Million Dollar Revision

I haven’t seen much coverage of this–Mr. Randi has announced that he is revising the rules for his Million Dollar Challenge to better target hi-profile hucksters. I especially loved some of the quotes in the article linked above–

“We can’t waste the hundreds of hours that we spend every year on the nutcases out there — people who say they can fly by flapping their arms,” says Randi. “We have three file drawers jam-packed with those collections….

Basically, the rule change will allow only those with a “media profile” to apply to the Challenge. This will help to reduce the amount of labor involved, as well as help to reduce the numbers of challenges coming from the mentally ill. As somone who works closely with Psychiatrists*, I can certainly see how that would be an issue! As the lovely Jeff Wagg, TechMaster of, said in the article:

“If we get them to go to a challenge and they lose, we’re exposing someone who had serious mental illness,” says Wagg. “That doesn’t do us any good, and it doesn’t do them any good.”

So, now JREF is free to spend it’s time on the wackjobs making the talk show circut. Yay!

*I work with Psychiatrists professionally. Like, as part of my job. Just wanted to forestall that joke in the comments, ’cause I know it’s coming :)


Bug_girl has a PhD in Entomology, and is a pointy-headed former academic living in Ohio. She is obsessed with insects, but otherwise perfectly normal. Really! If you want a daily stream of cool info about bugs, follow her Facebook page or find her on Twitter.

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  1. I'm slightly conflicted. I am all about calling out the "idiots for pay" who make unfounded claims and dupe other idiots into believeing they have superpowers.

    BUT I can already see the "Randi wont test me cause he knows I'll win" comments. People will use that to act as if it is some sort of endorsement. I think there should still be a way for the occasional not wacky-nut job (ie general psychics) to still apply.

  2. But I love the idea that Randi will start actively going after these Woo-Woo Momzers.

    They can RUN from reality, but they can't– Wait a minute; You CAN'T run from reality. Um.

    "You can deny reality, but you can't stop it biting you in the arse!"


  3. From what I understand in the latest Swift, it won't be those with a media profile that can apply, it'll be those with a media profile that are targetted. As in the JREF will issue a public challenge and the person will ignore them.

  4. The fact is there are many similar challenges (usually of a smaller dollar value) offered by skeptical organisations around the world. Mr Randi has clearly stated that anyone at all can become eligible for the JREF million dollar challenge simply by winning one of these other challenges.

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