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Thread: James "The Amazing Randi" has passed away.

  1. #1

    James "The Amazing Randi" has passed away.

    He died of age related causes, 1928-2020.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  2. #2
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    Aged 92. A good long, skeptical life! Farewell, Randi!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  3. #3
    I have to admit I never heard of Randi until he did an episode of Nova where he took a bunch of sealed envelopes into a university classroom and in each packet they were told was a prediction about them based off of their birth sign. The predictions were all the same and latter explained Uri's little spoon bending trick. And when I came into the skeptical thru first Phils blog and then this page and latter podcasts and such and heard interviews with him. I guess since Sagan was gone he was one of the leaders of the skeptics. Now we have plenty of leaders with their own following some of it overlaps. He left a good legacy.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  4. #4
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    Indeed a long - and useful - life. His efforts to debunk the thieves who pray on bereaved and gullible people must be applauded.

    On a lighter note, there was a nice line in the Ney York Times obituary "Mr. Randi was also known for his decades-long sparring match with Uri Geller, the professed mentalist known for his serial abuse of flatware." (My bolding)

  5. #5
    There is some audio taking from an interview with Randi, being aired during the Skeptics guide to Universe livestream.
    https://youtu.be/vetwwrwEdd8
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  6. #6
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    I never met him, but I did go to watch him live, giving a talk, back some time in the ‘80s. He was talking about skepticism and brought up Geller, Targ and Puthoff among other things. I think before that I had seen him on the Carson show (Tonight show) a couple times like his famous takedown of Peter Popoff. Both James Randi and Martin Gardner really cleared up a lot of things for me on psychic and some other claims I had taken somewhat seriously. Often it came down to reading responses in letters sent back to them that really made the most emotional impact (sometimes they made me quite angry with a feeling of betrayal). Rhine especially disappointed me, I thought he had made some good arguments for his experiments, but he reacted very poorly to arguments that he hadn’t carefully set up test conditions and the apparent deficiencies in them (one deficiency was that he often didn’t describe them well in his papers). Targ and Puthoff were the same. I had a naive view of carefully objective scientists, but these guys were unhappy that Randi and Gardner didn’t trust Geller and other participants to be honest. Suggesting that Geller and others could be using tricks to fake their performance just wasn’t acceptable. How dare they make accusations of cheating! Never mind that they have just admitted that their experiments shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    That made such a big change in my views that I didn’t really care for science fiction with psychic powers much after that. I think it is telling that psychic abilities in science fiction stories are far less seen in stories from the ‘80s on, though they were very popular in ‘50s and ‘60s stories. This is especially true for writers that focus on the “harder” SF.

    Anyway, Randi definitely made an impact with his approach to skepticism.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

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  7. #7
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    I also had not heard of him, but a friend suggested I join ISF to joust with some CT's. Being around that place and I understood it was originally JREF become its current form in the recent past. But his work will live on debunking CT's.

  8. #8
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    An American Socrates...will we see another?

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