Re:  - What it Takes to be a Rationalist

By James Randi

E-mail: [email protected]

 

Ali Sina: "A society of some self -proclaimed skeptics has offered a million dollars to anyone who could  prove any paranormal claim "scientifically". That is ludicrous. It just shows the limited imagination of these believers in the dogma of science disguised as skeptics..."

 

Response:

No, not “scientifically.”  We offer the million dollars to anyone who can demonstrate or prove any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or ability under proper observing conditions.  Those observing conditions are decided upon by both the claimant and the JREF, and to their mutual satisfaction.  The tests are NOT done by the JREF, but by an independent party or parties mutually agreed upon by the claimant and the JREF. All the details are defined on our web page: www.randi.org

 

Please do not misrepresent our offer, nor define it incorrectly.  As for being “self-proclaimed,” may I ask who else might proclaim us to be skeptics?  Is Dr. Sina a “self-proclaimed writer,” or a “self-proclaimed freethinker”?

 

There is nothing “dogmatic” about science.  Science is based on observation, not on unfounded rules.  Science is ALWAYS subject to change, if better or more accurate evidence is presented.  Any “law” or “finding” made by science is subject to investigation, and must always pass such investigation – by independent persons or agencies – or it is discarded or changed to accommodate the new evidence.  Dogma, by definition, does not require proof nor evidence; it is exactly the opposite of science. What is “ludicrous” here is the designation of science as a dogma.

 

There are several rational explanations for what Ali Sina takes to be paranormal or supernatural experiences.  I believe that others can offer better and simpler solutions to those matters, so I’ll not go into them here.  While I respect Ali Sina’s opinions and his observations, I think that he has spoken outside of his field of expertise, and I caution him to seek better information on subjects about which he is perhaps misinformed or inadequately informed.  As an example, I have no expertise in the art of statistics, so I always seek professional advice on that aspect of my work.

 

Our million-dollar challenge still stands…. 

James Randi   

 

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