Talk:James Randi

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Icon skepticism.svg

This Skeptics related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.


Archives for this talk page: , (new)

Sexual harassment[edit]

We can't prevent it that there are these allegations in our movement. [1] We can avoid sweeping allegations under the carpet as the RC's did with child abuse. If these matters were swept under the carpet later the whole skeptical movement could be blamed as well as those who actually did harassment. (It's likely that at least some of these allegations are true though we don't know (yet?) which.)

We can't insist harassment actually happened without further evidence but PZ Myers is fairly well respected and his blog is sufficient evidence that allegations were made. Proxima Centauri (talk) 07:21, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Proxima, you are the last person who should be writing about this. You just lack the writing skills.--ZooGuard (talk) 08:25, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I hope this version is better. The constant fault finding can make it hard to motivate oneself to do well. Proxima Centauri (talk) 09:12, 9 August 2013 (UTC)


Hi there, I'm new, but not new to Wikis. Regarding his AGW stand, I recall being dismayed to read about it a year and a half or so ago in an excellent book called the Heretics of Science (Will Storr). However, then I am fairly sure I found a message in passing that he had reviewed the science more carefully and changed his mind.

However, when I google, all I find are the links in this article. Does anyone know of Randi's current stance from a more recent source?

Many thanks, Leord (talk) 19:35, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Should we add anything about Eugenics and social darwinism?[edit]

Apparently on his old website, James Randi went on some pretty harsh pro-Eugenics rants.

Should a section be added for his statements? There is an entire section of Sam Harris's extreme statements, why not for James Randi?

Im curious why James Randi's controversial statements on social Darwinism are not in the article.

"I believe that if the sale and use of drugs were to be suddenly legalized, first, the entire criminal community would be almost instantly crippled due to lack of income, on an international scale. Second, those individuals who were stupid enough to rush into the arms of the mythical houris and/or Adonis’s they would expect to greet them, would simply do so and die – by whatever chemical or biological fate would overcome them. Third, the principle of Survival of the Fittest would draconically prove itself for a couple of years, after which Natural Selection would weed out those for whom there is no hope except through our forbearance, and I’m very, very, weary of supporting these losers with my tax dollars. As reader Wellcome points out, our species – the American sector – made the very expensive and very failed Prohibition experiment, yet we have survived cancelling that error, rather well"

Soarce is here:"

Here is another tidbit:

"[T]hose individuals who were stupid enough to rush into the arms of the mythical houris and/or Adonis's they would expect to greet them, would simply do so and die - by whatever chemical or biological fate would overcome them... [T]he principle of Survival of the Fittest would draconically prove itself for a couple of years, after which Natural Selection would weed out those for whom there is no hope except through our forbearance.

...Any weeping and wailing over the Poor Little Kids who would perish by immediately gobbling down pills and injecting poison, is summoning up crocodile tears, in my opinion. They would - and presently do - mature into grown-up idiots, and Darwin would be appalled that his lessons were ignored." — Unsigned, by: Wan Abi Sufi / talk / contribs

No; as it doesn't show support for eugenics. He merely observes that people who engage in self-destructive behaviour are less likely to have offspring and that the traits that lead to such behaviour will eventually die out. If would be eugenics if he supported killing drug users, but that's not what he says. Carpetsmoker (talk) 05:40, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
CarpetSmoker, the quote shows he clearly favours it, and thinks it is a good thing. He isn't making an observation, the tone shows he believes it's good for society. It at least, shows a support for social darwinism "Let them kill themselves off for the betterment of mankind"
Even if he doesn't directly say it, he calls the people that will die off from natural selection "Losers"
It's not like he is making an observation but seems to delight in it.
Even if it isn't Eugenics, it's pretty damn shitty for him to say that, especially considering that many of the "losers" are probably also skeptics.— Unsigned, by: Wan Abi Sufi / talk / contribs
That's not advocacy of eugenics. He's very harsh on addicts -- really meanspirited -- but he's only arguing that people whose habits make them self-destructive will simply proceed to do so if we alter our drug policies, and that this is nothing to lament.---Mona- (talk) 06:07, 30 November 2015 (UTC)
It's still a pretty damn despicable and reprehensible attitude to have. What of those people who suffer from major depression or similar disorders and may be driven to self-medicate for lack of being able to find anything else that could alleviate their suffering? What of people with physical problems that leave them in constant pain and likewise seek to self-medicate to relieve their suffering? (As someone with both major depression and social anxiety, and physical problems that leave me in constant pain, I can fully understand the very powerful urge to seek relief.) His attitude is apparently that these people are all simply "losers" and the lowest dregs of humanity who cannot contribute anything worthwhile to human society or culture, and the rest of the species is better off without them. Now, if all the artists throughout history who suffered from depression had simply been allowed to kill themselves off with uncontrolled drug-use, as Randi seems to be advocating, well... let's just say that the number of great artists of history who suffered from depression is pretty damn high, and with a policy like Randi is advocating humanity would have been deprived of some of its greatest works of art, literature, and music (just look at the "27 Club" as a small example of what we lost already.) One could even say that depression and pain is almost a requirement to creating great art. Offhandedly dismissing everyone who would seek to self-medicate as being "losers" who don't have anything worthwhile to contribute to humanity, or are even worthy of living (and apparently he believes that their simple existence as human beings isn't enough of a contribution to humanity to warrant their continued life, something I'm sure their friends and families might not agree with) isn't just insensitive and cold, it's a downright short-sighted, reprehensible, irrational Objectivist attitude ("losers" IE "useless eaters.") His comment that "I’m very, very, weary of supporting these losers with my tax dollars" makes it pretty clear that he doesn't see these "losers" as even being worthy of living, and actually resents their very existence as "freeloading" off of him. Reading these comments has caused me to lose a HUGE amount of respect for Randi; I had no idea he held such views and they make me think much, much less of him. I think that people should be made aware of such attitudes in people they would otherwise admire, or else it could leave RationalWiki open to criticisms of sweeping under the rug any unpleasant aspects of the personalities of people RW admires. As an ardent fan of HP Lovecraft I am long used to having to deal with unpleasant aspects of people I would admire, and I don't try to deny his virulent racism. If Randi holds such views as revealed by his comments, they shouldn't just be ignored. In fact, these comments are so bad they make me want to ask if they're actually real, or planted by someone wanting to discredit Randi... but I'll have to assume they're genuine. However, all of this is just my opinion; I'm new here and I'm not going to try to edit anything in or start an argument about it, I just wanted to add my two cents here on the Talk Page. I hope that's OK. :) Nyarlathotep (talk) 05:17, 1 December 2015 (UTC)

Yeah. Amongst skeptics Randi is viewed as a sort of godlike figure. But I think it's important to point out where the guys really got some shitty views.

And to be honest, that author may not have any evidence that Randi said he is a social darwinist, but it seems consistent with the collection of quotes where Randi says people with Low IQs should get taken out of the gene pool as well as addicts as losers and "we should let" draconian measures take them out.

I mean that is a really shitty and scary position. We should be able to appreciate James Randi's work without making him into some secular humanist saint. -Wan Abi Sufi

I think it's worthwhile to include this - though, as CarpetSmoker points out, this isn't eugenics. This is "just" a rather cynical stance on wellfare and a disregard of the psychology surrounding drug abuse. That's worthy to mention, no doubt - but understand that eugenics takes far more steps than sourly concluding that "nature runs its course when it runs its course". Reverend Black Percy (talk) 17:09, 2 December 2015 (UTC)

Mad kook[edit]

Million dollar challenge[edit]

If you feel like proving me wrong[edit]

All you have to do is describe the experiment he had you do and the methodological controls that were in place. If you can accurately describe such an experiment, even if you make it the fuck up, it'd be enough for me to conclude you're at least not batshit. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 16:05, 23 October 2019 (UTC)