JREF’s Pigasus Awards

In this 7-minute video, James Randi announces the annual “Pigasus Awards,” which are described in detail, along with the requirements for winning, at the James Randi Educational Foundation. I won’t divulge the winners in print, except for the “Refusal to Face Reality” award won by the infamous Dr. Oz. Oz has now set a record, nabbing the “Quack of the Year” prize three times!

Since 1997, the JREF’s annual Pigasus Awards have been bestowed on the most deserving charlatans, swindlers, psychics, pseudo-scientists, and faith healers—and on their credulous promoters, too. The awards are named for both the mythical flying horse Pegasus of Greek mythology, and the highly improbable flying pig of popular cliché.

I’m really looking forward to meeting Randi at TAM this year.

via: Incredulous

13 Comments

  1. Posted April 5, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I first came across James Randi whilst reading Martin Gardner’s books on pseudo science: “Science Good Bad and Bogus”, “Fads and Fallacies in The Name Of Science” several decades ago. It’s amazing how much in these books is still relevant today lack of results not withstanding. (they are very funny too, on for instance: Uri Geller, Puthoff&Targ etc.)

    Gardener had his limitiations, he was a theist (in an odd sort of way), although you’d never guess that from those books, but despite that has been a force for rational thinking. And Randi will surely go down in history as being a pivotal figure in helping to establish a more rational society.

    • Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      As far as I have understood, Gardener was actually a deist, someone who believes in the existence of some creator-god who isn’t involved with the universe afterwards.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        SPECTRUM Martin Gardner, 2008:-

        I am a philosophical theist. I believe in a personal god, and I believe in an afterlife, and I believe in prayer, but I don’t believe in any established religion. This is called philosophical theism…. Philosophical theism is entirely emotional. As Kant said, he destroyed pure reason to make room for faith.

        • BillyJoe
          Posted April 5, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          “Philosophical theism is entirely emotional”

          That’s the bit worth emphasising.

          He didn’t feel there was any evidence or rational justification for a theistic god. He just wanted it to be true. He didn’t want annihilation at his death. He wanted to live on in the afterlife. And it made him happy to believe that this would happen when he died.

          In my opinion, though, this is a good example of cognitive dissonance.

      • Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        The difference between deism & theism isn’t a clear cut one that we can agree on. Einstein’s characterization of a “personal god” catches the fundamental distinction, I think: i.e. If you believe that there is a god that cares for humanity then you are a theist, otherwise not. Martin Gardner believed in some kind of life after death (presumably arranged by god), and that surely implies a personal god, so I would classify him as a theist. But as with so many of these arguments we must be aware that we are discussing points of semantics not matters of fact.

      • Marella
        Posted April 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        If all you want to do is call the origin of the universe “god” then we can all be deists, not sure what the point of that would be though. What does it mean to have a god who wants nothing and does nothing? It’s just an exercise in semantics, it explains nothing, in fact it explains less than nothing because now you have explain where “god” came from.

        • BillyJoe
          Posted April 5, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          More to the point, what is the point of believing in a deistic god. You cannot pray to it for help and you can’t even look forward to an afterlife. It all seems so totally pointless.

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Appropriately the JREF video was uploaded on April 1st

    The Amazing Randi talks about NANDA International ~ the nursing diagnosis standards outfit & that they are still promoting [or recognising] *healing touch* therapy

    I went to the NANDA website to check this, but it isn’t accessible. Does anyone know the current status of NANDA? Are they a going concern with influence?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:21 am | Permalink

      Their website is up, and their search engine responds to various queries. But searching for “[H|h]ealing touch” dumps you off the search page. Which makes me think that their webmaster has configured the search engine to react to those specific terms like that.
      Someone (NANDA.org) is trying to hide something.

      • Jon
        Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        Any search enclosed in quotation marks dumps you back to the main page. It is just a bad search function. It is more likely the webmaster is just incompetent, rather than deliberately hiding anything.

        You can always use Google to do site specific searches by appending, for example, “site:nanda.org” to your query, which returns just one result for “healing touch” on nanda.org, a PDF, though I haven’t taken the time to read it.

  3. Mary Canada
    Posted April 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Nice to finally hear someone call Mahmet Oz a quack. I have gotten into so many arguments about his propaganda.

  4. stabbinfresh
    Posted April 6, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Really glad to see Alex Jones win one of these. I lived in Austin briefly and came across this guy on local cable access. The man is a nutter, I saw plenty of people around town with his “Infowars” tshirts and bumper stickers. After I left Texas I thought that would be the last I heard of this guy. How wrong I was, his nonsense is spreading. Yeesh.

  5. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 7, 2013 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    James Randi is always good value. Even if I had to pay more than my time to see him, he’d still be good value. IF I had to pay to travel several hundred miles to see him in a pub cellar in Glasgow, he’d still be good value.


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