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Quotes of the day: James Randi

Published Wednesday, August 06, 2014 @ 10:58 PM EDT
Aug 06 2014

James Randi (born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge, August 7, 1928) is a Canadian-American retired stage magician and scientific skeptic best known for his challenges to paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). He began his career as a magician named The Amazing Randi, but after retiring at age 60, he chose to devote most of his time to investigating paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims, which he collectively calls "woo-woo." Although often referred to as a "debunker," Randi dislikes the term's connotations and prefers to describe himself as an "investigator." He has written about the paranormal, skepticism, and the history of magic. He was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and was occasionally featured on the television program Penn & Teller: Bullshit! The JREF sponsors the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge offering a prize of US$1,000,000 to eligible applicants who can demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event under test conditions agreed to by both parties. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Far from being a curse, it might be lucky to disturb a pharaoh's tomb. These people beat the life span expectation for those days by about a year.

Feeling better is not actually being better.

Heroin also makes people feel better, but I wouldn't recommend using heroin.

I believe in the basic goodness of my species, because that appears to be a positive tactic and quality that leads to better chances of survival- and in spite of our foolishness, we seem to have survived.

Magicians are the most honest people in the world; they tell you they're gonna fool you, and then they do it.

No amount of belief makes something a fact.

One thing that has made a big comeback just recently is this business of speaking with the dead. To my innocent mind, ‘dead’ implies incapable of communicating.

People who are smart get into Mensa. People who are really smart look around and leave.

Psychics use exactly the same gimmicks that we magicians do — the same physical methods, the same psychological methods- and they effectively and profoundly deceive millions of people around the earth, to their detriment.

Science is best defined as a careful, disciplined, logical search for knowledge about any and all aspects of the universe, obtained by examination of the best available evidence and always subject to correction and improvement upon discovery of better evidence. What's left is magic. And it doesn't work.

Sir, there is a distinct difference between having an open mind and having a hole in your head from which your brain leaks out.

The Wizard of Oz is more believable. And more fun. (On religion)

The conjuror or con man is a very good provider of information. He supplies lots of data, by inference or direct statement, but it's false data. Scientists aren't used to that scenario. An electron or a galaxy is not capricious, nor deceptive; but a human can be either or both.

The New Age? It's just the old age stuck in a microwave oven for fifteen seconds.

The problem with experiments has always been that human beings make the decisions on whether or not the animals have benefitted from the treatment.

Well, I thank the mythology for giving me Handel's 'Messiah,' but that doesn't make up for the suffering, grief, fear, and the millions of dead that need not have been...


(August 7 is also the birthday of Garrison Keillor.)

Categories: James Randi, Quotes of the day


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