Does the Buffet Challenge debunk psychic powers once and for all?

In case you don’t already know, Warren Buffett and Quicken Loans are running a contest where you win a billion dollars if you pick all 63 winners in the NCAA basketball tournament. Entries closed a couple of days ago.

The contest was very widely publicized, but that’s irrelevant if you’re a psychic. And even if you aren’t interested in using your powers for personal gain, think of all the good you could do with a billion dollars. You could probably cut infant mortality by 90% in several African countries, for example.

Best of all, there would be no need to reveal that you have any special powers. There were all kinds of automatic bracket fillers on the internet, including at the contest site itself. You could claim that you just filled the winners in at random, except maybe for a couple of teams that you liked because of their names, location, or colors. Nobody could prove you didn’t, especially if you took the precaution of actually running a few of those bracket fillers.

So here is the Randi challenge multiplied by a thousand. You can become one of the greatest forces for good in the world, without jumping through all the hoops that alleged psychics claim makes the Randi challenge not worth it. It only took five minutes to enter the contest, and you could do it from your living room.

And after the early upsets, there probably won’t be a single person who even gets the first round completely right.

Doesn’t this pretty much prove that there are no real psychics?

Not really. God only wants them to use their powers to aid gullible people.

No, it doesn’t.

James Randi once said “If I push a hundred reindeer off a cliff, I have NOT proven that reindeer can’t fly. I’ve only proven that none of THOSE reindeer can fly.”

This is the first I heard of the Buffet Challenge. What if I had the power to foresee the outcome of the games, but not the power to foresee the challenge?

Besides which, this challenge only deals with precognition. What if there are real psychics but their powers are psychometry, telekinesis, etc?

What if a psychic can see the future but only when it involves life and death? Think of the protagonist from the Dead Zone or Counselor Troi. Both have psychic powers, neither could win this challenge.

I think this sort of thing presents strong evidence against certain types of alleged psychic powers.

I also think that “Buffet Challenge” sounds like a gut-bustingly good time at the local Wok-N-Roll.

As my example about Africa in the OP showed, by winning the prize, a psychic could potentially save millions of lives. If she sits back and lets me win it, I’ll just blow it on coke and whores.

Besides, there are many psychics who claim to be able to see things that have nothing to do with life or death. Out of seven billion people, there should at least be ONE who can foresee both the contest and the winners, wouldn’t you think?

I’ve never heard that believers in the psychic world also believe that every event is foreordained by determinism; or that space/time is one closed series running it’s clock-work course.

No doubt some do, but then if every single act is predetermined, and has in one sense already happened, there’s little point in being psychic. Or non-psychic either.

So why doesn’t Mr. Buffet ? Instead of running publicity stunts ?

Let me be clear, when James Randi does his thing asks the claimant exactly what powers they claim to have. The two parties then agree on a test. This is a damn fine procedure.

What Buffet has done is to tell people what powers he believes psychics have and set up a test by himself. This procedure has many problems.

Where are you getting seven billion? I think the number of people who have heard of the contest and can enter is much, much lower.

Umm, no. Mr. Buffett didn’t mention psychics and this isn’t a test for them. This is only a bet/publicity stunt.

First, there is only an infinitesimal chance that anyone will win the prize, and if he does, it won’t come out of Buffet’s pocket.

Second, Buffet has in fact already donated well over a billion dollars to help fight disease in Africa.

Blast! I misread the OP. I blame . . . umm . . . sunspots!

Why the money is probably safe.

How many entries would you have to fill out to be sure that you had predicted all possible outcomes?

Never mind - Czarcasm’s link says 9 quintillion, which is more free time than I have.

I’d say it at least debunks the possibility of time travel. Who wouldn’t want to score a cool billion the easy way, via flux capacitor?

It also debunks demonic contracts. A billion and the resulting publicity would certainly be worth a soul or two.

You are assuming that psychics don’t have an error rate, and are 100 percent correct. A 60 percent correct psychic would be quite useful for most gambling purposes.

You happen to know of one?

2^63, which is 9.22*10^18. If you entered 20 times a second, every second since the big bang, you would just about make it.

Unfortunately, they allowed only one entry per contestant.

Never mind

I don’t. I don’t believe any exist. But it’s a fair rebuttal of the OP. If such a psychic existed, he’s not going to win, therefore this challenge doesn’t disprove psychic powers. (Again, to be clear, I don’t believe psychic powers exist.)