Two notes...

James Randi --- Wizard (
Tue, 20 Jan 1998 22:29:10 -0800 (PST)

I was just informed that last November 7th, Dr. Duane Gish -- the
rabid defender of creation "science" gave a lecture on that subject at
Lucent Technologies in Holmdel, New Jersey, at the lunch hour. I have
no problem with that, at all. Those lunch talks are informal, and not
required or even suggested for employee attendance. A tarot card
reader or perpetual-motion machine inventor might show up there as
well, and the Lucent folks would be further informed on the state of
quackery and pseudoscience. Educational as well as amusing.


I was flattered today to have a close friend point out the
existence of massive references to me on a web page -- -- that you should take a peek at.
Mr. Peter Duffie, who created all this codswollop, appears to have a
real emotional problem with my continuing existence. I've seen a
great number of tirades directed against me over the years, from all
directions. Some have had merit, though not the merit their authors
have thought. But this chap Duffie has assembled the most ludicrous
mass of misinformation on me I've ever come upon. He's enraged at my
success in establishing that the "psychics" can't produce results when
tested, and he goes at me with great enthusiasm but with flawed logic
and no attempt at accuracy. I can't -- seriously -- figure out
whether he's stupid, ignorant, or simply malicious. I invite you to
take at least a brief look at his rantings, and you'll easily see how
he's abandoned any efforts at reason, and merely flailed out wildly in
all directions. I didn't find one entry that made any sense at all,
and it would take a book to point out the misconceptions and errors in
his criticisms. One sample will serve:

I quote from one of Mr. Duffie's references to my comments on

[Randi] points out that during the rise
of the Nazi movement [in Germany,
circa 1930-40], the German SS
soldiers trained in dowsing skills so
they could locate "fabulous buried
treasures to finance the new political
party." To this [Randi] adds, "That
money was not well spent, at least
from the Nazi's point of view." Here
Randi is acknowledging that the
German Third Reich gained vast
fortunes by using dowsing skills, the
very thing he insists does not exist.

Tut, tut, Mr. Duffie! (No reference to deceased pharaohs
intended.) The dowsers found zip, nada, nichts, zero, bupkis, zilch.
What I actually wrote in my book, "James Randi, Psychic Investigator,"
was this:

". . . back in the beginning of the Nazi era in Germany, a
considerable amount was spent in training selected SS warriors to
perfect their dowsing skills so that they could locate fabulous buried
treasures to finance the new political party and the coming war. That
money was not well spent, at least from the Nazis' point of
view. . . . I predict that any amount of continued expenditure for
this purpose will result, as it always has, in disappointment."

You see, Mr. Duffie, "That money" refers to the "considerable
amount" wasted by the Nazis on the training. No buried treasures,
fabulous or not, were ever located by these frustrated dowsers. But I
suspect that (a) you knew what I meant, that (b) you purposely
neglected to quote the last line shown above, and that (c) this was a
direct and intended misrepresentation on your part. Throughout the
rest of your blathering, you employ similar techniques.
I could go on and on, but Mr. Duffie doesn't need my
explanations, and I just haven't the time to correct a poor student at
his lessons.

James Randi

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