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The Amazing Randi - A Question
Posted: 27 June 2007 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Madmouse - 25 June 2007 08:28 PM

With a bit of simple googling I found this.

http://x34.deja.com/getdoc.xp?AN=547193603.1&CONTEXT=943405196.532152451&hitnum=10

Christopher Roller has proof of paranormal activities: the magic tricks of David Copperfield. “David admits he’s using godly powers—that’s paranormal,” Roller writes in a lawsuit filed last month in U.S. District Court. “Paranormal events are occurring on planet Earth by David Copperfield and probably by most illusionists (magicians).”

Roller has presented his proof of supernatural activities to Randi, but has been frustrated in his attempts to obtain the $1 million prize. “I’ve tried to contact James Randi with this enlightenment via email, but he keeps ignoring me,” Roller notes in the lawsuit. “It figures, considering he’s a magician, probably with godly powers himself. He is a con man, blinding us about the paranormal when he knows it exists.”

Really, if the best proof of the supernatural you can come up with is David Copperfield, you’re obviously delusional! wink

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Posted: 05 July 2007 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Look, not that I am a big believer in the paranormal BUT given the fact that Randi’s challenge is biased and not scientifically sound I don’t think I would agree to it either.  He does NOT want to give away the million because to do so would in effect shut down the money making machine that he has created.  Who wants to buy his books or hear his lecture when he’s been proven wrong.  I have nothing against Randi, I just don’t agree with the principles of his challenge.  He’s a magician and his challenge smacks of theatrical entertainment and grandstanding.  The only truly scientific test would be a DOUBLE BLIND where impartial experts (not handpicked by the challenger) were to test a subject with supposed paranormal powers and a control subject (without) and the identity of the subject revealed AFTER the test results have been finished.  That is sound science.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I think a double blind experiment would be a bit difficult as the both psychic and the control subject would probably be able to figure out which one they were.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_blind

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Posted: 05 July 2007 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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A) The conditions of any test have to be agreed upon by both parties, there is no predetermined set of conditions that everyone must agree to.

B) Randi doesn’t control the money, a trust does.  This is specifically to counter people such as yourself who claim that he doesn’t want to give it up.  And even though everything concerning this money is public information which anyone can look into to assure themselves that it’s completely aboveboard, that’s nowhere near as easy or fun as making false accusations.

C) The testing, unless impossible by reason of the claim, is performed under double blind conditions.  All participants/judges are approved by both parties to eliminate claims of bias.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 02:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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David B. - 05 July 2007 03:20 PM

I think a double blind experiment would be a bit difficult as the both psychic and the control subject would probably be able to figure out which one they were.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_blind

I’m not sure if that would matter, as long as the testers don’t know and are the only ones who know the answers.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Except that isn’t a double blind test.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Charybdis - 05 July 2007 03:57 PM

B) Randi doesn’t control the money, a trust does.  This is specifically to counter people such as yourself who claim that he doesn’t want to give it up.  And even though everything concerning this money is public information which anyone can look into to assure themselves that it’s completely aboveboard, that’s nowhere near as easy or fun as making false accusations.

I’m not making false accusations.  Whether I am right about his intentions or not it cannot be denied that Randi has made a living debunking psychics and that livelihood would be severely affected if someone should pass the test.  And it is Randi’s personal involvement in the outcome that makes me view his challenge with a skeptical eye.  That is my interpretation of the situation.  I am skeptical about psychics, and I am skeptical about Randi.  To me they both are full of parlor tricks and grandstanding.

as a side note…why do so many skeptics get nervous if I speak out against Randi?  Every time I have expressed doubts about his sincerety people have acted as if I have insulted their families.  Not on this site, but other sites.  So what, I have doubts about his motives, that doesn’t make me a supernatural groupie.  And as a skeptic, Randi is certainly not my poster boy.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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David B. - 05 July 2007 06:43 PM

Except that isn’t a double blind test.


O.K. I’ll give it a new definition….like, quasi-blind.  Double blind where all parties involved don’t know which control group they are in is perfect for drug trial studies, but for the purposes of a psychological trial you can also consider a double blind type study when the researchers don’t know which group they are testing.  Stretch the definition a bit.  Even if they already know which group they are in, we are talking about mental or psychological tests of psychic skill, pretty hard to fake correct answers.  Yet there needs to be a control group in order for it to statistically correct.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 03:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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I don’t care if you speak out against Randi—maybe because while I’m often skeptical, I’m not exactly a skeptic, if you see what I mean.

But anyway, who except somebody interested in psychic phenomenon would offer a reward like this? You’re never going to have a totally unbiased party because the only way to be totally unbiased is to not care at all. So isn’t it always going to be somebody who has some kind of dog in the fight, either a pro-psychic dog or an anti-psychic dog? I don’t know, which is why I’m asking.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Randi doesn’t have a personal involvement in the outcome - the outcome is determined by pre-agreed upon judges.  Having Randi be a part of determining success would be biased, which the whole acceptance procedure is designed to avoid.

Randi had a part in the proceedings initially because it was his money that was being fronted, but that’s no longer the case.  He has no control over the money or over determining success.

I admit that I don’t much care for Randi these days, he’s far too bitter about it all.  But that’s one of the hazards, I suppose.  Even in my very limited dealings with cranks and nutcases I have to admire his ability to deal with human stupidity and greed for as long as he has.  But he was also the first since Houdini to make a name busting psychic frauds, and he brought together an awful lot of people who could counter paranormal claims with critical thinking.  So I respect his accomplishments quite a lot, even if I recognize the toll it’s taken on him. 

But whether you like Randi or hate him has absolutely no affect on the validity of psychic claims.  Only when under conditions that the psychic controls, or under the control of people biased toward a positive result, are they ever successful.  Randi and the JREF doesn’t speak for anything but a fraction of the skeptics out there, and yet somehow these psychics still can’t prove themselves.

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Posted: 05 July 2007 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Wicked - 05 July 2007 07:00 PM
David B. - 05 July 2007 06:43 PM

Except that isn’t a double blind test.


O.K. I’ll give it a new definition….like, quasi-blind.  Double blind where all parties involved don’t know which control group they are in is perfect for drug trial studies, but for the purposes of a psychological trial you can also consider a double blind type study when the researchers don’t know which group they are testing.  Stretch the definition a bit.  Even if they already know which group they are in, we are talking about mental or psychological tests of psychic skill, pretty hard to fake correct answers.  Yet there needs to be a control group in order for it to statistically correct.

I think you’re missing the point of the Challenge.  It’s not to prove psychic claims in general, it’s to prove the specific claims of an individual.  Generally that individual has to achieve a goal greater than what random chance would dictate to be taken seriously.  In this case the control group is replaced with random chance tables.  This is to weed out those people who don’t stand a chance of success.  There is no way to conduct such exhaustive tests of the hundreds and thousands of people who make claims - it’s too time consuming and too expensive.  Who’s going to pay for it all?  If anyone it should be the psychics since they’re the ones making the claim.

Only when somebody passes the initial, admittedly less rigorous, testing would they be tested under more exacting conditions.  It’s not perfect, but it’s what is possible.

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Heaven must be really boring, if you think about it logically.
All the angels must be snoring.  Who could stand perfection for eternity?

Not me. - George Hrab

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