The 3rd "Ronnie" bulletin.
James Randi --- Wizard ((no email))
Sat, 2 Apr 1994 02:46:59 -0500
Well, they've done it again!
The "experts" who have designed the "tests" of Ronnie Marcus are falling
into the same mode that the "experts" at SRI did back in the early '70s.
The suggested "tests" are (as expected) over-instrumented, a factor which
appears to lend scientific validity to them but actually makes the phenomena
much more difficult to observe. No protocol for selecting "target" images
has been specified, either; this makes several of the "tests" useless and
subject to wide interpretation and rationalization. As expected,
substitutions and/or variations in the protocols are permitted. There are
so many holes in the overly-complicated setup, that a conjuror, should there
be one operating at the Ronnie Marcus "tests," would have a field-day.
There is little comfort in knowing that such "experts" as Marcello Truzzi
will be present.
Dr. Truzzi is predictable. As with his formula treatment of all such
matters, he could write his report right this minute (12 noon on March
30/94) without ever having met Ronnie*. After a floundering, rambling
account of the many items he witnessed, his report will say that though it
can, just can, be suspected that perhaps, just perhaps, Mr. Marcus could
have, just could have, maybe, just maybe, used certain modes of trickery in
some, just some, of the items, there remains enough data here to suggest,
just suggest, that he also displayed genuine psychic powers. That
possibility -- that all the laws of Nature have been violated -- as with all
of Truzzi's sage declarations, cannot be written off. Fence-sitting is a
specialty of Dr. Truzzi. He's the world's reigning champion. I'm sure that
he could attend a David Copperfield show and come away saying that some of
it, just some of it, might, just might..... etc.
It is interesting to note that the "scientists" who will "test" Mr. Marcus
have already been primed to accept that it will be Marcus himself who runs
the show, changes the protocol to suit himself (a la Br'er Rabbit), does the
"test" if and when he wants to, etc. To quote from a document that informs
the committee just how bad the controls will be, we have:
He (RM) can produce his phenomena practically at will...He
prefers (but does not insist) to choose the timing and order
of the various feats himself, as he feels inspired.
Note: the automatic assumption is, that it is "inspiration" that dictates
Mr. Marcus' choice, not necessity of the moment. The expected distractions
during a session with Ronnie are described. Mind you, what's being
described here is supposed to have been a "stunning demonstration of PK..."
made under conditions that could support that description:
...as he manifested the phenomena. The phone rang often,
the kid was quite noisy...with quite a lot of commotion.
Scientific conditions, as you can see. And Paradise for a conjuror, if
there had been one present. We can suspect that conditions will be tailored
by Marcus to suit Marcus at the Berkeley session, too. The white rat is
running the "experiments," remember. He may throw a tantrum if he doesn't
like the conditions, and they did bring him a long way to do these carefully
controlled tests.... Surely they won't allow his wife and toddler to be
there, too? Of course not! These are Scientists!
And Ronnie, as happened at SRI in the '70s with another Israeli, will choose
to "pass" on many experiments. Could those be the ones that a conjuror
would have a hard time with, too? Will we learn of those "passes"? Or will
those be considered "non-events" not worth reporting?
"Those who will not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it."
One can only hope that Mr. Marcus will not be tempted to throw in a little
detected trickery just to help things along. After all, we know that real
psychics have that unfortunate tendency. Too bad.
And I wonder if Ronnie will try his luck at the tables in Las Vegas? After
all, pseudo-scientifically speaking, he can't lose; if he wins money, he's
psychic; if he loses, it's because psychics can't use their powers that way.
Stay tuned. James Randi, The Uninvited.
* could this be.... precognition???