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Tags james randi , magicians , obituaries , skeptics

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Old 24th October 2020, 09:54 AM   #41
JayUtah
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
And I did know Ron Obvious was not serious.
No.
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Old 24th October 2020, 11:01 AM   #42
dann
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
James Randi was a fine man and I will miss him.

Me too.

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By the way, has anyone noticed that Paul Bethke never did succeed in using his god powers to blind James Randi (and quite a few other people here on the Forum).

I would like to know if Randi's best friend has used his remains to blind Uri Geller.
Randi's wish for a final resting place deserves to be fulfilled:
Canadian magician, skeptic The Amazing Randi dead at 92
(CBC News, Oct. 22, 2020)
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Old 24th October 2020, 01:23 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by DevilsAdvocate View Post
I made a staff like that for myself. Because Randi had one.
I had one as a prop in a play. I didn't play the hero.
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Old 24th October 2020, 01:57 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Ron Obvious View Post
Thanks! I sincerely began to worry if many people were taking me literally, especially as I have virtually no track record here.

Yes, I meant it sarcastically. Sorry, Scorpion.

I am sure 99% of us here recognised it as sarcasm Ron.

Scorpion is guided by spiritual experiences overriding the comprehension most of us here are limited by.

In answer to some other comments, I think Randi would not have been pleased that some had described his death as "passing", or even seeing RIP expressed by some.
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Old 24th October 2020, 02:53 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post

In answer to some other comments, I think Randi would not have been pleased that some had described his death as "passing", or even seeing RIP expressed by some.
Well, I can understand the objection to ‘passing’, which I find tweely euphemistic, and the connotations of “passing over” to the nonexistent other side. I’m not sure I see such a problem with RIP; that his remains should be left somewhere undisturbed doesn’t seem at odds with a lack of belief in the afterlife (although it does go contrary to his expressed wish to have his ashes blown in Geller’s face).
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Old 24th October 2020, 03:36 PM   #46
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Thrown, not blown!

Did he ever seem partial to any of the many options in the Dead Parrot sketch?
'Gone to meet his maker' is obviously out of the question. For an old showman like Randi, 'run down the curtain' seems appropriate, but I think he would probably have preferred something less euphemistic like 'bereft of life,' 'ceased to be' or 'is no more.'
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 25th October 2020, 07:46 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Well, I can understand the objection to ‘passing’, which I find tweely euphemistic, and the connotations of “passing over” to the nonexistent other side. I’m not sure I see such a problem with RIP; that his remains should be left somewhere undisturbed doesn’t seem at odds with a lack of belief in the afterlife (although it does go contrary to his expressed wish to have his ashes blown in Geller’s face).

I think RIP is, for an atheist, an empty meaningless platitude. Not quite hypocritical, that's putting it too strongly; I thinking it's unthinking carrying over of theist phrases and thinking, and, like I said, just an empty platitude if you're an atheist.

No one says, "RIP X's body underneath", or "RIp X's ashes". If you simply say "RIP" you may claim -- perhaps sincerely, perhaps not -- that that wish was in respect of the ashes. But when you explicitly say "RIP X", then either you're saying X is somehow that body, or those ashes, or the soul that will now "rest".

That's a lot of words about nothing at all! Except :

If you do it unthinkingly, fine. If you realize, and still deliberately do it, because that's such a small thing, that's fine too: after all, we do use words like "God forbid" and "damn" despite their meaninglessness to atheists, simply as a figure of speech. By all means think of RIP as a figure of sppech or a platitude, and still use it; or don't think about it, and use it; but if you think about it, and, having thought about it try to defend that term by claiming you meant the ashes, I'm afraid that's liable to get called out.

I've not had the privilege of knowing Randi, but what I hear about him leads me to think he'd have voiced my thoughts too. Although, not having known him, I may be wrong in thinking that.



eta: Ah, good, edit window's open still. On re-reading, that may have come out sounding, well, combative. That wasn't my intent! And quibbling away about a non-issue would be in poor taste, especially here in this thread. So, well, apologies if that post disturbed the tenor, the spirit, the atmosphere of this thread!

Last edited by Chanakya; 25th October 2020 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 25th October 2020, 08:13 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I think RIP is, for an atheist, an empty meaningless platitude. Not quite hypocritical, that's putting it too strongly; I thinking it's unthinking carrying over of theist phrases and thinking, and, like I said, just an empty platitude if you're an ...snip...
He died on Tuesday......
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Old 25th October 2020, 08:43 AM   #49
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I've read Native American magazines where they say someone has walked on and I like that better than passed away.
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Old 25th October 2020, 09:44 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
He died on Tuesday......

Sorry, re-read that twice over, but couldn't parse that!?
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Old 25th October 2020, 10:25 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
Sorry, re-read that twice over, but couldn't parse that!?
This might help.
https://www.crowl.org/Lawrence/time/days.html
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Old 25th October 2020, 10:28 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I'd make that a 5 out of 7 chance of dying on a day named after a supernatural being then.

Not very illuminating.
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Old 25th October 2020, 10:31 AM   #53
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Being inevitable doesn't make death comfortable. So yes, even atheists will look to platitudes and euphemisms to blunt the emotional effect. Nothing about atheism requires us to face sadness head-on. What we don't do is invent fantasies of continued existence. "Passed away" is accurate. "Passed on" implies something to pass on to, which I don't agree with. "No longer with us" is my preferred statement, whenever "He's dead, Jim" would be in poor taste.
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Old 25th October 2020, 10:44 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post

Thanks.

TBH, though, I still don't get it. That's the etymology of these words, these day names. That has nothing to do with RIP, as far as I can see? (It's not as if RIP means 'x' today, and only historically and etymologically is linked to a very different meaning 'y' -- unlike Tuesday.)

Re. your subsequent post, I agree, no reason why atheists must carry some aversion for platitudes per se. Like I'd said in my post, we can use that phrase unthinkingly, or as a platitude we accept and use because it is unimportant (like 'God forfend' or whatever). But to try to actually and rationally justify RIP by saying it applies to the ashes seemed a stretch to me. If, as you say, "passing on" seems off, so would RIP, I should think, for exactly the same reason.

Anyway, I'll stop assaulting the horse now. I shouldn't have started at all, in fact, all things considered. Time and place. Apologies for the derail.

Last edited by Chanakya; 25th October 2020 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 25th October 2020, 10:48 AM   #55
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I agree that "passed" is unnecessarily antiseptic and never use it myself. It always leaves me wondering what or whom they passed, but it's apparently the euphemism of choice in polite society these days.

I don't object to "passed away", but always just say "died" myself.
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Old 25th October 2020, 10:52 AM   #56
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Hell, even "Goodbye" is short for "God be with ye", if I recall correctly.

It doesn't worry me. It's no different than saying "God knows". Nor does saying "****** if I know" require intercourse to take place if I am to achieve illumination in the matter.
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Old 25th October 2020, 11:38 AM   #57
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Don't the French say "He has left us" or some such?
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Old 25th October 2020, 01:05 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
That has nothing to do with RIP, as far as I can see?
No, it doesn't. But it has to do with what you also said about carrying over theistic origins and concepts, often unthinkingly. Our day names follow from gods. We atheists don't care.

Quote:
Anyway, I'll stop assaulting the horse now. I shouldn't have started at all, in fact, all things considered. Time and place. Apologies for the derail.
We can honor the memory of James Randi in no better way than debating the historic and ongoing role of religion in language and society.
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Old 25th October 2020, 01:34 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
I think RIP is, for an atheist, an empty meaningless platitude. Not quite hypocritical, that's putting it too strongly; I thinking it's unthinking carrying over of theist phrases and thinking, and, like I said, just an empty platitude if you're an atheist.

Yes, that is what I thought also, and although certain expressions may have origins that do not sit well with us, we can be discerning about the ones we use.
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Old 25th October 2020, 01:45 PM   #60
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Just saw this thread, aww damn.

rest in pepperonis, in peace.
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Old 25th October 2020, 05:12 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
...We can honor the memory of James Randi in no better way than debating the historic and ongoing role of religion in language and society.

God bless you, Jay, for saying that.

In that case:


Quote:
No, it doesn't. But it has to do with what you also said about carrying over theistic origins and concepts, often unthinkingly. Our day names follow from gods. We atheists don't care.

I've already addressed this. Like I said:

(1) We have plenty of words in English that today carry very different meanings than their historical roots. Etymology is of interest only to the linguist, amateur or otherwise. A live phrase with live words is very different than that. Phrases like RIP and "God bless you", while used in general contexts also, clearly retain their original meaning, that IMO they've not evolved away from.

To take another example, using what another poster has tried to argue: 'Bye' (and 'Goodbye') are words that historically and etymologically are derived from 'God be with you'. Those words ('bye' and 'goodbye') do not themselves carry any theistic baggage today and so wouldn't, I think, reasonably be objected to (exactly like 'Tuesday') ; unlike the live phrase "God bless you", which -- like 'RIP' -- does carry theistic baggage, despite the fact that that it is, like RIP, also used colloquially in more general senses.


(2) I've already clearly and explicitly granted the validity of the use of platitudes like 'God forbid', and 'damn' and, yes, 'RIP' as well, provided we knowingly dismiss them, despite their religious baggage, as unimportant platitudes. What I was -- pedantically I guess -- saying is that claiming that the 'Rest' in 'RIP' is a reference to someone's body inside the coffin or their ashes, as had been claimed, is clearly a stretch, a sense that is neither accurate nor at all needed.


I wasn't clear how pointing out some word, like Tuesday, has historical etymological roots to religion -- which by the way I hadn't known, and thanks to Darat and to you for pointing/spelling that out! -- adds to what I'd already said here (unless as incidental--and interesting!--snippet/information). I'm afraid I still don't.
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Old 25th October 2020, 09:27 PM   #62
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End of an era, certainly.
I wonder who if anybody, will become the new face of skepticism?

And how did a thread meant to celebrate Randi;s life become another stupid argument over semantics?
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Old 26th October 2020, 08:55 AM   #63
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So you think that wondering about the term Randi would have used to describe his death is a disgrace, whereas complaining about it is much more dignified.
Randi has died.
He will be missed.
He was already missed when he stopped being active.
Now he has also stopped being alive, but no era has ended.
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Old 26th October 2020, 11:42 AM   #64
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Some guy called Bill Perron is spamming on a "tribute" post by Uri Geller' on his Facebook page; something about the Million dollar challenge he was conned out of(as usual)
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Old 26th October 2020, 02:06 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by Azrael 5 View Post
Some guy called Bill Perron is spamming on a "tribute" post by Uri Geller' on his Facebook page; something about the Million dollar challenge he was conned out of(as usual)
Uri geller has imaginary forces that can't be detected, to bend spoons,

I have a ******** detector.
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Old 26th October 2020, 02:39 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Azrael 5 View Post
Some guy called Bill Perron is spamming on a "tribute" post by Uri Geller' on his Facebook page; something about the Million dollar challenge he was conned out of(as usual)
I made the mistake of visiting Geller's Facebook page just now. I think I might be ill.
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Old 28th October 2020, 03:33 PM   #67
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Do any here remember "The Carlos Hoax" that Randi created in Australia. This is James at his best:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0hgP3ioAeA
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Old 28th October 2020, 08:04 PM   #68
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Just wanted to say James Randi was a great influence on me. I started reading his newsletters only recently, around 2004-5, but it was great for breaks at work. I'm sad that he is gone but also recognize that lived a long life, one that I can't imagine repeating, certainly not with his cognitive state all through it. I'm glad his legacy is still here and will be for a long time. And I thank everyone who keeps it alive.
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Old 30th October 2020, 05:48 PM   #69
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I first heard of James Randi in my pre-skeptic days, in the early 70's.

Uri Geller had just finished his shtick at the Stanford Research Institute, and I was thinking "Finally some repeatable results."

Then I read an interview in (IIRC) Psychology Today with a "James Randi" who demonstrated that Uri could have been using slight of hand.

My first thought was "Rats! That IS a show-stopper! They'll have to repeat the tests with a stage magician observing."

Only they didn't.

That article introduced me to a whole new approach to skepticism.

I read Randi's book Flim-Flam and other books on skepticism, and for forty years I have subscribed to the magazine Skeptical Inquirer.

I never had the privilege of meeting James Randi. I did see his appearance on Happy Days.

James Randi - you improved my life.
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Old 31st October 2020, 11:26 AM   #70
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There’s a bunch of old Randi stuff on YouTube, last night I watched this one:
https://youtu.be/SbwWL5ezA4g
Where physicists are baffled by a simple “levitate the matchbox” trick that was first shown in Martin Gardners book of basic magic tricks.
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Old 31st October 2020, 11:48 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
There’s a bunch of old Randi stuff on YouTube, last night I watched this one:
https://youtu.be/SbwWL5ezA4g
Where physicists are baffled by a simple “levitate the matchbox” trick that was first shown in Martin Gardners book of basic magic tricks.
Just watched the YouTube video. Fan Tas Tic!

I would NEVER have figured out how Randi did it, and the trick was so simple!

I feel like carrying a matchbox around so I can amaze believers!
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Old 31st October 2020, 12:07 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Humots View Post
Just watched the YouTube video. Fan Tas Tic!

I would NEVER have figured out how Randi did it, and the trick was so simple!

I feel like carrying a matchbox around so I can amaze believers!
Yeah, that was great. I knew of another method and looked for it but wasn't aware of this one.

I do have to quibble with the cameraperson or director, though. Cutting to a worse view at the climactic moment was just bad form.
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Old 1st November 2020, 11:45 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
There’s a bunch of old Randi stuff on YouTube, last night I watched this one:
https://youtu.be/SbwWL5ezA4g
Where physicists are baffled by a simple “levitate the matchbox” trick that was first shown in Martin Gardners book of basic magic tricks.
Pity the videos ended 4 years ago.
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Old 2nd November 2020, 11:31 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by Ignatius View Post
I haven't logged on here in years so nobody will remember me from the old site but just heard and wanted to extend my condolences. We all owe him a great debt and I feel terrible about the news.
Hey Iggy...at least one old timer remembers you!

I remember that James Randi actually had to be convinced to create a skeptic forum; he didn't believe there would be an interest in it.

Nineteen years later it's still going strong.
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Old 6th November 2020, 11:21 PM   #75
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I just found out. I happened to check out the JREF site to see what he was up to. What a year.

Randi's work has helped me articulate and refine the skepticism that was budding when I found his site and its forum years ago during the Kramer era of the Million Dollar Challenge. Since then I've learned a lot about critical thinking and the ways people deceive others and themselves.

He'll be remembered.
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Old 20th November 2020, 06:08 AM   #76
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An honest liar

I've been one of the documentary project "An honest liar" backers which is a great piece of work explaining a lot about Randi's life
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Old 26th November 2020, 05:54 PM   #77
Lupus
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 55
Sad to hear. At 92, he lived a full life.
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