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Proof of the money

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

Re: Proof of the money

Postby Arouet » 08 Dec 2010, 13:55

Ugh: ok, you want to get into this? The old: JREF is a cult thing? So first of all, please give us your definition of cult and what characteristics you believe cults have. Feel free to make reference to known cults. Then demonstrate that JREF meets those characteristics.

As for scientific investigation: right now on the front page of the JREF paranormal forum there are active threads discussing Sheldrake's experiments and critique and Bem's recent paper. Dr. Alcock just published a paper on the site critiquing the latter study, as has Richard WIseman. Is this consistent with an organization that doesn't investigate parapsychology?
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Re: Proof of the money

Postby derrida » 08 Dec 2010, 14:06

mr. mike wrote:It does matter that JREF fosters a cult-like atmosphere because then it stops being a forum where things can be debated and devolves into a propaganda outfit. The same thing happened to CSICOP in the late 1970s and they have done no major investigatory work since. It also makes skepticism look bad if the group says "we are for expanding human knowledge" and yet they are unwilling to investigate or discuss paranormal things. I believe that the paranormal should be investigated scientifically, not quickly debunked and then ignored.

Yes, in working around the paranormal a college degree (preferrably one in the sciences) is a necessity. Randi may know how to defeat slight-of-hand tricks, but could he figure out how to debunk Zero Point Energy, Cold Fusion, or something more esoteric? I don't know. What I do know is that the guy is so dismissive of any claims he calls them "woo-woo", much like how Dr. Edwin U. Condon called UFOlogy "UFoology" (i.e. he considered it a waste of time.) As for the humiliation, Randi sometimes brings that on himself, as seen by the alleged "sex tapes" which I won't discuss because I don't care.

I don't hate James Randi; I just feel his personality gets in the way of his skepticism, so he moves goalposts, uses straw men, etc.


again..
present your proof for the paranormal..

i understand why believers hate randi
but i would rather see why you believe in what you believe
what´s your fix? ESP? UFOs? Healing Crystals?
just asking.
and could you point out why you believe in what you believe?
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Re: Proof of the money

Postby mr. mike » 08 Dec 2010, 14:57

@Arouet

I won't go down that route....I guess I should've narrowly defined how I used cult; "cult of personality" for how Randi is treated by the New Atheists/skeptics and "cult of management" for how Randi may or may not be influencing what is posted at the JREF website excluding the message board. I never claimed that "JREF is a propaganda outfit like CSICOP" only that it might become one if it does not allow debate. I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

@derrida

Did I say I believed I had proof of the paranormal? Or only that I wanted it studied scientifically? My question to you is, what do you believe in? Also, you claim I hate James Randi (because I'm a "believer") and yet in my previous post I said that I didn't hate Randi. I have to point out that calling an interest a "fix" means you are calling the person interested a junkie.
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Re: Proof of the money

Postby derrida » 09 Dec 2010, 04:07

mr. mike wrote:@Arouet
@derrida

Did I say I believed I had proof of the paranormal? Or only that I wanted it studied scientifically? My question to you is, what do you believe in? Also, you claim I hate James Randi (because I'm a "believer") and yet in my previous post I said that I didn't hate Randi. I have to point out that calling an interest a "fix" means you are calling the person interested a junkie.


sorry for my choice of words
so what do you believe should be explored scientifically in the paranormal?

by the way.. my fix is ESP, i would love it to be true
but there´s no proof for it, only a strong desire for it to be true.
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Re: Proof of the money

Postby VAWT » 21 Jan 2011, 23:52

Are the bonds worth a Million Dollars?
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Re: Proof of the money

Postby mr. mike » 24 Jan 2011, 05:54

Yes, that is what is claimed by a guy named Sean (aka "Peebrain") over at the Skeptical Investigations website. He tried to email Randi and his associate Mark Kramer back in 2005 and they gave him some hell, but in the end, Sean validated his claim that the million dollars is in bonds. I always though that it would be improbable that James Randi could scrape up $1,000,000 without it being bonds, which are just legally binding IOU notes. Randi claims that the money is "instantly available." The whole thing is over at:

http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/ ... lenge.html
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Re: Proof of the money

Postby Arouet » 24 Jan 2011, 06:13

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Re: Proof of the money

Postby mr. mike » 24 Jan 2011, 07:06

I've got a feeling you work for Randi.
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Re: Proof of the money

Postby Arouet » 24 Jan 2011, 08:23

mr. mike wrote:I've got a feeling you work for Randi.


lol, I think I should take that as a compliment. As it stands, I don't think I'd ever heard his name before a year and a half or so ago. And I've never met anyone in the various skeptical groups. I haven't even read much of Randi. I'm an avid podcast listener though and subscribe to most of the major skeptical ones, including some paranormal ones. I read a select number of JREF threads but spend far more time on Skeptiko.
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Re: Proof of the money

Postby mr. mike » 24 Jan 2011, 10:58

I read "Flim-Flam" years ago and I had seen him on television, and I read "Skeptical Enquirer" when it was still available at the library (budget cuts). . . .I admire his willingness to go after con men, and as Peter Popoff is back in action, it would be good to see him nail the guy again. He is much different than the scientist skeptics like Neil deGrasse Tyson or Carl Sagan; he has the missionary zeal to keep people away from things he sees as harmful. And that's where he falls down, because he comes across as angry that anyone could possibly believe in the mere possiblity of psychic abilities.
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Re: Proof of the money

Postby Arouet » 24 Jan 2011, 11:36

On the one hand I'm not a big fan of Randi's approach. I find him terribly rude and suspect that his approach will turn people off who might otherwise listen to him. Then again, the other side is that he's really managed to build a movement with that attitude. So I'm a bit divided. I rarely use his style, but maybe there is some role to it.

The funny thing is, he has achieved almost mystical villainy in the eyes of many proponents. They see him as their arch enemy, and almost satanic figure. I wonder why they give him such power...
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Re: Proof of the money

Postby mr. mike » 24 Jan 2011, 13:39

It fits in a dualistic worldview of Good vs. Evil; they are the Good, he is the Devil. Or if they believe in the "personal empowerment" jargon he is the Stumbling Block on their Path to Fulfillment, or he's Xenu or whatever. Nobody thinks these things of Carl Sagan, and he said similar things and was a member of CSICOP. It's all about perception management and Randi liked (?) fitting into the "cantankerous geezer" slot....the problem lies in if the people at JREF act like him. It happens in groups with powerful leaders; members start talking, dressing and acting like the leader because it's what they subconsciously think the leader wants. In Objectivism when Ayn Rand was alive, women in the group began smoking cigarettes out of long holders because Rand did so. I bring this up because if JREF members push buttons like he does, they will alienate people solely on their presentation.
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