James "The Amazing" Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.
Randi has pursued "psychic" spoonbenders, exposed the dirty tricks of faith healers, investigated homeopathic water "with a memory," and generally been a thorn in the sides of those who try to pull the wool over the public's eyes in the name of the supernatural. He is also a vocal atheist who does not exempt religious dogma from his relentless criticism of unfounded claims.
In 1996, the James Randi Educational Foundation was established to further Randi's work. Among other duties, the foundation adminsters a million dollar paranormal challenge, offering a prize to anyone who can prove the existence of any supernatural phenomenon. To date, it remains unclaimed.
- “I hereby state my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition and that there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s). Further, devils, demons, angels and saints are myths; there is no life after death, no heaven or hell; the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted, medieval dinosaur, and the Holy Ghost is a comic-book character worthy of laughter and derision. I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place—not to mention the 'ethnic cleansing' presently being performed by Christians in our world—and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women.” — James Randi, in Skeptic magazine (1995 Vol. 3, No. 4, p. 11)
- “I suggest that we might want to depose this incumbent God and start dealing with The Real World. He's proven — time and again — to be cruel, capricious, and vindictive. He drowns, crushes, burns, and starves millions of us every day. He created cancer, viruses, and germs to invade and destroy our bodies as He sees fit, and uses them very effectively. In His wisdom, He directed those in charge to impede stem cell research so that such a powerful approach would not be available to us and He wouldn't have to strain the Divine Intellect to disarm that defense. We amuse Him as we flail about vainly trying to appease Him. I vote that we dump Him.” — Swift, 2 September 2005