Monday, December 3, 2012


For those who don't know, the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) has issued a fabulous prize of one million dollars (see left) for anyone who can provide conclusive evidentiary support for any paranormal or supernatural claim. It doesn't matter if it is telepathy, homeopathy, dowsing, astrology, mindreading, bending spoons or keys, talking to the dead, or proving the existence of god, ghosts or invisible pink unicorns; if it is paranormal or supernatural and you have proof that it is real, the JREF will give you one million dollars. So, how many people have won this prize? Zero people...

Despite having some form of this challenge since 1964, the JREF has never had anyone provide indisputable proof of anything supernatural or paranormal, but not for lack of applicants. Here is James Randi explaining the challenge:

James Randi, a successful magician himself, has ruffled feathers for years among his colleagues as he has exposed a number of them as charlatans and frauds, who willfully deceive gullible audiences with claims of being true-blue mystics and psychics and the like. Just as he did to psychic Uri Gellar on the Johnny Carson Show (on live TV!), and a few years later, the imfamous Christian Evangelist Peter Popoff:

Mr Randi is not the only magician seeking to expose opportunistic frauds who prey on the credulous. Here is Criss Angel (successfully) taunting "paranormalist" Jim Callahan with his own money on live television (note: Uri Gellar, who was previously exposed as a fraud by James Randi, is also on the show, and wouldn't you know it, he believes Mr Callahan is the real deal...):

Good stuff, and even better television. One more: Here is dynamic-duo, Penn and Teller, debunking astrology (explicit):

So, why am I spending all this time on debunking supernatural mumbo-jumbo, malarcky, and jibbery-joo? Because the same tactics used by illusionists to defame charlatans can be used to debunk many, if not all, religious claims. For me, atheism is a logical extension of my skepticism. I have no more reason to believe in god than ghosts, star alignment, or the boogey man. Provide me with a rational, empirical reason to believe in god, and I will not only believe, but I will submit your proof to James Randi and give you the money you deserve. I may even eat my hat.


Here is musician, comedian, and atheist extraordinaire Tim Minchin pretty much agreeing with me:

And one more from Mr Minchin on confronting a "New Ager":

No comments: