Monday, February 15, 2010

The James Randi Educational Foundation

I would like to introduce you all to a very important educational (and skeptic) website

(I'm probably going to get in trouble now, as this image was taken without permission from

-an educational resource on the paranormal, pseudoscientific and the supernatural
The Million Dollar Challenge
The JREF is most famous for their Million Dollar Challenge to all practitioners of the paranormal or pseudoscientific.
The challenge is simple: Perform your supernatural ability in a controlled environment in accordance with the JREF (and your own) guidelines and you will be awarded more than $1 million (currently at $1,148,104) if you are successful.

Almost any kind of supernatural claims can apply; audiophiles, clairvoyants, dowsers, psychics etc. Everyone can apply. But be prepared to go through a proper test of your skills before you can claim the prize (so far no one has been able to pass even the preliminary test).

So why is it that noone has been able to claim the prize yet, seeing that there are thousands of people practising the pseudoscientific (crystal healers, psychics, dowsers, astrologers etc.)?
Why aren't they all applying for the $1 million prize?

Because what they claim to be able to do, isn't possible or it doesn't work. That's why.
If people really could foresee the future, find water with a Y-shaped stick or cure heart disease with a bronze pyramid, we wouldn't have lotteries, natural disasters, geological water surveys or doctors.
If their claims were true, we could solve a lot of the problems we are currently facing as a species.
But they aren't true. The people claiming to posses supernatural powers are either deluded or lying.

So the next time you hear someone claiming to be able to see the future or perform healing miracles, tell them about the JREF and the challenge. Inform them that all they have to do is what they usually do and they will be awarded more than $1 million.

General Skepticism
The JREF isn't all about the challenge.
Important information about science and pseudoscience is also posted there and you can subscribe to their feed to get the latest information immediately.
There's also a forum were you can ask (or answer) questions about pretty much anything concerning science, knowledge or education.

The Amazing Meeting
One final thing to mention about the JREF is TAM. It is, as the name implies, a celebration of critical thinking and skepticism sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation.
You can see all the cool skeptics there; Phil Plait (Bad Astronomer), James Randi, Adam Savage (Mythbusters), Richard Wiseman (I'll blog about him once I've finished his books), Penn and Teller, you name it.
Unfortunately TAM is usually takes place in the US, which is unfortunate for us Europeans, but last year the first TAM London was held (we need more TAMs in Europe, JREF!). There's hope for us European skeptics, yet :)

So head on over to and have a look. You might just be surprised at what you'll learn.