The Invisible Web

Your Trip Into the Chapel Perilous

The Myth of the Million Dollar Challenge

Posted by invizweb on September 2, 2009

From the Daily Grail, Feb 22, 2008:

For ten years, the modern skeptical movement has wielded a cudgel against claims of the paranormal: the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge. In many debates over the possibility of psi abilities, the Challenge provides a final word for one side…”has so-and-so applied for the Challenge?” The financial reward offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation is seen by many skeptics as providing an irresistible motivation for anybody with paranormal ability – after all, if someone could genuinely exhibit such powers, surely they would step forward to take the million?

However, after ten years, the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) says nobody has even got past their preliminary testing. Furthermore, none of the ‘big fish’ – medium John Edward, spoon-bender Uri Geller, psychic Sylvia Browne – have applied (although Sylvia Browne did accept James Randi’s direct challenge on Larry King Live, without going any further). And now, perhaps as a result of that fact, James Randi has announced that the Challenge will come to an end in two years, on March 6th, 2010.

But does the challenge really make a statement about the existence of the paranormal and/or psi abilities? According to paranormal investigator Loyd Auerbach (who, like Randi, is a member of the magic fraternity):

The suggestion that ending the Challenge after 10 years supports any statement that psi does not exist or someone would have won the challenge, is absurd on many levels.

The procedures for the Challenge included several hurdles in favor of, and multiple “outs” for Randi and the JREF that any discerning individual capable of any kind of extraordinary human performance would think twice about (and here I’m not just referring to psychics and the like).

What are these hurdles that Auerbach refers to?

To continue…

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