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Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl Sloan

Discussions about the James Randi Educational Foundation and its Million Dollar Challenge.

Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl Sloan

Postby Scepcop » 03 Oct 2010, 23:03

Here Darryl Sloan explains why he thinks the JREF Challenge doesn't mean anything. He addresses the question that his fans posed to him, "why don't you take the Randi challenge?" and points out that JREF followers have an irrational faith based belief that Rand is true, honest and objective, even though they really don't know that for a certainty and just take his word for it. In reality it is really faith based. Excellent point.



Here Darryl Sloan calmly expresses his disgust with the Randi crowd and their attacks on his telekinesis experiments. Wow look how rational he is. The part where he says that the paradigm of the skeptics is that "The known laws of physics are the ONLY reality" is spot on and so true.



Check out Darryl's many other brilliant skeptical critical thinking and truth seeking videos on his YouTube channel at:

http://www.youtube.com/darrylsloan
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby RIZLA » 05 Oct 2010, 08:59

A few minutes in I find this..

I don't really subscribe to the view that there is the normal and the paranormal. I just think that there is one coherent multi dimensional reality.


A question for you Louis.
Are you of the opinion that raving lunatics exist?
If the answer is yes, could you name one please. ie, who in your opinion is a complete irredeemable headcase. Name one such character and tell me why in your opinion he's a headcase.

If the answer is no, then we have a problem.
Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
-- Homer Simpson
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby Scepcop » 07 Oct 2010, 02:52

RIZLA wrote:A few minutes in I find this..

I don't really subscribe to the view that there is the normal and the paranormal. I just think that there is one coherent multi dimensional reality.


A question for you Louis.
Are you of the opinion that raving lunatics exist?
If the answer is yes, could you name one please. ie, who in your opinion is a complete irredeemable headcase. Name one such character and tell me why in your opinion he's a headcase.

If the answer is no, then we have a problem.


Sure I'll name one.

YOU!

A sane person would assess the video rationally and intelligently. Not the way you did.
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby PsiSearch » 27 Nov 2010, 14:52

Yeah. I can't believe Darryl is so well known on this site too! I've spoken to Darryl on many occasions and free times about the claims that the pseudo-skeptics put on about Psi being fake. And, his "Telekinesis & Occult dangers" and how he's correcting the Christians on how they're saying Psi is of the "Devil". I'm more mad at the Christians on how they're saying Psi is evil, when their book says nothing about it. And, skeptics say Psi is fake because there is no book or bias of Psi or the paranormal.
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby Scepcop » 28 Nov 2010, 03:14

Well not exactly on this site. Only I know him and correspond with him. So you're a fan of his too? Wow that's neat. What a small world. lol

His videos really go deep. You have to listen to him for a while to know what I mean. People like him are the epitome of "truth seeker". One tell tale sign of a truth seeker is that he is always asking questions, good ones too. Non truth-seekers who think they know it all don't do that. They declare and prosecute or deliver proclamations, rather than ask the big questions.
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby Scepcop » 29 Nov 2010, 01:27

http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/ ... oblem.html

The Problem with James Randi

And his foundation on the paranormal, pseudoscientific and supernatural

by Skylaire Alfvegren

Dogmatists of any stripe are fundamentally wounded, whether they're Islamic terrorists, Christian abortion-clinic bombers or magicians with an axe to grind.

Picture this: A little boy with an imagination and a sense of wonder begins futzing with a deck of cards, sleight of hand ... as that boy delves deeper into magic, it's revealed to be nothing more than a world of smoke and mirrors, of "cons" and "marks." Stage magicians, like lawyers and secret agents, make a living from deception, so perhaps they assume everyone else does, as well. From that perspective, the connection between stage magic and skepticism makes sense.

What's more important, what science knows or what it doesn't (yet)? What's more beneficial to scientific inquiry, an open mind or a sense of self-importance? These are questions that beg to be asked of the skeptical movement, which convenes in Las Vegas this weekend for The Amazing Meeting, a benefit for the James Randi Educational Foundation. (The conference takes place at the Stardust and features Murray Gell-Mann, Nadine Strossen, the Mythbusters, Penn & Teller, Mac King, Jamy Ian Swiss, Phil Plait, Julia Sweeney, and Michael Shermer.) After all, while it's true that opportunists profit from the murky worlds of the paranormal and the unknown, and that some people will believe anything, it's also true that scientists have falsified data to get grants or overlooked inconvenient phenomenon to maintain the status quo in their field.

Well, as iconoclastic writer Charles Fort once noted, "Witchcraft always has a hard time, until it becomes established and changes its name."

But let's not generalize. Let's examine the contributions made by Randi, the skeptical movement's leading figure, to science and objective thought.

Randi can be eloquent and is quite the showman; he is also wildly intelligent—he got a MacArthur genius grant in 1986. But according to his detractors, Randi's main qualities are his malice and hypocrisy. He's hell-bent on tearing apart anyone he deems a kook, including distinguished scientists and Nobel Prize-winners. This is amusing, as Randi has no scientific credentials whatsoever (although he did once write an astrology column for a Canadian tabloid and host a paranormal-themed radio show).

In 1997, Randi threatened to fly to Sri Lanka to persuade Arthur C. Clarke to stop advocating cold fusion. (Clarke, a genuine scientific visionary, inventor of the communication satellite and award-winning author, received degrees, with honors, in physics and mathematics.) In 2001, on a BBC Radio program, Randi attacked Brian Josephson, Nobel Prize-winner and professor of physics at Cambridge University.

Why? Josephson was interested in the possible connections between quantum physics and consciousness. Randi also has a penchant for lawsuits—he once tried to sue a writer known for covering the UFO beat, simply because he printed some unflattering but verifiable information about the magician. Randi left the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) because of all the litigation against him.

Charismatic psychic Uri Geller, whose abilities have been tested by a number of prestigious laboratories, has probably been Randi's biggest target. In the process of attempting to discredit the psychic, Randi has also attacked institutions, like Stanford, intrigued by Geller's alleged abilities. He defamed two eminent scientists, Harold Puthoff and Russell Targ, calling them "incompetent." At the time, author Robert Anton Wilson wryly observed, "Randi was not there, yet he claims to know what was going on [during the experiment] better than the two scientists who were supervising it. The only way he could know better ... is if he had 100 percent accurate telepathy."

Randi is probably best known for his infamous million-dollar challenge to "any person or persons who can demonstrate any psychic, supernatural or paranormal ability of any kind" under what Randi refers to as "satisfactory observing conditions."

Ray Hyman, a leading Fellow of CSICOP, has pointed out that Randi's challenge is illegitimate from a scientific standpoint. "Scientists don't settle issues with a single test ... Proof in science happens through replication." If Randi's challenge was legitimate, he would set up a double-blind experiment which he himself wouldn't judge. But considering his hostility toward scientists receptive to paranormal phenomena, this doesn't seem likely. His "challenge" is rigged, yet he can crow that his prize goes unclaimed because paranormal phenomena simply does not exist.

Compare this outlook to the philosophy adopted by followers of Charles Fort. Forteans (a term coined by screenwriter Ben Hecht, who, along with Theodore Dreiser, H.L. Mencken and Oliver Wendell Holmes, was a member of the original Fortean Society, formed upon Fort's death in 1932) entertain the notion that anything is possible until proven otherwise.

Some are scientists, some are street musicians. They are neither gullible nor pompous, neither "true believers" in — nor coldly dismissive of—anything. And they have a sense of humor largely missing from Randi's crowd.

"In and of itself," says a man once denigrated by the skeptical movement, "skepticism has made no actual contribution to science, just as music reviews in the newspaper make no contribution to the art of composition."

The universe is full of mystery, as well as charlatans. It is up to the individual to weigh evidence objectively. Just don't use your intuition to do so, or you could be the skeptics' next target.

This article appeared in Lasvegasweekly.com, 26th January 2006
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby Arouet » 29 Nov 2010, 04:49

Scepcop, people like you and the author of this article spend more time thinking about James Randi than any skeptic ever could!

I won't comment on most of that. Just a quick point that neither Randi, nor JREF has said that the MDC is science. It draws on scientific principles but Randi and DJ Groethe (current president of JREF) have both been very explicit that the MDC is not science. You can listen to DJ's interview on Skeptiko if you doubt this.

The MDC is a primarily a promotional tool, and an outstandingly successful one. But its a straw man to attack it as anything but that. (and yes, if a skeptic tries to claim its science, they are also wrong).
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby derrida » 29 Nov 2010, 05:58

i find it hilarious that believers spent that much time trashing randi instead of providing with studies that support their delusions.
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby VAWT » 02 Dec 2010, 10:50

Arouet wrote:Scepcop, people like you and the author of this article spend more time thinking about James Randi than any skeptic ever could!

I won't comment on most of that. Just a quick point that neither Randi, nor JREF has said that the MDC is science. It draws on scientific principles but Randi and DJ Groethe (current president of JREF) have both been very explicit that the MDC is not science. You can listen to DJ's interview on Skeptiko if you doubt this.

The MDC is a primarily a promotional tool, and an outstandingly successful one. But its a straw man to attack it as anything but that. (and yes, if a skeptic tries to claim its science, they are also wrong).


If the MDC isn't based on Science then what's the point of promoting it as such? See Victor Zammit knows Randi doesn't have to play fair.
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby Arouet » 02 Dec 2010, 11:31

VAWT wrote:If the MDC isn't based on Science then what's the point of promoting it as such? See Victor Zammit knows Randi doesn't have to play fair.


I don't believe he does promote it as science. He draws on scientific principles in the testing and setting up protocols, but he has never said that its science propper.

Ok, I hope this will put this issue to bed. There's a relatively new podcast called Meet the Skeptics. Each week, the host interviews a well-known skeptic. The pilot episode features an interview with James Randi.

I'm going to type out a short excerpt about Randi's view of the MDC: It starts around 3:55

Q: I couldn't have been much older than 10 when I saw you on TV holding out a $10,000 cheque. And that stuck with me for the rest of my life. I'll never forget when that got held out I thought to myself - that's the debate - Cause who could say no to that?

A: Well, a lot of people do say no to that. They say it's a theatrical stunt which I freely admit it is a theatrical stunt, but it has its place, it has accomplished at least to bring some doubt into some of the believers minds as to why these million dollars have not been snapped up.



Putting aside all the other issues around the MDC, this makes clear Randi's position that the MDC is NOT science and is a publicity stunt. One can approve or disapprove of that stunt, but decrying it as not science is a straw man, at least as far as Randi and the JREF go.

You can find the podcast at:
http://web.me.com/chris.teedandbrown/Me ... Randi.html
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby VAWT » 03 Dec 2010, 09:09

derrida wrote:i find it hilarious that believers spent that much time trashing randi instead of providing with studies that support their delusions.


So their studies are delusional? I had a chat the other night with a woman called Mary Rodwell and she believes the reason why people clam up is due to the constant ridicule from closed minded debunkers.
Mary Rodwell listens to people who say they have had close encounters or abductions from Aliens. She doesn't laugh in their faces.
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby Arouet » 03 Dec 2010, 09:12

He put it indelicately, but derrida was referring to the fact that the proponents on this site seem to spend more time bashing randi than reading actually parapsychological studies which ostensibly could support that psi exists.
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby really? » 03 Dec 2010, 23:48

VAWT wrote:
derrida wrote:i find it hilarious that believers spent that much time trashing randi instead of providing with studies that support their delusions.


So their studies are delusional? I had a chat the other night with a woman called Mary Rodwell and she believes the reason why people clam up is due to the constant ridicule from closed minded debunkers.
Mary Rodwell listens to people who say they have had close encounters or abductions from Aliens. She doesn't laugh in their faces.


The word delusion referring to self deception is a real possibility.
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby derrida » 04 Dec 2010, 02:26

Arouet wrote:He put it indelicately, but derrida was referring to the fact that the proponents on this site seem to spend more time bashing randi than reading actually parapsychological studies which ostensibly could support that psi exists.


exactly
i am sorry i am not politically correct

i should´ve said.. instead of bashing randi, why dont you go ahead and find information about the things you believe in?
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Re: Why faith in the Randi Challenge is irrational- Darryl S

Postby Arouet » 04 Dec 2010, 05:15

Incidentally, I've picked up a copy of The Concious Universe by Dean Radin. We'll see what he has to say.
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