Yep, it’s that time of year again, this year’s Pigasus Awards have been announced. It is about here that some might be wondering “the what award? OK, first let me explain. Each year the JREF pokes a bit of fun at the parapsychological, paranormal or psychic community by granting it to those who have done something spectacularly daft. In fact, when you consider that most of what they all do is just daft, it can at times be quite challenging to pick the ones that have stretched the envelope of credibility in new ways and so have tested the gullibility of the public.
It actually has a bit of history ,the award was originally called the Uri Award, after Uri Geller, and was first announced in the appendix of Randi’s book Flim-Flam!. That 1982 book lists the award’s “recipients” in 1979, 1980 and 1981. For awhile there were no awards, then in 1997 it was all revived with the name “Pigasus” (that name is composed by combining the word pig with the mythological Pegasus, a reference to the expression “when pigs fly”).
Anyway, on with this year’s awards. Now least you fail to spot the date reference – the awards are of course officially announced on 1st April, a very appropriate date.
Category 1 – Scientist
Daryl Bem, for his shoddy research that has been discredited on many accounts by prominent critics, such as Drs. Richard Weisman, Steven Novella, and Chris French
Category 2 – Funding
Syracuse University, for their continuing promotion and support of facilitated communication
Category 3 – Media
The Learning Channel, for airing a collection of shows that promote belief in the paranormal
Category 4 – Performer
Theresa Caputo, for engaging in utter nonsense
Category 5 – Refusal to face reality
James Van Praagh, who still peddles nonsense about ghosts despite being debunked by Randi several times. In fact the JREF had a bit of fun with him this year. Since Mr Van Praagh refuses to address the factually based criticism, and will not talk to the JREF, and since he does indeed claim to speak to the dead, a host of JREF folks turned up at one of his shows dressed as zombies.
Here is James Randi himself announcing the awards on YouTube