Ladies And Gentlemen, James Randi Show You The Evidence, You Make Up Your Own Mind

“No matter how smart or well-educated you are, you can be deceived,”  — James Randi

Woohoo Finally, I’ve got to see James Randi’s An Honest Liar. It was a documentary of life and career of the world-famous magician (also known as The Amazing Randi) and skeptic of the “superstitious woo” such as psychic powers, psychic surgery, faith healing, Paranormal, crystal healers, dowsing, fake channeling, Aura reading, and etc. across the world.

They typically have one thing in common; they’re scammers. In other words, they are manipulative human beings who want money from the gullible people. He exposed those elaborate hoaxes of these scammers on television over many years. He showed how people got duped with just a slide of hands and illusions.

Philippine: Psychic surgery

If you read Carl Sagan’s book – Demon haunted world. The “Physic surgery” that became famous in the Philippines was mentioned there. Yes, I saw this “psychic surgery” on the telly when I was young. As a kid, I for one believe it. And was transfixed on how it was done. Imagine you can have a surgery without them cutting your skin and they eventually perform a surgery and pulled your guts with their bare hands. Many people actually buying this bullshit. Vulnerable and desperate people who wanted help to cure their diseases. They are willing to pay without questioning the real medical benefits from it.

Here’s the clip: 

Remember this classic, guys? hehe

The film also shows Randi’s life when he was a kid. Just like a typical kiddo, Randi was amazed by magic. It had his attention when a man made the woman float in air. By then, he joined the carnival and never went home.

“When I introduced myself as a magician “Good evening my name is the great Randal! I’m a liar, cheater and a charlatan. I will lie to you but for purposes of entertainment only, of course.”

His favorite magician is Houdini. And there was a chapter in the film where Randi also did the stunts on what Houdini was being famous of, a great escape artist. A chapter in his life where he said  this “If the man can make it, I could break it”

 

On February 7th 1975, an unidentified man (Mr. X) working for a Toronto film company was dangled over the precipice of the Horseshoe Falls at the Table Rock by a crane for five minutes while strapped into a strait jacket.
On February 7th 1975, an unidentified man (Mr. X) working for a Toronto film company was dangled over the precipice of the Horseshoe Falls at the Table Rock by a crane for five minutes while strapped into a strait jacket.
And yep, this was James Randi, his sweet escape!

Not only he wanted to be like him, but It also became his obsession to escape faster than Houdini. And just like Randi, Houdini started out as a magician, escape artist, and debunker, and dedicated his life to keeping people from being duped.

Furthermore, the film also focuses on exposing these two scammers:

Two Charlatans:

Peter Popoff  This part is my favorite too.  There are actually three ways to be rich in this country, and I guess, in other countries too — be hardworking, be corrupt, and be in the religion business. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being rich. It’s how you get there that is the question. Peter Popoff, a televangelist faith healer and had his own Tonight Show where he showed to his followers that he knows their diseases, as well as their names. He is harming them to the point that they didn’t have to go to the doctors anymore by believing that Jesus (through Popoff) has healed them.

After the Popoff’s show, he ordered his assistants to get buckets, so people would put their money there. People are throwing 5, 10’s and even 20’s. Because one of the things Popoff always tells them is that whatever they give, they will get it back ten folds. Taking money from the “desperate” in exchange with a false hope of getting healed :-/ That is sickeningly disturbing. And made me vomit. Watch it here: Hello Petey..Can you hear me? 

Randi’s friend from the stadium where the faith healing was made; noticed an earpiece from Popoff’s’ ear and he reported it to Randi to investigate right off the bat. Randi said a man who can heal the deaf shouldn’t be wearing an earpiece. So they decided they need a technical help. And boom, Petey was busted. He’s guilty of lying to people for profit. Randi had an interview and told the world how Popoff had lied to his faithful followers.

Uri Geller —  The man who can bend spoons using mind? Yes, Uri Geller is the man. He had claimed that he can bend spoons, keys etc. using his psychic power. So here comes The Randy, and he knows what to do. Here it is —James Randi exposes Uri Geller .  Uri Geller defended himself by saying that Standford Researchers are on his side (‘cos he tricked them in a test). By saying that – as well as saying Randi is just a “magician” seems rational enough to many people – and still buy his shit. Yes, after his wrongdoing being exposed, there’s still a lot of willing victims supporting this guy. And they hated Randi because of that. (How come the man who was telling the truth and telling you that your money is not worth it, is the bad guy here, huh people? (Grrrr… duh! Grow UP!)

This film also shows how people still in denial even if the evidence were shown right before their eyes. Which is very sad actually. 😦 And that’s the way it’s always been. As long as there are frightened, vulnerable and gullible people, there will be scammers and charlatans lining up to take their money.

James Randi with Jose Alvarez :-)
James Randi with Jose Alvarez 🙂

Above all, his love story is quite sweet. James Randi came out of closet at age 81. You see in the photo, that was his partner for 25 years, Jose Alvarez (Deyvi Peña). I had mixed emotions on this part, and this was the part that I don’t want to spoil for you. Prepare tissues and all.  Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it, you can judge it for yourself 🙂

He didn’t want to get called “The Great Debunker”, actually. As he said those people can still show if they really had this so-called superpower. In fact, he has still been challenging them on his One million dollar paranormal challenge.

You can check out a lot of his clips on YouTube. They are impressive and delightful as you witness him debunking the fraudulent woos of these charlatans. Here are some bits and pieces of it, they are not from the film but watch it anyway.

Argh! My movie review of this film was quite late now, as I wanted this to be very special for Mr. James “Amazing” Randi. 🙂 Your life is truly amazing. He isn’t only about being skeptical of the paranormal, he is also  about promoting a scientific worldview.

He once said from his speech that “Science has created and shaped much of the world in which we live. But constant vigilance can never be relaxed.”

In our simple society where science only takes you so far, knowledge only takes you so far, and you need something else – magic comes in to fill this. 

We can’t all be James Randi, but we can all do something to bring reason and oust superstition from the world.

Batad-Banaue 2015: Where The Rice Fields Are Greener

“What titan built this wonder of the world? It was the Ifugao people of the Philippines working with not much more than their hands.”

That’s how Neil introduced Banaue Rice Terraces in his Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Season1 Episode12. Yep, the ship of imagination has flown over the rice terraces of Banaue in Ifugao.

Via Cordillerasun.com

In this episode, Tyson discussed about the effects of global warming. And it was in the last 5 minutes of the series where he tackled how our own ancestors had learned to adapt in a self-sustaining lifestyle by inventing Agriculture.

Excerpt from that particular episode I was referring to:

“What titan built this wonder of the world? It was the Ifugao people of the Philippines working with not much more than their hands. About 10,000 years ago, our ancestors all over the world took advantage of another form of climate change. The gentler climate of the intermission of the ice age. They invented agriculture. They gave up the ceaseless wandering, hunting, and gathering that had been their way of life for a million years or so to settle down and produce food. They found a way to harvest ten to a hundred times more solar energy than the environment naturally provided for their ancestors. People all over the world made the difficult transition from nomadic cultures to agricultural ones that used solar energy efficiently. It gave rise to civilization. We stand on the shoulders of those who did the hard work that such a fundamental transformation required. Now it’s our turn.”

After watching, I was like – OHEEMGEEE! I haven’t seen Banaue Rice Terraces yet :-/ So I made a promise to visit it soon. Luckily, I got the chance to see it up-close. I re-watched that episode yesterday, and boy it gives me more ahs and awes than the first time I saw it. Haha Perfectly explained the causes of global warming, the effects, and the solution. We Earthlings should be informed about this important issue and greatest challenge facing humanity today, a greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, and probably will ever face.

Watch it guys!! Here’s the link 😀   Cosmos A Spacetime Odyssey