Wednesday, December 05, 2007

In fairness to Randi...

Sorry, I had another espresso... Well, it's cold, wet and windy so I'm not going out tonight.

This article does not originate at the link shown. They reproduced it from somewhere else.

Now, I have no time for the way Randi works. Too much of the stage-act and not enough of the steady pace of science. However, this article borders on the insane.

I have no time for Uri Geller either. If he's making money from his alleged abilities, he should prove them. It's like me claiming I can build a wall, getting a job on a building site, and nobody ever checking whether I'd even lifted a brick. There's no indication this particular conspiracy madness originated with Geller, so I'm not laying the blame at his door.

Claiming that James Randi organised the sabotage of a psychic experiment by getting all of his 'skeptic friends' to block it, using paranormal powers none of them believe exist, is the most bizarre thing I've heard in a very long time.

I'm not a fan of Randi by any means, but this is going too far.

10 comments:

Dikkii said...

I can't believe that I even read that. I know that Geller's fans are generally space cadets, but that link was just too stupid for words.

Where the hell did you find that one?

Romulus Crowe said...

The weather is awful, I have nothing specific to investigate, and I have a cold so my face looks like a salted slug. I was browsing the paranormal sites. I look for things of interest, and also for the other extreme - things to ridicule.

I don't think Geller himself was at all involved in that bit of wild conspiracy-theorising, but it certainly did him no favours. Heck, he might well be genuine, I can't say. I'm something of a curmudgeon, I need to see the proof myself.

I admit I'd be delighted if he is genuine. I'd be delighted to see proof that a stage psychic is genuine too. Until I see it, I'll assume not.

Although neither Geller nor the psychic is likely to care about my opinion. I don't have a million spare dollars to offer.

Anonymous said...

if Uri geller is your business or supernatural powers you should check this amazing super natural power amazing site: http://www.getrue.com
Check the supernaturl powers section

Steve Knight said...

An unbiased resource of material on Uri Geller can be found at:

www.zem.demon.co.uk

Romulus Crowe said...

Anonymous - thanks for that. I have some of that invisible thread myself...somewhere. It's a good site.

Steve - I get a 'no posts match your query' message at your blog.

Romulus Crowe said...

Spoiler alert - the link posted by Anonymous is a site that reveals how magic tricks are done. The first one I saw was 'levitation', which made me think it was going to show ways to replicate paranormal abilities, but the rest are purely stage illusions.

Most of the 'powers' 'debunked' are not in fact claimed as powers by anyone. They are simply entertainment.

So, if you'd rather not know how stage magic works, don't go there.

If you do want to know, it's interesting, but not 100% correct in all cases.

I really should know better, based on past experiences of anonymous postings.

Dikkii said...

Hmm. How soon people forget. Once upon a time, Rom, and this would have been within the last two hundred years, stage magic and sleight of hand was promoted as actually being paranormal.

We say that we know better now - but Geller still manages to pull audiences based on telling the world that he's psychokinetic. This is despite the fact that he's routinely exposed - search YouTube for Geller's moving compass trick where he does a crap job of concealing the magnet in his other hand.

Geller is still denying that it was a magnet, I believe. You may not like Randi, but where Geller's concerned, Randi's quite right to want this particular snapperhead locked up for fraud, IMHO.

Dr. Shedevil said...

I'm all for mind control. I control people with my mind all the time...particularly slow drivers on country roads who I will to make a turn so they'll get out of my way. The technique usually works ;o)

Romulus Crowe said...

True, those performers once claimed to have 'mysterious powers', but nobody took them seriously. Scientists at the time investigated mediums, not stage tricksters. Nowadays, everyone is well aware that if it's on stage, it's a setup. The fun is in trying to work out how they did it. Nobody thinks it's paranormal.

I've never studied Geller. The link Steve gave is an unbiased site, it just reports everything Geller does that gets in the news. There are a roughly equal number of 'no' and 'yes' reports. Geller has occasionally claimed to produce poltergeist effects but has never, as far as I know, claimed any direct contact with spirits. Aliens, yes, spirits, no.

If he's genuine, I'd really like to see absolute proof. If he's a fake, then along with all fakes he just makes my job more difficult. But he's outside my subject area.

See, it's common to assume that if you study 'the paranormal' then you must study all of it. That's like saying a biologist should study everything from marine algae to elephants. Can't be done, and anyone who tries just ends up with a load of superficial information on a wide range of subjects.

I'm interested in studies of telepathy, telekinesis etc but I don't study them directly. If I tried to cover everything I'd end up with that 'soup dish' of knowledge. Wide and shallow.

Among all the different subjects bundled under 'paranormal', the only one I can say I've experienced is the one I study. Never experienced telepathy or telekinesis. Poltergeists are on the border of my 'territory' becuse I'm not convinced there's any ghostly presence involved. In most cases at least.

Besides, that 'invisible string' really does fool people. Having tried it, I have to admit to a little bit of lip-curling when someone has to wave their hands around to move something. If they have to use their hand and arm muscles anyway, why not just pick it up?

Tip over a car by looking at it and you'll get my attention. Use what appears to be massive effort to move a pencil half an inch, and even if you're real, you're an idiot. What's the point of a telekinetic ability that lets you shift a pencil and exhausts you in the process? I can do the same by blowing on it.

If someone can turn the pages of a book that's fixed inside a glass case,with their hands behind their back, my interest would perk up. The only time I've heard of anything moving under glass, it was metallic. Paper clips and the like. No good - magnetism isn't hindered by glass.

So, for me, no report of telekinesis has been enough to make me look deeper. I'll leave Geller to his current batch of investigators. He has enough on each side of the fence to keep him going.

Romulus Crowe said...

Dr. Shedevil - could well be something in mind control. Many of the general population seem loathe to control their own so they'd be wide open to let someone do it for them. Unfortunately, they let politicians dictate what they think most of the time, because they're do damn lazy to do it themselves.

I'd like to be able to transmit a subliminal message across all those Bluetooth headsets and MP3 players that repeats 'Think for yourself' over and over.

It's nice to dream.

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