October 13, 2003


Professor Bunyip muses on the specialness of Phillip Adams:

Isn't Phillip Adams just the most special fellow, a friend whom the world's great minds make a point to keep informed of their latest thoughts? Evidently, because the name-dropping Olive Rancher writes in the Australian of receiving an e-mail "from my friend James Randi, the magician" and says "James told me" about his latest research on the Bible.

Click here to discover just how special Phillip really is.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 13, 2003 03:35 PM

Adams: 'In recent years, there’s been a lot of focus on fundamentalist Muslims and fundamentalist Jews – not to mention fundamentalist Hindus. But not enough attention has been focused on fundamentalist Christians ...'

Adams has been dumping on Christianity (and to people like him, all Christianity is fundamentalist) for oh, thirty years?

He's obsessed.

Posted by: ilibcc at October 13, 2003 at 04:16 PM

On this basis, Michael Moore and i are swapping spit.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at October 13, 2003 at 04:41 PM

Much as I detest Phil and his cosy little sermons, he has in fact known Randi for many years and may well be his friend. I also am on a friend's mailing list, and consider it a personal communication when he pops up in the inbox.

I still think the way he puts it is way too cute, but it isn't perhaps as stinky as it looks.

Posted by: Pod at October 13, 2003 at 04:46 PM

Let me get this straight:

  • Philip Adams is/was a patron of the Australian Skeptics organization; and

  • James Randi is a professional skeptic; and

  • James Randi has had dealings with Australian Skeptics on a number of occasions; and

  • Adams and Randi keep in contact with one another; and

  • Adams cites his friend as source for the story and notes the personal association; and

  • this prompts Prof. Bunyip (and Tim Blair, via a me-too) to accuse Adams of being "just the most special fellow, a friend whom the world's great minds make a point to keep informed of their latest thoughts"

I know who's coming off looking a bit "special" here, and it ain't Philip Adams.

Posted by: Geoff at October 13, 2003 at 05:39 PM

Well I'm on first a name basis with Johno, the PM, only the other night Johno was in my lounge room bringing me up to date with what we're doing to stamp out terrorism. Nice man really..shame I got bored and had to switch channels.

Posted by: Jake D at October 13, 2003 at 05:39 PM

Chaired many sessions with "Johno", Jake? Had him on your radio show how many times?

It's not going to fly.

Posted by: Pod at October 13, 2003 at 05:45 PM

I'm going to side with Geoff/Pod on this one. Say what you like about Phil, but one of the good things he has done was start Australian Skeptics, and it seems pretty likely to me that he'd have had many dealings with British Skeptic James Randi over the years.

Posted by: TimT at October 13, 2003 at 06:08 PM

Thanks, TimT, but wouldn't Randi be an American?

Well, last time I looked, anyhoo.

Posted by: Pod at October 13, 2003 at 06:12 PM

Pod misses the point.

It's Adams' self-important attitude and his sickeningly cutesy first-name conversations - a kind of faux-folksiness - that is being mocked, not the nature of his personal association with Randi. They could sleep together for all anyone cares.

'James told me ...'. I mean really, does Adams feel his readers enjoy being privy to his first-name conversations? It's boring and supercilious - Adams specialty for years on end - 'Barry this ... ', 'Barry that ... '; 'Paul this ... ', 'Paul that ...' and so on ad infinitum.

Posted by: ilibcc at October 13, 2003 at 06:20 PM

My bad. I just assumed he must have been British because I last saw him on a British TV show.

Posted by: TimT at October 13, 2003 at 06:31 PM

In a word, illbcccc, crap.

Big Joke -- Lardass pilloried for pretentions to friendship with JaRa, but in reality nailed for quoting from mass mailout.

Tee Hee! Did I mention he was fat?

Posted by: Pod at October 13, 2003 at 06:34 PM

Adams refers to “the e-mail I’ve received from my friend James Randi ... James told me ...”

James didn’t tell Adams; he told everybody on his mailing list. Better to write of “an e-mail sent by my friend James Randi ... James writes ...”

But that wording would remove Phil from centre stage.

Posted by: tim at October 13, 2003 at 06:57 PM

Note that I absolutely hate Phil Boy and his slack editorialising -- if you doubt this, check above.

But this need to parse the shit out of anything that is actually said (or not said) by Mr Whomsoever in order to glean the actual content from it is pernicious.

Well, in my opinion, anyway. Would it be eventually possible for someone to actually speak their mind (at all) once a year or so ?

(A little fed up.)

Posted by: Pod at October 13, 2003 at 07:06 PM

Wow Habib!!!!
I thought your support for IreneA was sweet.
But gay and proud as well.
More power to you son!!

Posted by: Sincerity Slips at October 13, 2003 at 07:26 PM

parse the gun! i see a p0d of dolphins!

Posted by: roscoe p coltrane at October 13, 2003 at 07:37 PM

Yeh, well James "The Amazing" Randi is a yank. Descended from Poles, however long or short ago. Long a Board member of the US skeptic org. CSICOP, and smart as a whip. Penetrating. He has 'outed' so many poseurs that he has notches up both his arms. Uri Geller, pseudo religiouso mindreading fakers, and 'Dousing'(usually for water) freaks in the US, BS artists in Russia. I mean, I watched him do the Uri Geller 'spoon bending' illusion and he fooled me and most of a thousand others. Then he slow-motion showed how it was done. Ditto collapsing 'prepared' fork heads. I found the fact that he was connected to Phillip Adams in any way, a bit depressing. OK, Adams is wealthy, helped found the OZ Skeptics, so Randi smoozes with him. Doesn't run an 'old communist' investigation of someone like that. Probably didn't occur to him.
So the next time (I think it's been 10 years now) I share a beer with him, I'll bring the matter up.
Maybe I'll forget though. I'm getting old, as is he. Gerry

Posted by: Gerry at October 13, 2003 at 08:16 PM

Just to confuse things even further: James "The Amazing" Randi was born James Zwinge, in 1928, in Toronto.

Posted by: F451 at October 13, 2003 at 10:46 PM

A few years back, the Amusing Randi also had a little, ah, problem with some taped phone conversations with a young lad who he wanted, ah, to counsel, yes, that's it.

Posted by: Bruce at October 14, 2003 at 12:06 AM

I found the prospect of Randi being friends with Phillip Adams disappointing, but seeing the same material received from "my friend" broadcast on Randi's website cheered me up. It puts a certain show-biz sheen on the word "friend."

As for "research," that's a little misleading. There’s nothing new here. Pointing out the inherent problems with reading the Bible (especially the Old Testament) literally has been done, repeatedly. Bob Ingersoll did a superb job of it in the 19th century. Clarence Darrow punctured William Jennings Bryan in 1925 (ex. Darrow—“Did you ever discover where Cain got his wife?” Bryan—“No, sir. I leave the agnostics to hunt for her.”) Others have done it both before and since. This is “research” on a par with researching what city is the capital of Nepal (Kathmandu) by looking it up in an atlas.

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at October 14, 2003 at 01:27 AM

Oh, boy, I get to tell my James Randi stories. He lives here in Ft. Lauderdale and every year or so comes to check if his books are on the shelf. He doesn't just go check though. He first comes up to the desk and announces that he's going to check if his books are on the shelf. Hee.

Posted by: Librarian at October 15, 2003 at 12:04 AM