That's like saying you can't be a movie critic unless you've directed a movie or that you can't write a blog post on Santa impersonators unless you've been one. In other words, an extremely poor argument and an appeal to authority to boot.
An appeal to impartiality. I’d rather have my data checked by someone who doesn’t have an agenda. When a scientist submits a paper for publication, it goes to peer review. Someone who works in the same field looks it over – and yes, they are looking for flaws. That’s their job. They are not, however, starting with the premise that the entire subject is a load of cobblers. They look for missing details, and if they find any, they send the paper back with notes. It’s a useful procedure since it’s easy to miss something when you’re immersed in an experiment.
The scientist then responds by plugging the gaps – further experimentation to cover the details raised by the reviewer. Or, if the reviewer has misread the work, the scientist revises the paper and points this out on resubmission. It might come back again with more notes. Getting a paper into print can be a long process, and nobody else knows anything about it until it’s in print.
If someone sends data to Randi, it’s in the public domain immediately. He’ll find a flaw, publicise it, and that’s that.
I have nothing against the man, really. It’s his million dollars and he can impose whatever conditions he likes on who he gives it to. But it’s not peer-reviewed science, it’s not a publication in Nature by any means. It’s a competition. I’m not interested. Why blow any chance of a Nobel prize by throwing something so momentous into the public domain, without proper peer review? No, a million isn't enough for that.
Lastly, I simply don't believe that you (or anyone) would pass up USD 1 million if all that was a required was to complete the cc field in an email. I hope that you don't mind me calling you on this one.
Well, let’s put it in perspective. A million dollars sounds like a lot of money. That’s about 500,000 UK pounds. Still sounds a lot. Houses in the cities of the UK routinely go for more than that. I can’t retire on that amount of money – not at 5% interest less tax, national insurance etc. These days, half a million pounds is, say, a small house in a village somewhere and a good second-hand car. Not much change left to live on.
To get it, I’d have to dump all my carefully-accumulated scientific ideals and enter a public competition. A competition where the judge wants me to fail. I’m not interested. If I ever find proof, I’ll go through proper scientific review channels.
It's rather more than sending an Email. Should I ever find real proof, and I might never get it, it will represent years of work. Years of sitting in cold and miserable locations, and most of the time with nothing to show for it. Years of being told I'm a crackpot for trying. I'm not going to hand over the results of all that work to a publicity-grabbing competition. Does that sound snooty? Perhaps it is, but I'll leave that million dollars on the table anyway. It's not why I'm doing this, and it's not what I expect to get at the end of it - if there is an end.