# Scifi channel's Ghost Hunters

Another point of clarification. Even if the alleged evidence is not acceptable to science, which I agree that its' not, that doesn't preclude the possibilty that the evidence is credible. "Acceptable" [meeting the standards for scientific rigor] and "credible" [factual, truthful, representitive of the actual events] are two different concepts. We can determine the former according to agreed upon definitions and standards, but not necessarily the latter.

I thought about you last night when I was channel surfing. As I buzzed by an old Happy Days episode, I noticed that it was the one where James Randi made an appearance, back when he was The Amazing Randi, so I stopped to watch. And get this, the bum had to let the Fonz do his magic trick for him! Geez!!! More like The Amazing Fonzy, I would say.

I don't know anything about Ghost Hunters, but doesn't Randy have an interest (financial and reputational) in Ghost's not existing? If so, he can hardly claim to be scientifically objective. :uhh:

In this context I found another forum that appears to be dedicated to the scientific question about ghosts: LINK REMOVED
However, at first sight I get the impression that the people there are biased towards finding that ghosts exists. :tongue2:

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FlexGunship
Gold Member
I don't know anything about Ghost Hunters, but doesn't Randy have an interest (financial and reputational) in Ghost's not existing? If so, he can hardly claim to be scientifically objective. :uhh:

Why would James Randi have an interest in ghosts not existing? He has an interest in promoting the truth. If ghosts did exist, and he went around touting that they didn't, he'd be in quite a pickle! However, he has said before that he is always willing to change his opinion on any subject pending proper evidence.

The problem with Randi is that he can't lose! As soon as something becomes science he accepts it, but until that time he continually reminds people of how easily they are fooled! What a jerk! Constantly obsessed with reality.

Why would James Randi have an interest in ghosts not existing? He has an interest in promoting the truth. If ghosts did exist, and he went around touting that they didn't, he'd be in quite a pickle! However, he has said before that he is always willing to change his opinion on any subject pending proper evidence. [..]

There is a difference between what people pretend and reality. I had the impression that he is founding his reputation on the impossibility to ever find a real ghost, and even promised to give away a lot of money if someone would prove that he is wrong. If so, he has an interest in not promoting the truth if he was mistaken. Did I misunderstand something??

FlexGunship
Gold Member
There is a difference between what people pretend and reality. I had the impression that he is founding his reputation on the impossibility to ever find a real ghost, and even promised to give away a lot of money if someone would prove that he is wrong.

Yes, he will pay someone $1,000,000 for proof of the supernatural or paranormal. I think that's a really small price to pay for such an amazing discovery, don't you? By your logic, the Nobel Prize is on shaky ground. Don't you think that proof of telekinesis or live after death would warrant a Nobel Prize? And that's$1.4million! I consider Randi's challenge a great use of money.

If so, he has an interest in not promoting the truth if he was mistaken. Did I misunderstand something??

Your argument presupposes that the paranormal or supernatural ARE the truth. So far there's no reasonable evidence that this is the case. Randi (and the JREF) is vigorously arguing in favor of the best known state of knowledge. No one can know what isn't known yet, so any attempt to disseminate the idea that ghosts (for example) are real is unscientific at this point. Randi is being 100% honest and truthful in promoting that view.

If you can change his mind with scientific data, then he will pay you $1million for that knowledge. A small price to pay for such an amazing piece of information. EDIT: Also, to be clear, the million dollars is not his money personally. He doesn't use it or spend it, or get to keep it. It was provided by donors for this specific purpose and has been sitting in an account which is publicly verifiable. He does not use the money for any other uses. He does not even keep the interest. Yes, he will pay someone$1,000,000 for proof of the supernatural or paranormal. I think that's a really small price to pay for such an amazing discovery, don't you?

By your logic, the Nobel Prize is on shaky ground. Don't you think that proof of telekinesis or live after death would warrant a Nobel Prize? And that's \$1.4million! I consider Randi's challenge a great use of money.
No, that's not at all my logic: the prize money of the Nobel comittee cannot fall in their hands. However, what I had forgotten is that it also cannot fall in Randy's hands, nor did it come from him, if your source is correct. The issue that is left is his ego. Surely you know of cranks in other forums who ask to debunk their new theory, but never agree with the debunking (why would they disagree? Surely their theories must be right then.)
Your argument presupposes that the paranormal or supernatural ARE the truth. [...]
Certainly not (what was unclear about my writing??): My argument presupposes nothing (indeed, that would be highly unscientific); however I'm extremely skeptical about it. Currently my bet is that paranormal or supernatural are NOT the truth. But I'm open to change my mind about it. :tongue2:

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FlexGunship
Gold Member
Certainly not (what was unclear about my writing??): My argument presupposes nothing (indeed, that would be highly unscientific); however I'm extremely skeptical about it. Currently my bet is that paranormal or supernatural are NOT the truth. But I'm open to change my mind about it. :tongue2:

Just the same as good ole' Randi! The only difference between you and Randi id that he went out and raised a million bucks for the sole purpose of enticing someone to prove him wrong. Randi isn't a scientist himself, he has very good scientific training, and a relatively strong background, but he still relies on universities and laboratories to test the claimants of his prize. The JREF only does preliminary screening to same time and money. They have a few YouTube videos of some of the preliminary tests.

A lot of the claimants are scared off by a simple document they must sign. All of the tests are to be video taped and must be made available for public scrutiny regardless of the outcome. No matter how poorly they perform, the results are available for everyone to see. This caused quite a stink in the "woo-woo" community. A team of dowsers were the ones who first complained about this: they only wanted results released if they were successful. As a result Randi didn't allow them to be tested. I happen to think this is fair, but a lot of people don't. It is the largest sticking point for many psychics, crystal healers, etc...

... A lot of the claimants are scared off by a simple document they must sign. ...
I think that's part of it. Even more so, in my opinion, is the mutually agreed upon test protocol. Typically, a person makes some claim of "supernatural" ability, says they want to take the "Million Dollar Challenge", and they submit the http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge/challenge-application.html" [Broken]. That's when negotiations begin on the test protocol, and shortly thereafter, when they discover that all the tricks they planned to use are already known and excluded, most applicants fade away.

This is sometimes followed by the applicant complaining that the test is unfair, that the JREF is cheating (?), that the million dollars doesn't really exist, and so on. The http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=43" has quite a few examples.

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FlexGunship
Gold Member
This is sometimes followed by the applicant complaining that the test is unfair, that the JREF is cheating (?), that the million dollars doesn't really exist, and so on. The http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=43" has quite a few examples.

I love the claim that the money doesn't exist. As though that would somehow redeem them in the process.

"Why aren't you proving to the world that psychic powers exist? You could win a million dollars from the JREF."

"The money doesn't exist."

"Okay... the Nobel f**king prize?"

"Uh... money doesn't exist?"

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