Recently, Jen Dziura, New York comic and blogger, posted an open letter to Mr Randi on the McSweeney's humour website in which she suggests an experiment to prove that she has a vagina with proven psychic ability. As she explains:
'A statistically significant even number of volunteers will be recruited to participate in the test. Volunteers should be male, heterosexual, and unknown to me, and should have at least $5 on their person. Each volunteer will be assigned to a group: 'vagina' or 'no vagina.'
'In every trial, the volunteer will be seated within a short walking distance of a hamburger stand. Volunteers in the 'vagina' group will also be seated within a short walking distance of my vagina. Volunteers in the 'no vagina' group will have a leaden wall placed between them and my vagina. To ensure that the 'no vagina' group is not motivated by even the suggestion of my vagina, I will not be seen by them, and my voice will be conveyed only through a voice-altering device that masks my gender.
'For each trial, I will ask the volunteer if he will buy me a hamburger. I predict that volunteers in visual proximity of my vagina will be at least 50 percent more likely to comply than those separated from my vagina by a leaden barrier. '
You can read the full text here on the McSweeney's Site.
Since then she's been inundated with calls and emails ... from a worrying number of people who seem to think it's a real challenge. "I just wrote a humour article for a humour website", she explains, "and I've just been taking it from all sides here. There are the people who have written to me very seriously to tell me that I 'don't understand the scientific method'. And for people who do understand the scientific method, these people are very gullible!"
Here's a recent e-mail:
"Would not your experiment merely suggest that male psychology is more suggestable to a woman who is visable (sic) and in person than one who is hidden by a barrier? ... I wonder (if you're serious) how your experiment differs from a psychological experiment and enters the realm of the paranormal."
If she's serious?
Is he serious?