Friday, October 06, 2006

James Randi

James Randi is a professional magician and exponent of critical thinking, who has spent many years exposing the nonsense behind the paranormal. He did an excellent TV series in the UK in 1991, where he investigated various paranormal claims. Anyone who can actually demonstrate a paranormal effect (e.g. finding water by dowsing) under a mutually agreed protocol (e.g. where the dowser doesn't know where the water is beforehand) can apply to win his $1 million prize (no one has won it yet).

I emailed him quite a while ago about a Ricky Gervais podcast in the Guardian that used critical thinking to good comic effect. I'd quite forgotten about it but then last week I was prompted to email him again about a comment in his newsletter of last week. When I logged on to my yahoo mail at home I found a reply to my original email apologising for the fact that it had been filtered off into a spam folder. What a co-incidence. Anyway, I mailed off my minor point about use of psychic helpers by chess players and suspected that this would be the end of it.

However, I was even more amazed when I logged on to his website and found he'd printed my email (Chess Brouhaha) - perhaps there wasn't much news to cover this week.

1 comment:

dB said...

I agree with your comments but it can be equally tragic when people put their faith in God rather than, for example, medicine.