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John Nesbit
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Not if they are all claiming to having the market cornered on truth. Smile
Jeff J.
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"Not if they are all claiming to having the market cornered on truth."


John, there is a difference between a true skeptic and someone who believes that everything in the world is black and white and that there is no possibility for shades of gray. Those people are called bull-headed.

Anybody can call themselves a skeptic, and I wouldn't doubt that some people hide behind that term to ridicule religion, just as people who claim to be religious sometimes ridicule skeptics. The true skeptics and the true believers peacefully co-exist because both have the same goal - searching for the truth. We simply have a different way to search. While one may believe something because it is written in a book, we choose to find the facts before it goes into the book. Name calling only happens when someone has nothing reasonable to contribute to the discussion and it degrades into a playground fight.

This discussion isn't really about that though. The problems are extraordinary claims made from those who's goal is seeing how many "believers" they can reel in today. If you have to ask why someone should care if somebody goes around telling people things such as what their dead relatives are saying, etc., just look at the devastation that Ms. Browne caused to the family of the missing boy when she told them he was dead. Her only "apology" was that she is not 100% accurate. that's the understatement of the decade!

I'm not saying that anyone on this board is out there scamming people out of their money. Some know they have no "gift" and simply want attention while harming no one. Others who are fighting harder to be believed may be a John Edwards wannabe and has that goal of magically separating people from their money with no regards of the psychological harm they may cause. Then there are those who honestly believe they have a special gift, and they may very well have one.

It's those people, the ones who truly believe they have that ability who are not afraid to take Randi's challenge. It is those people who's applications flood the JREF. If we are ever to find that supernatural abilities exist, it will be from one of those applicants who have no fear of being tested because they have nothing to hide from and since they are not separating people from their money, they have no fear of financial loss.

Finally to JPK, you are wasting your time. The people who are offering their own challenge know very well nothing will come of it. There is no point in explaining the simple rules to them because they know them very well. They CHOOSE to not follow them because they know it might result in actually being tested, so instead they repeat the same old tired rhetoric ad nauseam.

That rock that $ylvia is hiding under is getting mighty crowded!

Jeff
lumberjohn
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Quote:

[F]or those of you that are too lazy to read and just want to insult people let me summarize it for you…I’ll keep it simple.

I challenged Randi.
. . .
Randi chose to take some time to call names and be insulting…that’s it.

Apparently the insulting attitude is admired by some of the Randiphiles.

It really makes me wonder if I am not in fact dealing with teenage, know-it-all males, in many of these posts (this does not include DJM or Danny or others who have pm'd me).
. . .
I’m not letting Randi set rules that cover his ass when he loses, I’m not going to play poker with him when he is dealing. Despite what some think, Randi isn’t God…his say doesn’t determine whether something is real.
. . .
I began with a thought that Randi might actually be interested in a real test…I really should have known better.


I would propose a different summary. Completely disregarding the very clear rules of the JREF challenge, you sent an email to Randi personally, "challenging" him, despite the fact that Randi does not administer the tests or have anything to do with the tests. Randi, having no obligation whatsoever to respond to your email, did in fact respond, pointing out your error and directing you to the correct procedure for applying. How else did you expect him to respond? From Mr. Randi's entirely appropriate response, you claim victory in having exposed his charade.

Others on this board have correctly pointed out that nothing is holding you back from applying according to the rules and proposing any protocol you believe would be fair. If you really want to test the fairness of the million dollar challenge, that would be the way to do it. I'm sure all of us would enjoy reading about your experience. Also, as others have pointed out, there is nothing stopping you from demonstrating you amazing powers to the media or any other testing organization. There are many that I'm sure would be glad to test you. In the meantime, I think we would all appreciate it if you would stop posturing.

As for the continuing attacks on James Randi and anyone who may not agree with you that he is the incarnation of evil (a rather large group you refer to collectively as "Randiphiles"), I would suggest you find a more constructive avenue for your obsessions -- perhaps using your magic powers to avert global catastrophes or find missing children.

Furthermore, no one is saying that Randi has the last word on what is real or not, though you seem to think so, as indicated by your failure to consider any avenues for proving your abilities other than the JREF challenge. In fact, you have the last word -- by proving your abilities through thousands of potential channels. Once you have done that, come back and give us the report.
Tony Iacoviello
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Lumberjohn

A question: Who said that mota has "magic powers"? For someone telling someone else he is disrespectful, you sure do like to insult.

Mota did not challenge for the JREF prize, he challenged Randi personally. Randi has made the claim that psychics perform their readings by using cold and hot reading techniques. He has gone further than that by demonstrating the techniques and telling students and television audiences that that is how psychics perform their readings. Mota has challenged James Randi to back up that claim. (Much like Randi has challenged psychics to back up their claims.)

Now to make this clear, the challenge was to Randi, not to JREF, JREF rules do not apply. Mota rules do. Randi declined the challenge and told mota that he could apply for the JREF challenge. In short, "no, I won't do your test and prove my claims, but you can apply to do mine."



Tony
lumberjohn
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Quote:
On 2007-02-20 21:22, johnjnesbit wrote:
Not if they are all claiming to having the market cornered on truth. Smile


No true skeptic claims to have cornered the market on truth. Skeptics employ the scientific method to test claims and are, by definition, always open to new evidence. But they begin with the null hypothesis: that the claim is false until proven true. This is especially applicable to psychic phenomena in which the history of proven claims has been abysmal. In fact, out of hundreds that have volunteered for such testing, not one has successfully demonstrated his or her supernatural psychic abilities.

So it is entirely reasonable for skeptics to approach such claims with an attitude of disbelief and demand proof before accepting the claim as true. This is not the same thing as having the market "cornered" on truth. The doors to the skeptical community are always open.
chichi711
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I will come out of my Hibernation to give props to Tony. He always can very clearly state what is going on. The Randi followers will not see that unfortunatly. It is laid out rather clear, but they will choose not to see it.

This debate will go on for ever Randi will not even slow things down. There are certain things in this word that simply cant be tested. I am not speaking of people like Sylvia Brown. I am speaking of other events. don't jump down my throat Omid and other Randi Followers. I know that life is black and white to you, but to the majority of people that is just not true.
Tony Iacoviello
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Thank you Chichi.
DJM
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Tony, read mota's post again. He did ask Randi if he wants to do the challenge for the million, though mota would do it either way. The million dollar was indeed mentioned.

So it's only natural for Randi to think that mota was somewhat interested in winning the million dollars, and so asked him to make an application.

It should be noted that Randi has never claimed to have psychic powers, and it's not really possible for him to understand what a stranger exactly wants. And even if the million dollar wasn't mentioned, do you think that Randi has the time to go through "fun" games with people he doesn't know? Let's be a just little bit rational here, even though it's pretty difficult for some.
Jeff J.
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"Mota did not challenge for the JREF prize, he challenged Randi personally. Randi has made the claim that psychics perform their readings by using cold and hot reading techniques. He has gone further than that by demonstrating the techniques and telling students and television audiences that that is how psychics perform their readings. Mota has challenged James Randi to back up that claim."

First let me correct an error that is commonly made. Randi has never said that anybody did a certain thing a certain way. His claim is, and always has been, that the same abilities they claim to accomplish by supernatural powers can be accomplished using magic. that's a BIG difference. He's not saying Sylvia CAN'T read minds, he's saying that he can do the same thing using cold reading and she is very welcome to show that she is NOT using cold reading. As a matter of fact, he goes out of his way to avoid accusations. Even after Sylvia was wrong about that kid, he didn't call her a fake, he again requested she prove her abilities. People like to either forget that or ignore it.

With that clarification, I can't see what challenge Randi would need to meet. It's simply another way of avoiding the test. Nothing new there.
Tony Iacoviello
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DJM: Randi should have done some cold reading, he would know that mota has a scar on his left knee from a fall at an early age, lost a pet when he was young, and that he really meant to challenge to see if could reading could match up to "psychic reading."

Jeff, watch the Nova video. I agree, another way of avoiding "A" test, this time performed by James Randi. Smile

See how easy it is to twist things and make them seem as if someone is unwilling to accept a challenge. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
Jeff J.
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I've watched the Nova video. I'm not sure I understand what you are referring to. Could you clarify?

Thanks.
lumberjohn
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Tony:

There is no support in the scientific community for the existence of psychic powers and no recognized theory for how such powers could exist. The claim of such powers is therefore beyond our knowledge of the natural world, and thus supernatural. Supernatural is, in my opinion, the same as magic. I don't use the term as a perjorative, but only as descriptive. I don't see how that is insulting or disrespectful. It was not intended to be.

As for challenging Randi personally, what valid purpose could that possibly serve? The JREF is set up specifically to perform the types of tests that Mota is proposing. That is what it does. It has the time, resources, and expertise to set up and conduct these tests. Randi personally does not.

Furthermore, I suspect one reason Randi distances himself from the testing is to avoid some of the spurious claims that have been made on this board -- that he is rigging the testing, playing with a stacked deck, etc. In fact, Mota accuses Randi of these very things. If Randi were to accept Mota's challenge, and Mota were to fail, this would allow Mota to further attack Randi and the testing itself as biased.

Moreover, you say that in Mota's challenge, Mota's rules apply. Why should Randi accept a challenge on Mota's unilaterally dictated terms? The JREF provides a procedure for the applicant and the JREF to agree on terms accordingly to recognized scientific methodology such as double blind testing and statistically significant results. This seems pretty fair to me. Mota's terms do not. That is why I cannot see Mota's "challenge" to Randi as anything other than posturing.
Tony Iacoviello
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After giving the students the questionares and having recieved the responses as to how accurate each of the individual tests were to each person, then he tells the students that they are all the same test. and states that it is the Barnum effect, and this is how psychic perform their readings. This same example was repeated on several televison appearences and presented in live school visits.
DJM
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Quote:
On 2007-02-21 11:26, Tony Iacoviello wrote:
DJM: Randi should have done some cold reading, he would know that mota has a scar on his left knee from a fall at an early age, lost a pet when he was young, and that he really meant to challenge to see if could reading could match up to "psychic reading."


Tony, Randi must be getting hundreds of emails every week, if Mota wanted to have a fun challenge not for the money then he should make it clear. Instead he wrote this:

We tell the person they will get two readings and ask for their feedback.

One reading is your guy doing cold reading.

I'm the other reading.

I make this prediction now...they will know your cold reading guy is not psychic but they will know I am.

Receiving the different readings, one after the other, will make the contrast between the two very clear.

The independent judge who received the reading is the best person to decide if it is psychic.

How safe do you feel about that million?

HOWEVER:

I've noticed from your Santa-like appearance that you weren't born yesterday. So you probably don't want to put a million in someone else's hands and risk losing.

So if you don't have the cahones for the million challenge this could still be fun... "


And again, I'll repeat one of the lines there:

"How safe do you feel about that million?"

Tony, isn't that an obvious challenge for the million? Even if mota doesn't really care for the money, you see why the email is pretty confusing? You see why Randi asked him to apply like anyone else? If not then I'll make it clearer: Because in parts of the email, mota also challenged him for the million. I hope you understand now. Smile
Jeff J.
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Lumberjohn, it's common for someone who feels threatened by a challenge to challenge the challenger. I did that back in Junior High school debating. They frown on that tactic at the college level however.

Jeff
Jeff J.
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"After giving the students the questionares and having recieved the responses as to how accurate each of the individual tests were to each person, then he tells the students that they are all the same test. and states that it is the Barnum effect, and this is how psychic perform their readings. This same example was repeated on several televison appearences and presented in live school visits."

Yes, that's an excellent way to show people that they can be easily fooled. A phenomenon named after a man who had no problems bragging how he fooled people is hardly calling a certain person a fraud, if that's the point you were trying to make. If you were trying to make a different point, feel free to correct me.

Jeff
Tony Iacoviello
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I was contradicting your statement of:

"Randi has never said that anybody did a certain thing a certain way. His claim is, and always has been, that the same abilities they claim to accomplish by supernatural powers can be accomplished using magic. that's a BIG difference."

As is evidence of the example provided, your statement is false.
Jeff J.
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I'm not sure if you are making a joke or being serious, but for the sake of argument, I'll assume you were serious.

If you do a little research you will find that the Barnum effect pre-dates Randi's de-bunking days.

It was originally documented in 1949 by B. R. Forer, in a book called "The fallacy of personal validation: A classroom demonstration of gullibility", copyright 1949.

If this is your argument that Randi calls people a fraud by name, what can I say? I'm truly speechless!

Tony, if nothing else, it's nice talking to you! You can disagree while being polite and refrain from name calling. Smile

Jeff
mota
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I've challenged Randi with and without the million...in public or private...anytime that old hustler wants to test this I'm game. I'm also not going to let him try avoid responsibility...if he loses, as I think he would (I could be wrong), I expect he would lie and do what is necessary to look good. In my opinion, James Randi has the ethics to make a good carnival game operator...he would definitely run an alibi joint.

I want to put the skeptic's theory, that cold reading methods are how readings are done, side-by-side with what I do. A sitter gets two readings, one from me and one from a skeptic. They are not told the skeptic is using any fake techniques.

Then compare the result with the sitter.

That's it.

Psychic reading is arguably the cornerstone technique of mentalists from the beginning of history to Kreskin and beyond.

Skeptics claim it is done a certain way.

I disagree and am curious to test.

Except for eight pages of excuses from "skeptics" there wasn't much other of interest from most of them.

There is one exception...one skeptic pm'd me about privately testing this with just us two...seems he really is curious to see what would happen too. I've told him I'm open...he is a person whose word I trust. Some readings, some refreshment and an interesting evening of summarizing the results could be interesting. We both want to do it.

Maybe at the next TAOM a few people in the bar will become unknowing test subjects. It probably won't change anyone's mind but at least it would be an interesting experience.
Tony Iacoviello
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Jeff:

I'm confused, are you serious? You try to refute an earlier argument of mine by saying that Randi never says, "This is how they do it." I provide evidence that contradicts your statement. You agree with my evidence but do not understand it s purpose, but then say so what, and say that Randi did not invent the Barnum effect?

Of course he did not, I never said he did. What I said was that his application of the Barnum effect and statement of it being how psychic perform readings (as evidenced in the programs mentioned above) prove that he does make declarative statements, based on assumptions. I further state that he is wrong in his assumption.

As for the example, Randi was alive in the 1900's and still is. So I really don't understand where your statement
Quote:
"p.s. Just for the sake of sanity, if you have another example, can it be from someone who was alive in the 1900's?"

came from. But with your posts, that is par for the course. Smile
I think we are communicating on two different wave lengths.

Tony
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