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The young female volunteer in front of me could not suppress an embarrassed giggle as she sat there wearing a ski mask, wraparound sunglasses, an oversized graduation gown and a pair of white socks, a large laminated sheet hung around her neck displaying her participant number.
Then things got even weirder. Professor Richard Wiseman knocked on the door to collect our volunteer. He accompanied her into a large room where she was instructed to sit in a chair facing the wall and do nothing for 15 minutes or so. Professional medium Mrs Patricia Putt was then brought into the room and sat down at a small table around 12 feet away. Sometimes Mrs Putt would request that a volunteer read a pre-specified short passage, as she had found from past experience that often "the Spirit enters and makes contact through the sound of the sitter's voice". After that, no talking was allowed whatsoever as our medium wrote down a "reading" describing the volunteer using her alleged paranormal abilities. At the end of the reading, Mrs Putt left the room and the volunteer was allowed to change back into somewhat more conventional garb and given a reminder to return later in the day for the all-important judging phase.
Did we make history last week? Is Mrs Putt now preparing to face that final challenge? The chosen readings were compared with the actual readings by Richard Wiseman and Mrs Putt together, with several observers present and the whole procedure recorded. The first volunteer did not choose the reading that had been produced for her. Neither did the second. Or the third. By chance alone, the most likely outcome was for one hit out of ten. Unfortunately for Mrs Putt, every single volunteer chose a reading that had not been written for them. It looks like JREF's million dollars are safe for the time being.
Originally posted by wonhunlo
reply to post by Matrix Rising
Randi refused to test me. I still have the rejection letter. I waived any prize money. No kidding.-------------------
Originally posted by Snippy23
reply to post by Matrix Rising
It's probably worth reading the whole article rather than just the excerpt. It's written by Chris French who I met a couple of times, and gave some (free) advice to in connection with his research a few more. He's an academic, a skeptic but not from the same tin as Randi and Wiseman, and he has a pretty wide knowledge of the paranormal-psychic field.
The secret about being tested by, or for, James Randi is not to be tested. I've seen a lot of psychics work, and a handful of them continue to baffle me. Those people would never offer themselves up for tests of this kind, or be tempted by the money.
I don't really understand how psychic skills work, if they do, but it's clear that they're pretty fragile and that any success depends on the right circumstances. You might be a great lover with your partner in the right surroundings, but try putting on the same performance in a busy car park in a hailstorm. If you had any sense you wouldn't even try.
We can be sure that Randi expects to never part with his million dollars, but I'm not convinced that, at least with regard to his tests, this makes him a fraud. Those who keep on making the wrong choice and volunteer for his tests are not necessarily frauds, either. But they are idiots not to do enough research to realise that whatever skill they may have is not going to work for them in the circumstances that strict scientific testing demands. And moaning about unfairness after they fail really doesn't help at all.
Originally posted by GringoViejo
reply to post by wonhunlo
You should redact any personal info and post it, I imagine a lot of people would be interested in seeing it.
Originally posted by gimme_some_truth
Of course he is. We all know this. He has no intention of ever giving anyone a million dollars...
Originally posted by GringoViejo
The applicants help design the test... And both parties agree to the conditions before its even done....
SOURCE: SCEPCOP Treatise - Debunking Pseudoskeptical Arguments of Paranormal Debunkers
According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, a skeptic is:
One who is yet undecided as to what is true; one who is looking or inquiring for what is true; an inquirer after facts or reasons.
Pyrrho, the founder of "Skepticism", intended for it to be about open inquiry and suspension of judgment.en.wikipedia.org...
In classical philosophy, skepticism refers to the teachings and the traits of the 'Skeptikoi', a school of philosophers of whom it was said that they 'asserted nothing but only opined.' (Liddell and Scott) In this sense, philosophical skepticism, or Pyrrhonism, is the philosophical position that one should suspend judgment in investigations.
But rather than inquiring, or asking questions to try to understand something, they seek to debunk, discredit and ridicule anything that doesn't fit into their belief system. And rather than suspending judgment, they make accusations of fraud and delusion of all paranormal claimants. They are PROSECUTORS, not investigators. Hence, we call them pseudoskeptics (a term coined by the late Marcello Truzzi) for their actions and behaviors are the complete antithesis of what skepticism truly means.
According to WikiSynergy:
Pseudoskepticism (or pseudoskepticism) is defined as thinking that claims to be Skeptical but is actually faith-based disbelief. Because real skepticism is a justifiable position, pseudoskepticism may also be defined as making pseudoscientific arguments in pursuit of a skeptical agenda.
Pseudoskepticism is a general term which encompasses two types of faith-based disbelief: making positive claims that something is wrong or unreal without evidence (positive disbelief), and rejecting sufficient evidence.
A "true skeptic" objectively inquires and seeks evidence, challenging all sides including their own beliefs (see here). But these pseudoskeptics do anything but. As someone observed to me:
The original definition of skeptic was a person who questions ALL beliefs, facts, and points-of-view. A healthy perspective in my opinion. Today's common definition of skeptic is someone who questions any belief that strays outside of the status quo, yet leaving the status quo itself completely unquestioned. Kind of a juvenile and intellectually lazy practice in my opinion.
Even Wikipedia indirectly admits that modern skepticism is really about rejecting new information:en.wikipedia.org...
The word skepticism can characterize a position on a single claim, but in scholastic circles more frequently describes a lasting mind-set and an approach to accepting or rejecting new information.
A more elaborate answer is, psi has been shown to exist in thousands of experiments. There are disagreements over to how to interpret the evidence, but the fact is that virtually all scientists who have studied the evidence, including the hard-nosed skeptics, now agree that there is something interesting going on that merits serious scientific attention.