Randi Testing Reindeer Aerodynamics November 9, 2009

Randi Testing Reindeer Aerodynamics

This post is by Jesse Galef

I just realized that instead of giving you a Friday Funny, I put up a post with that horrid “Letter From Hell” abomination.   My apologies. To remedy the situation, I give you James Randi in 1992 explaining why it is impossible to prove a negative:

On style, Randi’s delivery is excellent – from his comedic timing to his facial expressions. On content, he provides a wonderful explanation for why we cannot empirically prove a negative – no amount of evidence and inductive reasoning will be enough to counter the infinite range of possible conditions and scenarios. Those claiming to be psychic can always claim that their psychic powers do not work when being tested by a skeptic – and we cannot prove otherwise!

You can’t just rest on your imagined laurels because I am unable to disprove the existence of a particular supernatural influence. Show me the evidence for your claim! Show me an amputee who regrows a limb, an individual who repeatedly knows the 10-digit numbers written in my desk, or a single reindeer who can fly.

And we will test the evidence. *Push*

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  • muggle

    Thank you. I appreciate it so much I’ll overlook that faux pas (already have anyway).

    I am one of those “hard” Atheists who dares to assert there is no god. This does not mean I have to prove there isn’t.

    Thank you very much.

  • Why does this make me think of WKRP Cincinnati?

  • Muggle,

    I don’t believe in God like I don’t believe reindeer can fly. If someone believes that the laws of physics can be circumscribed by magical powers, then they can believe just about anything. I just don’t believe in magical powers whether referring to reindeer or God. Although I can’t prove there are no magical powers. Those reindeer could have magical powers to fly but just choose not to. Maybe they want their 72 virgin reindeer in heaven and believe they will get them if they simply plummet to their deaths. Maybe Donner and Dixon, and the rest of Santa’s reindeer do fly because they just don’t happen to prefer virgins. Maybe they prefer reindeer that have been around the block a bit… 😉

  • Why does this make me think of WKRP Cincinnati?

    “The humanity!”

  • he reminds me more of this guy than of Santa

  • muggle

    veritas, I had a stray thought about turkeys and Thanksgiving radio promotions too. But I admit, I like those two weirdos, Nessman and Carlton.

    Not so much Herb Tarlick though but he’s the one you love to hate. (Wasn’t it great when Les got the date with Jennifer instead of him?) Did like Herb’s stereotype of a mid-Western wife though. Used to call her the no, no, no lady but Edie McClurg has gone on to do so much more.

    muggle swallows, um, does it show that I’m a fan? Must remember not to disparage Trekkies any more.

    Especially since I have already corrupted my grandson with the DVD. Anybody remember the premiere episode? Grandson just loves to randomly say from out of the blue, “I almost forgot, fellow babies. BOOOOGER!” Cracks me up every time.

  • You could prove that reindeer do not fly by pushing ALL reindeer of a building. Every single reindeer on the planet. That would do it. Not that they cannot fly of course, only that they do not (or did not) fly when pushed.

    There is probably some scripture somewhere about no testing reindeer in this way…if you interpret it in the right way.

  • Eliza

    Good presentation, except that his reindeer thought experiment is a reminder that we have adequate evidence to prove that the World Trade Center no longer exists (the buildings he was talking about, at least).

  • Aquavid

    What do all the female reindeer do when Santa and his team fly around the world delivering presents on Christmas Eve?

    Well, they just go into town and blow a few bucks.

  • muggle

    hoverFrog, you probably couldn’t even if you pushed faster than they produced offspring. When it got down the last few, they’d be an endangered species and protected! 😉

  • Insignificant Speck

    For those of you who’ve just tuned in, the Pinedale Shopping Mall has just been bombed with live turkeys. Film at eleven.

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