… and while I’m at it

Continuing the theme of debunking charlatans, I was drawn to a newly uploaded talk on our old favourite, TED. It’s by James Randi, whom I first came across in my previously-mentioned readings of the indefatiguable Martin Gardner.

Randi has a long and distinguished history of taking on those who claim paranormal powers, using his conjuring skills to expose fraudsters such as Uri Geller and whole spat of mind readers. His TED talk, a ‘fiery takedown of psychic fraud’ is well worth watching, especially if you’re wavering about the non-existence of supposed psychic powers – it’s an excellent wake-up call.

Randi’s work is referenced numerous times in Gardner’s Science: Good, Bad and Bogus, on such topics as ‘dermo-optical perception‘ (haven’t heard of that one?!), Geller, numerology/biorhythm, parapsychology, nitinol, Superminds (‘one of the funniest, most gullible books ever written by a reputable scientist’) and Mind-Reach (also gullible, but not very funny).

Anyway, if you enjoy Randi’s TED presentation, then you’ll enjoy even more another video demonstrating his considerable skills. This one shows the debunking of Geller on the Carson Show, his exposure of a crooked tele-evangelist Peter Popoff, and a hilarious demonstration of ‘psychic surgery’.

If you’re not convinced, then perhaps you’re one of the foolish few who claims to have psychic powers. If so, then I urge you to take up Randi’s challenge to prove your claims – there’s a prize of US$1 million waiting for you.

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