Office of Public Affairs
Nov. 3, 2003
CONTACT: Erin Halligan, 312-4089, firstname.lastname@example.org
INVESTIGATOR OF THE SUPERNATURAL
TO OPEN EYES, MINDS AT SUNY OSWEGO
OSWEGO -- Critical thinking is one of the mental
muscle groups that students come to SUNY Oswego to exercise and
develop. To that end, the college and its students are bringing
renowned psychic investigator James Randi to campus as a guest speaker
Wednesday, Nov. 19.
His admission-free presentation, "Search for the Chimera,"
will be at 7 p.m. in the ballroom of Hewitt Union. This overview of how
science has pursued magic and miracles in the last hundred years will
include a discussion of how a "politically correct" attitude has
blinded scientists, who should know better, to the fact that they are
not proficient at detecting fraud, often managing to fool themselves.
Trained as a magician and escape artist, Randi has
built an international reputation as an investigator of psychic,
supernatural and magical claims. He received the MacArthur Foundation
award known as the "genius" grant in 1986.
He teamed with Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, B.F.
Skinner and others on the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of
Claims of the Paranormal and has exposed a parade of would-be psychics,
mediums and faith healers. Sued by psychic Uri Geller for defamation,
"We live in a society that is enlarging the
boundaries of knowledge at an unprecedented rate, and we cannot keep up
with much more than a small portion of what is made available to us. To
knowledge with childish notions of magic and fantasy is to cripple our
perception of the world around us," Randi wrote in Time magazine.
Randi is the author of nine books -- including
"Conjuring," "The Faith Healers" and "The Truth About Uri Geller" --
and articles in such publications as Scientific American and the New
He has been featured on television nationally and
internationally on such shows as Nova, Dateline, 20/20 and Larry King.
In 1997, Esquire magazine named him "One of the One Hundred Best People
in the World."
In 1996, with money donated by an anonymous
benefactor, he established the James Randi Educational Foundation in
Fort Lauderdale. He has a standing offer of $1 million -- also made
possible by donors -- for anyone who can demonstrate paranormal or
supernatural powers under controlled conditions.
"I've always got to be prepared for the possibility
that someone's going to come along with a paranormal phenomenon that
really is genuine," he told Science Year, a World Book publication. "It
could happen. And if it did, it would turn science on its head."
Randi's appearance at SUNY Oswego is made possible
by the Student Association and its Program Board, the College of Arts
and Sciences, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Hewitt
Union Bringing Activities to Campus, and the Central New York Skeptics.
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