and/or performer I was thinking of.

Good to know you are responsive and responding!

Diego
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Joined: June 16th, 2008, 11:29 am

Re: The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby Diego » January 1st, 2019, 9:09 pm

Koran would not be the first mentalist who had a disdain for some magicians, as some magicians do for
mentalists. Whether Koran had similar feelings for those who were successful professionals, might be another thing.

But these anti-mentalist, anti-magician attitudes have been going on for generations. Dunninger, Kreskin, and other successful mentalists,
often did not seek, or receive approval from the magic community.

Jonathan Townsend
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Re: The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 1st, 2019, 10:27 pm

Joe Mckay wrote:... mislead into conflating the word "inscribed" with "engraved".
Watching the clip - right before he had her look at the coin/medallion: sounds like "engraved". ??
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

performer
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Re: The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby performer » January 1st, 2019, 11:01 pm

Diego wrote:Koran would not be the first mentalist who had a disdain for some magicians, as some magicians do for
mentalists. Whether Koran had similar feelings for those who were successful professionals, might be another thing.

But these anti-mentalist, anti-magician attitudes have been going on for generations. Dunninger, Kreskin, and other successful mentalists,
often did not seek, or receive approval from the magic community.


Oh Koran was quite a magician himself. He did some terrific magic as well as mentalism. I got the impression it was nothing to do with that. It was a mixture of professional rivalry and irritation with some of the usual idiocy of certain amateur magicians. I remember he was furious with Bill Stickland for exposing his tricks to the nightclub hostesses and was very rude about David Berglas.

He was very rude and condescending to me also. Believe it or not I was very quiet and shy at the time so I didn't answer him back.

I only saw him work on television and he was always pleasant and courteous to his volunteers on those shows. However, I understand that he could be very aggressive in tough venues. In fact I still remember working at the Brig House Theatre Club where Koran had worked previously and a member of the audience told me after my show that Koran was so rude to him that he complained and got him banned from the club.

I very much appreciated him as a performer though. Oddly the best two things I saw him do were not mentalism but magic. He did a terrific 3 shell game as I recall. However, the best thing I ever saw him do is described in Ganson's Routined Manipulation (I think the Finale one). It is called "Hanky Panky". Reading in print is one thing but seeing it in performance is quite another. A terrific routine. Oddly enough Koran was the only one I ever saw do it.

Joe Mckay
Posts: 1565
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
Location: Durham, England

Re: The Koran Medallion & Modern Medicine?

Postby Joe Mckay » January 2nd, 2019, 4:10 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Joe Mckay wrote:... mislead into conflating the word "inscribed" with "engraved".
Watching the clip - right before he had her look at the coin/medallion: sounds like "engraved". ??

When performing on TV he used the word 'engraved' since he felt the spectator would be too nervous to correct him.


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