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So what's the deal with Randi?

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

So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby Jayhawker30 » 14 Aug 2011, 00:40

Is he really the underhanded villain that he is so oft painted? A championeer of false skepticism only out for the blood of those who can tap into facets of reality that he absolutely refuses to accept?

Or is he clean? Correct in his assertion that all things paranormal is bunk, his challenge fair, without fault or censorship, a trustworthy reminder of the true nature of our world as it keeps all alleged claims of the unfounded "supernatural" in the doubted dark, where it belongs?


I've seen nit pickings being thrown back and forth on this, but I'm wondering if there's anything solid to be found for either side. Has there been a genuinely proven case made against Randi's Challenge? A lapse of moral integrity, or blatant censorship of positive results? I've seen a lot of flack get tossed at the attitudes of him and his posse, but anything against the challenge seems kind of limited; not much beyond "Shit's rigged because Randi gets the final say, and he won't accept ANYTHING."

On the other hand... I can't help but wonder if this challenge is really worth worrying about at all. As I've read, there's apparently bountiful professional scientific studies with positive results of anomalous phenomena at the Society of Psychical Research's archives, (from what Mcluhan says), as well as from other apparently rigorously sound studies conducted by individuals of intellectual merit. As far as I know, I have no more reason to doubt their work as I do Randi's.

That said, why is so much weight being put into his thing? Does boasting a huge check make his tests any more properly performed than other tests? His negative results any more compelling than others' positive ones? I'm not sure if I'm looking at this from the right angle...

Someone educate me, plz.


And why are some of the words in my post green?
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby ProfWag » 14 Aug 2011, 04:57

Jayhawker30 wrote:... As I've read, there's apparently bountiful professional scientific studies with positive results of anomalous phenomena at the Society of Psychical Research's archives, (from what Mcluhan says), as well as from other apparently rigorously sound studies conducted by individuals of intellectual merit...

First Jayhawker, welcome. Second, I'll go out on a limb and predict (using my psychic abilities) that Craig will answer your post with a lengthy explanation. But finally, the real issue at hand is what I quoted from you above. There are some studies with positive results out there. However, there is yet to be a "scientific" study that has been replicated by anyone and until that happens, the "para" will stay in the word "paranormal."
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby Arouet » 14 Aug 2011, 08:39

While I am far from convinced by the data out there, I'm not sure its true that experiments have not been replicated - take Ganzfeld for example. My problem is more than even with replication, we're dealing with very small effect sizes, which make it difficult to tell it from statistical artifact or subtle experimenter bias.
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby ProfWag » 14 Aug 2011, 09:55

Arouet wrote:While I am far from convinced by the data out there, I'm not sure its true that experiments have not been replicated - take Ganzfeld for example. My problem is more than even with replication, we're dealing with very small effect sizes, which make it difficult to tell it from statistical artifact or subtle experimenter bias.

Well...yea, there's that too.
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby really? » 14 Aug 2011, 11:59

Randi can be harsh. But the real reason one side paints him as the devil in the flesh is because he puts that side to task.
positive results of anomalous phenomena

In common usage within the paranormal community anomalous phenomena means psi. I don't know why there one in the same . Strictly speaking anomalous phenomena means a result that's unexpected.

The amount of the prize money is to entice people with claimed abilities to prove themselves. Back in '64 the amount was $1000.
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby Jayhawker30 » 15 Aug 2011, 03:40

really? wrote:Randi can be harsh. But the real reason one side paints him as the devil in the flesh is because he puts that side to task.


Wait, that's all?

Don't all paranormal investigators do that? Not all of them become Satan incarnate...

Arouet wrote:While I am far from convinced by the data out there, I'm not sure its true that experiments have not been replicated - take Ganzfeld for example. My problem is more than even with replication, we're dealing with very small effect sizes, which make it difficult to tell it from statistical artifact or subtle experimenter bias.


The human propensity to bias seems to throw everything into doubt. Skeptics become "cynics", parapsychologists become "pseudo-scientists".

Between them, rational thinking and proper skeptical inquiry are shared aspirations, but constant shenanigans calling keeps them apart. It's a heartbreaking shame, I think.
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby Arouet » 15 Aug 2011, 07:19

it's more than that. This bias is there in all science, not just parappsychology. We must always be suspicious when the effect sizes are small - in every field of science. It's not that the small effect is always bias - just that its hard to distinguish between what is the result of bias and what is real/
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby Elhardt » 20 Aug 2011, 12:01

Seems people here are talking only about PSI when Randi involves himself in the denial of every phenomena that can be called paranormal or supernatural. Randi admits that he will never believe in anything paranormal which means he isn't honestly looking for the truth, but only to debunk and deny. So when a phenomena is true or a test succeeds he then has to lie and deceive. I see him do that all the time. In my book a liar is a despicable person. Never should anybody lie when we're trying to learn about the world we live in.

As for the million dollar prize, it's not important for those studying various phenomena, but it's used by Randi so he can claim that after all these decades nobody has won it therefore that's proof that all paranormal phenomena isn't real.
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby Arouet » 20 Aug 2011, 21:32

Elhardt wrote: Randi admits that he will never believe in anything paranormal which means he isn't honestly looking for the truth, but only to debunk and deny.


Do you have an exact quote on this? Link?

So when a phenomena is true or a test succeeds he then has to lie and deceive.


Example?

I see him do that all the time.


So it should be pretty easy to show some examples.

As for the million dollar prize, it's not important for those studying various phenomena, but it's used by Randi so he can claim that after all these decades nobody has won it therefore that's proof that all paranormal phenomena isn't real.


Well, its primarily used as a promotional tool for JREF. Do you have a quote where Randi has said that its proof that all paranormal phenomena is not real?
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby Craig Browning » 21 Aug 2011, 02:17

Someone is hair-splitting again. . .

Randi has so much as said that he will never believe in any such thing in a number of lectures, interviews, etc. But we could include the fact that he's a very devoted and outspoken Atheist and as such CANNOT believe in any kind of spiritually oriented miraculous anything in that the majority of psychics (for example) credit God/a Higher Power for their ability. Then we have the well established "Randi has the last word" issue in the original parameters of the Million Dollar joke. . . a con launched on April Fools Day of all things :roll: (though such "facts" have been changed as the chinks to his armor have been exposed over the years).

AND BEFORE YOU GO FOR IT. . . on one of the larger Magician forums you will find rave upon rave on the ABC Banachek special and yet, you will find little to no challenging comments.

Why?

Because the "Let's kiss the skeptic hinny club" went in and edited them out and in a handful of instances, booted people off the site because they were deliberately inciting a flame war. . . hmmm :roll:

So, it's ok to agree with a philosophy that degrades and humiliates people that believe a certain way but it's not ok to question their authority and position with things. . . it's not ok to reveal their regurgitation of details over and over and over without any kind of solidity. . . wow! No reason to suspect a cover-up there. . . :o

This is just one of the more recent examples as to how the exceptionally long arms of today's skeptics element purges the internet of conflicting details and those scenarios that can prove icon fallibility or blatant screw-ups & failures be it on line, on TV or lectures, etc. And then we wonder why, nearly every time the whole Uncle Pervy trial transcripts get posted (especially the audio file of the phone calls) the site gets hacked or somehow forced to close down. Same goes for one or two other sites that have been posted, challenging the Million Dollar hoax and the credibility of several key players in the skeptic's community (amazing how many of them have a record for loosing their temper in public and general violence).

They get cocky on forums asking for "proof" when they are fully aware (in many cases) that the "cleaners" have taken care of things. . . granted, this is sometimes more of a monkey see/monkey do routine -- an assumed safe course of travel because they've been shown by the pastor how to move through the facts and present an opposing challenge or claim. It is all part of Cult-Leading 101 after all. :twisted:

Elhart & Jayhawker. . .(sp?) while I appreciate your sense of expression I fear it will fall on mostly deaf ears; as the saying goes, those that don't believe will never accept any kind of proof to the contrary and likewise, the believer needs no proof whatsoever (paraphrased) What the skeptics leave out are the folks in the middle, most of whom consider themselves "skeptical" but at the same time, believers of something (Higher Power is the mainstay but they leave the door wide open for all other factors). Sadly, this is the part of the world populace the naysayers and a very small handful of believers, fight over and attempt to sway to one side or the other while ignoring the fact that both sides of the issue are just as right and just as wrong -- the truth resides in the middle and only in the middle (though, as you are likely to see shortly, there are those that prefer black & white and deny that the middle exists).
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby Arouet » 21 Aug 2011, 04:10

Craig Browning wrote:Randi has so much as said that he will never believe in any such thing in a number of lectures, interviews, etc.


With so many choices , it shouldn't take long to provide an example then.

But we could include the fact that he's a very devoted and outspoken Atheist and as such CANNOT believe in any kind of spiritually oriented miraculous anything in that the majority of psychics (for example) credit God/a Higher Power for their ability.


Why, there are plenty of proponents who are atheists. Skeptiko has a number of them.

Then we have the well established "Randi has the last word" issue in the original parameters of the Million Dollar joke. . . a con launched on April Fools Day of all things :roll: (though such "facts" have been changed as the chinks to his armor have been exposed over the years).


I don't know what the original parameters were. Whatever they were, they're not there now.

So, it's ok to agree with a philosophy that degrades and humiliates people that believe a certain way but it's not ok to question their authority and position with things. . . it's not ok to reveal their regurgitation of details over and over and over without any kind of solidity. . . wow! No reason to suspect a cover-up there. . . :o


What are you going on about? I'm no fan of degrading and humiliating people. And I am a fan of questioning their positions. What you do is not that. You make declarative statements that you usually do not back up but expect us to take at face value.

This is just one of the more recent examples as to how the exceptionally long arms of today's skeptics element purges the internet of conflicting details and those scenarios that can prove icon fallibility or blatant screw-ups & failures be it on line, on TV or lectures, etc. And then we wonder why, nearly every time the whole Uncle Pervy trial transcripts get posted (especially the audio file of the phone calls) the site gets hacked or somehow forced to close down. Same goes for one or two other sites that have been posted, challenging the Million Dollar hoax and the credibility of several key players in the skeptic's community (amazing how many of them have a record for loosing their temper in public and general violence).


Again: what are you talking about? I don't know this magic forum you are talking about. What other purging have you seen? Anyhow, we've been round the block on this. You'll never provide specific examples. You prefer to muddy the waters.

Elhart & Jayhawker. . .(sp?) while I appreciate your sense of expression I fear it will fall on mostly deaf ears; as the saying goes, those that don't believe will never accept any kind of proof to the contrary and likewise, the believer needs no proof whatsoever (paraphrased)


Nonsense: many proponents used to be skeptics and vice versa. Why make stuff up?

What the skeptics leave out are the folks in the middle, most of whom consider themselves "skeptical" but at the same time, believers of something (Higher Power is the mainstay but they leave the door wide open for all other factors). Sadly, this is the part of the world populace the naysayers and a very small handful of believers, fight over and attempt to sway to one side or the other while ignoring the fact that both sides of the issue are just as right and just as wrong -- the truth resides in the middle and only in the middle (though, as you are likely to see shortly, there are those that prefer black & white and deny that the middle exists).


No, the truth does not lie in the middle. How could that be true? I mean, it can sometimes. But the middle changes all the time, the truth doesn't. With all due respect, Craig, that's mere platitude.
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby really? » 21 Aug 2011, 20:04

That's Craig for you. Always making assertions, but never willing to back them up.
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby Craig Browning » 21 Aug 2011, 23:02

No. . . that's Craig refusing to play fetch.
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby Arouet » 22 Aug 2011, 01:41

So stop making claims if you're not willing to back them up.

(especially on a forum about skepticism)
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Re: So what's the deal with Randi?

Postby really? » 22 Aug 2011, 06:00

Craig Browning wrote:No. . . that's Craig refusing to play fetch.


Frankly, Craig you've got to fetch once in a while or else you sound like a person that likes to hear himself talk.
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