Thursday, November 1, 2007

If I had a million dollars...

   The Wired blog, and Gizmodo have been watching a bit of drama unfold between the James Randi Educational Foundation, a high end audio cable company, and an audiophile magazine editor. For the JREF, it's business as usual. Hotshot shoots his mouth off. JREF accepts his application for the $1,000,000 dollar challenge. Hotshot discovers exactly what "proper observing conditions" means. Hotshot starts backpedalling, and trying to needlessly complicate his application. Hotshot withdraws from the challenge.
   James Randi has seen this drama played out a thousand times, or more. But for many, it's all new. After watching the current "hotshot" play his hand, the Wired blog posted this article:

10 Tips For Dealing With James Randi: Claim Your Million Today!

A couple of pertinent excerpts:
• Don't lose your temper. Don't get into preliminary cockfighting. Randi is a master at delivering insults and responding to communications in such a way as to make you look foolish. Before test protocol negotiations have even begun, anything you say will already have been used against you. The Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge is as public a spectacle as there is, and the chances are that between you and him, only one of you has a half-century's experience as a professional showman.

 • Don't forget what you're getting yourself into: boring, exhaustive testing by people who think you're full of shit. If you go into it thinking it's going to be a cute studio one-shot in front of Johnny Carson, imagine what happened to Uri Geller happening to you twenty times. If you can't pull off your trick/power/feat with statistically significant results outside of Randi's lair,going inside of it is simply idiotic.
   My personal favourite, though, is the last point:
• Do have paranormal powers. In fact, fulfilling this one suggestion lets you ignore all the others, and all but guarantees the cash will be yours. What are you waiting for?
   That last one underlines the holes in all the arguments Randi's detractors use. The simple truth is, if these people could actually do what they claimed, no more, just exactly what they claimed, then the one million dollar prize would have been won long ago.


princesssaurora said...

I hate Randi.  But that is irrelevant.

be well,

plittle said...

Hmmm. I'm interested in your reaction, Dawn. Have you ever met Randi? Why do you say you hate him?

bpslider45 said...

Sorry Dawn, I can't agree with you on this one.

Randi is a no nonsense guy who tells it like it is and has the world's best BS detector.

The only people who need fear Randi are the con artists and deluded people.
He is generally pretty gentle with the deluded ones.

He only really rips into the con artists.

When you consider the $$'s spent on these flim-flam artists, the world could probably be vastly improved if this money was spent on rational and reasonable causes.

Probably reduce global warming too. A lot less hot air!

mavarin said...

I saw Rani walking around in Tucson once many years ago, but didn't say hello. Just didn't have anything worth interrupting his privacy to say. But if we had said something, it would have been something like "Thanks."

stillh20z said...

Just dropping in to say hey, and call you assface.


princesssaurora said...

No, I never met him, so I suppose that I should change my statement to something like, from what I have seen or heard from Randi on tv, I dislike the man.  He seems to be very puffed up, obnoxious and unkind.  I do say, 'seems' since I have never met him.  And, frankly, from anything I have seen, I would not want to meet him to 'know' him.  He doesn't seem nice or kind, at all.  However, I bet his family loves him.

It's just one of those things... haven't you ever found someone who just completely irks you and rubs you the wrong way?  He does that to me...

be well,

aleclynch said...

Dawn said:

"haven't you ever found someone who just completely irks you and rubs you the wrong way?"

Yeah, but they tend to be the charlatans to whom Randi is seemingly being obnoxious, puffed up, an unkind. :)

plittle said...

 I do believe the word to describe Randi would be, "curmudgeon." I also think that much of his bluster and blowhard is an assumed persona. I have not met the man personally, but those who have report that he is a kind and gentle man. Remember that he made his name as a very successful professional stage magician. He is the consummate performer, and his performances are designed to push the buttons of those he accosts.
  Remember, also, the last point in that article. If any of the people Randi deals with could actually do what claim to be able to do, they could shut him up in a heartbeat. They cannot, and so Randi continues to pursue their lies and delusions on behalf of us all.