James Randi --- Wizard (
Mon, 22 Dec 1997 00:38:38 -0800 (PST)

Perhaps the Internet isn't quite as uncritical as we thought. There
is a daily e-mail service, Infobeat's "Entertainment" that features a
"Today In History" section. And there's a "Happy Birthday" spot. In
the list of birthdays for December 20th was Uri Geller. Infobeat
described him as: "Uri Geller, 51, magician/illusionist." In my
opinion (not humble, I don't have a humble opinion), that says it all.
Apparently Infobeat finds no mystical ability in Mr. Geller.

The fuss over the Lucent Technologies Lab calling in an expert on
quackery, has brought in heavy mail. The man in charge of the project
has e-mailed me after I forwarded him a copy of what I posted here,
and I offered to send him copies of excerpts from letters I'd received
by dismayed observers. He replied:

I don't know who you are or what you are trying to accomplish

It is true the my organization engaged the services of Marilyn
Wheeler for several seminars to support teambuilding. As is
often the case in such seminars, the instructor . . . utilized
many techniques to make points. If Ms. Wheeler utilized
"Applied Kinesiology" . . . to make some points, it was her
decision and is not an indication that I or Lucent support
such a technique. I can tell you the many attendees were
pleased with her seminars and the techniques she used. On the
other hand, as is usually the case in such seminars, some
attendee or attendees may not have been happy with some of the

I am forwarding this EMail to Marilyn Wheeler, and you and she
can followup if desired. I think this issue rests with you and
Marilyn Wheeler - not with me personally or with Lucent.

Lastly, to repeat, I am not personally - nor is Lucent -
supporting or legitimizing "Applied Kinesiology." So please do
send postings indicating that we do.

To which I replied:

I take it you have no interest in seeing the responses I received...

Too bad. They are very informative.

My correspondents saw this for what it was: a presentation
given by and for Lucent Technologies which consisted of
crackpot science presented as genuine material. I suggest
that you call in a Tarot reader and an astrologer next -- if
you feel it will illuminate the employees and bring them to a
better understanding of the world.

No mention of whether Ms. Wheeler intends to take up the challenge for
the US$1.1 million. But we know the answer to that, don't we, folks?
Or will Ms. Wheeler surprise us?

Applied Kinesiology is quackery, pure and simple. It is pseudoscience
at its most glorious. It is witchcraft and nothing more. And, it is
among the most easily tested of all quack claims, and we are prepared
to do a simple, one-hour, direct, easy-to-grasp, test. If it works,
as the employees of Lucent Technologies have been told -- and
remember, they are REQUIRED to attend these enlightening meetings! --
we will pay Ms. Wheeler the US$1.1 million prize. It's that simple.

Ms. Wheeler, your turn. You told the folks who invented the
transistor, Telstar, the first fax machine, neural networks, and the
laser -- all of which have changed our lives immeasurably, that your
demonstration showed them a truth that should shake the world. Lucent
Technologies is one of the most prestigious scientific organizations
in the world. They should know. But do they?

Prove it, Ms. Wheeler.

In closing: Correspondent Henrik Ravn informs me that Danish public
childcare centers are hiring "psychic healers" to soothe troublesome
children from a distance. They apparently are hired as"'Pedagogic
Consultants" entirely on the authority of the staff at the centers.
And Danish tax money goes to these quacks....!

In spite of all the bad news, have an enjoyable winter solstice,

James Randi.

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