James Randi vs. Sylvia Browne

Even though it’s been cancelled twice in the past:

Watch James Randi challenge psychic Sylvia Browne on CNN’s Larry King Live on tonight at 9 p.m. EST.


It’s finally on!(we hope)

Are you posting at the JREF boards, too?

I am just mostly lurking there for now, but my alias is the same as here.

I was a little disappointed. Randi took almost two segments reading verbatim from a prepared document when he should have been speaking from his heart. Maybe he thought that an hour was more than enough time to make his point, not realizing that about 45 minutes would be taken up with callers who want to talk to their dead relatives.

For those who didn’t see it, most of the show went like this…

Sylvia: There’s a man with high cheekbones, do you know who I’m talking about?
Caller: I’m really not sure…
Sylvia: And what about the woman…
Caller: Um…
Sylvia: She’s small woman.
Caller: My aunt is small.

Larry: Randi, can you explain how she did that?

That’s fine, as long as Sylvia takes the challenge. I was under the assumption that the show was dedicated to preparing sylvia for the pretest, and showing us how it would be conducted.

Looking forward to hearing the results of the “left ventricle” test.


I gotta agree with you, Baraqiyal.What the hell is the deal with Larry King? “Randi, what would it take to prove to you she’s real?” “You’ll have to go see your cardiologist”. Jesus.

Hey,Stupendous, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that Browne never takes the test and that tonight, King doesn’t even bring up the ventricle business.

I was disappointed too. I felt like the questions Larry was asking Sylvia Browne were leaning to the side of believing her on faith while requiring James Randi to “prove” how she could possibly be faking “knowing” what someone’s illness was. Out of all the people she talked to, I think one person gave a clear, unambiguous YES to the illness SB said her relative had. Everyone else kind of responded with “Um … yes … okay.” The first or second caller, when Sylvia was describing a man who she at first said was living and when the caller said she was talking about a deceased person, SB wiggled her way out of it - Larry either didn’t want to or could not see objectively enough to point out that glaring contradiction. It was laughable. And the woman whose daughter, I think it was, who died in a car accident - first SB said something was wrong with her breathing apparatus (whatever that is) and then when the woman said the person died in a car accident, SB said oh yes, she hit something and couldn’t breathe.

How people can believe this garbage is unfathomable to me. I would love to be one of those test subjects, but I have a feeling SB is going to develop “other commitments” that will prevent her from doing the test until hell freezes over.

Here’s a transcript, for those who didn’t get to watch.

It was sad to see King’s shameless partisanship, not to mention gullibility last night. He might as well have been running a Sylvia Browne infomercial.

I admire Randi’s attempts, but he really can’t win. He appeals to logic and he people who believe this stuff are not operating with that power. There just anything he can do to change their minds, and Larry King is a terrible medium to try, since he’s so biased.

Larry King has been tossing softballs at guests since the 1980s, and as far as infomercials go, he granted ross perot, of all people, several infomercials a decade ago. This idiot has not been taken seriously for AT LEAST 10 years.

I’m a big fan of Randi, but I thought he came off very poorly last night. Brown and King chatted cozily while Randi clumsily read from his notes. He was so stiff and pedantic. My wife thought he was a kook.

I loved that Browne said that she wasn’t interested in the million dollars. “No, I don’t want his million dollars”. Oh, sure, she could give it to charity, she says. You’d think if she were real, she’d be keen to take Randi down and in doing so give a million bucks to some deserving charity. She claims to be only doing all this out of her desire to help people, after all. That new book must be free.

She doesn’t need his money, becasue in addition to her book profits, she gets something on the order of $700.00 for a single personal reading.

Randi may have appeared “stiff” becasue he wasn’t live in the studio as Browne was. That could make things a little detached for him.

I agree that Randi didn’t come off that great last night, but it wasn’t a favorable environment King firmly in the Browne camp. Plus, the kind of questions he was being asked didn’t really have answers that would sound good on TV. All King ever ask was “how do you explain that?”

I like how the one lady asked Browne about the death of a young girl and asked"Was it her fault?" Browne of course says “no it wasn’t” and then goes on about that “breathing apparatus” thing. Then we the caller mentions it was a car accident, Browne suddenly comes back and explains why it wasn’t her fault. After the details of the death had been given to her. Don’t suppose anybody would bother to check if that breathing apparatus thing was right. It’s possible, of course, but probably not the most likely way to die in a car crash.

She just says what makes people happy. Like telling King he will live a long time. The most annoying part was when she kept telling Randi she felt sorry for him because he doesn’t believe in God. Everything she does is based on winning over the audience rather than actually presenting any truth. A performer plain and simple.