But does the challenge really make a statement about the existence of the paranormal and/or psi abilities? According to paranormal investigator Loyd Auerbach (who, like Randi, is a member of the magic fraternity):
The suggestion that ending the Challenge after 10 years supports any statement that psi does not exist or someone would have won the challenge, is absurd on many levels.
The procedures for the Challenge included several hurdles in favor of, and multiple “outs” for Randi and the JREF that any discerning individual capable of any kind of extraordinary human performance would think twice about (and here I’m not just referring to psychics and the like).
What are these hurdles that Auerbach refers to?
Now, I do not “believe in” psychic phenomena in any uncritical sense. Some things make me wonder, though. What bothers me about this is that it’s basically rigged to fail. The Challenge effectively asks a person to produce phenomena according to what people who have a cartoonish idea of such things have constructed before the fact. So, you can’t win, either in terms of the number of tests you’d actually have to run, or beating a strawman created by someone who already thinks you’re nuts.