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The Truth About Uri Geller Paperback – September 1, 1982
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About the Author
James Randi is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). He began his career as a magician, as The Amazing Randi, but after retiring at age 60, he began investigating paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims. Although often referred to as a "debunker," Randi rejects that title owing to its perceived bias, instead describing himself as an "investigator." He has written about the paranormal, skepticism, and the history of magic, and has published many books including Flim-Flam!, The Truth about Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, and The Mask of Nostradamus. He was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and was occasionally featured on the television program Penn & Teller: Bullshit!.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is not really about demonstrating that Geller is a fraud. Randi simply demonstrate that all the paranormal feats of the famous psychic can be duplicated (Randi himself has done them in TV and personal appearances). That people decide to believe the most fantastical explanation is another different issue.
Another thing worth mentioning is that this book includes excerpts from articles from magazines and newspaper, which shows that Randi was not alone in his skepticism.
A final notice is that if you enjoy this book, you will find more information on "Flim-Flam!", by the same author. There he presents new information, including his meeting with one of Geller's helpers, who confesses to having participated in the tricks, sometimes throwing things for apparent "materializations".
But, if you feel comfortable with "wishful thinking", and don't want to be confronted with facts and more credible alternate explanations, then don't try Randi.
I also find it preposterous that so many people think that Randi is jealous of Geller or anything like that. If you've read this book and have that attitude then you've missed one of the key points of the book completely. Randi doesn't object to Geller's tricks - just his attitude in doing them. Magicians do tricks - and admit that they're tricks even if they don't reveal exactly how they're done. But when a man like Geller performs tricks, claims they're genuine and in doing this, deceives right-minded and otherwise right-thinking people, then this gives cause for concern. By all means, Geller can be (and is!) a showman - but there's no need to lie to people in that manner. That helps nobody and that is all Randi really objects to.
Unfortunately, many, and it often seems, most, people are so hungry for "meaning" that they put their critical thinking processes on hold. They forget that they are taking things on faith and come to feel that they are believing in bedrock truth.
That's where science comes in. Science provides the rigor that helps prevent us from succumbing to frauds and even our own delusions. It exposes Korean doctors who have made extraordinary claims about genetic research. And it exposes frauds who claim psychic abilities but can only deliver them when they aren't under scrutiny.
I'd like to remind you of a couple scientific principles.
First: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. If I claim to do something psychically that thousands of magicians can do through sleight of hand, I should be expected to prove it.
Second: Occam's razor, one of the oldest principles in science, which states that in the presence of alternative explanations for a phenomenon, give preference to the simplest. It's simpler to believe that if a magician can do the trick, rather than requiring psychic powers. This isn't an infallible rule. Einstein isn't simpler than Newton. But Einstein has been subjected to rigorous testing, and Einstein explains things Newton doesn't. Uri Geller can make no such claims.
It's telling that not a single replicated scientific study has entered the literature. And it's telling that none of the many lucrative prizes awaiting the first person to demonstrate true psychic ability has ever been claimed.
James Randi has performed a valuable service over the years. It's unfortunate that frauds still find a ready market for their wares. Still, we owe him a vote of thanks.