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Randi Breaks Off Negotiations on 'Telepathic' Dogs

Noted skeptic James Randi has decided not to participate in ongoing research investigating Dr. Rupert Sheldrake telepathic dog claims.


James Randi has a reputation of taking on challengers who claim psychic abilities, but his recent negotiations with a team of researchers investigating whether dogs are telepathic has ended in a stalemate. According to Skeptiko host and research sponsor, Alex Tsakiris, Randi’s about-face came as a surprise:

“…this is exactly the kind of independent research, by a major university, James Randi has been calling for. We even agreed to forgo the million dollar prize he offers in order to secure his involvement and resolve this question scientifically, but he refused.”

Tsakiris’ negotiations with Randi began in September of 2007, when Randi appeared on the Skeptiko Podcast and called for an independent investigation into claims of canine telepathy. In April of 2008, Skeptiko released a video showing the successful results of their first trial. Commenting on the future of the research, Tsakiris added:

“…of course the research will go forward. The real question is whether claims of unexplained canine to human communications are true. Our preliminary findings suggest they are, but much more work needs to be done before we’ll have a definitive answer.”

James Randi, and the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) offer a Million Dollar Challenge to those demonstrating telepathy, ESP or other psi phenomena. In recent years, James Randi has been an outspoken critic of research suggesting dogs have a telepathic ability that allows them to know when their owners are coming home.