In this interview with D.J. Grothe, James Randi talks about the future of The Amazing Meeting, his annual popular critical thinking convention in Las Vegas. He also discusses various faith healers he has investigated, and his real motivations in doing so. He talks about the first faith healer he exposed in Toronto as a teenager. He explores reasons why faith healers he has debunked still persist in their TV empires. He shares his views of Ernest Angley. He recounts his expose of Peter Popoff, including Popoff’s use of an earpiece to receive information about his congregants that they believed was revealed by the Holy Spirit. He explains why people believe in faith healers despite evidence to the contrary. Other faith healers he criticizes include Pat Robertson and his "Words of Knowledge," V.A. Grant, Oral Roberts, and Filipino psychic surgeons, recounting some of their deceptive methods they use to beguile believers. He talks about the special place "psychic surgery" has in the Pentecostal Church. He compares faith healers’ methods to the methods of psychics and "cold readers" such as John Edward, and explores whether faith healers are deliberately deceptive or are merely self-deceptive. He also debates whether faith healing might actually work on occasion, due to psychological phenomena such as the placebo effect. And he talks about the role that magicians should play in exposing frauds in the public interest.
Also in this interview, James Underdown, scientific paranormal investigator and executive director of CFI’s Hollywood branch, recounts his experiences with Benny Hinn’s healing crusades, and talks about how Benny Hinn may or may not be like Adolph Hitler.
We talk to him about the Singularity — and how it may come from the superhuman "ensemble behavior" of ordinary humans with powerful computers linked via the Internet rather than through the development of superhuman artificial intelligence — about signposts indicating how we’re doing, about humanity’s prospects for utopia or extinction, and related minor issues. We also discussed writing science fiction (the secret, he says, is "brain parasitism," taking advantage of readers’ smarts), whether college is becoming obsolete, mind uploading, and the joys (or lack thereof) of virtual-reality sex, a question that perplexes Helen.
Climb in your Zeppelin, grab a self-burning book, and prepare for the first Incomparable Podcast, in which we discuss "The City and The City," "The Windup Girl," "For The Win," and more. Plus we mispronounce the names of writers.
The Incomparable Participants: Glenn Fleishman, Scott McNulty, Dan Moren, and Jason Snell. The Incomparable Theme Song composed by Christopher Breen.
Prominently mentioned in this Incomparable episode:
- "The City & The City" by China Miéville
- "The Windup Girl" by Paolo Bacigalupi
- "For the Win" by Cory Doctorow
- "Perdido Street Station" by China Miéville
- "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow
- "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" by Cory Doctorow
- "Boneshaker" by Cherie Priest
- "The Gone-Away World" by Nick Harkaway
- "Ship Breaker" by Paolo Bacigalupi
- "Tongues of Serpents" by Naomi Novik
- "The Dream of Perpetual Motion" by Dexter Palmer
- "A Storm of Swords" by George R.R. Martin
- "Oryx and Crake" by Margaret Atwood
- "The Yiddish Policeman’s Union" by Michael Chabon
- "Bitter Seeds" by Ian Tregillis
- "The Adamantine Palace" by Stephen Deas
- "Shades of Grey" by Jasper Fforde
- "Fables" by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina
Cory Doctorow and the Boing Boing Boing team talk to William Gibson about Spook Country.