I occasionally receive an email from someone who challenges me to apply for one or more of the so-called "prizes" offered by professional skeptics for demonstration of a psi effect. Here's an email exchange I had on this topic recently.
Mr X. wrote:
I saw your research in a new film last night …and was impressed with the rigor with which variables were limited, i.e. through a shielded room there was a clear transference of information between loved ones. Why not duplicate this experiment under the skeptical eye of James Randi and collect the million dollars being held by Goldman Sachs for just such a possibility?
If what you have created is repeatable and is as claimed in the film, you are the people to take this prize.
Please let me know your thoughts!
This sounded reasonable, so I replied:
Thanks for your feedback. The short answer to your question is that such prizes are effective for testing individuals who make claims that do not require skilled judging or statistical analyses. But they are not intended for serious scientific experiments. In addition, there is ample reason to believe that the "prize" is merely a publicity stunt. See this site for examples: http://www.skeptical.../exam/index.htm
From the above site: A leading Fellow of CSICOP, Ray Hyman, has pointed out, this "prize" cannot be taken seriously from a scientific point of view: "Scientists don't settle issues with a single test, so even if someone does win a big cash prize in a demonstration, this isn't going to convince anyone. Proof in science happens through replication, not through single experiments."
Continued at the source below ...
Compassion For Skeptics
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