Discussions about the James Randi Educational Foundation and its Million Dollar Challenge.
Note Banachek now oversees the Challenge
Written by Sadie Crabtree
Wednesday, 09 March 2011 15:29
Rules changed to encourage new applications and ensure anyone with actual paranormal abilities could win the million-dollar prize
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.—The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) announced on Wednesday that the organization’s famed Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge would be opened to more new applicants, with a lower bar for entry. The JREF holds $1 million in an investment account at a New York financial firm1, ready to be awarded to anyone who can demonstrate a paranormal ability under fair conditions that prevent fraud or error. The prize has grown from just $1,000 since it was established more than 40 years ago by magician and skeptic James Randi, and it has yet to be claimed.
Before today, applicants for the prize were required to submit press clippings and a letter from an academic to demonstrate the seriousness of their application. Now, applicants will only have to submit one or the other—demonstrating that somewhere, at some point in time, some independent person has taken their claim seriously. Applicants who cannot provide this evidence have a new, third option: submitting a public video that demonstrates their ability. The JREF will choose some of these video applications for further testing. This option gives potential applicants without media or academic documentation a way to be considered for testing, and allows the JREF to use online video and social media to reach an even wider audience with the Challenge.
[Read the new rules] http://www.randi.org/site/1m-challenge/ ... pplication
“We have a longstanding commitment to investigate paranormal claims in a fair and scientific way,” JREF President D.J. Grothe said. “The Million Dollar Challenge is a tool that people everywhere can use to evaluate paranormal and pseudoscientific claims, by asking, ‘if this claim were true, why hasn’t someone proven it and won the million?’ We hope the changes announced today will make it even more effective.”
Although those offering the prize are skeptical of all claims of psychic powers, and every applicant tested so far has failed, the tests are designed to be easy for any genuine psychic to pass. Professional statisticians and scientists work with applicants to develop tests that minimize the possibility of charlatans winning by mere chance, while also minimizing the possibility of any actual psychic losing by “bad luck.”
“Some applicants have agreed on what we all considered to be fair rules for the test, failed, and then said the tests were too hard,” said Banachek, director of the JREF’s Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge and one of the world’s leading mentalists. “But our tests are always winnable if you’re a psychic who can really do what you claim. Even if your third eye isn’t 20/20, or you’re an astrologer whose stars aren’t the brightest in the sky, we will work with you to develop a protocol that you can pass if your claimed ability is real.”
1. Statement, Evercore Wealth Management
i hope to see a parade of whackos..
but it will be awesome if at least one.. can actually prove he has some ability outside of the conventional
Is the challenge still to be tested without the presence of scientists as I interpretate what is meant in the challenge rules? Then why is James at TED conferences which are lectured by scientists?
What is the real purpose of the James Randi challenge other than what appears to by a niche for debunkers to make money as guest speakers at science conventions?
Huh? It's not only scientists who lecture at TED. what on earth are you talking about? What a weird bump.
Yea... I do believe you need to check the guest speaker's list my friend, you're off base on that one. However, Randi is guilty of hyping the challenge when his agents aren't getting gigs. . . it's been hell since Larry King retired and 60 Minutes wants nothing of him any longer (he's too controversial, it would seem).
The biggest complaint that has existed with the so-called challenge has been that Randi has the last word no matter what comes about; this has been the fail-safe valve for decades but then they decided to force subject through so many tests within a set period of time, never taking anything the subject said into allowance. . . . it's just disgusting; not just the treatment of the subjects but that people are still so arrogant as to participate in it. There's always a loop hole and that will never change.
Craig: do you think someone should have won but didn't because Randi stepped in and pretended they didn't pass when in fact they did? If so, put the example forward and let's discuss it.
(and please, no tl/dr post filled with generalizations: put something specific on the table!)
I'm certain you can back up this oft used excuse with specifics statements from specific personages. If you can't, then keep quiet.
I don't play fetch but the there is a long list of folks, we both know this. I'd mention the fact that he still alludes settling a couple of court cases where he's lost liable cases involving psychics. . . but then, that's a character flaw not some scientific statistic that proves anything.
My biggest gripe over the "Randi has final word" issue is that he is NOT a scientist and for that matter, not one of the better educated individuals when it comes to the essence of metaphysics/the occult arts & sciences. His supposition is "If I can fake it/replicate it, it must be fake" which is such a fair scientific assessment I'm amazed he wasn't given a Nobel Prize. . . but then he does have a problem with certain types of Nobel Prize winners, doesn't he?
Craig: it's not playing fetch to ask someone to back-up their claim.
"it's a long list of folks, we both know this" is not evidence. Put forward an example, and let's see how Randi measures up. You've suggested that people should have won the challenge but Randi pretended then didn't meet the test: let's see an example.
I agree with Arouet on this one. I would love to see a specific example put "on trial" here.
Yes, I too would like an example of one that should have won. Just one so that we can discuss it specifically.
Craig, you love to assert, but you never like to back up your claims. If you don't talk specifics then we know you are just blowing smoke from a hidden region of your body.
No, you assume such.
I know of these things but do not know the exact place to put my hands on the details, I simply don't keep such material on hand or more accurately, I don't keep it as organized and ready to access as I probably should (given that what I do have has been saved for book research). On top of this, my mind simply don't work well enough these days to keep abreast of such. . . I have far more important things to focus on right now and can't juggle such distractions.
Eventually I hope to fill in all these blanks, but it won't be anytime soon. Sorry.
Fine, then why make the accusation? Or at least provide the disclaimer that you can't back it up.
However, I'm a little suspicious that you can't remember any details about a supposed testing for the MDC where the person passed the agreed upon test and then Randi arbitrarily declared that they hadn't. And I've never heard any of Randi's other critics bring up such a case.
What we have heard of are cases that never got to the testing stage because an agreement on protocol could not be reached. Perhaps that's what you meant.
Just a few posts back, you said this: "I don't play fetch but the there is a long list of folks, we both know this"
Now, you're saying you can't remember just one? If there's a long list and this is obviously a subject you are quite familiar with, then surely...SURELY...you can come up with just one. Unless, of course, there isn't one...
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