Friday, August 05, 2005

James Randi Educational Foundation - Home Page

James Randi is a professional magician and he's terribly forthright about it. He says that what he does are all tricks which is more than I can say about many the confidence tricksters who use basic psychology and illusions and the willingness to prey (sounds like another word which conventional wisdom has held to be effacacious but is not) upon the despair and desparation of others.

Sometimes, however, as William Blake put it, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." There was/is a particular method of communication called Facilitated Communication which was once thought to be capable of giving (severely) autistic children the capacity to communicate when there once seemed no hope. The project succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of many parents who thought there was no hope for their children. Where the children was once non-communicative, there now wrote poetry and stories and did advanced math. Unfortunately, after a series of henious 'accusations' by the children of seuxal abuse by their parents, a series of rigourous double blind test test showed that the words that were communicated were not that of the children but the facilitators holding their hands. This was what the PBS reported in their expose.

In particular, do note the USD 1 MILLION prize for any verifiable claim (to be done by a neutral 3rd party) of the paranormal by any person(s). Many have claimed to be able to perform some paranormal feat, only some have been willing to put their words to the test, even fewer have actually gotten their act together to get to the preliminary test. NONE have gotten past it.

And the commentary archives are nearly all that I have been reading fro the past 3 days. Worth the time and effort. I know my viewpoint has changed somewhat since. =)

The world could do with a lot more rationality and a lot less fallacious unsubstatiated beliefs. When people believe that the moon landing is a hoax. When enduring beliefs of alien kidnappings persist. When people would much rather accept a nebulous unverfiable claim to hard science. When self-delusion is a lot more comforting that reality. Is it a wonder that a form of madness pervades our lives?

For a dose of insanity and crankiness, check out Crank Dot Net and peer into the depths of depravity that is the human mind. Were that tuned and turned towards a betterment of society instead...

I hope for peace.


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