the complete debate with materialists see this
James Randi responds
again to Ali Sina and Sina responds back.
The study of paranormal is not
my field of interest. So it was fortuitous that while we were discussing
this topic, the Discovery Channel of Canada aired a program on this
I learned about McMoneagle and
his claim of “remote viewing” there. Now the point that should
concern us is whether his claim bears any truth or not. Where I heard of
him is of no relevance.
My main activity is to prove
that Islam is a cult of terror. My critics try to dismiss what I say
claiming that I base my sources on Christian sites. As a matter of fact
I do consult the Christian sites and find nuggets that I often use. Is
my criticism of Islam null and invalid because some of my sources are
Your logic is not very different
from the logic of the Muslims. Where I learned about the stories that I
quoted does not invalidate those stories. If those claims are false, you
should be able to prove them irrespective of where those stories are
reported. This is a form of “circumstantial ad hominem”. You attack
the source to invalidate the credibility of the argument and thus avoid
responding to the question asked.
You say that CIA got zero useful
result from their program. I hear many religionists that claim they have
received boundless blessings through their faith. Shall I believe them?
I rather base my opinion on facts and not on statements of people who
You said McMoneagle made many
other guesses that were not right. That could be true. Psychics admit
that most of their guessing is wrong. We cannot dismiss the psychic
faculty just because the majority of their declarations are wrong.
A detective combs the scene of a
crime and collects everything. 99.9% of what he collects may be useless
and not related to the criminal. All he needs is one clue. The accused
cannot say that since the other 999 items collected at the scene are
unrelated to him then he is innocent. One clue is enough to prove he has
been at the scene of the crime and convict him.
Psychics may say a lot of things
that may not be true. If they say one thing that goes beyond the normal
guessing, then it is proof that they must have some power that cannot be
explained away with what we know of the material world. This simple clue
is what we need, to implicate a world beyond the material world and
suspect that such world may exist.
This is no proof that this world
exists. It is only proof that its existence should not be dismissed. I
am not saying that a spiritual world certainly exists. I am saying that
such world may exist. This is the difference between the pseudo
skeptic and the true skeptic. The first denies categorically that
anything beyond the material world exists. The second states that we
cannot be certain about anything. It is possible that there are worlds
beyond the material world of which we cannot have “concrete”
evidence, simply because they are of different dimensions. For
a more detailed account of world of different dimensions see my article
A two dimensional world knows
nothing of the three dimensional world. If your world is only of two
dimensions and you and your world look like animated cartoons on a sheet
of paper, you cannot see anything that is not directly in touch with
your world. Say a cup is placed on this sheet and it is removed. The
inhabitants of this world see only a circle appearing in their world
from nowhere and disappear just as mysteriously as it appeared. This
could be an extraordinary and “paranormal” phenomenon for them. As
long as they are not aware of the existence of a three-dimensional
world, they will be unable to explain the sporadic apparitions of these
As the String Theory postulates
there are more dimensions to this Universe than meets the eye. So
hypothesizing that there could be another world beyond ours, of
different dimensions is not illogical. What is illogical is its
This is just a theory. Not all
theories can be proven. The string theory most likely will never be
proven. These strings, in comparison to the atom are the size of a tree
in comparison to the solar system. Despite the fact that it is
impossible to prove the existence of these multidimensional strings, at
least for no, they are not dismissed because they provide answers. To
dismiss them you have to prove they do not exist.
Likewise we may never be able to
prove the existence of the spiritual world. But it answers some
questions. In order to prove that such world does not exist, the onus is
To me the spiritual world is a
theory. It is a plausible and logical theory that answers many questions
and mysteries. If you categorically deny this theory it is up to you to
prove this theory is not true.
You expressed your surprise that
I did not know the term of the JREF challenge. I do not know what is
JREF. But if you are talking
about your “million dollar” challenge, I had heard it here and there
but was not familiar with your site and had never heard of you prior to
you writing to me. Obviously throwing in the million dollars had its
propagandistic effect and it got people talking. However, I see that
offer as good propaganda and do not take it seriously. If you want the
proof that there is something that science cannot quite fathom, then
that proof has been presented by many people across the globe and
history. In the case of McMoneagle, all we have to do is to verify the
veracity of his claim through the CIA files.
Someone sent me the following
excerpt from your site where you wrote:
give you one example of something I did when I was performing as a
, my home town, at the age of 18. (I hasten to add here that I would
ALWAYS thoroughly disclaim any genuine powers, before and after my
show.) They had a huge auditorium filled with reserved seats, just about
every one of them occupied by eager subjects. It was some sort of a
charity affair, and seats were expensive. After I got rolling with the
various moving objects and blindfolded duplication-of-handwriting stunts
(spoonbending was not yet a popular miracle!) I stopped abruptly and
pointed to a lady in the third-row aisle seat. "I'm led to say to
you that I get a middle name of 'Rose' for you, madame!" I cried.
Her gasp verified that I was right." And that name is more than
significant to you." She leaned forward. "I see a clock, a
very old clock, and on the dial three pink roses?" She started to
speak, and I silenced her by raising my hand. "But this is a
strange clock. It can't tell the time!" By now, the poor woman was
about to pass out in excitement. "Why is it useless? I see two
arrows, or darts…They're metal, and they're broken…Ah! I see! These
are the hands of that clock, and they've come off the clock face, and
are lying together behind the glass cover of the clock dial! Is that
right?" The woman was standing, mouth open, nodding vigorously. She
was awe-struck, and the applause was vigorous indeed. How was it done? A
lucky guess? No. Planning.”
Mr. Randi, you claim that you
have no psychic power. Now, do you really think all your readers are
gullible and fool? Most of us do not have psychic powers either. Why is
it that we do not get these “lucky guesses”?
Let me tell you what is my educated guess of your story.
That woman was
your aunt or an associate of you and you both staged that stunt to
impress your audience.
You fabricated that story or simply
“sexed it up” to prop your beliefs. Believers often invent stories
to validate their faith. This is how the followers of Muhammad and Jesus
reported so many miracles about their prophets. They think it is okay to
lie if the cause is a good one.
You occasionally have psychic power.
Personally I think “b” is
the likely explanation.
In your site you wrote:
"psychics" like Sylvia Browne, James Van Praagh, and John
Edward, who are getting so much TV space on Montel Williams, Larry King,
and other shows, employ a technique known as "cold reading."
They tell the subjects nothing, but make guesses, put out suggestions,
and ask questions. This is a very deceptive art, and the unwary observer
may come away believing that unknown data was developed by some wondrous
means. Not so.
I am not familiar with all these
people, but I saw only Van Praagh once and I can say your explanation of
his "art" is absolutely unfounded and biased. You are in
denial Sir and have difficulty swallowing things that go beyond your
ken. This is a religious attitude not critical skepticism.
You concluded your message by
“I cannot take further time
from my busy schedule to respond to irresponsible comments. I have
put up a million dollars; what have you offered as a token of
responsibility and good faith?”
Let me remind you Mr. Randi that
you contacted me first. Prior to that, I had never heard of you. I said
it in my first article “What it Takes to be a
Rationalist” that I am busy and can’t respond to my critics.
That did not stop you to write. That is perfectly okay. However it seems
quite unreasonable for you to demand I should not respond to you when
your rebuttal contains so many logical fallacies, errors and omissions.
Even then, all I did is publishing my response. You came to my site read
it and wrote again.
The question that the readers
must ask themselves is why Mr. Randi is suddenly acting with arrogance.
This is supposed to be a scholarly debate and yet it does not seem to be
that anymore. Why is that so?
The answer is that Mr. Randi, is
not a rationalist. He is, as I suspected from his boastful chauvinistic
and bogus “million-dollar
offer”, a pseudo-rationalist. Pseudo rationalism is a Faith. Mr. Randi
in his quality of self anointed Mullah of this Faith feels threatened if
someone questions his religion.
Pseudo rationalism has nothing
to do with rationalism. It is a dogmatic belief system where matter is
“worshiped” in lieu of God. These people are not atheists at all.
They have a different name for their god. If you say a word about the
limitations of the matter you defy their God and they are not likely to
tolerate this insolence. In Islam the biggest sin is to ascribe partners
to Allah; in pseudo rationalism the biggest sin is to hypothesize an
immaterial world beyond the matter. Just like religionists who cannot
allow themselves to doubt or question their dogma, the pseudo
rationalists are unable to even think of the “possibility” of the
existence of realities beyond the matter. Any admission of such
existence could undermine the infallibility of their belief and will
bring down their house of cards. It is no wonder these believers, like
their religious cousins have short tempers and often end-up attacking
you personally when you challenge their “religion”. I
received one such letter from one of these pseudo rationalist in
response to my article Rational Spirituality that is the carbon copy of
the kind of comments I receive from the Muslims.
Now Mr. Randi, I do not think
your offer of the million-dollar is sincere at all. As I said, there is
enough proof that there is a reality beyond the material world. Your
objective is not to come to the truth. Based on your background as a
mentalist, you are good at playing tricks and this is another one of
your stunts devised to make the gullible believe that you are right. The
very fact that I heard about it even though I had never heard your name,
shows that your stunt works. That offer is neither the proof of your
responsibility nor of your good faith.
You asked, what is my token of
responsibility and good faith? My challenge is that should anyone prove
my claims against Muhammad to be wrong I will remove my site and issue a
public apology. My opponents are welcome to post their rebuttals in the
forum of my site or anywhere else and if they can prove me wrong I will
remove my site. This is an honest challenge. I am not rude to people who
take up this challenge, nor do I attack them. I do not make offers that
I do not intend to keep. My challenge is sincere and in good faith.
Now Mr. Randi, as the token of
my sincerity and good faith, I have published your rebuttals of my
article in my site. Would you publish my answers to you as a token of
your sincerity and good faith in your site? If you can’t do that, a
link will suffice. If you can’t do even that, do not talk about
sincerity and good will please.