Tagskepticism

New Dossier: Susan Blackmore

susan blackmore

Blackmore was an important influence for me a few years ago when I was giving up on practicing magick because she had been through the same thing studying ESP: she researched it for years and determined that there wasn’t evidence to support her hypothesis. But she remained interested in “extraordinary human experience,” and showed me that it was possible to research and examine these issues from an open minded and respectful yet skeptical way. Blackmore considers these experiences an important part of the human condition worthy of our study and consideration, regardless of whether the causes are paranormal, psychological or neurological.

Dr. Susan Blackmore is a researcher of consciousness and what she calls “extraordinary human experience,” which includes experiences often referred to as “paranormal,” including out of body experiences and alien abduction. She has a PhD in parapsychology from the University of Surrey, where she studied ESP and memory and eventually gave up belief in the paranormal and adopted a more skeptical worldview.

Dossier: Susan Blackmore

RIP Martin Gardner

Martin Gardner

James Randi writes:

Martin Gardner has died. I have dreaded to type those words, and Martin would not have wanted to know that I’m so devastated at what I knew – day to day – had to happen very soon. I’m glad to report that his passing was painless and quick. That man was one of my giants, a very long-time friend of some 50 years or so. He was a delight, a very bright spot in my firmament, one to whom I could always turn to with a question or an idea, with any strange notion I could invent, and with any complaint or comment I could come up with.

I never had an angry word with Martin. Never. It was all laughs and smiles, all the best of everything.

James Randi: My World is a Little Bit Darker

Martin Gardner Wikipedia entry

(via Cole Tucker)

Sanal Edamaruku’s quest to bring reason to India

Pandit Surender Sharma attempts to kill Sanal Edamaruku

Rationalising India has never been easy. Given the country’s vast population, its pervasive poverty and its dizzying array of ethnic groups, languages and religions, many deem it impossible.

Nevertheless, Mr Edamaruku has dedicated his life to exposing the charlatans — from levitating village fakirs to televangelist yoga masters — who he says are obstructing an Indian Enlightenment. He has had a busy month, with one guru arrested over prostitution, another caught in a sex-tape scandal, a third kidnapping a female follower and a fourth allegedly causing a stampede that killed 63 people. […]

His organisation traces its origins to the 1930s when the “Thinker’s Library” series of books, published by Britain’s Rationalist Press Association, were first imported to India. They included works by Aldous Huxley, Charles Darwin and H.G. Wells; among the early subscribers was Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister.

The Indian Rationalist Association was founded officially in Madras in 1949 with the encouragement of the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, who sent a long letter of congratulations. For the next three decades it had no more than 300 members and focused on publishing pamphlets and debating within the country’s intellectual elite. […]

Exposing such tricks can be risky. A guru called Balti (Bucket) Baba once smashed a burning hot clay pot in Mr Edamaruku’s face after he revealed that the holy man was using a heat resistant pad to pick it up.

Times: Sceptic challenges guru to kill him live on TV

Previously:

Atheism = 1, Magick = 0

Dallas Psychiatrist’s Paranormal Abilities to Be Tested by Noted Debunker James Randi

“During a summer of superhero blockbusters, Dallas psychiatrist Colin A. Ross, M.D. ( www.rossinst.com), is perfecting a superpower of his own. Dr. Ross’ application to the $1 Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge has been received by the James Randi Educational Foundation ( www.randi.org). Dr. Ross can make a tone sound out of a speaker using nothing but an energy beam he sends out through his eyes.

The $1 million prize serves as a challenge to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. The James Randi Educational Foundation states in its Challenge rules that he is only interested in a demonstration of the claim. He does not want theories about how the paranormal claim works. Therefore, Dr. Ross is not required to explain how his demonstration of the human eyebeam works — only that it does work.”

(via MarketWatch. h/t: Professor Hex)

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