James Randi’s Dishonest Claims about Dogs
by Rupert Sheldrake
The January 2000 issue of Dog World magazine included an article on a possible sixth sense in dogs, which discussed some of my research.
In this article Randi was quoted as saying that in relation to canine ESP, “We at the JREF [James Randi Educational Foundation] have tested these claims. They fail.” No details were given of these tests.
I emailed James Randi to ask for details of this JREF research. He did not reply. He ignored a second request for information too.
I then asked members of the JREF Scientific Advisory Board to help me find out more about this claim. They did indeed help by advising Randi to reply.
In an email sent on February 6, 2000 he told me that the tests he referred to were not done at the JREF, but took place “years ago” and were “informal”. They involved two dogs belonging to a friend of his that he observed over a two-week period. All records had been lost.
He wrote: “I overstated my case for doubting the reality of dog ESP based on the small amount of data I obtained. It was rash and improper of me to do so.”
Randi also claimed to have debunked one of my experiments with the dog Jaytee, a part of which was shown on television. Jaytee went to the window to wait for his owner when she set off to come home, but did not do so before she set off.
In Dog World, Randi stated: “Viewing the entire tape, we see that the dog responded to every car that drove by, and to every person who walked by.”
This is simply not true, and Randi now admits that he has never seen the tape.