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James Randi Is A Pompous Twit


euphgeek
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Sorry for the provocative title, but I just had to get this off my chest. I was recently pointed to this article from another site in which Randi gloats about how James van Praagh refuses to take his million dollar challenge. My response to that is that if I was a psychic, I wouldn't want to be tested by Randi either. The million dollar challenge just seems to be some gimmick so he can go around smugly declaring how right he is, just like Kent Hovind with his evolution challenge. It's one thing to suggest better controls for scientific experiments, but to declare all scientific experiments that suggested psychic abilities might be real as frauds is the height of arrogance. It's fine if he doesn't want to believe in psychic abilities and it's good that he wants to expose real frauds but he's turning people off with his attitude and making himself look like some religious nutjob who has a bone to pick with those who are not of his religion.

 

Furthermore, it puzzles me how atheists just eat it all up. For a group of people who say they prefer science over religion, they sure do like Randi's decidedly non-scientific approach. He starts with the conclusion that all psychic abilities are fake and then looks for ways to prove it, including harassing well-known psychics who may or may not be actual frauds. But he'll never find out the scientific way, he'll just dangle that million dollars out there and declare that because nobody has ever won it that that must mean that psychic abilities don't exist, an approach known as "denying the antecedent."

 

The posters on his site are not any better. Their posts consist of either blind praise for Randi or vapid things such as, "I predicted the sun would rise in the east, million dollars please. Hurr hurr." Not a single one of them stops to think how illogical and unscientific the whole approach is.

 

In conclusion, I couldn't care less whether or not Randi or anyone else believes in psychic abilities. He is well within his rights not to. And as I said above, I applaud his efforts to bring better controls to scientific experiments and expose charlatans. But nobody should mistake his approach for being scientific or proving anything. Randi is a magician, not a scientist.

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James Randi Is A Pompous Twit, pretty much sums him up for me.

His offering a million dollars to prove what he claims psychics disprove through cold readings, etc... just makes him look foolish. Like the psychiatrist in that video said, Randi's mind is already made up so he'd not be persuaded to change his point of view if someone proved they were indeed psychic. He'd find some out he could live with to make himself look good in taking that evidence to task.

 

Just like in the birthday hit that the one medium made, in the video. How Randi discounted it and then said he'd have to take the tape of that home and analyze it and get back with the show host with his results. That small part alone, about the birthday hit, was the one thing that showed Randi to be exactly what you describe as the whole package. A Pompous Twit.

 

If all psychics are 'probably' frauds, it's interesting that he obsesses over proving it When really, it only looks like he's a desperate old man trying to remain relevant in media.

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Exactly. Even if I believed the same way Randi did, I'd still be turned off by his fanatically religious viewpoint and his overbearingly pompous personality. I looked up that video you referenced. JVP was right, Randi doesn't know how mediumship works. I think Randi expects any proof he sees to look like an episode of Dragonball Z or Bleach and that's just not going to happen.

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The reason Randi and other magicians have it in for "psychics" is that much like Houdini's campaign to expose spirit mediums; we know it is done by trickery. I have passed as a psychic (I've reformed) and I know dozens of other magicians who make a living on TV, radio and with private clientele by pretending to have "powers." You would recognize some of the names of these "real psychics." I have attended lectures, workshops and seminars with them, and I only divulge this because I think is is wrong to mislead people that way. It opens the door to abuse and excess when a client gets desperate.

 

Magicians regularly fool scientists with their trickery, but self proclaimed psychics don't fool magicians. If I could actually bend a spoon with my mind I would certainly claim the prize money, but Randi and his cohorts would surely figure out my method and duplicate it. Hurkos, Geller, and other high profile "psychics" have been caught cheating many times in the past, and the current crop of miracle workers are no different. Yet, people still have the need to believe. They even make up excuses for why no "real" psychics accept the challenge.

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Let's see. A million bucks for verifiable evidence of psychic abilities., with no risk on the part of the claimant. I don't see the twit part. Sounds like another bullshit psyshic blowing smoke to me.

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The reason Randi and other magicians have it in for "psychics" is that much like Houdini's campaign to expose spirit mediums; we know it is done by trickery. I have passed as a psychic (I've reformed) and I know dozens of other magicians who make a living on TV, radio and with private clientele by pretending to have "powers." You would recognize some of the names of these "real psychics." I have attended lectures, workshops and seminars with them, and I only divulge this because I think is is wrong to mislead people that way. It opens the door to abuse and excess when a client gets desperate.

 

Magicians regularly fool scientists with their trickery, but self proclaimed psychics don't fool magicians. If I could actually bend a spoon with my mind I would certainly claim the prize money, but Randi and his cohorts would surely figure out my method and duplicate it. Hurkos, Geller, and other high profile "psychics" have been caught cheating many times in the past, and the current crop of miracle workers are no different. Yet, people still have the need to believe. They even make up excuses for why no "real" psychics accept the challenge.

 

Let's accept your premise that since scientists have been fooled by magicians, that makes them unqualified to investigate psychic phenomena. What other areas would that extend to? Since scientists are unable to detect fraud, how do we know that evolution is real? Perhaps they've just been fooled all this time by a clever hoax and we need to get some magicians to investigate before we believe in it. In fact, let's get magicians to investigate every single scientific theory or discovery just to make sure the scientists are not all being duped somehow. Or does the trickery only count for psychic and other paranormal phenomena? If so, that would be called "special pleading."

 

So you've passed as a psychic and have known magicians who pretend to have powers? Now is that really proof that psychic powers don't exist, or rather is it proof that some people try to fool other people for entertainment (or even fraudulent) purposes? I'll admit there are a lot of frauds who claim to be psychic, and as I said in my first comment, I have no problem with Randi working to expose them. The famous psychics you mentioned may or may not be frauds but I'm not going to trust Randi's word on it. Randi is guilty of what many other pseudoskeptics are, which is confirmation bias.

 

As for his million dollar challenge, there's no reason to make up excuses when absolutely no one has even passed the preliminaries to even compete for it (at least the last time I checked). If I were trying to compete and was disqualified even before I could even show my ability, I'd ignore any further challenge from him, too. Of course Randi claims that people who do that are "running away" and uses that as "proof" that the person is a fraud.

 

I don't know if psychic powers really exist or not. I've had experiences that strongly suggest that they do, but I'm willing to be convinced either way.

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Let's see. A million bucks for verifiable evidence of psychic abilities., with no risk on the part of the claimant. I don't see the twit part. Sounds like another bullshit psyshic blowing smoke to me.

 

Of course. No need to investigate on your own to verify. Just accept the fact that nobody has ever claimed the million dollars as proof that no psychic abilities exist. The same way Kent Hovind knows that evolution doesn't exist.

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Let's see. A million bucks for verifiable evidence of psychic abilities., with no risk on the part of the claimant. I don't see the twit part. Sounds like another bullshit psyshic blowing smoke to me.

 

Of course. No need to investigate on your own to verify. Just accept the fact that nobody has ever claimed the million dollars as proof that no psychic abilities exist. The same way Kent Hovind knows that evolution doesn't exist.

 

We have volumes, nay libraries full of evidence for evolution. Can you please point me toward the legitimate evidence for bona fide psychic ability? I really would be interested to see it. Honestly, I've been searching and they always seem to come up as frauds.

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Let's see. A million bucks for verifiable evidence of psychic abilities., with no risk on the part of the claimant. I don't see the twit part. Sounds like another bullshit psyshic blowing smoke to me.

 

Of course. No need to investigate on your own to verify. Just accept the fact that nobody has ever claimed the million dollars as proof that no psychic abilities exist. The same way Kent Hovind knows that evolution doesn't exist.

 

We have volumes, nay libraries full of evidence for evolution. Can you please point me toward the legitimate evidence for bona fide psychic ability? I really would be interested to see it. Honestly, I've been searching and they always seem to come up as frauds.

 

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Let's see. A million bucks for verifiable evidence of psychic abilities., with no risk on the part of the claimant. I don't see the twit part. Sounds like another bullshit psyshic blowing smoke to me.

 

Of course. No need to investigate on your own to verify. Just accept the fact that nobody has ever claimed the million dollars as proof that no psychic abilities exist. The same way Kent Hovind knows that evolution doesn't exist.

 

We have volumes, nay libraries full of evidence for evolution. Can you please point me toward the legitimate evidence for bona fide psychic ability? I really would be interested to see it. Honestly, I've been searching and they always seem to come up as frauds.

 

Are you sure you've searched? Because just a cursory search would show the ganzfeld experiments. But my point was that for someone who claims to be an atheist as par4dcourse does, who presumably prefers the scientific approach, he seems to accept the fact that a monetary reward hasn't been claimed as proof that psychic abilities don't exist, rather than researching on his own. I challenge anyone to be skeptical toward their own beliefs and assumptions and research things with an open mind, which is how science is supposed to work.

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What experience have you had that suggests psychic powers are real?

I have gotten readings from psychics who were dead on with things from my past that could not be explained by cold reading or guessing, even after I was very careful not to reveal any information about myself beforehand. I was, after all, very skeptical (as I still am) and wanted to see if this was for real. I've also tried developing my own psychic abilities and was able to produce hits for other people that had nothing to do with anything I noticed about them.

 

Ironically enough, the better someone knows me (like my wife who has developed her own psychic abilities or her friends) the worse the psychic reading seems to get. So...I dunno. :)

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I don't know. That just doesn't seem very impressive when compared with the amount of time and money that was spent in the 20th century to prove this stuff. I don't think scientists are sufficiently biased that they wouldn't be able to see evidence if parapsychology was real. It seems like there are better explanations than parapsychology for what you have experienced. Einstein was able to predict light bending around the gravitational well of the Sun, something that would have been impossible in Newtonian physics. What has parapsychology produced? Anything of that scale would have been undeniable and you wouldn't be in a minority position on the matter.

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I don't know. That just doesn't seem very impressive when compared with the amount of time and money that was spent in the 20th century to prove this stuff. I don't think scientists are sufficiently biased that they wouldn't be able to see evidence if parapsychology was real. It seems like there are better explanations than parapsychology for what you have experienced. Einstein was able to predict light bending around the gravitational well of the Sun, something that would have been impossible in Newtonian physics. What has parapsychology produced? Anything of that scale would have been undeniable and you wouldn't be in a minority position on the matter.

 

So a subjective term like "impressive" is what we should use to determine whether something exists? Likewise what a certain thing has produced? Whatever happened to, "This phenomenon occurred, I can't completely explain it with conventional methods, therefore let's research it further" type of thinking? And it's not really a question of scientists being biased against it. But since parapsychology produces few (if any) things of material value, not many people are willing to put the time and effort into it. And it's admittedly hard to pin down, since it rarely leaves behind physical evidence. If it does exist, there would likely have to be a new paradigm in science to research it more effectively.

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In fact, let's get magicians to investigate every single scientific theory or discovery just to make sure the scientists are not all being duped somehow.

I shared the facts that I'm aware of and drew inferences from those facts. If the quoted sentence is what you got out of that, I'll just give up now.

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In fact, let's get magicians to investigate every single scientific theory or discovery just to make sure the scientists are not all being duped somehow.

I shared the facts that I'm aware of and drew inferences from those facts. If the quoted sentence is what you got out of that, I'll just give up now.

You said, "Magicians regularly fool scientists with their trickery, but self proclaimed psychics don't fool magicians." Thus implying that magicians are much more qualified to detect fraud than scientists are. I just took that statement to its logical conclusion. Do you see how it could be seen as special pleading if you don't apply that to all other scientific research?

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If the paranormal were proven to be empiracally true.... I think it would cause nearly all science texts to be seen as rediculous.

Not necessarily. New discoveries do not necessarily negate old ones. Besides, no scientific discovery has ever been based on the paranormal not existing. But even if it did, are we to ignore any new discovery just because it might overturn current scientific thought? That's not science, that's religion.

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I think pink unicorns exist- I saw one once. And ya'll are a bunch of closed-minded zealots if you refuse to consider the possibility.

And here comes the ridicule. So you don't think that science should investigate a phenomena that has happened to many credible people? Or are you just unwilling to challenge your own beliefs? Either way, that's not very scientific.

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... Yet, people still have the need to believe. They even make up excuses for why no "real" psychics accept the challenge.

 

That's exactly what keeps psychics in business. And interestingly enough given the theme of our forum here, religion.

 

Jesus was the great magician. Changing water into wine was an old trick even in ancient Palestine. The myth of Jesus speaks to the slave. The religion of the slaves, as early Christianity was known. Teaching the believer in it that while oppressed and besieged by all things in this life, fear not, simply believe in a savior from it. And when that slave dies, they will be better people. They shall walk streets of gold, live in celestial mansions, never thirst, never hunger, never die.

 

The need to believe in something greater. Someone who knows more. (Psychics) Someone who can make peace with one's own guilt for missing the opportunities with their now departed loved one's (Mediums).

 

How do you know the psychic you're talking to is a fake?

 

Because when you meet them they ask your name. ;)

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I don't know. That just doesn't seem very impressive when compared with the amount of time and money that was spent in the 20th century to prove this stuff. I don't think scientists are sufficiently biased that they wouldn't be able to see evidence if parapsychology was real. It seems like there are better explanations than parapsychology for what you have experienced. Einstein was able to predict light bending around the gravitational well of the Sun, something that would have been impossible in Newtonian physics. What has parapsychology produced? Anything of that scale would have been undeniable and you wouldn't be in a minority position on the matter.

 

So a subjective term like "impressive" is what we should use to determine whether something exists? Likewise what a certain thing has produced? Whatever happened to, "This phenomenon occurred, I can't completely explain it with conventional methods, therefore let's research it further" type of thinking? And it's not really a question of scientists being biased against it. But since parapsychology produces few (if any) things of material value, not many people are willing to put the time and effort into it. And it's admittedly hard to pin down, since it rarely leaves behind physical evidence. If it does exist, there would likely have to be a new paradigm in science to research it more effectively.

Seriously, is that the best you can do to defend it? Millions of dollars and thousands or more was spent researching this stuff, especially around the 60's and 70's. It came up empty. When I weigh that against your experience, then yes, your experience doesn't strike me as being very "impressive". As for unexplained phenomena, what unexplained phenomena? It's only unexplained because you don't like the psychological/biological/physical explanation for it. Have one of these parapsychologists perform some replicable demonstration in a controlled environment with professional scientists and have the results published in a peer reviewed publication. I'll be "impressed" if it comes out positive for the reality of parapsychological claims. That's pretty fair and unbiased of me since I have similar expectations for any other scientific discovery.

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I think pink unicorns exist- I saw one once. And ya'll are a bunch of closed-minded zealots if you refuse to consider the possibility.

And here comes the ridicule. So you don't think that science should investigate a phenomena that has happened to many credible people? Or are you just unwilling to challenge your own beliefs? Either way, that's not very scientific.

Why do you assume actual phenomena has occured? Christians think their God is causing phenomena as well. I'm really struggling to believe your professed open skepticism regarding this matter.

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I think pink unicorns exist- I saw one once. And ya'll are a bunch of closed-minded zealots if you refuse to consider the possibility.

And here comes the ridicule. So you don't think that science should investigate a phenomena that has happened to many credible people? Or are you just unwilling to challenge your own beliefs? Either way, that's not very scientific.

 

Neither.

 

I think it's silly of you to expect people to be open-minded about something like psychic powers. Sillier still to take it personally.

 

Lots of people- myself included- will never take that sort of thing seriously unless/until we experience it ourselves. I don't think it's unreasonable to dismiss it as hocus-pocus bullshit (not saying I dismiss it entirely- just that it's not unreasonable to do so).

 

Now personally I'd love to have a paranormal experience. I'm a bit jealous of you 'cause shit like that NEVER happens to me. You could say that 'I want to believe' in an x-files sense... but if I'm honest with myself, I can't see any reason to 'believe' in most paranormal phenomena any more than I'd believe in a god.

 

James Randi may be a pompus twit- I wouldn't know 'cause I've never heard of him before. But surely you can understand why people would dismiss something like psychic abilities- it's something that never enters most peoples' reality.

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Let's see. A million bucks for verifiable evidence of psychic abilities., with no risk on the part of the claimant. I don't see the twit part. Sounds like another bullshit psyshic blowing smoke to me.

 

This. I don't blame James Randi for being confident in his debunking ability.

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