I have long been a supporter of the James Randi Educational Foundation. Randi has appeared on my radio shows many times in the last quarter-century, and I have attended several of his annual Amazing Meetings, where hundreds of skeptics from around the country — and world — gather to share stories, listen to speakers, and bond with other reason-based thinkers. Plus, you get the meet cool people like Adam Savage of “Mythbusters,” sleight-of-hand genius Jamy Ian Swiss, Penn & Teller, Richard Dawkins, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
As Randi approached his 80th birthday, many of his supporters wondered what would happen to the skeptical movement which he has led when the time comes that he’s no longer with us. We had a scare in 2006 when he had to undergo a coronary bypass, and again last year when he was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. I’m happy to say he has survived both of those (not through prayer or supernatural means, but thanks to modern medicine), and he was recently back with me railing about the quackery behind some bogus bomb-detectors that were nothing more than dowsers.
Meanwhile, the JREF continues to flourish, with Dr. Phil Plait assuming the presidency last year. The organization is now headed by DJ Grothe, a magician and skeptic from St. Louis. I invited him to join me yesterday on KTRS/St. Louis to talk the JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge, the skeptical movement in general, and Randi’s health. DJ is also a member of the Skeptical Society of St. Louis, which will host another Skeptics In The Pub get-together next Friday, February 12th.