D. J. Grothe

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D. J. Grothe
Grothetam2011.jpg
Born Douglas James Grothe
(1973-06-25) June 25, 1973 (age 41)
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Residence Hollywood, California, USA
Nationality American
Alma mater Washington University
Occupation Magician, writer, skeptic
Website
www.randi.org

Douglas James "D. J." Grothe (born June 25, 1973) is an American writer and public speaker who talks about issues at the nexus of science, critical thinking, secularism, religion and the paranormal. He was president of the James Randi Educational Foundation until Sept. 1, 2014, when, according to a Web posting by the foundation, he became "no longer with" the organization in what its announcement called a "restructuring."[1]

Until the end of 2009, he was Vice President and Director of Outreach Programs at the Center for Inquiry, a "think tank that advances science, reason and secular values in public affairs and at the grassroots."[2] He is contributing editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, and lectures throughout North America at colleges and universities. He edited On the Beauty of Science,[3] about the worldview and life's work of Nobel Laureate Herbert Hauptman. He formerly hosted the nationally popular radio show[4][5] and podcast Point of Inquiry which features leading thinkers in the sciences, skepticism and humanism, and now hosts For Good Reason, a similar interview program. He is a former professional magician and "psychic entertainer." D.J. attended the Worldwide Church of God in the St. Louis area for a number of years, beginning as a teenager, and later attended Ambassador College, which was sponsored by the church. He is openly gay.[6]

The Center for Inquiry[edit]

Grothe first became involved in the Center for Inquiry, a rationalist think-tank in Buffalo, New York, through one of its affiliated organizations, the Council for Secular Humanism, while he was studying as a graduate student at Washington University.[7] He was involved in a student freethought group there called WULF, the Washington University League of Freethinkers.[8]

Magic[edit]

Grothe also lectures about the intersection of magic and skepticism,[9] having been involved with both movements and enterprises for years: he formerly worked as a professional magician who did shows for corporations and other private clients.[10]

Challenges to celebrity psychics[edit]

Grothe challenged celebrity psychic James Van Praagh to prove his claims of psychic mediumship and communication with the dead a number of times in the news media,[11] and organized a "zombie attack" featuring volunteers from the James Randi Educational Foundation of one of Van Praagh's "Spirit Circles," which net Van Praagh thousands of dollars from his clients seeking communication with their deceased loved ones.[12][13] This was to publicize both that Van Praagh refuses the JREF's One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge and how the JREF considers Van Praagh's claims to communicate with dead people to be unfounded and harmful.

Grothe has also spoken out against celebrity psychics Theresa Caputo (the Long Island Medium) and John Edward, criticizing them for taking advantage of the grieving by using a collection of psychological manipulations commonly referred to as cold reading, and has also criticized companies like Priceline.com and national media figures such as Dr. Phil for giving a platform to such psychic performers.[14][15]

James Randi Educational Foundation and For Good Reason[edit]

On December 7, 2009, Grothe was appointed President of the James Randi Educational Foundation, replacing astronomer and blogger Phil Plait.[16] He assumed the post on January 1, 2010. As of September 1, 2014, Grothe is no longer with the James Randi Educational Foundation.[17]

He hosted a radio show for about five years called Point of Inquiry and now hosts a radio show [18] and podcast called For Good Reason.[19] His guests have included James Randi talking about the importance of the JREF and another episode of Randi coming out of the closet, also Daniel Loxton on a book about evolution for children, Jamy Ian Swiss on psychics and their deceptive methods, the social psychologist Carol Tavris talking about dissonance theory, and Richard Dawkins talking about Darwin Day and creation and evolution in public education, among dozens of other guests he has interviewed.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/jref-news/2392-los-angeles-office-closed.html
  2. ^ "Point of Inquiry Introduction". Center for Inquiry. 8 December 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007. 
  3. ^ On the Beauty of Science Amazon.com book page
  4. ^ "Point of Inquiry Upcoming Schedule". WPRR 1680AM Grand Rapids, Michigan. Retrieved 19 July 2009. 
  5. ^ "Freethought Radio Network". Retrieved 19 July 2009. 
  6. ^ July 7, 2007. "A Reply from D.J. Grothe". Retrieved 2013-06-28. "Lastly, as a gay man, I have strong opinions about gay bashing as compared to “atheist bashing.”" 
  7. ^ "CSH Welcomes New Staffers". Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 17, Number 3. August 2001. Retrieved 16 December 2007. 
  8. ^ "Faith No More". Lingua Franca, Volume 9, Number 7. October 1999. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Magic & Illusion". About.com. Retrieved 27 December 2007. 
  10. ^ "Magic & Mentalism". DJGrothe.com. Archived from the original on 2009-11-19. Retrieved 3 June 2009. 
  11. ^ Grothe, D.J. (11 October 2011). "What Is James Van Praagh Hiding From?". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  12. ^ Moye, David (11 October 2011). "Skeptical 'Zombies' Attack Alleged Psychic James Van Praagh (VIDEO)". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  13. ^ Loxton, Daniel (13 October 2012). "JREF RECRUITS ZOMBIE HORDE TO CARRY PSYCHIC CHALLENGE". Skepticblog.com. Retrieved 13 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Grothe, D.J. (19 September 2012). "Priceline.com: Will You Prove Your Spokesperson Worthy for a Million Dollars?". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  15. ^ Grothe, D.J. (19 September 2012). "An Open Letter to Dr. Phil". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "James Randi Educational Foundation Names New President". randi.org. December 2009. 
  17. ^ "Los Angeles Office Closed". randi.org. Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "For Good Reason". publicrealityradio.org. April 2010. 
  19. ^ "For Good Reason". Retrieved 10 February 2010. 

External links[edit]