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Old 11-12-2007, 08:24 AM   #1
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Tips For Dealing With James Randi

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

By Rob Beschizza October 26, 2007

James Randi is a magician, skeptic and debunker who has made short work of countless frauds, fruitcakes and sincere claimants to paranormal power. The Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge traditionally offers the titular award to those who can demonstrate proof of such skills under rigorous test conditions. Recently, however, Randi's foundation has moved beyond the strictly supernatural, targeting claims made by fans of ultra-expensive audio gear.
In this latest funhouse, Michael Fremer, audiophile and Stereophile editor, accepted a challenge, with the backing of Pear Cables, to prove that the firm's $7,000 leads are better than standard-fare one can pick up at Best Buy. It's not gone well for the challengers, with Pear backing out and Fremer frustrated by the all-too-public negotiations between Randi and himself.
Don't let it happen to you. Whether you're psychic or merely a subjectivist in matters of science, here are 10 tips for dealing with Randi and claiming your dough.
• Don't claim the prize doesn't exist. This makes you look stupid. The million dollars, plus a dusty film of interest, is real and stashed in a Goldman Sachs escrow account.
• Don't ridicule Randi. Randi has seen you coming. The old man never got a degree, but he knows more about the workings of science than half the Ph.D.s in America. Randi will make faster work of you than Chuck Norris if you underestimate him.
• Don't claim the testing will be rigged. Anyone remotely familiar with how scientists guard against their own bias and expectation will know that these double-blind experiments are designed to be transparent and rigorous, using the same empirical principles as seen in any kind of research. Reporters and observers would relish the chance to spot a methodological flaw or sleight of hand.
• 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.
• Don't bother trying to work the protocol in your favor, with plans to back out honorably if the testing scenario isn't to your taste. Before you even start, you'll get to determine what will constitute success, and both sides agree to the rules, details of which are open for negotiation. You'll even get to practice "unblinded" to warm up—a dowser, for example, will do a few rounds knowing exactly where the water is—meaning that there'll be no point where you can say you've been fiddled.
• Don't start what you can't finish. The only thing that stinks worse than bullshit is chickenshit. The test is rigged one way and one way only: if you get involved, backing out under any circumstances whatsoever makes you look silly. You cannot subvert this principle, even if you think you're in the right: Randi has a script, you do not. No-one will believe you if your powers are found to be inoperable in the presence of clipboards. No-one likes a quitter.
• Don't forget the failures of those that have gone before. Singularly inaccurate TV psychic Sylvia Browne accepted and subsequently fled from Randi's challenge, and it wasn't pretty. Compare the swagger and brio of Pear Cables' leap into the ring with the quiet brevity of its reversal: a masterclass in how to turn your own product into an international joke. Almost all candidates back out at the negotiation stage; only a few dozen have reached preliminary tests, and all those have failed to proceed to the final tests.
• Don't come flying out of obscurity expecting to get a shot at the lucre. Go to the trouble of having some articles written about you, or of having someone with academic credentials say what you do is for real. After years taking on all-comers, the foundation's interest is now homed in on the many high-profile paranormalists it considers to be in need of debunking.
• 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?

One of the most irrational of all the conventions of modern society is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected....That they should have this immunity is an outrage. There is nothing in religious ideas, as a class, to lift them above other ideas. On the contrary, they are always dubious and often quite silly.
H. L. Mencken
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:46 AM   #2
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The log of applicants at Randi's site is pretty amusing.

Paranormal Urination
Rosemary Hunter has applied for the Challenge, media presence requirement included, with the extraordinary claim that she can make people urinate themselves with the power of her mind.

Ms. Hunter has also presented an affidavit from an academic, however in this demonstration, she made the individual cry uncontrollably with the power of her mind.

Ms. Hunter's article (which is no longer available on the newspaper's web site) was written by Mike Seuffert of Sun News.

Mr. Seuffert invited Rosemary to take him to a park and attempt to make him urinate. Mr. Seuffert stopped the demonstration when he began to feel strange and ill.

Ms. Hunter says this ability is a gift from God, and that she is one of His angels.

La propriété, c'est le vol ...
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:52 AM   #3
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Eva wrote View Post
Randi will make faster work of you than Chuck Norris if you underestimate him.
Any chance we could replace Chuck Norris jokes with James Randi jokes in popular culture? Randi is so much more cooler than Chucki!

"It's puzzling that Eden is synonymous with paradise when, if you think about it at all, it's more like a maximum-security prison with twenty-four hour surveillance." -Ann Druyan
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Old 11-12-2007, 03:51 PM   #4
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Pssh. I can make anyone urinate in my presence. The scenario goes like this:

Welcome to my humble abode. Coffee? Feel free to relax for awhile. Oh, I see your coffee's gone. More coffee? Now (many minutes, into protracted hours of small talk....) More coffee? No, I'm sorry, there's no bathroom here. Are you sure you wouldn't like some more coffee? What do you mean the door's locked? It locks from this side. Hmm....

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Old 11-12-2007, 03:56 PM   #5
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Mog wrote View Post
Any chance we could replace Chuck Norris jokes with James Randi jokes in popular culture? Randi is so much more cooler than Chucki!
I've always thought Chuckie was a Coors-can-crushing twit, personally. James Randi is more showmanlike than I would prefer, but, yeah, let's pump him into the mainstream! The jokes are just as easy as for the chuckster. He's probably a little too smart and highbrow to appeal to the demon-exorcision-believing sheeple, though- the ones who buy the National Enquirer, for instance. I use the Enquirer, when I find it, for starting the fire in the fireplace. ANY paper works for that, no matter what shit is written on it.
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