James Randi’s attack on high performance audio - Page 16 - AVS Forum
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post #451 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

You don't have to attribute it to anything. The objective is not to prove paranormal activity, it is to prove that you're doing what you are claiming, without the level of controls required for the second part of the test. That is a subtle but important difference.

(my bold italics of your statement..)

Michael, this is the exact text from Randi's challenge website:

snip....
THE SIXTEEN OFFICIAL RULES GOVERNING THE JREF CHALLENGE:

I, James Randi, through the JREF, will pay US$1,000,000 [One Million Dollars/US] to any person who can demonstrate any psychic, supernatural or paranormal ability under satisfactory observing conditions (my red highlight)..

Nuff said

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post #452 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 01:12 PM
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No, not "nuff said."

First of all, "psychic, supernatural, or paranormal" is not the same as "paranormal" alone. One could argue that the ability to hear differences between speaker cables whose measured electrical properties are incredibly small falls under "supernatural", not paranormal. And obviously, if something allegedly supernatural is proven to be possible, it's no longer supernatural, is it? So for the term to have any meaning it must mean "supernatural as far as we know now."

Secondly, the preamble of the challenge is not normative, but descriptive. The 16 points that follow describe the challenge, and if they accept someone under those points, then it really doesn't matter if we don't think it falls under those three categories.

And finally, they have explicitly offered the prize to anyone who can pass the test. So it really doesn't matter what category it falls under. The bottom line is he's challenging someone to actually hear the claimed differences.

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post #453 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

No, not "nuff said."

Don't get all huffy on me dude...(besides, all I meant by that was, I can't think of anything else to say, not a statement of finality like QED or sumptin...)

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Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

First of all, "psychic, supernatural, or paranormal" is not the same as "paranormal" alone. One could argue that the ability to hear differences between speaker cables whose measured electrical properties are incredibly small falls under "supernatural", not paranormal. And obviously, if something allegedly supernatural is proven to be possible, it's no longer supernatural, is it? So for the term to have any meaning it must mean "supernatural as far as we know now."

Your splittin an awful lot of hairs, aren't you?? If I were to show up at his doorstep with source content which allowed me to simply distinguish one cable set from another, how do I show it to be "psychic, supernatural, or paranormal"??... I can't... therefore, I fail requirement number 1..which I pasted.

for a million dollars, they'll sure'n heck use that clause to kill my chances..


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Secondly, the preamble of the challenge is not normative, but descriptive.

From Randi's site:

This statement outlines the rules covering the offer made by this Foundation (JREF) concerning psychic, supernatural or paranormal claims. Since claims vary greatly in character and scope, specific rules must be formulated for each applicant. All applicants must agree to the rules set forth herein before any formal agreement can be entered into. Completing this form is mandatory; there are no exceptions to this rule.

Applicant will declare agreement by signing this form where indicated before a notary public and returning the form to the James Randi Educational Foundation. Applicant must state clearly what is being claimed as the special ability upon which they wish to be tested, and test protocols must be agreed upon by both parties before any testing will take place. All tests must be designed in such a way that the results are self-evident, so that no judging or voting process is required. We do not design the protocol independently of the applicant, who must provide clear guidelines so that the test(s) may be properly designed and carried out.

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The 16 points that follow describe the challenge, and if they accept someone under those points, then it really doesn't matter if we don't think it falls under those three categories.

And finally, they have explicitly offered the prize to anyone who can pass the test. So it really doesn't matter what category it falls under. The bottom line is he's challenging someone to actually hear the claimed differences.

He's challenging someone to prove "psychic, supernatural, or paranormal" abilities in finding the differences. btw, it's not just "someone", but someone with a media presence in audio...I don't even qualify.

There can be no winners, it's a sham. A good publicity stunt, nonetheless.

That said, I do indeed like Randi's debunking of all that mumbo jumbo stuff, it's very entertaining. And he makes a living with publicity.

Cheers, John

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post #454 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 01:41 PM
 
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jneutron, how many skeletons do you have in your closet?
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post #455 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 01:44 PM
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You could've qualified a year ago John, but his site was deluged by tons of people and even someone as fabulously wealthy as Randi has finite resources. Hence, the special conditions that were inserted. Not everyone has the stamina of Hugh Hefner now.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #456 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 01:52 PM
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I think that if someone came in for preliminary testing and astonishingly enough did something truly psychic that he/she wouldn't be allowed to compete for the million dollars...

His website isn't about proving those things exists, it is about self-promotion and making money. There is nothing altruistic about it, it is purely self serving... In fact, I would wager that he intentionally looks for the scams that will get him the most attention.

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post #457 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 01:55 PM
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Your splittin an awful lot of hairs, aren't you?? If I were to show up at his doorstep with source content which allowed me to simply distinguish one cable set from another, how do I show it to be "psychic, supernatural, or paranormal"??... I can't... therefore, I fail requirement number 1..which I pasted.

John, that's not requirement number one. That is the preamble to the 16 conditions of the challenge; a description of its purpose.

And you are ignoring my point about what constitutes supernatural. Lots of things have been considered "supernatural" until we figure out a natural explanation for them. So it goes with this. James Randi thinks that hearing differences between Monster and Pear cables requires supernatural or paranormal ability. You satisfy the purpose of the challenge simply because he says so.

Look at it this way. Suppose that one day someone actually wins the $1MM for dowsing. Scientists converge on the lucky challenger, and they figure out that he really has tapped into some physical process that we didn't understand before. Suddenly, dowsing is no longer supernatural or paranormal. Does that mean that James Randi will get his $1MM back now that a physical explanation has been offered?

Michael
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post #458 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 01:56 PM
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I think that if someone came in for preliminary testing and astonishingly enough did something truly psychic that he/she wouldn't be allowed to compete for the million dollars...

If it got that far, he'd get sued big-time.
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There is nothing altruistic about it, it is purely self serving... In fact, I would wager that he intentionally looks for the scams that will get him the most attention.

I don't necessarily disagree with this, but that doesn't mean he can just pull out of a challenge mid-stream. So if it's a scam he has to be very careful not to let anyone get past the first test.

Michael
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post #459 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bluray_1080p View Post

jneutron, how many skeletons do you have in your closet?




Huh??

Cheers, John

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post #460 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

John, that's not requirement number one. That is the preamble to the 16 conditions of the challenge; a description of its purpose.

Actually, I think He calls it rules. I didn't...
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Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

And you are ignoring my point about what constitutes supernatural. Lots of things have been considered "supernatural" until we figure out a natural explanation for them. So it goes with this. James Randi thinks that hearing differences between Monster and Pear cables requires supernatural or paranormal ability.

No, I'm not ignoring it..I'm saying he provides himself a lot of outs, which I believe he would take.

Cheers, John

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post #461 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 02:14 PM
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Well, look, you've explicitly said you think its a sham, but this angle still doesn't make sense to me.

He is explicitly extending the challenge to someone in the media who can hear the difference between Pear and Monster. You seem to be suggesting that the minute someone accepts he'll turn around and say, "ah, but that doesn't meet the criteria of my challenge." Even for a scam artist that makes no sense.

But I have agreed, as has QQQ and others here, that the likelihood that he and Michael Fremer will come to an agreement is small.

Michael
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post #462 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 02:16 PM
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Earlier Evelyn quoted this post from Mr. Randi. In it he shares information about the ABX comparator and issues a challenge to various audio reviewers. Here's a quote, emphasis mine:
Quote:


Remember, all we're doing here is asking the reviewers — the trained, experienced experts, the responsible endorsers of these products — to repeat their tests of the items, but this time under double-blind, secure, conditions. And we're making the same offer to the manufacturers, who we would expect to be even more sensitive and capable of performing such tests.

I don't think it can be more straightforward than that. That's why I think this parsing of the "paranormal, psychic, and supernatural" business makes no sense. A very explicit challenge has been proposed.

Michael
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post #463 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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Huh??

All this talk about the paranormal, I was going to say ghosts but it would not have been as funny.
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post #464 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

I think that if someone came in for preliminary testing and astonishingly enough did something truly psychic that he/she wouldn't be allowed to compete for the million dollars...

His website isn't about proving those things exists, it is about self-promotion and making money. There is nothing altruistic about it, it is purely self serving... In fact, I would wager that he intentionally looks for the scams that will get him the most attention.

James Randi has dedicated his life to a worthy cause, which is the furtherance of reason and science and fighting superstition and ignorance. You guys can throw all the pejoratives at him you want because you don't like what he does, but that doesn't make them true. Stating that "if someone came in for preliminary testing and astonishingly enough did something truly psychic than he/she wouldn't be allowed to compete for the million dollars" is so nonsensical it's ridiculous. It's like someone offering 1 mil to anyone that can prove the existence of aliens and the alien believers saying "well if someone really brought in a real alien body they wouldn't want to see it". Now how the heck can anyone even argue with that type of logic???

All the pejoratives being thrown at Randi are indicative of what happens when peoples dogmatic beliefs are challenged. Instead of stepping forward and wanting to compete for the million dollars, which should be like taking candy from a baby based on all the claims made by audiophiles, you just lob false charges at him.
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post #465 of 1770 Old 10-11-2007, 03:41 PM
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Yes, all the colorful adjectives used with great specificity to describe what are claimed to be, clear audible differences between two ( or more ) pieces of wire carrying an audio signal, should be just as valid under double blind conditions, as they are anywhere else.

Question: If the phenomenon exists outside the realm of individual psychology, exactly how could simply controlling the circumstances under which the test takes place, negate the effect?

Answer: it couldn't.
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post #466 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

James Randi has dedicated his life to a worthy cause, which is the furtherance of reason and science and fighting superstition and ignorance. You guys can throw all the pejoratives at him you want because you don't like what he does, but that doesn't make them true. Stating that "if someone came in for preliminary testing and astonishingly enough did something truly psychic than he/she wouldn't be allowed to compete for the million dollars" is so nonsensical it's ridiculous. It's like someone offering 1 mil to anyone that can prove the existence of aliens and the alien believers saying "well if someone really brought in a real alien body they wouldn't want to see it". Now how the heck can anyone even argue with that type of logic???

All the pejoratives being thrown at Randi are indicative of what happens when peoples dogmatic beliefs are challenged. Instead of stepping forward and wanting to compete for the million dollars, which should be like taking candy from a baby based on all the claims made by audiophiles, you just lob false charges at him.

I totally agree; those that are throwing around baseless personal insults just sound like they have some personal little gripe against the guy.

I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing." ~ D.Adams
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post #467 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by AdrianMills View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

James Randi has dedicated his life to a worthy cause, which is the furtherance of reason and science and fighting superstition and ignorance. You guys can throw all the pejoratives at him you want because you don't like what he does, but that doesn't make them true. Stating that "if someone came in for preliminary testing and astonishingly enough did something truly psychic than he/she wouldn't be allowed to compete for the million dollars" is so nonsensical it's ridiculous. It's like someone offering 1 mil to anyone that can prove the existence of aliens and the alien believers saying "well if someone really brought in a real alien body they wouldn't want to see it". Now how the heck can anyone even argue with that type of logic???

All the pejoratives being thrown at Randi are indicative of what happens when peoples dogmatic beliefs are challenged. Instead of stepping forward and wanting to compete for the million dollars, which should be like taking candy from a baby based on all the claims made by audiophiles, you just lob false charges at him.

I totally agree; those that are throwing around baseless personal insults just sound like they have some personal little gripe against the guy.

I feel bad for the both of you then... It only proves my point, "There's one born every minute."

Do tell though, with all your psychic powers, what dogmatic beliefs of mine are being challenged?

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post #468 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 04:20 AM
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A bit of an update from Randi's site: http://www.randi.org/joom/index.php?...tpage&Itemid=1

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #469 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 04:21 AM
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Why not simply list your dogmatic beliefs?

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #470 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

A bit of an update from Randi's site: http://www.randi.org/joom/index.php?...tpage&Itemid=1


Thanks Chu,

The back and forth between the players is nothing if not barbed. Randi's manner is excessively provocative, but his baiting of Fremer would appear to have had the desired effect, judging by Fremer's reply. What ever happens, I think it will be messy, but morbidly entertaining none the less.

The AES test that Fremer refers to that he passed (albeit though that the result was apparently thrown out), is interesting but I had not heard about it before. Does anyone have any insight into what went on there?

Regards,

Sean
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post #471 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Why not simply list your dogmatic beliefs?

I don't see anything on his website that conflicts with anything I believe. Does that help?

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post #472 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 06:54 AM
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The AES test that Fremer refers to that he passed (albeit though that the result was apparently thrown out), is interesting but I had not heard about it before. Does anyone have any insight into what went on there?

Yes, apparently there was a large-scale amplifier DBT performed at an AES meeting or somesuch. Something like 1000 people participated. The statistics were taken in aggregate showed that no universally discernible differences were found between the amplifiers. However, apparently the individual participants were limited to 5 trials---far too few to make any determinations about individual abilities to discern differences.

So that unfortunately left the experiment open to dispute. Some people, Fremer included, scored 5 out of 5, but were dismissed as "lucky coins". Statistically speaking, that dismissal is correct. After all, if you have 1000 people flipping a coin 5 times each, some of them are bound to get 5 heads. In fact, there should be about 31 or 32 such lucky folks on average, and I suspect that the data showed just that many.

It is not correct that his result was "thrown out." Rather, his results were well within the expectations of the experiment, so his results proved nothing. However, it is absolutely true that the experiment did not show that Michael Fremer as an individual could not hear the differences. A different experiment would be required to show that---one where he personally takes far more trials.

Michael
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post #473 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 07:58 AM
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That's basically as I understand it also Michael. One article that talks about it can be found at http://www.stereophile.com/features/113/ and I urge that all the pages be read.
One will note there were some departures from randomness in what is my opinion, Atkinson's well intentioned but misguided attempt to relieve stress. Also, there was a one point level matching done at 1 kHz. I don't know, based upon the respective amplifiers' output impedance and the impedance curves of the loudspeaker, if the audible differences were in essence due to level mismatches in other parts of the audible spectrum. IMO, it would've been easier to insert a power resistor similar to the output impedance of the VTL's and then do the level match.

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post #474 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 08:17 AM
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"Also, there was a one point level matching done at 1 kHz. I don't know, based upon the respective amplifiers' output impedance and the impedance curves of the loudspeaker, if the audible differences were in essence due to level mismatches in other parts of the audible spectrum."

Entirely possible, but then that *is* a difference between amplifiers that can be audible depending upon how reactive the speakers are. E. Brad Meyer had an article in Audio or Stero Review in the late 80s or so doing ABX tests on a tube amp and a SS amp. On one set of speakers (benign impedance compensated) the listeners couldn't tell the amps apart. When they changed speakers to much more reactive speakers they passed the ABX test showing audible differences occurred.

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post #475 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 08:37 AM
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This is nothing new though Sean, and has been known for some time. Atkinson only did a partial correction. The hyperbole that comes from reviewers using terms like focus, depth, darkness, soundstaging, rhythm, pace, timing, etc. and then attributing it to 'whatever' and that's not level mismatches. IOW, a special quality or attribute of the amp. Why not use the Adcom vs. say a Krell?

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post #476 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 08:40 AM
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This is an awful lot of fun to watch. Let's hope that Fremer and Randi can agree to testing terms.
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post #477 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

Well, look, you've explicitly said you think its a sham, but this angle still doesn't make sense to me.

He is explicitly extending the challenge to someone in the media who can hear the difference between Pear and Monster. You seem to be suggesting that the minute someone accepts he'll turn around and say, "ah, but that doesn't meet the criteria of my challenge." Even for a scam artist that makes no sense.

But I have agreed, as has QQQ and others here, that the likelihood that he and Michael Fremer will come to an agreement is small.

I agree that he is taking to task all the hyperbole surrounding the reviews. I've no problem with that.

What I'm saying is that should someone pass an initial trial by discerning at a statistically significant level the two cables, it is possible the test could be stopped because there was no real show of paranormal or supernatural. The fine print behind the whole thing.

I don't think it'll ever get past stage 1, and I believe Randi knows that...so that's why I call the whole thing a sham, a publicity stunt.

But that's just my feeling.

Cheers, John

ps..It was pointed out to me that my "huffy" comment could be misconstrued...thankfully you did not. It was meant as humor.

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post #478 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 09:59 AM
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If you read the latest link from Chu, Randi has removed the word "paranormal" as well as "golden ears" from the test. He has accepted Fremer's insistence that if he (Michael Fremer) can hear the difference between cables it isn't because Fremer is some sort of freak.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #479 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 10:25 AM
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I feel bad for the both of you then... It only proves my point, "There's one born every minute."

Uh, what?
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

Do tell though, with all your psychic powers,

Uh, what?
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

what dogmatic beliefs of mine are being challenged?

You tell me or if you've none then at least explain the repeated personal attacks on the guy and his motives. It certainly reads as if you have some personal issues with him.

I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing." ~ D.Adams
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post #480 of 1770 Old 10-12-2007, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimpleTheater View Post

If you read the latest link from Chu, Randi has removed the word "paranormal" as well as "golden ears" from the test. He has accepted Fremer's insistence that if he (Michael Fremer) can hear the difference between cables it isn't because Fremer is some sort of freak.

Thanks. I hadn't read it. Now, if he would get rid of the "media presence" aspect, I'd go for my million...

Cheers, John

Some discuss because they can. Others attack because they cannot. (unknown attribution)
A good man knows his own limitations...(Dirty Harry)
Lead, follow....or get out of the way..
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