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Old 23rd January 2013, 11:52 AM   #1
monty1
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James Randi

I've been following James Randi for quite some time and hence, leading to me finally finding this forum. And first of all I want to say that I admire his work in exposing the frauds. We definitely need more like him.

And so, as I admire him and others like him who expose frauds, I can' help but do the same thing. For that reason, I'm always looking for the fraudulence of magicians, and that includes Jame Randi himself. Even though, his purpose is above board and he always ends with that explanation.

So when I have finally figured out the solution to how the trick was done, as I always do because I stick to it until I do, there is always disappointment. And that is what I want to talk about here. Is it human nature to be disappointed when one finds the bubble broken again and again? And if it always leads to disappoinment then why do we go in search for the real solution? Will we ever be able to find a solution that doesn't disappoint.

How do others feel about this? Are my feelings on this the same as the feelings of others? And why does our successful quest for more knowledge and understanding always lead to disappointment when we look closely at this socalled magic?
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Old 23rd January 2013, 11:57 AM   #2
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Welcome Monty1.

For me, the kind of magic that Randi, and Penn and Teller, etc, do, is pure entertainment. I am delighted when I don't know how something is done. And I am also delighted when (or if) I figure it out. I generally don't associate disappointment with the tricks. Perhaps it is a matter of expectations? Do you expect something more than this being entertainment (though sometimes educational entertainment), or something more than there being a logical explanation behind the trick?
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Old 23rd January 2013, 12:22 PM   #3
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Thank you for your reply and welcome Denver. So I suppose we differ in some ways in how we feel when we figure it all out. I don't know quite why I'm disappointed though, because realistically I know that there's always a logical solution. Yes, it has something to do with my expectations.

But I still wonder why we look for the solution to the magic trick when to me at least, the solution is never very enlightening. It's simple and dull. And I know in my heart (brain) it will always be there.

I am an atheist myself but to relate to something similar, I quite often find myself looking at explanations for questions on creationism versus evolution. I know what the truth is but I seem to need to have it reinforced for me from time to time. For instance, my interest in the Dover trial and ID. I mean, why do we waste our time with looking into such nonsense? Do our beliefs need reinforcing. So we say to ourselves, hey, maybe those ID'ers have something? Of course I know that they couldn't have anything interesting to tell us!

I could say, that's just me, but it's not. It's what keeps Richard Dawkin's forum alive and well and I think it's part of what keeps this one going. If we were actively contributing as James Randi does then that would be different but I think that in most cases we are doing it for our own benefit.

In both cases, we know the truth. Or should I just speak for myself on that? And so if I (we) know the truth why do we continue to waste our time with looking for an answer?

Thanks again for your response!
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Old 23rd January 2013, 02:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
How do others feel about this? Are my feelings on this the same as the feelings of others? And why does our successful quest for more knowledge and understanding always lead to disappointment when we look closely at this socalled magic?
You are disappointed to find that magic tricks are just tricks that have a mundane and (usually) dull explanation?

Think of it like this: The method is only a small part of the magic.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 02:46 PM   #5
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Yes, I'm disappointed in the same way that I am disappointed time and again to find that god and the sky fairy nonsense never has any basis in reality. Don't we all wish that even the extraterrestial sightings would for once pan out to be real? Or maybe not all of us?

If there is anything other than the method in magic tricks then I don't understand what you are referring to. Entertainment value perhaps? I for one don't just walk away and leave it at that. I pursue it and determine how it's done and then it always becomes mundane and disappointing.

As I said, maybe that's just me but on the other hand, I think I may be in the majority and especially on this forum.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 03:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
I've been following James Randi for quite some time and hence, leading to me finally finding this forum. ...
Welcome to JREF!
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Old 23rd January 2013, 04:05 PM   #7
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To me, the magic is in the technique used to fool me. I know there's no such thing as magic; but I still enjoy watching a well-performed trick and wondering "how the hell did he do that?" I guess where you and I differ is that I don't really want to know how it's done; the art of illusion is, like a painting, destroyed in the dissection.

And, sure, I hope that someday ET is conclusively shown to be real, or someone brings in a live Sasquatch, or Jesus returns to earth and manifests himself in a way none can deny. It's human nature to wonder if there's something more than science can explain; to wonder if there's room in the world for a little bit of magic, if you will. I'm not so jaded that I don't harbor that hope myself; but even if there isn't room for magic in the world, there's still plenty of room to be amazed.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 04:18 PM   #8
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Thanks, you obviously got what I was talking about. It's about holding out hope even though we know it's always going to be false hope. Yes, I do know that it's false hope. I wonder what Randi would himself say about the subject. Is he still hoping? And if you want to leave the 'magic' at the amazement stage then you benefit from it more than I do. I always want to ferret it out for what it is.

Most of it is too idiotic to even continue to think about although Randi's 5 card trick had me going for a while. All with good intentions on his part though.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 05:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
I've been following James Randi for quite some time and hence, leading to me finally finding this forum. And first of all I want to say that I admire his work in exposing the frauds. We definitely need more like him.

And so, as I admire him and others like him who expose frauds, I can' help but do the same thing. For that reason, I'm always looking for the fraudulence of magicians, and that includes Jame Randi himself. Even though, his purpose is above board and he always ends with that explanation.

So when I have finally figured out the solution to how the trick was done, as I always do because I stick to it until I do, there is always disappointment. And that is what I want to talk about here. Is it human nature to be disappointed when one finds the bubble broken again and again? And if it always leads to disappoinment then why do we go in search for the real solution? Will we ever be able to find a solution that doesn't disappoint.

How do others feel about this? Are my feelings on this the same as the feelings of others? And why does our successful quest for more knowledge and understanding always lead to disappointment when we look closely at this socalled magic?
To me, being able to figure out how a trick is done should bring satisfaction. It is gaining new information - which is my constant goal. Thus I must disagree that it results in disappointment for all (for me and all with a similar
mind-set anyway).
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Old 23rd January 2013, 06:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Yes, I'm disappointed in the same way that I am disappointed time and again to find that god and the sky fairy nonsense never has any basis in reality.
Sorry but it must suck to be you.... going to see Star Wars and being disappointed that it's just actors dressed up funny.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Don't we all wish that even the extraterrestial sightings would for once pan out to be real? Or maybe not all of us?
The discovery of extraterrestrial life visiting our planet would be the most important scientific discovery of all time. Not really comparable with someone asking you to pick a card.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
If there is anything other than the method in magic tricks then I don't understand what you are referring to. Entertainment value perhaps?
A well executed trick uses showmanship, misdirection, psychology and a host of other stuff. The magic isn't in the method at all, the magic is in the mind of the audience. A good magician would fall flat on his ass if all he did was strip his routine down to a 'method'.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
I for one don't just walk away and leave it at that. I pursue it and determine how it's done and then it always becomes mundane and disappointing.
That's because you're not taking into account showmanship, misdirection, psychology and a host of other stuff. Racing cars are exciting but if you take them to bits, it's disappointing to find they are just a load of bits of metal and oozy liquids... they are no longer exciting.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
As I said, maybe that's just me but on the other hand, I think I may be in the majority and especially on this forum.
I think that most people around here will understand that magic tricks always have a mundane explanation, but that doesn't make the magic trick disappointing.
One of the biggest hurdles I had to get over when learning magic was having confidence that simple methods will work without fail when performed correctly. For a while I was sure I would get busted. I spend a year learning an undetectable pass and then a week performing a trick that included it and figuring out that with the right misdirection, I didn't need the move in the first place.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 06:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Thanks, you obviously got what I was talking about. It's about holding out hope even though we know it's always going to be false hope. Yes, I do know that it's false hope. I wonder what Randi would himself say about the subject. Is he still hoping?
I don't speak for Randi (obviously), but I'd say that "hope" isn't really an issue.
What is it that you are hoping for?
A magician who does really real wizz bang woo magic that doesn't have a mundane explanation?
You won't find it being preformed by a magician, they specialise in tricking people, not really performing miracles that break the laws of physics.


As for things like UFOs, Psychics, Telekentics etc. There is no need for hope, there is either evidence for them or not. What sceptics have is open minds, that is a mind that is open to evidence supporting a claim.
I don't hope for it, but will certainly welcome it if it ever emerges.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 09:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Stray Cat View Post
Sorry but it must suck to be you.... going to see Star Wars and being disappointed that it's just actors dressed up funny.
Frankly, I was hugely disappointed with the first Star Wars and I haven't seen any of the later ones. But I'm certainly not disappointed with well made movies that enlighten, regardless of whether or not they are fiction. I don't think sucks to be me?


Quote:
The discovery of extraterrestrial life visiting our planet would be the most important scientific discovery of all time. Not really comparable with someone asking you to pick a card.
You've failed to understand what I said in it's proper context and most likely deliberately.


Quote:
A well executed trick uses showmanship, misdirection, psychology and a host of other stuff. The magic isn't in the method at all, the magic is in the mind of the audience. A good magician would fall flat on his ass if all he did was strip his routine down to a 'method'.
I agree that the showmanship is necessary and that's the part I dislike the most. Really, the only redeeming quality I see in the magic acts is what Randi uses for his purpose. Therefore I disregard the phony showmanship which always fall short because of it's dishonest intent.


Quote:
That's because you're not taking into account showmanship, misdirection, psychology and a host of other stuff. Racing cars are exciting but if you take them to bits, it's disappointing to find they are just a load of bits of metal and oozy liquids... they are no longer exciting.
Funny thing is, I would find looking at the parts of a racing car more interesting than watching it go around a track. There would be so much more to learn from it! To each their own.


Quote:
I think that most people around here will understand that magic tricks always have a mundane explanation, but that doesn't make the magic trick disappointing.
One of the biggest hurdles I had to get over when learning magic was having confidence that simple methods will work without fail when performed correctly. For a while I was sure I would get busted. I spend a year learning an undetectable pass and then a week performing a trick that included it and figuring out that with the right misdirection, I didn't need the move in the first place.
I explainled what I meant and it seemed that you agreed. It's not so much the magic trick that's disappointing, it's that the method is usually so simple and mundane as to be disappointing. I drew the parallel with religion and ID in particular. ID is a catchy idea until one investigates it a little and then it becomes hugely disappointing in the fact that it's not even well thought out. It's just creationists trying to use science to their advantage in a dishonest way. One would at least expect they would come up with some sky fairy nonsense that could have the backing of at least some of the scientific community! What fools! They did their cause of religion more harm with it than they benefited their cause.

In a way I feel the same about socalled magic tricks. They make asses of themselves and do more harm than good for their cause unless they are totally honest about what they are doing. That's what Randi does.
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Old 23rd January 2013, 11:12 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
And so, as I admire him and others like him who expose frauds, I can' help but do the same thing. For that reason, I'm always looking for the fraudulence of magicians, and that includes Jame Randi himself.
Welcome monty1.

Honest magicians, like Randi, are not frauds. They use various techniques to fool people but fully acknowledge the trickery. The frauds are folks like Van Praagh who claim to NOT be using tricks.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Even though, his purpose is above board and he always ends with that explanation.
Again, no. Randi never claims fraudulence.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
So when I have finally figured out the solution to how the trick was done, as I always do because I stick to it until I do, there is always disappointment.
Always? My, my, what a sharp lad (lass?).

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
And why does our successful quest for more knowledge and understanding always lead to disappointment when we look closely at this socalled magic?
Speak for yourself. I'd add a different question: Why are you disappointed to learn new things?
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Old 23rd January 2013, 11:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by SezMe View Post
Welcome monty1.

Honest magicians, like Randi, are not frauds. They use various techniques to fool people but fully acknowledge the trickery. The frauds are folks like Van Praagh who claim to NOT be using tricks.


Again, no. Randi never claims fraudulence.


Always? My, my, what a sharp lad (lass?).


Speak for yourself. I'd add a different question: Why are you disappointed to learn new things?
I certainly didn't mean to suggest that Randi was a fraud. I've always accepted that he's the opposite and his whole reason for his performances is to expose frauds.

And once again, some of us are capable of understanding that it would be nice if religious beliefs were something of substance. Wouldn't it be comforting to know that you really could count on another life after this one? That's what religious belief is all about you know. A fear of nothingness after death. Always has been and always will be until our brains evolve to the point where we can rise above it all. Some of our brains already have!

For those who understood what I was saying, I drew the parallel with religious belief to magic acts because it would be nice for many of us to find that they are something more than cheap simple tricks. However, I'm not obsessed with it all when it comes to magic. It was only an item that I wanted to discuss. I suggest that you don't get obsessed with it either and don't try to be contrary about it just for the sake of being contrary.

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Old 24th January 2013, 03:27 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Always has been and always will be until our brains evolve to the point where we can rise above it all.
Evolution has nothing to do with the fact of, the tricks used by, or the receptivity of the brain to magic.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
I suggest that you don't get obsessed with it either and don't try to be contrary about it just for the sake of being contrary.
Why not? It's late and you're a convenient target to rag on.
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Old 24th January 2013, 06:47 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Frankly, I was hugely disappointed with the first Star Wars and I haven't seen any of the later ones. But I'm certainly not disappointed with well made movies that enlighten, regardless of whether or not they are fiction. I don't think sucks to be me?
Firstly, the example of Star Wars was just that an example.
The whole movie industry much like the magic industry is based upon a make believe that is globally accepted.
When you walk into a cinema to see a movie you suspend your disbelief.
The exact same thing happens when people walk into a theater to see a magic show. There is no expectation that the magician will really break the laws of physics in the same way that there is no expectation that Frodo will really drop the one ring in a real volcano.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
You've failed to understand what I said in it's proper context and most likely deliberately.
Not deliberately at all, sorry if it came across that way.

You said:
Quote:
Don't we all wish that even the extraterrestial sightings would for once pan out to be real? Or maybe not all of us?
And I pointed out that I for one would certainly welcome an extraterrestrial sighting to be real, because it would be the most important scientific discovery of all time. I would also welcome finding out that David Copperfield could really fly, but as he fully acknowledges that he's an illusionist, we can be certain that it's just an illusion.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
I agree that the showmanship is necessary and that's the part I dislike the most.
I'm guessing here, but I think that is because that's the part you don't and can't understand. You may be very good at the mechanics of the trick, but dealing with how a magician can alter the audience's perception isn't as cut and dried is it?
You can't figure that bit out sat in your bedroom.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Really, the only redeeming quality I see in the magic acts is what Randi uses for his purpose. Therefore I disregard the phony showmanship which always fall short because of it's dishonest intent.
There is nothing dishonest about showmanship. It's at least implied by the fact that you go to see a magic show.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Funny thing is, I would find looking at the parts of a racing car more interesting than watching it go around a track. There would be so much more to learn from it! To each their own.
Well there's that disconnect with emotion and perception again.
Yes, each to their own, some people enjoy a magic show and learning how to perform magic tricks, other people don't.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
I explainled what I meant and it seemed that you agreed. It's not so much the magic trick that's disappointing, it's that the method is usually so simple and mundane as to be disappointing.
But what is it that you are expecting?
They're called "tricks" because you get tricked into thinking that something amazing is going on when in reality, something else (much more mundane) is going on. The "Method" is only one small part of what is going on, try analysing how such a simple and mundane method can create amazement in people's minds, it must after all also create a level of amazement in your mind too at first, the amazement in your case being equal to the disappointment you feel when you learn how it's done.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
I drew the parallel with religion and ID in particular. ID is a catchy idea until one investigates it a little and then it becomes hugely disappointing in the fact that it's not even well thought out. It's just creationists trying to use science to their advantage in a dishonest way. One would at least expect they would come up with some sky fairy nonsense that could have the backing of at least some of the scientific community! What fools! They did their cause of religion more harm with it than they benefited their cause.
I'm still not seeing what magic tricks have to do with people making serious claims based upon their faulty and illogical belief in a beardy pretend friend.
Magic is entertainment, the vast majority of entertainment is escapism and as such the suspension of disbelief is temporary, ID is not entertainment, it's a blind belief and as such the suspension of disbelief is permanent.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
In a way I feel the same about socalled magic tricks.
Why do you keep calling it "so called magic"?
It's as if you are implying that it is pretending to be something other than some tricks.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
They make asses of themselves and do more harm than good for their cause
What do you think their "cause" is?
Because their cause is to entertain the people who go to see magic shows.
You may not find them entertaining and that's fine, but to claim that they are doing some harm for their cause is you not understanding that is all just entertainment.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
unless they are totally honest about what they are doing.
They are honest about what they are doing, they may not be honest about the way they are doing it but as you have found out yourself, if you strip it down to the mechanical method, it's no longer interesting or entertaining, and interest and entertainment are prerequisites of a magic show.

Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
That's what Randi does.
What Randi has done in the past (and to an extent what Penn & Teller still do now) is make entertainment out of the method. The entertainment is still very much to do with perception and human interaction and little to do with the mechanical method... This is why magicians are classed as entertainers.
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Old 24th January 2013, 10:22 AM   #17
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Stray Cat, you've gone off on a totally different wavelength from the intent of the thread. I don't like magic shows and I don't like car races but that's no reason to suggest that I'm disconnected from emotion and perception. I choose to not be entertained by car races, magic shows, and other assorted drivel. Now if it was a symphony orchestra playing classical music then that may be different.
Not a place to go if you're looking to meet your race car fans though.
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Old 24th January 2013, 11:02 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Stray Cat, you've gone off on a totally different wavelength from the intent of the thread. I don't like magic shows and I don't like car races but that's no reason to suggest that I'm disconnected from emotion and perception. I choose to not be entertained by car races, magic shows, and other assorted drivel. Now if it was a symphony orchestra playing classical music then that may be different.
Not a place to go if you're looking to meet your race car fans though.
And in the Magic sub forum (Conjuror's Corner) isn't a place to come to find people who don't like magic.
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Old 24th January 2013, 11:04 AM   #19
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Also: I used to be amazed at symphony orchestras... then I found out all they're doing is blowing down bits of bent metal while looking at some dots on some paper.
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Old 24th January 2013, 11:08 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Stray Cat View Post
And in the Magic sub forum (Conjuror's Corner) isn't a place to come to find people who don't like magic.
Then that's where I'll entertain you further but not in the 'conjurer's corner. See you in the magic sub forum.
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Old 24th January 2013, 11:12 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Then that's where I'll entertain you further but not in the 'conjurer's corner. See you in the magic sub forum.
But the conjuror's corner is the magic sub forum.

Is it that you have a problem with the word 'magic' being used by people who just do tricks?
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Old 29th January 2013, 10:03 PM   #22
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why do i get the faint smell of woo in here all of a sudden?
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Old 31st January 2013, 06:54 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by monty1 View Post
Then that's where I'll entertain you further but not in the 'conjurer's corner. See you in the magic sub forum.
Of course you realize that the Conjurer's Corner is a magic sub forum (and since there's only one it would be 'the' magic sub forum)- much like 'monty1' is also a humor being (although I am making an assumption there).
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