James “The Amazing” Randi is a world-renowned magician, skeptic and investigator of paranormal claims. He has been a central figure in the development of the world-wide skeptical movement. He’s perhaps most known for the One Million Dollar Challenge, in which his Foundation will award One Million Dollars to anyone who is able to show evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event, under test conditions agreed to by both parties.
Randi has appeared very widely in the media, including on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show at least 22 times and he’s also a regular on Penn and Teller’s Showtime Series, Bullshit! He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a MacArthur Genius Grant, a Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In 1989, the American Physical Society presented him with its Forum Award for Promoting Public Understanding of the Relation of Physics to Society.
He is the author of many books, notably The Truth About Uri Geller, in which Randi aimed to use his background in magic to investigate the Israeli psychic and performer, and also The Faith Healers, Flim-Flam!, and An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural.
In this discussion with DJ Grothe, Randi discusses critical thinking and magic, recounts his experiences as a leading paranormal investigator of people like televangelist Peter Popoff and others, shares his views about skepticism and religion, and reflects on the future of the skeptical movement.
Also in this episode, Lauren Becker shares some thoughts about America’s Founding and the Fourth of July.