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An Article Rebuttal by Randi

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

Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby SydneyPSIder » 30 Dec 2012, 19:10

really? wrote:I think all the hatred I see across forums such as this one and like this one arise for one reason only and this is no revelation. That reason is, he reminds people that the beliefs they hold dear may not be true after all. And it would be refreshing to actually hear someone say this out loud instead of taking snarky potshots. I cheapens the argument your attempting to make.

No, I think it's because he's the quintessential pseudosceptic, which is an inherently frustrating belief system.
really? wrote:It would also be refreshing not to see excuses made for why real people with real abilities don't try for the 1 million dollar prize. That's an excuse that doesn't work because there are people, some well known and many others not making money through their abilities. None of them seem to be worried about being called a freak.

I personally know people with abilities, the fact that they haven't responded to Randi's challenge does not disprove their abilities, that is utterly illogical. Randi claims to run a fair test, and he claims no-one has demonstrated any unusual ability outside of chance. We currently don't know if either claim is the truth. Further, he may not have a million bucks to throw around, that is the view of one psychic or alleged psychic.

I have a friend in the US who would crap all over Randi's challenge, if he's legit, and I have mentioned the challenge to her, which was news to her. She has already made a fortune in the real estate bubble as an astute businesswoman, and guards her privacy jealously. She said she had no interest in doing the challenge for a million bucks, as she doesn't want to be known, and she makes just as much in her business dealings. And I've seen her tax returns.

I know people here who can definitely demonstrate abilities, assuming Randi was prepared to issue a test that would measure those abilities, but they're in the wrong country, and I guess they're not prepared to travel and submit to the circus. I can ask them if they're interested. We still don't know if Randi is legit, however, whether he really has a million bucks, whether he really genuinely offers his 'first test' fairly that everyone has to pass, and for all we know he passes on the details of anyone who passes the test to the spooks in the CIA for some extra pocket money who kidnap them and dissect their brains. For all we know. I wouldn't put anything past him.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby Arouet » 30 Dec 2012, 21:34

There are similar contests all over the world, Syd, though not for as large a prize.

As for whether Randi has the million bucks - if he does't pay a successful claimant, they can sue and would likely win JREF has assets.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby NinjaPuppy » 30 Dec 2012, 21:47

really? wrote:That reason is, he reminds people that the beliefs they hold dear may not be true after all.

Point taken and agreed as written.

Let's start off with the "may not be true" part and allow me to use 'religious beliefs' as an example. First off, I believe that religion is the primary reason for most of the world's problems. Civilizations have been slaughtered/enslaved in the name of religion. Entire kingdoms have been lost and life has been turned upside down over night by religion. You would think that after a few centuries, we humans would have figured out a way to deal with the problem but it hasn't. You still have people going around telling people that if they don't BELIEVE in the one true religion, some sort of eternal disaster will befall them. All that preaching "may not be true".

What is true is that in order to keep an organized religion alive, it needs followers and money. The more people that you can convince to join, the more money you get. The more money you take in, the more powerful and successful it becomes. The same principle applies to any belief that can't be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. It's the 'doubt' part of this equation that makes us all a bit unstable. The 'belief' part is easy because we get a written playbook (bible, etc) that we can use as a guide or even memorize verbatim if we so desire.

really? wrote:And it would be refreshing to actually hear someone say this out loud instead of taking snarky potshots. I cheapens the argument your attempting to make.

Potshots are a way of not having to deal with or admit those doubts that we are told will cause that damnation or eternal disaster. It certainly does cheapen the argument but who wants to face eternal damnation by admitting that you have actual doubts about everything that you tried to follow and swallow all of your life? It's not a simple argument of right or wrong, it becomes eternal life after death.

really? wrote:It would also be refreshing not to see excuses made for why real people with real abilities don't try for the 1 million dollar prize.

Try? I'm curious as to why you didn't say 'win' since you prefaced it with 'real abilities'. I will guess that there are as many 'excuses' or reasons, as there are people.

really? wrote:That's an excuse that doesn't work because there are people, some well known and many others not making money through their abilities.

Yes, but as in any 'career', they are not equal in talent, desires or belief in their own abilities. Those who make a GOOD income certainly don't want to upset the applecart that they sell their fruits from. It's the old saying, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Once again, there are as many reasons for taking/not taking advantage of the challenge as there are people.

really? wrote:None of them seem to be worried about being called a freak.

And you know this because??? Personally, I have been called much worse for less freaky things. Does it bother me? That depends on my frame of mind at the time, combined with who says it, how it's phrased and what initiated the comment. Once again you have as many reasons as you have people.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby really? » 30 Dec 2012, 22:40

really? wrote:That reason is, he reminds people that the beliefs they hold dear may not be true after all.

NinjaPuppy wrote:Point taken and agreed as written.

really? wrote:And it would be refreshing to actually hear someone say this out loud instead of taking snarky potshots. It cheapens the argument your attempting to make.

NinjaPuppy wrote:Potshots are a way of not having to deal with or admit those doubts that we are told will cause that damnation or eternal disaster. It certainly does cheapen the argument but who wants to face eternal damnation by admitting that you have actual doubts about everything that you tried to follow and swallow all of your life? It's not a simple argument of right or wrong, .

Either something is real or it's not. I'd rather know than believe.
really? wrote:It would also be refreshing not to see excuses made for why real people with real abilities don't try for the 1 million dollar prize.

NinjaPuppy wrote:Try? I'm curious as to why you didn't say 'win' since you prefaced it with 'real abilities'. I will guess that there are as many 'excuses' or reasons, as there are people.


really? wrote:That's an excuse that doesn't work because there are people, some well known and many others not making money through their abilities.

NinjaPuppy wrote:Yes, but as in any 'career', they are not equal in talent, desires or belief in their own abilities. Those who make a GOOD income certainly don't want to upset the applecart that they sell their fruits from. It's the old saying, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Once again, there are as many reasons for taking/not taking advantage of the challenge as there are people.

My irritation arises from people just like syd claiming they know someone that would, in his words, crap all over Randi's challenge. That's an uninspiring claim. Skeptics such as myself would very much like to see an overt demonstration of some form of paranormal ability, but all that seems to happen are folks that think they have an ability taking the prelim test and failing to demonstrate anything. That also includes other worldwide offers similar to the MDC. To date no persons have claimed any of these prize monies.

really? wrote:None of them seem to be worried about being called a freak.

NinjaPuppy wrote:And you know this because??? Personally, I have been called much worse for less freaky things. Does it bother me? That depends on my frame of mind at the time, combined with who says it, how it's phrased and what initiated the comment. Once again you have as many reasons as you have people.

I know this because they continue to make a living. We also have people actively studying psi they are known as parapsychologists and they make a living.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby NinjaPuppy » 30 Dec 2012, 23:12

really? wrote:My irritation arises from people just like syd claiming they know someone that would, in his words, crap all over Randi's challenge. That's an uninspiring claim. Skeptics such as myself would very much like to see an overt demonstration of some form of paranormal ability, but all that seems to happen are folks that think they have an ability taking the prelim test and failing to demonstrate anything.

Try as I might, for the sole reason of understanding the Randi Challenge and all the negative hoopla that it gets, I have not been able to begin to understand the protocol. I believe that this stems from the fact that I don't have any interest in actually doing the challenge so naturally, I'm not paying very much attention to the overview or instructions or I have some sort of reading comprehension thing. At first glance it seems to be a fairly simple process and I've seen what appears to be plenty of time and energy expressed by the person(s) in charge to explain any flaws on the part of the applicants.

It all boils down to one big "My abilities can kick your dad's butt" sort of argument.

really wrote:
NinjaPuppy wrote:And you know this because??? Personally, I have been called much worse for less freaky things. Does it bother me? That depends on my frame of mind at the time, combined with who says it, how it's phrased and what initiated the comment. Once again you have as many reasons as you have people.

I know this because they continue to make a living. We also have people actively studying psi they are known as parapsychologists and they make a living.

People make a living out of selling fake dog doo. I seem to be missing your point.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby really? » 31 Dec 2012, 03:55

really? wrote:My irritation arises from people just like syd claiming they know someone that would, in his words, crap all over Randi's challenge. That's an uninspiring claim. Skeptics such as myself would very much like to see an overt demonstration of some form of paranormal ability, but all that seems to happen are folks that think they have an ability taking the prelim test and failing to demonstrate anything.

NinjaPuppy wrote:Try as I might, for the sole reason of understanding the Randi Challenge and all the negative hoopla that it gets, I have not been able to begin to understand the protocol. I believe that this stems from the fact that I don't have any interest in actually doing the challenge so naturally, I'm not paying very much attention to the overview or instructions or I have some sort of reading comprehension thing. At first glance it seems to be a fairly simple process and I've seen what appears to be plenty of time and energy expressed by the person(s) in charge to explain any flaws on the part of the applicants.

It all boils down to one big "My abilities can kick your dad's butt" sort of argument.



NinjaPuppy wrote:And you know this because??? Personally, I have been called much worse for less freaky things. Does it bother me? That depends on my frame of mind at the time, combined with who says it, how it's phrased and what initiated the comment. Once again you have as many reasons as you have people.

really wrote:I know this because they continue to make a living. We also have people actively studying psi they are known as parapsychologists and they make a living.

NinjaPuppy wrote:People make a living out of selling fake dog doo. I seem to be missing your point.

The point is they don't care what names people apply to them they are willing to make a public stance. It's not a good counter argument.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby NinjaPuppy » 31 Dec 2012, 04:20

NinjaPuppy wrote:And you know this because??? Personally, I have been called much worse for less freaky things. Does it bother me? That depends on my frame of mind at the time, combined with who says it, how it's phrased and what initiated the comment. Once again you have as many reasons as you have people.

really wrote:I know this because they continue to make a living. We also have people actively studying psi they are known as parapsychologists and they make a living.

NinjaPuppy wrote:People make a living out of selling fake dog doo. I seem to be missing your point.

really? wrote:The point is they don't care what names people apply to them they are willing to make a public stance. It's not a good counter argument.

Obviously 'they' who decide to make a living at this are not bothered by what other people think. 'They' made their decision. There are many who don't want to have to deal with it and 'they' choose not to get into the limelight or perhaps feel that their talents are not as fine tuned. As I said, there can be as many reasons as there are people.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby SydneyPSIder » 31 Dec 2012, 08:13

Arouet wrote:There are similar contests all over the world, Syd, though not for as large a prize.

As for whether Randi has the million bucks - if he does't pay a successful claimant, they can sue and would likely win JREF has assets.

yeah, I did a global search a while back, 10 grand here, 10 grand there. I suspect it's 10 grand the owner would rather not lose. I'll talk to the couple of people I know here and ask them why they wouldn't look at it. Some abilities are a bit hard to put in a box, i.e. the psychics I know locally seem to be able to hook into a network of information or people and pull stuff out, i.e. they can tell you about all your friends, who is important to you, your family, etc without knowing anything about them. They can describe the appearance of people they've never met, etc. Hard to know how to 'replicate' stuff like that in a 'laboratory setting' or measure it particularly. They may prefer to do business by word of mouth rather than advertising it everywhere also -- it's usually or always the fakes who advertise 1900 numbers and all that stuff.

I looked at the legalities of Randi's challenge also, who knows what binding contracts he signs, probably none. Genuine sceptics have remarked that his 'preliminary test' is designed to block claimants, but that would need to be verified. He probably gets a lot of froot loops applying anyhow, which makes it easier to reject them. Then all the other concerns apply -- genuine psychics don't always want the notoriety, I suspects it's the frauds who advertise heavily or get their faces on TV.

I note Randi doesn't go out of his way to actually locate people with genuine abilities and test them in any way whatsoever, whether it can be easily replicated or parameterised or not, he just waits for froot loops to come to him. Not a genuine enquirer, really.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby SydneyPSIder » 31 Dec 2012, 08:52

really? wrote:My irritation arises from people just like syd claiming they know someone that would, in his words, crap all over Randi's challenge. That's an uninspiring claim. Skeptics such as myself would very much like to see an overt demonstration of some form of paranormal ability, but all that seems to happen are folks that think they have an ability taking the prelim test and failing to demonstrate anything. That also includes other worldwide offers similar to the MDC. To date no persons have claimed any of these prize monies. None of them seem to be worried about being called a freak.


Irritation? Maybe it's just your haemorrhoids playing up again, who knows.

OK, this is a sample of what my friend in the US can do: think of a letter of the alphabet. She will tell you what it is. She can do this over a phone line at any distance around the world, she doesn't need to be present to see you. Out of 10 trials, she will get 10 correct.

Think of 5 colours in a row at random. She will tell you what colours you're thinking of. 5 out of 5.

That is clearly testable and replicable and parameterisable by Randi. He would have to work pretty hard to worm his way out of it. Further, this is not a unique ability possessed by only one person in the world. It runs in her family for starters. She shuns publicity and only shows close friends.

She can also pick up random thoughts like whatever you're currently thinking, or emotions etc. At any distance. And remote viewing. And seeing dead people. All proven easily to me. Guess you just miss out!
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby Arouet » 31 Dec 2012, 10:09

While I get that some people wouldn't want the publicity, the publicity would be exactly what would be needed to help it get accepted by the mainstream scientific community. While someone winning the MDC wouldn't in itself be sufficient to establish anything, it would open up the door to much greater attention being paid to parapsychology, imo, and probably open up some purse strings.

Certainly if you friend can do what you claim it would be quite easy to develop a protocol to test it.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby really? » 31 Dec 2012, 10:42

NinjaPuppy wrote:Obviously 'they' who decide to make a living at this are not bothered by what other people think. 'They' made their decision. There are many who don't want to have to deal with it and 'they' choose not to get into the limelight or perhaps feel that their talents are not as fine tuned. As I said, there can be as many reasons as there are people.

But with all the people worldwide with self claimed abilities you'd think one, just one person would step forward.

What Arouet said makes good sense.

P.S. I promised to show what a woo looks like; here's just one example. This is the types of person on the skeptics radar.
http://corefreedom.com/threads/what-is- ... -belt.505/
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby SydneyPSIder » 31 Dec 2012, 11:40

really? wrote:But with all the people worldwide with self claimed abilities you'd think one, just one person would step forward.


Maybe they have. Maybe the Great Randi's a fraud. Maybe he tells the truth selectively. We don't know. The odd thing about the pseudosceps here is that if the Great Randi says something, for some reason they automatically believe it. They never put his assertions to the test. Randi has shown no evidence of attempting to locate anyone with genuine abilities by enquiry, when it is incredibly easy to do.

Pseudosceps will believe anything, it seems, including claims of manned moon landings and planes bringing down skyscrapers.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby Arouet » 31 Dec 2012, 11:43

I don't know anyone who accepts something just because Randi said it- maybe there's some? I dunno.

However I'm pretty sure that if Randi went out looking for people to test he'd be accused of harrasing people. The few times he's done it I think have been only with people like Silvia Brown, who don't exactly shy away from publicity.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby really? » 31 Dec 2012, 12:20

SydneyPSIder wrote:
really? wrote:But with all the people worldwide with self claimed abilities you'd think one, just one person would step forward.


Maybe they have. Maybe the Great Randi's a fraud. Maybe he tells the truth selectively. We don't know. The odd thing about the pseudosceps here is that if the Great Randi says something, for some reason they automatically believe it. They never put his assertions to the test. Randi has shown no evidence of attempting to locate anyone with genuine abilities by enquiry, when it is incredibly easy to do.

Yes we do. All hail the great and powerful Randi. Please don't be stupid. I can assure you skeptics don't automatically believe it. I've even seen skeptics on the JREF forum attack Randi.
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Re: An Article Rebuttal by Randi

Postby NinjaPuppy » 01 Jan 2013, 00:13

really? wrote:P.S. I promised to show what a woo looks like; here's just one example. This is the types of person on the skeptics radar.
http://corefreedom.com/threads/what-is- ... -belt.505/

So as not to derail this hot topic, I've created this one: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2657&p=29709#p29709
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