Denton's heated TV exchange with 'healer'
HE'S the seasoned interviewer known for getting guests to spill their secrets with his soft approach.
But things got testy between Andrew Denton and celebrity healer Charlie Goldsmith on Tuesday night's episode of Interview.
Australian-born Goldsmith claims to be able to heal the sick with his touch and last year landed a US TV deal and cable show The Healer.
Viewers too were unimpressed, with many quickly taking to Twitter to vent their anger.
The nephew of Olivia Newton-John, Goldsmith is the younger brother of actor Tottie Goldsmith and counts Miranda Kerr as a friend and client.
Goldsmith said his healing powers worked about "80 per cent" of the time and he has tried for the last 20 years to have his skills medically tested.
But Denton questioned why Goldsmith had chosen to take part in some tests conducted by academics who weren't from a scientific background.
He cited Goldsmith's decision to agree to a study by a University of Arizona professor who believes in ghosts and is developing a "soul phone" to communicate with the dead.
"By associating yourself with people who are either ill-equipped or highly unlikely to view you critically, doesn't it bring into question your claim you want to be seriously assessed?" Denton asked.
But Goldsmith disagreed, likening it to how people analyse sport.
"If this was anything else, that wouldn't be a criticism, if we were studying tennis and the …" he said, before Denton interrupted him.
"Hang on, this is an entirely relevant criticism, because what you're claiming to do, is mysterious and unknowable and almost impossible to measure," Denton said.
"And what he is interested in are things that are mysterious and unknown and almost impossible to measure, so he is not an objective observer of what you do."
Goldsmith argued he didn't know the professor "well enough to defend him as much as I'd like to", but just because he was interested in ghosts "doesn't make it wrong" for the academic to test his claims.
"I would argue it makes him predisposed to want to show that you are right, as opposed to having a scientific, neutral, credible method," Denton countered.
"Which from your point of view as someone who wants to be credibly tested, which I think is admirable, I think is problematic … where you are talking and where you are walking, it's different places - you are talking you want credibility but you're not walking that space."
In response Goldsmith said he was interested in anyone wanting to study him, even if tests revealed he had nothing more than a placebo effect on his subjects.
"No it wouldn't be a bad thing, it would certainly counter my beliefs," Goldsmith said.
"But that's OK, like I am putting myself to do this test, like I don't have a choice what the outcomes are going to be."
Viewers were quick to respond with what they thought of Goldsmith's claims - and they didn't hold back, lashing Goldsmith for what they believed to be fake claims.
Some even questioned why Channel 7 and Denton were even giving Goldsmith airtime.
Whilst I'm sure Andrew Denton's intention is to take a sceptical approach to this guy the problem is it is drawing even more attention to him and will make people seek out "a miracle" that is based on nothing more than a placebo effect & hopes and wishes #InterviewAU— Colonel Kickhead (@colonelkickhead) 22 May 2018
A smaller number of viewers though took issue with Denton and the way he conducted the interview.
This #andrewdenton interview with the bloke who can “heal” people with his energy is brilliant. What a con-artist.— Steve Boylan (@StevieBoylan) 22 May 2018