Chicago - Dec. 1, 2020
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Remembering A Hero: The Amazing James Randi

We at the Center for Inquiry are heartbroken over the death of James Randi, who died Tuesday at the age of 92.

Randi helped found the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the organization that would one day become the Center for Inquiry, in 1976, alongside legends such as Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, B.F. Skinner, and Paul Kurtz.

Together, this group of luminaries from the fields of science, literature, philosophy and entertainment dedicated themselves to a project that has only grown in its necessity and urgency: the promotion of scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.

In other words, these were the founding fathers of the reality-based community.

"James Randi was a founder of CFI's forerunner organization. To the skeptical movement, he was a hero. To us, he was family," said Robyn Blumner, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. "Damn! And when the world needs him now as never before."

"He had tremendous courage and skill, almost unparalleled, in fighting for science and reason and against frauds and charlatans and pretenders," said Kendrick Frazier, editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine. "Despite his ferocity in challenging all forms of nonsense, in person he was a kind and gentle man. It is a sad day indeed!"

Well before his association with CSICOP, Randi was the public face of skeptical inquiry, bringing a sense of fun and mischievousness to a serious mission. Whether exposing fraudulent psychics and faith-healers or revealing the false promises of alternative medicine, his showmanship and expertise in illusion made him an extraordinarily effective messenger for the promotion of critical thinking over magical thinking.

Beyond his own groundbreaking work, James Randi is responsible for inspiring several generations of skeptics and science communicators who are pushing back against the false claims of pseudoscience, the paranormal, and the supernatural, as well as those who profit from them. What began as a committee of intellectuals and a magazine has now expanded into a universe of activists, scholars, entertainers, media platforms, and institutions, like CFI, who share Randi's mission and his passion.

The Center for Inquiry is a proud part of the legacy of James Randi. He truly was amazing.

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See also:
* New York Times: James Randi, Magician Who Debunked Paranormal Claims, Dies At 92.

"Known professionally as the Amazing Randi, he dedicated his life to exposing seers who did not see, healers who did not heal and many others."

* Friendly Atheist: The Extraordinary Influence Of James "The Amazing" Randi.

"Magician Penn Jillette said it bluntly: 'You invented us.'"

* AFP: Magician And Debunker Of The Paranormal James Randi Dies.

"While he enjoyed amazing audiences with his feats of escapology and sleight of hand, Randi had no time for so-called psychics and faith healers, exposing numerous fraudsters with his inside knowledge of a magician's tricks."

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And:

Secrets of the Psychics.

*

TED talk: Homeopathy, Quackery And Fraud.

*

An Honest Liar.

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

He was one of my heroes.



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Posted on October 22, 2020


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