Greetings and a warm welcome to new professional affiliates and friends!
It won’t have escaped your notice that James Randi died last week and has been eulogised in mainstream sources as the man who ‘exposed’ and ‘debunked’ ‘pseudoscientific’ claims in the name of ‘science and reason’. The Telegraph phrase comes across as disingenuous when they write that Randi “worked with scientists in investigating phenomena of apparently paranormal nature.” Note the loaded phrase ‘apparently paranormal’. In fact Randi worked against such people, setting out to deceive them and destroy their reputations.
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.
October has been a busy month with a number of Galileo Commission advisers giving well-attended webinars. Recordings are available free to Members of the Network, so this is an additional incentive for you to join if you are not yet a Member: just go to this link and put in the coupon code Mystics50 to receive a £10 discount on the annual fee of £60 that supports our work and also gives you access to our 72-page journal published three times a year as well as exclusive Member events.
- Adviser Prof Ravi Ravindra speaking to the SMN London Group on about Yoga and the Future Science of Consciousness; >>>
- Adviser Prof Jeff Kripal from Rice University on his ground-breaking book The Flip. >>>
- Adviser Dr Anne Baring on Awakening to a New Story – the Evolutionary Imperative of our Time – a powerful and inspiring presentation >>>
- Joint Galileo Commission Event with the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Adviser Prof Jim Tucker on Do Children Recall Previous Lives? An Exploration of the Evidence >>>
- Thursday October 22, Adviser Chris Bache on LSD and the Cosmic Mind >>>
- Adviser Vasileios Basios on Lessons Learned from Complexity Theory: Are We at a Tipping Point in Consciousness Studies? >>>