James Randi

James Randi: Let Survival of the Fittest “Act Itself Out” On Those With Low IQ and “Mental Aberrations”

I’ve previously posted here about the Social Darwinist-leaning comments of James ‘The Amazing’ Randi, such as this entry on his website where he supported the legalization of drugs, apparently largely for the simple reason that it would kill off a lot of people he doesn’t like:

[T]hose individuals who were stupid enough to rush into the arms of the mythical houris and/or Adonis’s they would expect to greet them, would simply do so and die – by whatever chemical or biological fate would overcome them… [T]he principle of Survival of the Fittest would draconically prove itself for a couple of years, after which Natural Selection would weed out those for whom there is no hope except through our forbearance.

…Any weeping and wailing over the Poor Little Kids who would perish by immediately gobbling down pills and injecting poison, is summoning up crocodile tears, in my opinion. They would – and presently do – mature into grown-up idiots, and Darwin would be appalled that his lessons were ignored.

One of the biggest surprises to me has been the almost complete lack of comment on these controversal opinions by other skeptics, and scientists who support Randi. The star of this legendary skeptic seems to burn so bright in the scientific firmament that his acolytes are blinded to some of his darker traits, such as his ‘creative’ recounting of events and the Social Darwinist leanings illustrated above.

However, that may change with the publication today of The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science, by Will Storr, which is a book-length exploration of this human tendency to blindness in people from all walks of life, including those who regard themselves as ‘critical thinkers’. My full review of Storr’s book will follow in the next day or so here on TDG, but for now I wanted to pull out a short section from the book where the author sat down with Randi and asked him directly about the controversial post I linked to above. It really should grab the attention of anybody who looks up to Randi, because when challenged on his comments, Randi did not recant, but instead apparently expanded on his thoughts, and explicitly confirmed their meaning:

I’m a believer in Social Darwinism. Not in every case. I would do anything to stop a twelve-year-old kid from doing it. Sincerely. But in general, I think that Darwinism, survival of the fittest, should be allowed to act itself out. As long as it doesn’t interfere with me and other sensible, rational people who could be affected by it. Innocent people, in other words.

Apart from contradicting his previous comments about “crocodile tears” for the “the Poor Little Kids” who would “mature into grown-up idiots”, Randi here comes straight out and nails his colours to the mast: “sensible, rational people” (like him, apparently) are “innocents” who don’t deserve to be “affected” by his extreme views of survival of the fittest, but everyone else is fair game. Why do they deserve this fate? Because, says Randi…

These are stupid people. And if they can’t survive, they don’t have the IQ, don’t have the thinking power to be able to survive, it’s unfortunate; I would hate to see it happen, but at the same time, it would clear the air.

Please do read that paragraph again. If you didn’t get at least a metaphorical shiver down your spine, I don’t know where your head is at.

Oh, and people with inherited mental illness, Randi also apparently wants the contraception squad sent out for you:

I think that people with mental aberrations who have family histories of inherited diseases and such, that something should be done seriously to educate them to prevent them from procreating. I think they should be gathered together in a suitable place and have it demonstrated for them what their procreation would mean for the human race.

I know some other folk who were “gathered together in a suitable place” because another bunch of people didn’t want them contaminating the human race (trying my hardest not to invoke Godwin here, but when you’re traveling in the same territory…).

There’s lots more of interest in the chapter on Randi – I’ve only touched on one excerpt here – and indeed in the whole book. It’s a fascinating exploration of our how we all have belief systems, a tendency to self-deception and the in-built ability to ignore facts as necessary. If Will Storr’s transcription of his entire interview with Randi is accurate (and I raise that question in the spirit of the book itself, not because I have particular doubts about the author’s account), this really should bring about the serious criticism of Randi that has so far been lacking within the skeptical movement, and which I have been encouraging for some time.

Grab a copy of The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science from Amazon UK.

The Heretics, by Will Storr
Full disclosure: I helped Will Storr out with some facets of his research for The Heretics, and was sent a complimentary advance reading copy of the book.

Further reading…

Editor
    1. This is precisely the sort of

      [edited by Admin. Please do not make unfounded statements that might get you, or us, sued.]

      ********************************************

      http://harunyahya.com/en/Articles/5413/darwinism-is-the-ideological-basis

      Darwinism Is the Ideological Basis of Satanism

      Satanism is a perverted ideology that makes violence and savagery a ritual in its creed. Satanists, who describe themselves as such, make deeds of inhumanity and brutality into acts of worship.

      Due to the influence of the media, they may think of satanists as performing strange rituals, much unlike what ordinary and well-balanced people would otherwise do. It is true that satanists are part of a culture of violence and perform strange and horrible rites, yet, what most people fail to see is that satanism is a materialist and atheist ideology that supports violence and which dates back to the 1800s. Furthermore, the ideology has a large number of followers throughout the world.

      The fundamental principle of satanism is that it rejects all religious values, takes the Devil as its deity, and claims that hell is a kind of salvation. According to the belief of Satanism, people have no responsibilities, apart from that of following their own desires. If his desires lead a person to anger, hatred, revenge, deceit, theft, the harming others or even murder, then that is acceptable.

      One of the most common ways satanists use to describe themselves, in their books, magazines and publications, as well as their websites, is to regard man as a “kind of developed animal,” and to maintain that “only the fittest can survive.” This is the most important piece of evidence to corroborate that Darwinism lies at the very root of the satanists’ beliefs. In fact, many satanists do not hesitate to admit the fact. In A Description of Satanism, a satanist writer describes the ideology in these terms:

      …First of all, Humans are social animals… all people and animals share a common source in mere biology. Satanism is the belief that Humans are nothing more than higher animals—we have no special place in creation other than being lucky to have evolved and survived…

      It is clear from the preceding that satanism regards Darwin’s theory that human beings evolved from animals, as the source of its own ideological “awareness.” The introduction to an interview with Anton LaVey, carried in the music journal MF Magazine, describes the relationship between Satanism and Darwinism:

      In the late 1960s, Anton LaVey brought forth an easily understandable doctrine of social Darwinism, and strong positive thinking (magic) to the growing mass of individuals sick of both hippieism and the stagnant morals of Christianity.

      The way satanism shares so many parallels with social darwinism, has led to cooperation between it and a number of other racist and chauvinistic movements, especially fascism. One can find many individuals who believed in Satanism among the ranks of Hitler’s National Socialists and Mussolini’s Blackshirts. Anton LaVey makes this reference to that collaboration:

      It’s an unholy alliance. Many different types of such people have made contact with us in the past. The anti-Christian strength of National Socialist Germany is part of the appeal to Satanists—the drama, the lighting, the choreography with which they moved millions of people.

      satanizm darwinDarwinism is the primary ground shared between these tendencies and satanism. Social darwinism, which lies at the heart of all these deviant ideologies, is defended by satanists as follows:

      The principle of the survival of the strong is advocated on all levels of society, from allowing an individual to stand or fall, to even letting those nations that cannot handle themselves take the consequences of this inability… There would be a concomitant reduction in the world’s population as the weak are allowed to experience the consequences of social Darwinism. Thus has nature always acted to cleanse and strengthen her children… We embrace reality and do not try to transform it into some utopia that is contrary to the very fabric of existence.

      Another expression of the satanists’ attachment to social darwinism is their fierce support for the theory of eugenics, itself the product of fascism. The theory of eugenics maintained that the sick and the crippled ought to be eliminated from society, and the number of healthy individuals increased through breeding. The theory was most prominently implemented in Nazi Germany. According to the theory of eugenics, in the same way that healthy animal stock is bred by mating healthy species, by this way a race of humans also be improved. When this line of thinking was adopted in Nazi Germany, tens of thousands of people with genetic and mental diseases were slaughtered ruthlessly.

      Satanism is also in favor of the same terrible mercilessness. Their own publications reveal their view on eugenics:

      Satanists also seek to enhance the laws of nature by concentrating on fostering the practice of eugenics… It is the practice of encouraging people of talent and ability to reproduce, to enrich the gene pool from which our species can grow. This was commonly practiced throughout the world… Until the genetic code is cracked and we can choose the character of our offspring at will, Satanists seek to mate the best with the best. (Magister Peter Gilmore, Satanism the Feared Religion, (http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages/Feared.html))

      We need to bear in mind the satanists’ own views when considering the threat posed by it. When satanists are asked how many of them there are, they claim to have large numbers of followers, because there are many people who actually live by the tenets of satanism without being aware of the fact. In a way, that is actually the case.

      The claim that man is a species of animal, on which satanism is founded, is utter nonsense. Mankind did not come into being as the result of blind chance. The Creator of mankind, and of the order and splendor of the entire universe, is the infinitely powerful, superior and All-Wise God, Who has no weakness of any kind. He created man with the ability to think and reason, to distinguish between right and wrong, and also with a responsibility towards his Creator. Just as each individual’s ego direct him towards evil, so his conscience protects him from it, and commands him to turn away from it. It is man’s duty to listen to the voice of his conscience, not to his ego and adopt the kind of morality that is pleasing to God. That morality will not only allow the individual concerned, and the society in which he lives, to enjoy a peaceful and secure existence, but will also, by the will of God, lead to the most sublime reward in the hereafter.

      gulOne important fact that must not be lost sight of is that the life satan offers, which he dresses up to appear so very attractive, is mere deception. satan may make all kinds of promises about the possibilities of the life of this world, and may try to turn people away form the true path, yet, it must not be forgotten that the road he beckons man to follow will only lead to ultimate destruction for those who take it. As God explains in a verse:

      … What they call on is an arrogant Satan whom God has cursed. He said, “I will take a certain fixed proportion of Your servants. I will lead them astray and fill them with false hopes. I will command them and they will cut off cattle’s ears. I will command them and they will change God’s creation.” Anyone who takes the Devil as his protector in place of God has clearly lost everything. (Surat an-Nisa’, 117-119)

      1. This is precisely the sort of…
        Could we for once just leave one’s religious views at the door?

        There are plenty of other outlets for those who feel the need to promote their religious views: James Randi’s views on what could be called ‘Eugenics’ are what’s being discussed here, not Satanism.

        1. Nostradamus I’d suggest to
          Nostradamus I’d suggest to you since the likes of Randi himself’ve quite freely expressed they consider religiosity a sign of imbecility at best or brain surgery requiring psychosis at worst it’s almost impossible not to muddy the water with religion but I agree with you if people feel impelled to do a religious Randi then do it on his own sites.

      2. pretty much
        [quote=emlong][edited by Admin. Please do not make unfounded statements that might get you, or us, sued.]

        ********************************************

        http://harunyahya.com/en/Articles/5413/darwinism-is-the-ideological-basis

        Satanism is a perverted ideology that makes violence and savagery a ritual in its creed. Satanists, who describe themselves as such, make deeds of inhumanity and brutality into acts of worship.
        (Surat an-Nisa’, 117-119)[/quote]

        I agree with you in the highist order regarding “satanism”.
        I should should know in a way I was one. its not so must that mainstream satanism endorse violence and hate. its more that they are extreamly intolrant of even the slightist form of mistreatment.

        in the satanic bible (which I have read to completion) it says “he who turns the other cheak is a cowardly dog!” the book its self is an interesting read. first half of the book is about the *poltics* of the satanic author of the book. mainly bashing christanity and telling us about how egotistical people are and who they are no better then other animals and critisizing the spiritual side of people. the list goes on.

        second half of the book is more “creepy”. talks about black magic and how it can be used to halm others and get what you want in general. also the theory and praxis of how it works and its machanics.

        of course it depends on the type of satanism (its more than one religon). but they all seem to follow this basic form of thinking.

        it also perhaps more depends on what kind of person the satanist is like in themselves. I am sure their are some christians who are horrible and some satanists who are good.

  1. They’re circling the wagons….
    Been following the comments you’ve been fielding on Twitter over this post, Greg. When a figure like Randi sets himself up as a paragon of critical thinking then shows an appalling lack of such in his personal views, he’s fair game. Reed Esau’s analogy of Tesla’s reported eugenic leanings is a red herring, since those leanings have no bearing whatsoever on his other scientific theories. Had Einstein been found to be running a prostitution ring in his spare time, for example, it wouldn’t affect the validity of E+Mc2 one whit (just as Einstein’s passing association with figures like Wilhelm Reich hasn’t either.) By contrast, what Randi has spent most of his life espousing is essentially an omnidirectional philosophy of life–arming oneself with critical thinking towards all things. So his ability to “practice what he preaches” in his personal views IS apropos to his message.

    1. Well, my edited post above
      Well, my edited post above looks very strange now without my preamble. I assume you deleted my personal statements because Randi is notoriously litigious, but calling Randi a shill is not exactly a rarefied accusation. In so many words, people here say that about Randi in print all the time.

      1. Gruppenfuhrer Randi speaks!
        You may wonder why the big foundations give this guy so much money or he gets so many uncritical smooch pieces in the media and why he always skates when he gets into his endless legal jams, most recently with his complicity in the fraud conviction of JREF co-founder Dayvi Pena.

        Now we know.

        Randi is making genocide and eugenics hip again. Cui bono?

        1. This is so New World Order or
          This is so New World Order or rather the more closeted sentiments of some of the globalists. Thanks for these quotations. They have been very illuminating. Randi above all strikes me as being a very angry and damaged man. No doubt being a homosexual as a young man in the 1940’s and 50’s in staid America was very trying, but Gore Vidal had the same gig, and he made it through amazingly though he too was an angry dude.

  2. Let ’em die…?
    Forget let them- it’ll take too long. They just need to be wiped out. And as someone who has put up with idiots, imbeciles, and complete morons- I can say this: the actual mentally retarded are better than the fools and brain dead brain farts that we have to wade thru, day in and day out. People who hold stupidity and ignorance on a high pedestal- THOSE are the ones who need to go. People who think treating others like crap- how more stupid does one need to be?

    I say… wipe them out. *All* of them.

    1. Dude
      [quote=wylekat]Forget let them- it’ll take too long. They just need to be wiped out. And as someone who has put up with idiots, imbeciles, and complete morons- I can say this: the actual mentally retarded are better than the fools and brain dead brain farts that we have to wade thru, day in and day out. People who hold stupidity and ignorance on a high pedestal- THOSE are the ones who need to go. People who think treating others like crap- how more stupid does one need to be?

      I say… wipe them out. *All* of them.[/quote]

      Good lord I hope that’s a bit tongue in cheek.

  3. Ayn Randi
    “I think that Darwinism, survival of the fittest, should be allowed to act itself out. As long as it doesn’t interfere with me”.

    That there is the essence of the piece but I’d like to point out a) the concept of survival of the fittest doesn’t allow for preference or exceptions especially of the innocent b) even Darwinists’ve all but abandoned it as an evoluntionary explanation because while a lion can despatch an ant a million ants can despatch a lion c) stupid people who don’t have the IQ or the thinking power CAN survive and in parts of the world where Social Darwinism’s the order of the day thrive by regularly teaching little old men like Randi the superiority of youth over elderliness muscle over brains d) less than a generation ago homosexuality was considered precisely the sort of mental illness that justified brain surgery electroconvulsive ‘therapy’ and castration e) his own shoddy mentations qualify him for exactly the sort of treatment he’d deal out to ‘stupid’ people who supposedly can’t think and f) the ancients and even some moderns consider endlessly seeking attention or making every issue about oneself signs of mental illness.

    1. Ayn Randi = brilliant!
      Nice one, Alan!

      If we grubby anti-science guys get rounded up, hopefully it’s more Hogan’s Heroes than Gattaca. Or JREF could send everyone to Australia — between TDG and Mysterious Universe, we practically own the world of woo. The Statue of Liberty could get a new speech:

      Give me your woo, your grubby. Send these, the low IQ, tempest-tossed to me…

      1. I had always thought the JREF
        I had always thought the JREF approach was essentially fascist, but to see the actual philosophy behind its progenitor so glaringly laid out has been a real eye opener.
        Randi appears to have “snapped” in some fashion. I think the weight of evidence in support of ESP and the paranormal in general is now so overwhelming that it must be driving him crazy.

      2. Yes, truly brilliant, Alan.
        Yes, truly brilliant, Alan. The joke is that in a real Social Darwinist setting the flabby old white guys that make up the Atheist/Skeptic “community” would be hunted down and used for tallow and offal.

        Note that none of these apparatchiks can summon the courage- or the basic human decency- to call Randi out on rantings that would literally make Goebbels blush.

        Not a single one.

  4. Quote

    The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered…more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature.

    ~Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man; p168

    1. One good turn:
      ‘The strong,

      One good turn:

      ‘The strong, the cunning, the swift … must survive, while the weak, the slow, the dull and those with no artificial advantage must of necessity go to the wall — yes, the brutal truth bids me say, they must be stamped out.’ Joseph Symes, founder of the modern Atheist movement

      1. Altruism made us human
        I remember how some years ago the BBC produced the documentary series Walking with Beasts, following on the footsteps –no pun intended– of their multi-award series Walking with Dinosaurs.

        Anyways, the 1st program showed Lucy & her family of Australopithecus, and how they were always at the mercy of predators like big cats & the like. The hominids usually didn’t care if one of their members got snared by a leopard, because in fact that would mean the rest of the group would be spared, right?

        But then by the end of the program it was shown how, when a hapless young orphaned Australopithecus was about to get eaten, the rest of the group suddenly joined forces to scare away the predator.

        It was at THAT moment that these beings turned from biped apes to true pre-humans –Sorry, Stanley 😉

        http://youtu.be/cf-_AscwYYk?t=24m52s

        More recently we’ve found evidence that Neanderthals cared for their elder & sick, by way of fossil records showing how individuals with multiple lesions & fractured were fed on a regular basis.

        So, the fact of the matter is that Randi’s beliefs in how survival of the fittest is how Evolution helped us become the masters of the world is just completely untenable. It was compassion & altruism that which helped our species free itself from the merciless shackles of biological determinism, & helped us take control of our destiny.

  5. My two cents
    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”. –Aristotle

    Should we choose to look at what actually has been written, instead of who wrote it, we would find that what Randi actually wrote is/has been pretty much, in varying degrees, a standard practice on this planet.

    For the past twenty years or so, I have been part of talks, debates, and even arguments, online and in meat space, where at least one, sometimes two, of the contestants has expressed very much the same kind of views Randi is outing on his website. Even Denis Leary in his early 90’s No Cure for Cancer –routine expressed the idea of “giving more drugs to the right people”. “The perfect solution to the unemployment situation.” “Make sure you get your whole head in front of the shotgun. Thanks for calling!”

    Any kind of government action against importing and distributing drugs is a joke. Why? One just needs to glance at the results. Selling drugs is a multi-billion dollar operation in just about every country. I have seen lives destroyed by the recreational use/abuse of illegal substances, and I do not encourage it in any situation. Why it cannot be rooted out? There is a silent approval of a certain percentage of population killing themselves, some slower while others faster, by these chemicals. The “War on Drugs” farce Stateside, anyone?

    Here in the so-called Western World, we buy ourselves a certain amount of social stability allowing a small amount of population to quietly off themselves with drugs, and quietly supporting that lifestyle. Well, of course, provided that the addicts do not live right next door. That would be totally unacceptable. Someone call the five-oh!

    Eugenics. Well now, has anyone around here heard about prenatal testing and fetal screening? It is pretty much a standard where I am from.

    “Historically, “eugenics” refers to social movements, supported by governments, institutions, or influential public figures, that had a stated goal of purifying the gene pool either positively (by enabling those with traits perceived as positive to reproduce) or negatively (by forcibly sterilizing or otherwise limiting the reproductive capacity of those with traits perceived as negative).
    In contrast, procreative decisions today (in democratic countries at least) are largely private decisions made by expectant parents primarily concerned with the well-being of their family, not the genetic make-up of society at large.”
    — Ellen Painter Dollar

    Same difference and semantics, people. The only important distinguishing features are scope and scale. The underlying mechanics are still the same. And before anyone even tries to unload some ad-hominem in my direction, I would like to point out that I am not a supporter, or promoter, of eugenics as a social movement. My point is simply that it is a standard practice. We may call it something else to buy ourselves some good karma/consciousness and goodnight sleep, but it is what it is.

    Social Darwinism
    As The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics states
    “Part of the difficulty in establishing sensible and consistent usage is that commitment to the biology of natural selection and to ‘survival of the fittest’ entailed nothing uniform either for sociological method or for political doctrine. A ‘social Darwinist’ could just as well be a defender of laissez-faire as a defender of state socialism, just as much an imperialist as a domestic eugenist.”

    So what are we actually talking about here? The survival of the fittest promoted by an organization, or a government? I did a tour in Africa in mid-nineties, starting from South Africa making my way north through six different countries. It was a life-changing experience, I tell you. I saw and experienced heart-breaking generosity from people who had next to nothing, and I saw atrocities from hotel room windows, and through the windscreen of a 4×4, I still have trouble writing about. I saw the fittest and the most ruthless survive. Well, in that environment the most ruthless were the fittest, and by and large, somehow tied to the ruling party, or at least partly endorsed by it. The victims were either at the wrong place at the wrong time, and usually members of a different or opposing tribe. Any kind of belief in any kind of deity I might have harbored before, died on that trip. I came to realize that right and wrong, good and evil, are just matters of perception, personal human subjections, and a bunch of lies told by the ruling powers, theocrats, and the like, to single out the enemy of the given faith. That actually applies to Randi, and to his motherdawkings crew, as well.

    We might oppose Social Darwinism, and all it might mean, but the fact is that forces motivated by such thoughts run amok on this rock, be it in developing countries, or in the lap of modern luxury.

    1. Your idea of what a “deity”
      Your idea of what a “deity” is might need some buffing up. If you are talking about a deity along the line of the Christian church then it probably rightfully died on that trip in Africa, but a deity can be something much deeper than that, and it can be a deity that embraces all kind of experience “good” and “bad.”

      There are many junkies who live to a ripe old age by the way. It is not at all necessarily the case that doing drugs is suicide. To wit for instance Anita O’Day who had a stellar artistic career and was a lifelong opiate addict:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anita_O%27Day

      1. “There are many junkies who
        “There are many junkies who live to a ripe old age by the way. It is not at all necessarily the case that doing drugs is suicide.”

        Take a look at the complexion of the Skeptic movement- there are Klan rallies that are more ethnically diverse. Drugs are a codeword for nonwhites to right wingers, esp. the fringe right wingers who espouse eugenics and genocide. Read those comments in that context.

        1. I will remind everyone that
          I will remind everyone that not one single Skeptic or Atheist has come out and condemned these lunatic Nazi ravings by the unchallenged figurehead of their movement.

          Not one.

          Why?

          1. Hush now!
            [quote=SecretSun]I will remind everyone that not one single Skeptic or Atheist has come out and condemned these lunatic Nazi ravings by the unchallenged figurehead of their movement.

            Not one.

            Why?[/quote]

            That’s been more disappointing than Randi’s comments to tell the truth, this story is being systematically ignored or ‘talked down’ within skepticism.

            On a separate point, I would urge all commenters to not slip into insults and spite. Eugenics != Nazi necessarily, and I would hope people respect other readers’ intelligence enough to let them make their own mind up based on evidence presented.

          2. Not an insult- the
            Not an insult- the unvarnished truth. What Randi is espousing is doctrinaire Nazi Eugenics. All the more chilling when you look at the unbroken sea of pasty white faces at Amazing Meetings.

            “But in general, I think that Darwinism, survival of the fittest, should be allowed to act itself out. As long as it doesn’t interfere with me and other sensible, rational people who could be affected by it. Innocent people, in other words.”– James Randi

            “The exposure of the sick, weak, deformed children, in short, their destruction, was more decent and in truth a thousand times more human than the wretched insanity of our day which preserves the most pathological subject.” — Adolf Hitler

            I’ve thought for years that the SkepAth movement is nothing but politically correct white supremacy and this goes a long way in proving that.

          3. Not so
            [quote=SecretSun]Not an insult- the unvarnished truth. What Randi is espousing is doctrinaire Nazi Eugenics. [/quote]

            The Nazis gassed people to death and shot them in the head when they didn’t like them. Randi is espousing eugenics, but not necessarily ‘doctrinaire Nazi Eugenics’.

            Randi’s comments are ugly and wrong enough to not require hyperbole. To do so only makes it easier for other skeptics to dismiss the argument by changing their focus to the extremes of the debate, rather than the very significant meat of the argument.

          4. “Randi’s comments are ugly
            “Randi’s comments are ugly and wrong enough to not require hyperbole. To do so only makes it easier for other skeptics to dismiss the argument by changing their focus to the extremes of the debate, rather than the very significant meat of the argument.”

            How can it possibly BE any easier? Do you think a single one of them is interested in an honest debate? I’d recommend you stop wasting your time expecting any of them to do anything but spit in the hand you seem determined to extend to them. All you get for it is abuse and ridicule from those weasels.

          5. And the JREF’s Facebook page
            And the JREF’s Facebook page has a picture of the audience from its 2011 schlubfest. There isn’t a single nonwhite face in the photo- not one. How do you put on a convention in America in the 21st Century and not have a single person of color in evidence? I’ve seen more diverse Tea Party rallies. So maybe it’s NOT hyperbole.

          6. If you love me then you should have put a glove on it
            [quote=SecretSun]I’d recommend you stop wasting your time expecting any of them to do anything but spit in the hand you seem determined to extend to them. All you get for it is abuse and ridicule from those weasels.[/quote]

            Not sure how me continually posting takedowns of Randi is me wasting time extending my hand to skeptics. I think many are learning to keep me at arm’s distance actually…

            All I encourage is moderation and discussion, and trust that others are smart enough to form their own opinion.

          7. The fact that nearly all of
            The fact that nearly all of them turn a blind eye to his endless faults and deny any evidence they can’t countenance is proof they aren’t skeptics at all. The same way they all deliberately ignore all of the evidence proving epidemic fraud and corruption in the scientific fields, particularly the pharmaceutical field. Because they worship authority, just like the snitches and teacher’s pets they all were back in school. But even the Atheists are getting tired of their schtick. And if the corporate media didn’t constantly puff them up they’d vanish completely from sight.

          8. Well,
            let’s start here, although, as an atheist and a skeptic, I do not consider myself being a part of any kind of social movement, and Randi is certainly not a god/figurehead to me. I agree to some things he has said/written during the years, but most certainly not this time.

            I hereby condemn.

            If an individual states individual opinions, should all the (even remotely) like-minded individuals be nailed on the cross for individual stupidity? Should all the atheists and skeptics around the globe start self-mortification as a means of absolution?

          9. A step back
            [quote=Johannes Angelos]If an individual states individual opinions, should all the (even remotely) like-minded individuals be nailed on the cross for individual stupidity? Should all the atheists and skeptics around the globe start self-mortification as a means of absolution?[/quote]

            I don’t think too many here are arguing that. What we *are* surprised about is the almost complete lack of comment on this story by leading skeptics, especially those involved in organised skepticism.

            I wonder how the reaction would differ it it was Rupert Sheldrake that came out with the comments?

          10. from the Potential-Model-Dept.
            [quote=SecretSun]I will remind everyone that not one single Skeptic or Atheist has come out and condemned these lunatic Nazi ravings by the unchallenged figurehead of their movement.

            Not one.

            Why?[/quote]

            perhaps for the same reason why sombunall people would think that not one muslim speaks out against muslim/Islamic terrorism? They do, its just that ‘the media’ only reports the loud people (and also moderates tend to be, by definition, not ‘loud’)?

  6. I don’t see any mention in
    I don’t see any mention in his statements about ‘forcing’ anyone – so responses that mention eugenics much less genocide are cringe-worthy. If one of his reasons for wanting to legalize drugs is to naturally hasten the demise of less intelligent people – well it’s insensitive but not diabolical. There are two ironic things in that however: he’s made his fame and fortune mostly due to ridiculing the 80% (or whatever) of Americans who believe in ghosts and angels and life after death. And second, weeding out the less intelligent will do what, lead to a more enlightened planet, a humanity with a ‘purpose’? Sounds like a religious concept to me, which seems odd for Randi to espouse.

    1. Correction
      [quote=jamesrav]I don’t see any mention in his statements about ‘forcing’ anyone – so responses that mention eugenics much less genocide are cringe-worthy.[/quote]

      You are confusing eugenics as a whole with one type, ‘mandatory eugenics’. Eugenics doesn’t require forcing anyone. Though ‘education programs’ are a slippery slope between them in any case.

  7. Randi’s views
    Randi, like all other human beings, simply doesn’t have the qualifications to decide who should live or die. I have always felt we would be better off without all the arrogant jerks in the world. Clearly, that would leave Randi out. But, because I cannot predict the contribution any one person might make, as life and human beings are unpredictable, I can’t make a judgment to euthanize or neuter all people with Randi’s problematic personality. Randi, despite his desire to be a superior person, goes to the bathroom like everyone else. He’d do well to tend to his own faults, which one can tell by his recent comments, are legion.

    1. This is sort of off base, but
      This is sort of off base, but having looked at many after death situations concerning people who are unable to move toward the light or whatever you want to call it there comes a realization that not everyone moves to a good place post death. What is especially disappointing is that there are many, many jerk ghosts wandering around out there for whom death improved nothing. They are as big or bigger a jerk in the afterlife as they were on this side. I used to be under the illusion that after death the jerks of this world would finally see the light and see the error of their ways and gain perspective, but it ain’t always so. There is a distinct possibility that Randi will be just as big a mess on the other side as he has been on this side. It is kind of a depressing thought. When I was younger I had this sort of “Oh, just wait ’til you die and finally see what your problem was.” It was almost worth sitting out some nasty piece of business of a human just because you knew they would finally learn. Not at all so. We may not be done with this immature entity for a long, long time. True he will be muzzled by death, but he will still have the ability to mess with us albeit he will have learned one thing – that the paranormal is real. However, I think he already knows that. Mostly he is just about bothering folks and chewing them up. It is a simple as that. He could have chosen many other paths to do that. It would have all amounted to the same thing. He just likes to pound on people.

  8. I sympathise with Randi’s
    I sympathise with Randi’s passion for ridding the planet of stupid. As a member of Mensa, my IQ is certified to be within the top 2% of the population; and most of the grief that comes my way day-to-day comes from know-nothings who don’t think logically, who are unaware of their ignorance, and who appear indifferent to how their primitive behaviours disadvantage others. It’s taken me years to accept that I think differently from others, and frankly, I’m tired of wading through the muck deposited by others’ stupidity.

    1. Stupid is as stupid does
      [quote=Brain.The.Size.Of.A.Planet.]I sympathise with Randi’s passion for ridding the planet of stupid. As a member of Mensa, my IQ is certified to be within the top 2% of the population; and most of the grief that comes my way day-to-day comes from know-nothings who don’t think logically, who are unaware of their ignorance, and who appear indifferent to how their primitive behaviours disadvantage others. It’s taken me years to accept that I think differently from others, and frankly, I’m tired of wading through the muck deposited by others’ stupidity.[/quote]

      Some of the stupidest people I know have very high IQs. So putting that badge on your chest doesn’t mean anything to me.

      Rather than illogical thinkers, it’s those who have no compassion or empathy that generally ruin my day.

      1. Hear hear. A logical
        Hear hear. A logical extension of the mensa pride idea is that the ET’s with even higher IQ’s should just waste everyone else and take over the planet. I can’t help but think here of that old T-shirt – “The many moods of an alien” with a dozen different facial shots all showing the same expression. LOL!
        I suppose we should take the idea out to its truly logical conclusion – do away with all of the lower lifeforms on the planet. Whoopee!

        1. I think the thing that
          I think the thing that worries me the most, is not only how unshocked I am by the comments, but by the lack of response by other prominent athiests and ‘skeptics’ to critize Randi’s comments. Although it is telling and slightly comforting that nobody has rushed here to defend him (yet).
          They show a complete lack of empathy towards other humans, I just, don’t know what to say. If his views are this extreme, then I feel the man can no longer be reached. What to do now then? I have no ideas myself.
          I am actually pro legalization of drugs, but for reasons very different to Randi’s (Them being illegal isn’t working, would be easier to treat addicts, could maybe provide drugs that are untampered with etc). I have yet to meet anybody who hasn’t taken drugs because they are illegal, so making them illegal would be very unlikely to lead to mass deaths. They were decriminialised in Portugal, and usage went down by 50% in ten years! Although I don’t know who was counting…

    2. not enough brains
      [quote=Brain.The.Size.Of.A.Planet.]I sympathise with Randi’s passion for ridding the planet of stupid. As a member of Mensa, my IQ is certified to be within the top 2% of the population; and most of the grief that comes my way day-to-day comes from know-nothings who don’t think logically, who are unaware of their ignorance, and who appear indifferent to how their primitive behaviours disadvantage others. It’s taken me years to accept that I think differently from others, and frankly, I’m tired of wading through the muck deposited by others’ stupidity.[/quote]

      I understand this very well. It is something that drives me crazy almost every day. Though, I have no interest to find my IQ, since that measurement is only relative to current understanding of what intelligence actually is. Severely limited in my opinion. In our current conception of existence, it works well enough I suppose.

      One of the arguments against the lower intelligences is that they are ignorant of the problems that they create for themselves and/or others(muck deposited). Because they lack the ability to see these deficiencies as measured against a common consensus, they could be considered a nuisance. However, what if the consensus that they are being measured against is equally flawed in its ignorance as well? This consensus might suppose that all human life “must” be centered around high IQ in the empirical sense, and that those that are incapable of being the fittest in that category must perish. One might say that this presumes that intelligence only exists in the framework of how we define intelligence, and nothing more.

      If one were to show compassion to one of these so called self-ignorant people (idiots), it would be thought upon poorly as prolonging their existence. Instead, let them fall misshapen upon their own folly. However, a reaction to compassion is actually a measure of intelligence. One can either see the value in compassion, or they do not. This is often confused with choice. If one is incapable of seeing the value in exercising compassion, then is it really a full measured choice? Most people who make this mistake, wholeheartedly believe it was a choice. In the mind of the empirical and logical, if they are incapable of seeing the value in compassion when measured against their own pragmatic values, it is -assumed- to be a logical choice.

      This same logic can be applied to the idiots who are ignorant of their actions “and should perish”. They think they are making a choice, but in reality, they are incapable of seeing the value and need to choose logic in a given situation. This problem pervades all levels of people. I see it in even the smartest of people.

      The pursuit to refine intelligence in man based on survival of the fittest and/or eugenics is utter folly. Precluding facets of humans based on a flawed consensus that is incapable of recognizing the importance of things beyond its means, serves only to a misguided end.

    3. re: my IQ is certified to be within the top 2% of the populatio
      [quote=Brain.The.Size.Of.A.Planet.]I sympathise with Randi’s passion for ridding the planet of stupid. As a member of Mensa, my IQ is certified to be within the top 2% of the population; and most of the grief that comes my way day-to-day comes from know-nothings who don’t think logically, who are unaware of their ignorance, and who appear indifferent to how their primitive behaviours disadvantage others. It’s taken me years to accept that I think differently from others, and frankly, I’m tired of wading through the muck deposited by others’ stupidity.[/quote]

      I guess you’re one example that stupid people can have high IQs.

      – You don’t think differently. Not liking those one sees as outside the group(s) one identifies as/with is common.

      – You do a piss-poor job of identifying your own issues. The fact is that your grief comes from your own deficiency in desperately wanting/needing others to agree with your assessments and viewpoints.

      All in all, the muck you’re wading through is your own poop. Hiding behind Mensa, political party, religious denomination, scientific theory, nationality, race, or any of the other things folks like you gloom onto in an attempt to cover up your insecurities, won’t keep your shoes clean.

  9. Decisions
    You miss the essence of the thought. People should have the freedom to make thier own decisions and also pay the consequences of thier actions. We should not enable them or bail them out when they make bad secisions. If you do care for some one who is disabled then you can make a personal decision to help them. Society as a whole should not be forced to degrade itself by fostering those who do not care about themselves or cannot care for the children they bring into this world who would in turn probably make bad decisions of thier own.Eventually there will be a price to pay.

    1. No, we get that part, or at
      No, we get that part, or at least some of us do, but to pretend that social Skinnerism should be allowed to run unfettered as a guiding principle for a society is reckless, and I doubt that any of the high horsers are going to like living in a country where that actually prevails. It might very well be about to in the US where the economy has been so destroyed by many “smart” people that we now have stolen so much from the middle class and poor and allowed it to sequester in the “smart” classes that we are on the brink of a civil war and social breakdown. I am always really furious with the old closet sentiments of the ruling classes that we should defund education because there isn’t enough room in the world for too many educated people. A lot of the “stupidity” we see now in the US as opposed to say Germany is entirely due to the gross neglect of the education system – not genetics. The eugenicists of the New World Order are intent on creating a dumbed down slaves class in order to justify stealing all of the wealth and blood from them. They come up with cockamamie theories to justify the predations.

      1. The Upside of Brain Damage
        http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-02/when-brain-damage-unlocks-genius-within?single-page-view=true

        “But Miller offered a wholly different hypothesis for the mechanisms at work in congenital and acquired savants. Savant skills, Miller argues, emerge because the areas ravaged by disease—those associated with logic, verbal communication, and comprehension—have actually been inhibiting latent artistic abilities present in those people all along. As the left brain goes dark, the circuits keeping the right brain in check disappear. The skills do not emerge as a result of newly acquired brain power; they emerge because for the first time, the areas of the right brain associated with creativity can operate unchecked.”

        Of course, these damage syndromes should be assiduously purged from the human genome, so that pesky distractions like the arts will no longer get in the way of a purely logical existence. (Not)

        1. PZ Myers- reigning drama
          PZ Myers- reigning drama queen of the hypocritical PC hissy fit- has a picture up today of his slovenly self and Randi, who looks more miserable than ever. No mention of any of Randi’s rantings anywhere. Predictable.

  10. Beliefs
    I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been in discussion threads and someone opposed to even the possibility of the existence of “psi” or “ESP” chimes in with: “If it exists, how come no one has won Randi’s Challenge?”

    Posting links to TDG articles on the topic seems to accomplish nothing — those who believe in the validity of Randi’s Challenge very likely don’t bother to follow any links to articles that suggest otherwise.

    People believe this or that on any particular issue and rarely, if ever, can be persuaded by argument or discussion that, just maybe, their beliefs are false or need to be modified in some way.

    This human tendency is exactly why Internet sites like the Guardian’s Comment is Free section gets so very much Internet traffic, particularly on the most polarized issues, where strongly held beliefs generate lots of emotion (no surprise!).

    PSI vs. not is of course one of those issues, closely associated with Religion vs. Science (or God vs. Not, as though there are no other possibilities or no such thing as agnosticism; in the God vs. Not threads the vast majority in the Not camp seem to believe that the only God concept in existence is the Christian version, another source of annoyance in such threads.)

    We all have beliefs, about everything.

    Posting comments from some place like the Seth material will get rude responses from the hardcore rationalists/materialists but Seth, like others, advised his readers to carefully examine their beliefs, noting the major impact belief holding has on someone’s experienced/perceived reality and thus how _changing_ a belief will have very noticeable effects. These can be observed…

    Doing this requires some thoughtful self observation, patience, and persistence — no one who has already made up their mind regarding something they believe to be true will bother, and this applies to everyone, of all persuasions, even those who are fond of reading and quoting items from the Seth material…

    All things PSI-related are particularly devilish this way, in my opinion, as they concern regions of self or mind that tend to be occluded by the workings of the rational intellect — that is, anyone not born with truly blatant gifts in this area must learn to quiet or still his or her conscious mind if they wish to even begin to explore it (in an active way, that is, not simply by reading and/or thinking about it), but try explaining _that_ to anyone who is _very impressed_ with the great power of their own conscious mind and intellect, someone who may not try anything for which no “objective evidence” exists, at least as far as they are concerned. (This still comes down to beliefs and despite all protestation to the contrary even science and its methods are built on beliefs — assumptions — that, for the most part, only historians and philosophers of science are keenly aware of.)

    Commonly held “mass” beliefs change over time. What was heretical once (say experimental science when the Church held sway, in the Western world) gradually becomes supplanted by some newer “heretical” set of beliefs.

    Even as this happens, influential diehards age and die, just like everyone else.

    Sooner or later Randi will die, then, just as Rupert Murdoch will.

    Woe to anyone who, mistakenly or not, gets either while experimenting with a ouija board.

    Bill I.

    1. The most egregious and
      The most egregious and obvious fault of the Randi school of skepticism is its incorrigible cherry picking of the data. It studiously displays the weakest and studiously ignores the strongest which is really echoed in these misprisions of Darwinism too. What it considers worthy of consideration and preservation is simplistic and crude. The fault courses throughout his philosophy and world view.

      1. http://galactic.no/rune/elkla
        http://galactic.no/rune/elklarer4.html

        “…An exhilarating happiness filled those days of quickening life
        within me, halcyon days filled with joy, with a life so precious, a
        part of Akon to be nurtured, protected and loved, a life from another
        planet to be encompassed with the essence of love and joy that a
        woman knows and gives to the quickening child within her womb
        when the embryo stems from the seed of love. This is the spark which
        creates the divine soul in human life, a divine soul born in the offspring
        of a true mating between a man and a woman, that true and
        complete love of a man for a woman and a woman for a man, which
        is so rarely found among human beings on Earth, who misunderstand
        the functions of mating and procreation in the higher octaves
        of sensual delight.

        1. Is there anything quite as
          Is there anything quite as funny and pathetic as Randi counseling us to let “mental aberrations” be weeded out by natural selection when in fact his own homosexuality would also be “weeded out” dependent on who exactly was establishing what a mental aberration was? In Sudan for instance Randi would sure as heck be “weeded out” along with his partner.
          One might also point out that a strict reading of natural selection should have by now weeded out homosexuality since homosexuals don’t produce offspring. It doesn’t work that way in the human community, Randi – with a stress on “human.”

  11. lol. This should make it clear that Randi
    is not the respecter of science he likes to pose as. Few – if any – scientists interpret “survival of the fittest” the way he does. But almost every moron does. Whatever group the moron speaking likes is the one seen as the fittest.

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