James Randi Educational Foundation | Wikipedia audio article


The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF)
is an American grant-making foundation. It was started as an American non-profit organization
founded in 1996 by magician and skeptic James Randi. The JREF’s mission includes educating the
public and the media on the dangers of accepting unproven claims, and to support research into
paranormal claims in controlled scientific experimental conditions. In September 2015, the organization said it
would change to a grant-making foundation.The organization administered the One Million
Dollar Paranormal Challenge, which offered a prize of one million U.S. dollars to anyone
who could demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing
criteria. The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
was terminated in 2015. The JREF also maintains a legal defense fund
to assist persons who are attacked as a result of their investigations and criticism of people
who make paranormal claims.The organization has been funded through member contributions,
grants, and conferences, though it will no longer accept donations or memberships after
2015. The JREF website publishes a (nominally daily)
blog at randi.org, Swift, which includes the latest JREF news and information, as well
as exposés of paranormal claimants.==History==
The JREF officially came into existence on February 29, 1996, when it was registered
as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Delaware in the United States. On April 3, 1996, Randi formally announced
the creation of the JREF through his email hotline. It is now headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia. THE FOUNDATION IS IN BUSINESS! It is my great pleasure to announce the creation
of the James Randi Educational Foundation. This is a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational
foundation under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, incorporated in the State of
Delaware. The Foundation is generously funded by a sponsor
in Washington D.C. who wishes, at this point in time, to remain anonymous. Randi says Johnny Carson was a major sponsor,
giving several six-figure donations.The officers of the JREF are:
Director, Chairman: James Randi, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Director, Secretary, Assistant Secretary:
Richard L. Adams Jr., Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Director, Secretary: Daniel Denman, Silver
Spring, Maryland.In 2008 the astronomer Philip Plait became the new president of the JREF
and Randi its board chairman. In December 2009 Plait left the JREF due to
involvement in a television project, and D.J. Grothe assumed the position of president on
January 1, 2010, holding the position until his departure from the JREF was announced
on September 1, 2014.The San Francisco newspaper SF Weekly reported on August 24, 2009, that
Randi’s annual salary is about $200,000. Randi resigned from JREF in 2015.==The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge
==In 1964, Randi began offering a prize of US$1000
to anyone who could demonstrate a paranormal ability under agreed-upon testing conditions. This prize has since been increased to US$1
million in bonds and is now administered by the JREF. Since its inception, more than 1000 people
have applied to be tested. To date, no one has been able to demonstrate
their claimed abilities under the testing conditions, all applicants either failing
to demonstrate the claimed ability during the test or deviating from the foundation
conditions for taking the test such that any apparent success was held invalid; the prize
money remains unclaimed. However, in 2015 the James Randi Educational
Foundation said they will no longer accept applications directly from people claiming
to have a paranormal power, but will offer the challenge to anyone who has passed a preliminary
test that meets with their approval.==The Amaz!ng Meeting==From 2003 to 2015, the JREF annually hosted
The Amaz!ng Meeting, a gathering of scientists, skeptics, and atheists. Perennial speakers include Richard Dawkins,
Penn & Teller, Phil Plait, Michael Shermer and Adam Savage.==Podcasts and videos==
The foundation produced two audio podcasts, For Good Reason which was an interview program
hosted by D.J. Grothe, promoting critical thinking and skepticism
about the central beliefs of society. It has not been active since December, 2011. Consequence was a biweekly podcast hosted
by former outreach coordinator Brian Thompson in which regular people shared their personal
narratives about the negative impact a belief in pseudoscience, superstition, and the paranormal
had had on their lives. It has not been active since May, 2013.The
JREF also produced a regular video cast and YouTube show, The Randi Show, in which former
JREF outreach coordinator Brian Thompson interviewed Randi on a variety of skeptical topics, often
with lighthearted or comedic commentary. It has not been active since August, 2012. In November 2015, Harriet Hall produced a
series of ten lectures called Science Based Medicine for the JREF. The videos deal with various complementary
alternative medicine subjects including homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture and more.The JREF
posts many of its educational videos from The Amaz!ng Meeting and other events online. There are free lectures by Neil DeGrasse Tyson,
Carol Tavris, Lawrence Krauss, live tests of the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge,
workshops on cold reading by Ray Hyman, and panels featuring leading thinking on various
topics related to JREF’s educational mission. JREF president D.J. Grothe has claimed that the JREF’s YouTube
channel was once the “10th most subscribed nonprofit channel of all time, though its
current status is 39th and most non-profits do not register for this status.The foundation
produced its own “Internet Audio Show” which ran from January–December 2002 and was broadcast
via a live stream. The archive can be found as mp3 files on their
website and as a podcast on iTunes.==Forum and online community==
As part of the JREF’s goal of educating the general population about science and reason,
people involved in their community actively run one of the most popular skeptic based
online forums at http://forums.randi.org with the overall goal of promoting “critical thinking
and providing the public with the tools needed to reliably examine paranormal, supernatural,
and pseudoscientific claims”.On October 5, 2014, this online forum was divorced from
the JREF and moved as its own entity to International Skeptics Forum. In 2007 the JREF announced it would resume
awarding critical thinking scholarships to college students after a brief hiatus due
to the lack of funding.The JREF has also helped to support local grassroot efforts and outreach
endeavors, such as SkeptiCamp, Camp Inquiry and various community-organized conferences. However, according to their tax filing, they
spend less than $2,000 a year on other organizations or individuals.==JREF Award==The JREF award “is given to the person or
organization that best represents the spirit of the foundation by encouraging critical
questions and seeking unbiased, fact-based answers.” The 2017 award was given to Susan Gerbic.==See also==
An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural (by Randi)
Debunker List of prizes for evidence of the paranormal
Pigasus Award Rationalist Prabir Ghosh increases his challenge
amount to $50,000 against any claim of paranormal, after surviving nine assassination attempts. Skeptic’s Dictionary by Robert Todd Carroll

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