He died on October 20 at the age of 92. This Canadian-American (born in Toronto) who was called in English “The Amazing Randi”, was an imaginative who had found a second profession: denouncing impostors who practice illusion without saying that they are playing illusion. Those who claim, for example, to roll spoons with the ultimate power of thinking, or read minds. And whoever does so without admitting, unlike an honest magician, that “there is something”.
James Randi’s favorite Turkish head was the world’s most famous spoonmaker, Uri Geller. Humiliated on TV in 1973 When Randy brought his cutlery and insisted that Geller could not use her utensils.
The The New York Times Recall with humor That, in an interview in 2009, James Randi said that after his death, “I want to be burned.” And I want gray puffs in Uri Geller’s eyes. “
In 1976, this professional magician embarked on what would become his personal crusade. If he was not the first to attack “New Age” gurus and other promoters of all kinds of pseudoscience, he would become the most established crusader in the scientific method. That year, together with the famous astronomer Carl Sagan, as well as with science fiction author Isaac Asimov, he founded what is now called the (formerly) Skeptical Inquiry Committee (CSICOP), an association that promotes the “scientific investigation of supernatural claims”. Publish a magazine, The Skeptical Inquirer. In Quebec, an association has established Skeptics of Quebec, Founded in 1987, cites this group as one of its inspirations.
Those who followed in Randi’s footsteps, especially through the surveys published by the magazine, did their part in shining light on all kinds of questionable allegations at a time when they got no help from Facebook or YouTube. Randy, for his part, specifically attacked the charlatans, and counted more than a hundred of them on his fishing board, “people who steal money from the crowd and lie to it and mislead it,” he said. 2014 in the documentary dedicated to it, Honest liar.
The “Million Dollar Challenge” was born through the James Randi Education Foundation: anyone who claimed to have superhuman strength was offered or witnessed a supernatural phenomenon. The prize was won by the first person to prove it via strict scientific protocol.
More than a thousand students tried their luck until the end of the competition in 2015. None of them managed to win the grand prize.
Photo: Photo by James Randi / Discofillant / Flickr / CC