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Old 3rd December 2012, 05:59 AM   #1
Anders Lindman
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The Million Dollar Challenge is crackpot science

The description of the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge says:

"The JREF will pay US$1,000,000 (One Million US Dollars) ("The Prize") to any person who demonstrates any psychic, supernatural, or paranormal ability under satisfactory observation." -- http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/...plication.html

First of all, I couldn't find any definitions of psychic, supernatural or paranormal in the text. Secondly, if something can be objectively verified it's called natural, not supernatural. So the million dollar challenge is impossible to win.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:07 AM   #2
Hellbound
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Man.

Don't you hate it when there's nothing on the forum but reruns?
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:09 AM   #3
RoboTimbo
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
The description of the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge says:

"The JREF will pay US$1,000,000 (One Million US Dollars) ("The Prize") to any person who demonstrates any psychic, supernatural, or paranormal ability under satisfactory observation." -- http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/...plication.html

First of all, I couldn't find any definitions of psychic, supernatural or paranormal in the text. Secondly, if something can be objectively verified it's called natural, not supernatural. So the million dollar challenge is impossible to win.
So your actual question is: Why do people claim to have those abilities when they clearly don't exist?
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:11 AM   #4
Pixel42
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
First of all, I couldn't find any definitions of psychic, supernatural or paranormal in the text.
You should have looked harder.

http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/...lenge-faq.html

Quote:
2.2 What is the definition of “paranormal” in regards to the Challenge?

Webster’s Online Dictionary defines “paranormal” as “not scientifically explainable; supernatural.”

Within the Challenge, this means that at the time your application is submitted and approved, your claim will be considered paranormal for the duration. If, after testing, it is decided that your ability is either scientifically explainable or will be someday, you needn’t worry. If the JREF has agreed to test you, then your claim is paranormal.
Which also answers your second point.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:11 AM   #5
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Read the FAQ.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:12 AM   #6
shuttlt
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Man.

Don't you hate it when there's nothing on the forum but reruns?
I'm pretty sure this is the first time the prize has been shown to be a fraud. Carrie Poppy must have talked!
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:14 AM   #7
SonOfLaertes
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
The description of the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge says:

"The JREF will pay US$1,000,000 (One Million US Dollars) ("The Prize") to any person who demonstrates any psychic, supernatural, or paranormal ability under satisfactory observation." -- http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/...plication.html

First of all, I couldn't find any definitions of psychic, supernatural or paranormal in the text. Secondly, if something can be objectively verified it's called natural, not supernatural. So the million dollar challenge is impossible to win.
Hilarious. The statement "if something cannot be objectively verified" is the obvious and assumed definition of "supernatural".

And, if something can be objectively verified it's definition changes from supernatural to natural. So the million dollar challenge is winnable by your own definitions.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:34 AM   #8
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Say you walk into a room. There are three envelopes on the table, sealed, each with a sheet of paper inside with a 10-digit number written on it.

Without opening the envelopes, you correctly identify the numbers in each envelope.

Absent trickery, fakery, or fraud, you've demonstrated a psychic talent. If you could do it repeatedly on demand (the same way a normally sighted person could read the numbers if they were not hidden), we'd probably call it "natural" rather than "supernatural," but it would still be a psychic ability.

Normal people can make the water in a glass disappear by picking up the glass and drinking it. If you could do the same thing using just your mind, you'd have a paranormal ability.

When normal people roll fair dice repeatedly, the numbers that come up correspond to the averages predicted by chance. If you could roll those same dice to show sixes every time (and weren't using sleight of hand or other tricks), you'd have an awsome power.

Push your hand through a brick wall and waggle your fingers at observers on the other side. Withdraw your hand and show that hand wasn't damaged and the wall didn't have any holes. Do it again, this time pushing a couch through the wall, and pulling back a chair.

Start a wad of paper on fire by staring at it.

Prove that you talk to dead people by telling me the words my grandmother said on her deathbed.

Tell me what tattoo my first girlfriend had just under her left breast.

Let me randomly pick a word from a dictionary while you're in the next room. Tell me the word, using telepathy, remote viewing, precognition, or any other unusual method.

These are just off the top of my head. There are thousands of similar types of tests you could try.

It's a real offer. The thing is, most (all?) people claiming psychic powers either decline to be tested because they know they're faking it, or are tested and show that they don't have the claimed powers.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
You should have looked harder.

http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/...lenge-faq.html

Quote:
2.2 What is the definition of “paranormal” in regards to the Challenge?

Webster’s Online Dictionary defines “paranormal” as “not scientifically explainable; supernatural.”

Within the Challenge, this means that at the time your application is submitted and approved, your claim will be considered paranormal for the duration. If, after testing, it is decided that your ability is either scientifically explainable or will be someday, you needn’t worry. If the JREF has agreed to test you, then your claim is paranormal.
Which also answers your second point.
Originally Posted by ohms View Post
Read the FAQ.

Come on, this is Anders. You can't expect him to do that much research.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:41 AM   #10
Anders Lindman
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Originally Posted by ohms View Post
Read the FAQ.
Oh! "Within the Challenge, this means that at the time your application is submitted and approved, your claim will be considered paranormal for the duration. If, after testing, it is decided that your ability is either scientifically explainable or will be someday, you needn’t worry. If the JREF has agreed to test you, then your claim is paranormal."

[/end-thread]
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:19 AM   #11
elgarak
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Originally Posted by DallasDad View Post
The thing is, most (all?) people claiming psychic powers either decline to be tested because they know they're faking it, or are tested and show that they don't have the claimed powers.
There's a third possibility: There seem to be people truly believing in their powers. These people and really determined fakers then re-define their powers to vanish/not working under the conditions necessary to win the prize ("There's a non-believer here. This interferes."), and subsequently accuse Randi, the JREF and the skeptical community of closed-mindedness.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
There's a third possibility: There seem to be people truly believing in their powers. These people and really determined fakers then re-define their powers to vanish/not working under the conditions necessary to win the prize ("There's a non-believer here. This interferes."), and subsequently accuse Randi, the JREF and the skeptical community of closed-mindedness.
If not believing in magic makes magic not work, then hurray, I am immune to the supernatural.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by ehcks View Post
If not believing in magic makes magic not work, then hurray, I am immune to the supernatural.
The funny thing is that this interference only emerges if your status as non-believer is known to the practitioner, say, because you say so, or are well-known within the community.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:42 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post

[/end-thread]
Excellent idea
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:45 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
Oh! "Within the Challenge, this means that at the time your application is submitted and approved, your claim will be considered paranormal for the duration. If, after testing, it is decided that your ability is either scientifically explainable or will be someday, you needn’t worry. If the JREF has agreed to test you, then your claim is paranormal."

[/end-thread]
Congratulations! You recognized and admitted to a mistake.

This is one of the first steps towards rationality. For this you are currently off my ignore list.

Hans
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:52 AM   #16
paiute
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
Oh! "Within the Challenge, this means that at the time your application is submitted and approved, your claim will be considered paranormal for the duration. If, after testing, it is decided that your ability is either scientifically explainable or will be someday, you needn’t worry. If the JREF has agreed to test you, then your claim is paranormal."

[/end-thread]
How the heck do you have close to 8000 posts without knowing this?
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Old 3rd December 2012, 07:55 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by paiute View Post
How the heck do you have close to 8000 posts without knowing this?
Same way as he has 8000 posts without knowing practically anything else.

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Old 3rd December 2012, 08:26 AM   #18
Anders Lindman
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Originally Posted by paiute View Post
How the heck do you have close to 8000 posts without knowing this?
I haven't looked much into paranormal stuff. Some things like the research by people like Rupert Sheldrake and Hal Puthoff I'm familiar with, but I haven't posted much about things paranormal.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 09:48 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
I haven't looked much into paranormal stuff.
Of course not.

The guy who thinks a conspiracy theory is a useful alternative to science, who thinks said theory is weakened by being supported by evidence, has claimed variously that the Titanic was deliberately bombed, that a marconi set could have its transmissions replaced, etc, all with out a jot of research, would not want to actually look into the paranormal, or the definition of the term in the wording of the challenge, before commenting.
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Old 5th December 2012, 09:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Anders Lindman View Post
I haven't looked much into paranormal stuff.
I think I have discovered your problem.

Norm
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