Final thoughts on a controversial magic ICON
I have always had a love/hate relationship with this man. I loved him because he was an ICON in the magic world. I myself once owned several books, penned by his hand. For that reason alone I will always have a measure of respect and admiration for him.
Then there was the other side of Randi. The militant skeptic and atheist who made it his life’s work to attempt to debunk anything paranormal or spiritual. And gained a huge secular fan base in the process. Randi was a smart man, especially in the marketing department. He took materialism, nihilism, and atheism, to a whole new level. His theory was, if you could duplicate a paranormal event using a magic trick, then the event in question was automatically debunked. Which was ridiculous on its face. Using that logic, one could say that all of reality is an illusion because Steven Spielberg can duplicate it with camera tricks. Instead of using stock arguments to debunk things that he could not understand, he could have taken the opportunity to “really” examine the evidence presented to him with the open mind he claimed to have. But that would have cost him his secular fan base, and thus was never going to happen. Being a militant atheist, anything paranormal or spiritual was forbidden in his circles. Something to be shunned, mocked, and ridiculed. Which is one reason I have proudly considered myself on more than one occasion as the “Anti-Randi” of the magic world.
Though he branded himself a “paranormal expert”, he was anything but. His foundation which was funded by largely unknown benefactors offered a one million dollar reward for proof of the supernatural. This offer turned out to be a sham as safeguards were put in place so that the money never had to be paid out. Rumor also had it that he spent the money long ago on what I would imagine were living expenses, since as he advanced in age, his performing days were far and few between.
But the past is the past, and now a true legend is now gone. I am 100% sure that he is now aware that death is not the end he thought it was going to be.
We at ICOM extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.