By James Randi
I’m far too busy with my real work – challenging the paranormalists – to try explaining reality to Sina. I’ll spend a few minutes on two points in his latest tirade, then after one more posting next week, I’ll check out of this pissing match. He wrote:
Where I learned about the stories that I quoted does not invalidate those stories. If those claims are false, you should be able to prove them irrespective of where those stories are reported.
To the first point, I agree. He has chosen – as so many choose – to assign opinions, statements, and attitudes to me that are simply wrong. The source of his data does not invalidate the data. However, it does not in any way validate it, either. I was only pointing out that TV programs are not known for their dedication to truth.
His second point is another that is constantly – wrongly – thrown up to me. I am not making any claims about the supernatural, the paranormal, or the occult – except that those who believe in any of it have not provided evidence to support that belief. I challenge them to do so. It’s not my position to have to prove any claim false; I challenge the claimants to prove that a claim is true, that’s all. That proof is not being presented.
Sina offers the only three explanations he can think of to explain one of my performances of “mentalism” done many years ago, the one that he quotes:
a- That woman was your aunt or an associate of you and you both staged that stunt to impress your audience.
b- You fabricated that story or simply “sexed it up” to prop your beliefs. Believers often invent stories to validate their faith. This is how the followers of Muhammad and Jesus reported so many miracles about their prophets. They think it is okay to lie if the cause is a good one.
c- You occasionally have psychic power.
Typically, he’s wrong on all three guesses, made from a position of ignorance of this art of mentalism. I did not know that woman, nor was I related to her. The only time I ever spoke to her was at the performance, the exchange described by myself and quoted by Sina. The story is 100% true, and took place exactly as described. And no, I do not have any psychic powers that I know of, though I knew with absolute certainty all of the facts that I related to that woman on that occasion.
In a week, I’ll be back to tell readers the trick that was used, during which time Sina and others can try other approaches. The solution has appeared in my writings before, though I cannot recall where – perhaps in one of my books. After I describe that process next week, I will retire from this fruitless exchange, since it’s of no benefit to argue with a zealot who refuses to offer evidence to prove his stance, though I do.
Mon, 15 Mar 2004
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