Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Look who's back: Uri Geller

  1. Mar 24, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I remember Johnny Carson and James Randi debunking Geller on national television. For those who have never heard of Uri, this guy had a magic spoon bending routine that fooled many, many people. He claimed to bend spoons and keys with his mind. It is suggested that a little manipulation of the hardware - preparing the spoons by bending them repeatedly until just before they break - combined with the will to believe made Uri a star. Being a magician himself, the famous talk show host, Johnny Carson, called fellow magician and debunker, James Randi, and together they set poor Uri up. While on camera and at the last second, Carson handed Geller a regular set of spoons to use; instead of the ones that Geller had brought. Geller suddenly lost his powers.

    http://www.uri-geller.com/
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 24, 2004 #2

    Janitor

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Yeah, I'm old enough to remember too.

    Incidentally, is Randi still offering a million dollar prize to anyone who can demonstrate paranormal powers (if that's the right terminology) to his satisfaction, under laboratory conditions?
     
  4. Mar 24, 2004 #3

    FZ+

    User Avatar

    Yes. And still, no one has won, yet.

    Then again, paranormal is pretty fuzzy as a word. Would a demonstration of quantum entanglement count?
     
  5. Mar 24, 2004 #4

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think it was the "Medium" Sylvia who has agreed to accept Randi's challenge if the one million dollars is put into a trust fund first; to be held by an impartial third party. It is claimed that Randi won't or can't fork up the bucks.
     
  6. Mar 25, 2004 #5

    FZ+

    User Avatar

    All I know is that Randi's site has a Sylvia's clock entry, which is currently at 934 days.

    More details:
    http://www.randi.org/sylvia/index.shtml
     
  7. Mar 25, 2004 #6
    I went to his site (posted by Ivan) and it seems that he is branching out into all kinds of non-psychic endeavors, particularly art.

    I looked at several of his drawings, paintings and his pottery plates, and, to my eyes, he looks like a really good artist. The more energetic stuff that is full of detail with all empty space filled, is on a par with Hundertwasser, if you happen to know that popular eccentric German artist.

    I think, all this time, Uri has been completely wasting his time as an unsuccessful psychic, when hecould have been a completely successful eccentric artist.
     
  8. Mar 26, 2004 #7

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Interesting, last night on Coast to Coast AM, George Noory again made the public assertion that Randi refuses to put the money into an escrow account where Sylvia could actually get to it if she beat the challenge.

    This is what bothers me about Randi's challenge...and I would think it should you as well. Good science does not mean one man as judge and jury. I don't think Randi would ever pay up under any circumstances. I suspect that he is just a mediocre magician who found a better way to make money. He has surely gotten more attention as a debunker than as a magician. During my limited correspondence with him, he seemed very angry and defensive as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2004
  9. Mar 27, 2004 #8

    FZ+

    User Avatar

    From the procedure I saw on his site, that does not appear accurate - the first stage is to decide on an experimental method that both agree on, and appoint an independent judge of the data.
     
  10. Mar 27, 2004 #9

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I read his contract years ago and at the time it seemed very one sided...in fact I remember laughing at it. I will have to look again. In either case, if it is true that he won't put the money where it can be had, the challenge doesn't really mean much. Now, I am definitely no fan of Sylvia's or any other "medium' for that matter, but she seems to have a valid objection.
     
  11. Mar 27, 2004 #10

    enigma

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If he's got a contract, signed and notarized, saying he'll pay if the terms are met, then what is her problem? If she does prove she's not full of it, wins the bet, and he doesn't pay up, that means:

    1) Randi's reputation is instantly and for all time shot
    2) Randi can be sued to get the money.
     
  12. Mar 27, 2004 #11

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Either she wants to make sure that she gets the million dollars, or she is using this to back Randi into a corner - to show that he can't come up with the money; or she is using this as an excuse. However, if he can't produce the bucks it shows bad faith on his part. It would show that his challenge is a gimmick. I think the latter is what Sylvia wants to show.

    2) Randi can be sued to get the money.
    You can't get what's not there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2004
  13. Mar 27, 2004 #12
    LOL, have you ever thought of being sceptical? According to Randi, the money is well over a million dollars, in an earning fund of some sort. If I'm not mistaken, they use some of the dividends to sponsor a scholarship program. I believe that at first Randi offered to put the money in escrow IF Browne would make up the lost earnings. I think he changed his mind, and offered Larry King the money to hold in safekeeping, and Browne still refuses. But, you should read the entire ongoing story on randi.org.

    Browne is a liar, and a fraud, and it is absolutely that simple.
     
  14. Mar 28, 2004 #13

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I am only repeating the public accusations made to over 10 million listerners...legally, a real problem for Sylvia if untrue. Maybe before this is over Randi will sue her...

    I don't believe anything Randi says any more than Sylvia. I have seen him in action too many times. I think it is you who lacks skepticism. You and many other seem to believe anything Randi says simply because you like his point of view.

    Where exactly is the proof of the money?
    Why won't he put it into escrow? I would think the great Randi would be willing to take Sylvia's challenge just to shut up her up...after all, I thought this was Randi's challenge, not Randi's investments.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2004
  15. Mar 28, 2004 #14
    Again, since you missed it the first time, apparently Randi DID agree to put the money in escrow, but only on the condition that some agreement be made ahead of time...

    If you had a million dollars drawing interest, would you pull it out and let it sit for a year or two while you and Sylvia Browne discuss a test? I sure as hell wouldn't, especially if I were counting on the interest to help pay the bills.

    Anyhoo, doesn't matter what Randi is, Browne is absolutely a fraud, and a disgusting human being to boot.
     
  16. Mar 29, 2004 #15

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    When I get a little time I will review Randi's program and contract again and post the relative information. In the mean time, although I tend to agree about Sylvia, I don't trust Randi either. I think he is just the other side of the same coin.

    I maintain that Randi will never put himself in a situation where he could actually lose the money. Recently, the PEAR institute is claiming statistical proof that participants, over something like fifteen years and many billions of trials, are able to influence [quasi]random physcial events with their minds. Perhaps we need a PEAR - Randi showdown.
     
  17. Mar 29, 2004 #16

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    btw, I listened to part of Gellers interview on Coast to Coast. I stand corrected: It wasn't that Geller prepared the spoons for his demo, and that the spoons were then switched at the last minute, it was all of the negative energy that Carson was directing at him that prevented Uri's magical powers from working. Silly me.
     
  18. Mar 29, 2004 #17
    My understanding of the "Randi test" (based on having read his version of the events, mind you) is that he gets with the applicant, he gets an independent group of scientists(possibly the paranormal guys at Duke University, or maybe some MIT guys, I forget), and he takes himself out of the judging entirely. The testing is generally simple, something like matching ten horoscopes to ten pictures, or videotaping someone like Geller from multiple angles. I think the main point is that Randi, as a magician, knows the "magician's method" of producing an effect, and he seeks to eliminate the tricks he knows from the test.

    For instance, he describes a test of a girl who claimed to be able to read folded and taped-together handwritten messages through her fingers...all Randi added to the test was an extra piece of tape, and a bag over her hand, so she couldn't simply subtly unfold the paper and read it.
     
  19. Apr 4, 2004 #18
    Randi has the money, and has made an exception for the Browne. And still she refuses to be tested.
    Here is a copy of the letter he sent to Larry King.

    from one of his commentaries HERE

    Larry King
    c/o CNN, 820 1st Street
    Washington, DC 20002

    Mr. King:

    Your frequent guest Sylvia Browne has offered many excuses for not fulfilling her agreement made with you and with this Foundation, on your CNN program, that she would accept being tested for our million-dollar prize. That agreement — that she would make herself available for such a test — was made 970 days ago.

    Ms. Browne's first excuse for not proceeding with the test was that she could not find out how to contact me. A psychic, and she could not use a telephone book? Since she claims to regularly contact the dead, contacting a living person should not have been a difficult problem for her. We remedied that by sending her our e-mail address, postal address, and telephone and fax numbers. Still no response.

    Next, she said that she was not going to deal with me because I am a "godless person." For that, I admit, I have no remedy.

    Her latest excuse — made on your show — is that she now demands that the million dollars be put in escrow, to ensure that she receives the prize, a prize which she had previously rebuffed, saying that she was not interested in the money. This seems a strange turnabout, but though we previously believed that we would lose the interest on the account if it were put in escrow, and our rules specifically state that such considerations will not be made for any applicant, in the case of Ms. Sylvia Browne, we have decided to make an exception. We have consulted Goldman-Sachs, and they now inform us that by means of a special dispensation, we will be able to do this without any loss of income. This should please Ms. Browne, since there is now no impediment in the way of her proceeding with the accepting of the test procedure.

    Previously, we have sent letters and other documentation by certified mail to Sylvia Browne. However, this material has been refused by Ms. Browne's office, and returned to us, unread. We will make every attempt to hand-deliver a copy of this present letter to her office.

    We have sent you proper proof that establishes the existence of the JREF million-dollar prize, as well as the availability of the prize, and all of that evidence was published on our web page, as well. Ms. Browne has refused to accept this evidence.

    In the 970 days since Sylvia Browne agreed, on "Larry King Live," to be tested by this Foundation, she has not contacted us. You had stated, on your May 16th show, that you would be happy to "arrange" for Ms. Browne to be informed on this matter. Since you, Mr. King, may be better able to reach this person, I would ask that you inform her of this latest development, so that she will hasten to fulfill her previous agreement to be tested.

    There is only one thing missing in this picture: Goldman-Sachs requires, as part of the process of putting the money in escrow, that we find a person to act as "escrow agent" for the million dollars prize money. That simply means that the agent would have complete control over the distribution of the prize money following the test of Ms. Browne's claim. Since Ms. Browne apparently trusts you, Mr. King, and would have good reason to believe that you would fairly and properly handle this function as "escrow agent," I am asking you if you would serve in that capacity. This would be for a very limited time, of course, from the moment that Ms. Browne accepts the fulfillment of her demand until the test has been done and the answer has been arrived at. I ask you to please inform me concerning your willingness in this matter.

    Please bear in mind that it is Sylvia Browne, not this Foundation, who has avoided the challenge. Now that all conditions laid down by Ms. Browne have been met, it should be only a short time before we are able to begin conducting the test. However, since I had previously issued a call for "believers" as volunteers to be subjects for the test, and that was two years and eight months ago, some of those who volunteered have now died, and others have lost interest. It would be necessary for me to go on the Internet and re-issue that call for subjects. I believe it would take about two weeks to find a sufficient number of persons for this purpose. I will of course keep you informed on the progress of this effort.

    Note: with the exception of the "special considerations" clause mentioned above, the rules on the JREF million-dollar challenge, as stated on our web page, will be in effect if and when Sylvia Browne agrees that all of her demands have been met, and that she will proceed with the test.

    Thank you for reading this letter, Mr. King, and I hope that we might look forward to finally conducting the test of Sylvia Browne's claims that she can contact the dead, and does so regularly, as a profession.
     
  20. Apr 4, 2004 #19

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I still need to dig up Randi's contract, maybe you wouldn't mind doing that? I will get back to this in a few more days if no one else posts the information. I am looking for legal evidence that Randi has the money, and that he could actually lose the money. I don't know if Larry King qualifies as an escrow agency. So far I have seen nothing except more internet hype. Does Randi make available a copy of the bank note or something that can be verified?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Look who's back: Uri Geller
  1. Guess Who's Back ? (Replies: 11)

  2. Who is on your back (Replies: 4)

  3. Who Do You Look Up To? (Replies: 39)

Loading...