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$100 Finders fee: Can you name a full-time activist for Reason?

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Burgess Laughlin is looking for an activist for Reason.

 

I am offering a small finder's fee to the first person who can identify a specialized activist, in the USA, working full-time to support reason as a specialized subject. Identify means providing the activist's name and a link to him. Support means explicit, sustained advocacy as a career path. Reason means the human faculty that integrates sense-perceptions into concepts, creates principles, forms generalizations, develops theories, and so forth—all following logic as the art of noncontradictory identification of the facts of reality. 
 
(An example of ... ... 

 

 

 

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Burgess said:

The specialized activist for reason would be taking steps such as:

Collecting a flood of examples of the use of reason, from history and today.

Showcasing the tools of reason: induction, deduction, reduction, analysis, and so forth.

Defining reason at various lengths, for a variety of audiences.

Showing the benefits of reason in our world today.

Contrasting reason with mysticism—examples of it, its nature, its many forms, and its consequences in history and in life today.

The specialized activist for reason would engage in various tasks such as:

Writing weblog posts.

Producing videotapes or podcasts.

Welcoming interviews on radio and television.

Engaging debaters on university campuses and elsewhere.

Writing magazine articles.

Lecturing on reason in general or specific facets of reason and mysticism.

Conducting seminars.

Teaching classes.

Writing books.

Sounds like all the things I things I start but seldom complete, or day dream of doing most days......hehe

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I think Mr. Laughlin owes you $100. Or no, wait a minute, you didn't provide a link!

http://www.randi.org/site/

Ha! Beat you to it!

Tell you what, we'll split the dough, ok? For justice sake, you did half (the name) I did half (the link). Fair?

I think he's requested the information as a comment to his blog... not one here. So I'm in for a third! (I'm not going to do the mindless physical labor of reposting the information there. But as I've performed this mental labor, I'll expect my portion in the name of justice, etc.)

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What OP seems to be describing is an advocate for a specific brand of philosophy: one that holds Reason in the highest regard. But, in philosophy, such philosophical systems tend to have names that are a little more specific than just "Reason". My favorite one is called Objectivism, I don't know if you heard of it.

 

On the other hand, if the OP is looking for someone who doesn't just advocate for a rational philosophy, but Reason in everything: if someone really tried to be "an advocate for Reason" in that way, my guess is they wouldn't be a very good one. I'd much prefer to listen to people who advocate for Reason within one (their) specific field (Philosophy, Political Science, Economics, Physics, etc.), than to someone who tries to know and teach others about everything. 

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Randi is one of the leading activists and advocates of skepticism and evidence-based inquiry over mysticism. I found hundreds of articles and videos created by and aboug Randi on the topic - including the philosophical basis for his advocacy - within minutes of searching. The individual has already stated that Randi is not an activist for reason in his opinion, so I see no reason to waste any more of my time. I recommend shutting down this thread as I don't believe anything would meet the terms of the offer.

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Recommendation noted, and rejected.

Burgess *asked* you to provide evidence, even, saying he owes you $100 if you can:

"If anyone knows of writings by Randi that explain reason, in its many facets (such as sense-perception, concept formation, induction, and so forth), please let me know. Otherwise, I see nothing to justify any further investigation."

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He asked for someone to identify an activist for reason, which Randi clearly is by any reasonable interpretation of the terms. All of the information is easily and publicly available, and he claims to have reviewed Randi already and found him lacking. I'm not going to now play the "Randi is primarily an activist for skepticism, scientific method, etc., not reason" game with him serving as judge - I know exactly where that path leads.

Actually, I'm happy with the way this turned out. It serves as a great example for the "contracts solve everything" crowd and the "who needs lawyers" crowd. People make vague offers and renege on them for contrived reasons.

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This was neither. The individual initiated a legally binding unilateral contract offer, which I accepted with my performance according to its terms.

You didn't give any substantive reasons for your suggestion. For $100, it'd be worth writing something substantive.

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You say according to it's terms, but the offerer didn't agree. You're not willing to do any more work to convince him (since he disagrees with you) than provide a name, even though he is publicly open to consideration (!) if you would simply provide some of this so-called easy information, so what do you expect?

According to http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/_/dict.aspx?rd=1&word=reward :

"The person offering the reward can do so on any terms she wishes, and the terms must be met before the reward can be recovered."

[...]

The information must be adequate and timely for a person to collect a reward. [...]if the information does not lead to the desired end included in the initial offer, [...]the reward will be denied."

The contract isn't automatic. There are conditions. If there's a disagreement on fulfillment, you can either work it out together or go to court... or whine that you didn't get what you wanted, and that your opinion should be all that counts.

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The blog author has agreed to pay me the $100 finders fee. I sent him a private e-mail with the information he requested.

Did he say if it was because he thought your suggestion was on he could use, or because he thought it met his criteria but he would not use it because he realizes he should have specified other criteria?

Having met Burgess briefly and having interacted with him online, I'd say honesty is his strong suit.

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He said it was because the suggestion was helpful, although he isn't yet sure Randi is the specific example he is looking for.

I retract my earlier assumption that he was trying to renege. It seemed that way based on his initial comment, but I now understand he was only trying to get more information to save time, which I sent him by email just now. I hope it is helpful to him.

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Burgess writes here http://reasonversusmysticism.blogspot.com/2014/05/is-james-randi-full-time-specialized.html?m=1 :

"Randi explains and supports science, but he is not a full-time, specialized promoter of reason. Science is not reason. Science uses reason in particular ways, but is not the same thing as reason.* Nor does Randi, as far as I can tell from the titles in his list of publications, contrast reason with mysticism, thereby explaining both reason and mysticism."

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"Randi explains and supports science, but he is not a full-time, specialized promoter of reason. Science is not reason. Science uses reason in particular ways, but is not the same thing as reason.* Nor does Randi, as far as I can tell from the titles in his list of publications, contrast reason with mysticism, thereby explaining both reason and mysticism."

Funny thing: Randi's book Flim-Flam used to be carried by Second Renaissance Books.

A basic thing about Reason is that it has to be applied to something. So how can one be a "specialized promoter of reason"? What would that look like? Are we talking method without subject matter? A Platonic essence? Or is it that the candidate needs to have applied reason to multiple fields, so that one can make the case that promoting reason is the common denominator of this person's achievement? By that standard Randi still stands tall.

In any event, I think it would be a classy thing for Burgess to pay up.

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