Thursday, February 02, 2006

Debunking "supernatural" claims: James Randi - Wilkepedia
James Randi
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Randi (born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge, August 7,1928 in Toronto, Canada), more often known as The Amazing Randi, is a stage magician, a skeptic, best known as a debunker of pseudoscience. He is perhaps most known for the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, in which his James Randi Educational Foundation will award a prize of one million USD to anyone who is able to show evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event, under test conditions agreed to by both parties. He is also a regular on a television program called Bullshit!, which is hosted by noted skeptics Penn & Teller.
His interest in debunking the paranormal started when he was in his early teens. He was present at the show of a magician who asked for someone in the audience to help him with his performance. Randi of course wanted to do that, having started with magic tricks himself. When the young Randi raised his hand, the magician said, "Ah, young man, you're a magician yourself, aren't you?", much to Randi's amazement. After the show, Randi approached the man and asked how he knew this. The man told Randi he didn't. It was simply part of his routine and whenever he turned out to be right, he'd credit his "magical powers" and whenever he was wrong, he'd turn it into a standard quip he had.
He also witnessed many tricks that were presented as being of a supernatural nature. One of his earliest reported experiences is that of seeing an evangelist using the "one-ahead" routine to convince churchgoers of his divine powers.


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