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Remember the Amazing Randi’s $1 million challenge to prove the paranormal?

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Of course, it is most unlikely that anyone could win such a challenge, irrespective of evidence, because Randi’s career and fan base depends on finding reasons why it isn’t true. One can find a reason to doubt anything, or else change the definitions. Or start asking what the meaning of “is” is. But so?

At any rate, Deepak Chopra, sympathetic to the existence of the paranormal, offers a $1 million dollar challenge to Randi:

Please explain the so-called ‘normal’: how does electricity going to the brain become the experience of a three-dimensional world of space and time. If you can explain that, then you get a million dollars from me. Explain and solve the hard problem of consciousness in a peer-reviewed journal; offer a theory that is falsifiable—and you get the prize.”

Prediction: All present “explanations” of the hard problem of consciousness will amount to nonsense.

See also “Consciousness: Where even the easy problems are hard

and “Hard problem of consciousness not so hard?” (wishful thinking)

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

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36 Replies to “Remember the Amazing Randi’s $1 million challenge to prove the paranormal?

  1. 1
    JWTruthInLove says:

    Of course, it is most unlikely that anyone could win such a challenge, irrespective of evidence, because Randi’s career and fan base depends on finding reasons why it isn’t true. One can find a reason to doubt anything, or else change the definitions. Or start asking what the meaning of “is” is. But so?

    What!??

    Many have tried to win the challenge. The protocols for the tests are defined beforehand with the participants’ approval. So why the heck is it unlikely for the participants to win the challenge??

  2. 2
    News says:

    JWTRuthinlove, did you happen to notice that the passage you quote does not state that no one has tried to win? One hardly doubts that the protocols are all defined beforehand with the participants’ approval. How likely would the participants be able to change them in such a way that the house wouldn’t always win? Las Vegas has all this nailed down. Look, it’s Randi’s money anyway. We should get him and Chopra to critique each others’ protocols.

  3. 3
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @News:

    I’m not a native speaker. What does “hardly doubts” mean?

    How likely would the participants be able to change them in such a way that the house wouldn’t always win? Las Vegas has all this nailed down.

    Please look at the FAQs:

    http://www.randi.org/site/inde.....e-faq.html
    2. Protocols

    2.1 Protocols must be “mutually agreed upon,” what does that mean?

    Neither the Foundation nor the claimant can force a testing procedure without the approval of the other side. The testing procedure is a negotiation, and no one can put their foot down. If at any time it a deadlock is reached, the application process will be terminated, and neither side will be blamed or considered at fault.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    As to

    “Amazing Randi’s $1 million challenge to prove the paranormal?”

    “we offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.”

    It is interesting to note that the ‘Amazing Randi’ provided his own irrefutable evidence that he has a ‘supernatural’ component within himself (i.e. a mind) when he wrote out his challenge. Material processes have never been observed generating non-trivial levels of information. The reason is why material processes have never been observed generating information is quite simple. Information is not reducible to a material basis:

    “Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day.”
    Norbert Weiner – MIT Mathematician -(Cybernetics, 2nd edition, p.132) Norbert Wiener created the modern field of control and communication systems, utilizing concepts like negative feedback. His seminal 1948 book Cybernetics both defined and named the new field. http://www.informationphilosop.....ts/wiener/

    “One of the things I do in my classes, to get this idea across to students, is I hold up two computer disks. One is loaded with software, and the other one is blank. And I ask them, ‘what is the difference in mass between these two computer disks, as a result of the difference in the information content that they posses’? And of course the answer is, ‘Zero! None! There is no difference as a result of the information. And that’s because information is a mass-less quantity. Now, if information is not a material entity, then how can any materialistic explanation account for its origin? How can any material cause explain it’s origin?
    And this is the real and fundamental problem that the presence of information in biology has posed. It creates a fundamental challenge to the materialistic, evolutionary scenarios because information is a different kind of entity that matter and energy cannot produce.
    In the nineteenth century we thought that there were two fundamental entities in science; matter, and energy. At the beginning of the twenty first century, we now recognize that there’s a third fundamental entity; and its ‘information’. It’s not reducible to matter. It’s not reducible to energy. But it’s still a very important thing that is real; we buy it, we sell it, we send it down wires.
    Now, what do we make of the fact, that information is present at the very root of all biological function? In biology, we have matter, we have energy, but we also have this third, very important entity; information. I think the biology of the information age, poses a fundamental challenge to any materialistic approach to the origin of life.”
    -Dr. Stephen C. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin-of-life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences.

    Intelligent design: Why can’t biological information originate through a materialistic process? – Stephen Meyer – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqiXNxyoof8

    John Lennox – Is There Evidence of Something Beyond Nature? (Semiotic Information) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6rd4HEdffw

  5. 5
    conceptualinertia says:

    My guess is that the OP means that it is impossible to “prove” the paranormal, meaning a 100% proof. Obviously, however, the JREF does not require 100% proof.

    On the other hand what exactly the level of proof necessary is, and what the protocols are, are not set in stone. This allows the testers to set up protocols that it knows the candidate will be unable to succeed under or will reject. I a m not saying that they do this but only that I can understand why people might be skeptical.

  6. 6
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @conceptualinertia:

    This allows the testers to set up protocols that it knows the candidate will be unable to succeed under or will reject.

    Randi: Neither the Foundation nor the claimant can force a testing procedure without the approval of the other side.

    Do you think the hundreds of people who took the challenge are mentally retarded?

  7. 7
    johnnyb says:

    conceptualinertia –

    I think this is a good point. The rules make it really easy for Randi to simply pose ridiculous terms to the claimant for the testing procedure. It would be interesting to take a look at some of the people who stopped at this point and examine the reasonableness of Randi’s testing procedure.

    Personally, I think that bornagain77 is correct (as is Chopra in this instance), that the basic processes that Randi uses on a daily basis are much more mysterious than any “paranormal” claim. Randi is a living, breathing instance of the things he claims does not exist. He has a rational mind and a consciousness, neither of which could possibly be physical in at least the popular sense of the term.

  8. 8

    First, Randi is a stage magician, not a scientist. Nowhere does the challenge indicate that any sort of scientific protocols or analysis will be employed – and, indeed, they are not.

    Second, even though the wording of the agreement seems to imply that “both parties must agree to the conditions”, the obvious fact is that no challenger can try to win the million unless they agree to Randi’s terms. IOW, if Randi proposes outrageous terms and the challenger balks that the terms are not reasonable, and Randi won’t budge, the challenger cannot try for the prize.

    Third, Randi’s personal money and his entire reputation and career depends upon the failure of the challengers. He is not a neutral third party genuinely interested in locating someone who can beat his challenge.

    Fourth, Randi, who obviously has a vested interest in the outcome, pre-screens all applicants and has the final say on whether or not the challenger has succeeded.

    Fifth, the challenger must pay all their own expenses as far as travel arrangements and accommodations.

    Sixth, Randi is a professional stage magician who can obviously rig the entire proceedings to gain whatever result he wishes.

    Randi has made a career out of “exposing”, “debunking” and publicly ridiculing paranormal claims. Why would any serious, non-fraudulent person, at their own expense, put themselves and their reputation at the mercy of a biased stage magician with a vested interest in their failure when the proceedings have no scientific protocols and are ultimately judged only by Randi himself?

    For 13 years, Victor Zammit has offered Randi or any other paranormal skeptic a $1 million dollar prize if they could refute existing evidence for the paranormal, with the parameters being entirely scientific and judged by a panel of appropriately trained scientists.

    Randi’s challenge is nothing more than a convenient meme for skeptics to fall back on while avoiding any serious investigation into and consideration of paranormal research and documentation.

  9. 9
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @johnnyb:

    The rules make it really easy for Randi to simply pose ridiculous terms to the claimant for the testing procedure.

    Care to provide an example??

    @WJM:

    First, Randi is a stage magician, not a scientist.

    So what?

    Nowhere does the challenge indicate that any sort of scientific protocols or analysis will be employed – and, indeed, they are not.

    What do you mean by scientific analysis?? Obviously, to design such a protocol you need some knowledge in statistics.

    if Randi proposes outrageous terms

    Care to provide an example??

    Third, Randi’s personal money and his entire reputation and career depends upon the failure of the challengers.

    Not really. The crackpottery he identified will remain crackpottery regardless of the outcome of the challenge.

    He is not a neutral third party genuinely interested in locating someone who can beat his challenge.

    Yet, hundreds of people took the challenge. Every single one of them approved of the protocol.

    Fifth, the challenger must pay all their own expenses as far as travel arrangements and accommodations.

    Makes sense, if you think about the hundreds of applicants.

    Sixth, Randi is a professional stage magician who can obviously rig the entire proceedings to gain whatever result he wishes.

    Are you a satanist? Do you eat babies? How would I know?

  10. 10
    OldArmy94 says:

    This is an excellent link to why a reasonable person should dismiss Randi’s “challenge” as a fraud:

    http://weilerpsiblog.wordpress.....challenge/

  11. 11

    JWTruthInLove said:

    So what?

    So his challenge is of no scientific merit whatsoever and he is an expert at getting people to see what he wants them to see.

    What do you mean by scientific analysis?? Obviously, to design such a protocol you need some knowledge in statistics.

    Saying it is “obvious” doesn’t mean that a scientifically significant statistical outcome is what is used in the challenge, and indeed it is not. There are many valued medical treatments that would never have seen the light of day had the same statistical outcome been required. Nobel Prize winner Brian Josephson examines one such Randi Challenge case here: http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/propaganda/

    Care to provide an example??

    An example of what?l What I claimed was pure logic; if the challenge goes no further if the two do not agree, then practical result – fair-sounding phrasing notwithstanding – is that unless the challenger agrees to Randi’s conditions, they do not get to move on or the result is considered failure – even if the actual result would be considered astounding by any scientific statistical analysis (see the reference above to Brian Josephson’s review of such a case).

    The crackpottery he identified will remain crackpottery regardless of the outcome of the challenge.

    What paranormal research have you investigated to come to your conclusion that it is “crackpottery”?

    Yet, hundreds of people took the challenge. Every single one of them approved of the protocol.

    Tens of millions of people get conned every day, agreeing to things that, in hindsight or if considered by those familiar with cons, were not good things to agree with. Because some people agree to Randi’s terms and conditions doesn’t mean he is not conning them and everyone else for his own financial benefit.

    Whether or not one believes that paranormal events occur, Randi’s million-dollar challenge shouldn’t be considered of any value in a debate about it – yet skeptics still reference the challenge as if it carries some evidential weight in the matter.

  12. 12
    OldArmy94 says:

    There is hard statistical evidence that people do have psi abilities. I am not talking about fortune telling, palm reading, levitation or any of that, but it does seem, based on the evidence, that phenomena such as the perception of being stared at, are real. Of course, Randi just waves his hand and dismisses it without even bothering to recognize his own prejudices. I am a skeptic when it comes to paranormal claims, but I have a hard time dismissing the evidence that shows our perceptions rise above our traditional senses.

  13. 13
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @WJM:

    So his challenge is of no scientific merit whatsoever

    Why? Who designs the protocols? Only Randi and the applicant???
    I know, that Novella has participated in protocol-design. He’s a scientist.

    Saying it is “obvious” doesn’t mean that a scientifically significant statistical outcome is what is used in the challenge, and indeed it is not.

    Care to expand on “indeed it is not”? What do they use?

    An example of what? What I claimed was pure logic;

    I’m sorry… Then your fantasy examples are irrelevant, since you have no evidence, that Randi proposes outrages terms.

    What paranormal research have you investigated to come to your conclusion that it is “crackpottery”?

    I’ve never done any paranormal research. I don’t claim, that all paranormal activities are “crackpottery”. I actually believe in paranormal activities!

    Because some people agree to Randi’s terms and conditions doesn’t mean he is not conning them and everyone else for his own financial benefit.

    Millions of people get robbed every day. Just because Randi claims he’s not a robber, doesn’t mean he hasn’t robbed anyone.
    Millions of people get *ed every day. Just because Randi claims he’s not a *er, doesn’t mean he hasn’t *ed anyone.

    Your fantasy-accusations are irrelevant. You have no evidence, that Randi conned the participants.

  14. 14
    RDFish says:

    I think the interesting question here is this: Why are ID proponents so interested in paranormal events?

    Here’s why: In order for ID to be true, mind must be able to exist and be causally efficacious in the physical world independent of brain activity. (Otherwise, how could a mind design the brain?) So unless mental activity transcends the body somehow (i.e. unless some sort paranormal phenomena exist) ID fails. ID even defines (sometimes) “intelligent cause” as something that transcends physical cause.

    So then the question becomes this: Instead of just rooting for Sheldrake, fans of NDE, and other paranormalists, why doesn’t ID just come out and acknowledge that the truth of ID rests on these paranormal claims? And even more telling, why doesn’t “ID research” focus on demonstrating that mind actually does transcend the body, that mental activity can exist without brain activity, and so on? Where are the ID books that summarize all the strong research results that prove PSI is real?

    The answer to that one is that ID tries to hide its dependence on the paranormal. All we get are these little posts about supposed PSI phenomena being real, but nobody dare says why this is important to ID.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

    P.S. I am agnostic about paranormal events myself. I think it would be fascinating to see conclusive demonstrations of PSI, but I think the evidence to date is sketchy at best. The fact that even the best studies (like PEAR at Princeton) that claim positive results find very, very small results that are hard to replicate – the kind of result that are often found by meta-studies to be statistical artifacts.

  15. 15
    jerry says:

    In order for ID to be true, mind must be able to exist and be causally efficacious in the physical world independent of brain activity… So unless mental activity transcends the body somehow (i.e. unless some sort paranormal phenomena exist) ID fails.

    Nonsense. An intelligence could have arisen that is not like any life form we have seen. It could have arisen in this universe and designed the life we see. We have no way of knowing this one way or another at the moment.

    There is also massive amounts of dark matter. Who knows what that actually is. There are thousands of possibilities that may all be naturalistic for the origin of some intelligence somewhere.

    It is just our form of life could not have arisen by any naturalistic means nor the major transitions in life.

    So I think you should give it a rest.

  16. 16
    Graham2 says:

    James Randi stipulates that the test conditions must be mutually agreed on. Further, he states that he will place the test in the hands of a (mutually agreed) third party: Randi does not run the test himself.

    There is a difference, however, between the ‘initial’ test and the ‘final’ test. My understanding (a bit old now) is that the applicant must pass a simple initial test before passing on to the full test where the conditions are as described above. So far (again, my knowledge is a bit old), only a small number of applicants have tried the initial test, and no-one has proceeded to the full test.

    The point in all this, however, is: does the entire worlds knowledge of the paranormal rely on James Randi ? If the paranormal is real, why doesnt some other interested party arrange a test ? It cant be that hard to test the ability to see through walls or whatever. To gain credibility, the test conditions should be submitted to some experienced people, then off it goes. Voila: demonstration of the paranormal under gold-standard, quadruple-blind conditions.

    But it doesnt happen. Funny about that.

  17. 17
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @Graham2:

    GWUP is a german skeptics organization witch an experience science council which regulary organizes tests of the paranormal.

  18. 18
    RDFish says:

    Hi jerry,

    An intelligence could have arisen that is not like any life form we have seen.

    What do you mean by “an intelligence”? Do you mean “something capable of producing CSI”? Or perhaps “something with conscious beliefs, desires, and intentions”? Maybe “that which can learn and solve novel problems”?

    It could have arisen in this universe and designed the life we see. We have no way of knowing this one way or another at the moment.

    In that case, we apparently are in agreement with regard to Intelligent Design Theory. We have no way of knowing at the moment what produced life on Earth.

    There is also massive amounts of dark matter. Who knows what that actually is.

    Uh, right! And what’s up with that imbalance of matter/anti-matter, too? And did you ever wonder why the moon looks so big on the horizon? So many mysteries… 🙂

    So I think you should give it a rest.

    Thanks, I’m good!

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  19. 19
    RDFish says:

    The question remains: What do paranormal phenomena have to do with ID? Anyone?

  20. 20
    Acartia_bogart says:

    @jerry “There is also massive amounts of dark matter. Who knows what that actually is. There are thousands of possibilities that may all be naturalistic for the origin of some intelligence somewhere.

    It is just our form of life could not have arisen by any naturalistic means nor the major transitions in life.”

    So, the intelligence that “designed” everything could arise naturalistically, but life itself couldn’t? Call me sceptical.

  21. 21

    Graham2 said:

    The point in all this, however, is: does the entire worlds knowledge of the paranormal rely on James Randi ? If the paranormal is real, why doesnt some other interested party arrange a test ? It cant be that hard to test the ability to see through walls or whatever. To gain credibility, the test conditions should be submitted to some experienced people, then off it goes. Voila: demonstration of the paranormal under gold-standard, quadruple-blind conditions.

    But it doesnt happen. Funny about that.

    You couldn’t be more wrong.

    Julie Beischel has run just such tests away from the circus of Randi and others. Beischel was an expert at setting up pharmacological testing protocols and invented a unique quintuple-blind protocol for testing the reception of anomalous information (psi).

    There’s a good interview with her here where she describes her work, how she got into it and how it is done: http://www.skeptiko.com/51-dr-.....-research/

    Her work demonstrates the existence of psi.

  22. 22
    RDFish says:

    WJM,
    What does paranormal research have to do with ID?
    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  23. 23

    RDFish/AIGuy asks:

    What does paranormal research have to do with ID?

    I don’t know. What?

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    The Mind Is Not The Brain – Scientific Evidence – Rupert Sheldrake – video – (Referenced Notes)
    https://vimeo.com/33479544

    Rupert Sheldrake’s homepage
    http://www.sheldrake.org/homepage.html

    ,,,Rupert Sheldrake talks of a internet site he has set up especially for skeptics so they could do the experiments online for themselves:

    Here is the online test site:

    Online Tests-
    Rupert Sheldrake invites you to participate in his ongoing research. No previous experience is necessary, and the online tests can be done immediately. Most of these experiments are suitable for use in schools and colleges, and some make an excellent basis for student projects.
    http://www.sheldrake.org/Onlin.....index.html

    Here is a simple test that would be fairly easy to conduct at home with some friends:

    Telephone telepathy with the Nolan Sisters – video
    http://www.boreme.com/posting.php?id=22013

    ===

    Dean Radin – Random Number Generators correlate to intention – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFULrlxTFsA

    Mind Effects Matter – Perturbed Randomness Following Worldwide crisis – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE1haKXoHMo

    Mass Consciousness: Perturbed Randomness Before First Plane Struck on 911 – July 29 2012
    Excerpt: The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre four hours before they happened – but in the fevered mood of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked back by sceptics. But it also appeared to forewarn of the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that precipitated the epic tragedy.,,
    Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box with apparently inexplicable powers. ‘It’s Earth-shattering stuff,’ says Dr Roger Nelson, emeritus researcher at Princeton University in the United States, who is heading the research project behind the ‘black box’ phenomenon.
    http://www.network54.com/Forum.....uck+on+911

    Here are some of the papers to go with the preceding video and article;

    Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research – Scientific Study of Consciousness-Related Physical Phenomena – publications
    http://www.princeton.edu/~pear/publications.html

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    Jaytee: A dog who knew when his owner was coming home – video
    https://vimeo.com/81150973
    Book:
    Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home:
    http://www.amazon.com/Dogs-Tha.....0307885968

  26. 26
    johnnyb says:

    @RDFish –

    I agree somewhat. However, it is hard to call it “paranormal” when it is, in fact, normal for human beings to have conscious activity. This is actually a truly astounding property of normality, and is actually quite beyond all claims of paranormality.

    In any case, the idea that intelligent causes are not physical causes is one of the main thrusts of ID, so, I have trouble seeing why you think it is hidden. I wrote on this a long time ago, and keep re-linking to it, but apparently it needs it more often.

    As for your question, “why doesn’t “ID research” focus on demonstrating that mind actually does transcend the body,” that is actually one of the focuses of my research, which you can find here.

  27. 27
    RDFish says:

    Hi johnnyb,

    I agree somewhat. However, it is hard to call it “paranormal” when it is, in fact, normal for human beings to have conscious activity.

    I don’t think anyone considers conscious activity to be “paranormal”. Losing consciousness can be abnormal (except if you fall asleep, or are given anesthetic), but having consciousness is pretty normal, right?

    This is actually a truly astounding property of normality, and is actually quite beyond all claims of paranormality.

    I agree that conscious awareness is astounding and deeply mysterious.

    In any case, the idea that intelligent causes are not physical causes is one of the main thrusts of ID, so, I have trouble seeing why you think it is hidden.

    Because I have been debating this point for years and most IDers deny that ID is dependent upon metaphysical libertarianism and dualism, although it is. I believe WJM here will deny that ID relies on the claim that intelligent causes are not physical (immaterial).

    I wrote on this a long time ago, and keep re-linking to it, but apparently it needs it more often.

    Thanks for the link – looks interesting, I’ll read it and respond here.

    As for your question, “why doesn’t “ID research” focus on demonstrating that mind actually does transcend the body,” that is actually one of the focuses of my research, which you can find here.

    GREAT! Finally someone who understands what ID needs to do in order to actually substantiate its claims! I’m not being facetious here – I’m interested in paranormal phenomena and would love it if a whole army of scientists did some serious research on it to answer some questions with more certainty.

    Cheers,
    RDFish

  28. 28
    RDFish says:

    Hi WJM,

    RDF: What does paranormal research have to do with ID?
    WJM: I don’t know. What?

    REALLY??? Over and over again, ID forums post articles supporting all sorts of paranormal results… and you have no idea why? Odd, really 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  29. 29

    RDFish asks:

    REALLY??? Over and over again, ID forums post articles supporting all sorts of paranormal results… and you have no idea why? Odd, really.

    I don’t really think about the motivations of those who start topics. I just contribute if I find the topic interesting.

  30. 30
    RDFish says:

    Hi WJM,

    Do you believe that ID is equally compatible with dualist or physicalist metaphysics?

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  31. 31
    RDFish says:

    Hi Mapou,

    But if you are saying that it is impossible for a machine to understand natural language, I’d have to disagree.

    No, I’d never say anything like that. It might be that we’ll have to build a very different sort of machine to do it, though, and I’m not as optimistic about the timeline.
    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  32. 32
    RDFish says:

    (Sorry last post wrong thread)

  33. 33
    wallstreeter43 says:

    @JWTruthInLove

    Randi is nothing but a snake oil salesman, nothing more.

    As far as PSI, things like remote viewing have been scientifically proven already. If you don’t feel like believing it that’s ok also, as that is how Randi would respond as well.

    http://deanradin.blogspot.com/.....ng-is.html

    Excerpt from a January 2008 item in the UK’s The Daily Mail newspaper:

    In 1995, the US Congress asked two independent scientists to assess whether the $20 million that the government had spent on psychic research had produced anything of value. And the conclusions proved to be somewhat unexpected.

    Professor Jessica Utts, a statistician from the University of California, discovered that remote viewers were correct 34 per cent of the time, a figure way beyond what chance guessing would allow.

    She says: “Using the standards applied to any other area of science, you have to conclude that certain psychic phenomena, such as remote viewing, have been well established.

    “The results are not due to chance or flaws in the experiments.”

  34. 34

    RDFish said:

    Do you believe that ID is equally compatible with dualist or physicalist metaphysics?

    I don’t think those categorical terms have any real value in a discussion about ID or the paranormal. IMO, they are most often just proxies for the battle between theism and anti-theism. Some concepts, like psi or ID, for whatever reason trigger an anti-theistic alarm in so-called “physicalists” (who, oddly, would have no problem accepting a “multiverse” conceptually), and off they go like hounds on the scent.

  35. 35
    Craig Weiler says:

    I have done extensive research on the JREF million dollar challenge which is a chapter in my book: “Psi Wars: TED, Wikipedia and the Battle for the Internet”

    It’s true that Randi does not administer the challenge himself anymore. But the people who do administer the test are only marginally better qualified than he is.

    Anyone who wants to see real scientific evidence for psychic ability can go here: http://deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm

    First of all JREF is not a scientific organization. They are better described as an advocacy organization or “Pressure Group.” They are pushing a point of view and disguising it as a love for science. You can see this from how they operate:

    1. They do no scientific experiments and the challenge itself lacks most features of an actual scientific experiment which would include a review of the existing literature, a write up of the experiment, a complete paper trail and of course, replication and peer review.

    2. Most of their efforts are spent evangelizing their point of view which includes ridiculing various frontier sciences and beliefs and using various pseudo scientific methods to discredit them. They ignore huge problems with existing mainstream sciences while attacking the fringe relentlessly. In other words they are demonstrably biased.

    3. JREF makes a habit of hiding or omitting information which is not favorable to their point of view. I’ve documented this in the case of Pavel Zibarov, who spent over a year trying to get to the point where he could take the challenge. The JREF official version of events is substantially different from what actually happened.
    http://weilerpsiblog.wordpress.....challenge/

    The biggest single problem with the million dollar challenge is the lack of expertise in the field of parapsychological research. I’ve yet to see any of the challenges properly done. They are too short, with maybe ten trials at the most, done in only a few hours. They are too hard, with the odds against chance set far higher than what humans can normally do.

    And they are filled with pressure in direct opposition to what a normal psi experiment would require. They have good controls, but always lack any of the ordinary protocols for eliciting psi. (As an analogy, what they do is like trying to get a seed to grow into a plant -while regarding soil and water as “cheating.”-)

    The Patricia Putt challenge is a good example of this:
    http://weilerpsiblog.wordpress.....challenge/

    JREF is actually an example of what fundamentalism in Atheism looks like. While Atheism is perfectly fine, about 13% of its adherents (per a University of Tennessee study) are the sort of obnoxious, intolerant know-it-alls that one expects to find among ideologue religious zealots. These people have basically turned science into a religion.

  36. 36
    mattfaw says:

    Dear Dr. Chopra, I accept your challenge. My explanation for how and why conscious experience arises in the brain is summarized in the following 6-minute video that I created, and I have a full researched paper to back it up. https://vimeo.com/98785998

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