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stevemagegod

James Randi $1,000,000 Foundation Prize

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aquatus1

I was refering to the Carl Sagan's quote in the Cosmos series: ''Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence'' which Hideout made use of in his post.

As I pointed out earlier, what makes a claim extraordinary is entirely a matter of knowledge, beliefs and perception. There is no unviersal standard that defines what an ''extraordinary claims'' should be and can be applied for all. This quote should not be taken at face value.

How are you going to argue that what makes something "ordinary" isn't a matter of objective statistics? If we experience something on a regular, repeatable, basis, to the point that we can lay good odds on the probability of its occurrence in a given scenario, that is "ordinary", by sheer definition. It's normal. It's standard. It's expected.

Whether or not any individual is personally impressed with what occurred doesn't change that. I went to see Cirque Du Soleil yesterday. I was greatly entertained by the trampoline acrobats. The daughter of my date was utterly flabbergasted. It didn't occur to her that people would be capable of such things. It seemed beyond human.

But that doesn't make what happened "extraordinary". People can do that, this has been proven time and time again. The part that thrilled her was that she didn't know it was possible. The part that thrilled me was seeing it done, even though I knew it was possible. That the act of trampoline performances in such shows is ordinary doesn't have anything to do with it. It's expected.


Why would claim of psychic ability required an extraordnary evidence more than any other scientific inquiry?

Because it references powers that have never been evidenced before, that are not repeatable on any reliable basis, and that have, at best, only shown the possibility of effect data, and even that is questionable.

Any kinf of evidence have a value if it can lead to further researchers and more evidence which would allow us to confirm the existence of such phenomenon.

Common error. A lot of research money and grants have been lost to this very argument, while other researchers, with actual scientific support for their claims, have gone without.



Personally, I do not know if these phoenomenon exist or are waiting to be found. I've not see any proof or evidence of such ability as mental control, distortion of matter, communication with the dead ect. There is interesting experiences and researches carried in paraspcyhology which I find interesting but more devoleppement is required for ESP, PK for instance to be accepted.

Probably the biggest problem, by far, is simply the doubt of the existence of these powers.

Think about it: the purpose of science is to explain a given phenomena. We don't have to "see" the phenomena, we don't even have to be able to measure it directly as long as we can measure it indirectly, but the phenomena does have to have an objective existence. People who know nothing about the claims have to be able to look at the data and say, "Yeah, this data indicates the possibility of X phenomena." This is the barest minimum standard to even begin a research study: How are you going to study something if you can't even show that it exists, let alone that it does anything?

The problem with these powers is there is no reason to believe they exist to begin with, and plenty of reason to believe that if they had existed, they would certainly have been emphasized far more than they are now. Psychic powers would have been an immeasurable boon to any creature looking to avoid becoming lunch. Humans going to war would have immediately sought out anyone who had the ability to forecast enemy movements and plan their battles around them (which some ancient armies did, and which explains quite a few losses). Everyone talks about the 1%, heck, these people would be the .01%, and most people would think they were gods. You've seen how people react to charmers with nothing more than a receiver in their ears; imagine how people would react to someone who could sail through even the staunchest skeptics tests?

We can't see gravity, but we can repeatedly and reliably see the effects it has. We don't even know what causes gravity, yet we can design research studies all around it because we have enough objective data to determine the limits of its powers. We can't do that with psychic abilities. We can't say "If I do this, then that will occur". Millenia worth of stories, and even today that is all we have? People claiming powers available by the dozen in any country and by the 100's on the internet, and not a single one capable of even the slightest repeatable and reliable phenomena? To the point where even guessing the correct order of five cards would be something so extraordinary that the entire scientific world would sit up and take notice? No, science focuses on finding answers to existing phenomena; that psychic abilities can't even get to the point that they can be conclusively shown to even exist indicates how utterly improbable they are. They aren't being held up to a higher standard; They are being held up to the bare minimum requirement.

Edited by aquatus1
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NewAge1

How are you going to argue that what makes something "ordinary" isn't a matter of objective statistics? If we experience something on a regular, repeatable, basis, to the point that we can lay good odds on the probability of its occurrence in a given scenario, that is "ordinary", by sheer definition. It's normal. It's standard. It's expected.

Ordinary can be defined as commonly encountered, usual. Yet as we discover and learn more of our evironment of this world, our train of thought is apt to change from time to time. In the 19th century when Quantum mechanics was discovered to be later established, it was so mind boggling and extrarodinary that many scientist simply couldn't believe it. Albert Einstein once said: ''God doesn't play dice with the Universe.''

So we went from ordinary, all can be predicted and mesured in the theory of general relativity to we can only estimate probability and the likelyhood of movements and events. Even before that it was Isaac Newton's classical physics that had the upper hand in the explication of our day-to-day experiences.

So, objectively, it would appear that ''ordinary'' and ''extraordinary'' is a matter of knowledge, perception and belief in scientific and cultural paradigms, prone to change as we uncover news concepts that are proved mutliple times by experiments in scientific researches and improvement through social and economic developpements.

According to many philosophers and scientists, we will yet again enter a new paradigm in time to come and our view of the world as it stands today may yet radically change. I think that history is a good indication that this prediction makes sens.

But that doesn't make what happened "extraordinary". People can do that, this has been proven time and time again. The part that thrilled her was that she didn't know it was possible. The part that thrilled me was seeing it done, even though I knew it was possible. That the act of trampoline performances in such shows is ordinary doesn't have anything to do with it. It's expected.


Exactly, but I've no doubt that the first people that have seen these acrobaties been perfomed for the first times in the past were greatly amazed, like your daughter and even more (some magic or supernatural feats, maybe?), but unless the perfomers told them they had no reference point to confirm that it was perhaps not ''extraordinary'' for them. They have never seen that on TV, never heard of it before. It's entirely about your knowledge, experience and perceptions on the case of this matter. And these can potentially change.

Let us remember the definition of extraordinary:

1. Beyond what is ordinary or usual: extraordinary authority.

2. Highly exceptional; remarkable: an extraordinary achievement.

3. Employed or used for a special service, function, or occasion: a minister extraordinary; an extraordinary professor.

Source: http://www.thefreedi...m/extraordinary

Because it references powers that have never been evidenced before, that are not repeatable on any reliable basis, and that have, at best, only shown the possibility of effect data, and even that is questionable.

Personally, I don't accept that as a valid reason to hold psychical research apart of any other scientific inquiry. I've no problem to hold it to high standards, as long as any other field of researches have the same requirement. There is a tremendous amount of anectodical evidences of eye witnesses which is consistent throughout history. That alone, is enough to stirr scientific curiosity. Let's be clear, it does not mean that psychical abilities exist, not at all, but that there is a subject to study for those interested in it. I am optimistic that if these abilities somehow really ever existed, (perhaps not in the scale previously thought) in some very rare cases that new technologies, new approaches and developpements in science might be able to detect and pinpoint a cause so as to explain coherently the inconsistency of the phenomenon, if there is a reality to it.

Common error. A lot of research money and grants have been lost to this very argument, while other researchers, with actual scientific support for their claims, have gone without.



Probably the biggest problem, by far, is simply the doubt of the existence of these powers.

I have a different view of scientific inquiry than you it would seem. In my opinion, it does not require ''extraordinary evidences'' to convince us of the need to uncover thruths about the natural world and that's certainly not in waiting only for extraordinary evidence (though doubtless that's what any researchers desire ideally) that various branches of science such as physics, biology, ecology for exemple have known progress.

Like a wise medieval French philosopher and theologian named Peter Abelard once said : “By doubting we come to inquiry; and through inquiry we perceive truth.”

Edited by sam_comm

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aquatus1
Ordinary can be defined as commonly encountered, usual. Yet as we discover and learn more of our evironment of this world, our train of thought is apt to change from time to time.

But no matter how much it changes, it isn't going to change what we already commonly encounter in our usual daily lives. Learning about photosynthesis makes a common, ordinary flower into a far more interesting thing, but that doesn't make the flower more extraordinary.

In the 19th century when Quantum mechanics was discovered to be later established, it was so mind boggling and extrarodinary that many scientist simply couldn't believe it. Albert Einstein once said: ''God doesn't play dice with the Universe.'

So we went from ordinary, all can be predicted and mesured in the theory of general relativity to we can only estimate probability and the likelyhood of movements and events. Even before that it was Isaac Newton's classical physics that had the upper hand in the explication of our day-to-day experiences.

Newton's classical physics still have the upper hand in classical physics. That's why we still use them and why they are still taught in college. In fact, Newton's laws apply to pretty much 99% of everything we humans will ever encounter in our lifetimes. Newtons law's, in other words, apply to ordinary physics.

Now, if we start talking about things which are not ordinary, if we start talking about physics on a nanoscopic scale, where there are forces and concepts so abstract we can't even define them very well in our macroscopic reality, then you need a set of rules of which are capable of matching the extraordinary nature of the phenomena.

And you can define those extraordinary rules thanks to one thing: the reliable repeatability of the extraordinary phenomena. In other words, no one doubts quantum phenomena exists because we can see and measure the effects of it.

So, objectively, it would appear that ''ordinary'' and ''extraordinary'' is a matter of knowledge, perception and belief in scientific and cultural paradigms, prone to change as we uncover news concepts that are proved mutliple times by experiments in scientific researches and improvement through social and economic developpements.

Not even close. It doesn't matter whether or not you have knowledge of photosynthesis, it still happens everywhere, all the time. It doesn't matter if you don't consider it to be particularly amazing, or even if you consider it the most incredible thing humanity has ever discovered, it still happens everywhere, all the time. Most importantly, it doesn't matter if you believe in it or don't believe in it. Regardless, photosynthesis happens with or without you, because even if you were not around, we could still verify the existence of photosynthesis, which means it objectively exists, and we could still measure the occurrence of it in a given context, which means we can determine whether it is ordinary or not.

A few days ago there was an article about how a strange state of matter was found in chicken eyes. Did we know about this before? No, we did not. Did anyone believe such a thing could occur in the natural world? Not at all. But lo and behold, we find that it does, and not only that, we find that it is downright ordinary.

Is it ordinary because there is nothing particularly incredible about a crystalline fluid state of matter? Of course not! It's absolutely incredible, and the researchers had to go out of their way to prove that such a matter not only exists, but also that it is stable and repeatable. They had an extraordinary claim, and they had to come up with extraordinary evidence to show this claim existed. But now that the matter itself has been shown to exist, and we know that the properties of the matter are extraordinary, can we say that the occurrence of the matter is extraordinary? No, we can't. It's present twice for every chicken you can find. No matter how extraordinary the matter is, it still occurs on a frighteningly ordinary level.

According to many philosophers and scientists, we will yet again enter a new paradigm in time to come and our view of the world as it stands today may yet radically change. I think that history is a good indication that this prediction makes sens.

Which still doesn't change the definition of "ordinary". No matter where or when you are, "ordinary" will still be based on how often something occurs in a given context.

Exactly, but I've no doubt that the first people that have seen these acrobaties been perfomed for the first times in the past were greatly amazed, like your daughter and even more (some magic or supernatural feats, maybe?), but unless the perfomers told them they had no reference point to confirm that it was perhaps not ''extraordinary'' for them. They have never seen that on TV, never heard of it before. It's entirely about your knowledge, experience and perceptions on the case of this matter. And these can potentially change.

It has nothing to do with your knowledge. It is that precise error that creates all this confusion in the first place. People without knowledge of something go in and start claiming that this is extraordinary, when in fact it is very ordinary, and suddenly decide that anything else they don't know about is extraordinary as well. Personal ignorance of occurance does not translate into objective rate of occurrence.

Let us remember the definition of extraordinary:

1. Beyond what is ordinary or usual: extraordinary authority.

2. Highly exceptional; remarkable: an extraordinary achievement.

3. Employed or used for a special service, function, or occasion: a minister extraordinary; an extraordinary professor.

In our case, it is the first one which applies. If a group of people consider themselves equals, and then one suddenly thinks they have extra authority over the other person, it doesn't actually mean that they do. Indeed, all the other people are going to want to see evidence of this. Claiming they do just because they say they do isn't going to work; everyone can claim such an ordinary reason. They will need to show something that isn't usual among the group to show that they have more than the usual amount of authority.

Personally, I don't accept that as a valid reason to hold psychical research apart of any other scientific inquiry.

I suspect it is really the other way around. I suspect your desire to validate psychic research is influencing your perception of what standards need be applied.

I've no problem to hold it to high standards, as long as any other field of researches have the same requirement.

The same standards are being applied. The bare minimum standard is the existence of the phenomena. Psychic powers are struggling even at that introductory level. No one is even asking how or why they work yet, which is the actual purpose of scientific research.

There is a tremendous amount of anectodical evidences of eye witnesses which is consistent throughout history. That alone, is enough to stirr scientific curiosity.

And it does. Plenty of scientists have a mild interest in such things, and papers on psychic research are not unheard of. The problem is that none of these findings ever agree that there is enough there to warrant further research. At most, it becomes a statistical curiosity.

But hey, you are the one asking for equal standards for everything, so let me ask you: Can you think of any field of scientific research that was based solely on anecdotal accounts?

Let's be clear, it does not mean that psychical abilities exist, not at all, but that there is a subject to study for those interested in it. I am optimistic that if these abilities somehow really ever existed, (perhaps not in the scale previously thought) in some very rare cases that new technologies, new approaches and developpements in science might be able to detect and pinpoint a cause so as to explain coherently the inconsistency of the phenomenon, if there is a reality to it.

Yes, that is entirely possible. However, it would require a rather extraordinary discovery to make it happen.

I have a different view of scientific inquiry than you it would seem.

No, it's pretty much the same. What you have different than I is nothing more than a bias in a particular subject where you prefer a subjective evaluation as opposed to an objective one, a standard which cannot be applied to scientific inquiry.

In my opinion, it does not require ''extraordinary evidences'' to convince us of the need to uncover thruths about the natural world and that's certainly not in waiting only for extraordinary evidence (though doubtless that's what any researchers desire ideally) that various branches of science such as physics, biology, ecology for exemple have known progress.

You are quite correct, extraordinary evidence isn't required to uncover "truths" about the natural world. The Truths should be pretty much out there for everyone to see. That's the entire purpose of scientific research; not so much to discover these "truths", but rather to explain how or why they work. The existence of the "truth" itself is generally beyond question.

Like a wise medieval French philosopher and theologian named Peter Abelard once said : “By doubting we come to inquiry; and through inquiry we perceive truth.”

Well, my opinions on mixing philosophy with science are well known here, so I won't repeat them. I will, however, point out that when one has to resort to philosophy to justify subjectively defining a word that, by sheer objective definition refers to the rate of occurrence of something, then you need to check if your biases are influencing your opinion.

No matter how impressive something is to you, it is the rate of occurrence in context which makes that thing ordinary or extraordinary. Whether it is photosynthesis, acrobatic skills, or quantum physics, it isn't how easily these things are understood by you or anyone else that makes them extraordinary; it is how often they occur or don't occur in a given context that makes them extraordinary.

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stevemagegod

I don't really see how it's an insult. Man has been searching for "proof" of such abilities for thousands of years. Being able to show that such abilities exist would literally stand the world as we know it on its head and bring about a new age of existence for humanity.

If one is convinced they possess these abilities, don't they have an obligation to Mankind to come forward? Not to mention, that $1 million (and the other such prizes being offered around the world-upwards of $3-$4 million at last count) could be put to very good use helping humanity understand and accept such powers. If nothing else, take the money and set up a school (ala the X-Men) to help those struggling with such abilities to master them.

Why wouldn't someone want to do that? Frankly it seems very selfish and self-centered to not want to do that.

This is what i am talking about. Main reason why i originally started this topic because of comments like the quote.

This is hilarious. Seriously. Why didn't one single person take Randi's $1m prize if this stuff is possible? Why not give the money to charity and change the world forever. Either it doesn't work or every single person who can do it is selfish beyond belief.

I was just browsing through ATS website on Remote Viewing looking at some techniques that people have there and i just happened to notice this comment. I don't know about you but it kinda bugs me when i see stuff like that. Like seriously dude you're on a website that discusses the friggen Paranormal.

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Thorvir

If I had any sort of power, one can be damned certain I would be showing it off on that show for that amount of cash.

Though, shortly afterward, I would disappear from the public; either intentionally so I won't be bothered, or unintentionally because the Feds came and took me away.

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ChrLzs

Here's my $0 challenge. How would those who decry Randi's challenge, set their own challenge rules?

Let's repeat, Randi's challenge involves a completely open testing regime, and the preliminary test is suggested and refined by the claimant themselves, in conjunction with a panel of sciency and magicy folks - the sort of people who know how cheating could be done. The process by which the preliminary challenge is designed is fully open to scrutiny, and has to be agreed to by the claimant and the expert panel - none of which is Randi and none of which has a financial interest in the $1m. That money was put aside a long time ago and is held in verifiable escrow (look it up).

No-one has passed their preliminary challenge yet, let alone progressed to the final test (which will be quite an event if ever it happens..)

So, critics, you tell us - would you have the money already in escrow? Would you perhaps let the claimant design their own tests without question? If not, who would you invite to adjudicate, and would they have any interest in the money?

In other words, tell us how the challenge could possibly be fairer, more open, and more likely to reveal a positive and *real* result?

And is it possible that your dislike of Randi and his challenge is simply based on the fact that he has very often shown paranormal 'proof' to be scams, and is - to be blunt - a very acerbic person who does not pull punches or take prisoners..?

(It's no wonder I like him... :D)

Just out of interest, Randi would, unquestionably, make a LOT more than a million in advertising and royalties if anyone ever got past the prelim test - even if they didn't succeed! If the challenge was a scam, that would be what he would do, don't you think - have at least one person get through every year or so, so he could do a television special?

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aquatus1

Just to be fair, let's not forget that many claimants did honestly, sincerely, believe they had abilities of some kind or another, and simply didn't have the methodological experience to see where they had been fooling themselves. More than one claimant was surprised at their own findings and didn't make excuses or whine about being treated unfairly.

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RhiannonB77

He's annoying. He never would pay anyone anyway. Someone could come levitating in the room, performing telekinesis on the furniture, while making accurate psychic readings about his life, and he would still label them a fraud.

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DKO

He's annoying. He never would pay anyone anyway. Someone could come levitating in the room, performing telekinesis on the furniture, while making accurate psychic readings about his life, and he would still label them a fraud.

Why do you think he would do that?

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Brian Topp

Why do you think he would do that?

randi tests are recorded, viewed by many and if people can make objects move with their mind, they could just lift randi and make them fly buuuuut that will never happen since it can not be done
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DKO

randi tests are recorded, viewed by many and if people can make objects move with their mind, they could just lift randi and make them fly buuuuut that will never happen since it can not be done

Yep. Also it's not just James Randi at the testing. So there will have to be a few people covering up these special powers.

But from memory no-one has actually gotten that far. All failed the preliminary tests or wouldn't accept the variables. On my phone atm, can't check it up.

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NewAge1
Why do you think he would do that?

I have great respect for James Randi as an investigator, he has demonstrated on many occasions his ability to expose frauds in the paranormal field. But with all due respect, Mr Randi is also a strong advocator, and that as been the case for many years, against the legitimacy of paranormal phenomenon. The James Randi Educational Foundation, and many other skeptics organisations defend the position that every claims of paranormal experiences can be explained by frauds, lies, mesinterpreations and wishful thinkings.

Needless to say that if a paranormal phenomenon is ever validated by the scientific methodology, it would be a serious blow to the credibility of these organisations. Therefore I simply cannot take this this ''challenge'' or ''contest'' as definitve proof that every paranormal claims are unfounded and illegitmate for there is an appararent conflict of interest in it, and so the objectivy and scientific bias become an issue in my opinion.

In any case, as CSICOP's Dr Ray Hyman pointed out:

Scientists don't settle issues with a single test, so even if someone does win a big cash prize in a demonstration, this isn't going to convince anyone. Proof in science happens through replication, not through single experiments.

Source: http://www.dailygrai...ollar-challenge

randi tests are recorded, viewed by many and if people can make objects move with their mind, they could just lift randi and make them fly buuuuut that will never happen since it can not be done

That's true.

Here is the FAQ James Randi challenge: http://www.randi.org...llenge-faq.html

But the thing is, nobody has every get past the preliminary tests. So, I have my own reserve. I simply cannot based my opinion of the legitmacy of paranormal phenomenon on this 1 M$ contest.

Edited by sam_comm

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DKO

I have great respect for James Randi as an investigator, he has demonstrated on many occasions his ability to expose frauds in the paranormal field. But with all due respect, Mr Randi is also a strong advocator, and that as been the case for many years, against the legitimacy of paranormal phenomenon. The James Randi Educational Foundation, and many other skeptics organisations defend the position that every claims of paranormal experiences can be explained by frauds, lies, mesinterpreations and wishful thinkings.

Needless to say that if a paranormal phenomenon is ever validated by the scientific methodology, it would be a serious blow to the credibility of these organisations. Therefore I simply cannot take this this ''challenge'' or ''contest'' as definitve proof that every paranormal claims are unfounded and illegitmate for there is an appararent conflict of interest in it, and so the objectivy and scientific bias become an issue in my opinion.

The challenge is there to prove paranormal phenomenon, not to try and hide it. Also the rules are even in favour of the claimant.

If something paranormal was proven scientifically then this One Million Dollar challenge would be cancelled I assume. No need to try and prove something if its already been proven.

But anyway my reply was to another user that said James Randi wouldn't pay someone that displayed psychic powers. And made out that he would try and cover it up. Why would he do that? I'm sure James Randi and the scientific community would be ecstatic. A new avenue in science would be opened.

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NewAge1
The challenge is there to prove paranormal phenomenon, not to try and hide it. Also the rules are even in favour of the claimant.

Yet this contest is clearly unsufficiant to draw conclusions concerning paranormal phenomenon. Even a die-hard skeptic and member of CSICOP, Dr Ray Hyman is in the opinion that even if by some incredible chance someone should win the prize, it would still not be enough to convinced us that the ''paranormal'' phenomenon can be legitimate.

A valid point could be made the other way around as well, since the objectivity and bias of the carriers of the tests can be questionned, as an apparant conflict of interest may put in jeopardize the validity of the results.

If something paranormal was proven scientifically then this One Million Dollar challenge would be cancelled I assume. No need to try and prove something if its already been proven.

That would be quite a blow for these skeptics organisations and foundations too, whose main goal or ''raison d'être'' is to educate the public that paranormal phenomenon do not exist. They are pretty confident it won't happen anyway. :)

But anyway my reply was to another user that said James Randi wouldn't pay someone that displayed psychic powers. And made out that he would try and cover it up. Why would he do that? I'm sure James Randi and the scientific community would be ecstatic. A new avenue in science would be opened.

It is not for me to suggest that James Randi would ''cover-up'' positive results. Far from that. I am quite sure Mr Randi and many working for the JREF are honest persons. Yet they are deeply involved for their cause and have strong convictions about this subject which does not make them neutral players.

Let's be clear, Mr Randi did advocated against the paranormal all of his career, built quite a solid reputation by debunking phenomenon. He has every right to, and that has certainly helped this field but I have some difficulties to think that the man would simply turn his cloak and accept the reality of paranormal phenomenon without a battle. You know it can be very hard to swallow and accept that afters all these years, you were wrong. I probably would not do so easily.

Edited by sam_comm

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RhiannonB77

Why do you think he would do that?

I just think no matter how valid the person is, he would not believe them. I am not saying that every psychic or medium, or anyone involved in the paranormal field is legit either. In fact, I think there are probably more frauds littering the field. However, I try and keep an open mind. I just don't think he does.

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DKO

Yet this contest is clearly unsufficiant to draw conclusions concerning paranormal phenomenon. Even a die-hard skeptic and member of CSICOP, Dr Ray Hyman is in the opinion that even if by some incredible chance someone should win the prize, it would still not be enough to convinced us that the ''paranormal'' phenomenon can be legitimate.

A valid point could be made the other way around as well, since the objectivity and bias of the carriers of the tests can be questionned, as an apparant conflict of interest may put in jeopardize the validity of the results.

That would be quite a blow for these skeptics organisations and foundations too, whose main goal or ''raison d'être'' is to educate the public that paranormal phenomenon do not exist. They are pretty confident it won't happen anyway. :)

It is not for me to suggest that James Randi would ''cover-up'' positive results. Far from that. I am quite sure Mr Randi and many working for the JREF are honest persons. Yet they are deeply involved for their cause and have strong convictions about this subject which does not make them neutral players.

Let's be clear, Mr Randi did advocated against the paranormal all of his career, built quite a solid reputation by debunking phenomenon. He has every right to, and that has certainly helped this field but I have some difficulties to think that the man would simply turn his cloak and accept the reality of paranormal phenomenon without a battle. You know it can be very hard to swallow and accept that afters all these years, you were wrong. I probably would not do so easily.

There's always going to be people that will never change their mind. No matter how much evidence or proof is thrown at their face. Those people do not belong in any organisation like this. But I do believe that there would be no cover-up if someone proved them wrong.

Yes it would be hard to accept. But exciting. A new area of research.

I hope these sort of things exist, but I seriously doubt it. Not only because no one has claimed the prize but for the fact that these powers defy many physics rules and there has never been any decent evidence supporting it. Just hopeful people. Plus people constantly claim they can perform telekinesis, psyballs, etc, but in the age of digital cameras there has been no evidence recorded.

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ChrLzs

I have great respect for James Randi as an investigator, he has demonstrated on many occasions his ability to expose frauds in the paranormal field.

As you should - he, like any good magician, is the ideal type of person to spot and expose trickery, and the paranormal is FULL of it.

But with all due respect

You just know that no respect is about to be given when those words appear....

Mr Randi is also a strong advocator, and that as been the case for many years, against the legitimacy of paranormal phenomenon. The James Randi Educational Foundation, and many other skeptics organisations defend the position that every claims of paranormal experiences can be explained by frauds, lies, mesinterpreations and wishful thinkings.

What a weird characterisation. EVERY claim made so far has quickly been shown to be false. SHOWN to be false, oftentimes by the persons making the claims..

To extend that to mean that Randi denies that there could ever possibly be something genuinely 'paranormal' is ridiculous, in fact I call upon you to cite that.

Thus far every claim HAS been shown to be explained by frauds, lies, misinterpretations, trickery, wishful thinking (and a few others). And the Challenge exists to offer the chance for anyone with genuine paranormal 'powers' to prove that their 'powers' are genuine and measurable. It is NOT onerously setup, the rules have to be agreed, the conditions are openly discussed. Unless you can point to an example where those conditions were unfair, then this is just a great big unsupported handwave. So how about instead of interpreting people's intentions, you get down to FACTS for a change.

Which paranormal claimant has been treated unfairly?

Who has been prevented from entering the challenge?

Which of the rules of the Challenge do you object to and why?

Needless to say that if a paranormal phenomenon is ever validated by the scientific methodology, it would be a serious blow to the credibility of these organisations.

That's absolute hogwash. Randi's challenge would be famous, a new branch of science would be setup, and if the powers were in any way 'impressive' or useful, then there would be clear benefits to society/humanity. The $1m would be a pittance compared to the advertising revenue alone - imagine the viewing audience even if someone passed the initial tests (which are most certainly NOT onerous or unfair, by any means), let alone a successful result. All participants could pretty much name their prizemoney/income in the form of endorsements and advertising..

Seriously, this whole idea of the paranormal being repressed is just silly nonsense.

Therefore I simply cannot take this this ''challenge'' or ''contest'' as definitve proof that every paranormal claims are unfounded and illegitmate

Oh for heaven's sake, it is NOT MEANT TO BE! Good Grief. The whole idea is to uncover anything real at a preliminary level IF IT EXISTS, and it is set up to ensure that charlatans and frauds don't get through - scientists can be as easy to fool as Joe Average, when you have a very good magician or fraudster...

Indeed, if I am permitted to make MY characterisation of what you are whining about, it is that you obviously want charlatans and frauds to get it easy, and be given free reign.

If you dispute that, it is now time for you to step up and tell us PRECISELY what is wrong with the Challenge. And be prepared for a good old fashioned debate on FACTS, not handwaved opinions.

Edited by ChrLzs
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NewAge1
As you should - he, like any good magician, is the ideal type of person to spot and expose trickery, and the paranormal is FULL of it.

Agreed, even Loyd Auerbach, who is now a parapsychologist. ;)

What a weird characterisation. EVERY claim made so far has quickly been shown to be false. SHOWN to be false, oftentimes by the persons making the claims..

To extend that to mean that Randi denies that there could ever possibly be something genuinely 'paranormal' is ridiculous, in fact I call upon you to cite that.

To quote Auerbach:

''The procedures for the Challenge included several hurdles in favor of, and multiple "outs" for Randi and the JREF that any discerning individual capable of any kind of extraordinary human performance would think twice about (and here I'm not just referring to psychics and the like).''

Source: http://www.dailygrai...ollar-challenge

I never mentionned that Mr Randi ''denies'' the existence of paranormal phenomenon, you misinterpreted me sir. I just pointed out that James Randi has advocated against the reality of various paranormal phenomenon all of his carreer. He has every right to, it's not a rebutal but a sound constatation. Phenomenon that he consider to be ''woo-woo'' (http://web.archive.o...ebrowne.html#i7)

adj. concerned with emotions, mysticism, or spiritualism; other than rational or scientific; mysterious; new agey. Also n., a person who has mystical or new age beliefs.

When used by skeptics, woo-woo is a derogatory and dismissive term used to refer to beliefs one considers nonsense or to a person who holds such beliefs.

Source: http://www.skepdic.com/woowoo.html

Expecting that this challenge would be seen by any individual as definitive proof that every single paranormal claims have no substance, when the head of this challenge has clearly shown biases is not reasonable. I already know your opinion concerning bias in parapsychology, the main reason why you reject experiments, so I am sure you'll understand my point.

That's absolute hogwash. Randi's challenge would be famous, a new branch of science would be setup, and if the powers were in any way 'impressive' or useful, then there would be clear benefits to society/humanity. The $1m would be a pittance compared to the advertising revenue alone - imagine the viewing audience even if someone passed the initial tests (which are most certainly NOT onerous or unfair, by any means), let alone a successful result. All participants could pretty much name their prizemoney/income in the form of endorsements and advertising..

In a ideal world maybe, but I doubt your conclusion. First off science needs reproductability, so even if by some incredible feat someone should win this 1M$ contest but somehow fails to reproduce it in a scientific laboratory it would not be that much convincing. Thinking that this challenge is more than what is appears to be, that is to prove that paranormal phenomenon have no reality to them, to comfort the skeptic community in their position which they strongly advocate for, is pure illusion.

Now a lots of local skeptics organizations have their own challenge, ranging from 10 000$ to 100 000$ dollars, and honestly I find it hard to take the concept seriously. Clearly, it has become a way to mock the paranormal field more than anything else.

name='ChrLzs' timestamp='1397812717' post='5141944']If you dispute that, it is now time for you to step up and tell us PRECISELY what is wrong with the Challenge.[/b] And be prepared for a good old fashioned debate on FACTS, not handwaved opinions.

Funny coming from you, I have yet to see any of your post supported by any kind of materials other than your words and hasty generalization, that is, your own interpretation.

I have explained my view on this challenge and why it is unsufficiant to draw conclusions on the reality of paranormal phenomenon. This topic has 5 pages so you may want to read previous discussions. In any case it appears to me that outside the skeptic community this challenge was never accredited much considerations, especially as the objectivety and blatant conflict of interest may put in jeopardize the conclusions of this challenge. The contest may represent a ''starting point'' of research at best though it certainly never became one. At any rate I do not think we can consider it ''real'' science.

Edited by sam_comm

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ChrLzs

I've read the 5 pages thoroughly, and you have not been specific about the things you think are unfair in the challenge, you have simply parroted other people's opinions (and again, those opinions are carefully non-specific - gee what a coincidence..).

When I see you get brave enough to debate the ACTUAL aspects of the Challenge, I'll take you seriously. Not before.

Is ANYONE out there willing to be specific, or is this thread just about handwaving?

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NewAge1

I've read the 5 pages thoroughly, and you have not been specific about the things you think are unfair in the challenge, you have simply parroted other people's opinions (and again, those opinions are carefully non-specific - gee what a coincidence..).

That doesn't seem to be the case, as I think I've been quite specific. I've nothing against the very idea of a ''challenge'', researchers and skeptics alike can do want they think best to study and investigate paranormal phenomenon but don't expect me to take this contest as a definitive proof that paranormal phenomenon have no reality. The reasons are I think pretty clear, there is an blatant conflict of interest between the members of the skeptic community includin the JREF who advocate against the leitmacy of paranormal phenomenon (woo-woo?) and those who become the carriers of the tests, ultimate judge of this challenge to prove or disprove it's existence.

Also as Dr Michael Sudduth of San Francisco University put the finger on:

“Curiously, Randi's challenge itself is saddled with assumptions of this very kind. The challenge makes little sense unless we assume that psi is the sort of thing that, if genuine, can be produced on demand, or at least is likely to manifest itself in some perspicuous manner under the conditions specified by the challenge.”

Source: http://www.dailygrai...ollar-challenge

The approbations of subjects to specific tests does not mean these tests are fair on a scientific standpoint. It seems to me that alone should be enough to dissuade some people to consider participating in what may be percived as a mummer's farce, to be used as a consolidation of the positon (the non-existence of ''paranormal'' concept) advocated by these skeptics organisations and obviously not objective and sound scientific research.

When I see you get brave enough to debate the ACTUAL aspects of the Challenge, I'll take you seriously. Not before.

That is up to you. If you choose to ignore the content of my posts, as it it the case in this thread, that's your choice. :)

It does happen that when a discussion does not lead anywhere, replying serves no purpose.

name='ChrLzs' timestamp='1397865304' post='5142656']Is ANYONE out there willing to be specific[/b], or is this thread just about handwaving?

Lead by exemple. it's easy to tell others that which you don't even do yourself. For exemple I've never seen you produce any kind of specific materials reproducable on a discussion forum (links, quotes ect.) other than your personal opinions on other topics, that even remotely supported your claims to invalidate parasychology as a field of research. It's hard in this case to take that kind of revendication seriously.

Edited by sam_comm

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ChrLzs

You could have just said - "No, I will not be specific about the rules I disagree with." If you seriously believe that the chosen tests at the preliminary level are unfair, why not be specific about which rule/s or case/s you are referring to?

As for debating specific research that you claim proves paranormality, the onus is not on me to choose the research. It's up to you to be really brave and select what you believe to be the best. On other threads/forums I have specifically addressed some of the more ludicrous claims, by people like Radin here and here, Utts here and here, Sheldrake, and others... That's just the start.. Do you not know how to search threads or the Interwebz - is that an indication of your research abilities?

Frankly, the research methodology used by these charlatans posing as scientists is laughable. But, if you believe you have THE ONE, bring it. Something tells me that won't happen - it's quite notable that at some of those threads I just linked to, you have used the exact same tactic of REFUSING to post what you think is good research, instead preferring to point out handwaving articles about metastatistics. Metastatistics is a questionable 'science' even when used properly, but it loses all cred if based on selected CRAPPY research, that, if published at all, is found only at whacko journals.

So, post your best. In fact if you don't, I'LL pick one, is that OK?

So, again I ask is there anyone who wishes to debate Randi's Challenge rules, or offer an example where someone was unfairly dealt with? And offer a 'better' way?

Anyone? If you need a link to the rules, here you go.. If you want some info about those who have tried and failed at the first hurdle, here it is..

Finally, here's another article by Ray Hyman.... Any questions? Seems to be rather supportive of challenges, there..

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Merc14

I never mentionned that Mr Randi ''denies'' the existence of paranormal phenomenon, you misinterpreted me sir. I just pointed out that James Randi has advocated against the reality of various paranormal phenomenon all of his carreer. He has every right to, it's not a rebutal but a sound constatation. Phenomenon that he consider to be ''woo-woo'' (http://web.archive.o...ebrowne.html#i7)

adj. concerned with emotions, mysticism, or spiritualism; other than rational or scientific; mysterious; new agey. Also n., a person who has mystical or new age beliefs.

When used by skeptics, woo-woo is a derogatory and dismissive term used to refer to beliefs one considers nonsense or to a person who holds such beliefs.

Source: http://www.skepdic.com/woowoo.html

Expecting that this challenge would be seen by any individual as definitive proof that every single paranormal claims have no substance, when the head of this challenge has clearly shown biases is not reasonable. I already know your opinion concerning bias in parapsychology, the main reason why you reject experiments, so I am sure you'll understand my point.

I think Randi states pretty clearly that he is biased and does not believe in the paranormal. So what? It isn't his responsibility to prove paranormal claims are real, that is the claimant's responsibility and to date, none have succeeded. Randi's mission is to weed out the charlatans and so far his predilections have been proven correct 100% of the time. The tests, that you find fatally biased, have been accepted as fair by each and every claimant so I see no grounds for your assertions they are anything other than fair and appealing to authority is worthless here as both parties agreed that the tests were acceptable. What else do you want?

Edited by Merc14
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NewAge1

@Merc14 Confirmation biases, objectivity and conflict of interests undermine the credibility of tests and experiments. Any scientific conclusions put forward under these conditions would be rejected, expecting that no one should object is unreasonable. The approbation of the participants is no guarantee that the tests, criteria and standards are currently that generally accepted by the scientic research methodology. Even if so, there is absolutely no evidence that suggest psi phenomenon, if real, can or should be presented consistently on demand, but that the JRED has ruled out, basing the contest on assumptions and preconceived ideas in the first place. It becomes difficult to take this challenge as proof of disproof of anything.

Obviously James Randi' 1M$ contest is not considered serious scientific research outside the skeptic community but even so, I do feel an uneasiness and discomfort that in a ''trial'' on the legitimacy of paranormal phenomenon (or any other topic), the juge(s) should also be the jury and the prosecutor. But since no candidate never actually got past the preliminary hearings, whether or not they have shown any kidn of ability, the discussion enters hypothetical grounds, which we can only speculate of.

Finally, here's another article by Ray Hyman.... Any questions? Seems to be rather supportive of challenges, there..

First of all I have to salute your effort finally, to provide sources, links or any kind of materials that adds up to the discussion. :)

As for Dr Ryman, member of CSICOP and die-hard skeptic, he is obviously supportive of the challenge, the JRED and the skeptic community in general. However, from his own accord:

''Scientists don't settle issues with a single test, so even if someone does win a big cash prize in a demonstration, this isn't going to convince anyone. Proof in science happens through replication, not through single experiments.''

Source: http://www.dailygrai...ollar-challenge

Edited by sam_comm

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Merc14

@Merc14 Confirmation biases, objectivity and conflict of interests undermine the credibility of tests and experiments. Any scientific conclusions put forward under these conditions would be rejected, expecting that no one should object is unreasonable. The approbation of the participants is no guarantee that the tests, criteria and standards are currently that generally accepted by the scientic research methodology. Even if so, there is absolutely no evidence that suggest psi phenomenon, if real, can or should be presented consistently on demand, but that the JRED has ruled out, basing the contest on assumptions and preconceived ideas in the first place. It becomes difficult to take this challenge as proof of disproof of anything.

Obviously James Randi' 1M$ contest is not considered serious scientific research outside the skeptic community but even so, I do feel an uneasiness and discomfort that in a ''trial'' on the legitimacy of paranormal phenomenon (or any other topic), the juge(s) should also be the jury and the prosecutor. But since no candidate never actually got past the preliminary hearings, whether or not they have shown any kidn of ability, the discussion enters hypothetical grounds, which we can only speculate of.

First of all I have to salute your effort finally, to provide sources, links or any kind of materials that adds up to the discussion. :)

As for Dr Ryman, member of CSICOP and die-hard skeptic, he is obviously supportive of the challenge, the JRED and the skeptic community in general. However, from his own accord:

''Scientists don't settle issues with a single test, so even if someone does win a big cash prize in a demonstration, this isn't going to convince anyone. Proof in science happens through replication, not through single experiments.''

Source: http://www.dailygrai...ollar-challenge

Umm, well, it isn't an effort to prove a scientific theory, it is an effort to shine the spotlight of truth on the frauds and charlatans which is what every single paranormal person has been shown to be to date. There are some people that really believe in their powers and in the magic world and they will never attempt this test because they don't want to know it doesn't exist. Fine, live and let live, just don't push it.

As far as science, well, it ain't and approaching it as a scientific theory has failed every time, hence the end of that effort. If Dr. Ryman wants to prove paranormal magic exists then why doesn't he present his findings for peer review? If his proof is irrefutable he has nothing to fear.

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