James Randi: JREF/CSI Merger?
Posted: 17 April 2010 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]
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In his final Q&A at the NECSS Conference in NYC today James Randi raised the issue of the relation between CFI and the JREF. He said that while he’d left CFI many years ago because of a disagreement over issues having to do with Uri Geller’s lawsuit (this is old news to anyone who’s been around a bit), nevertheless things had changed in recent years and now the relations between both organizations had become very cordial.

He even raised the possibility that the organizations might eventually merge, which would be VERY big news indeed!

I was subsequently led to believe that this announcement was somewhat premature, that a great deal of work needed to be done, and that if a merger ever occurred, it would not happen soon. But as far as I’m concerned, even Randi’s floating the idea is an amazingly positive development. Merging the two “sister” organizations would combine organizations with great strengths, and be a boon for the skeptical movement worldwide.

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Posted: 17 April 2010 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I have been banned from JREF so would merger mean I would be automatically banned here?  LOL

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Posted: 18 April 2010 04:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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dougsmith - 17 April 2010 07:39 PM

In his final Q&A at the NECSS Conference in NYC today James Randi raised the issue of the relation between CFI and the JREF. . Merging the two “sister” organizations would combine organizations with great strengths, and be a boon for the skeptical movement worldwide.

Doug thanks for this update. If there are any other observations on other presentations that you all might have, they would also be of interest in another thread.

From your post in the announcment section it looked like it was going to be interesting—I see the tickets sold out.

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Posted: 20 April 2010 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m skeptical.

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Posted: 20 April 2010 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Michael De Dora - 20 April 2010 08:19 AM

I’m skeptical.

I’d be interested to hear your reasoning.

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Posted: 20 April 2010 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Well, I’d rather hear first why people think this will happen. I just have a hard time comprehending that Randi would fold his organization, especially given how much it has grown.

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Posted: 20 April 2010 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Michael De Dora - 20 April 2010 12:28 PM

Well, I’d rather hear first why people think this will happen. I just have a hard time comprehending that Randi would fold his organization, especially given how much it has grown.

Well, if he saw it as a folding of the organization, there’s no way it’d happen.

It’d only happen if both organizations felt that the added organizational size made sense for them to achieve their goals. I would think that in a tough environment for fundraising, it’d be better to unite their efforts rather than compete with similar groups of donors.

Of course, there will be any number of institutional hurdles to overcome in the meanwhile. (Who runs it, what to call it, etc.)

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Posted: 20 April 2010 12:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Right—would it still be called CSI? What would happen to Randi’s name? His salary? Who would run it? What happens to D.J.? The million-dollar challenge? I feel there are a ton of pretty important questions.

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Posted: 20 April 2010 01:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Michael De Dora - 20 April 2010 12:57 PM

Right—would it still be called CSI? What would happen to Randi’s name? His salary? Who would run it? What happens to D.J.? The million-dollar challenge? I feel there are a ton of pretty important questions.

Randi would have to be kept on. He’s a legend. The million dollar challenge is arguably the single best marketing device in organized skepticism. It would also have to be kept on. The rest would be up for negotiation, I’m sure. And it’d be great to have DJ back!

wink

I suspect the problematic issues aren’t with things like Randi or the Million Dollar Challenge, they’re with issues where one side has to cede ground to the other (e.g., there can only be one “head” of the organization, whatever it’s called, and right now there are two “heads”).

Also, there are going to be questions about strengths and weaknesses of each organization, who brings what to the table and so is able to dictate terms, etc. I’m convinced it can be done if there’s enough goodwill on both sides and if it’s seen to make financial and strategic sense.

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Posted: 20 April 2010 07:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I should reply quickly: First, Randi had meant CSI and not CFI (it had been a long day for him), and second, he was speaking out of his own optimism about the future of the movement rather than relating personal knowledge of any specific impending developments about a so-called “merger.” His announcement was both premature, and significantly overstated.

That said, CSI has been proposing such similar possibilities to the JREF, including that the JREF “become part of the CFI family,” for a number of years at this point. But there has been no concrete progress on that front and there are no plans whatsoever to “merge,” or to “fold the JREF,” etc.

Even so, I know that everyone remains hopeful that all three national skeptics organizations—Skeptics Society, CSI and the JREF—will continue to foster good will with each other in common cause to advance our important shared missions. The organizations are working together on projects like they never have before, and I am satisfied that such cooperation in itself is a very positive development.

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Posted: 21 April 2010 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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DJ Grothe - 20 April 2010 07:26 PM

I should reply quickly: First, Randi had meant CSI and not CFI (it had been a long day for him), and second, he was speaking out of his own optimism about the future of the movement rather than relating personal knowledge of any specific impending developments about a so-called “merger.” His announcement was both premature, and significantly overstated.

That said, CSI has been proposing such similar possibilities to the JREF, including that the JREF “become part of the CFI family,” for a number of years at this point. But there has been no concrete progress on that front and there are no plans whatsoever to “merge,” or to “fold the JREF,” etc.

Even so, I know that everyone remains hopeful that all three national skeptics organizations—Skeptics Society, CSI and the JREF—will continue to foster good will with each other in common cause to advance our important shared missions. The organizations are working together on projects like they never have before, and I am satisfied that such cooperation in itself is a very positive development.

Thanks for the clarification, DJ.

I wonder what would happen if these organizations could come together, perhaps under a new and different banner ... (Call me a wide-eyed optimist).

Meanwhile, yes, you’re right to point out the good will between the organizations. It’s relatively new and something to celebrate.

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