Discussions about the James Randi Educational Foundation and its Million Dollar Challenge.
Actually you don't have to take the challenge itself, just raise a stink and be seen with him on Tv & Radio spots, have him railing about you in the press, etc. It still works out as being a great way of becoming known, getting into market demand status and ultimately building that nest egg.
Ultimately, I agree that Randi is advantageous to the paranormal community. By placing a high value on a behavior, it motivates some people to attempt some type of manifestation, to exercise their minds and abilties. No fool like an old fool.
I still say that Randi has pulled the biggest of all cons and it will all be revealed at the Reading of his Will... he'll die having the last laugh
I would still like to know why people who believe they can do something paranormal, but don't trust the JREF, don't go to one of the other couple dozen or so agencies that ofter a reward for proving their claim.
Also, besides Uri, what psychic, clarivoiant, etc. has made money off of Randi?
they just dont like someone that looks like santa
to burst the
fantasy bubbles they live in
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
What makes those cash prize scientific tests so special anyways?
HYPE... Lecture Tours... Book Sells... need I say more?
In a way, you're right Jayhawker30. Those who claim to have paranormal abilities should be interested about advancing science rather than the money, but it seldom seems to want to work out that way.
Really, I don't think the MDC could care less if someone is able to demonstrate abilities beyond what is known now, but based on the number of posts, websites, etc. everyone just wants to criticize Randi rather than just going down to their local university's psych dept and showing them what they can do...legitimately...
Actually I know several people who have attempted to do just that and they were laughed off the campus, the Psych Profs saying they don't have time for such silliness. In one case the lady was told she would have to pay for all the tests starting with a $10,000.00 advance deposit. So it's not quite as easy as some assume. The couple of times I was actually invited in for some testing came by way of friendships I'd developed with the researcher and the fact that we shared amicable views when it came to the idea that psychic "Powers" were a misnomer whereas the term "skill" was more appropriate.
It really depends on how one approaches the department, but as an instructor myself, I can assure you that all serious, professionally developed claims of that nature would be seriously considered. I must doubt the accuracy of your statement that you know several people who were laughed off campus. Perhaps that's what they told you, but do you really know they attempted to speak to the Department?
I think you've hit the "rub" -- PRESENTATION. Few in the psychic community seem to be capable of wrapping their head around simplicity and how to structure a genuine proposal of any kind (you should see some of the business plans I've looked at over the years. . . way outside the scope of business savvy let alone some kind of validation when it comes to the work planned).
When I was manager of the Las Vegas Psychic Institute (located directly across from the UNLV campus) I unofficially tested over 100 local "registered & licensed" (in Clark country Nevada and other regions all Psychic and/or Spiritual Counselors must have a deep FBI background check and review prior to getting certified and allowed to work in that region. The process envelopes no less than 9 months at a cost of close to $2,000.00 these days and not everyone gets approved the first time through) psychics. Of this collection fewer than 5 came anywhere close to presenting what I'd consider to be "legitimate" skill; that is to say, they would be worth looking at on a more clinical level. Oddly enough, that small handful were the least interested in proving themselves or their "gift", they frequently did "free" work for those in need and had no aspirations when it came to fortune & fame seeking; they did Readings for two primary reasons; they needed the income because of circumstances in their lives (usually a widow that needed to compensate on lost income when the spouse passed over but health challenges were likewise common).
I bring this point out because of the fact that those that could "prove" certain points about apparent psychic ability are the very people that have nothing to prove, nothing to gain, etc. by doing so -- they have no reason to submit to such testing and so they actually choose to do their work and not be tempted by ego. I know this sounds odd to those boasting a rational mind-set and the belief that everyone in the world wants "more" but there really are exceptions to that assumption and they are the sort I tend to focus on when it comes to learning to understand my own "connection" around such things and why I tend to be a nut buster within the New Age market, when meeting others that consider themselves to be "Psychic" or otherwise blessed; more than 95% of them are little other than deluded with a minority percentage within that element being down and out cons -- predators who need to be outed and hung out to dry.
Imagine how they could have helped the world if they had continued with the testing. Sorry, still don't buy it that no one with a "gift" isn't interested in doing something that could improve humanity--assuming they really do have a "gift." It's not about ego, money, etc., it's about helping others which is just what you say they want to do. My guess is they were afraid to be found to not have the "gift." Just my outside thought and observation.
From what I've read, that's how parapsychologists feel about their work. That the existence of psi could be one of, if not THE most, important findings in human history.
I think the mediums themselves know plenty about the controversy of their work, so they don't even bother trying get involved in the mess. They just try to help those who are willing to accept what they have to offer. It's the investigators, however, that fight the war on the behalves of the believers or the skeptics, depending on how they view things.
As I've said time and again, people that are "logic-minded" (I can't even call it "rational" these days) tend to see the issue from their own point of view and thus, it must be law -- this is why there are not real psychics, in this case. The real ones are afraid or whatever other conjecture one wishes to apply even though history/anthropology/religion are all rife with example upon example of the spiritual recluse -- the old sage/hermit that lives deep in the woods, swamp, on a mountain side in a cave, etc. There are literally thousands of such accounts past and present, representing a wide range of spiritual traditions including Christianity and those groups that live outside of society in silence. . . how do they serve the world? They really exist and the church sees them as a sect of value, but how many people commission a hand written copy of the Bible these days? That's what this particular fellowship once did but it's not exactly viable now days, is it?
Back in the 1970's there was a woman psychic (Edna McCauley -- see the 1980 film "Resurrection") that endured close to a decade's worth of study by Berkley and other colleges. There is video of this woman actually bending laser light with nothing other than thought and a hand (free of mirrors). There's documentation of her healing polio victims and others in front of a dozen medical doctors, university staff and more who saw her slowly take on the deformities and general illness of the patient who would likewise transform, muscles relaxing and deformities correcting themselves, etc. The psychic would require up to three days of quiet and meditation before she could return to her own natural shape and be "free" of these afflictions and then she'd go through it one more time with another person that seemed ready to accept the healing. . .
. . . there's a rub -- they must be willing to ACCEPT the healing.
Even in the bible you find Jesus imposing demands on those he heals when it comes to faith and their commitment to serve "the lord" as well as their fellows. In most traditions you must ask permission to do such work and the subject must be willing to accept the "blessing" because of the karmic ramifications that could follow-suit.
Back to that film/woman psychic; she is a real person though, if I recall correctly, Edna McCauley wasn't her real name in life because of what ends up happening with her. . .
. . . she runs away from it all!
The public demand on her, the constant testing and harassment by way of the scientific community as well as fundamentalists seeing her as an instrument of the devil, etc. nearly caused her to have a complete breakdown. She changed her name and as is seen in the movie, she moves out to the middle of nowhere U.S.A. to live a humble, quiet life; exactly the sort of thing I've mentioned here and in other threads and too, I believe I've pointed out before how most of the more gifted Reader-Healer types end up having to get outside of the big city chaos as they age because they are too sensitive to the thousands upon thousands of thoughts, emotions, and general negativity they're surrounded by. Similarly, especially in Native American/Shamanic sects, the village wise one is frequently taken away from the main village as they age because they cannot distinguish carnal reality from the "spirit realms" (for lack of a better term). It's not schizophrenia or similar conditions, it's simply something that happens to those that are super sensitive and spiritually focused as they age. It is something time records as a constant and anthropology has proven more than a few times.
Not everyone is driven to prove a point. The majority of those that fit this very small niche of the psychic world, would never see how proving such things would be "helpful" to society other than man trying to exploit it and profit from it in ways that are far more cruel and criminal than what most charlatans are guilty of. We've seen it time and again, scientific breakthroughs turned into mega million dollar schemes; medical treatments that are deliberately withheld from certain aspects of world culture -- you can get it here but not here -- the fact that the same meds I have to pay over $2k a month for here in the U.S. cost less than a third that much in Canada and most all of Europe.
Yet, it's the psychics that are seen as the crooks, the liars, the cheats, the one's that prey on the unfortunate and offer them nothing but hope. . . hope is a multi-billion dollar industry if you haven't noticed. The analytical community "borrowed" from the old wizards, witches and Gypsies a very large amount of their knowledge and understanding when it began formulating a faux-science dealing with human behavior which expanded into psychology, psychiatry, and a massive pharmeculture surrounding it that not only exploits the patient when it comes to dependency & costs but likewise the tax payer & insurance industry because once again, they over charge America for the same drugs and now days, they over-prescribe -- I keep thinking "Soma" for some reason
You may think what I've said here is "ridiculous" but show me one discovery or breakthrough that hasn't been turned into a money generating device thanks to science & "rationalism" and then tell me the same thing won't happen should the genuine "power" attributed psychics was ever confirmed, understood and harnessed.
There's a reason why the old one's had so many secrets, why they were protected under penalty of death and why the Rationalists of the middle-ages -- the priests, missionaries of Christianity, gladly tortured said folks in order to get to said secrets, to gains said power not to mention, forcing conversion.
So why, given these facts, is science really wanting to crack the whole psychic thing? What's the fantasy held by all these obsessed naysayers when it comes to such things? How will this insight "help" humanity?
What's wrong with keeping things a person feels to be sacred, sacred and secret; a part of their life that is shared only with those one is lead to share them with? What about reclusiveness is so wrong and why does it disturb you so much? Why can't you believe that there are people in society that simply don't feel compelled to function as you or most of humankind functions?
There's an old saying about dealing with the beam in one's own eye first, before worrying too much about the splinter in someone else's eye. . . maybe the skeptic's cult needs to answer some of these questions and consider perspectives other than their own selfish, self-serving agenda and perpetual curiosity. . . why you need to take the toy apart rather than simply enjoying it for what it is?
As I've said before, SCREW THE CROOKS! Hang the actual predators, but leave the rest of them alone. They do serve a positive purpose in society and have, for thousands of years. They do no real harm so why harass them and persecute them?
That is, other than to just feel superior in some way
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