Rupert Sheldrake sent me a corrective assessment by Mitch Horowitz entitled “The Man Who Destroyed Skepticism
”, which I highly recommend. We need open-minded and critical scepticism in science but we can do without pseudosceptics, a term coined by Marcello Truzzi to describe Randi, who ‘rebooted the term “skepticism” as a response to the boom in psychical claims and research in the post-Woodstock era. Today, thousands of journalists, bloggers and the occasional scientist call themselves skeptics in the mould set by Randi.’ However, Horowitz notes that ‘Randi made his name, and influenced today’s professional skeptics, by smearing the work of serious researchers.’ His ‘darker and more lasting impact’ was in ‘making it more difficult for serious university-based and academically trained researchers to study ESP and mental anomalies, and to receive a fair hearing in the news media. Indeed, Randi ultimately cheapened an important debate over how or whether extra-physical mentality can be studied under scientifically rigorous conditions and evaluated by serious people.’ The article goes on to detail a number of egregious incidents that seriously undermine Randi’s integrity and notes that the Wikipedia Guerrilla Skeptics were awarded a prize by the James Randi Foundation in 2017 for their ongoing jihadi campaign of distortion.