"The James Randi 1 Million Dollar Challenge Finally Terminated"

by unsure 16 Replies latest social current

  • unsure
    unsure

    The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge was an offer by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) to pay out one million U.S. dollars to anyone who can demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Million_Dollar_Paranormal_Challenge

    Aaaaand DISCUSS!

  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot

    James Randi once exposed a "psychic" who was supposedly able to turn pages in an open phone directory simply by waving his hand over them. When Randi (In front of an audience) saw that he said that he didn't know exactly how he was doing it but the psychic must have been using his breath deflecting the air from his mouth to his hands. The air would then ricochet from his hands, who were close to the phone book, thus riffling the pages. Now mind you, this guy was not huffing and puffing - you could not see even his cheeks puffing up but Randi found out that he was an expert Kung Fu artist who had trained himself in breath control. He must have been spurting hard bursts of air without the appearance of it.

    What Randi did to expose the trick was to lay Styrofoam peanuts around the phone directory so that if it was his breath, instead of some mysterious psychic power, those Styrofoam peanuts would also move.

    The "psychic" was flustered, he did not even try to move those pages. He lamely said that the static electricity from the peanuts would interfere with the pages turning.

    I miss James Randi.

  • unsure
    unsure

    Appreciating Occam's Razor but also playing the what if card,

    What if what the psychic said was true? Packing peanuts moving do not conclusively prove it was the psychic using their breath. Packing peanuts are little bundles of static electricity.

  • Saename
    Saename

    But then... how would his activity be supernatural or paranormal if simple nature (namely static electricity) could interrupt that?

  • rebel8
    rebel8

    Randi is awesome.

    The site hosting the article you linked to is pro-supernatural and anti-Randi.

  • unsure
    unsure
    Randi is awesome.

    The site hosting the article you linked to is pro-supernatural and anti-Randi.

    Yes I realize that. Chances of finding an objective site that is neither pro or against Randi is nill.

    But my whole point of posting was to show that the prize was not claimed which could can be considered a victory for the "paranormal is bunk" side.

    I always try to see things from both sides.

    If I would have posted from a pro Randi site someone else would have said that the site hosting the article is pro Randi and anti supernatural.

    If there is a truly objective site on the topic I'd love to learn about it.

  • unsure
    unsure

    Again, for the record, I'm agnostic. (Check out my other thread)

    I'm a big ol' fence sitter. Don't assume any of my posts have an agenda. Don't assume anything about me.

    I like to play the what if card on all sides of the argument.

  • Village Idiot
    Village Idiot

    Unsure,

    Packing peanuts moving do not conclusively prove it was the psychic using their breath. Packing peanuts are little bundles of static electricity.

    There was an even better expose of the same 'breather' that proved definitively that he was ricocheting air through his hands.There were two investigators who invited the psychic to participate in an experiment. There was also a hidden camera as well.

    The psychic did a one up on the phone directory thing and decided to his thing on a dollar bill that was standing on a pin below (Made it easy to twirl around). It was to be covered by a small upside down fishbowl on top of a table.

    They were really curious since that would have been an enormous feat but they still knew it had to be his breath. They were going to put directional microphones to pick up on the sound of any breathing. The psychic refused. So they went ahead and he did his hand thing and the bill twirled around inside the upside down fishbowl.

    After the investigators saw that they took him out of the room temporarily and then snuck in and turned the fishbowl around. They realized that small simple fishbowls like the one used would be uneven at the top. That would create a thin air gap on one side that in theory could allow some of the breath to come in. By switching to the side of the glass that had no air gap they would make it impossible for him to extend his hands sufficiently to deflect the air stream.

    The psychic came back into the room, began his performance, and failed. He said in exclamation that "there was something wrong". Upon saying that he kicked the table in anger. Case closed. Real Skeptics never give up.

  • unsure
    unsure

    Here,

    http://skepdic.com/randi.html

    The above is a link from a sceptics site on the topic. I have now presented links from both sides of the argument (see my last post)

  • unsure
    unsure

    @Village Idiot

    Thanks for your last post. I agree re: Occam's Razor that the simplest answer is usually the right one, ie. it was a parlour trick.

    I just like to "what if" myself. It's refreshing being able to do so after not be allowed to do so in the Jehovah's Witness world.