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Randi's a joke, a former hack magician who's made some dough pointing at anything he doesn't agree with and screaming, "Bullshit!" His million-dollar challenge is a brilliant move, giving every mindless skeptic out there a quickie reponse to any claim of psi, healing, alternative medicine, cold fusion, extraterrestrial contact or anything else deemed heretical to scientism as it is today: "Well, why hasn't/haven't he/they won the million dollars?"

The man is a joke. Perhaps he started out trying to debunk frauds, which is a worthy goal. But like religions that started out trying to share their vision of the truth and became corrupted by their own power (hello, Vatican?), he's been corrupted by one of the most basic of human needs: to protect what one has built at all costs, deceit notwithstanding.

By the way, notice the conspicuous absence of commentary from the Randi people about such things as the recent London Daily Mail article supporting precognition or the incredible content of the book Irreducible Mind? These guys aren't interested in a level playing field, just a rigged game.

What is the point of constantly trying to discredit Randi? We all know that he is a fraud. The guy isn't even worth talking about. I think it's much more interesting responding to the challenges of more sophisticated skeptics like Richard Wiseman.

I don't know why anyone would care about the opinion of an entertainer on this subject. By giving them of blog space, one implies their opinions have merit. I remember recently there was a suggestion of banning a prominent psychic researcher on this blog. It would seem like a no-brainer to avoid wasting readers time with posts about anyone who is insincere and who promotes a point of view merely because it is necessary to maintain consistency with past statements in order to pursue a career in media appearances.

I don't think everybody believes Randi is a hack. He still receives one-sided air-time on various television programs, like "Is It Real?" on the National Geographic channel where he and his colleagues go completely unabated. Also, many people take him real seriously and believe that he is the epitome of logic and "science", so he continues to get work by coming on TV shows. It's this ignorance that disturbs me, and I'm glad that Michael Prescott is helping bring to light his utter lack of credibility.

I wonder if he'll continue to haunt psi researchers in the Afterlife.

...You're WRONG. WRONG!

Hehe :)

>I remember recently there was a suggestion of banning a prominent psychic researcher on this blog.

I haven't banned anyone. If you're referring to Victor Zammit, all I said was that I would stop criticizing him. It might be best for me to stop criticizing skeptics, as well. Criticism of others is probably not the healthiest way to spend one's time. There's so much negativity and conflict on the Web - do I really want to add to it, even if only in a small way? It's an interesting question ...

Why do many of us give such airtime to these ultra skeptics? Interesting question. Could it be a response to their arrogance or maybe our own inner doubts? Recently a medical doctor posted an entry in defense of Hutchins behavior after Falwell’s death and quoted Ayn Rand, so I did some research on her. Here was his quote of Ayn Rand "All you have to do is think."

Really what does this mean? We don’t have the ability to think. I suspect this is a typical atheist put down but lets look at the quote and analyze it. All you have to do is think? The terrorists that flew through the twin towers did a lot of thinking and planning. Was it rational thinking? I think not. See there I am thinking again.

Was Ayn Rand a rational thinker? She promoted individualism and pure capitalism. These are the seeds of self-destruction for any society. Why did she promote these ideologies? I suspect this was her response to the ill-conceived ideologies of communism, which she had been subjected to. In my career of teaching variation, this was called overcompensation.

The term individualistic society is an oxymoron and pure capitalism would lead a society into a social order of “haves” and “have not’s” with about 95% being “have not’s”. This cultural condition may very well lead to a political or bloody revolution by the (have not’s). Interesting side note; communism in the Soviet Union had about 90% have not’s and 10% of haves, which were the communist loyalists.

These comments are getting way too long but what I have found is that these ultra skeptics and confirmed atheists often suffer from irrational beliefs that become an ideology and then they support their ideology at all costs and often in spite of the evidence. Sounds a bit like religion doesn’t it?

Anybody read "Extraordinary Knowing" by the late Berkeley psychologist Elizabeth Mayer? It's a good account of the irrational response of the mainstream scientific establishment when presented with evidence of ESP.

Neal, I've talked that book up on this blog a lot. There's some disagreement about it, but I loved it, esp. the brilliant insight about levels of perception and skeptics not being able to "switch" to a level where they can even perceive, much less accept, the paranormal.

This is off topic, but I wanted to pick the brain of the Commentocracy. A friend is trying to convince me to start reading The Skeptic magazine. He's not a dogmatic skeptic, but he's pretty convinced the things I believe are nonexistent. My question: is it worth my time to pick up and peruse an issue, or is 95% of the material more contemptuous, self-congratulatory, blind "it can't be true" nonsense like The Skeptical Inquirer?

I don't want to bother if it's just going to be more self-superior types worshipping Richard Dawkins and Carl Sagan and remindiung themselves how superior they are for not believing in the paranormal.

Well I think you asked for points of view for reading the skeptics journal so here is mine. I think a person on a search for reality can benefit from reading as much as possible on a wide range of beliefs. What tends to happen is we read those books and articles that agree with our point of view.

I have never see an ultra skeptic read much on the paranormal in fact they go out of their way to not read such books as "no living person could have known" and “there is no death” by Florence Marryett. There are hundreds of books like these that suggest there is more to this material world than meets the eye.

And when it comes to debunking the paranormal on TV they pick and choose what part of the paranormal event they want to debunk. For me I have lost confidence and trust in their ability to conduct any kind of rational response to most mysterious events.

I trust these ultra skeptics about as much as I trust the pope to give me an unbiased opinion on anything.

It appears to me that one must try to maintain some kind of middle path between believer and nonbeliever. It is extremely difficult to do.

IMO, Mr. Rothwell uses the best tactic to defang the materialists and that is to ask them at the outset questions "What is acceptable proof for a XYZ phenomenon"

here he asks the question "Who else?" in relation to supervising a Cold fusion experiemnt and Randi cannot have a rational response that overrides the obvious answer...

surely not magicians or self confessed frauds...

He's not a dogmatic skeptic, but he's pretty convinced the things I believe are nonexistent.

Tell him you will read his copy of Skeptic, and he can read chapter 3 of Irreducible mind.

I've read Skeptic magazine and from a perfectly neutral point of view it doesn't really have much of interest. It's really not that hard to debunk people like J.Z. Knight and Sylvia Browne. All they do is attack straw men.

What I meant to say is that Skeptic magazine doesn't have much of interest if you are aware of the high quality "paranormal" research carried out by people such as William James.

That's basically what I'm getting at. If it's not real skepticism but more closed-minded scorn from people more interested in defending their worldview than exploring what's real and what's not, then it's not worth my time.

Sad that that's what the word "skeptic" has come to mean in many quarters.

Usually the purpose of organized "skepticism" is to elicit certain non-rational responses in the reader that amount to "I certainly don't want to look stupid".

So the "arguments" boil down to pointing out one bogus phenomenon or another, and repeating unscientific statements like "no evidence for life after death" and "when we tighten up the controls, the phenomena invariably disappear" that are in fact simply pulled from thin air.

The appeal is that if you reflexively deny all of it, you avoid the possibility of looking foolish. Besides, all these smart people agree with the "skeptical" position, so if you agree with them you can bask in the reflected glow of that intelligence.

On a skeptical website called rational response team their description of who they are they state they are not believers or nonbelievers but only deal in probabilities.

As a consultant that taught “understanding variation” this statement caught my interest. But spend ten minutes in their chat room and you realize that their probability statement is bogus. Kind of like most organizations vision statements. Impressive to read but seldom seen in action.

Does that qualify them for wishful thinking or delusional thinking or both?

it looks like james randi has his supporters on facebook too

IF you don't mind me jumping back into the comment pot again:

I've realized I don't mind super-skeptics at all, if they engage in honest debate and discussion. A good example is Michael Shermer, he'll go head-to-head with somebody like Deepak Chopra to express his opinion. While I feel Shermer's anti-anything-extraordinary point of view is completely wrong, I totally respect his mature discussions.

Now, the "skeptics" that completely disgust me are the ones who resort to name-calling, condescension, and disrespect from the summit of academia. Of course, I'm talking about James Randi, Richard Dawkins and their ilk. In the title of Dawkin's latest book, he calls people who don't agree with him "delusional". And of course, Randi has been insulting people by calling them "woo's" and "quacks" for years, it's just pathetic and shows their own insecurity.

Cyrus and Matthew Cromer have convinced me that it's unfair to lump in Michael Shermer with some of the other skeptics, so I'm going to update my post "Not bright" to remove his name from the list of offenders.

Well i'm not so sure about that how Michael Shermer attack Dr.Pim Van Lommel article in the lancet and also the false conclusions of there has one been one person who has made contact with the otherside.

Well I'm not so sure about that Michael Shermer attack Dr.Pim Van Lomme's article in the lancet also the flase conclusions of there has not been one person who has made contact with the othersode. Also this good read on Michael Shermer
Also how you made false conclusions that telepathy does not exist.

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