Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Magician & Investigator James Randi Talks Directly to You (Video) 259

Posted by Roblimo
from the nothing-up-my-sleeve-but-yours-looks-kind-of-suspicious dept.
Last week James Randi answered your questions. But that was text, and he's a performer ("The Amazing Randi"), so you need to hear the man talk to get his full flavor. He's a good talker, too. So Rob Rozeboom (samzenpus) got on Skype with The Amazing Randi to talk about his exploits, including his debunking of a whole bunch of (alleged) frauds, ranging from Uri Geller to Sylvia Browne. The resulting interview was so long and so strong that we cut it in half. Today you see Part One. Tomorrow you'll see Part Two. (The video's here now; sorry about the delay.)

Rozeboom: For the few people who don’t know who you are, could you just give me a little background as to who you are and what you do?

Randi: When I was born at a very early age in a log cabin I helped my dad build, because we were poor and couldn’t afford to have children, so the people next door had me. This is an old routine I used to do. So we won’t bother with that.

My name is James Randi, and I am a magician by trade. At the moment, since the age of 60, I am now 84, going on 100 as I like to say. I have dedicated my existence to the James Randi Educational Foundation. This foundation started up quite some years ago, now in order to provide an alternative explanation of what people in the general public all over the world were considering to be paranormal events. And since this is very popular with the media, who generally speaking, don’t care whether or not what they report is true or not, they only want to know if it is going to give them enough time, 14 seconds or so on the evening newscast or on radio or whatever other medium they are involved with.

So we’ve had an uphill battle of it and we’re now well-funded, because of the fact that we hold a conference every year at Las Vegas called The Amazing Meeting. My title incidentally as a magician is the Amazing Randi, though I don’t use that anymore because I am not performing as a conjuror or a magician. I have dedicated my existence for what that’s worth to explaining to people when they ask or if they have any curiosity in that regard as to whether or not these things are genuine. And my conclusion so far has been, and as I say, I’m 85, that is a long time, a lot of experience in this field, I have never found any so-called paranormal event or ability or performance to be the real thing.

That doesn’t mean there won’t. I can’t prove a negative. I can prove some negatives. For example, I am not a giraffe. Because if you look up a definition of a giraffe, and you won’t do that in a dictionary, you should do that in a zoological source, because dictionaries don’t define, they only give common usage. I find that I have a much more attractive neck, I believe, although the giraffe has certain advantages over me. And I won’t get into all of those. But by definition, I am not a giraffe. So some negatives can be proven.

But to prove there is no God, that there is no telepathy, there is no ESP, there are no clairvoyant powers, or whatever is impossible to prove that there aren’t. So we offer our $1 billion prize which has been on offer for quite some years now. We offer that prize for evidence that there is such a thing, because we are not claiming there isn’t. We merely say if you say there is, establish the proof for it.

We’ve had hundreds and hundreds of applications for it over the years; no one has come anywhere near to winning it. And I must add that you can’t really come close to winning it; you have to win it or not win it. Because we design all the tests that we use for these people. We design them in a such a way that the conclusion is obvious. In other words, I can try by jumping out this window, go right ahead, oops you lose and all this kind of thing. We want it to be evident, self evident, without having to have any jury or panel or a set of judges. It doesn’t have to be any decision made, they either have done it, or they have not done it. So we design our tests that way.

Rozeboom: No problem, no problem.

Randi: I have a recording in the other room. I had to turn that off.

Rozeboom: So how many years did you work as a magician before you started the foundation?

Randi: Well, I started as a magician at the age of about 14 or so, I guess doing casual shows, nothing serious, and continued until the age of 60. And at that point, I decided it was time to hang up the straitjackets, so to speak, because I was doing an escape act largely. And I’ve been doing that ever since. So you can subtract 60 from 84, I will let you do the mathematics.

Rozeboom: So Houdini was pretty famous for exposing spiritualists back in the day as well. Do you think that magicians have a better chance or are better at finding fraud than most people?

Randi: Well, yes, because they know how it is done you see. Not only that, the magician has a very specific turn of mind. There are many magicians who don’t care about the work that I do at all, they think that it is negative, that they should be able to keep people ____6:45 and fake their results and say they are just the real thing, and they are the people that don’t associate with me, and I don’t associate with them. They are not very much in favor. Many of them are not very much in favor of what I do. But others are enthusiastic supporters, of course. So I’ve been at this for many years and I’ve sorted them out into the shut-eyes and the open-eyes and we won’t get into all the definitions of it.

Rob Rozeboom: Uri Geller was probably the one that’s most famous for you getting started; you talk to him anymore?

Randi: I haven’t spoken to him in quite some time. Though through intermediaries we have been in touch. He is not a psychic any more. I don’t know whether you knew that or not, he is now a mystifier.

Rozeboom: What is the difference?

Randi: You tell me. The point is that I suspect strongly that he is trying to get off the hook that he impaled himself on at the very beginning of his career. He told everybody that it is absolutely genuine. I’ve got about 60 examples of it in my forthcoming book which is A Magician In The Laboratory. And I just got to show that Uri Geller is still claiming that he doesn’t know how to do tricks and doesn’t do tricks. He simply has these wonderful paranormal powers. But he is trying to get off the hook. And he can’t do that. If he actually were ever to come out and admit that he is just doing tricks, and has always just done tricks, he would be sued by the populace of the world.

Countries, organizations, institutions, schools, colleges, universities, what not and private individuals have spent literally millions of dollars investigating what became known as the Geller Effect. And he has said consistently that he doesn’t do tricks, doesn’t know to how do tricks. That means that he has taken money under false pretexts because most of these people, in one way or the other have paid him for his services. Now there is nothing wrong with paying someone for his or her services. Of course, that is what is called business. I am all in favor of it. People do it with me as well. So that is all very fair and good, but swindling people by fakery, by lying to them, and blatantly saying this is real when it is not real, that is reprehensible to me, and I fought that for many years.

Now because he did cause a lot of grief. A lot of grief for individuals who put money out with psychics and such because they saw his example and said, oh well he is only ____9:44 advertising and they will go for their fake ministers, preachers out there who say they can heal people by touching them on the forehead or gesturing at them or saying be healed or some such thing. They go for all that sort of thing. And largely because he has created an atmosphere in which people have him as an example of something that they believe to be genuine. And scientific organizations have spent a lot of money on this sort of thing too. I think they would be in their lawyers’ offices within 20 minutes.

Rozeboom: Besides Uri, have you dealt with other sort of famous psychics?

Randi: Don’t call him Yu ri, that is the Russian version, his name is Oori.

Rozeboom: Oori. How about Mr. Geller?

Randi: Okay.

Rozeboom: Besides him have you dealt with other famous psychics?

Randi: Oh yes. John Edward, Sylvia Browne. The whole gamut of them. It is a vast spectrum of these people who like to pretend that they have psychic powers, and people like to believe that they have. And Sylvia Browne is, by her own admission she is booked up until the middle of next year. Next year. 2014. As she can’t accept any more claims on her talent. She gets $800 to talk to someone over the telephone for 20 minutes, and she does a reading so called over the telephone. Now most of that reading consists of giving them things like, we should take less of ____11:26 I can sense from the vibrations that you need this. This is not only improper in several aspects; legally you can’t prescribe things to people who are paying a sum of money for it, unless you have a medical degree, and I don’t believe that Sylvia Browne has a medical degree. Or a degree of any kind as a matter of fact. But she does see things, she makes a great deal of money in it, at $800 a pop, and she is on the phone with you for 20 minutes, and she has got all day to do it, except when she is out lecturing some place and making hard cash; she doesn’t have to wait for the credit card to come through. You can imagine the money that she has amassed over the years, and continues to amass because she is giving people the impression that it is the real thing.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Magician & Investigator James Randi Talks Directly to You (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • In the video above:

    ! CONTENT UNAVAILABLE Unknown content specified.

  • What you see today (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @03:06PM (#43340735)

    Is nothing because Slashdot keeps using technology from two decades ago.

    DEATH TO FLASH!

    • by azav (469988)

      As a former member of both the Director and Director Shockwave teams, death to Flash, indeed.

      • by aicrules (819392)
        Also, death to director and director shockwave!
        • by azav (469988)

          I think with what the Indian team did to it, it's been dead for a long time.

    • by farlukar (225243)

      Slashdot keeps using technology from two decades ago.

      Well, that's just because Lynx hasn't implemented the canvas tag yet.

      • by Roblimo (357)

        I have emailed "the right people" yet again about switching to HTML 5 or providing it as a Flash alternative.
        I, too, would like to watch Slashdot videos on my Adenoid smarty phone (or whatever it is).

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      But Flash is still the defacto standard for video, and often the only one that actually works for people. HTML5 is something that may work possibly, some day in the future, by replacing one closed format with another. If Flash died today, video would probably also die today.

    • Is nothing because Slashdot keeps using technology from two decades ago.

      DEATH TO FLASH!

      Yeah. They should be using HMTL instead, which is 3 decades old!

  • ... is not altogether unlike one character in a book asking another one to prove they are characters in a book.

    Kind of pointless, since the events that happen in the book are taken for granted as "natural", and so anything which the author writes about would not be seen as anything other than normal to those characters, even though the author still actually wrote it.

    • by femtobyte (710429) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @03:30PM (#43341057)

      One can, however, ask for proof for particular claims about a God who defies the apparent "natural" order. When claims are made that, e.g., God created the world 6,000 years ago, with all species as immutable types --- proof, please? God sent a hurricane New Orleans to punish the gays --- proof, please? God will cure your cancer if you pray hard enough --- proof, please? While a God who acts through creating the entirety of empirical and intelligible reality is an untestable proposition, many more specific claims (in which the "finger of God" comes out of the sky to nudge an off-track cosmos back onto course) are often made. I actually happen to believe in God; but, willingness to ask what is amenable to "hard proof" (and noting its consistent resulting lack) considerably refines/constrains my picture of how God operates in the world.

      • by mark-t (151149)
        If there were a god, I would imagine that all of what we consider real existence to be little but an imaginary tale to such a being. We "believe" we have existence, but the only actual existence we would actually have is by virtue of being sustained by the ongoing imaginary events that are happening in the mind of god. If god forgot about us, we would wink out of existence and we would never even know it.
        • by femtobyte (710429)

          Thus you should at least strive to make sure such a god stays really pissed at you (just below the immediate smiting threshold, but plenty to not slip out of mind).

          • by mark-t (151149)

            What difference would that possibly make? While I have no desire to slip out of existence, if that were to actually happen, I would not ever know it anyways, so relative to my own well-being, it is a moot point.

            It therefore makes more sense to make sure such a god likes you... so that at least you have the possibility of incurring favor.

            • by femtobyte (710429)

              My post above was intended in jest (nonetheless, see Luke 11:5-11 for components of an "annoy the heck out of God to get what you want" theology in one religious tradition). One's "possibility of incurring favor" are very "model dependent," to say the least --- since currying favor with one potential set of gods is likely to be damning idolatry to another. Coming from the Christian tradition (by way of Lutheranism), I personally hold to a perspective in which favor is offered (undeservedly) to us by God, ra

    • Wouldn't a more accurate analogy would be the characters asking one another to prove there is an author??
      • by mark-t (151149)

        Good point

        Actually, I suppose so... since the author might write conditions within the book which could appear to them such that any book they might be a part of may conceivably have written itself.

  • by azav (469988) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @03:19PM (#43340911) Homepage Journal

    I wish I got a word in. See, I'm a very scientific person with an actual degree in this "Science" stuff. Yet, I realize that science falls short in explaining that which can't be quantified, measured, or repeated.

    As a 15 year old young man, I did live in a house where things moved, occasionally right in front of our eyes. Thankfully, it was only for a one year, and I have never experienced such disturbing events again.

    At least four other people (all men) also witnessed these events within our house.

    Of course, after leaving, I found out that there was a violent relationship (and death) in the house. It's like some imprint was left on the place and there was a constant hostility towards all men within the house. When you see 3 inch nails flying across a room, more than once, that sends a message.

    Though James Randi is very much against supernatural things, I wonder if he is able to admit that there are things that we do not have the disciplines to explain yet?

    Part of scientific thinking is that "I don't know" is a perfectly good answer for that which science can not yet measure or identify.

    Really. This stuff did happen to me, my father, two friends and a repairman.

    • Re:Damn, I missed it (Score:5, Informative)

      by dingen (958134) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @03:31PM (#43341067)

      He says "I don't know" all the time. He also explicitly doesn't say he knows supernatural stuff doesn't exist. He just asks that if you say you have a supernatural ability, you have to be able to prove it. Many have tried, but so far nobody has ever been able to do so.

      • I have the "ability" to affect *some* street lights. It's always the same ones *but* it doesn't always work. It seems to depend on my mood for some reason. When I approach they turn off and once I'm past them they light up again.

        I think the light sensors may have extremely varying properties and that some may happen to pick up on some kind of energy and/or frequencies that people emit. I also think that people who can see "auras" see the same thing, their eyes pick up something outside of the visible spectr

        • Re:Damn, I missed it (Score:4, Informative)

          by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @04:06PM (#43341459) Homepage

          I have the "ability" to affect *some* street lights. It's always the same ones *but* it doesn't always work.

          *facepalm* Otherwise known as dodgy street lights which would be going on and off even if you weren't around, only then you're not around to see it.

        • by Pope (17780)

          I have the "ability" to affect *some* street lights. It's always the same ones *but* it doesn't always work. It seems to depend on my mood for some reason. When I approach they turn off and once I'm past them they light up again.

          I think the light sensors may have extremely varying properties and that some may happen to pick up on some kind of energy and/or frequencies that people emit. I also think that people who can see "auras" see the same thing, their eyes pick up something outside of the visible spectrum.

          I've once seen a video where a guy had to prove he had the same ability, as if all street lights were manufactured with the exact same atomic patterns. There's variations in each and every single things we make. As an example, some people may be able to crack a board in two with their bare fists, other boards will resist the punches because maybe it's a different wood type, maybe it's because of the wood grain, etc. Same thing applies to everything, on the atomic level.

          Hi. That's called Confirmation Bias. You do not have supernatural powers.

        • Re:Damn, I missed it (Score:4, Interesting)

          by CODiNE (27417) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @06:45PM (#43342977) Homepage

          I've had that happen to me. Think of it this way, if a street light goes out once in a while and takes a few seconds to turn back on, every night a dozen people could pass under it close enough for it to seem like they caused it. Hundreds of other people would just see a normal light.

          Similar to the 9/11/2001 plane crashes, all the sudden hundreds of people claimed to have had premonitions of it. In a country with 300,000,000 people, how many dream of a plane crash on a given night? A few thousand? Now if a plane crash happens in the next week... month? They'll feel like it was connected. Otherwise they'd just forget it as a random dream.

          That is what another poster calls confirmation bias. We tend to remember the times things match up, and not notice the hundreds of other times that they didn't.

          Those particular lights you seem to have an effect on, keep an eye on them. Try watching from a distance, count how often they flicker or turn off. See if you can make some kind of statistics on it... does it change with your distance from the light? If it seems to happen more on a particular night than others... write down your mood. Also write down the temperature and humidity. Sooner or later a clear pattern will emerge. If it's confirmation bias, then things will pretty much seem random or show a direct connection to the weather. If it seems you having an effect on it, what is the factor behind it? Your distance? Your emotional intensity? What you had for breakfast? You need to get it to where it's repeatable and controllable. At that point you call Randi up and perhaps become a millionaire. Well worth the effort either way.

          • Your explanation tying up my mood with the weather and the varying humidity and temperature does sound correct. Thanks!

      • If I'm anywhere near as sharp and coherent as he is at age 84 I won't be complaining I tell you. Or rather I probably will be, but sharply and coherently.

      • by azav (469988)

        All I've seen are the cases where he says that supernatural stuff can't exist.

        And your reply is my point exactly. Based on the rules of science, we can't reproduce things that are real but are beyond our means to control. That doesn't mean that they are not real. It's that science can't be the means to identify them.

        So, what else do we have that is legit then to help narrow them down? Nothing that I know of. I lived through some pretty scary stuff, but I can't call it up at a whim, or at all. It's com

    • by nblender (741424)

      You were had.

      My son believes that squirrels leave messages for him in his mailbox. He wants to believe it so badly that he refuses to acknowledge that it could be me doing it, or a workman that I cajoled into doing it for me. One day it will occur to him that it was me but until then, he's entitled to his little fantasy.

      It's too bad someone didn't own up to it though. Those pranks seem to have affected your adult ability to think critically.

      • by azav (469988)

        How was I had?

        What "had" me?

        Here's what happened in chronological order where objects moved on their own. And no, I didn't drink or do drugs when I was 15.

        About to walk into the right bay of the garage, where the ceiling was a white stucco ceiling and the walls were white, a 3 inch rusty nail fell out of the ceiling (there were no exposed nails in the ceiling), stopped 3 feet from the ground, flew horizontally across the room to the garage divider two feet away from me, bounced off a box with a thunk, hit

    • by KingSkippus (799657) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @03:51PM (#43341299) Homepage Journal

      If you watched the video, he specifically addressed this. He says that he's not claiming that supernatural events don't occur. His prize is up for grabs to someone who can prove that they do.

      "I don't know" is, in fact a perfectly good answer, but it's not a valid explanation. It's certainly not proof of the contrary. More often than not, it is a cop-out to use "I don't know" as an excuse to not believe what evidence there is or do further research into the matter. This is where religion gets into trouble a lot. I've seen it a lot in the form of statements like, "Scientists don't know such-and-such, therefore God did it."

      If you have what seemed to be supernatural occurrences happening in a house you lived in, the scientifically "correct" course of action isn't to simply chalk it up to ghosts and be done with it, it is to try to come up with plausible explanations for what was happening and testing them. Even if you settle on the ghosts answer, you need some way to prove that that's what it is. Who knows? Maybe you could have won Randi's prize.

      And I'm not being facetious when I say that. A lot of advancements in science have happened when people didn't just accept seemingly supernatural phenomena at face value, but investigated it. Sometimes you even get really lucky and the actual explanation is more fantastical than any supernatural explanation.

      • This reminds me of a TV show where it turned out that a "haunted" house happened to have a fungus growing in the walls that caused hallucinations in susceptible people (not everyone). End result was that sometimes it was the people themselves throwing things across the room, but remembering it happening without them touching the objects. Once they cleaned up the fungus, the paranormal activity stopped.

        Sure, that's just someone's script for a show, but there are quite often* explanations for paranormal thi

    • 1. What's your degree in?
      2. How do you know things have in fact moved, and have you attempted in any way to find other explanations (ie. shifting foundation).

      • On my own behalf, referring to a similar situation I used to encounter when visiting a friend who lived in a "haunted" house:

        1) Automotive Technology and Network Security (odd combo, I know)

        2) Well, unless the entire world, minus a small porcelain figurine, suddenly shifted down about a foot, then moved in a way that would cause the now static figurine to fly from one side to the other, smashing against the opposite wall... yea, pretty sure that thing moved without visible assistance.

        Of course, that's not t

        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @05:43PM (#43342491) Journal

          So, in other words, your qualifications are no more "science" than a baker's or a doctor's.

          And the reason these phenomenon are frequently discounted is because they almost inevitably do not stand up to scrutiny. How many times do researchers have to waste their time on claims of spirits moving dishes before finally researchers throw up their hands and decide their time would be much better spent in areas where fruitful results are likely,.

          I'll be blunt, the paranormal "field of research" is populated by a long list of quacks and frauds, with maybe a very very very very very small number of researchers who actually are willing to apply appropriate methodologies. The reason that guys like James Randi, Penn and Teller and the Mythbusters are so successful at what they do is because they are experts in what one might call the illusionary arts, and thus are uniquely qualified to recognize when some spoon bender type is playing a con.

          And as a final note, it amazes me how, after a century and a half of pretty deep research into how the human mind functions, and all too often malfunctions, that people are so willing to absolutely trust their senses when objects or environment seem to function in a counter-intuitive fashion. There have been no lack of studies that demonstrate just how fallible our senses and our cognitive abilities can be under extreme and sometimes even normal circumstances, and yet those rational explanations are rejected out of hand in favor of wild ass claims of ghosts, spirits, UFOs, the Hand of God, the Holy Spirit, mystery electro-magnetic (or insert your favorite quasi-scientific phrase; quantum seems quite popular these days) and yes, sometimes just being plain conned.

          • by narcc (412956)

            So, in other words, your qualifications are no more "science" than a baker's or a doctor's.

            Still infinitely better than James Randi's qualifications.

            • Bullshit. He's a professional magician and thus eminently qualified to spot and reproduce the kind of nonsense "super naturalists" use to fool the naive.

              • by narcc (412956)

                So, in other words, his qualifications are no more "science" than a baker's or a doctor's.

                Hmmm... that's awful familiar...

                • Very clever, ignoring what I said and simply restating your moronic position.

                  • by narcc (412956)

                    Let's recap, shall we?

                    You wanted to discredit some poster by attacking his credentials instead of his ideas. He happily complied with your weird request, to which you replied:

                    So, in other words, your qualifications are no more "science" than a baker's or a doctor's.

                    Because attacking the person is the best way to discredit their ideas/claims/etc. ?

                    To point out your irrationality, to annoy you a little, and take a jab at established fraudster James Randi I wrote:

                    Still infinitely better than James Randi's qualifications.

                    Which is true. At least this guy has a formal education. All of which is beside the point: The original posters credentials aren't rel

          • by Sabriel (134364)

            Er, what? You do know what bakers and doctors do, right? Master chefs and heart surgeons do not just wave magic wands to produce their work.

            Part of science is collecting empirical evidence. Yes, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof", but that's not the same as "extraordinary claims should be automatically discarded if they don't fit the trend line."

            Collect/test evidence. Form/discard hypotheses. Never the other way around. You find evidence that "must" be wrong? At the least it's helping with y

            • Technicians are not by default scientists. A doctor and engineers emperically derived principles, but it takes more than that to actually practice science. Using knowledge gained through science is not practicing science.

    • by tibit (1762298)

      You're a fool for needing to believe in a supernatural explanation for this -- if that's what you have implied. Utter fool. Sorry. Scientific person, my ass.

    • by Quirkz (1206400)

      I think there's a couple of different types of unknown things, which often get lumped together in these kinds of discussions.

      1) One type is claims of a repeatable ability, which I think is what Randi focuses on. In these cases, someone is saying "I can do X, even though there's no theory for why this should be possible". They're making a claim that it's a reliable, repeatable process. In other words, they're basically saying it *is* science, in a way, just one that's not understood yet. These sort of things

    • by Velex (120469)

      Really. This stuff did happen to me, my father, two friends and a repairman.

      I'm sure it did. As others have pointed out, the point of the exercise is proving it. Can you still go to the house and observe these things? How frequently do these things happen? Did the frequency of these events begin to decrease over time? Would it help stir things up to drag my "misogynist" ass into the house and let me get into full fledged 5 creeper card rant about everything that's wrong with feminism?

      If we can pull it off and get conclusive proof of the haunting, there may be a million buck

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Though James Randi is very much against supernatural things, I wonder if he is able to admit that there are things that we do not have the disciplines to explain yet?

      I don't see how you can say a man that has spent the last 25 or so years offering money, publicity, and verification tests to people in an effort to assist them in proving paranormal events is "very much against supernatural things". Quite the opposite, he is probably the greatest advocate anyone with a genuine claim could have - the vast majority of the scientific community would just ignore most of this kind of stuff outright...

      I personally think your story is either a bunch of bullsh*t or is explainable

  • Oh Slashdot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dingen (958134) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @03:27PM (#43341013)

    You claim the interview is "too long" to post in one go, so you cut in half (it's not even half an hour, but ok). Yet you didn't use these cutting abilities to edit out the bit where Randi had to go turn off his TV in the other room, making us watch at his empty chair for over a minute.

    • But Randi is so amazing even his arse-groove is entertaining to watch.

      Um, that sounded a lot less questionable in my head...

  • That's The Amaz!ng Randi to you.

  • by dcollins117 (1267462) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @03:45PM (#43341235)

    Anyone else notice that he says " I am now 84, going on 100 as I like to say." and then shortly thereafter says "as I say, I'm 85"

    I'm not busting his balls or anything; I like the guy. Just struck me as odd. He either doesn't know how old he is or that video took a long time to make :P

    p.s. According the Wikipedia, he's 85.

    • Anyone else notice that he says " I am now 84, going on 100 as I like to say." and then shortly thereafter says "as I say, I'm 85"

      You should have said "Happy birthday, James Randi!" ;-)

    • I take it you don't spend much time around geriatrics?

      They tend to be a bit... forgetful.

    • by Xtifr (1323)

      Speaking as someone slightly past the half-century mark, it's easy to lose track of a year here or there once you have enough piled up.

  • >> He's a good talker, too.

    OK - you sold me. I'll watch an old man talk to me. (Er...not really.)

  • There are three gaps in the transcript; here's what belongs in two of them. I'm still having trouble making sense of the other.
    ~6:45 "they should be able to cheat people and lie to them and fake their results"
    ~11:26 "giving them things like, be sure to take their lecithin; I can sense from the vibrations"
  • So, the editor believes that James Randi's interview was long and strong, does that necessarily imply that the editor or Mr. Randi are 'down to get the friction on'? It just seems to logically follow, or so I've been told.

    (This put Sir Mix-a-lot in my head, thank you ever so much. /sarcasm)
  • by jkyrlach (1076609) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @07:23PM (#43343281)
    This is a great guest, especially relevant to the view of the greater Slashdot community. But this is a horrible interview. Please listen to NPR to understand how real interviews are done. A real interviewer knows how draw out the "goods" from their guest. For example, this guy has a pretty even-keeled vocal delivery of information, so a questions that help connect to his passions might be a good idea. "Why are you writing that book", why did you feel debunking was important to do", "what is the most tragic con you know about", etc. I don't wish to be cruel, but this guy asking the questions does not sound like he has a natural gift for talking. Can I do the rest of the interview?

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

Working...