James Randi has tickled me pink.

I finally got off my toochis and joined the James Randi Educational Foundation, and got my nifty spifty JREF T-shirt in the mail. I also got a nice letter, thanking me for my donation and yadda yadda–and it was signed personally by The Amazing Randi himself, with a personalization! It says “Thanks [myfirstname].” Isn’t that a nice touch! I’m disproportionally thrilled!

And it was signed with a fountain pen with an italic nib, too. James Randi likes fountain pens and italic nibs! I like fountain pens and italic nibs! Isn’t that the coolest!

[sub]I’m such a geek . . . but I’m a happy geek, yeah.[/sub]

fixed coding - DrMatrix

Yeppers. James Randi is a hoot. I just purchased his book, “Flim-Flam!” and, interestingly enough, there’s a taped piece of paper on the first physical page with an assertion/correction that James had gotten something wrong about a meeting with Yuri Geller and/or an acquaintance of Yuri’s.

I’m not sure where the taped page came from, but I thought it was fairly amusing. I need to send an e-mail to randi.org so as to find out the origin of the “correction”.

And, whilst I’m on his site, I should buy a shirt as you did. :slight_smile: Cool beans, chilidog.

Goodness gracious, I’m so a-twitter that I can’t even code straight.

I actually haven’t read any of Randi’s books, but I enjoy his weekly commentary at randi.org, and I use his horoscope gag when I teach outreach classes to high schoolers. (You tell the students that you have asked a professional astrologer to draw up horoscopes for each person in the class, then hand out the personalized readings and ask them to rate their accuracy. On average, folks rate a their horoscopes at 4 out of 5–and then they find out that everyone in the class has gotten exactly the same horoscope.)

Coding, schmoding. :slight_smile:

I, too, enjoy reading his commentary every week; I only hope that one day, when I grow up, I’ll end up as smarmy and quick-witted as he. Except, not as bald.

“Flim-Flam!” is his first book I’ve purchased. I figured it was a moral imperative, because I feel we all need to contribute to the million dollar JREF prize. I just wish John Edward would stop looking for that fjord to help him cross over so that he could spare the time and bag that million bucks.

I’m glad you use the horoscope gag for high schoolers! How funny is that? Do a lot of 'em learn a lesson when you reveal the results?

Also, another fun site to visit is Bob Carroll’s The Skeptic’s Dictionary. I think Randi has mentioned it in his commentary at least once.

We’re clearly on the same wavelength, Skip. I use the Forer horoscope from Skepdic for my demos: http://skepdic.com/forer.html

The gasps of surprise are quite rewarding. I think it’s a very illustative demo, and I hope that it sways some of the students who might be on the fence or just not very educated about astrology and other forms of pseudoscience.

However, there are always a couple of believers in each session, and, even if it was possible to dissuade them, it’s not really possible to change their minds in the one hour alotted. :frowning: The point of the class is not to disprove astrology, per se, but to hopefully teach people how to think critically and scientifically about it. We do it as part of our astronomy outreach program, so we try to explain exactly what makes astronomy a science, and why astrology is not science.

I agree, explaining how to think critically–or to at least show the path–is extremely important. The majoity of those (of whom I have run across) who believe in aromatherapy, feng shui, acupuncture and most subjects at Dr. Barrett’s QuackWatch site, fail to realize that those “alternative” sciences are not sciences at all. They don’t follow or use the scientific method and they fall prey to many logical fallacies. Of course, I fall prey to logical fallacies on a constant basis, but eventually I’ll get there. :slight_smile:

I think it’s great that you at least introduce students to critical thinking. Kudos to you and yours! :slight_smile:

Has anyone else entered the James Van Praagh transcript analyzing contest?

Nope, didn’t do that. How did yours turn out? :slight_smile:

OK, I think. Mine will probably get lost in the hundreds and thousands of devastatingly clever and insightful entries he’s sure to receive, but I’m looking foward to reading the results just the same.

Hey, I’m in good company! Also, I’m proud to state that I was the one to link to Randi’s site in this thread:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=112089

That Randi is one class act.

And I’m proud to be in the same thread as you, you Randi-liking person, you. :slight_smile:

And I have a link to his page on my web page!

All right! I think we may have stumbled onto a club. Everyone over to my house for chips and dip! (Maps to Kearney, Missouri, can be found at MapQuest. ) Oh, and if we’re lucky, I just might be able to roast an invisible pink unicorn for an entree.

:slight_smile:

For the record, I e mailed the man once and told him I was rotting for him, but was a Christian.
He emailed me back and asked if I also believed in teh easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.

actually, I don’t, thats a different denomination;)

sorry for the typos

that would be ROOTING not rotting:rolleyes:

I have mixed feelings about the strong anti-religious sentiment in the skeptical community. Personally, I feel that atheism is the natural conclusion of strict skepticism (which I think calls for strict materialism), but I also have many friends and aquaintances who are believers and skeptics. I do not think, as Randi has stated, that they have a blind spot for their own “superstitions.” I think think that intelligent persons, and skeptics, can disagree over some religious issues. It bugs me a bit when all religious faith is dismissed, in a deliberately insulting manner, as equivalent to a belief in the Tooth Fairy. I think that skeptics should always take the high ground. We should refute fancy with fact, and not stoop to ridicule–and this is also not one of Randi’s strong suits. However, as someone who’s gone more than a few rounds with the unassailably credulous, I understand the frustration that can lead to contempt, and I’ve certainly had my lapses, as well.

I was just going to ask you about that.

When I got through laughing. :smiley:

Just keep them seperate if you must. Or just don’t worry about it. Or keep an open mind. But you can’t blame the skeptics. After all, religion is based on faith and by definition, faith aint fact.
Vebr

Thanks, SkipMagic. Mind if I quote you for my sig? As for the party, I’ll bring the flying pig hors d’oeuvre.

Being a skeptic and a confirmed atheist, I have a few personal ground rules regarding the discussion of religion:

(1) I won’t be the first one to bring up the topic.
(2) If the topic is raised, any question is valid.
(3) I never resort to ridicule.

All my friends know these and it has resulted in some fine debates.

On the other side of the coin…

We have the thinly veiled “I hate Randi” message board.

It truly is amazing to see how much ignorance gets displayed there. Not to mention a level of censorship that would make a hanging moderator 'round these parts turn ghostly white.

Its also amazing how little basic science they know, and how willing they are to swallow any “hate-Randi” story that comes along.

I’m proud to be part of this group, and to fight ignorance, rather than be a part of blowing out the candles in the dark.