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Journal of No. 118


January 4th, 2008

Time running out for your free million dollars @ 12:32 pm


The Randi JREF Challenge ends on March 6th, 2010.

There's been a lot of dismay over the announcement, and I guess I share it. The only bright spot is that it will allow the JREF to spend some money to pursue its educational goals. But what are those goals, and how can they actually be achieved?

Anyway, I hope that some similar (and reliable) group decides to initiate its own challenge along similar lines. I still have in my wallet my "2000 Club" membership card certifying that "the bearer ... has pledged to pay an agreed sum to any "psychic" who will win the JREF Challenge."

The $1 million gift from an anonymous donor made my $1,000 pledge superfluous, but my dough is still available to a successor challenge. I don't remember how large the 2000 Club total got before the million donation, but it was several hundred thousand dollars. Now's the time for CSI or Shermy to step in.
 
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:January 4th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
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So, how does one create a scientific test for something that's most definitely not scientific?
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:January 4th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
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No science involved. All a challenger has to do is do what he/she says he/she can do(*).

(*assuming that it's 'paranormal' (broadly defined), it's done under adequate controls acceptable to both parties, and it's easy to determine whether it's been done or not.)
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:January 4th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
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Well...hmmm...I'm reading the challenge and it seems he's pretty keen these days on only people with a "media presence." He's really jonsing for the Sylvia Browns of the world to meet him head on, eh?
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:January 4th, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, he'd love to test the Sylvia's of the world. The media presence thing is a new change to the rules from 2007, and one I didn't welcome with much enthusiasm. Since introducing the rules and 'becoming more proactive', exactly as many high-profile psychics have accepted the challenge as before - zero. He had his best shot with the makers of some $7000 stereo cables, but nothing ever came of that, either.

If you know anybody who'd consider taking the challenge, I'll do what I can (very little) to grease the wheels, media presence be damned. For instance, a good start would be with the local IIG's $50K Challenge.
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:January 5th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
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Fascinating! The nice thing about this CFI challenge is that they don't have that nasty "We'll hunt you down and publicly humiliate you with all our might" clause. It seems friendlier and, um, more objective, really.
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:January 5th, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
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I was present at the CFI test of an aura reader. A few of my ex-students and I were subjects in the test. The 'young girl' referred to there was probably either bestepisodeever or hommieggg. It was indeed a pretty friendly experience.
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:January 5th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
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That "Astrological Movie Dates" thing sounds totally kooky. I've never heard of such a thing.

So, do you think I should make Presidential predictions for them? That sounds boring compared to aura reading and Sparky the Wonder Dog, though.
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:January 5th, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
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The difficulty I see with presidential predictions is that there are plenty of non-paranormal methods of choosing winners. I mean, the polls leading up to the Iowa caucuses gave the correct winners. Plenty of people are already offering predictions on the nominees and ultimate victor in the general election. No doubt, some of them are making predictions (using entirely 'ordinary' powers) that will turn out to be correct. It would be difficult to determine what the probabilities are. How can you tell if one is doing 'better than chance' at choosing winners?

The standard tests of astrology typically involve matching birth data to personality profiles of unknown subjects. Probably something could also be devised along the lines of matching unknowns' birth data to other outcomes, such as "good or bad fortune over the next week/month/whatever". I don't know if that's helpful.
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:January 5th, 2008 01:49 am (UTC)
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I totally agree. (Although, I guess I'm looking at very different polls. Which ones did you see? I've been following www.pollingreport2008.com.)

I think it's more fun to do something along the lines of personal archeology. I once had a friend who was being very evasive about what had been happening in her life. I looked at her chart and noticed there was a particular day that where "the whole world upended." And because it was in Scorpio, I guess it was something sexual and secretive. When I told her what I saw in her chart and asked her what happened that day, she freaked out and spilled the beans: it was the day an extra-marital relationship started.

So, a little context helps, definitely. (My very real-world, non-mystical intuition was on target that something was wrong.) But I wonder if something like that can't be crafted into a test like that "aura reading" thing.

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From:essentialsaltes
Date:January 5th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
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But I wonder if something like that can't be crafted into a test like that "aura reading" thing.

Certainly possible. Give them a buzz and see what they say.
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:January 5th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
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That's not a bad idea. And it would give me the opportunity to test on others some ideas I've had of late. Let me think on it. The only problem I foresee is that if I hit on something significant like I did with my friend, that person might not want to be forthcoming. I've had that happen with clients who, after the fact, admitted there had been sexual abuse, violence or some other trauma I'd pinpointed. It's risky getting elbow deep in stuff like that.

Hey, you didn't tell me where you're getting your caucus/primary polls from. I'm curious now about New Hampshire. :D
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From:essentialsaltes
Date:January 5th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
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Hey, you didn't tell me where you're getting your caucus/primary polls from.

I dunno, I just watch the news. In this case, I just googled Iowa polls and got this as the first hit: "Huckabee, Obama forge leads in final Iowa Poll"
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From:ladyeuthanasia
Date:January 6th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
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Ah. I think my problem is that I rarely read American news outlets. Gee, maybe I should rethink that policy for the election. Ya think? ;)

Journal of No. 118