We are thrilled to interview James “The Amazing” Randi on this episode of The Prism! Magician, Debunker, Skeptic, and one of the founders and leaders of the skepticism movement as we know it today, Randi is a hero to many, including us. In this interview, we discuss The Amazing Meeting (TAM), the new direction the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) is taking, and whether his beard has magical powers. Enjoy!!
James “the amazing” Randi
Alice Cooper discussion and stories.
Magic and Skepticism – why does there seem to be so much overlap?
Today we discuss the first two days of The Amazing Meeting (TAM). The meeting was held in Las Vegas at the SouthPoint Hotel and Casino. Complete meeting information can be found at http://www.amazingmeeting.com/
Day 1 – Workshops:
Blogging Skepticism sponsored by Skeptic Ink (a blogging network)
Ed Clint (@eclint and blog: incredulous) , Caleb Lack (@professorlack and blog: great plains skeptic), Maria Myrbeck (jref forum) , Russell Blackford (@metamagician and hellfireclub), Jacques Rousseau (@jacquesr and blog: freesociety), John Loftus (@john_loftus and blog: ?)
Key points: Verify sources and find multiple sources for stories.
Additional items: Factlink and Skeptive – fact checking apps.
Also check out realitydrops.org for a fun climate change game-like site.
Shane Greeup (@aegist and rbutr.com), Susan Gerbic (@susangerbic and Guerilla skeptics), Tim Farley (@krelnik and whatstheharm.net).
Key points: www.rbutr.com and www.mywot.ccom
Additional items: @SkepticAction – gives one thing per day to do to be active in skepticism.
Supporting Skepticism around the world
DJ Grothe (@djgrothe and pres of jref), Norm allen (institute for science and human values), Sanal Edamaruku (@sanaledamaruku and reationalistinternational.net), Leo Igwe (bigsas.uni0bayreuth.de), Massimo Polidoro (massimopolidoro and cicap.org) Richard Saunders (@skepticzone and skepticzone.tv) and Nakul Shenoy (@nekulshenoy).
Key points: People are doing amazing things in support of skepticism and rational thought.
Science Based Medicine
Steven Novella, David Gorski, Harriett Hall, Mark Crislip (www.sciencebasedmedicine.org)
Key points: EBM vs SBM – the SBM people think the EBM people worship the RCT too much…”methodolatry.”
Placebo – defined and elaborated upon
-everything possible outside of physiological effect of treatment
Magnitude of effect is influenced by:
Cost, color, compliance, invasiveness, expense justification, and others
Day 2 – lectures:
Science and Morality: How science can determine right and wrong
Michael Shermer (@michaelshermer and www.skeptic.com)
Key points: “Ask First” principle is a better guide than religion. Ask the person/people being affected by anything about how moral it is.
Honest broker of doubtful news by Sharon Hill (@idoubtit and doubtfulnews.com)
Key points: Interact patiently with people on your blog.
What an excellent day for an exorcism by Karen Stollznow (@karenstollznow and karenstollznow.com)
Key points: exorcisms are still taking place, oftentimes with support of mainstream religions.
Junk science, moral panics, and sex by Marty Klein (@drmartyklein and martyklein.com)
Key points: There are more laws restricting sexual freedom now than in 1975
Sex Addiction – invented in 1986
Sasd.com – 52Q sex addiction screening test
Basically based upon how guilty you feel about things
Sexuality is religions worst nightmare.
Panel discussion: Fighting the Fakers: Woo in martial arts
PANELISTS INCLUDE EVAN BERNSTEIN, DAVE JONES, REED KUHN, AND BRENT WEEDMAN. MODERATED BY JOH RENNIE.
Key points: This video sums it up!
Interview about making of Honest Liar
James Randi, Jamy Ian Swiss and the two filmmakers doing the movie.
Panel discussion: Going Forward – The prospective mission of skepticism
Daniel Loxton (@daniel_loxton)
Barbara Drescher (@badrescher and icbseverywhere.com)
Jamy Ian Swiss (@jamyianswiss and honestliar.com)
Key points: Early education in critical thinking and beyond.
Fighting the Fakers and Failing – susan Blackmore (susanblackmore.co.uk)
Check out her website for all the details and her books!
Demarcation: what is the difference between Science and pseudoscience
Massimo Pigliucci (@mpigliucci and rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com)
Differentiating can often be challenging.
How to define facts when we’re not entitled to our own by Susan Jacoby (susanjacoby.com)
Key points (quotes):
Some people have an “imperviousness to evidence.”
Children are too busy “sucking at the video tit.”
Leads to significant decrease in reading and writing
“Free speech with nothing at stake”
Anonymous online comments that cite free speech are lame and do nothing to further intelligent conversation
Junk thought and anti-rationalization are dangerous to democracy and freedom.
Coincidence VS Causation
Ability of people to differentiate is obscenely poor.
We’ve all become too lazy