In statements released today on the JREF website, Randi announced his retirement from the JREF, and the Board regretfully accepted it.
But, Mr. Randi noted, he’s got a few tricks left up his sleeve:
This doesn’t mean that I’m retiring from my battle against the so-called psychics, faith healers, paranormalists, and the assorted frauds I’ve encountered in my worldwide wanderings. I’ll in no way relax the critical attention I’ve given to them over the last busy 73 years, I promise you.[…]
No, I’ll not yet hang up my cape nor sheathe my wand, be assured. I’ve still a few “tricks up my sleeve,” as they say, so stand back!
Randi is most noted as the exposer of fraudulent claims, most notably that of evangelist Peter Popoff who wasn’t getting messages from God about his audience, but from his wife through an earpiece. Randi also orchestrate the Carlos hoax and Project Alpha to show that anyone can be fooled – media and scientists alike. Randi is most famous perhaps for his battles with “mystifying” spoon bender Uri Geller and recently as the target of Deepak Chopra’s kooky “challenges” in response to the world famous One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge sponsored by the JREF.
Randi steps down from his official position knowing that he influenced probably millions of people in his capacity appearing on TV, through his books and articles, his website randi.org and the annual huge gathering of like-minded enthusiasts for science and reason, The Amazing Meeting (TAM). Randi intends to see friends old and new at this year’s TAM to be held in Las Vegas July 16-19.
On a personal note:
Some of you may know that I have been involved with the JREF for the past several months. I can assure you that while it’s disappointing that Randi won’t be heading the charge against frauds and charlatans, there is optimism and energy to keep up this important role in society, as many will continue this typically thankless and difficult job (yours truly included). As Randi noted in his statement, he has seen an increase in interest for critical thinking advocacy around the world and in younger and more diverse audiences. Practical skepticism is needed MORE THAN EVER in these days of outrageous health claims, hoaxes, superstitious worldviews, and money-making schemes.
While the climate of the skeptical community has dramatically changed in the past 10 years, Randi was a anchor. We wish him well on his future endeavors. After 73 years of tireless work, he’s entitled him to some relaxation and peace. Now, we must take what he taught us and continue demanding good evidence for questionable claims and challenging (and sometimes outright debunking) those who intend to pull one over on us.