Archive Classic: Noted Magician James Randi Touts Atheism to Scientists
Note: This article was first posted 20 years ago when Creation-Evolution Headlines was only two months old. It’s a first-person report from a talk presented to scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Exclusive Noted debunker of psychic phenomena James “The Amazing” Randi, speaking at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on October 5, admitted in answer to a question from the audience that he finds no reason to believe in God. He attributed the origin of theism to primitive man’s need to explain natural phenomena by an all-powerful somebody or something.
[That a famous skeptic would be an atheist is not news, but imagine a scientist being given an opportunity at a NASA podium to present evidence for belief in God.–Ed.]
During his otherwise entertaining and informative demonstrations of his successful debunkings of psychic phenomena, Randi enthusiastically referred to noted atheists Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, and Isaac Asimov as his heroes.
Thinking Christians and creationists should be first in line behind Randi’s charge to expose fraudulent claims of supernatural power. He is to be highly praised for having the guts to expose phony faith-healer Peter Popoff, for instance, and the psychic surgeons who leave their gullible patients at risk of disease and death for the sake of money. Full speed ahead, we say, on getting the paranormal kookery out of our minds, and getting people to think critically.
By Randi’s own admission, however, his field of expertise is very narrow: “How people are fooled, and how we fool ourselves.” This does not qualify Randi as a philosopher of science or a theologian. His response simplistically sweeps under the rug the great thinkers such as C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer and countless scientists like Newton and Maxwell whose faith in God rested on firmer foundations than mere wish fulfillment. (We refer the reader to The World’s Greatest Creation Scientists at this site.) Could The Amazing Randi, and his skeptical followers, be fooling themselves by failing to notice their own assumptions and logical fallacies? Yes, audience, we must learn to think critically.