James Randi's Disingenuous Legacy
By: Shawn Alli
Posted: May 22, 2015
*All individuals and organizations receive 3 full days of pre-publication notice.
James Randi is one of the most celebrated names in mainstream science. This is quite a feat since Randi isn't a scientist. Randi acquires this level of sensationalism by performing stage magic, debunking psychics/Extra Sensory Perception (ESP), and his million dollar challenge.
In his early days Randi attempts to copy and surpass his role-model, Harry Houdini. It's important to point out that anyone attempting to surpass feats of entertainment should be regarded as lost individuals. Why would you want to be someone else rather than yourself? There's a difference in looking up at your role-model vs. imitating them. Devoting decades of your life to imitate someone is truly a waste of a life.
Scientists, intellectuals and academics who devote their life to defending the work or advocating the claims of past scientists are wasting their lives as well. Regurgitating dogmatic ideological science is affecting the development of humanity...and not for the better.
But the same is true for religious believers. Devoting your life to imitating Jesus or Buddha is a waste of a life. The concept of love and compassion are great, but individuals should adapt it to their own expression of consciousness.
After his younger days, Randi devotes his life to exposing ESP practitioners, psychics and faith healers as frauds. Exposing fake psychics, mediums/channelers and faith healers as frauds is great work. I have no problem with that. Most psychic mediums are a fake and weave fantastic tales to support unfalsifiable claims. Many individuals who claim psychic abilities are a fake and act with malicious intent to rob people of their life savings, causing emotional distress. Many faith healers are charlatans trying to cash in on the gullibility of religious believers. These individuals should be exposed as frauds and Randi does a great service in this regard.
But that doesn't mean that ESP, psychic phenomena and faith healing aren't real and a legitimate phenomenon. Real psychics on the other hand are only interested in helping others and making a living for themselves. And no, charging money for their services isn't fraud, it's entrepreneurship. Randi frequently laments Sylvia Browne charging $700.00-$850.00 for a 20 minute reading. But it's simple economics of supply and demand, charging what the market can bear.
This amount pales in comparison to a real estate agent's commission for selling a house in a hot market. A few hours of work for 2.5% commission is pretty high. But if you want to get into outrageous hourly wages, the speakers' fees for celebrities and former politicians won't disappoint:
Donald Trump: $1.5 million. 
Bill Clinton: $75,000 - $450,000. 
Hilary Clinton: $300,000. 
Tony Blair: £364,000. 
Colin Powell: $100,000 - $200,000. 
Rudolph Giuliani: $75,000 - $200,000. 
George W. Bush: $150,000. 
Sean Hannity: $100,000. 
Al Gore: $100,000. 
Spike Lee $25,000 for 10 minutes. 
Dick Cheney: $75,000. 
Kevin Bacon: $70,000. 
William Shatner: $75,000. 
Larry King: $63,200. 
Jane Goodall: $60,000. 
Bill Nye: over $40,000. 
Arianna Huffington: $25,000 - $40,000. 
In an email request for comment I ask Randi:
1. When mentioning Slyvia Browne's fee, why don't you mention the fees that celebrity speakers and retired politicians collect for a few hours of speaking?
2. What is your usual speaking fee?
He doesn't respond.
Does Randi condemn any of the above names during his talks? Of course not. In his mind, only psychics and alternative medicine practitioners are the enemies.
The reason why mainstream psychics can charge so much is because of low supply and high demand. There are very few mainstream psychics with strong credibility. And the demand is only growing. Even as medical science gets better, the demand for psychics, faith healers and alternative medicine practitioners is only growing; with mainstream medical scientists unable to comprehend why.
I'm sure that Randi makes a good deal of money from all of his speaking engagements. And there's nothing wrong with that. He's providing a service to his audience. Psychics are providing a service to their audience as well. The only difference is that the economics of supply and demand are "currently" in the psychics favor.
If an individual gives away all of their life's fortune (as well as their family's) for the sake of contacting a loved one from the dead, that shows a defect in character, not a defect with ESP or psychic practitioners. Families that appear on mainstream media (MM) outlets to vent their anger at a psychic for "taking advantage" of them...are really angry at themselves for not using the faculty of "common sense."
In terms of faith healing, legitimate pastors, deacons and reverends only want to be the conduit of healing that the Christian god works through. Clearly, the ability to "cull the wheat from the chaff," is lacking. Randi is unable to make the distinction between fake and genuine healers due to his personal ideologies. In his mind, they're all charlatans preying on vulnerable and gullible individuals.
The reason why Randi's credibility is in question by religious and psychic practitioners is due to his methods, personal ideologies, and his adherence to dogmatic ideological science. His life's work is neither honest nor genuine; it's full of intentional deception. While many of his followers build him up as a beacon for science (as they do for Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson), the truth about the iconic role-model is less than stellar; it's entirely disingenuous.
It's important to remember that Randi isn't a skeptic. He's a close-minded individual following dogmatic ideological science. A short YouTube video provides the evidence:
CNBC Commentator: But if he [a psychic medium] said to me, does the day April 21st mean something to me, and I said that's my birthday, I would consider that quite significant, wouldn't you?
Randi: Well, significant if you want to read significance into it Charles. 
Clearly, it doesn't matter how many hits a psychic gets correct. If they get anything wrong Randi will use that to show that they're a fake. And that's truly disingenuous.
His 2001 talk at Princeton demonstrates his ideological science:
...But we will go to Mars eventually. And that's the wonderful thing about us. We can do things like that. But not if we go back into the dark ages again and start to believe in superstitions and nonsense and pseudoscience.
...I decided when I was 10 years of age that I wasn't going to go for any of this crap, all of this nonsense, this pseudoscience and superstition. 
His 2007 Ted talk is the same:
The business of believing in the paranormal and the occult and the supernatural, all of this total nonsense, this medieval thinking, I think something should be done about that. 
Randi is using the skepticism label on the surface to cover-up his core ideological beliefs. Whether it's intentional is debatable. Whether he's aware of this consciously is also debatable. While Randi's work isn't necessarily fraudulent, it's definitely not in the pursuit of genuine impartial objective knowledge.
Before I get into the meat and potato issues, one last noteworthy thing to mention is Randi's age. Randi is pushing 87 but still continues his talks. And the crowds love it. His followers may see this article as an ad hominem attack against a frail old man.
I assure you, this is not the case. This article is over 8500 words long and takes almost 2 months to publish (I really don't know how bloggers can crank out up to three different "quality" articles a day). This article is not a personal attack on Randi (though I address personal issues). This is a critical article attempting to show that Randi's legacy is entirely disingenuous.
Aside from Randi's million dollar challenge, he's most notable for attempting to debunk Uri Geller's ESP skills, namely, spoon bending. In the 1993 PBS documentary Secrets of the Psychics, Randi attempts to debunk spoon bending by bending his spoon prior to the actual bending, with the idea that this is how Geller does it:
Now this isn't proof positive that other demonstrations aren't the result of supernatural powers, but isn't this a more likely reasonable explanation. 
Occam's razor, the simplest explanation is usually the most correct, is a truism for the Western-European public. But in reality, it's usually false. In terms of man-made events (intelligence operations, political wars, and ideological scientists), the outcome or claims are usually false due to intentional malevolence, hubris, arrogance, incompetence or ignorance. In terms of natural events, again, the interpretations are usually the result of ideological scientists. Great scientists such as Isaac Newton, Nicolaus Copernicus, Giordano Bruno and Albert Einstein are exceptions.
So the question remains, is Randi saying that Geller is bending all of his spoons prior to his performances?
In an email request for comment I ask Randi:
3. Are you claiming that Geller physically bends all of his spoons prior to bending it on camera?
He doesn't respond.
And Randi's comment about a "reasonable explanation" is dependent on the level of development of an individual and humanity in general. 100 years from now, what counts as common sense and what's reasonable...will most likely change. The idea that something is reasonable or simple or complex is relative to the general understanding of an individual and humanity as a whole.
Randi believes that Geller's new label as a "mystifier" takes away from his previous label of being a "psychic."  But mysticism and psychic phenomena go hand in hand. And if that's not enough, Geller's own words in the BBC's 2002 program, Reputations - Uri Geller, should suffice:
I love the mystery. The mysteriousness that engulfs me...It's something that...makes me...tick. And, if I will be remembered...as Uri Geller...the spoon bender, so be it...I will smile at it from the other side. And I will go on, helping other people, in other dimensions. 
Personally, bending a metal spoon while touching it isn't a good example of an ESP phenomenon; nor is influencing random number generators. While it does demonstrate a weak form of ESP, it's far from conclusive or even significant. Trust me, if it's significant, then many individuals would be cashing in on the lottery by now. The fact that lotteries make more than they pay out either represents the failure of individuals to "master" the ability, or a lack of understanding in how the phenomenon works.
But if this power or skill can be mastered, lotteries would be the least of the worries. All computers (no matter how sophisticated) operate in binary code (1s and 0s). If an individual can manipulate binary code with their mind, then the entire modern technological infrastructure is at their mercy. It's a good thing that no one has yet to master such a skill.
If psychics up the ante with say...moving a car via telekinetic skills, that would put significant pressure on magicians or scientists to imitate it. Conveniently, ESP practitioners usually fine tune their skills to small scale unfalsifiable and unobservable phenomena. Of course, if psychics do up the ante, then the most likely place they'll end up is in a scientific laboratory or a government experiment. I believe this is one reason why most psychics don't push their luck.
But if Geller can at least bend a spoon or something larger without touching it, then we've got something significant and noticeable. The fact that Geller doesn't bend anything other than metal spoons, rightly leads to suspicion. It's almost as if it's just an act. Randi maintains the claim that Geller is performing the "role" of a magician by bending spoons. But that's not what I mean. I maintain the claim of Vikram Jayanti, the director of the 2013 documentary film, The Secret Life of Uri Geller - Psychic Spy?:
Sometimes, you wonder whether Uri's entire public career has actually been a front for his shadow world activities. 
For most of his speaking engagements, Randi usually starts off with the microphone and glasses performance. On the surface, it looks like he's using a microphone and his glasses. But the microphone isn't really a microphone or it's not turned on. And the glasses he's wearing have no lenses. The audience usually laughs and he uses this performance to show that people make assumptions.
It's common sense to know that everyone makes thousands of assumptions every day. No one should be losing sleep over this.
I believe that the larger issue with the microphone and glasses performance is being lost. Aside from it being a harmless deception, the problem is what he's saying:
psychics are intentionally trying to deceive the global general public. And they're falling for it because of their assumptions.
I'm sorry, but I have to call garbage on that. Mainstream psychics (Edward, Geller and Praagh) are not intentionally trying to deceive the global general public.
And for the most part, normal ethical individuals aren't trying to deceive the global general public either. Intentional deception is usually left to politicians, lawyers, sociopaths, con-artists, marketing employees and ideological scientists.
In Randi's Secrets of the Psychics, he exposes Peter Popoff, an evangelical faith healer, as getting information from a wireless device about an individual's health condition.  That's great work by Randi. But does that apply to all faith healing? Or is Randi claiming that it's all fraud? Randi is silent on this question and ends the segment by stating that Popoff goes bankrupt.
But many of Randi's other documentaries/interviews present him as viewing all faith healing as fraudulent. Randi isn't practicing objective impartial science; he's practicing ideological science (science to justify one's personal belief system). And Randi's beliefs are definitely aligned with dogmatic scientific theories that are "unquestionable."
Readers should always be aware that nothing in science is unquestionable. Everything can be questioned...even the core assumptions of mainstream scientific theories. If you hear otherwise, run away very fast, or back away slowly, smiling politely.
But faith healing is a fascinating phenomenon, and not just because of the current changes in a believer's perception of faith healing (now, eating a healthy diet may somehow help the Christian god to take away that cancer). But it's because of the placebo effect (non-physical beliefs influencing a physiological process).
The fact that an individual's belief can change their body's physiological response is unbelievable to mainstream scientists, researchers, intellectuals and atheists. They would love to deny the existence of such a phenomenon, but they can't. So their strategy is to downplay its significance or ignore it outright. Randi doesn't mention the placebo effect in Secrets of the Psychics, John Stossel's Power of Belief in 1998 (though Stossel mentions it ), his 2001 talk at Princeton, his 2007 Ted talk, his 2010 talk in Finland, his 2010 talk at McGill, his talk at NECSS 2012, or the 2014 documentary, An Honest Liar.
I believe this is intentional.
In an email request for comment I ask Randi:
4. Why don't you address the placebo effect in regards to faith-healing or homeopathy?
5. Do you believe that all faith-healing is fraudulent and provides no physiological benefit?
He doesn't respond.
It's interesting to note that in most of his speaking tours, Randi talks about Geller and Popoff in great detail (as well as Benny Hinn). It's almost as if he wouldn't be the Amazing Randi without his two enemies.
Batman needs the Joker just as much as Superman needs Lex Luther. In the world of fiction and reality, a villain is necessary for the protagonist to reach their true potential.
I think Geller and Popoff are on Randi's mind on a chronic level. I fear that even after his death, Randi's consciousness will still be obsessed with Geller and Popoff.
Randi, like most atheists, has relative ethics. His attempt to debunk individuals knows no bounds. In debunking Peter Popoff's faith healing he admits to planting an individual in the crowd to pretend to be healed in Popoff's service. 
Being raised in an evangelical charismatic family, I already know what most of the believers would say about Randi, he's a sick man. I believe that the ends will always justify the means for Randi.
Jamy Ian Swiss, a fellow magician, tries to skirt the issue:
This is what it means to be an honest liar. It's the difference between using deception to conceal the truth, and using deception to reveal the truth. 
The problem is that there is no fine line. Like all things, personas in one aspect of life tend to blur into other aspects, until it gets to a point when you don't know who you are and how you got there.
It's interesting to note that Randi doesn't go after Scientology as he does for Christian beliefs. I'm unable to find any notable online videos or mainstream articles where Randi criticizes Scientology, aside from one James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) blog article. 
The fact that many Western-European governments grant Scientology charitable tax status and recognize it as a religion should be ripe for Randi jokes. But there are no jokes about Scientology in his talks. I believe that Randi intentionally doesn't go after Scientology because of fear. He fears the wrath of Scientologists with its harassment and libel approach.
I believe the same is true for Islam. Again, I'm unable to find any notable online videos or mainstream articles ridiculing Islamic beliefs, aside from one JREF blog article.  Christian beliefs are daily fodder for Randi, so why not Islamic beliefs? I believe the reason is simple...fear. Randi fears upsetting the unpredictable community of moderate and extremist Muslims. So he plays it safe, ridiculing Christian beliefs while he cowers in fear of Muslim believers (which generally applies to Western-European MM outlets and film production companies as well).
Psychic Phenomena & ESP:
Skepticism is healthy in all disciplines, especially ESP research. But Randi's not a skeptic, he's a denier. A denier of ESP. In other words, he's practicing ideological science. A New York Times (NYT) November 2014 article on him puts the issue into perspective:
"Everybody else just kind of rolled their eyes," Penn Jillette, a good friend of Randi's, told me. "'Why is Randi spending all this time doing this? We all know there is no ESP. It's just stupid people [who] believe it, and that's fine.'" 
So does that apply to Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar J. Mitchell? While on the moon he conducts ESP tests. 
Or how about professor Robert G. Jahn, founder of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab that researches parapsychology from 1979-2007? Is he stupid as well?
Or how about Brian Josephson? He's a Nobel laureate physicist who researches ESP. He definitely must be stupid.
Ridicule is the best way for atheist scientists, intellectuals, researchers and pundits to suppress or ignore a theory that goes against the norm.
If you believe in ESP then most atheist scientists believe that you're stupid. They won't tell it to your face because it's not socially or politically correct to do so, but that's what they believe due to their dogmatic scientific ideologies.
In a media appearance, scientists might play the vulnerable victim card, they're vulnerable so they'll believe in anything. But it's only a surface claim to hide their true feelings.
The reason why the above academic list is so short is because professors, scientists and researchers risk personal, social, financial and political castration for researching ESP. It would be suicidal for young researchers to begin their professional career in ESP.
This also applies to the global general public. Talking openly about ESP will usually lead to social isolation, in addition to MM outlets supplying the fuel of ridicule. I'm sure that whole generations of individuals that have ESP experiences re-interpret or discount the phenomena to be in line with the mainstream scientific/societal norm. And that's quite sad.
If we move into social economic status, the low-income earners can't bother about such a phenomenon because they're barely scraping by to pay for the basics. The mid-income earners won't touch it because they've escaped the low-income bracket and never want to go back. And the high-income earners and ultra wealthy won't touch it "publicly," lest they draw unwanted media attention to their private lifestyles or shaming the family name.
All of this is due to the practice of dogmatic ideological science as a whole. More accurately put, the "current" scientific method can't account for, nor explain ESP/psychic phenomena. While many think that the scientific method is merely a set of methods to investigate a phenomenon, they're unaware of the particular ideologies that operate behind the methods.
While Randi may claim on the surface that he's practicing objective impartial science with integrity, the truth is that he'll always find a way to disprove ESP. And he does this with malicious intent.
In the 1980s parapsychological research moves into high gear due to the Cold War, with researchers looking into every aspect of ESP. Randi takes advantage of this by planting individuals into parapsychology experiments (project alpha). And yes, in this instance the parapsychologists are practicing ideological science. But that doesn't mean that every parapsychologist is doing the same; nor does it mean that ESP isn't a "real" phenomenon.
Rupert Sheldrake, a scientific researcher who studies ESP between animals and humans, shows that Randi's claims are disingenuous:
In an email sent on February 6, 2000 he told me that the tests he referred to were not done at the JREF, but took place "years ago" and were "informal". They involved two dogs belonging to a friend of his that he observed over a two-week period. All records had been lost. He wrote: "I overstated my case for doubting the reality of dog ESP based on the small amount of data I obtained. It was rash and improper of me to do so.
Randi also claimed to have debunked one of my experiments with the dog Jaytee, a part of which was shown on television. Jaytee went to the window to wait for his owner when she set off to come home, but did not do so before she set off. In Dog World, Randi stated: "Viewing the entire tape, we see that the dog responded to every car that drove by, and to every person who walked by." This is simply not true, and Randi now admits that he has never seen the tape. 
In An Honest Liar, director Justin Weinstein shows an undated article where Randi intentionally feeds disinformation to the author/publication. The text reads:
Mr. Zwinge [Randi] can read minds. Or, as he says, he possesses a combination of telepathic, clairvoyant and prophetic senses.
Mr. Zwinge said he first became aware that he possessed Extra Sensory Perception when he was nine years old. 
In the past (and still today), MM journalists normally expect an individual to tell them the truth about their life. The fact that Randi lies to them and says it's so easy to fool MM outlets...is disingenuous. The fact that he knows that the global general public will accept such information as factual, why would someone lie about their own life?, but still does it anyway, is a sign of sociopathic thinking.
Bill Nye's claim that, "Randi is in love with the truth,"  is definitely false. Randi's overuse of intentional deception has blurred his perception of truth.
In 1988 Randi intentionally deceives MM outlets (and the global general public), by creating the Carlox Hoax. He gets his friend Deyvi Orangel Pena Arteaga (now his partner), to agree to be a fake medium who channels a 2000 year old spirit. He does all of this to prove the gullibility of MM outlets. But a December 2014 Telegraph article points out the contradictions:
The documentary [An Honest Liar], too, presents the hoax as a win for Randi. And yet contemporary accounts have it that, on the contrary, journalists were actually widely sceptical of Carlos. A reporter for The Skeptic said, "None of the media coverage was credulous; all disbelieved that [Pena] was genuine."
Writing in The Daily Grail, Greg Taylor recounts how when a researcher rang Randi for his opinion on Carlos, he wriggled out of answering. "So when a media channel actually checked with the world's most prominent skeptic on this topic, he basically scammed them himself - and yet went on to bemoan how the Australian media didn't include skeptics' opinions on the matter." 
But Randi's practice of intentional deception and ideological science isn't limited to animal ESP or psychic phenomena. Some of his most ardent claims are against remote viewing (RV, perceiving reality via ESP).
In his 2005 book, Reading the enemy's mind: inside Star Gate, America's psychic espionage program, Paul H. Smith, a military intelligence veteran of the RV program, points out Randi's manipulation tactics:
The trouble was, "The Amazing" Randi's own attack was riddled with misrepresentations and false statements. It turned out (as he admitted in his own text), that he had never even so much as "set foot on the sacred grounds of SRI..."
...Geller would have had to lie flat on his stomach if he wanted to see through to the next room, and even then would have observed only a few square inches, if he could have seen beyond the thick cables that snaked through the hole and the sound deadening caps that closed whatever space was left unblocked.
...And when told that Randi had quoted him as saying Puthoff had lied about some of the details of the experiment, Hebard objected vehemently.
"I don't talk that way," he told me in an interview. "I would never have said that Puthoff was lying." 
Harold Puthoff, Russell E. Targ and Ingo Swann "demonstrate" the reality of RV in the '70s and '80s via peer-reviewed articles.   Oddly enough, I'm unable to find any online videos of Randi debunking Swann (the creator of remote viewing). The fact that his focus is solely on Geller instead of Swann is quite odd.
In an email request for comment I ask Randi:
6. Why is there no attempt to debunk Ingo Swann and his life's work?
He doesn't respond.
The short answer is that Geller is a rock star compared to Swann in terms of mainstream branding. But Swann is one the most notable psychics (a label he also doesn't like), of the 20th/21st century.
After the small scale experiments, the Central Intelligence Agency and the US Department of Defense utilize RV during the Cold War and continue using it for intelligence and spying until the program's outing in 1995.  While the infamous (white-wash) American Institutes for Research (AIR) report recommends the end of the program, their conclusion states:
The foregoing observations provide a compelling argument against continuation of the program within the intelligence community. Even though a statistically significant effect has been observed in the laboratory, it remains unclear whether the existence of a paranormal phenomenon, remote viewing, has been demonstrated. 
This "statistically significant effect" re-affirms Swann's early experiments in the '70s (which the AIR researchers downplay as having "major flaws").
The reason why the AIR researchers downplay the significant effects of RV is because no scientific theory of ESP exists then (and even today):
However, the occurrence of statistical effects does not warrant the conclusion that psychic functioning has been demonstrated. Significant departures from the null hypothesis can occur for several reasons. Without a positive theory of anomalous cognition, we cannot say that these effects are due to a single cause, let alone claim they reflect anomalous cognition. 
Targ (a physicist), boils it down to an either or statement in an April 2013 TED talk:
So you have to decide. Is the statistical evidence from our experiments at SRI strong enough to make you think that something like ESP really exists? Or do think it was just our lucky day and we were successful in fooling the American intelligence establishment for 23 years? 
In an email request for comment I ask Randi:
7. In regards to remote viewing, do you believe that Puthoff and Targ fool the US intelligence establishment for 23 years into believing the existence of ESP?
He doesn't respond.
The reason why no significant theory of RV exists is because the current scientific method is unable to account for ESP. And going one step further, the current scientific method can't account for ESP because it's based on the scientific ideology of physical causation (including gases and electromagnetic frequencies). While philosophers welcome the ideology of non-physical causation, it's voraciously denied by mainstream psychiatrists and Western-European scientists (forget talking about nonlocality and consciousness).
This isn't objective impartial science. It's ideological dogmatic science at its best. And Randi (as well as MM journalists), takes advantage of this ideological science to the full degree in demonizing ESP and homeopathy.
ESP and various alternative medicine treatments can't be explained via the current scientific method. But that doesn't mean that such things are false. It merely shows the limitations of the current scientific method. Individuals incapable of making this distinction are warping the potential growth and development of humanity.
The fact that John Edward, Uri Geller, Sylvia Browne (deceased) and James Van Praagh refuses to take Randi's million dollar challenge is problematic. I believe that such individuals refuse to participate because of the fear of failure, of not being able to use their skills in a controlled skeptical setting. While many of them will give other excuses (which may be true as well), the fear of failure and the bad press that will follow, is the real reason.
But such fear is unwarranted. If Edward, Geller and Praagh are unable to demonstrate their skills under such conditions they can merely claim that they're unable to do it in a "hostile, artificial and skeptical setting." And despite the contrary, it's a legitimate claim.
One particular thing that atheist scientists, researchers, intellectuals, mainstream journalists and the global general public should remember is that life is not in a peer-reviewed and double-blind controlled setting. Life isn't a controlled experiment. It's about expressing one's consciousness in various situations, hopefully for the benefit of humanity.
Failing to use one's skill in a controlled and artificial setting means that it fails in a particular setting, in a particular state of mind. I implore Edward, Geller and Praagh to go beyond the fear of failure and take Randi's one million dollar challenge (perhaps in unison), and put this issue to rest once and for all.
Homeopathy & Acupuncture:
A significant part of Randi's legacy is his war against homeopathy. This is where Randi shines even above mainstream scientists such as Dawkins or Tyson.
Most of his talks ridicule homeopathy as nonsense that doesn't deserve the distinction of being called a treatment. This is due to the fact that the current scientific method is unable to account for the results of homeopathy. In reality, the current scientific method can't account for the placebo effect as well.
But then again, that presents an internal problem as well. The homeopathic community is divided by those who believe it's a placebo effect and those that believe it's more than that, advocating the theory of water memory, which mainstream scientists ridicule and vilify.
I don't know what camp is correct, but I do know that the homeopathic community shouldn't follow the lead of mainstream scientists and downplay the placebo effect as, it's just a placebo.
Remember, the placebo effect is downplayed because the current scientific method is unable to account for the phenomenon. It's a wondrous and real effect, regardless of the ridicule and vilification that's attached to it.
While homeopathy isn't suitable as a treatment for severe or acute medical conditions, it's an acceptable treatment for minor, moderate or chronic ones. Personally, I've never tried homeopathic treatments. But I would never tell individuals not to consider it. To each their own, as long as it's within universal ethics.
A homeopathic community in Greece attempts to conduct an experiment demonstrating a biological effect using homeopathic medicine and win Randi's million dollar challenge. George Vithoulkas and his team spend years creating the protocol of the study, only to be told by Randi to redo it from scratch.  I recommend readers take a look at:
Randi's war against homeopathy is an ideological one. He'll never change his mind despite positive results in and out of the lab. This is the epitome of dogmatic ideological thinking.
The same is true for acupuncture. In his NECSS 2012 talk Randi says:
Harvard Medical School is now offering an advanced course for physicians in acupuncture, which has been tested endlessly for centuries and it does not work in any way. And believe me, I know what I'm talking about. 
Acupuncture is somewhat of a grey area for mainstream scientists and the current scientific method. One ideological theory states that acupuncture operates on principles of non-physical energy in the human body and relieving pressure on specific meridians. The current scientific method is unable to account for non-physical human energy and meridians.
A mainstream scientific theory of acupuncture is one of neurophysiology, whereby acupuncture works by affecting the release of neurotransmitters. I don't know which theory is correct; but I do know that those who do try acupuncture usually feel better.
In regards to the peer-reviewed literature, I believe that there's a publication bias against acupuncture being seen as a viable treatment for minor, moderate or chronic conditions. A few peer-reviewed articles support the use of acupuncture for various conditions:
Eight sessions of weekly group acupuncture compared with group oral care education provide significantly better relief of symptoms in patients suffering from chronic radiation-induced xerostomia. 
It is concluded that this study showed highly positive effects on pain and function through the collaborative treatment of acupuncture and motion style in aLBP [acute lower back pain] patients. 
Given the limited efficacy of antidepressant treatment...the present study provides evidence in supporting the viewpoint that acupuncture is an effective and safe alternative treatment for depressive disorders, and could be considered an alternative option especially for patients with MDD [major depressive disorder] and PSD [post-stroke depression], although evidence for its effects in augmenting antidepressant agents remains controversial. 
In conclusion: We find that acupuncture significantly relieves hot flashes and sleep disturbances in women treated for breast cancer. The effect was seen in the therapy period and at least 12 weeks after acupuncture treatment ceased. The effect was not correlated with increased levels of plasma estradiol. The current study showed no side effects of acupuncture. These results indicate that acupuncture can be used as an effective treatment of menopausal discomfort. 
In conclusion, the present study demonstrates, in rats, that EA [electroacupuncture] significantly attenuates bone cancer induced hyperalgesia, which, at least in part, is mediated by EA suppression of IL-1...expression. 
In animal model of focal cerebral ischemia, BBA [Baihui (GV20)-based Scalp acupuncture] could improve IV [infarct volume] and NFS [neurological function score]. Although some factors such as study quality and possible publication bias may undermine the validity of positive findings, BBA may have potential neuroprotective role in experimental stroke. 
In conclusion, this randomized sham-controlled study suggests that electroacupuncture at acupoints including Zusanli, Sanyinjiao, Hegu, and Zhigou is more effective than no acupuncture and sham acupuncture in stimulating early return of bowel function and reducing postoperative analgesic requirements after laparoscopic colorectal surgery. Electroacupuncture is also more effective than no acupuncture in reducing the duration of hospital stay. 
In conclusion, we found acupuncture to be superior to both no acupuncture control and sham acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain...Our results from individual patient data meta-analyses of nearly 18000 randomized patients in high-quality RCTs [randomized controlled trials] provide the most robust evidence to date that acupuncture is a reasonable referral option for patients with chronic pain. 
While Randi and many other mainstream scientists will argue that the above claims are the result of ideological science and cherry picking, in reality, they're the result of good science going up against dogmatic and profit-driven ideological science.
Yes, the alternative medicine industry is now a billion dollar industry. But the global pharmaceutical medical industry is worth hundreds of trillions of dollars. And without its patients (who need to be in a constant state of ill health), it can't survive.
Individuals who have minor, moderate, or chronic medical conditions don't want to be part of the hostile debate between alternative medicine vs. pharmaceutical medical science. They just want to get better and move on with their life. The constant war that mainstream scientists wage against alternative medicine is only hurting the people they're supposed to be helping.
Yes, the ideologies are incompatible. Yes, there are no accepted scientific theories for such treatments. Yes, it defies what mainstream scientists currently "know" about the human body.
It would be impressive if a peace treaty can exist between both sides, where both don't agree, but respect each other enough to put aside their pride and help patients to regain their health.
Randi believes that mainstream Western-European science is the answer for all of life's woes. His faith in medical science is unshakeable. I call it dogmatic. Mainstream scientists have been (and still are) hostile to anything that doesn't fit into their scientific models. Consciousness, homeopathy, ESP and psychic phenomena are fields that don't fit into the dogmatic mainstream paradigm box.
On the surface (and in theory), mainstream scientists like to claim that science is very open to everything. But in reality, it's not. In his 1999 talk at the Cultinfo Conference Randi says:
Science corrects itself. That's the beautiful part of it. 
And while that's true, there's a part that all mainstream scientists leave out. While science is self-correcting, that only occurs after years or decades of ridicule and vilifying their detractors.
In the early 1900s the idea of eugenics is presented as a "fact" by Western-European scientists. They indoctrinate generations of students with this horrible ideological science. This is part of the legacy of Western-European medical science that no one should forget. And yes, mainstream scientists no longer advocate eugenics, but that's only after the murder, sterilization and institutionalization of black people and other visible minorities.
From the '30s to the '70s scientists intentionally withhold penicillin for the treatment of syphilis in black men. 
Also in the '40s, scientists at Vanderbilt University give pregnant women radioactive iron for a nutrition study. 
These individuals (those that conduct and approve the research) are most likely atheist scientists with relative ethics. They carry out such activities for the "benefit of humanity and the sciences." And that's the problem. The ends usually justify the means for atheist scientists. Hopefully, the same cycles or hatred, hubris and ideological science of the past don't repeat themselves in the future.
Another interesting note is that Randi doesn't go after pharmaceutical corporations for their bad science and off-label marketing. I'm unable to find any notable online videos or mainstream articles by Randi where he's critical of pharmaceutical corporations pushing hard drugs (anti-depressants) on children and young adults.
I'm also unable to find anything on him critical of Big Pharma's off-label marketing. As of mid 2014, the total cost of what pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations pay for off-label marketing lawsuits is $15.8 billion (give or take a few hundred million). This doesn't include the numbers for the rest of 2014 and mid 2015. It's probably around $20 billion as of now.
$15.8 billion dollars later in off-label marketing lawsuits and Randi won't even mention one iota of criticism? My apologies to John Stossel, but I need to say it/type it...Give me a break.
In an email request for comment I ask Randi:
8. Why is there a lack of criticism against pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations conducting bad science and off-label marketing?
He doesn't respond.
I believe that Randi chooses not to criticize pharmaceutical corporations for conducting bad science and off-label marketing because it would be contradictory to his position. I believe he would see it as "anti-science." And Randi can't be seen, perceived or interpreted as having any connection to the anti-science label.
A recent example of dogmatic science is the issue of warm-blooded fish. In May 2015 scientists discover the first warm-blooded fish.  Prior to that, if an elementary or high-school student asks their biology teacher if warm-blooded fish exist in the deep oceans they would be met with a resounding no. They would be shown that evolution doesn't allow for warm-blooded fish for a variety of reasons. And they would claim that the weight of a century's worth of data proves that all deep ocean fish are cold-blooded. And they would all be wrong. As I mention above, nothing in science is unquestionable.
An example of ideological science and the blurring of facts and beliefs is hair analysis. In April 2015 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), finally admits to the ideological science that potentially causes false convictions:
The Justice Department and the FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.
Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory's microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far...
Prior to this admission, it's a "fact" that the "evidence" points to the defendant's guilt. When in reality, FBI scientists are practicing ideological science to reflect the politics of more convictions.
Randi, along with many atheist scientists, continues to tout science as objective impartial truth; when in reality, it usually gets spun into a web of ideological science.
However, in a 2002 presentation at Princeton he rightly points out the dogma in the PhD process:
...That person is now no longer an ordinary person. This is a Phd. This person has taken on a certain sanctity, a certain holiness of some kind. Because the minute that piece of paper hits their hand they walk across the stage and they walk down on that side to the applause of their relatives and such...and they're a transformed individual. This happens to all of them. These people all become magically transformed. I think I know what's being done here...
...My theory is that there's a genetically engineered chemical on that little role of paper. Very carefully, genetically altered in such a way that it does one specific thing. As the paper hits the hand, it goes into the flesh, into the bloodstream, directly to the brain and paralyzes a part of the brain in the speech center. The part that enables the person, up until that moment, to pronounce two sentences: I was wrong, I don't know. 
But the criticism is short lived. In his 2010 talk in Finland Randi says the same thing and tells the audience that it's only a joke and not to take him too seriously on it.  It's a shame that Randi isn't serious about the conclusions. Individuals with PhDs are usually know it all's that are incapable of saying that they're wrong and that they don't know something.
Even if Randi "secretly" believes in his Phd claims, I believe that he would only apply it to parapsychologists and highly educated alternative medicine practitioners. I doubt he's referring to physicists, biologists and chemists.
Amazingly enough, there's one instance where Randi does try to go "slightly" out of the box in regards to climate change, in a 2009 post on the JREF blog:
I strongly suspect that The Petition Project may be valid. I base this on my admittedly rudimentary knowledge of the facts about planet Earth. This ball of hot rock and salt water spins on its axis and rotates about the Sun with the expected regularity, though we're aware that lunar tides, solar wind, galactic space dust and geomagnetic storms have cooled the planet by about one centigrade degree in the past 150 years. The myriad of influences that act upon Earth are so many and so variable -- though not capricious -- that I believe we simply cannot formulate an equation into which we enter variables and come up with an answer. A living planet will continually belch, vibrate, fracture, and crumble a bit, and thus defeat an accurate equation. Please note that this my amateur opinion, based on probably insufficient data.
...In my amateur opinion, more attention to disease control, better hygienic conditions for food production and clean water supplies, as well as controlling the filth that we breathe from fossil fuel use, are problems that should distract us from fretting about baking in Global Warming. 
Randi is indirectly invoking the theory of chaos theory, in which there are too many unknown factors that affect the Earth so we're unable to label CO2 emissions as the harbinger of death. It seems like a reasonable skeptical view to me (but I'm a climate denier so my opinion doesn't really count on such matters).
Such statements (no matter how minor they are), is heresy to the climate change cult (Please see my CO2 Climate Change Cult Series). And any heresy, no matter how small, represents a threat to the movement.
Two days after the article is posted, Randi backtracks due to potential excommunication from the climate change cult and defending himself against the heretic title of being a climate denier. 
I believe that most liberals, atheist scientists and environmental journalists (unconsciously) know that man-made climate change isn't objective science. It's ideological. They just can't say that because it would undermine the foundations of the whole movement.
In an email request for comment I ask Randi:
9. Do you believe that the climate change movement has become a cult with its information control mechanisms and vilification of any critical questioning?
He doesn't respond.
I would bet $20.00 that Randi "secretly" believes that the climate change movement is a cult practicing dogmatic ideological science.
In March 2010 Randi posts an article on the JREF blog and comes out as gay.  That's great. I can't imagine what it's like to suppress and deny such feelings.
The problematic issue is that the early versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM, the bible of Western-European psychiatry), labels homosexuality as a mental disorder.   In a revised edition for DSM-II they soften the term to "Sexual Orientation Disturbance."  In DSM-III they soften it again by calling it "Ego-dystonic Homosexuality" (applicable to only a small number of homosexuals). 
Personally, the problem isn't really with the DSM. It's with psychiatrists who believe that they're practicing objective impartial science; when in reality, it's nothing more than ideological theories (it doesn't even count as scientific).
In an email request for comment I present Randi with a hypothetical scenario:
10. Hypothetically, if homosexuality is labeled a mental disorder in 2015, would you still defend the hard sciences?
He doesn't respond.
Randi is also a board member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF),  an organization that defends individuals accused of sexual abuse (Please see my article Are False Memory Organizations Unintentionally Covering Up Sexual Abuse?). They even file amicus curiae in defense of convicted pedophile priest Paul Shanley.  The FMSF attempts to show that most allegations are based on false memories.
I'm unable to find any mainstream online videos or mainstream articles that mention Randi's board position with the FMSF.
In an email request for comment I ask Randi:
11. Why are you a member of the FMSF's Scientific and Professional Advisory Board?
He doesn't respond.
A November 2014 NYT article mentions Randi's hospitalization for a surgical operation in July 2013. His response upon awakening is of keen interest:
When Randi began to come to, heavily dosed with painkillers, he looked about him in confusion. There were nurses speaking in hushed voices. He began hallucinating. He was convinced that he was behind the curtain before a show and that the whispering he could hear was the audience coming in. The theater was full; he had to get onstage. He tried to look at his watch, but he found he didn't have it on. He began to panic. 
Randi's chronic habit of looking at his watch is a safety mechanism to differentiate physical and non-physical reality. Without the watch, Randi's fear of non-physical reality would take over. While I'm not a psychologist, I would argue that Randi has an irrational fear of hallucinations, dreams, and death. And his foundation of hard science and skepticism only exists as an attempt to control this fear.
Nearing the end, it's important to delve into the most important issue of all...love, an everlasting feeling that transcends death. On the surface, the emotion or concept of love has nothing to do with the hard or soft sciences. But for a philosopher, it has everything to do with one's ideologies. And individuals who hold scientific ideologies are no different.
Obviously, Randi's of the age where he's knocking on death's door, and it's questionable whether I should be so harsh in my criticism of him. But that's the problem. When Randi does pass away all of the MM outlets will celebrate his legacy. Prestigious universities will glorify his life's work. His followers will attempt to take up his mantle and imitate his life.
In reality, his legacy is of no significance. In An Honest Liar I don't recall Randi mentioning once that he "loves" Arteaga (his partner). He's says "he's very very important to me," and that, "we're one element."  However, after watching the documentary I'll admit that it "appears" that Randi does love Arteaga sincerely.
But I may be wrong.
In his 2010 talk in Finland, Randi mentions something curious in passing:
We [JREF] fight astrology, speaking to the dead, prophecy, from stock market all the way to hockey scores, curing illness, giving you advice on critical matters, tarot cards to crystal balls, the whole thing, love and marriage, anything whatsoever. We give advice on these things and the advice is very simple. It's all nonsense, fraud, information. It's a fake. 
Love and marriage is nonsense?
Most atheist scientists believe that love is just molecules creating the illusion of an emotional response. They believe that it's just dopamine and serotonin (both neurotransmitters) and oxytocin and vasopressin (both hormones). Nothing more.
Allow me to be very clear. A life without love is a completely useless life. And we should pity those that don't have such love and hope that they'll find it somehow, somewhere with someone. But if Randi does believe in love as an eternal concept that survives death...then his legacy definitely has value.
In an email request for comment I ask Randi:
12. Do you believe that the concept of love is nothing more than molecules (dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin) creating the illusion of an emotional response?
13. Do you believe that love is an everlasting feeling that transcends death?
He doesn't respond.
In retrospect, Randi's intention to move the global general public away from faith healing, homeopathy, alternative medicine, new age, psychics and ESP is a complete failure. Such issues are more popular than ever.
Of course, there is the new age idiom that, it's not about the destination or end result. It's about the journey (the attempt of one's intention). If you believe in the afterlife and the immortality of the soul then any effort toward a goal is worth it, even if failure is the only result. But that's only true for people who believe in such things. Randi doesn't believe in the afterlife or the immortality of the soul. Hence, his life's work has no real merit. It's just a failure.
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