Alleee and Franc's
INSOLITOLOGY

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Challenges


Welcome to the battle of the Challenges. The granddaddy of all challenges is the James Randi Educational Foundation's million-dollar prize for the demonstration of paranormal powers. For those who don't know about it, James Randi, a magician and debunker, offers a million dollars to the first person who, under a controlled experiment, can demonstrate that he has paranormal powers.

Following on his footsteps, many people have proposed challenges. Unfortunately, some crackpots also use bogus challenges in order to boost their reputations. Our three contestants today are Gene Ray, Kent Hovind and Victor Zammit.

Gene Ray needs no introduction : he is the greatest cuckoo on the Internet. His Time Cube is almost undescribable. Basically, Ray believes that while the Earth is spherical, time is cubic, and that each of our days has in fact four days (which total 96 hours). For some reason, this has something to do with Socrates, Einstein, Jesus and Bill Clinton.

While his challenge is not formal, it is clear. He challenges anyone to provide proof that his Time Cube is false (unfortunately, that would involve knowing what it is), for 10 000$ :

I will give $10,000.00 to 1st education institution or to the 1st professor who can disprove 4-Day Time Cube.

(...) How can you trust stupid professors who lie to you? Can't lose the $10,000.00, they cowardly ignore me.

(...) I am the wisest human and offer $1,000.00 to the 1st to disprove my wisdom claim above the educated stupid. I lectured/debated at MIT & have 2 hour video proof. You are but mindless asses.

$1,000.00 to one disproving the Time Cube. $100.00 for 1 MIT student explaining Time Cube. $500.00 for 1 MIT professor explaining Time Cube. To be awarded at lecture.

I will give $1,000.00 to any person who can disprove 4 days in each earth rotation.

I made my own submission, but sadly it was not accepted, due to the fact that I don't understand what Time Cube is, and probably neither does Ray.

Our next contestant, Kent Hovind, is a famous Creationist debater, who unfortunately knows nothing about science, as his challenge testifies. For example, his site is given the name of his nickname, Dr. Dino, given to him because he believes that dinosaurs walked with man.

Dr. Dino ups the ante with a 250 000$ contest to prove evolution. Unfortunately, no biologist can enter his contest, because his rules are, well... see for yourself :

Dr. Hovind's $250,000 Offer
formerly $10,000, offered since 1990

(...) I have a standing offer of $250,000 to anyone who can give any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for evolution*. My $250,000 offer demonstrates that the hypothesis of evolution is nothing more than a religious belief.

(...)Prove beyond reasonable doubt that the process of evolution (option 3 above, under "known options") is the only possible way the observed phenomena could have come into existence. Only empirical evidence is acceptable. Persons wishing to collect the $250,000 may submit their evidence in writing or schedule time for a public presentation. A committee of trained scientists will provide peer review of the evidence offered and, to the best of their ability, will be fair and honest in their evaluation and judgment as to the validity of the evidence presented.

* NOTE:
When I use the word evolution, I am not referring to the minor variations found in all of the various life forms (microevolution). I am referring to the general theory of evolution which believes these five major events took place without God:

Time, space, and matter came into existence by themselves.
Planets and stars formed from space dust.
Matter created life by itself.
Early life-forms learned to reproduce themselves.
Major changes occurred between these diverse life forms (i.e., fish changed to amphibians, amphibians changed to reptiles, and reptiles changed to birds or mammals).

Not only does Hovind, in his trademark confusion, equate evolution with not only evolution but cosmology and abiogenesis, but wants biologists to prove that evolution is "the only possible way the observed phenomena could have come into existence". That is nonsensical : while there is only one way that something does come into existence, there are always many possibilities which never come to realisation. Suffice it to say that no one can ever win his challenge, but some people have tried without success.

Our last contestant, Victor Zammit, is perhaps least well-known, but a figure of the paranormal community. He is a lawyer who presents a "case for the afterlife", which you can read on his web site. His ante is the greatest : he offers one million dollars to anyone who can prove that there is no afterlife. I suppose anyone who sends him the medical data about the dependancy of consciousness on the human brain should win, but Zammit hedges his case on more than just science : but rather on psychics !

One million dollars is offered to any skeptic who can rebut the evidence for the existence of the afterlife.

The afterlife is not just a speculative claim like there may be unicorns or there may be green cheese on the other side of the moon. There have been top scientists, genuine mediums, and thousands of others including empirical investigators like myself, who experienced psi and afterlife communication.

It is claimed that there is now a substantial body of evidence which supports the existence of the afterlife and which taken as a whole cannot be satisfactorily accounted for except by the existence of the afterlife.

(...) Further, the applicant has to rebut the afterlife evidence presented by the following: Arthur Findlay's On the Edge of the Etheric, Sir William Crookes' On Human Personality and Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism; Sir Oliver Lodge's Raymond and Geraldine Cummins' Swan on a Black Sea and the evidence provided by the Inner Peace Movement.

Here is the challenge for those skeptics who have been continuously campaigning in the media that there is no afterlife: those closed-minded skeptics who have been crusading around the world denigrating, destroying and demeaning the credibility of gifted psychics, trying to dismiss the positive evidence being produced for the afterlife; those skeptics who have been cruelly twisting and manipulating psychic truth to reduce its effect; those who unconscionably have tried to destroy the reputations of some of the greatest and most brilliant 'classical' scientists and psychic writers who ever walked this planet earth like Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Barrett, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur Findlay and so many others!

He has left a cop-out in case any skeptic tries to claim, though :

The offeror and the applicant will agree that the applicant has demonstrated the technical skills to rebut the evidence. This is a fundamental and most important condition.

And this mediocre mind can't help but take a pot-shot at Randi.

I concede that the skeptics' offer has been used very successfully and has provided huge propaganda against psychics. It has misled journalists, radio and TV interviewers. It has been a powerful tool for the dissemination of global darkness.

Sad individual. But is he the most ridiculous ? That's for you to decide ! Vote in the poll box below.

Who has the most ridiculous challenge ?
Gene Ray
Kent Hovind
Victor Zammit
  
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review written by Franc, 07/2002.