24 October 2020

A warrior for truth and sanity

I just learned of the death this week of James Randi.  A stage magician by trade, he became internationally known for his decades of tireless work to debunk psychic powers, faith healers, "ancient astronauts", superstition, and supernatural claims and scams of every kind.  The world will be a duller and less rational place without him.  He was 92.

His books on these matters, including the "powers" of Yuri Geller in which I had actually half believed for a time, played a role in forming my own convictions on the importance of confronting and exposing such popular nonsense -- especially medical quacks and faith healers who do immense harm by luring sick people away from real medical treatment which could actually help them.  Most vile of all, and another perennial target of Randi's, are the cynical con artists who claim to be able to speak with the dead, and pocket hefty sums from grieving families in exchange for the phony "service".

He went into painstaking detail to explain exactly why such drivel didn't hold up in the real world, especially in cases where psychics and similar scammers claimed "scientific" vindication for their alleged powers -- which fell apart pathetically under his no-nonsense dissection.

Religion wasn't Randi's main focus, but this video is a favorite of mine:


Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yes, he did important work and will be missed.

24 October, 2020 12:21  
Blogger Kay said...

We needed someone to debunk the lies and charlatans who were out there trying to fool people. I just saw the episode when Geller appeared on the Johnny Carson show and everybody saw what a fake he was.

24 October, 2020 14:04  
Blogger Mike said...

Luckily the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry exists.

24 October, 2020 15:27  
Blogger Lady M said...

Always a fan of his. We need more like him.

24 October, 2020 15:45  
Blogger dellgirl said...

This is really compelling, and very interesting. It is good of you to share this with those of us who knew nothing about it. Thank you.

Wishing all the Best! Stay Safe, my friend!

24 October, 2020 17:16  
Anonymous Sam240 said...

It's a shame Randi's gone while the likes of Peter Popoff are still around.

(Note: if you've never read Randi's The Faith Healers , I recommend it, especially for the description of how he and others demonstrated Popoff's methods of detection.)

24 October, 2020 21:10  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

who's going to call bullshit for us?

26 October, 2020 18:50  

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