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This week's Rational Hero is the incomparable James Randi. AKA the Amazing Randi, MacArthur Award Recipient, professional magician, debunker of pseudoscience, TV star...the list goes on. If you want a more complete description I suggest his Wiki entry. James Randi is also the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). From the JREF website: "Our mission is to promote critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media with reliable information about paranormal and supernatural ideas so widespread in our society today." They also provide scholarships, publish books, and organize major conferences, notably "The Amazing Meeting," meets annually in Las Vegas, is a gathering of fellow skeptics. A couple of my favorite highlights of Randi's illustrious career are his work to expose the fraudulent spoon-bending trick of Uri Geller and uncovering the quackery of the religious charlatan Peter Popoff. One of James Randi's more-important offerings is a one million dollar prize to anyone who could demonstrate paranormal activity. The challenge started in 1964 with a thousand dollars of James Randi's own money and has since grown to a cool million. If you think you can pass his challenge, good luck, no one has even passed the prelims. I really could type all day about the accomplishments of this great Rational Hero--but I won't, that's why we have Google. Below, I have posted three videos: 1) the exposure of James Hydrick as a fraud (Which Hydrick later admitted); 2) The exposure of Peter Popoff; and, 3) A trailer of "The Honest Liar" a documentary about the Amazing One. Please contribute if you can help in the completion of this important film. Thank you Randi, and may you continue to grace us with your magical life--even if it is just a trick.
Scot Bastian Ph.D. is a scientist and artist who lives in Seattle WA.