James Randi Ebook Flim Flam The Truth About Psychics ESP Unicorns and Other Delusions

James Randi ´ 6 READ & DOWNLOAD

En badly served by scientists who have failed to follow the procedures reuired by their training and traditions Here he shows us how what he views as sloppy research has been followed by rationalizations of evident failures and we see these errors and misrepresentations clearly pointed out Mr Randi provides us with a compelling and convincing document that will certainly startle and enlighten all who read it. In order to fully appreciate Flim Flam you have to go back to 1982 when the book was first published Uri Geller was bending spoons on national television talk shows In Search Of was on TV and there was a national fascination with ESP Big Foot crop circles the Loch Ness Monster psychics faith healers astrology and a host of other nonsensical gobbledygook some of which still exists today The time was right for a healthy dose of skepticism and rationality and who better to kick off the conversation than a leading expert in the arts of trickery and deception noted magician mentalist and escape artist James The Amazing RandiSubjects tackled in the book include UFOs the Bermuda Triangle astrology Arthur Conan Doyle and the Cottingley Fairies transcendental meditation so called alien artifacts aka Nazca Lines Egyptian Pyramids or the moai of Easter Island parapsychology studies at the Standford Research Institute in the 70s and 80s and others Although a deconstruction of astrology or the Bermuda Triangle may seem akin to shooting fish in a barrel the exercise is of value since it instructs the reader on the principles of critical thinking rationality and the many ways individuals can misinterpret evidence to produce an erroneous conclusion Once you ve mastered the techniues of evaluating the evidence for astrology it s a short jump to apply the same approach to topics such as whether vaccines cause autism whether anthropocentric climate change is a hoax whether high levels of gun ownership make us safe whether trickle down economics is effective and whether prayer works the evidence for each is decidedly no Unlike a denialist that dismisses claims out of hand or cherry picks evidence to support their position ie climate change denialists evolution denialists holocaust denialists HIV denialists etc a true skeptic investigates the evidence impartially determines whether simpler explanations for the phenomenon exist and whether those who promote the claims have motivations to perpetrate a hoax In every case throughout all of history the preponderance of evidence points to explanations for these phenomenon that are decidedly non supernatural in origin In fact Randi has put his money where his mouth is through the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge in which the James Randi Educational Foundation JREF has agreed to pay one million dollars to anyone who can demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed upon scientific testing criteria Needless to say no one has successfully completed the test because the paranormal doesn t existRandi is blunt with his denunciation of woo woo which is certainly appropriate when dealing with those who benefit from perpetrating dishonesty Though I do believe he could have been somewhat sensitive in the manner in which he addresses those who believe in such nonsense Sure they are gullible credible and lazy for not bothering to critically examine the issues for themselves but they are also victims of fraud and perhaps deserve some sympathy as such Randi has apologized for his tone describing it as killing the gnat with a sledgehammerPersonally I found the tone of the book appropriate While it is indeed overkill to use a sledgehammer to dispose of a tiny insect when it comes to a bug that is particularly irksome annoying and carries potentially dangerous diseases it is also very very satisfying Planet of the Bugs us how what he views as sloppy research has been followed by rationalizations of evident failures and we see these errors and misrepresentations clearly pointed out Mr Randi provides Fishes of the Open Ocean us with a compelling and convincing document that will certainly startle and enlighten all who read it. In order to fully appreciate Flim Flam you have to go back to 1982 when the book was first published Uri Geller was bending spoons on national television talk shows In Search Of was on TV and there was a national fascination with ESP Big Foot crop circles the Loch Ness Monster psychics faith healers astrology and a host of other nonsensical gobbledygook some of which still exists today The time was right for a healthy dose of skepticism and rationality and who better to kick off the conversation than a leading expert in the arts of trickery and deception noted magician mentalist and escape artist James The Amazing RandiSubjects tackled in the book include UFOs the Bermuda Triangle astrology Arthur Conan Doyle and the Cottingley Fairies transcendental meditation so called alien artifacts aka Nazca Lines Egyptian Pyramids or the moai of Easter Island parapsychology studies at the Standford Research Institute in the 70s and 80s and others Although a deconstruction of astrology or the Bermuda Triangle may seem akin to shooting fish in a barrel the exercise is of value since it instructs the reader on the principles of critical thinking rationality and the many ways individuals can misinterpret evidence to produce an erroneous conclusion Once you ve mastered the techniues of evaluating the evidence for astrology it s a short jump to apply the same approach to topics such as whether vaccines cause autism whether anthropocentric climate change is a hoax whether high levels of gun ownership make Out of Bounds (Boundaries, us safe whether trickle down economics is effective and whether prayer works the evidence for each is decidedly no Unlike a denialist that dismisses claims out of hand or cherry picks evidence to support their position ie climate change denialists evolution denialists holocaust denialists HIV denialists etc a true skeptic investigates the evidence impartially determines whether simpler explanations for the phenomenon exist and whether those who promote the claims have motivations to perpetrate a hoax In every case throughout all of history the preponderance of evidence points to explanations for these phenomenon that are decidedly non supernatural in origin In fact Randi has put his money where his mouth is through the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge in which the James Randi Educational Foundation JREF has agreed to pay one million dollars to anyone who can demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability Grass, Sky, Song under agreed Otter Chaos! (Otter Chaos upon scientific testing criteria Needless to say no one has successfully completed the test because the paranormal doesn t existRandi is blunt with his denunciation of woo woo which is certainly appropriate when dealing with those who benefit from perpetrating dishonesty Though I do believe he could have been somewhat sensitive in the manner in which he addresses those who believe in such nonsense Sure they are gullible credible and lazy for not bothering to critically examine the issues for themselves but they are also victims of fraud and perhaps deserve some sympathy as such Randi has apologized for his tone describing it as killing the gnat with a sledgehammerPersonally I found the tone of the book appropriate While it is indeed overkill to The Illusionists use a sledgehammer to dispose of a tiny insect when it comes to a bug that is particularly irksome annoying and carries potentially dangerous diseases it is also very very satisfying

SUMMARY Ñ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ´ James Randi

Flim Flam The Truth About Psychics ESP Unicorns and Other Delusions

James Randi is internationally known as a magician and escape artist But for the past thirty five years of his professional life he has also been active as an investigator of the paranormal occult and supernatural claims that have impressed the thinking of the public for a generation ESP psychokinesis psychic detectives levitation psychic surgery UFOs dowsing astrology and many others Those of us unable to d. Now hold still while I read your aura Yes my spirit guide is telling me something that you are experiencing some kind of pain or discomfort in your back or perhaps your shoulders And this is typical of someone born under your star sign you know Of course you do your type is very insightful even if you do sometimes let little things escape your notice from time to time Here I have a medicine that will help you a special homeopathic formula that I mixed myself It s proof against all aches and pains Yes I have a spoon somewhere around no not that one that one s bent I could tell you that I got the recipe from visiting aliens but you would never believe me Perhaps it was AtlanteansAh there is one other thing My spirit guide tells me that there is another spirit who would talk to you someone you miss very much I m getting the letter P or maybe G Does that mean something to you Ah good good My abilities have increased a hundredfold since I started transcendental meditation and I credit the Master with my improved skills Well our time is almost up I have to go charge my dowsing rod with the crystals that were given to me by my young daughters They say that the fairies gave them to them and who am I to say otherwise But I will say this before we part the numbers of your name crossed against your biorhythms tell me that you must not enter into any dealings of a financial nature this weekYou can leave your check on the table by the doorThere is one truth that I have learned in my days and that there is no idea so ridiculous so implausible so poorly defined that someone somewhere won t fall for it Whether it s psychic surgeons aura readers tellers of the future or viewers of past lives UFO hunters witch doctors table tippers spoon benders mind readers or water dowsers if you can figure out some simple slight of hand the odds are good that you can convince someone you have supernatural powers A few blurry photographs and some enthusiasm and you can have aliens on our shores Some clever guesses and a keen knowledge of human nature and you ll never have to work a day in your life If you re like me it s enough to make you want to disavow humankind and just go live somewhere off in the woods Thankfully James Randi is not like meA longtime magician and skeptic James Randi has been one of the driving forces of modern skepticism Since his 1972 debunking of spoon bender Uri Geller he has been an authority on people who claim to have supernatural abilities He has traveled the world in search of these people revealing the methods by which they knowingly or unknowingly deceive people who want so desperately to believe This book written in 1982 and well in need of an updated and revised edition documents many of Randi s investigations in painstaking and unrelenting detailHe tells us first of the hoax perpetrated by two young English girls one which was good enough to capture not just a credulous nation of newspaper readers but a man regarded as one of the greatest minds of his time Sir Arthur Conan Doyle In 1917 Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths released several photographs which showed them surrounded by gossamer winged fairies The public went wild for their story Experts were called in to examine the photographs and they all pronounced them genuine The girls were interviewed their cameras and euipment checked out and no evidence of trickery could be found In any case believers said two young girls would have no incentive to lie to the entire nation like this would they Well they did Perhaps it wasn t their intention to deceive the world but that s how it turned out As of Randi s writing they hadn t admitted it outright but a year after publication they did What started as simple fun with a camera and some paper cut outs escalated into something uncontrollable by two young girls and a legend was bornElsie and Frances may have been innocents overtaken by events but there are far people who are fully conscious of their deceptions A Holy Man who promises everything up to and including the ability to fly if you just follow his word and his special meditation techniue Researchers so intent on discovering psychic powers that they disregard even the most basic of experimental controls People who manufacture fake artifacts to support their belief in ancient alien astronauts There are those who take money from the unwitting and those who don t some who treat the ability they believe they have with humility and those who don t The weird the arrogant and the dangerous Randi s seen em all And every time another one pops up he knows what to look forBelief is a weird thing Under careful examination every claim that Randi has seen has fallen apart He has listened to them carefully and asked a very simple uestion that seems to elude so many others How else could this effect be achieved As a lifetime magician though he prefers the term conjurer Randi is an expert at getting you to think you see something that really isn t there and he brings this expertise to bear when he investigates claims of the paranormal What s he has a very good grasp of experimental procedure and how to test for a specific effect and he is ruthless in making sure they are adhered toBut and this is important Randi is fair If you come up to him and say Randi I can see auras which tell me who the all gay people are he won t just laugh in your face and say that you re crazy He ll listen to your story how your power works and how you use it and then propose a simple test to see if it really exists The test is to be double blind so when the target people come in and check the gay or straight box that information is kept from both the aura reader and the person administering the test What s the psychic has to agree in advance on the conditions of the test signing a promise rarely kept to accept the results Tests are usually done multiple times just to give the subject a chance When the results come in as negative as they always have thus far Randi doesn t gloat He doesn t laugh and say I told you so In fact in one chapter he mentions that he feels bad sometimes telling people who honestly believe they have a uniue gift that in fact they don tI suspect that Randi really wants supernatural powers to exist I think he wants to meet someone who can move objects with her mind talk to the dead or find water just by concentrating hard Why else then would he have his Million Dollar Challenge What is described in Flim Flam as a 10000 reward for proof of supernatural abilities has grown significantly Not because Randi is richer but because he feels that his money is absolutely safe Yet I think he would be happy to be able to give it away one dayThis book should be reuired reading for everyone who has encountered what they believe to be the paranormal It is detailed it is harsh and it is uneuivocal in its assertion that if you see someone doing something that logic demands cannot be done chances are excellent that it s a trick rather than super powers Unfortunately the True Believers will invariably be unaffected and that is something else that Randi takes great pains to show No matter how often someone was shown to be a liar a fake or a fraud there were always supporters ready to make excuses The psychics themselves are also very good at inventing reasons why their powers cannot be tested the wrong kind of weather interference from the cameras that are recording the tests or just bad energy from the skeptics in the room All the logic and science in the world won t convince those who don t want to be convincedAs much fun as it is to read about The Amazing Randi rushing about the globe to put hoaxers in their places it s also a little depressing It was written in 1982 on the heels of Randi s book The Truth About Uri Geller which exposed the spoon bending psychic as a fraud so you would think the one two punch of these books would be enough to put paid to ridiculous beliefs in ideas that were demonstrably false Well you d be wrong Newspapers still run horoscopes every day you can get a biorhythm app for your iPhone psychics and mediums still rake in tons of cash and there still innumerable people who put their faith money and lives in the hands of psychic healers only to lose all threeBut Randi is undaunted He started the James Randi Educational Foundation to support critical thinking and skepticism he s still active in the skeptical community and he s still accepting applications from people who want his million dollars He may have hoped that this book would be a nail in the coffin of psuedoscience and woo but even though that didn t pan out he never gave up One by one case by case the Amazing Randi has stared down the wild eyed stare of unreason and he has never blinkedFor that I will always be grateful

REVIEW Flim Flam The Truth About Psychics ESP Unicorns and Other Delusions

Iscriminate between geniune scientific research and the pseudoscientific nonsense that has resulted in fantastic theories and fancies have long needed James Randi and Flim FlamIn this book Randi explores and exposes what he believes to be the outrageous deception that has been promoted widely in the media Unafraid to call researchers to account for their failures and impostures Randi tells us that we have be. If we found something paranormal we wouldn t call it paranormalJDN 2456387 EDT 1650Since I won 2500 of his money The James Randi Educational Foundation scholarship I felt I should probably read some of James Randi s books I happened upon Flim Flam which is older than I am and yet the nonsense it catalogues and refutes is pretty much the same stuff we re dealing with today Why just this last Tuesday I had someone try to convince me that uantum mechanics allows precognition citing Daryl Bem s 2010 precognition experiments which really serve to indict research standards in social science than anything else Flim Flam contains a number of examples basically indistinguishable from these claims Randi is a magician by trade so he doesn t have any erudite academic ualifications This makes his writing breezy and easy to read it also makes him willing than most to actually call people out as frauds and charlatans Dawkins does not suffer fools well Randi does not suffer them at all He has tested a great many paranormalists and can thoroughly catalogue their frauds and failures Most of the book is exactly that Randi goes through a long list of paranormalists whose claims he has tested experimentally not surprisingly all of them fail and some of them fail catastrophically The numerous frauds were to be expected but a large number of Randi s subjects seem to be true believers They really think they have mysterious paranormal powers and are shocked and disappointed when they fail Randi s tests Somewhere between hilarious and pathetic are the excuses they all make whatever the result they can always come up with a reason that doesn t involve abandoning belief in the phenomenon At some level they know exactly how things will turn out exactly as non paranormal science would predict and yet they still believe Randi doesn t try to make any deep philosophical arguments against the paranormal preferring instead a strictly empirical approach He rigorously tests every claim using the best scientific tools available Provide compelling scientific evidence of a paranormal event under appropriately controlled conditions and Randi will shower you with apologizes fame and above all money In 1982 his prize was 10000 24000 in today s dollars today it is 1 million No one has won it and like Randi I strongly suspect no one ever will Fuzzy headed paranormalists will of course argue that the reason for this is that Randi doesn t play fair or his negative energy ruins the process some even go as far to say that he is himself a psychic who suppresses other psychics for personal gain But from reading his work I get the strong impression that Randi really does play fair and really would be delighted to see evidence of paranormal events The reason I don t expect him to ever pay out is not that he would refuse but that the phenomena simply do not exist to be found Randi also makes a point that I ve found to be true in my own life If you don t place a bet people say you aren t putting your money where your mouth is and then if you do they say you are showboating and being theatrical I had precisely this reaction when an acuaintance of mine made the preposterous claim that he could justify morality without making any assumptions at all I offered him his choice of 100 or a 10% share in the Science of Morality and he naturally refused and complained about my theatrics When he finally did reveal his brilliant theory suffice to say it was underwhelming I think I experienced a little taste of Randi s life in that moment There are two reasons why I m not sure Flim Flam succeeds The first is that the sort of people who believe in the paranormal are unlikely to read it at all The second is that I think paranormal claims fail even before they have to be empirically investigated How can I be so sure that we will never find anything paranormal Randi would say he isn t completely sure just 99999% sure after all the negative results That s certainly a scientifically respectable position and it s definitely the one I take on certain things like unicorns yetis and faster than light travel But when it comes to claims of the paranormal I think we may be able to go a bit further than that Still not absolutely certain since nothing is but as close to certainty as we are ever going to get There is a fundamental logical reason why paranormal and also magical and also miraculous phenomena cannot exist If they existed we wouldn t call them that It s funny how paranormalists abuse uantum mechanics because uantum mechanics really does say a lot of baffling marvelous mind bending things about the universe But the reason we don t call it magical or paranormal is that it s actually real It works It can be uantified and verified Indeed uantum mechanics has been verified to a level of precision that is almost impossible to conceive The anomalous magnetic moment of the electron has been predicted to one part in a trillion This would be like measuring the width of the United States to within a human hair or the distance from Earth to Mars to the nearest inch Far from being the anything goes that most people seem to think it is uantum mechanics is so incredibly precise that it can tell the difference between 142582 GHz and 142584 GHz The reason it seems so weird is that we are so weird we re these huge 10 28 nucleon monstrosities that operate in the bizarre world of large scale decoherence But suppose we do find something very different from what we currently predict Suppose we find a way to achieve faster than light travel or discover telepathy or even wonder of wonders verify that Bem was right about precognition all along Once that new discovery became verified explained and fitted into our scientific paradigm people would stop calling it paranormal Yesterday s magic is tomorrow s technology This is really the problem with supernatural beliefs in general They couldn t possibly be true for if they were you wouldn t call them supernatural For most people things stop seeming magical once they start making sense this is an incredibly dumb approach to the world because it means that the better you can function the disillusioned you feel but it s also the way most people seem to work This may be the fundamental difference between scientists and the rest of humanity when scientists figure out how something works it feels fascinating to us magical if you like that word Perhaps this mindset is trainable if it is we must endeavor to train it in as many people as possible People must learn to take joy in the merely real to see the magic in what is called mundane Most people however are exactly the opposite When something becomes explained or even explainable it loses its sense of wonder for them And they tend to project this attitude onto scientists Your life must feel so meaningless You take all the wonder out of everything But of course any wonder that knowledge can take away wasn t really there in the first place If it s not cool enough that we can communicate thoughts to each other s minds thousands of miles away because we do it using hands and eyes and Internet connections then how would it ever be cool enough Suppose we had telepathy that used uantum physics or Slipspace or even the spirits of the dead once we understood it you d say that wasn t magical either If it s not wondrous enough that we can manipulate objects in space even create whole new classes of objects that can then be sent off autonomously into the void then what would be wondrous enough for you Suppose we had telekinesis or astral projection once it was explained in terms of energy conservation you d find it boring again


10 thoughts on “Flim Flam The Truth About Psychics ESP Unicorns and Other Delusions

  1. says:

    Now hold still while I read your aura Yes my spirit guide is telling me something that you are experiencing some k

  2. says:

    Another reason to think humanity is doomedAlso nothing changesAlso I needed to read the debunking of TM just to remind me that as much as I admire David Lynch as one of the great artists of our time his faith in this wacky cult is misplaced which is why knowing the artist is almost always a bad ideaOf course on the other

  3. says:

    Although writing style is uite dry occasionally the book does a great job in discrediting various fradulent and simply nonsensical an mystical practices

  4. says:

    This was probably a exciting read thirty years ago when it was written because so many of the parapsychological organizations or ideas Randi writes about debunking don't exist any Randi's frustration at the continuing gullibility of people who fall for psychic cons comes through a little too loudly at times making some sections seem strident than necessary I was particularly interested in his account of Arthur Conan Doyle's fairies as wel

  5. says:

    This is a book written by James Randi a famous magician and also a famous pre MythBusters exposer of ESPmagicUFOetc frauds I really love James

  6. says:

    If we found something paranormal we wouldn't call it paranormalJDN 2456387 EDT 1650Since I won 2500 of his money The James Randi Educational Foundation scholarship I felt I should probably read some of James Randi's books I happened upon Flim Flam which is older than I am and yet the nonsense it catalogues and refutes is pretty mu

  7. says:

    James Randi's first major study of pseudoscience and the paranormal is lively passionate and incredible well reasoned It made a huge impression on me when I first read it as a teenager and it's held up surprisingly well over the years largely because the methods of buncombe he condemns rarely change

  8. says:

    I have yet to read a skeptic book that I didn't like but Randi's is particularly loveable He's seen the same garbage a million times over and doesn't give a shit Yet he curses like a country vicar and I love it Flim flam Co

  9. says:

    In order to fully appreciate Flim Flam you have to go back to 1982 when the book was first published Uri Geller was bending spoons on national television talk shows In Search Of was on TV and there was a national fascination with ESP Big Foot crop circles the Loch Ness Monster psychics faith healers astrology and a host of other nonsensical gobbledygook some of which still exists today The time was right for a healthy d

  10. says:

    Flim Flam 0 87975 198 3Having been born in the 80's and relatively insulated from the majority of the claims presented in the book I can honestly say that James Randi's book is still useful today if only as a guidebook to the past

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