Talk:James Randi

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Former good article nominee James Randi was a Philosophy and religion good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
July 26, 2012 Good article nominee Not listed
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Section James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF)[edit]

The photograph of the offices of the JREF in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is out of date. That office has been closed for over a year. I personally took photos in October 2011 that show "For Sale" signs on the property. Rumor has it that a site has been selected in Los Angeles for a new office, but the location hasn't been announced. But in any event, the photo shown is at least a year out of date. I'd delete it myself, but I'm not experienced with with photos, I don't want to mess up something else.Professor Hosquith (talk) 03:44, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Carlos hoax in Australia[edit]

I seem to recall some contention over whether the Carlos hoax in Australia was a "success," from the Australian Skeptics, who thought that it was a failure. Lippard (talk) 17:58, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Found it: Barry Williams' editorial, "The Carlos Hoax - a personal view," The Skeptic (Australia), vol. 8, no. 1, 1988: "In this case, I believe that, in its own terms, this hoax was not particularly successful, but that the ensuing media furore may have produced the useful result of focusing media attention more clearly on the ease with which 'genuine' charlatans can manipulate our uncritical media." His main concern was that the media outlets which bit on this hoax were those that were most skeptical. He had been approached by the media to ask if this were a skeptical hoax, and he denied it, since he was unaware of Randi's involvement.

This editorial is online in PDF form at http://www.skeptics.com.au/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/theskeptic/2ndcoming/editorials.pdf, p. 6 of that PDF. Lippard (talk) 18:35, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

The man who portrayed "Carlos," who has has lived with Randi and been known as Jose Luis Alvarez for the past 24 years, has been arrested in Florida on charges of identity theft dating back to 1987. Newspapers accounts report that grand jury charges state that the identity theft, by which Pena was able to obtain a U.S. passport to travel to Australia with Randi, was part of "an elaborate hoax by Randi" from which Randi profited for 15 years. This material has been added to the article, with citations from two reputable Florida newspapers. 70.36.137.124 (talk) 03:55, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
And I have removed it. The section headed Legal disputes included such notables as Eldon Byrd, Uri Geller, Allison Dubois, Earl Curley and Sniffex, all of whom has some sort of legal dealing with Randi. Carlos/Alvarez doesn't, so that doesn't fit the article. A BLP for Carlos/Alvarez might survive. Moriori (talk) 05:47, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
There are three places in the bio where Carlos / Alvarez / Pena was mentioned and mention of his arrest has been removed from all three, namely:
(1) The "Skeptic" section: This is where Carlos is discussed but the new information about the 24-yea life-partnership connection between Randi and "Carlos" and the arrest of "Carlos" was removed; this seems spurious, as does the newly re-inserted peacock language about how Randi "tested the gullibility of the media by perpetrating a fraud" which was substituted for the neutrally worded statement that Randi and Pena "perpetrated a fraud," pure and simple. I suggest re-inserting this version, which begins "In 1988..." and concludes "for 15 years". I would like to see this reinstated and the peacock-language re-deleted.
(2) The "Legal issues" section: This was admittedly a problematic addition to the article, since the arrest was of Pena, not Randi. Carlos / Alvarez does have legal dealings with Randi, but Moriori's point is well taken: This material probably does belongs in an Alvarez / Pena bio page.
(3) The "Personal life" section: This removal of any mention of the arrest of "Alvarez" (Pena) looks like page-sanitzing, because the truth is that Pena has been Randi's full-time live-in life-partner for 24 years and was arrested in the home he shares with Randi. Now, had this been the arrest of say, the husband of a United States senator, in the their shared home, on a federal identity theft warrant, or the arrest of the wife of a famous movie star, in their shared home, on a federal identity theft warrant, you KNOW that two sentences about the arrest would have been admitted to Wikipedia as part of the "Personal life" biography of the BLP subject. Randi's life-partner, the man he came out with when he came out as gay, with whom he has shared his life for almost a quarter-century, was arrested in their shared home on a federal identity theft charge -- and this is NOT supposed to be part of Randi's personal life? I have re-inserted the fully-cited two sentences covering this, which begins "in September 2011..." and concludes with "24 years". Two sentences, folks; that is not hijacking this article. It is merely stating something factual about Randi's personal life in the section devoted to his personal life.
Opinions are welcomed. 70.36.137.124 (talk) 09:17, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Please be patient. Many editors now more aggressively insist that WP:BLP be followed, so if you have previously seen cases of articles with material on the misadventures of someone's spouse, you should not assume the same would occur again. I won't give links, but I have recently seen mentions of the arrest on child pornography charges of the husband of a notable woman removed from the article on the woman because the matter was simply not pertinent to her long term notability. If the matter escalates and the woman's career is actually affected, then suitable material will be added to the article. The same principle applies here. I have not taken the time to look for sources, but a quick scan suggests that not much is known at the moment. Accordingly, it may not be appropriate to add exciting tidbits to the biography of Randi now. Johnuniq (talk) 10:05, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Johnuniq, This is not an "exciting tidbit" in the sense of "new" news. The arrest was on September 8, 2011. Pena was in federal custody for six weeks before revealing his name and being bailed out on $1.5 million bond on October 21, 2011. Then, on November 9, 2011 his lawyer stated that he would plead guilty. It is now November 22, 2011, long enough for court appearances to be scheduled and statements to be made. .
While your point about the arrest of a man on child pornography charges being deleted from the BLP article about the man's wife makes sense in the context in which you present it -- "because the matter was simply not pertinent to her long term notability" -- such is NOT the case with Randi and Pena / "Carlos" / "Alvarez" -- in fact, the highly publicized and media-celebrated Carlos hoax perpetrated in Australia by Randi and Pena, which was only made possible due to Pena's theft of Alvarez's identity in order to get a U.S. passport, and was perpetuated by Randi's sheltering of Pena for the next quarter-century, was and is materially important to Randi's notability.
Your statement, "a quick scan suggests that not much is known at the moment" shows the trouble with making "quick scans" instead of reading the results of another Wikipedia editor's solid research or, better, reading the cited news stories in full. A great deal is known, actually -- far more than was considered notable in connection to Randi.
The name, occupation, and location of the man whom Pena parasitized with the quarter-century identity theft is known, as is the fact that over the years this man has been subjected to false IRS bills for Pena's taxes and was denied a U.S. passport to attend his sister's wedding in Jamaica on the grounds that he was the fraudster (so reputable and well-entrenched was Pena as Randi's partner "Carlos" / "Alvarez" that the REAL Alvarez was doubted, in other words).
The name of Pena's lawyer, Susan Dmitrovsky, is known. The lawyer's statement that Pena is going to plead guilty and is seeking a plea deal is known. The postponement of Pena's trial until January 2012 is known.
Even Randi's official statements on the subject has been reported: "Our lawyers have said we are not to comment on our knowledge or lack of knowledge. I simply cannot say anything." [...] "Randi acknowledged that the arrest of Alvarez and the allegations of identity fraud have opened himself up to attack by his critics" [...] "It is good press fodder, I would say."
But, as noted, what is relevant to THIS article -- and what should not be deleted -- is that Randi's performance-partner and life-partner "Carlos" was engaged in double identity theft at the time of the "Carlos" fraud (Randi unmasked "Carlos" as "Alvarez," which was also a false identity), then "Carlos" / "Alvarez" lived with Randi for the next quarter-century, until, in September 2011, he was arrested in the home he shares with Randi on a federal fraud warrant, and that his real name is Deyvi Pena. All of this speaks directly to Randi's supposed life-long goal of unmasking fraud, as does Randi's refusal "to comment on our knowledge or lack of knowledge" with regard to his partner's true identity.
Here are the articles used in researching this event. Read them yourself:
"Celebrated South Florida artist Jose Alvarez accused of identity theft". South Florida Sun Sentinel. September 09, 2011. Mentions that "Carlos" / "Alvarez" / Pena had "teamed with Randi on the world stage," interviews the victim of the quarter-century of identity theft, the real Jose Luis Alvarez -- "he said he's been dunned by the IRS for taxes he didn't owe on income in Florida, that his bank account has periodically been frozen and that he had difficulty renewing his driver's license."
"'The Amazing' Randi, renowned supernatural investigator, immersed in mystery about partner's alleged ID theft". The Palm Beach Post. September 16, 2011. States "it is unclear if Randi is cooperating with them" (federal authorities), details the earlier "Carlos" fraud, explains how Randi and "Alvarez," as life-partners, have profited from the "Carlos" fraud, interviews Randi.
"Celebrated Plantation artist to plead guilty in identity theft case". South Florida Sun Sentinel. November 3, 2011. Reveals Deyvi Pena name for the first time, states amount of bond, gives lawyer name, trial schedule, lawyer quotes, and a quote from the judge.
The information is all there, including Randi's refusal to explain his "knowledge" of the identity theft, which has caused so much trouble to the victim of this fraud.
To repeat: The highly publicized and media-celebrated Carlos hoax perpetrated in Australia by Randi and Pena, which was only made possible due to Pena's theft of Alvarez's identity in order to get a U.S. passport, and was perpetuated by Randi's sheltering of Pena for the next quarter-century, was and is materially important to Randi's notability 70.36.137.124 (talk) 18:10, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Good stuff, and perhaps when solid facts are known you could write an article about the subject. However, what would you say here about Randi given that this is an article about him? We can guess that it's all a pretty amazing emotional roller coaster, but apart from that, what can we say? Wikipedia is an excellent resource but it is very open to abuse which is most commonly seen in articles on politicians where opponents want to add the latest misadventure that has befallen some relative of the politician. There is a very justified pushback against coatracking information about Y into articles about X: if Y is notable, write an article about Y, but don't find some other article to insert information about Y. If the matter is as substantial as described above, it will develop, and secondary sources will write a thoughtful analysis of the situation. That is when information should be added here. Perhaps that time is very close, and if someone were to study the available texts they might be able to construct reasonable material for use here, however it would require some care. By the way, the claim "is materially important to Randi's notability" is known as synthesis here—that is, the opinion of an editor, constructed by assembling various factoids (not permitted in an article). Johnuniq (talk) 22:29, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

(outdent) Johnuniq, (1) None of the deleted text mentioned an "emotional roller coaster" in any way. nor was there any speculation about anyone's emotions. That is a straw man. (2) Your explanation that "is materially important to Randi's notability" is known as synthesis here—that is, the opinion of an editor, constructed by assembling various factoids (not permitted in an article)" is true -- but you are falsely utilizing this as an argument against inclusion of the material because the statements that Randi's promotion with Pena of the "Carlos" / "Alvarez" hoax aided Randi's notability were not made by a Wikipedia editor. Rather, they given by the two reporters (Franceschina and Burstein). Among the newspaper texts you will find an account of how Randi and Pena promoted the "Carlos" hoax for years and are profiting from it to this day. No Wikipedia editor synthesized that from "factoids" -- the newspaper reporters stated it, with a yearly dollar-amount attached. Citing a professional journalist in a reputable source is not "synthesis." 70.36.137.124 (talk) 00:15, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

it remains the case that referring to alvarez/pena arteaga as randi's "friend" is disingenuous. Zach bender (talk) 00:05, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
incidentally, if we need court documents these can easily be retrieved from PACER. the sentence was three years' supervised release. Zach bender (talk) 00:05, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
in the course of the sentencing hearing, randi makes the excellent point that pena would not have had to take on a false identity if he had been allowed to marry randi back in 1988. all of which goes to underscore that if we started adding any of this we would find ourselves very far afield of the biographical subject. i do not know that pena rates a bio of his own, but all this material would be more appropriate there.
but i do think the reference ought to be "life partner" rather than "friend." Zach bender (talk) 00:18, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

so can we at least have consensus the reference should be "life partner" rather than "friend"? Zach bender (talk) 18:35, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Source for more biographical material[edit]

As I write this, Mr. Randi, 81, is undergoing chemotherapy treatment post surgery for intestinal cancer. Here is a great recent article in a San Fransisco weekly newspaper that provides a lot of personal life and career material and is a good reference source for editors who wish to expand those sections: The Demystifying Adventures of the Amazing Randi (the health info is sourced in the article from there, too). 5Q5 (talk) 15:44, 10 September 2009 (UTC)

I set up a multiple reference name to make it easier to quote from the above article. Use: <ref name = "SF-Weekly"/>  No other template needed.   5Q5 (talk) 14:27, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Most recent edit using term 'liable for'[edit]

The most recent edit changes 'guilty of' to 'liable for', and not entirely sure that is the case. While I agree that 'guilty of' is certainly inappropriate because it is civil, can he be liable for something when he must pay $0? Iæfai (talk) 07:47, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

He was found guilty of libel, but no damages were awarded. You could say that he was found responsible, or that his content met the legal definition of libel, etc.98.225.230.65 (talk) 05:04, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

Disputed text on the million dollar challenge[edit]

Recently the following text has been added on the million dollar challenge. 9Immediately after the mention of the "rules.")

One of which is to give all rights to any data or material produced during the test over to the JREF. As well as agree that no legal action will be taken against Randi or JREF.(1) Randi and/or the JREF have their own conditions under which they would consider someone having paranormal powers. Some participants have said that their conditions are both unscientific and unrealistic.(2)(3)

Here are the footnotes for that material:
1. http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge/challenge-application.html
2. http://www.dailygrail.com/features/the-myth-of-james-randis-million-dollar-challenge
3. http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/169-swift-february-29-2008.html#i9

This material has been repeatedly reverted and re-inserted and I'm about to delete it again. Since edit summaries haven't settled this, here's the reason.

First, the first sentence misuses the source. That is to say the challenge rules do not state that the applicant must "give all rights" to the data "over to the JREF", only that the data "may be used freely" by the JREF. This simply means that the applicant can't keep the results of the test a secret.

Second, the third sentence (Randi and/or the JREF have ...) is simply an unsourced falsehood. Neither Randi nor the JREF have "their own conditions" about what constitutes a successful test. That's something that has to be agreed upon by both the JREF and the applicant.

Third, the fourth sentence (Some participants have said ...) misuses the source. There are no "participants" quoted in either source saying anything at all about the challenge, let alone characterizing it as "unscientific and unrealistic."

Fourth, using dailygrail.com as an allegedly reliable source. Why don't you pull my other leg? That one's got bells on it.

Fifth, and most importantly, this material is not suitable for the article regardless of how it might be sourced and rewritten. The article is a biography of James Randi, not a forum for debating niggling details about the challenge. It's not helpful to the reader to get into this petty back-and-forth in the article about whether the challenge is everything it's supposed to be. The text doesn't belong in the article. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 11:51, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

About his coming out[edit]

I just reverted an edit that added "homosexual" to "Canadian American stage magician and scientific skeptic" in the opening. His being gay or not is not very notable in relation to his career, and I feel the blurb in the Personal Life section is more than enough, at least for now. 207.255.35.246 (talk) 01:13, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Agreed; good revert. Steve Smith (talk) 01:51, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Indeed. That was ordinary vandalism. Note that the IP you reverted had a red user talkpage link, which tends to be characteristic of non-serious editing. Thanks for your help! Bishonen | talk 01:54, 22 March 2010 (UTC).
Being homosexual is a very important fact, and his being a rational skeptic gay person is a source of pride in the LGBT community. Removing his sexual orientation from the lead is homophobic POV. Creostines (talk) 08:08, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
It's not homophobic, it's just not very relevant. Consider "Enrico Fermi was a heterosexual Italian physicist considered by many to the father of the atomic age". Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 16:24, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

TV and film section[edit]

This whole section, minus a few, needs citations added to them. I was going to template them but it's a long list so I thought it better to put the notation here to make it aware to those who edit this article regularly. If no citations can be found then they should be removed. Thanks, --CrohnieGalTalk 12:51, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Nature article[edit]

Not sure where to put it, but Randi coauthored an article which appeared in the November 2008 edition of Nature. [1] 212.159.69.4 (talk) 20:03, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Randi's views in the 1960s[edit]

Jim Moseley, in his book Shockingly Close to the Truth (2002, Prometheus Books), p. 189, wrote that "At the time, Randi was relatively open-minded about saucers and other weirdness"--referring to when Randi's radio show on WOR competed head-to-head with Long John Nebel. Randi appeared at Moseley's UFO convention in July 1967, and was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, "Let's not fool ourselves. There are some garden variety liars involved in all this. But in among all the trash and nonsense perpetrated in the name of Ufology, I think there is a small grain of truth." (Willard Clopton, "Air Force's UFO Expert Meets the Man From S.A.U.C.E.R.S.," Washington Post, June 27, 1967, as cited in Tim Cridland, "The Real James Randi," Electricity of the Mind, The Anomalist #14, pp. 161-169). Cridland's article argues that Randi was somewhat of a promoter of the paranormal in his youth (as a fake psychic, astrology column author, and radio show host) and has slightly revised his biography subsequently to be more consistent with his current views. As Cridland notes, however, Randi himself admits he posed as a fake psychic in The Magic of Uri Geller, where he reprints two newspaper articles about the subject. Cridland seems to have his facts straight, but his interpretation that Randi has consciously modified his biography (as opposed to making minor errors in his recollections as biased by his current views, or simply being a bit sloppy in tracking down accurate details) seems unsubstantiated. Lippard (talk) 21:14, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

The Anomalist[edit]

Someone has made edits to this article sourced to an article by one Tim Cridland called "The Real James Randi" in a publication called The Anomolist. Does anyone here know anything about this publication and whether it qualifies as a reliable source? --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 19:53, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

Ok, I just spent a few minutes on this myself. Here are a couple of relevant links. [2] [3] And here's a google search. [4] Clearly not reliable. I'll revert forthwith. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 20:07, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
Oops, didn't see the section above this one. Since you think it looks doubtful, too, Lippard, I'm sure you won't object to my revert. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 20:11, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
No, Steven, I object to your reverts. The specific claims sourced to Cridland are reliable and accurate, and have been written about by Randi himself. He posed as a psychic named "Prince Ibis" and he wrote an astrological column for Midnight under the name Zo-ran. Where I disagree with Cridland is on his interpretation, not about these specific facts. Lippard (talk) 21:40, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
Right now my concern is limited to whether The Anomolist passes or fails WP:RS. I don't think it does (my opinion). Remember that per WP:BLP sourcing must be impeccable in Wikipedia bios of living persons. If you disagree, we can take that dispute to WP:RSN, but the edit itself is a small one and perhaps not worth the trouble. You say on my talk page that you have other sources. Perhaps it would be better to use them, instead. There's also a possible WP:UNDUE issue here. Is this particular detail of Randi's life story significant enough that it warrants a mention in his Wikipedia article? --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 22:39, 17 October 2010 (UTC)
The current text is misleading in that it describes his initial "Prince Ibis" career as "conjuror" instead of "psychic" and omits mention that he was to some extent a promoter, rather than debunker, of woo in his youth. That is a pretty significant biographical detail that shouldn't be revised out of his life, especially since Randi himself has reported it in The Magic of Uri Geller. Lippard (talk) 12:28, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

I've redone my edits with references to Randi's own published statements on the subject. Lippard (talk) 01:17, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Neutrality tag[edit]

The neutrality of this article should be discussed —Preceding unsigned comment added by 201.67.217.228 (talk) 17:26, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

Ok, IP, you added the neutrality tag, let's hear you discuss it. I suggest you begin now because the tag looks entirely unjustified and is likely to be removed within minutes.
Oh, I see what happened. You tried to add material sourced to a website called rense.com, website of the noted nutcase Jeff Rense. This site is host to all manner of conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, and Obama-is-a-Kenyan idiocy, not to mention a heaping helping of Holocaust denial and other assorted antisemitism. This is probably the most obviously unreliable source I've ever seen anyone try to use on Wikipedia. Your edits were then swiftly reverted and now you're pouting about it. Say goodbye to the tag. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 19:24, 28 October 2010 (UTC)
Steve ,this is an ad hominem phallacy , even nutcracks like Rense can have good ideas ( of course not those on Nazy false theories and so on ) . However I have noticed the bigotry in this article . Randi is so perfect , flawless , being labeled " the " representive of scientific research and the truth that has never been consistently criticised and won all challengers, that makes one wonder if the whole article is anything but either a political discourse or a piece of propaganda.
It is pretty obvious that he built most his career on the midia by chasing Geller for many years .
I beg to differ with you on this one. From my own personal observations from television and national magazines through out my youth Randi was certainly well known in the world of magic and with the public long before Uri Geller came along. User:kazuba 11 Nov 2010
I agree with kazuba--the content of the entry makes it clear that he was an established figure in popular culture prior to and independent of Geller. It might be accurate to say that the Geller controversy helped him make his name as a public figure of skepticism, but even in skepticism he's done many noteworthy things that didn't involve Geller (e.g., going after faith healers, his role in the Benveniste affair, Project Alpha, his investigation of the Columbus poltergeist case, his public demonstrations of psychic surgery, and on and on). Lippard (talk) 03:37, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
Moreover, people here are so quick to delete dissent voices, once it comes to skeptics biographies here that I see anything but a democratic debate ( and I doubt these words I am typing now will last long ).
It is no help to cite here a lots of scholarly articles on how Randi and some of the CSICOP are consistently criticised by their methods and atttitudes and also explain how they should not be taken as the sole representatives of Science research on PSI ( of which I doubt the existence before one says anything ).
Thanks for the tips on setting up an account guys. I will think it over. Before I forget: Good bye tag !  :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 201.67.217.228 (talkcontribs) 30 October 2010

E-mail[edit]

Chaoticfluffy, about sharing your e-mail address in public, which you redacted: good call. I have explained on the IP's talkpage how to enable wikipedia e-mail (i.e. by creating an account). Also warned them about edit warring by repeatedly reinserting the neutrality tag. Bishonen | talk 23:02, 30 October 2010 (UTC).

The article about James Randi is not correct[edit]

Quote: "The JREF sponsors The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge offering a prize of US$1,000,000 to applicants[6] who can demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event, under test conditions agreed to by both parties."

Comment: This is not true. James Randi dictates the test conditions and there are no compromises. If a person says: "Let me demonstrate this and this, but I am not interested in any money reward, only the investigation and demonstration of paranormal phenomena," James Randi will refuse. The one million dollar reward is simply a gimmick, a magicians's trick to draw away the audience's attention to the fact, that James Randi is being unreasonable in his demands to the person under test. A million dollar reward seems to justify almost anything. (Rasmussen, Denmark) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.184.183.177 (talk) 08:53, 27 November 2010

Unless there's a source to support these assertions this is an unhelpful contribution.   Will Beback  talk  10:25, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Anyone, who responds to the James Randi challenge will meet the (fixed) terms set for the challenge and find out that they are not for negotiation. This information (or rather: warning) is very helpful for anyone considering responding the James Randi challenge. (Rasmussen, Denmark)—Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.184.183.177 (talk) 11:22, 27 November 2010

We're not here to warn people. We're here to summarize reliable sources using the neutral point of view.   Will Beback  talk  11:41, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

You ask me to provide a source. Here it is: THE SIXTEEN OFFICIAL RULES GOVERNING THE JREF CHALLENGE. Is that OK? (Rasmussen, Denmark) Will you edit the main article now, so that the rreaders will not get the impression that the "test conditions are agreed to by both parties"? (Rasmussen, Denmark)—Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.184.183.177 (talk) 13:59, 27 November 2010

That source does not support the claims you're making, so the answer is no. Also, if you can't figure out how to sign your posts, that's ok, but please don't delete the sig put there by the bot. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 14:24, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Who can take the million dollar challenge?[edit]

There is a common misunderstanding that pretty much anyone can take part. BullRangifer's recently revert on the basis that "Anyone can apply" exemplifies this, and indeed anyone could take part a few years ago. However, the current JREF rules very explicitly state that only a tightly limited subset of the general population will be considered as applicants. This limit screen outs time-wasters, the mentally ill and so on.

My original solution to the inadequacy of the word "anyone" was to replace it with "eligible persons". This was choice of wording was legalistically neutral precisely to avoid the tedium of POV wars. My second edit intended no expression of POV either. It was an attempt to exhibit zero ambiguity - BullRangifer had misunderstood before.

A good article lede should actively discourage perpetuation of verifiably superseded information. Using an unqualified "participants" as the replacement for "anyone" totally fails in this respect. I'm therefore reinserting minimalist mention of the eligibility concept. If you see POV in this, please feel free to thrash out an alternative below these words. K2709 (talk) 21:49, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

This is a bio of James Randi. The edits you made were to the lead of this article. The lead of this article is not the place to explicate every niggling detail of the JREF challenge. Furthermore, the lead was accurate in stating that the million dollars is offered to "applicants". If you think this requires a more detailed explanation that is not currently available to Wikipedia readers, go to the relevant section of the JREF article and have a go at improving it. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 23:30, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
If you think the material should have been moved to a section other than the Lead, then you should've moved it to that section, and not delete it outright from the article. Moving to the section on the Challenge would've at least been a fair compromise, and not exhibited the appearance of tendentious editing. As for POV, that policy has nothing to do with the level of detail appropriate to a given section. Nightscream (talk) 23:52, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
No, you're either not paying attention or pretending to be stupider than you actually are. That material doesn't belong in ANY section of THIS article, certainly not the lead, because it is not information about the life of James Randi. The JREF article has a very detailed section on the challenge, which already discusses changes to the challenge. If you think it belongs there, put it there. Contrary to what you may think, I am not your slave and it's not my job to run all over Wikipedia finding a place for the information you want included. Now stop trying to edit war your changes into the article. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 00:06, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Steven, if you want to disagree with me or any other editor, you do so by citing the relevant policies, guidelines principles of good writing, and by focusing on the evidence or reasoning offered for each person's position. You do not attack or insult others by calling them "stupid" or claiming they're not paying attention simply because you disagree with them. Ever. Policies such as WP:Civility are as important as any other that you cite with regards to good article writing, and are not to be cast aside because you don't feel like following them.

I indeed paid close attention to your edits and your talk page messages, and I responded accordingly. You emphasized, in both your edit summaries and in your messages here, that the Lead was not the appropriate place to include the level of detail initially in the article, and I agreed, first by reducing the quote to a simple adjective or qualifier, and then moving it to the right section. If you wanted to opine that it should be in a different article entirely, then you should have done so. The wording you chose did not convey this to me, and since I simply wasn't aware that the JREF had its own article, I responded to your statements about the Lead by pointing out that the word "eligible" could've been moved to the right section, as per your concerns. As I said, this would've been a fair compromise, pursuant to civil collaboration and dispute resolution, and has nothing to do with being anyone's "slave", or "running all over Wikipedia", much less "edit warring".

In the future, please try to resolve such disputes without attacking those you disagree with. Peace, Steven. Nightscream (talk) 02:00, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

More importantly, the lead of an article is definitely not the place to deliberately allow common misunderstandings to be perpetuated. You are using the word "applicants" in a very non-standard sense, a sense that no reader without prior knowledge could possibly suspect. According to this sense, the act of applying does not make one an applicant; you must additionally and counter-intuitively...be a minor celebrity. Two neutral words in place of one trap-laden one is not explication of every niggling detail, that is ridiculous. Repetition of the million dollar sum just a few words apart in that same sentence causes you no concern. K2709 (talk) 21:01, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

First, may I request that we please keep the comments in chronological order. I think that mixing them up makes it harder to follow the order in which the conversation has unfolded and respond to them.

Use of the word "applicant" is accurate, since people tested have to apply. That there are other criteria is true, but this does not mean "applicant" is incorrect. The word connotes application, but does not carry with it the completely unrelated notion that there aren't other factors involved. What reader with no prior knowledge would understand otherwise? Including "eligible" before the word "applicant" can convey this, but removing the word "applicant" goes to the extreme of removing application entirely from the process, which makes no sense. How does wanting to convey that application isn't the only criterion lead one to edit it out as even one of them? Nightscream (talk) 23:07, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Sorry about the ordering! There are other factors and there are other factors. The particular other factors here reduce the potential participant pool from billions to at most thousands - an unarmed reader wouldn't naturally assume that kind of unstated dynamic, nor would one who was aware of previous challenge publicity but was out of date. I don't object to the word used in such a way as to elucidate rather than brush aside information, that's a positive step - thank you. K2709 (talk) 13:30, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Use of Skeptico and Randi.org to source information on the Challenge[edit]

On a Skeptiko podcast Randi has stated "I freely admit it (the Million Dollar Challenge) is a theatrical stunt, but it has its place, it has accomplished at least to bring some doubt into some of the believers minds as to why these million dollars have not been snapped up." [5] Kazuba (talk) 01:27, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

cur | prev) 00:33, 13 December 2010 Nightscream (talk | contribs) (58,271 bytes) (1 space between sections is enough, not three; No reason for this to be in the Lead; ce; etc.) (undo) Totally removed.

So it is not in the lead, so you delete it rather than move it somewhere else? Why? I think this revealing Randi statement on Skeptiko tells the reader about the motives and theatrical showmanship of James Randi. He was an entertainer. Is that supposed to remain a secret? Certainly this statement should be debated on the Randi discussion page before it is entirely removed...
Randi has been one of my heroes in magic. I do not like Randi's statement. I thought he was above such things. But I never made my lively hood from show business. Perhaps that is how you play the game. I do not believe it should be entirely deleted. Please reply on Randi dicussion page. Kazuba (talk) 01:01, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Nightscream's advice to another contributor: 27 November 2010 Nightscream (talk | contribs) (57,807 bytes) (If the material belongs in a different section, then you should move it to that section, and not delete it outright from the article.) This looks like a double standard to me. Kazuba (talk) 01:50, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

REMOVED AGAIN.(cur | prev) 01:52, 13 December 2010 Steven J. Anderson (talk | contribs) (57,845 bytes) (→The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge: Not a chance. This web forum fails WP:RS by about a thousand miles.) (undo) What you can hear Randi say on a podcast just DOES NOT matter.. Kazuba (talk) 02:12, 13 December 2010 (UTC) Next time I communicate with Randi I'll let him know. Gee! Why does Randi speak on JREF? What is it? on recorded Swift videos? Doesn't he know it means nothing to Wikipedians? It has to be published. Oh, Well!! Kazuba (talk) 02:41, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

The point you're missing, Kazuba, is that you sourced this material to a web forum that is, frankly, one of the worst sources I've ever seen anyone try to use on Wikipedia. I mean, seriously, a web forum? Where any jamoke off the street can post anything he wants without restriction? That's just not gonna happen. Now I suppose it's possible for someone to come up with a better source for the claim that he made that statement, but you just can't expect other editors to jump through hoops and run in circles trying to clean up the poorly sourced work you do here.
Furthermore, there is another article James Randi Educational Foundation which contains a more detailed discussion of the challenge where this sort of thing would be better placed. Bear in mind of course that anything you say about Randi must comply with WP:BLP regardless of what article you put it in. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 02:43, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

You are missing the point Steven J. Anderson if you LISTEN to the podcast you can hear Randi SAY it. I only directed to a trans script excerpt. I figured if anyone was really curious they would LISTEN to the podcast. What anyone can POST in response to that stuff, and they do POST some weird stuff, just really doesn't matter. Kazuba (talk) 03:09, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

No, it really does matter. That's why Wikipedia has a reliable source policy that specifically excludes sources like the one you used. If you want to put the material in with an acceptable source, you will have at least followed Wikipedia's reliable source policy, but I think it would be far more appropriate to place it at the JREF article, bearing in mind, of course, that there are other policies that may apply. (I personally think this is an insignificant detail that doesn't bear mentioning, but that's a matter of opinion.) What's not a matter of opinion is that WP:BLP says that poorly sourced statements (like the one you inserted) about living persons must go until they are adequately sourced. That policy is non-negotiable and trumps consensus. If you're having trouble understanding any of this, you may benefit from perusing WP:COMPETENCE. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 03:42, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Policy does not "trump" consensus, because consensus is sometimes needed to determine what the proper interpretation of a policy is, particularly with respect to a given piece of material, in this case, whether a particular source meets WP:IRS.

If the subject of a BLP, or other relevant source is seen or heard making the statement in question in an audio or video clip, as long as there is no question as to whether it is him/her, then where that clip is hosted is hosted is unimportant, since a user can see that it is indeed that person, which satisfies Verifiability. My problem with that page is that I don't see a link for the podcast in question. I also think the remark about publicity is not that vitally important to either article.

Lastly, I would advise against presuming that disagreement with another editor automatically indicates lack of "understanding" on their part, or that citing inflammatory essays like WP:COMPETENCE are a constructive solution during disputes such as this. Essays like that are not policies, do not represent any consensus or widespread view, have no place on Wikipedia in the first place, only lend themselves to remarks like the one above that may be interpreted as insults. Nightscream (talk) 04:47, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

One reason why a reliable source is needed is that it quite easy for nonreliable sources to cherry pick items to convey a certain POV that may be misleading. Perhaps Randi did say something at a particular time and place, but you need a reliable source to give some assurance that the comment was not a joke or a misstatement, where the words convey a false impression.
Re the issue, I believe we are talking about adding On a Skeptiko podcast Randi has stated "I freely admit it is a theatrical stunt, but it has its place, it has accomplished at least to bring some doubt into some of the believers minds as to why these million dollars have not been snapped up." ref to James Randi#The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge. But what is this quote supposed to suggest?
According to the nonreliable source, the context is that Randi was answering a question which included "I saw you on TV holding out a $10,000 cheque...who could say no to that?". Randi's reply was:

Well, a lot of people do say no to that. They say it's a theatrical stunt which I freely admit it is a theatrical stunt, but it has its place, it has accomplished at least to bring some doubt into some of the believers minds as to why these million dollars have not been snapped up.

The quote probably means that Randi uses the stunt of offering a pile of money to attract attention, but the offer is genuine and the fact that the million dollars has not been won should bring doubt to the minds of believers. Other people might interpret the extract to imply that the Million Dollar Challenge is not genuine (claiming that it's only a stunt). The quote has to unambiguously mean something for it to be useful in an encyclopedic article, or it has to be accompanied by a secondary source with an analysis. Johnuniq (talk) 06:38, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
This is going to be my last post on this thread. Kazuba introduced poorly sourced material to a BLP. I deleted it. I was right to do that. This is black-letter Wikilaw. There's nothing to debate. I've spent all evening trying to explain this to him, but he's unwilling or unable to get the explanation. The only explanations for that are a failure of competence or "I didn't hear that" problems. Here is a quote from WP:BLP: "Remove immediately any contentious material about a living person that is unsourced or poorly sourced ..." That either means what it says or it doesn't. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 06:40, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Steven, you really need to calm down. Stop accusing others of incompetence, and making similar personal comments. I already warned you in the past about this sort of thing here and here, and if you continue, you risk being blocked from editing.

If explaining policies and their proper interpretation to those not as familiar with them as you takes more than a five-hour series of exchanges, then so be it. Those of us with a bit more patience, and bit more civility than you are more than able and willing to discuss things with editors like Kazuba, regardless of your "there's nothing to debate" dismissal, since if there were nothing to debate, then we wouldn't be debating, now would we? Personally, I am confident that the messages that preceded your most recent one from myself and Johnuniq may be sufficient to explain to Kazuba the nuances here. Johnuniq's post in particular neatly explains the reasons why that forum quote is not a good source. I'm guessing that it will now be clear to Kazuba, but if he/she has any further questions, I'll be happy to take it from here.

In the meantime, please read up on WP:Civility. That policy is as important as WP:BLP. Happy Holidays. Nightscream (talk) 13:18, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

At the age of 81, Randi came out as gay in a post on the JREF Swift blog in March 2010. Shouldn't this also be removed because the source is tagged as coming from his own SWIFT blog. Isn't this self promoted. Here is a quote from WP:BLP: "Remove immediately any contentious material about a living person that is unsourced or poorly sourced ..." That either means what it says or it doesn't. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 06:40, 13 December 2010 (UTC) Well, exactly what does it mean? There are double standards? People who BELIEVE in James Randi can play by other rules? Shouldn't it read: James Randi no longer says he is gay Kazuba (talk) 08:06, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Please find another way to continue the previous discussion (i.e. do not edit with "Monkey business" as edit summary). If you want to question whether a source is reliable, try WP:RSN. Johnuniq (talk) 09:17, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Kazuba, reading Wikipedia's policy about biographies you'll find explanations for both why a forum anyone can contribute to isn't seen as a reliable source and why Randi's official statement (in this case) is. Six words (talk) 11:33, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Kazuba, statements about oneself are not "promotional", unless they are unduly self-serving, and/or are not relevant to a person's notability. A BLP subject is naturally the best source for their own sexual orientation, so this obviously falls into that range of material that can be self-published. See WP:ABOUTSELF for more on this.

In any event, how would the lack of a source for his coming out as gay mean that he no longer admits that he's gay, or that the passage in the article should be changed to state that "Randi did not come out as gay..."? If a source is insufficient, then the material should be tagged or removed. Not edited to state the opposite idea. And why did you use use the edit summary "monkey business" for this edit? Doing this carries the appearance that it was vandalism. Nightscream (talk) 13:04, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

I called it monkey business because, nightscream, you are playing double standards. POSTS have nothing to do with both entries either from Skeptiko or Randi's blog. (You can use a blog as a source?) I am dealing with what Randi SAYS. The words he SPEAKS in both entries. Why can't you get that? When Randi SPEAKS on his blog and SAYS "he is gay" this is acceptable for the Randi entry but when Randi SPEAKS in a Skeptiko intervue and SAYS "the Million Dollar Challenge was a theatrical stunt" it is NOT acceptable in the Randi entry. How can that be? This looks like favoritism and censorship to me. I do not see how this is objective. If Randi speaks HERE it is golden. If Randi speaks THERE it JUST DOESN'T MATTER. DELETE IT. People POST things on the Skeptiko FORUM that you are unhappy with. So what? The FORUM and the INTERVIEW on Skeptiko have nothing to do with each other. The forum is for listeners' comments not for adding material to the words of the person being interviewed. These are two different distinct and seperate formats. You want to put them together and make yourself happy. When Randi says something you think is unpleasant Randi remains untouchable. Randi has inferred he did not come up with the the MDC for science. He infers he came up with it to make headlines for himself and to be a center of attention on talk shows and the media. I think this should be pointed out. Obvious you don't. I get the feeling (and of course I could be wrong. But I see no evidence of that) that you want it all swept under the carpet. In fact, if it is added to the Randi entry this unpleasant data should be inserted down near the end so it will not draw attention and maybe skipped over by the reader. I think it should be at the beginning so the reader can find out how Randi ticks right-away. How readers interpret Randi's statements is totally up to them. We have no business telling them the way to interpret Randi's words. This is a speech commentary show? (WOW. Did I say all that? I get on here kinda seldom. Nothing like a what? 5 hour exchange.) Kazuba (talk) 20:29, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

First of all, please do not create new section headings for individual messages. Headings are intended to group discussions together, and creating a new one for a new message makes it harder to see where one discussion ends and a different one begins.

Edit summaries should clearly summarize your edit, and/or any relevant policies under which you were operating when making it. Writing "monkey business" in your edit summary does not clearly convey your intent, and could be construed as intentionally disruptive. Please adhere to WP:EDITSUM when writing your edit summaries.

Regarding the rest of your message, I never said anything about posts or listeners' comments. The policies have been explained to you quite clearly, by myself and others, so if you want to dispute that we are relating those policies accurately, or accurately interpreting them, then you should provide some type of counterargument explaining why you feel this way. Simply saying, "How can that be? This looks like favoritism and censorship to me." implies that you either do not understand the policies as we have explained them to you, or have not even bothered reading our messages to you. Let me see if I can explain it to you again.

According to Wikipedia's policy regarding the use of self-published sources for information that the subject of the article gives about themselves, which you can read yourself at WP:ABOUTSELF:

Self-published and questionable sources may be used as sources of information about themselves, usually in articles about themselves or their activities, without the requirement in the case of self-published sources that they be published experts in the field, so long as:

  1. the material is not unduly self-serving;
  2. it does not involve claims about third parties;
  3. it does not involve claims about events not directly related to the source;
  4. there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity;
  5. the article is not based primarily on such sources.

Because a BLP subject is naturally the best source on things such as where they live, what they're favorite food is, who influenced them, what their sexual orientation is, etc., using the JREF site, or Randi's own blog entry in which he came out as gay, as the source for adding that material to the article, is perfectly within that policy, and perfectly reasonable.

By contrast, if an uncredentialed blog is relating things that Randi said, that's different. In order to meet the requirements of Reliability, a source has to have obtained some standing as a reliable source in the industry or area of study in question. If, however, it statement in question is an audio or video clip, then in my opinion, this is moot, so long as there is no dispute that the person seen or heard in the clip is indeed the BLP subject in question, and the clip has not been unduly edited. Now I cannot see the link to the clip in question at that page, as I mentioned before, but if you can point it out to me, I'd appreciate it. Saying that a given person is a reliable source about aspects of their own life, but a blog created by uncredentialed persons is not is not a "double standard", it's just a truth. When an expert witness is called to give expert testimony in a court of law, they're naturally going to call someone with credentialed expertise in the field in question, and not just some guy off the street. That is not a "double standard", any more than this is.

That said, even if the clip's authenticity/reliability is satisfied, there are other principles involved in good encyclopedia writing that help determine whether or how to include that information. Specifically, whether it's presented in context, and whether that information is proportionately relevant to an article on Randi, as opposed to an article on the Million Dollar Challenge. Johnuniq pointed this out above in his 6:38 post today:

But what is this quote supposed to suggest? According to the nonreliable source, the context is that Randi was answering a question which included "I saw you on TV holding out a $10,000 cheque...who could say no to that?". Randi's reply was:

Well, a lot of people do say no to that. They say it's a theatrical stunt which I freely admit it is a theatrical stunt, but it has its place, it has accomplished at least to bring some doubt into some of the believers minds as to why these million dollars have not been snapped up.

The quote probably means that Randi uses the stunt of offering a pile of money to attract attention, but the offer is genuine and the fact that the million dollars has not been won should bring doubt to the minds of believers. Other people might interpret the extract to imply that the Million Dollar Challenge is not genuine (claiming that it's only a stunt). The quote has to unambiguously mean something for it to be useful in an encyclopedic article, or it has to be accompanied by a secondary source with an analysis.

This has nothing to do with "favoritism", "censorship", what is "golden", what "doesn't matter" or whether some piece of material is "unpleasant", since I have no opinion about the Challenge's publicity purposes being "unpleasant", and no motive to sweep anything "under the carpet". If someone wants to add a brief passage or clause, either on this article or in the JREF article, that the Challenge is at least in part for publicity, I have no problem with that, so long as Wikipedia policies and principles of good writing are satisfied. The Lead is a summary of the article's most salient points, and this point is a minor one. Nightscream (talk) 21:50, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

If someone added "in part for publicity" this is adding a personal interpretation. I like quotes. Randi never said "in part for publicity" Randi. Randi said the MDC was a "theatrical stunt and it has its place." One can not say this probably means something else. It means what the words say. I cannot see reinterpreting his statement. This doesn't make any sense to me. I don't think someone edited the Skeptiko audio interview to get this. And as for the Randi blog you can edit a video and its audio just as well. Just because you see it. It makes no difference. That's what some deception in magic is all about. All recordings are suspect. I do the best I can on the wikipedia. There is no way I could make any sense out of your user: page. I am not that computer literate [It was just 3 weeks ago when I found out from a child what an I pod is.] so I could not leave a note there. And isn't the sandbox just a wordpad. So you can straighten out your stuff before it goes on the wikipedia. Kazuba (talk) 23:32, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Again, the threshold for editing is what serves the article best, in terms of good writing and the policies that maintain the project's quality, and not whether "you like quotes". Quotes should not be included for such arbitrary reasons, and it is for this reason that we employ paraphrasing, which is to restate an idea with other words. It does not mean interpreting it to "mean something else". Responding to this by saying "Randi never said this" ignores the fact that paraphrasing is the legitimate means by which original material is properly related. The paraphrase that I suggested is one possible way to relate what he said in a way that can be incorporated into the relevant passage. Another might be to insert the following blue text in the section on the Challenge:

The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) currently offers a prize of one million U.S. dollars to eligible applicants who can demonstrate a supernatural ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria. Similar to the paranormal challenges of John Nevil Maskelyne and Houdini, in 1964, the Challenge, which is intended to raise public awareness of scientific skepticism, and to cast doubt on those who advocate psychic and other phenomena, first began when Randi put up $1,000 of his own money, payable to anyone who could provide objective proof of the paranormal."

Regarding the rest of your message, you either aren't making an genuine attempt to understand the issues that we have been trying to explain to you, or just don't care to. It doesn't matter if you think the Skeptiko interview was not edited, or that Randi is capable of editing a clip on his site. The point is that certain types of sources are reliable, and some are not, and with regards to that, a BLP subject's official site is a valid source for certain types of information about themselves, but an uncredentialed blog is not. Nightscream (talk) 00:35, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Oh! Kazuba (talk) 04:24, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

I fail to see how paraphrasing the subject's quote somehow improves the understanding of that quote. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:40, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

I never said it did. There is no justification for that statement to be taken out of context and not be given undue weight with a direct quote. Nightscream (talk) 16:45, 19 December 2010 (UTC)
How is quoting the article's subject "undue weight"? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:06, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

I didn't say it did. The point is that giving 'this particular bit of material a direct quote would be, because it's not that salient vis a vis Randi's notability. It's a minor point, slightly descriptive of the Million Dollar Challenge, that at best, should be incorporated into the passage that describes the Challenge, and not something that deserves its own direct quote. Nightscream (talk) 23:54, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Atheist again[edit]

Randi is a vocal atheist. Why is User:Bloggyelf removing the bit from the infobox? Is it regarding the role of the infobox vs the article body and categories? Article editors to date have been okay with keeping it in. Binksternet (talk) 16:04, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

He has now violated the three revert rule and refuses to discuss this at all on the talk page, so the case for getting him banned is getting pretty strong.Prebys (talk) 21:27, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
Starting small, probably, with a short block. Binksternet (talk) 21:32, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

I've started a discussion about religion in infoboxes (in general) based on this episode. For what it is worth, I don't think it is necessary to include religion in the infobox, since it is discussed in more detail in the article and since the article is included in Category: American atheists. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 20:50, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Was the user ever blocked? If so it must have expired because they are at it again... –CWenger (^@) 00:39, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
The 24 hour block expired, but now he is blocked for 60 hours. Let's see what happens on 17 July; see if the warring continues. Binksternet (talk) 02:09, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Is it possible to see someone's block history? Why doesn't it show up here? –CWenger (^@) 18:53, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
I think you're looking at the page that would log any blocks made by Bloggyelf, rather than against them. Their block log for blocks issued against them is here. A fluffernutter is a sandwich! (talk) 19:12, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
Ahhh, of course. I figured that's what I was looking at but couldn't figure out how to reverse it. Thanks so much. –CWenger (^@) 19:23, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Yes. Bloggyelf's is here. The easiest way to get there if you don't have popups or a similar gadget is to go the the history page for this article (or any page he has edited) and find Bloggyelf's name. Clicking on the link labeled "contribs" after his name takes you to his contribution history. In the upper left corner of that page, under the large text "User contributions", you'll find this list of links: "For Bloggyelf (talk | block log | uploads | logs | filter log)". Click on the words "block log" and you're there. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 19:34, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Looking at bios, there's not a lot of consistency in what's included in the info box. Things like religion or political party are typically included if they have some relevance to the person's actions and/or notoriety. Since atheism is rather central to Randi's philosophy, it certainly seems perfectly appropriate to include it here. In any event, the fact that User:Bloggyelf insists on constantly reverting edits without even entering into discussion is out of line.Prebys (talk) 18:32, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

1956 newspapers[edit]

In this recent edit, a brand new editor implies improved knowledge of two 1956 articles from the Toronto Star. I don't have access to microform of the Star for 2006, let alone 1956; would somebody else like to judge this edit? -- Hoary (talk) 10:51, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Looking at the **1986** According to some blogger, here is the 1986 article. Found a link to the 1986 here so that article looks genuine. It sounds like he was following in Houdini's footsteps in parts of his early career so that makes the 1956 jailbreak claims plausible but since I can't find the 1956 ref text, who knows. --Javaweb (talk) 13:59, 16 July 2011 (UTC)Javaweb
First of all, both of the venues in which that article is shown are user-generated, one being a personal blog, and the other being a message forum. This is not an acceptable source under WP:USERG.
Second, even if we were the put that aside (since the citation does not require an online link, just the print publication info), the fact that the article is legitimate does not mean that Accessbutter97's edits were. That source make no mention of anything that supports the following passage that Accessbutter97 added:

At school he was a shy but brilliant student, scoring up to 168 in IQ tests. He often skipped school. One day he wandered into a performance by legendary magician Harry Blackstone Sr. The boy was hooked, and Blackstone took him on as an apprentice.

Or this one:

As an escape artist, he performed numerous jailbreaks all over the world.

This material is unsourced per WP:V. Nightscream (talk) 17:24, 16 July 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I saved my previous talk entry before completing it. It is a little confusing. The facts very well might be in the **1956** reference which I cannot easily find online. I have not seen what is in the **1956** reference. My comments above describe the separate **1986** source. The **1986** reference is well sourced. It is from a major newspaper with enough details to track it down. There is no requirement that it be available online. I have provided the text from unofficial sources as a check. It would be a tremendous amount of effort to fake an entire **1986** news article and the material makes sense with what else we know about Randi. The **1956** article sounds promising but I have no way to verify it either way. --Javaweb (talk) 18:14, 16 July 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

Criticism of Randi[edit]

I have found out something and I would like to hear other opinions if this is relevant for Wikipedia. 2004 there was a well-known media event in Germany, the "Paranormal challenge" in Würzburg. Together with Randi the German section of the CSI(COP), the GWUP, set up an event where several persons tested alleged psychic abilities. Randi was himself at the event and overseeing it. The event was well documented in the "Skeptiker" magazine, the distribution organ of the GWUP.

Some years later during vehemently defending JREF, Randi stated in SWIFT a deliberate lie which can be proved by accessing the documentation by the GWUP.

One one hand: This observation has not been printed before by a source which people will accept as reliable by Wikipedia standards ("The Daily Grail"). But given the documented sources (which would be available for everyone) anyone can prove the lie. Still it is the question how exactly it does come in conflict with WP:NOR and WP:BLP, so I need some feedback about this.

On the other hand: The integrity of the whole million dollar challenge comes in question if it can be shown that Randi lies and distorts the truth if it is convienient for him. Think about it: How many dollar "challenges" are available on the net if you can "prove" something and you will ignore them because you cannot trust the people who present them.

And it was not a relatively private event, it was featured in the German media.

I am also a bit astonished that the description of Randi lacks criticism at all. Even the infamous "Climate change" denial which caused quite an uproar in the scienceblogs followed by a hasty retraction is not mentioned. Seeing the discussion I am inclined to assume that there are many people here who are severely disinclined to allow criticism at all. --136.172.253.10 (talk) 17:39, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for bringing this to our attention? What are the sources? Can you name them here, with their complete publication info? If any of them are online sources, can you provide links? Do the sources accuse him of lying, or are you concluding this based on the sources, which would be WP:SYNTH? Nightscream (talk) 17:50, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for bringing this to our attention?
Never mind because for example I did not know about WP:SYNTH.
What are the sources ?
- Randis own organ, SWIFT http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swift-blog/169-swift-february-29-2008.html
- the documentation about the Würzburg Test refuting Randis claim, the Skeptiker 2/2005 http://www.gwup.org/zeitschrift/skeptiker-archiv/155-skeptiker-2005-2
- the publication of the accusation on DailyGrail http://www.dailygrail.com/Skeptics/2008/3/Randis-Sleight-Hand
Best regards --136.172.253.10 (talk) 18:21, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
This seems to be a rather drawn out dispute about what was said and what happened at this event 7 years ago. Could you be a little more specific about what exactly you would like to see in the article?Prebys (talk) 21:53, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

My first proposal: (Title:)Criticism (Text:) Randi has been accused to not only ridiculing his opponents, but actually distorting the truth during his attacks on opponents. The Daily Grail[Link] cites an incidence where Randi claims: (Passages of SWIFT as citation) Contrary to the claim of Randi Suitbert Ertel was neither participating as candidate for the challenge nor was he tested as can be shown on the documentation of the Würzburg event[Link]. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 136.172.253.13 (talk) 20:25, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Unsubstantiated documentary claim[edit]

I cannot find anything in Google to support this edit. --Javaweb (talk) 16:02, 27 October 2011 (UTC)Javaweb

Nope, can't find anything either - zero relevant results for a "justin weinstein" "james randi" Google search. If nothing's out there yet, Wikipedia shouldn't be writing about it yet. --McGeddon (talk) 16:16, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

File:JREF TAM9 Beard Photo.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Separate Page for Million Dollar Challenge?[edit]

What do people think about creating a separate page for the million dollar challenge? Clearly, it should be included in the Randi page, as well as in the James Randi Educational Foundation page, but given how well known this challenge is, shouldn't it have its own separate page? It seems like a plausible search term. And, it's a topic that is frequently discussed on this page (probably more so than any other topic.) Thoughts?JoelWhy (talk) 21:14, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Has merit but soon as it is created, someone will try to merge it to Randi. Waste of time and effort. Moriori (talk) 22:30, 4 May 2012 (UTC)

Scientific skeptic[edit]

Whatever the above phrase is meant to mean (someone who mistrusts science?) it does not appear in the sources given. If it is meant to suggest that Randi is a scientist, that is misleading. Redheylin (talk) 03:35, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

The ref clearly identifies Randi as a skeptic and the topics which he is skeptical of - scientific claims not actually backed by science. if you have a problem with the term debate it here, don't delete refs on a wholesale basis. Your edit also deleted the ref that indicated he was a magician. I have restored the accurate information. --Daffydavid (talk) 04:18, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Sorry for delay - no problem saying that R. is a debunker of phony science - and of many barely-scientific subjects too - the problem is in suggesting or implying that he is himself a scientist: this is the matter not supported by the given citations. This happens when you call him a "scientific" this or that: it implies that he is qualified to peer-review research - he is not. Thx. Redheylin (talk) 23:17, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Firstly, get consensus, don't re-insert your change without it, see WP:BRD. secondly, Scientific skepticism has a precise definition, we are using the word for that usage. If someone misunderstands the word they will quickly realize their mistake when they look at the respective article. IRWolfie- (talk) 23:34, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
There is an article on "scientific scepticism", that's true, yet the article is basically a synthesis, lacking authority and general currency in science and philosophy, that shows the term is no more than the jargon of an ideological cult that exists in a Wikipedia walled garden, having no importance except to amateur pseudo-skeptical pseudo-scientists. Hence, as I said in the beginning, the claim in question lacks citations - this plain fact certainly does not require consensus. It is unacceptable to suggest that readers must be initiated into a cult's special language if they are to avoid a misunderstanding intentionally inserted in English. Redheylin (talk) 13:33, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
The article manifestly relies upon in-house and in-cult sources - see references. It begins the lede which, as admitted above, requires further reading to find that the meaning of the term "scientific sceptic" is not the ordinary meaning of these words, but a special meaning, again derived from sources close to the subject, and is therefore unclear to the general reader. Redheylin (talk) 13:40, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
That is precisely why we have links to other pages here, so we don't have to explicitly explain every term on every page it is used on. How many editors have now disagreed with your viewpoint and contested your drive by tagging of this article? Consensus exists and it is against you, stop you slo mo edit war to insert tags that are basically meamingless. Heiro 18:53, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Date of appearance on "That' My Line"[edit]

Randi appeared on this show in response to the December 1980 appearance of James Hydrick on "That's Incredible". Most online refs state that the appearance was in 1981 but I cannot find a definitive date. To get someone to appear on a different show back in 1980 in less than 1 month is improbable. Another editor states that this Wikipedia article and Imdb stated 1980 so that must be the true date, however the date on Imdb is relation to the series not 1 show and a unrefed item on Wikipedia is not reliable. Does anyone have the actual air date? --Daffydavid (talk) 17:19, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

A comment left here - http://www.wired.com/table_of_malcontents/2007/03/james_randi_bob/#disqus_thread appears to be by Randi himself and indicates Feb/81.--Daffydavid (talk) 20:32, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

The External Links section is getting a tad too long. I'm going to go through and remove dead links and incorporate as much as possible into the actual article.Dustinlull (talk) 23:40, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

I'm removing the "Criticisms" links from the External Links section. If a "Criticisms" section is warranted in the article, then listing three WP:PRIMARY links under the heading "Criticism" doesn't seem like the ideal way to do it. The External Links needs trimmed, and this seems like a logical cut.Dustinlull (talk) 03:08, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:James Randi/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: The Devil's Advocate (talk · contribs) 00:41, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Given the numerous issues with this article I feel this would meet the quick-fail criteria, but I am going to give a little latitude since there seem to be quite a few active editors. First off is just the preliminary overview of where I feel it passes and fails:

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:
    Pass/Fail:

Now, the tag that keeps getting removed is clearly valid, but there are other issues not explicitly addressed by that tag. The most glaring issue for me is the "legal disputes" section, which is filled with BLP problems. Specifically, citing Randi's foundation almost exclusively for claims about third parties such as Geller and Dubois is inappropriate. If third-party sources discuss all these legal disputes with third parties then those sources should be used and, if such sources do not exist, the material should be removed. Also, a lot of the wording in this article reads more like a glowing review then an encyclopedic biography and it clearly isn't stable with the edit-warring over the tag, the "scientific skeptic" wording, and other content disputes. Until these problems are resolved the stability issue will remain an impediment as well. I will try to provide a more detailed listing of the problems tomorrow.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 02:56, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

The following is a list of the problematic material I have found in the article that still needs to be fixed, not including the legal dispute section I mention above:

Lede
  • " . . . which he collectively calls 'woo-woo'"
  • No mention of this in the article body.
  • "Although often referred to as a "debunker", Randi rejects that title owing to its perceived bias, instead describing himself as an 'investigator'."
  • Same problem as above, except it does not even seem to be in the cited source, and the bolded phrase is editorializing. If this is Randi's perception then that should be made clear.
Early life
  • "He took up magic after seeing Harry Blackstone, Sr and reading magic books while spending 13 months in a body cast following a bicycle accident. He confounded doctors who expected he would never walk again."
  • First sentence is rambling. The part of the sentence dealing with him spending time in a body cast should be split off into a new sentence or combined with the second sentence. Additionally, the second sentence seems a bit sensationalist in its wording. Everything after the bit about Blackstone also appears to be a close paraphrasing of the news article.
  • "Although a brilliant student . . ."
  • Puffery. Would be easier note his IQ level, which is mentioned in the article.
  • " . . . posed as a psychic to establish that they were actually doing simple tricks and briefly wrote an astrological column in the Canadian tabloid Midnight under the name "Zo-ran," by simply shuffling up items from newspaper astrology columns and pasting them randomly into a column."
  • Use of simple in both parts is unnecessary puffery. The first bolded phrase is also problematic in its description of his motivations. If he claims in the source that he posed as a psychic to do this, then that should be what the article says, rather than saying it in the editorial voice.
  • " . . . Randi worked in Philippine night clubs and all across Japan."
  • Material about Japan is not in the source.
  • " . . . to convince churchgoers of his divine powers."
  • I cannot find a version of the source for this that is not behind a paywall, but unless it indicates that he has claimed to personally have divine powers, as opposed to claiming that he is communicating with God, this phrasing is a BLP violation.
Career
  • "Randi worked as a professional stage magician, though preferring to be called a "conjurer", and escapologist beginning in 1946, initially under his birth name, Randall Zwinge, and then as The Amazing Randi."
  • This sentence runs on a bit too long and the use of commas is confusing. Splitting this sentence up would make it easier to read.
  • "In the February 2, 1974, issue of Abracadabra (a British conjuring magazine), Randi defined the magic community, saying, 'I know of no calling which depends so much upon mutual trust and faith as does ours.' In the December 2003 issue of The Linking Ring, the monthly publication of The International Brotherhood of Magicians, Points to Ponder: Another Matter of Ethics, p. 97, it is stated, 'Perhaps Randi's ethics are what make him Amazing' and 'The Amazing Randi not only talks the talk, he walks the walk.'"
  • These sources should be cited in the reference section and the second sentence should remove most material about the issue when that is done.
  • " . . . which focused on Houdini and his cohorts."
  • "Cohorts" is a pretty loaded term to use. Sentence changed based on reliable secondary sources IRWolfie- (talk)
  • " . . .on other major paranormal figures"
  • Describing people as paranormal seems inappropriate from a clarity and neutrality perspective.
  • "In 1988, Randi tested the gullibility of the media by perpetrating a hoax of his own. By teaming up with Australia's 60 Minutes program and by releasing a fake press package, he built up publicity for a spirit channeler named Carlos who was actually artist Jose Alvarez, a friend of Randi's. Randi would tell him what to say through sophisticated radio equipment. The media and the public were taken in, as no reporter bothered to check Carlos's credentials and history, which were all fabricated. The hoax was exposed on 60 Minutes; Carlos and Randi explained how they pulled it off."
  • The bolded phrases in this paragraph have a general tone of mockery and triumphalism to them that are unnecessary and not neutral.
  • No citation is provided in the reference section.
Personal life
  • "Randi has said that one reason he became an American citizen was an incident while on tour with Alice Cooper where the Royal Canadian Mounted Police searched the band's lockers during a performance. Nothing was found, yet the RCMP destroyed the room."
  • There needs to be a reliable third-party source to verify that the incident occurred, and the second sentence needs to be reworded as it seems to be overly sympathetic to Randi and hostile to the Mounties.
Awards and honors
  • The claim that he won a Philip J. Klass Award needs to be supported by a source independent of Randi.

Now for some stuff that is a little easier. The two images in the career section need captions that explain the relevance of the image and prompt people to read the article, I feel the JREF image also needs a better caption. I have also tagged a few places where I think there need to be citations. Another issue is the "Unexplainable.net" source used in the paragraph about Hydrick as the other link doesn't appear to work. It is not clear to me that this would qualify as a reliable source. Should someone be able to locate a better source for this I would be satisfied.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 04:21, 7 July 2012 (UTC)

If anyone addresses the issues with one of the specific statements above, I would like it to be crossed off.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 21:48, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
After 20 days with very little change, I do not feel there is much point in keeping this up any longer. Fail for the reasons provided above. These concerns should be easy to address if a sufficiently interested editor comes along and then it can be renominated.--The Devil's Advocate (talk) 17:40, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

Criticism and Randi's Partner[edit]

It doesn't surprise me that my addition of the situation with Randi's partner Deyvi Pena was reverted, but I can see no genuine reason to do this. Randi may have been dishonest on more than one occasion, his knowledge of Pena's true identity being the latest example. Pena was also the central figure in the Carlos Hoax, so his criminal activity is especially relevant. Here is my proposed addition:

On May 29th 2012 James Randi's long term partner, Deyvi Pena was convicted of stealing the identity of Jose Luis Alvarez, a teaching assistant from the Bronx. Pena was sentanced to 6 months house arrest, but may face deportation. He had lived for 24 years under the stolen identity causing numerous problems for the real Alvarez, including an IRS investigation. James Randi confirmed under oath that he had seen Pena's real identity years before, so was aware of the deception. [Burstein, Jon. "Artist pleads guilty to passport fraud", "Sun Sentinel", March 14, 2012][Franceschina, Peter. "Plantation artist avoids prison for stealing man's identity two decades ago", "Sun Sentinel", May 29, 2012]

I hope we can come to an agreement on how to add criticisms. - Solar (talk) 11:44, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

This is silly. Randi knowing that someone else was using a false identity seems hardly noteworthy. JoelWhy?(talk) 12:13, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Right. But even if it was noteworthy, nobody gets to add negative information about a named third party here, Solar. The community has already come to an agreement on that, which is set out in the policy WP:BLP. If you seriously think your addition might be deemed acceptable per policy, please take it to the BLP noticeboard for comment by uninvolved editors. Bishonen | talk 12:41, 12 July 2012 (UTC).
May just be borderline, if the name of the person is omitted. There's a useful source in any case at a more respectable site, even if it is a blog on that site. Javier Cavanilles James Randi, un honrado mentiroso El mundo, 19/03/2012. But as Bish says, this info has to pass the BLP noticeboard to have a chance of being registered here.Nishidani (talk) 15:41, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

We are talking about this edit (text is above) which added a note about "James Randi's long term partner" and included "so was aware of the deception". That last point is an editorial comment (WP:SYNTH) which should not occur at Wikipedia—it may very well be true, but that kind of slant on a story is only suitable in something like a blog or an opinion piece where a specified author takes responsibility for the angle they are taking (someone else might focus on "'He was tempest tossed. He was cruelly treated,' Randi told the judge. 'This was a crime of desperation in which no one was hurt.'" in the first ref, which adopts a different slant). This matter was discussed previously: see my comments dated "22:29, 22 November 2011" above where I posed "what would you say here about Randi given that this is an article about him?", and in the same discussion I mentioned another article about a well known author of children's books whose husband was arrested on child pornography charges—dynamite material, and great stuff for a blog, but not suitable at Wikipedia (except in an article on the husband or the event—it's just coatracking in an article on the author unless a secondary source identifies the influence on the author). Johnuniq (talk) 00:43, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

Leave it out. It's shit slinging at its lowest. --Steven J. Anderson (talk) 01:34, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
So the opinion here is that Randi being gay is relevant to a section on his personal life, but the fact his partner of 24 years and key figure in the Carlos hoax is a criminal is not? And the fact Randi has clearly stated that he knew about it for some years. It is not mud slinging, Randi makes a career out of his honesty. This does not destroy his credibility totally, but it is certainly relevant. If we were talking about a psychic here I'm sure you would all support the inclusion of this information. But yes lets follow the proper proceedure, I will add the suggstion to BLP noticeboard without the final few words and instead quote Randi. - Solar (talk) 12:30, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
It seems to me this section needs changing in light of this information also, "a spirit channeler named Carlos who was actually artist Jose Alvarez, a friend of Randi's." - Solar (talk) 12:37, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
"Randi makes a career out of his honesty." No he doesn't. In fact, most every notable person who has made it their business to debunk psychics, paranormal phenomenon and the like, does the exact opposite of making a career out of honesty. Many are themselves illusionists slight of hand artists and even NLP experts. Rand was a stage magician, and debunks many supernatural claims by showing the illusions which allow people to believe them - he made a fair part of his living out of dishonesty. Additionally, dishonesty in private matters rarely has much correlation to professional reliability. People pull this when politicians get caught cheating on their spouse - claiming a betrayal of the public, because the people who elected that politician voted for who they thought was an honest person, and honest people don't cheat on their partners. There are two huge problems with such arguments. One, otherwise honest people cheat on their spouses all the time - depending on the study you cite, anywhere between 25% and 75% of married people have had at least one affair. If anything, many unfaithful politicians are sometimes examples of otherwise honest people who cheat. Second, other than comments on Discus, forums, etc., I have never heard a single person state they voted for a politician, because they believed they were faithful to their spouse. If my accountant cheats on his taxes, I'm worried. If he cheats on his spouse, I really don't care.
"[Pena's attorney] said that when Pena was an art student in New York City he took on a new identity so he didn’t have to go back to Venezuela and continue to face “horrific persecution” as a gay man. He resolved not to go back to Venezuela after someone had put a gun to his head in a bar, Dmitrovsky said outside of court. Pena believed he was taking on the name, date of birth and Social Security number of a dead man, his attorney said." Hiding from persecution in the U.S., via identity fraud may be illegal, but in no ethical universe, is it always indicative of a criminal or dishonest person. And not turning in a friend or loved one, who might be sent back to a country where such persecution happens, is even less an example of criminal or dishonest person. The fact that these two people make a shining light on people claiming to have magical powers, isn't remotely relevant to matters of passport fraud. CleverTitania (talk) 07:32, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

Maddox, Stewart and Randi[edit]

We don't appear to mention Jacques_Benveniste#Critical_investigation at all. I thought for completeness it would be good to mention it somewhere. Opinions? IRWolfie- (talk) 23:41, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

Definitely. This is one of Randi's most important (non)results. It probably had a lot to do with him receiving the Burton Award. At least it's what he talked about when he received it (I was lucky enough to be there).KaturianKKaturian 17:59, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Why is there no Critics section ?[edit]

— Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.136.80.150 (talkcontribs) 22:44, 3 June 2013‎

For the same reason there is no "Supporters" section? Incidentally, when you open a new section on a talk page, plese do so at the bottom of the page, not the top. Cheers. Moriori (talk) 21:54, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

Edit needed to Legal Disputes- Other[edit]

The first item listed under "Legal Disputes - Other" just launches into the topic in medias res, as it were. There is no antecedent for "Byrd" anywhere in the article. The reader is forced to follow the references to the footnotes, to find out who Byrd was and why Randi was involved in a lawsuit with him. I recommend editing this section to correct this.

Best regards, Brad TheBaron0530 (talk) 21:13, 22 August 2013 (UTC)TheBaron0530

Copyright violations from antivax POV-pusher[edit]

Recently, there have been some attempts [6][7] to add material copied from copyrighted website www.bolenreport.com/skeptics/index.htm (Note: website is on Wikipedia's blacklist, presumably for WP:BLP violations.) Please keep an eye out for any further disruption of this or related Wikipedia pages, and if you see any copyright violations, place a warning on the user's talk page using Template:Uw-copyright. Thanks!

Also, note the irony of a page that claims that Randi and other skeptics control Wikipedia and then proceeding to (mis)quote Wikipedia as a source. Sort of like someone who murders his parents asking for leniency because he is an orphan... --Guy Macon (talk) 16:53, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

An Honest Liar: The Amazing Randi Story[edit]

I tried to add this kickstarter link as a reference for "An Honest Liar: The Amazing Randi Story" in this article, but User:Daffydavid claims that I shouldn't use it because it's WP:CRYSTALBALL. It clearly says on the kickstarter updates page that it will be showing at the TRIBECA 2014 Film Festival next month. Someone else listed the documentary in this article, so I decided that it might be a good idea to add a reference to prove the project existed. This is obviously NOT a crystal ball issue! • SbmeirowTalk • 03:32, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

I have added a WP:RS ref, it needs to be filled out. --Daffydavid (talk) 04:19, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Though many Kickstarter projects are highly over-rated / over-hyped / over-fluffed, it doesn't mean that it shouldn't be used as a reliable source for information about a project. At least Kickstarter is proof of funding, which is far more proof than studios and businesses in general will ever provide about their upcoming releases. My kickstarter link contains far more information about the video than the IMDB link that you provided. That IMDB web page contains almost no information, nor any good links or videos, thus it's worthless as a reference until someone expands it. IMDB isn't a perfect source, nor should its information be treated as a gold standard. IMDB has numerous pages containing rumors about unreleased movies that might not ever be released, which clearly means that IMDB isn't a perfect source either. I don't have anything against IMDB, but in this case your link is substandard to the one that I provided. In summary, I claim that my Kickstarter link isn't a crystal ball nor is it a bad source for a reference. At this point, I propose to keep both links until someone creates an article about the video. • SbmeirowTalk • 06:20, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I would propose that 2 links are a bit much for what is a single line in a very big article. Also IMDB has been deemed WP:RS but I'm going to need more than your assertion that Kickstarter is considered WP:RS. By your own admission - "many Kickstarter projects are highly over-rated / over-hyped / over-fluffed". Feel free to take it to the notice boards. --Daffydavid (talk) 19:08, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Tell me EXACTLY what part of WP:RS proves THIS kickstarter fails to meet RS? • SbmeirowTalk • 00:04, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
Your own statements as I have quoted in my comment above is what brings Kickstarter into question. It is not up to me to show that it isn't WP:RS, the burden falls to you to prove that it is. Once again, I invite you to take it to the Reliable Sources Noticeboard WP:RSN which I have linked for you. --Daffydavid (talk) 19:10, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Ignoring for a moment the fact that it is clearly reliable for this purpose, the burden is on the editor who questions the reliability of a source to bring it up at RSN. You don't demand that someone else go to RSN and prove reliability. This is a general principle; I shouldn't demand that you go to SPI and show that you aren't a sockpuppet. Instead, I should post to SPI and post evidence that you are. Likewise, I shouldn't demand that you go to ANI and show that you aren't being disruptive. Instead, I should post to ANI if I have evidence that you are being disruptive. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:06, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I stand corrected. I was wondering if Kickstarter would be considered a primary source in this case? In any case, I still think 2 refs for a single line of text is too much but Sbmeirow seems awfully fond of this ref. --Daffydavid (talk) 03:53, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

cites re sylvia browne[edit]

the items at footnotes 80 and 81 do not support the text. it is larry king who says they have a deal, and sylvia browne is saying they have to work out the protocols. she would not be the only person who was not able to work out the protocols with JREF. weirdly, she does seem to predict randi's heart trouble. Zach bender (talk) 19:34, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

"KING: All right -- Sylvia has agreed to your conditions."
"BROWNE: Yes."
--Guy Macon (talk) 20:27, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Zach bender, what is weird about someone guessing that an elderly person would have heart problems? Lots of elderly people have heart problems, such as Browne herself who died of a heart attack. Moriori (talk) 20:34, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
for my own sake, i hope age 73 is not "elderly." Zach bender (talk) 23:28, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
There's a pretty good online source which says the following -- "....Euphemisms and terms for old people include, old people (worldwide usage), seniors (American usage), senior citizens (British and American usage), older adults (in the social sciences[1]), the elderly....", and, "Old age comprises ...the period of life after youth and middle age", and, "The United Nations has agreed that 60+ years may be usually denoted as old age". Seventy three is "elderly". However, as it seems to bug you, let me rephrase -- What is weird about someone guessing that an old person would have heart problems? Lots of old people have heart problems, such as Browne herself who died of a heart attack. Incidentally, you didn't answer my question. Moriori (talk) 03:18, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
the question i did not answer was "what is weird," etc.? first of all, i was being a little facetious, but since you ask, what would be "weird" is if she was correct about the left ventricle. Zach bender (talk) 18:02, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
"Typically, heart failure begins with the left side, specifically the left ventricle, your heart's main pumping chamber." -- Mayo Clinic. Why would it be weird to guess that an old person, at a stage in life more susceptible to heart attack, would have a left ventricle problem where heart attacks typically begin? Ok, I will answer for you. There is nothing weird about it at all. A charlatan makes a statement based on common knowledge, while pretending to be one of them thar sickics, and there are people ready to believe she had paranormal powers. That's the only weird bit.Moriori (talk) 20:20, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
obviously we are getting far off track here. in the interview, randi said he would get a checkup. did he? and what was the result? etc. but my initial point was there are factual assertions here that are not sufficiently documented by the cited sources. actually, this whole section on the million dollar challenge has a sort of pro-randi flavor that, among other things, assumes the challenge and its protocols are transparent, statistically meaningful, fair, etc. which they may be, but this also could be disputed and would require documentation. in other words, to say someone refused the challenge may not be the same as saying they got nothin', but the flavor here implies that.Zach bender (talk) 21:07, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Here is the protocol Browne agreed to on larry King Live:
"At a date and time convenient to you — and I know how very busy you are — we would randomly select one of those ten persons — by choosing a number from a hat."
"Then, either you would call us or we would call you — your choice — you'd be given the gender, name, and age of the chosen subject, and you would do a reading over the telephone without getting feedback, that is, without doing questions-and-answers or asking for guesses to be accepted or refused. That reading could take a minute or two, or as much as half an hour — again, Sylvia, your choice, so that you could be sure that you've made "connection" with the subject."
"When the reading is finished, you would so indicate, and the subject would then be asked to give a score to the reading, from zero to ten points."
"Following that, we would contact, again in random order, each of the other nine persons for whom the reading was not done, and present them with either a transcript of the reading, or an audio tape of it, for them to also score from zero to ten."
"Now, we should expect that the person for whom the reading was done would obtain a score, say, from six through ten, and — unless my "guessing game" scenario is correct — the other nine for whom the reading was not done, would have scores of zero to five."
"But, to simplify all this, in order to beat 50-to-1 odds — which is much better than the thousand-to-one odds we usually require for such a test! — eight of those scores would have to be less than the score given by the person for whom the reading was actually done."
Also see: http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/component/content/article/37-static/257-sylvia-browne-info.html and http://www.csicop.org/specialarticles/show/rest_in_peace_sylvia --Guy Macon (talk) 20:47, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
did JREF produce the ten subjects? Zach bender (talk) 23:28, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
in fairness, i should acknowledge i do stand corrected on my use of the word "protocols." but it is unclear whether the conditions for the test were ever actually put in place. let's say footnote 80 does accurately reflect that browne "accepted the challenge." i do not think the next sentence is adequately supported by footnote 81, and actually i am wondering whether the "clock" is a secondary source to begin with. Zach bender (talk) 23:48, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
I tend to agree. The citation follows the words "However, she refused to be tested, and Randi kept a clock on his website recording the number of weeks since Browne accepted the challenge without following through, until Browne's death in November 2013.[81]" Using JREF as a source for the claim that Randi kept a clock is fine -- it is a reliable source about itself. Given the controversial nature of this topic, I would like to see a third-party source for "she refused to be tested" instead of taking Randi's word for it. Sylvia Browne#James Randi challenge has a cite to http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/browne.html that seems to fill the bill. http://newsok.com/article/3913111/ lays out the sequence of events quite nicely. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:13, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
i do not know that we will be able to find a neutral source for "refused to be tested," because this incorporates a conclusion that someone made an unambiguous offer that was unambiguously accepted. having now read the larry king interview much more closely, i am not sure browne understood the protocols. she clearly misunderstood randi's purpose in asking that the reading also be distributed among the other nine participants. Zach bender (talk) 18:02, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
Actually, "refused to be tested" also describes an unambiguous offer that was not accepted. She could have contacted Randi and tried to set something up. If, as some True Believers claim, Randi's offer was a sham, she could have asked Larry King to act as an intermediary. She could at the very least have posted something on her website explaining why she thinks the "refused to be tested" claim is false. She could even have hired some third party to do the test and publish the results. I think that is is pretty well established that she didn't have the powers she claimed to have and that she refused to be tested under any sort of controlled conditions. And I think that http://newsok.com/article/3913111/ is a reliable source for that claim. It was published in The Oklahoman, the largest daily newspaper in Oklahoma. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:07, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
i am not sure i agree the burden is on browne to explain why she thought whatever protocols ultimately offered by randi were not acceptable. in any event, this argument assumes an unambiguous offer was in fact made, which is again something i do not think the cited sources establish. your citation to newsok is hardly a "reliable" source of anything but that writer's opinion. Zach bender (talk) 18:33, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Zach, your argument that The Oklahoman is not a reliable source is going to need more than just your say-so. The newspaper in question meets WP:RS easily and the piece itself is unusually well documented for a news article. Sylvia had ample time from the offer to accept the offer or request clarification and she would have had to be living under a rock to think an offer hadn't been made. Also, since she was psychic shouldn't she have known what Randi meant? --Daffydavid (talk) 18:55, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
the piece by bryan farha in the oklahoman, to the extent it provides more detailed documentation of the question, seems to be original research https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:PRIMARY#Primary.2C_secondary_and_tertiary_sources. i do not think your or my speculation about whether browne had "ample time" or why she acted as she did is sufficient for an encyclopedia entry objectively stating verified facts. and i think your closing remark about what a psychic "should have known" is entirely speculative. Zach bender (talk) 20:53, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
You really need to re-read that link you provided, you clearly don't understand it. The Oklahoman is a WP:RS and if you feel strongly enough that it isn't then take it to WP:RSN, but do read WP:OR and understand it before bringing your argument there. The point here isn't the definition or even a subjective interpretation of "ample time", we have RS sources that state she didn't take the test. While you are at it please look up WP:NPOV, it doesn't mean we need "to find a neutral source" as you put it. My closing line in my previous comment was sarcasm, clearly you missed it. --Daffydavid (talk) 21:36, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
sarcasm, check. civilty, not so much. the oklahoman is a newspaper, i actually get that. farha is a columnist recounting details of an investigation he himself undertook. primary source. not quite sure why we are talking about him anyway, as this source is not currently cited in the article. but if it were, an accurate description would be "in correspondence with a journalist randi asserted thus and such." lots of people did not take the test. several of them have said randi keeps moving the goalposts. i do not think we need to clutter the article with this stuff, but i also do not think we need to present only his interpretations, without indicating that is what they are.Zach bender (talk) 22:08, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
We may be looking at a case of Wikipedia:Civil POV pushing. I'm just saying. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:10, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
if that is directed toward my conduct here, i will simply say the following and then drop it, the end.
james randi is a controversial figure. sylvia browne was a controversial figure. there are controversies surrounding the million dollar challenge. an encyclopdia entry might make these things clear to the reader. if the entry says browne accepted the challenge and then reneged, the reader should have confidence in the neutrality of the sources for that statement. the fact of her acceptance is arguably a synthesis of the larry king interview. the opinion piece in the oklahoman includes original source material.
wikipedia is an ongoing process of consensus among its editors. i am suggesting a neutral statement would be that browne appeared to accept the challenge and that randi told a journalist she had reneged. if we cannot build a consensus around this, i am willing to walk away, albeit somewhat disappointed in the process. Zach bender (talk) 00:42, 13 April 2014 (UTC)

Photo Caption[edit]

The photo caption of the third photo on the Career/Skeptic section identifies "Pip Smith (standing on left)". Pip Smith is the woman in the far left of the frame. She is married to Dick Smith, the man seated furthest from Randi. 203.15.64.15 (talk) 08:01, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

Klass was also mentioned twice. I have fixed the caption and deleted the double mention. --Daffydavid (talk) 09:03, 5 September 2014 (UTC)

This is a really good article...[edit]

Maybe its time to ask for reassessment? Djcheburashka (talk) 08:27, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

Telegraph criticism[edit]

I have removed a "criticism" section that in its entirety was based on this piece published in the Telegraph. Firstly, I think basing an entire "criticism" section of five paragraphs on a single source is undue weight. Secondly, it's pretty much a bunch of fact-free allegations, insinuating (without ever saying so outright) that Randi lied about having tested Rupert Sheldrake's claims on dog telepathy (at least that's what I think it insinuates). I couldn't find a source independent of Will Storr, the author of the Telegraph piece, for that claim. (I did find Storr's book, The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science, which repeats the story almost literally.) I do not think it's appropriate to insinuate Randi was lying based on a single source that does not explicitly make that claim. Huon (talk) 03:02, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

I agree. An old man with a very long career of public statements on controversial topics may have stretched the truth a bit once or twice? Shocking revelation! News at 11. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 04:14, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Alvarez sues Randi[edit]

I seem to remember reading that the real Jose Alvarez sued Randi or the JREF over the identity theft incident, and they settled. I can't find a cite for it though. If anyone does, I think it would be good for the end of that subsection in "Personal Life" Dingsuntil (talk) 05:42, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

I looked pretty hard, and I can't find any evidence that Randi was ever charged in either criminal or civil court in the matter. I found two articles in 2011, while Pena's trial was going on, that claimed Randi "should be charged" or "was in danger of being indicted' , but this doesn't seem to be based on anything, and just served as an excuse for rabid Randi-bashing (it should tell you something that I tried to post the links, but at least one of them was blacklisted by WP!). Since Pena himself was ultimately let off with a slap on the wrist, charging Randi with anything seems like a stretch. In An Honest Liar, he comes as close to admitting he knew about the whole thing than he ever has, but it would never hold up in a court of law.KaturianKaturian 18:48, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Request for Comments[edit]

There is an RfC on the question of using "Religion: None" vs. "Religion: None (atheist)" in the infobox on this and other similar pages.

The RfC is at Template talk:Infobox person#RfC: Religion infobox entries for individuals that have no religion.

Please help us determine consensus on this issue. --Guy Macon (talk) 15:47, 21 April 2015 (UTC)