Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Oh, Randi, Well, You Came and You Gave Without Faking, But They Sent You Away

Remember James Randi? The magician and devout skeptic who offered $1 million to anyone who could "show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event"?

Apparently he's no longer just putting up money for people to demonstrate something that he believes doesn't exist. He'll now pay big bucks to stifle discussion of a nonmaterialist worldview.

According to Jonathan Witt of the Discovery Institute, the James Randi Educational Foundation is offering the Smithsonian $20,000 to back out of its contract with the institute to co-sponsor a showing of the intelligent-design documentary "The Privileged Planet" at its Baird Auditorium.

Randi insists, "We need to be alarmed and militant about this situation." Indeed. His proposed bribe is $4,000 more than the Discovery Institute paid for the showing. At this writing, the Smithsonian has not reneged on its contract.

Notes Krauze of Telic Thoughts:

Is this ability to buy out others’ arrangement limited to James Randi, or can others join the fun? If a group of young-earth creationists have a big enough bag of money, will they be able to cancel Smithsonian events that mention the ancient age of the Earth?
(Found via Jonathan and Amanda Witt's fine blog, Wittingshire.)