James Randi disagrees completely, obviously. He offers $1 million to anyone who can prove their paranormal abilities in a testable setting. While Geller makes the argument that most people in the world believe in something supernatural ("Seven billion people can't be wrong," he told me), Randi is the leader of the disbelievers.
Religion sets the mind to accept silly, outlandish claims without evidence, Randi says. "I'm an atheist of the second kind," he told me, "Webster's has two definitions of it. The first one is: 'atheist - one who denies the existence of a god.' I can't do that. I don't know there is no god. I suspect there is no such thing as a blue unicorn as well--only highly suspect it.
"The second definition is: 'one who does not accept the existence of a god.' I don't. I accept things based only on evidence. I accept other things - a mother's love, hamburgers - with a certain amount of faith because you can do that. But the right answer, the true answer is: 'I don't know.'"
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My favorite part of the conversation with Mr. Geller came at the very end. I had been trying to get a hold of him for weeks, emailing his web site and his agents. He finally emailed me himself, suggesting I read all the information of his own site (I did) and then call him.
When I called, he asked that I call back in about an hour. I did that too. After we discussed psychics, Randi, Randi's Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, and the skeptic community, out of the blue he asked if I still had a beard. He told me he liked it. "You look very cool," he said with the grace of a lifelong showman.
That's right, the most famous psychic in the world told me he liked my beard...over the phone! (If you google image search my name, the first picture shows me with a beard.)
Below is a video of what the skeptics say is one of Randi and Geller's great battles.