Monday, April 1, 2013

How Many Lies Does It Take For A "Skeptic" To Be Discredited?

I would say that, beyond any doubt, the most famous "Skeptic"/atheist in the world is probably James "The Amazing" Randi.   His "Educational" Forum is one of the larger and most often visited "Skeptical" websites, his YouTube propaganda operation is probably the largest of any single individual and he is still honored as a reliable authority by other large "rational" "scientific" entities such as "Big Think".    If you have never delved even a centimeter behind the surface of  the James Randi persona, you could be forgiven for mistaking him as a serious voice of science and reason.  That is how he is promoted by himself, his associates, the "Skepticism" industry and the media who seldom have looked at him with the tools of genuine skepticism.  If you did look past the promotion and PR, you would see he has a documented and large record of lying, incompetence, dishonesty and even criminal fraud.

The arrest of his long time lover on a serious charge of identity theft, which was far from a victimless crime, should have exposed the fraud that James Randi has been, but it hasn't.  James Randi cannot escape the documented fact that he knew of that fraud and that he participated in it.  It would seem that among the self-congratulating "rational class" the "fact based" and "science based, PR can entirely overtake the truth and ideological promotion is entirely more important than honesty.   I have found few former admirers of James Randi  and almost none who will apply skepticism to their icon of "Skepticism", few scientists who will break with him.

I will be taking some time to expose some of the known instances of dishonesty and lying by the icon, presented as a personification of truth and evidence based inquiry.  I do that not in any expectation that it will change anything about the "Skepticism" industry or cause any defections in the Randi cult, but to expose those for the obvious fraud they are.   The numerous exposures of Randi's lies, dishonesty and sleaze, over the thirty-two years since Dennis Rawlins exposed him in his sTARBABY article haven't done that.  I don't think it's going to be done, not anytime in the near future.  But something being true is an entirely sufficient reason for anyone saying it.  I'm not going to be saying anything that isn't documented by others in the past.   The number of lies James Randi has gotten away with while being the figure head of organized "Skepticism" might be a good start at answering the question in the title.  Eventually it might be able to enumerate a unit for measuring this phenomenon,  The Randi",  the number of lies one can still tell and be presented as a credible voice of science, truth and reason.   I can think of many practical applications in many fields.  Especially in measuring media credulousness.   Working on a measurement of irony might follow, close on.

UPDATE:  What fun.  An anonymous message tells me that they'll come after me if I go after the great and powerful amazing one. I think it's supposed to be a threat  instead of a warning but as it's written with the typical coherence of a commentator at a "Skeptical"/atheist website, it's hard to tell.  I'll go change my passwords just in case.  I always use ones that are very hard to break.   I'd be interested in knowing of anyone who has had problems like that after being critical of his amazingness.

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