Friday, January 12, 2007

Randi Updates Rules

Today, James Randi has updated his rules for testing paranormal claims for his million dollar prize. First started in 1998, the million dollars has attracted lots of kooks and not enough high-profile cranks. From Randi:

As of April 1, 2007, we will require two major qualifications of all those who will be eligible. First, any applicant will be required to have a media profile. By that, we mean that there must be some media recognition – a television interview, a newspaper account, some press writeup, or a reference in a book, that provides details of the claimed abilities of the applicant. Note: something more authoritative than an offhand reference during a local TV newscast or a paragraph in a local shopper handout, will be required. The second requirement will be that the applicant must provide an endorsement of an academic nature. That means some sort of validation from an appropriately-qualified academic. This does not include the local chiropractor or Sunday-school teacher.
I love that last line. I understand why Randi has done this. You can't really expect him to test every single fantastic claim that humans make and surely we wouldn't expect Randi to test a schizophrenic, just because they believed that they're thoughts were being transmitted from an alien super-race. No, Randi's correct in ignoring the small claims, to make taking aim at the big claims, more of a priority.

So, for anybody who is hoping to win the Randi challenge, take note. Not only are you going to have to prove your paranormal claim, but you're going to have to convince some other scientists of it, before you can even hope of getting tested and winning the prize.

Good luck. You're going to need it! :)