James Randi and the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge

http://facebook.com/ScienceReason … The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge: Benecke “challenges” Randi. James Randi and Mark Benecke are being interviewed by Julia Offe (GWUP) at the 6th World Skeptics Congress in Berlin 2012.

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6th World Skeptics Congress, Berlin 2012: Promoting science and critical thinking in a world of uncertainty.

Why do people turn to pseudoscience for help? What makes alternative medicine so attractive – and how can we find out what really works? Why is it so difficult for us to deal with risk and uncertainty in a rational way? Can we teach children to think critically and scientifically? And how can academic disciplines like biology or psychology protect themselves from pseudoscientific contamination?


James Randi is a stage magician and scientific skeptic, best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF).

Randi began his career as a magician named The Amazing Randi, but after retiring at age 60, he began investigating paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims, which he collectively calls “woo-woo”.

Although often referred to as a “debunker”, Randi rejects that title owing to its perceived bias, instead describing himself as an “investigator”. He has written about the paranormal, skepticism, and the history of magic.

The JREF sponsors The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge offering a prize of US$1,000,000 to eligible applicants who can demonstrate evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event under test conditions agreed to by both parties.


Mark Benecke is a German forensic biologist. After receiving a Dr. rer. medic. at Cologne University in 1997, he worked in the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Manhattan, New York from 1997-1999. As of 2008, he works internationally on forensic cases as a freelance expert witness. He also teaches at various police academies and acts as a visiting professor to universities in Germany, England, Vietnam, Colombia, and the Philippines.

Benecke has worked on the identification of Adolf and Eva Hitler’s skull and teeth in Moscow, and is the only forensic scientist to work with Columbian serial killer and rapist Luis Garavito. Some of his forensic cases have been covered by the National Geographic Channel and the History Channel.

Mark Benecke has published several popular science books about the biology of aging, criminal cases and forensic biology. He is a member of the editorial board of the “Annals of Improbable Research” (Cambridge, USA), guest editor for Forensic Science International (Forensic Entomology Special Issue), and scientific advisor to the German skeptic organization GWUP, where he publishes skeptical articles on various topics, including his attempt to explain alleged signs of vampirism.


Keywords: James Randi JREF One Million Dollar Challenge 6th World Skeptics Congress 2012 Berlin promoting science critical thinking world uncertainty magician scientific skeptic paranormal claims pseudoscience educational foundation interview Mark Benecke Julia Offe GWUP WSC



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