Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WARNING: contains links to videos depicting individuals even more sinister than the idea of being smiled at by Gordon Brown. Vomit bags at the ready!

Now, more than ever, we are in need of this man. James Randi has been ferociously and rather stylishly ripping to shreds all kinds of quacks, astrologers, spoon-benders, homeopaths, mediums and religious nutters since the 1960s. He has had some successes, for example exposing as liars and destroying the careers of faith healer Peter Popoff and psychic jailbird James Hydrick. Uri Geller is just about hanging on by the skin of his teeth, but has now been reduced to referring to himself as an “entertainer” rather than a possessor of supernatural powers. The James Randi Educational Foundation offers a million dollars to anyone who can prove, under controlled conditions, the existence of the paranormal. Needless to say, nobody in any of these multi-million dollar industries has yet managed to claim the cash.

In general, however, Randi has been a failure, if a very noble and laudable one. More than anything else, he has proven that people everywhere are mostly execrable fools who just believe what they want to believe. Who gives a shit about evidence? There are clearly many ways around that. Incidentally Peter Popoff is making a comeback. And here, in the Czech Republic, which I’d always thought of as a supremely atheist country (another one in a long list of advantages over the demonically Catholic Poland), there’s evidence (for all that’s worth) of an influx of US style charismatic evangelism. Not in the sense of true charisma of course, but… just watch the video of these ridiculous cunts and then tell me, do you still think bin Laden’s really so bad?

Naturally things are much worse in Randi’s homeland, until recently also homeland of the mercifully now dead Jerry Falwell, still home to that family-values preacher who not long ago got caught with a male prostitute’s dick up his arse and a crack pipe in his mouth (or was it the other way round?). Not only is creationism now being taught in schools in some prohibitionist, sister-fucking redneck backwoods, but no less an institution than Yale University is now endorsing Integrative Medicine. Again, watch the video. What, I wonder, would a more fluid conception of evidence be like? What would it take to make it a little bit more watery? Large amounts of cash, perhaps? Too, too easy. Vulgar of me to mention it really.

Pity poor James Randi, who in the twilight of his life has to witness all of this. If one for a moment accepts the risible proposition that God is a wise, beneficent old man with a white beard, whose chief if not sole mission in this gargantuan, if not infinte universe, is the moral and spiritual advancement of the human race – and whose project has thus also clearly been an abject catastrophe – then…

Praise be to Randi.


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