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Randi's Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters [Kindle Edition]

Robert McLuhan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

James 'The Amazing' Randi is a stage magician who says he has a million dollars for anyone who can convince him they have psychic powers. No one has even come close to winning, proof, say sceptical scientists, that there is no such thing as 'the paranormal'. But are they right? In this illuminating and often provocative analysis, Robert McLuhan examines the influence of Randi and other debunking sceptics in shaping scientific opinion about such things as telepathy, psychics, ghosts and near-death experiences. He points out that scientific researchers who investigate these things at first hand overwhelmingly consider them to be genuinely anomalous. But this has shocking implications, for science, for society and for even perhaps for ourselves as individuals. Hence the sceptics' insistence that they should rather be attributed to fraud, imagination and wishful thinking. However, this extraordinary and little understood aspect of consciousness has much to tell us about the human situation, McLuhan suggests. And at a time when militants are polarising the debate about religion, its mystical, spiritual element offers an optimistic and enlightened way forward. Randi's Prize is aimed at anyone interested in spirituality or those curious to know the truth about paranormal claims. It's an intelligent and readable analysis of scientific research into the paranormal which, uniquely, also closely examines the arguments of well-known sceptics.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert McLuhan gained a First in English Literature at Oxford, then worked as a foreign correspondent for the Guardian in Spain and Portugal. He now works as a freelance journalist. He has been a member of the Society for Psychical Research since 1993, blogging and lecturing on paranormal topics.

Product Details

  • File Size: 830 KB
  • Print Length: 429 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1848764944
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Matador; 2.00 edition (November 30, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004EHZX34
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,522 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 58 people found the following review helpful
By Sun Dog
Format:Paperback
I greatly enjoyed Robert McLuhan's fine new book "Randi's Prize" - it's packed with accurate information while at the same time is surprisingly engaging and fun to read. I'd like to say I couldn't put it down but I actually did put it down late in the evening and picked it up the next morning to finish.

If you haven't investigated the scientific research regarding psychic (now generally called "psi") phenomena objectively and are curious, I assure you it's an amazing adventure and "Randi's Prize" is an excellent place to start. Incidentally, McLuhan is taking some flack because his book doesn't spend a lot of time talking about the prize per se, but because a large part of the book deals with the Skeptic vs Scientist "debate" that is symbolized by the prize, I thought the name was appropriate. (By the way, since most humans could surely be considered to be skeptics or we would have died out long ago, that term doesn't convey much information; we really need another name for an extreme close-minded "Skeptic" who believes that the ends (obliterating this branch of science) justify the means (including personal attacks), perhaps something more like "Antibeliever" or "Denouncer").

As it happens, I have a strong background in science (PhD Geophysics, 20 years in research with teams of nuclear physicists and other highly-qualified scientists), so I understand science and, like you no doubt, I also recognize hot air and hype when I see them. I didn't know anything about the scientific study of psi phenomena until I stumbled onto some of the scientific research three or four years ago.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well thought out research project........... December 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Below is a copy of the email which I sent directly to the author of this text:

Dear Robert,

It is seldom that I compose an email to a writer whom I just read. Your meta-spiritual study entitled "Randi's Prize" deserves an exception.

Slightly over thirty five years ago I began the journey that you summarize in your book. I had been raised in a Fundamental Christian environment, read 150 + apologetics and listened to hundreds of hours by people the likes of Swindoll and McArther. One day it all snapped inside of me and I could no longer attempt to rationalize away scientific data that conflicted with Biblical `truth'. My first step was to fully re-read the Bible, which I have done five times. Finding it greatly seeped in fiction and wishful thinking my next step was to fully inspect the other world religions. A full two years after this exploration I concluded that they, too, were based on innuendo and tales, constructed for social control, and created from sparse worldly knowledge. The only credo they had in common was that they all, in form or the other, supported the Golden Rule, being kind to one another.

Fully disillusioned with society's morality police I set out to further explore the world of Newtonian and Quantum Physics. Being a post-graduate in Psychology I was fortunate to have chosen Biology and Physics as my minor so I was able to get on the speeding Physics train with little trouble. I particularly examined all the data, regardless of the intent of the experiment, for signs of psi and/or on-going life. While none of the writers would ever recognize anything metaphysical nor without repeatable measuring techniques, I did begin to pick up a pattern in the writings that pointed to an area in which they were unwilling to explore.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Skeptics" will be confounded January 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While I was vaguely aware that there was research into ESP and investigations into paranormal phenomenon like poltergeists and seances, I was under the impression that such things were largely inconclusive and controversial, and thus of little value. I assumed that all the seances where operated by charlatans, and that there was no real serious evidence for the reality of supernatural phenomena. I wasn't a "skeptic", I did not believe such things to be impossible or ridiculous, but I just thought that if these things were real, they must be quite rare, since there is scant evidence of it.

"Randi's prize" was quite an eye opener. Mcluhan brilliantly brings to the reader's attention both the mountains of evidence for all sorts of "paranormal" phenomena, AND the reaction and responses of so-called "skeptics". By presenting both positions, their chief actors and their history, and quoting liberally from them, we get a good understanding of the DEBATE itself. And this is devastating to the professional skeptics. In this way, this book is FAR more convincing and authoritative on the subject than a hundred books which only try to convince the reader of the reality of the paranormal, without giving voice to the critics who dismiss it.

The author shows persuasively that those who label themselves "skeptics" are seldom in the business of actually DOUBTING things, but rather in the business of DISMISSING things they don't like. A skeptic doubts everything - ESPECIALLY the common wisdom of the day. Someone who is ardently "skeptical" of SOME things (like paranormal phenomena) while rigidly supporting OTHER things (like the orthodox materialist ideas) is not a skeptic, but an advocate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The good and the bad
This is a well researched compendium of evidence for paranormal phenomena that merits study by both believers and skeptics. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pilsner
5.0 out of 5 stars A vital contribution to the emerging paradigm
This revolutionary work is of immeasurable value. I will boldly declare that any negative opinions one may have toward parapsychology/psychical research are unwarranted unless one... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Johnny John
1.0 out of 5 stars Arguments for Psi: "I don't think children and women could fool adult...
Robert McLuhan wrote this book to debunk and expose sceptics of the paranormal. The title focuses on James Randi's famous Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, an offer I've... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kevin O'Neil
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I can really only echo what other reviewers have written regarding Mr. McLuhans excellent book. It is absolutely wonderful to see such a rational, well thought out, discourse on... Read more
Published 11 months ago
5.0 out of 5 stars The debunkers debunked!
If you always wanted to know how seriously to take the paranormal, this is the book for you! The book is divided into chapters dealing with the several classes of paranormal... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Songdoc
5.0 out of 5 stars Randi - an imbecile
Anyone who has had an experience - or seen animals react to such phenomenon - knows that James Randi and ilk are passing gas through their mouths when they try to proclaim what is... Read more
Published 15 months ago by L. J. Zint
2.0 out of 5 stars Bait and Switch - not about Randi's Prize at all
James Randi is a professional stage magician and longtime debunker of psi claims. In 1964, he was challenged by a parapsychologist to put his money where his mouth was. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Gregory Gilman
5.0 out of 5 stars Really a Prize!
This is a great book...I bought it on the strength of reviews, and references in other books; usually I try to get books from the library first..they don't have it. They should. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Sagesmoke
1.0 out of 5 stars a bible for unteachables
Magician James Randi is offering a one million dollar prize to anyone who can demonstrate any kind of paranormal power. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Dr. William R. Harwood
5.0 out of 5 stars A skeptic's review: This is as solid as parapsychology gets
All the reviews are five stars for a reason: this is a fact-filled and well-written investigation of what "skeptics" say is already a done deal. Read more
Published on April 6, 2012 by Avery Morrow
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More About the Author

Robert McLuhan gained a First in English Literature at Oxford University, then worked as a foreign correspondent for the Guardian in Spain and Portugal. He left to join the music business, managing the techno dance label Rising High Records, before going back to writing. Robert has long had an interest in the paranormal, and Randi's Prize is the culmination of years of research into the scientific investigation of such things as ESP, ghosts and near-death experiences. Against prominent sceptics like James Randi and Richard Wiseman, he argues that paranormal-seeming episodes cannot always be explained away as tricks or misperceptions.

Robert blogs regularly at Paranormalia.com, on matters relating to consciousness, spirituality and psychic research, and can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. He lives with his wife and family in Walworth, South London.




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