Messages for James Randi

Hi all!

In a couple weeks, I’ll be off to the US (Florida, specifically) for a business trip and I’ve worked a trip to Fort Lauderdale into the itinerary. The JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) is based in Fort Lauderdale and I’ve emailed the big guy himself to arrange a meeting and he affably agreed! I thought it’d be interesting to solicit messages or questions from you guys to present to him later this month.

Let’s try come up with original questions or at least some interesting ones… such as:

  • Does Sylvia Brown smell and bad as she looks?
  • Did Peter Popoff pop one off?
  • Did Uri Geller bend over backwards to convince you of his “skills”? (sounds of crickets chirping)
  • Can you show me a magic trick with an eye of newt?

Jokes aside, it’ll be amazing to meet The Amazing Randi and I’m looking forward to sending him good tidings from the South African Skeptics community!

Enjoy - he’s good company, and will happily do some ear-bending!

Ask him: “What is the closest anybody came to winning your wager?”

I think it somebody that could look at the grooves on a LP record and tell what music it was. Even this guy knew it was not supernatural. I think he could only do it with classical music but still! To sit there for hours (probably with a magnifying class) and memorise the wriggles?

Good one! That’s going on the list :slight_smile:

ask him:
how is a raven like a writing desk?

Did being gay help form his skeptical his world view, fuel his skepticism, or make him more comfortable being “contrary” to society in his early years? OR does he think the two were orthogonal?

Randi says that everyone around him pretty much knew that he was gay, and that coming out was just a matter of making it public. I still don’t understand completely, despite his long explanations on the web, why he waited so long to make it public, perhaps he feels it cannot be elaborated on more, so be it…

But this contrasts with the fact that he’s had no problem taking on other societal holy-cows guns blazing… SO, based on a discussion we had the other day on this forum, does he think there are similarities today between being gay or atheist? Does he think there is more stigma surrounding one or the other?

This is coming from a closeted-to-my-family atheist, who is straight. I’m kinda the opposite of Randi. I have no problem proclaiming to strangers, friends, and colleagues that I’m an atheist, whereas those closest to me (my family) are in the dark, and I find it hardest to talk to THEM about it. That is why this interests me.

Please ask Mr Randi when, if ever, is it not OK to confront someone about their religious beliefs.

Thanks, Danny, for this opportunity! Very cool.


You might ask him which category of flimflam he regards as the most detrimental.

It’s innovative to meet up with him, Danny - I hope your trip is rewarding.

Thanks for the lovely suggestions guys! I have saved them all and i’ll try do a write-up of the meeting and the answers when I return :slight_smile:

He is gay? ??? First time I hear that. Go figure.

Anyway, no questions, just tell him I think he is a prince amongst men for what he does. Love him (in a completely manly way of course ;))

It’s a relatively recent development, he came out in March 2010 here:

When his new book will be out, and thank you for all that he’s done for the world.

Thanks, reading it. Irrelevant really. Man’s a genius any which way he swings.

Indeed, I couldn’t give 2 hoots who he spends his time with, he’s a role-model to me. Perhaps I should add that I too am very grateful for the work he does, and I can’t really imagine a world without him.

Now there’s a thought…when he dies will he leave his wager in his educational foundation and who will monitor any tests?

He is no longer the President of the JREF - that position was filled by D.J. Grothe a while back, but Randi still supervises and develops plans for the $1000000 prize.

I have two of his books, Flim Flam and The Faith Healers. I have been a fan of his for many years and his books have had a huge impact on my critical thinking skills. It may encourage him to know he has fans as far away as out little country. You must be mega-chuffed to be meeting the legend himself (I’ve had email conversations with him, and was always surprised to find him so willing to communicate with ordinary people). Enjoy.

Randi issued a one-million-dollar challenge to the manufacturers of homeopathic products to prove their claims, and challenged major drug retailers like CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens to stop tricking consumers into paying real money for fake medicine.

This raises a number of ideas for conversation!!

Ask him whether, if someone won the JREF prize for proving they had some “supernatural” ability which was later shown to be a manifestation of a hitherto undiscovered natural force, they would have to repay the prize money, or if they could keep it to augment their Nobel Prize.