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Why is Nobody Able to Win James Randi's Competition?

Autor: Langloo
Poziom: Średniozaawansowany

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The short answer to this article's burning question is because there's no such thing as the supernatural. Then what's the point of this article? Okay, let me elaborate.

James Randi—a skeptic magician extraordinaire born under the name Randall James Hamilton Zwinge—has offered to give out a million dollars to anyone who is able to demonstrate proof of occult, supernatural, or paranormal power or event under proper observing conditions of a scientific nature. In fact, "The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge" has been going on for such a long time, that Randi decided two years ago to end the challenge after 10 years; to be more precise, by the year 2010, which is this year.

Many so-called occultists are quick to jump at Randi's decision to call it quits as a sign of some purported weakness on his contest's part, especially with the "recent" acceptance of the challenge put forth by such noted paranormal celebrities as American spiritualist Sylvia Brown and British psychic Rosemary Altea, though the obvious elephant in the room would be if the contest itself were such a failure, then why would noted supernatural superstars always claim that the tests aren't being done "correctly", as though supernatural phenomenon could only be measured through supernatural means. After all, the stars haven't aligned yet, the Great Cthulhu is still slumbering, and the elaborate ritual must be done on the sixth-hundred-sixty-sixth day after the last equinox and on the eight-hundred-eighty-eighth minute of the day. Also take note that noted television personality John Edwards (whose psychic powers mostly consist of the process of elimination) never came forward to take these tests at all.

It's as disingenuous as saying a film wasn't made for critics; you're naming your own terms and making your rules in order to always win. If that's the case, then what will be the point of testing? In a predictable twist—an oxymoron made possible by the exposed hack filmmaker Manoj "M. Knight" Shyamalan—the Internet's supernatural community has taken a break from reading tarot cards and recording the messages of the ghostly beyond on oujia boards in order to lambast the test that none of their own can pass without "tweaking" a couple of rules via their blogs and forum posts.

These basement dwellers lay claim that Randi is the one who is a charlatan in classic "I know you are, but what am I?" fashion, taking note of the skeptic's former job as a magician and easy dismissal of phenomenon such as the movement of ADE 651 or GT200 as caused by the ideomotor effect or the subconscious reflex that triggers human movement. You'll also notice that instead of proving Randi's claims otherwise, these bloggers instead use the tried-and-true "Appeal to Ridicule" fallacy that ignores the logic behind the argument and instead attempts to make the argument sound more ridiculous than it actually is. It's quite easy to do too; say, if you want to disprove the argument that honey is delicious, you can use the fallacy to say, "Yeah, regurgitated bee puke is the best, isn't it?" You don't need to lie either; just present it in a ridiculous fashion.

Another theory concerning why the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF for short) is finally shutting down its challenge has to do with Randi's advanced age of 81. It's been a decade already, and it's quite obvious that the prospect of him relinquishing his life is a more likely prospect than finding the elusive holy grail of supernaturalists who will prove magic, fairy dust, Never-Never Land, and whatnot. Either that or, the great paranormal deities forbid, his advancing age will make him so senile that he'd start actually start believing whatever proof that the charlatans, frauds, and would-be P.T. Barnums of the world would present him, his cantankerous insistence of logic be damned. Nothing short of dementia can make belief in the occult possible, Randi is probably thinking.

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