Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Teaching link: James Randi videos

James Randi is a debunker extraordinaire and host to the million-dollar challenge, a challenge where any psychic who can convincingly demonstrate that they have supernatural powers will win a million dollars. BoingBoing just linked to an 18-minute video wherein James Randi embarasses James Hydrick, a psychic who claimed to be able to move objects with his mind.

Of course I couldn't stop at just one James Randi video, so I ended up pestering my SO with an hour or two of James Randi videos from YouTube. The videos had excellent footage of psychics in action, and while most of the psychics simply gave up or refused to be tested when confronted, I got to thinking that these would still be a good vehicle for starting discussions of skepticism and pseudoscience in the classroom. Thus, I thought I'd post a few of the videos here as the most recent installment of my teaching link series.

James Randi's classic experiment in horoscopes:

James Randi discussing Uri Geller and Peter Popoff:

James Randi performing psychic surgery (caution: filled with fake blood):

James Randi demonstrating spoon bending and discussing the preliminary test a psychic healer will undergo to earn the million-dollar prize:

James Randi discussing Doris Collins, a cold reader:

James Randi explaining homeopathy (contains no footage of psychics, but is a great lecture on the ridiculosity of homeopathy):

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