I like converting people to my ways. Yeah, so what? You do too. You know, converting people to my brand of car, my kind of computer, my political perspective, my favorite restaurants. I like it when people I care about appreciate and understand things that I appreciate and understand. It just feels so good. Iʼm not qualiﬁed to discuss the psychology behind it, I just know itʼs true. To take it to another level, I also like being converted to other ways, ways that are better than my own. That also feels pretty good, because it feels like Iʼm growing and moving forward. I guess the whole point of any conversion is that one is changing from something to something thatʼs better, or at least, something that is perceived to be better.
Iʼve been fairly successful at this conversion business, you should know. How? Itʼs simple; I employ manipulation. Does that sound dirty? It shouldnʼt; we manipulate each other all day, every day, and we certainly donʼt make any apologies for doing so.
I had the good fortune to attend The Center for Inquiry’s World Congress in Bethesda, MD. It was a great conference, chock-full of interesting speakers (one of them was AMAZING), and I left with new thoughts and ideas. Rather than give an overview on the entire conference, I’d like to focus on the one speaker who made me say “Huh, that’s interesting” more than any other. And that was Dr. Stephen Law.
He has written many books, but the one that he addressed primarily was The War for Children’s Minds. In this book, he discusses the realities of strict, religiously authoritarian parenting vs. more liberal “let us help you figure out who you are parenting.”
The results are refreshing and encourage discussion.
35 years ago, Barbara Walters was so impressed by Uri Geller that a bent key he presented to her became a permanent part of her key chain. Convinced that she found the real deal, she invited Randi and a couple of other notable magicans onto her show to try to explain the "Geller Phenomenon."
Randi did a bit more than that.. as you will see when you click play.
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Some so-called psychics will say that you'll meet a "tall dark stranger." Others might posit that someone with a name beginning with "M" will have an influence on your life. And now, at least one, will tell you to put your testicles in front of a fan.
Yes, it's true. Kim O'Neill has been declared "Best Psychic in Houston," and her channeled spirit or guardian angel... or something, has told her that a fan is the key to fertility.
It was fall of 2003. I had just moved to Vermont, and didn't quite feel at home yet. Not that I've ever really felt at home anywhere. Did you ever have the feeling that you were just a little bit different? That you saw things that others didn't see (and perhaps missed things they did see)? Well, that's how I've felt much of the time.
It was my good fortune to come across Skeptic magazine in the bookstore at Georgetown University, and a new issue arrived in my shiny new mailbox about a month after I moved to Vermont. I read it eagerly, and saw an ad therein for a convention in Las Vegas featuring James Randi and Penn & Teller.
It was called The Amaz!ng Meeting 2, and I decided to go. And nothing's been the same since.