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The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

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

Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby KimberlyHardacre » 05 Aug 2012, 17:22

I think hypocrisy in magic, is necessary to keep that air of mysticism up. Without it, the so-called magic would disappear for good.
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby SydneyPSIder » 10 Sep 2012, 20:22

I've got a friend in the US who could most likely pass the Randi challenge, including the preliminary test, so long as the test and whatever else actually measures or demonstrates someone's real abilities, rather than just coming up with ludicrous tests no-one could pass or that is another supposed skill entirely. For instance, if I say I can read minds correctly 9.5 times out of ten if someone thinks of a number or a letter, I don't want Randi challenging me to levitate as the PT. Anyhow, I asked my friend if she would do it, and she doesn't need the money, and values her privacy, so wouldn't go ahead. I also wonder if/when Randi comes across earnest people with real abilities seeking the payout, he finds a way to squib on paying out on the challenge and instead feeds the people to some kind of present-day CIA MKUltra program (you know, the 'men who stare at goats'-type thing) against their will for some extra dosh. In other words, he's being used and using the $1M lure to ferret people out with genuine ability for referral to the spooks to spy on 'the enemies of the govt'. Funny he's never paid out on the challenge when there are definitely people out there with psi abilities.
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby ProfWag » 10 Sep 2012, 20:49

SydneyPSIder wrote:Anyhow, I asked my friend if she would do it, and she doesn't need the money, and values her privacy, so wouldn't go ahead.

Sorry Syd, but that's a BS excuse. If you don't need the money, donate it to charity because they do. Second, one can keep their test entirely private if they choose.
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby SydneyPSIder » 10 Sep 2012, 20:58

ProfWag wrote:
SydneyPSIder wrote:Anyhow, I asked my friend if she would do it, and she doesn't need the money, and values her privacy, so wouldn't go ahead.

Sorry Syd, but that's a BS excuse. If you don't need the money, donate it to charity because they do. Second, one can keep their test entirely private if they choose.

Yes, well, you can tell her it's a BS excuse, and she would (literally) rip your head off, and that would be the end of that.

She made millions in trading property in DC before the market collapsed, and runs several businesses. She doesn't need the money, and she is exceedingly private. She just shows her friends. That's pretty well the end of it.

Further, how do we know Randi 'keeps results private'? How do we know what he does with them? How do we know he doesn't refer successful people with some sort of psi ability to the US military for experiments? How do we know he even has $1M? How do we know he doesn't connive to never pay it out? How do we know if he's an honorable person by any definition?
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby SydneyPSIder » 10 Sep 2012, 21:13

Eteponge wrote:
Scepcop wrote:What about Jonathan Edwards? He gets some highly specific hits, but also misses sometimes either. We cannot expect them to be 100 percent accurate, can we?

There's some intriguing things about him...

http://michaelprescott.net/hits.htm

http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/somethoughts.htm

http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/morethoughts.htm

One of the more interesting hits of John Edward was one during a random call in on Larry King Live, where John mentioned to a female caller that her father had passed (true), that she buried him with cigarettes in his pocket (true), that they were the wrong brand (true), and that this was a private joke (true).

That cannot be attributed to cold reading, because he just shot off this stuff out of his mouth as he was getting it, and it was during a live call in, a random caller.

Part of the actual transcript I was able to find online ...

John Edward: OK. He's telling me -- this is strange, but did you bury him with cigarettes?

Sitter: Yes.

John Edward: OK. He's telling me -- I know this is going to sound strange -- was this the wrong brand?

Sitter: Yeah.

I have a theory about John Edwards -- from observing him and a couple of slips -- that he both has ability and is 'fraudulent' -- fraudulent in that I think he cannot really talk to the dead, but can sense what the living are thinking, and at any distance, e.g. via the radio talkback phone call. He actually gets the thoughts about relatives out of the living subject's head, and just relays it back to them, and adds something he makes up about their relative making the remarks or saying they're OK etc. It's possible he's channeling someone dead, but the other explanation fits as well. I noticed he 'channeled' his cameraman by accident once, about a living uncle (Uncle Bob or Bill), and the penny dropped. Further, you can't expect your deceased relatives to be just hanging around all the time waiting to be contacted, it's not that easy.
Last edited by SydneyPSIder on 11 Sep 2012, 12:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby Craig Browning » 10 Sep 2012, 21:19

AngelsAlive wrote:The attack dogs at JREF have been going crazy over the $50K challenge out of Arizona.

http://www.examiner.com/x-8611-Phoenix- ... -in-a-knot

On it goes. JREF keeps posting nasty comments, which keep getting deleted. One, left up with the last article, even threatens the writer and says they reported the article, about Randi's sick and twisted desire to have his ashes blown in Uri Gellers face. They can't stand exposure of their own braggadcacio.


I've not read this article but I have serious doubts Randi would make such a wish, that's not who he is. Yes, he can be a royal ass and rude as all get out, but away from the lime light James is actually a sweet guy and quite giving to others. Too, there are reasons to believe that much of the hype between he and Uri was pure hyperbole on purpose, a peculiar means of promotion for both of them, something Houdini himself is said to have done. I do know for fact that during the big Volcano a few years ago, when all the airlines were shut down in the UK a very prominent member of Randi's inner-circle stayed at Uri's home in the London area, referring to him as a "good friend". . . (don't ask, I won't say who).


I have a theory about John Edwards -- from observing him and a couple of slips -- that he both has ability and is 'fraudulent' -- fraudulent in that I think he cannot really talk to the dead, but can sense what the living are thinking, and at any distance, e.g. via the radio talkback phone call. He actually gets the thoughts about relatives out of the living subject's head, and just relays it back to them, and adds something he makes up about their relative making the remarks or saying they're OK etc. It's possible he's channeling someone dead, but the other explanation fits as well. I noticed he 'channeled' his cameraman by accident once, about a living uncle (Uncle Bob), and the penny dropped. Further, you can't expect your deceased relatives to be just hanging around all the time waiting to be contacted, it's not that easy.



Ok, the techniques you describe relate to what is best known as "Cold Reading" and I can assure you, John is not using this method or more concisely, not using it exclusively. He does rely on his intuition and quite literally, what he's shown or what he hears. I know this first hand because of a brief phone encounter I had with him many years back and too, I'm considered an expert on Cold Reading and related cheats as well as legitimate Reading elements from within the professional Magic industry, so I'm not exactly talking out of the top of my head here.

Here's a Sampler -- http://www.lulu.com/shop/craig-browning/learning-to-cold-read/ebook/product-17796796.html
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby SydneyPSIder » 10 Sep 2012, 22:18

Craig Browning wrote:Ok, the techniques you describe relate to what is best known as "Cold Reading" and I can assure you, John is not using this method or more concisely, not using it exclusively. He does rely on his intuition and quite literally, what he's shown or what he hears. I know this first hand because of a brief phone encounter I had with him many years back and too, I'm considered an expert on Cold Reading and related cheats as well as legitimate Reading elements from within the professional Magic industry, so I'm not exactly talking out of the top of my head here.

Here's a Sampler -- http://www.lulu.com/shop/craig-browning/learning-to-cold-read/ebook/product-17796796.html

Not cold reading, I believe he has a psychic gift, just not to communicate with the dead. I think he can read the minds of the living as though they are on broadcast. Cold reading is kind of a guesswork scam and is purely 'natural'. Nice plug though, interesting book! Is 'The Mentalist' (Simon Baker) on TV supposed to be a psychic or just a very good cold reader?
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby NinjaPuppy » 10 Sep 2012, 23:48

SydneyPSIder wrote:Is 'The Mentalist' (Simon Baker) on TV supposed to be a psychic or just a very good cold reader?

From Wikipedia:
The show was created by Bruno Heller, who is also its Executive Producer. The show follows former "psychic" Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), who is now a consultant to the fictional California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), using the highly developed observational skills he previously employed to "read" peoples' minds.
.....Show creator Bruno Heller himself has said he considers Patrick Jane the modern Sherlock Holmes. While it has been said that the concept is not new, the show has been praised for its "thoughtful execution"
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby SydneyPSIder » 11 Sep 2012, 11:51

NinjaPuppy wrote:
SydneyPSIder wrote:Is 'The Mentalist' (Simon Baker) on TV supposed to be a psychic or just a very good cold reader?

From Wikipedia:
The show was created by Bruno Heller, who is also its Executive Producer. The show follows former "psychic" Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), who is now a consultant to the fictional California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), using the highly developed observational skills he previously employed to "read" peoples' minds.
.....Show creator Bruno Heller himself has said he considers Patrick Jane the modern Sherlock Holmes. While it has been said that the concept is not new, the show has been praised for its "thoughtful execution"

Just a very good cold reader then... I had a g/f like that once, couldn't get anything past her lol -- not only snoopy and intuitive but would stitch a number of observations and factoids together with some hunches and suspicions and come up with the answer a fair amount of the time -- very much like Sherlock Holmes -- and in fact reminded me of the scene in the recent first Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr when he goes into the restaurant and is bombarded with 'clues' and sensory stimuli from the other diners with his mind running off on them uncontrollably. If she became an interrogating detective crooks would be very nervous...
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby ProfWag » 11 Sep 2012, 20:51

SydneyPSIder wrote:
ProfWag wrote:
SydneyPSIder wrote:Anyhow, I asked my friend if she would do it, and she doesn't need the money, and values her privacy, so wouldn't go ahead.

Sorry Syd, but that's a BS excuse. If you don't need the money, donate it to charity because they do. Second, one can keep their test entirely private if they choose.

Yes, well, you can tell her it's a BS excuse, and she would (literally) rip your head off, and that would be the end of that.

She made millions in trading property in DC before the market collapsed, and runs several businesses. She doesn't need the money, and she is exceedingly private. She just shows her friends. That's pretty well the end of it.

Further, how do we know Randi 'keeps results private'? How do we know what he does with them? How do we know he doesn't refer successful people with some sort of psi ability to the US military for experiments? How do we know he even has $1M? How do we know he doesn't connive to never pay it out? How do we know if he's an honorable person by any definition?

If someone has an ability that would literally change the world as we know it, and they only want to "show her friends," then shame on that person.
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby ProfWag » 11 Sep 2012, 20:56

Craig Browning wrote:Ok, the techniques you describe relate to what is best known as "Cold Reading" and I can assure you, John is not using this method or more concisely, not using it exclusively. He does rely on his intuition and quite literally, what he's shown or what he hears. I know this first hand because of a brief phone encounter I had with him many years back and too, I'm considered an expert on Cold Reading and related cheats as well as legitimate Reading elements from within the professional Magic industry, so I'm not exactly talking out of the top of my head here.


I need to go on record and point out that this is an opinion of Craig's. Mr. Edward most certainly does use cold reading techniques and often. Some simple investigation could also reveal his use of hot reading. Now, although his techniques are quite indicitive of cold reading, doesn't mean that he doesn't have paranormall abilities, but...
I know Craig is quite experienced and knowledgable in this area, but there is absolutely no way to ascertain the use of paranormal abilities simply as a result of a "brief phone encounter."
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby NinjaPuppy » 12 Sep 2012, 01:49

ProfWag wrote:If someone has an ability that would literally change the world as we know it, and they only want to "show her friends," then shame on that person.

Why? I don't understand how you think that someone's ability becomes some "save the world" requirement or that they should be shamed for not using it to the advantage of everyone else.

I'm sorry but that's "Superhero" thinking and we know for sure, THEY don't exist.
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby really? » 12 Sep 2012, 03:37

NinjaPuppy wrote:
ProfWag wrote:If someone has an ability that would literally change the world as we know it, and they only want to "show her friends," then shame on that person.

Why? I don't understand how you think that someone's ability becomes some "save the world" requirement or that they should be shamed for not using it to the advantage of everyone else.

I'm sorry but that's "Superhero" thinking and we know for sure, THEY don't exist.


You've noticed psychics seem to love helping others but only in small ways. If psychics exist they should be as helpful as philanthropists such as Bill and Malinda Gates; that is, if they have the abilities they claim.
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby NinjaPuppy » 12 Sep 2012, 04:33

really? wrote:You've noticed psychics seem to love helping others but only in small ways. If psychics exist they should be as helpful as philanthropists such as Bill and Malinda Gates; that is, if they have the abilities they claim.

That's apples and oranges. If you compare apples to apples- the psychic is doing the exact same thing on their own comfort level.
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Re: The Relentless Hypocrisy of James Randi

Postby ProfWag » 12 Sep 2012, 05:02

NinjaPuppy wrote:I'm sorry but that's "Superhero" thinking and we know for sure, THEY don't exist.

Now Ninja, you know that nothing is impossible. In fact, I put quite a bit more faith in the possibility of Superman than I do Sylvia Browne and John Edward, but that's just me... :-)
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