Wouldn’t you love to challenge all those TV psychics that are stealing money from the under-educated and easily-deceived? Their silly claims barely stand up to even the slightest of scrutiny. Yet people still follow (and enrich) these people.
Believing that none of these people could ever demonstrate even a single act of the supernatural, James Randi created the $1 Million Challenge (you can reach more on Wikipedia). The basic idea is that anyone who could provide – in a scientific experiment – that they had psychic abilities would receive a huge cash prize. Wired reports in Skeptic Revamps $1M Psychic Prize that he has changed some of of the rules to go after the bigger frauds (wasting time on the little guys is costly, time-consuming, and provides little benefit). Number of winners so far: 0. In fact, no one has ever passed the preliminary tests.
I hope that’s not a surprise to most people, but very few of these psychics will even step up to the challenge. Randi would like nothing more than to expose these charlatans, but it seems like he has done so implicitly. Clearly, these psychics like money. So, why wouldn’t they use their powers to gain a cool million dollars?
Unfortunately, even this kind of evidence is insufficient to convince those that rely on supernatural events and mysticism in their daily lives. Even more sadly, some basic education of psychotherapy would be far cheaper. Still, the challenge stands. We’re looking for just one verifiable paranormal event. Is that too much to ask? And while we’re at it, can we expose other “religious” beliefs such as the power of prayer?