This week, James Randi’s Commentary at the James Randi Educational Foundation ended with the words:
[…]A chap named Montague Keen has been having a great romp by reviling me on the Internet, and I refer you to www.victorzammit.com/articles/montague.html for a sample. Take a look, and maybe you can offer me some approaches to handling this. I get so many inquiries about Keen’s tirade, that I’ll have to spend some of my valuable time trying to enlighten him in this regard. Perhaps next week, you’ll see a detailed discussion of this brouhaha. Stay tuned…
And so I made my online journey to the website titled: VICTOR ZAMMIT — A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife, which proclaimed:
My guest columnist is Montague Keen, a brilliant psychic researcher, journalist, agricultural administrator, magazine editor and farmer. A member of the Council of the Society for Psychical Research for 55 years, chairman of its Image and Publicity Committee and secretary of its Survival Research Committee, he was principal investigator of the Scole Group of physical mediums, and author of the Scole Report, published in the Proceedings of the SPR (Vol 54 Pt 220) in 1999 with his co-investigators Professors Arthur Ellison and David Fontana.
And Montague Keen through his post titled: THE PSYCHIC CHALLENGE, had this to say about Randi and his Million Dollar Psychic Challenge.
The challenge to Mr. Randi and friends
[…] I am not applying for Mr. Randi’s $million but only for some evidence that his challenge is genuine. Before I reproduce my comments on the television programme , I present Mr. Randi, and any of his fellow-skeptics, with a list of some of the classical cases of paranormality with most or all of which Mr. Randi will be familiar. I know he will be because he has been studying the subject for half a century, he tells us. And just as I would not pretend to authority and expertise in conjuring unless I could perform some party tricks to bedazzle a troop of intelligent ten year olds, or apply for an assistant professorship in physics while admitting I had never heard of Boyle’s Law or the Second Law of Thermodynamics, nor seek admission to the Bar without first having some familiarity with the leading cases, so I would not imply that Mr. Randi is ignorant of these cases, many of which have long awaited the advent of a critic who could discover flaws in the paranormality claims. For me to suggest this would imply the grossest hypocrisy on Mr. Randi’s part. But to refresh his memory, and help him along, and despite the refusal of some of his colleagues like Professor Kurtz, Professor Hyman and Dr. Susan Blackmore to meet the challenge, I list the requisite references. They are based on (although not identical to) a list of twenty cases suggestive of survival prepared by Professor Archie Roy and published some years ago in the SPR’s magazine, The Paranormal Review as an invitation or challenge to skeptics to demonstrate how any of these cases could be explained by “normal” i.e. non-paranormal, means. Thus far there have been no takers. It is now Mr. Randi’s chance to vindicate his claims. […]
For full article, visit: http://www.victorzammit.com/articles/montague.html
Keen further gives a link to Michael Prescott’s website titled:
Flim-Flam Flummery: A Skeptical Look at James Randi
— By Michael Prescott
Years ago, when I was a full-fledged skeptic, atheist, and rationalist, I read James Randi’s 1980 book Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns and other Delusions. Randi is an accomplished magician and a professional skeptic, dedicating to disproving any and all claims of what he considers pseudoscience. In line with this agenda, and as its title suggests, Flim-Flam is a concerted attack on miscellaneous purported irrationalities – everything from the pop-culture writings of Erich von Daniken to the more serious investigations of professional parapsychologists. I enjoyed the book, which reinforced my belief system at the time.
Recently I picked up Flim-Flam again. Having changed my mind about many things over the past twenty years, I responded to it much differently this time. I was particularly struck by the book’s hectoring, sarcastic tone. Randi pictures psychic researchers as medieval fools clad in “caps and bells” and likens the delivery of an announcement at a parapsychology conference to the birth of “Rosemary’s Baby.” After debunking all manner of alleged frauds, he opens the book’s epilogue with the words, “The tumbrels now stand empty but ready for another trip to the square” – a reference to the French Revolution, in which carts (“tumbrels”) of victims were driven daily to the guillotine. Randi evidently pictures himself as the executioner who lowers the blade. In passing, two points might be made about this metaphor: the French Revolution was a product of “scientific rationalism” run amok … and most of its victims were innocent. […]
For full article, visit: http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/FlimFlam.htm
I can barely wait for Randi’s next post…