Randi's big shoes to Phil

By Phil Plait | August 4, 2008 8:00 am

Edited to add: The comments to this post have been amazing incredible. My sincerest thanks to all of you; knowing that everyone has my back makes this a lot easier.

I have a big announcement to make:

James Randi has offered me the position of President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. I am extraordinarily honored, and I have accepted this duty.

Wow. Just writing that seems incredible to me.

If you want the official news, you can read our press release. That tells you the facts. It gives you a taste of all this, but I want you to get the flavor.

You see, James "The Amazing" Randi has always been a hero of mine.

I’m not alone there, of course. At every one of Randi’s conferences, I see people approach him rather sheepishly, or in awe, or just, well, amazed. And they say these great things: Randi changed their lives. Randi taught them how to think. Randi showed them what the world is really like.

Randi and me, at the first Amaz!ng meeting, right after we first met.I feel the same way. I’ve told this story a million times: when I was in high school, I had a little portable black and white TV that sat on the corner of my desk. I’d stay up late watching Carson (Johnny, not Daly). One night, Carson had this guy on, a little dude with a fantastic white beard, and he got a volunteer from the audience to lie down on a table. Then, explaining the whole time that it’s a fake, he starts pulling tissue out of this guy "psychically" just using sleight of hand (you can watch a piece of the clip on YouTube).

I was in hysterics, laughing my butt off. But at that time in my life, I was prey to a lot of pseudoscience: UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, all sorts of garbage. Watching Randi on The Tonight Show showed me that this stuff can be easily faked, or people easily misled (willfully or not). I started being more skeptical, and became more of a critical thinker as time went on. It was already inside me to be this way, but it was Randi who showed it to me.

In 1996, Randi started the JREF, a foundation to help him help others like the teenaged me. He has been working tirelessly for years to promote critical thinking and skepticism, and to de-fraud the fraudulent. He’s been an inspiration.

In 2002 I sent him a copy of my first book, asking him to write a "blurb" for the back cover. He did (it was great!), and shortly thereafter asked me if I would come talk at the first skeptical conference the JREF was holding in Florida. I agreed, and gave my Planet X talk — just a few hours after Columbia disintegrated over Texas.

That was a hard talk to give, to be cheerful and support NASA against slander from conspiracy theorists just a short time after losing those astronauts. But I muddled through, and Randi was very supportive, saying I would be a regular at those meetings.

He was right. I was very proud to give him an award of sorts at the most recent meeting in June, a cup filled with hundreds of notes from audience members, each saying how Randi has changed their lives for the better.

Randi and me at TAM

So we go back a bit, he and I. But it was still a shock when he pulled me aside not too long ago and asked if I would like to carry on with his work. What can you say to that? He’s Randi. There’s only one answer.

I accepted. There is no way I can replace Randi, or fill his shoes, or even be moderately Amazing. I won’t even try. Happily, I don’t need to: he will continue to work with the JREF, guiding the Foundation as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. There is a lot of Randi in the JREF, and of the JREF in Randi, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So what I will do is try to continue on with the JREF’s mission: educate the public. Take on the psychics, the antiscientists, those who would do harm to our collective intellect. Promote real science. That I can do, that I will do, and that is a promise. I also promise to continue this blog. As much as Randi and the JREF are intertwined, so am I with speaking my mind here on the blog. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’m not about to stop now.

I want to thank everyone who supported me in this journey, and warn them that we’ve only just started. There is a very long road ahead, and I’m grateful that Randi was and still is there to break the trail.


Comments (386)

Links to this Post

  1. Congratulations to Phil Plait, the new President of the JREF! « The Way Things Break | August 4, 2008
  2. Phil Plait to become president of the JREF | The Green Atheist | August 4, 2008
  3. The Evil Eyebrow » JREF $1M Challenge | August 4, 2008
  4. Phil Plait to replace James Randi as JREF president « Skeptigator | August 4, 2008
  5. Randi’s big shoes to Phil « Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptic blogs of the day | August 4, 2008
  6. [website] $ sudo life | Bad Astronomer New President! | August 4, 2008
  7. Hail to the Chief! « Cubik’s Rube | August 4, 2008
  8. Negligible Knowledge Base | August 4, 2008
  9. Yay Phil! « Homosecular Gaytheist (+1) | August 4, 2008
  10. Randi is passing the torch??? « Iconoclasts Anonymous | August 4, 2008
  11. Bad News, “Bad” News « Splendid Elles | August 4, 2008
  12. Phil Plait new president of JREF | Neural Gourmet | August 4, 2008
  13. Big Shoes to Phil « Twisted One 151’s Weblog | August 4, 2008
  14. News From Around The Blogosphere 8.4.08 « Skepacabra | August 5, 2008
  15. YAY! CONGRATULATIONS, PHIL!!! | August 5, 2008
  16. Amazing Randi e o Bad Astronomer | CeticismoAberto notícias | August 5, 2008
  17. Phil Plait: The new President of the JREF >> SmarterThanThat | August 6, 2008
  18. JREF followup | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine | August 6, 2008
  19. Happy Birthday Randi! | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine | August 7, 2008
  20. Slacker Astronomy » Podcast: Slacker Chat with Doug, Michael, Aaron and Travis | August 21, 2008
  21. Wednesday Roundup | Steel City Skeptics | August 28, 2008
  22. Petty. Me. Uk. » Dead Tree Update | August 29, 2008
  23. Watch this Space… » Skepticality - The Official Podcast of Skeptic Magazine and the Skeptics Society | June 3, 2011
  1. mgs

    Wow! Congratulations, Phil, this sounds phantastic! I’m sure those shoes will fit you pretty nicely.

  2. MattGS

    Whoops, wrong username, that was me :)

  3. Congrats Phil! I know you’ll do a great job (because I’m psychic! lol)

  4. Calli Arcale

    SWEET! Rock on, BA! Don’t worry about filling his shoes — just bring your own shoes along. You’ll lead the JREF in your own way, fighting ignorance in the best possible way — with education. Congratulations and good luck!

  5. Summer

    Congrats Phil, I know you will do a wonderful job.

  6. DadaGuru

    Phil, this is awesome news! Congrats!

  7. Congrats man! That’s quite the honor no matter what PZ says.

  8. Vernon Balbert

    Congratulations, Phil! I wouldn’t be able to put one of those notes in that cup you gave to Randi. But I could put one in for you. I can’t think of anybody else who’d do a better job.

  9. serenity

    Wow! Even I realize this is big news, and I’ve only followed the blog for a few months. Many congratulations!
    Of course, he realizes, like many of us, that you’re practically made for the position. 😉

  10. Big congratulations Phil!

    I was there at your talk at the first TAM, and you did an *amazing* job after the Columbia tragedy. I’ve been a big fan of yours at TAM and on C2C.

    You earned it.

  11. duffytvs


    You’ve already started a lot of people down the same path as Randi started you down, myself included. So, I’d say Randi couldn’t have chosen a better guy. Congratulations!

  12. BMcP

    Congrats there! Hope you have a good time with your new position.

    Still doing Dragoncon?

  13. This is great news, Phil. You won’t replace Randi, but you will add to his legacy in time, I know. Congratulations and always be yourself. I have been a fan of both of you for some time now, so this is the best news this year.

  14. Katie Berryhill

    Congratulations, Phil!! I guess I’ll be able to say “I knew him when…”! :-)

  15. zer0

    BIG GRATS to you Phil! That’s great news.

  16. Oh Boy! What great news!!! It’s amazing! (No pun intended :) ) Wow, just wow. Congratulations, I am sure you won’t have any problem filling Randi’s shoes… now, why don’t you ask him to teach you some of his tricks? By the way, does that means we must address you as Mr. President?

  17. Blu-Ray-Ven

    congrats phil, your readers know you will do a great job. when i read the title of this article i thought randi had past away. but then i read more. though everyday we have that bright man on earth is a great for reason and all mankind

  18. MJB

    Congratulations Phil, that is great news! Randi’s been an inspiration to me for many years, since I first saw his program ‘James Randi: Psychic Investigator’. Up until then I was really a believer, but never stopped to wonder why I believed. The Amazing one opened my eyes as to the nature of extraordanary claims, and the need for hard verifiable evidence.
    A remarkable legacy has been set, and I think the right person has been selected to continue it!

    P.S. For Brit’s, don’t forget Dawkin’s new series on Darwin, C4, 8.00PM.

  19. Laguna

    Congratulations Phil!
    I almost fell off my chair, when I read the first lines.
    This is amazing! And you will grow to be too.

  20. juhan


  21. RAF

    Congratulations, Phil…this is excellent news, and I can think of no one better suited mentally or emotionally to “carry on” the mission of the JREF.

  22. Dagger

    Fantastic Phil! When it comes to Philing that post, your tops on everyone’s list and we’ll all be better for it. Grats!!

  23. Hah! This is clearly just a ploy to distract people as PZ Myers initiates his secret plan to become P-Zed, evilutionary superscientist.

  24. Oh-ho: a link to Pharyngula throws my comment into the moderation queue? I begin to see your game, Dr. Plait!


  25. ChazInMT

    Good for you Phil. I must say, you are “Amazing” in your own way, and indeed in the few short weeks since I have started following this blog, you have made me feel way more confident in my own critical thinking about reality. Amazing Randi may have had “Carson”, which was good for his time, but you got “BadAstronomy” to carry this forward. Although your humility may not let you, don’t short change yourself, you’re a great human.

  26. moopet

    Congratulations. I wasn’t expecting that, but based on your blog and the few other areas I’ve seen/read about your adventures, you seem to be a really good choice.

    Hope it’s fun and rewarding as well as hard work :)

  27. Timothy

    Wonderful news! It’s great to know that someone with such a dedication and flair for education will have a major role in the JR Educational F. Hope that the outreach will continue to reach more and more people.

    – Timothy from Boulder

  28. Daffy

    Sincere congratulations…a perfect choice to head up the Foundation!

  29. Tom

    Wooo! Congrats, Phil! I can’t think of anyone better suited for the job educating the public and promoting critical thinking.

  30. Get to working on the facial hair, dude. Those are some big whiskers you’re going to have to try to fill.

  31. sailor

    Congratulations Phil!
    It happened today of course because it is 080808, also saturn is probably rising and jupiter and it was the wishes of the dead houdini.

  32. Congratulations Phil!!

    Can you start lobbying about organizing a TAM in Europe?


  33. madge

    CONGRATULATIONS Phil. I can’t think of anyone who deserves this AMAZING honour more than you. WTG! :)

  34. Congratulations, it is well deserved. I’m currently reading your book on astronomical hoaxes. Thanks for finally telling me why the moon looks bigger on the horizon than it should — that one’s been bothering me for a long time.

  35. john.o.kerr

    Wow! This is awesome news. Couldn’t have picked a better person to replace Randi, if such a thing could be done.

    I can’t possibly express my congratulations in word, but congrats anyway.

  36. Davidlpf

    congrats Phil congrats at the new job.

  37. Excellent news Phil! Congratulations!!! :-)

  38. HOLY HALEAKELA! This is fantastic news! My heart is literally beating faster at the announcement!

  39. Brian Gefrich

    There’s essentially no end to how awesome this is.

  40. Huge congratulations, Phil, from Geologic HQ. This is exciting in the extreme! I know you’ll do great things and wish you the very best.

  41. Congratulations on the well-deserved honor.

  42. Shoeshine Boy

    Whoa….Congratulations, Phil.

    Dare I say you have had a meteoric rise? :)

  43. llewelly

    I feel certain some sleight of hand is going on …

  44. Drew Vics


  45. Congratulations, man, that is truly awesome news, both for you and for the foundation.

  46. Heinz Pierce

    Congratulations Phil. There is no one better suited then you for this position.
    Dr. President Plait. That’s got to look cool on a resume. :-)

  47. Quiet Desperation

    Does that give you the authority to stop the survey popups on this site?

  48. Gustav Nyström

    Wait, does this mean we have to start calling you ‘Phil “The Amazing” Plait’ now?

  49. Dan

    Congratulations Phil. You really do deserve the position.

    Now, will there be cake and whiskey?

  50. Noam Zur

    WOW! Congratulations, Phil! Good luck and keep up the good work of both the BABlog and the JREF and we’ll all be happy!

  51. Michelle

    Holy smokes!!! Congratulations, Phil. You totally deserve that and I just know you’ll do an awesome job!

    It’s weird… Cuz it’s through you and this website that I learned about Randi’s existence. Aha…

  52. Ray M

    Hearty congratulations!

  53. WOW! Congratulations Phil! May your presidency be long and prosperous, and quite frankly and honestly, I cannot think of a better person for the job after Randi himself. Even now, I’m racking my brains trying to think of anyone else who could do this job better. The only other name that pops up is that of the late Carl Sagan.

    I hope you’re up to the job of filling Randi’s shoes. Good luck!

    (I really hope you can take the title of the Amazing Phil, but I think you would have to perform some underwater escapes first.)

    Oh, and can you grow abundant facial hair?

  54. Ray M

    Oh, but wait… the beard is way too small, and the wrong colour, too.

  55. Michael I

    Congratulations Phil!

    So does this make you a star in the skeptic community? :-)

  56. Rowan

    Conratumalation are in order I see! That is fantastic news, I have every confidence you will be as awesome as you always are!

  57. AndreW

    At the risk of sounding pompous, I’m sure all your other loyal fans are just as proud of you right now as I am, Phil. I can’t think of a better choice.

  58. So, what do you guys actually DO with that money while you wait (forever) for some psychic or whatever to show up?

    Congratulations by the way! This is a big news day for sure.

  59. Timothy

    I guess those “Phil Plait for President” bumper stickers worked!

    – Timothy from Boulder

  60. jfatz

    Holy crap, Phil, that’s amazing! Um… literally!

    Perhaps you can just be “Bad Randi,” if you feel yourself encroaching on his territory too much. 😉

    Try not to let it feed your already OBVIOUSLY monstrous ego. (I’d make fun of PZ at the very least, though.)

  61. Congratulations Phil, this is great news o/

  62. Robotsonic

    That’s incredible news, Phil. Congratulations!

  63. That’s amazing news, Phil! Mega congrats! I know you’ll do a great job.

    Now I need to go see why this hasn’t appeared in my RSS feed…

  64. Wow. Congrats, that’s ama… Hm, what adjective do I use here?

  65. zachary

    Congratulations Phil, that’s wonderful news!

  66. Bobby Thomas
  67. Bharat

    Congrats Phil. Its great news. Thats some big shoes to fill in but I am sure you will do an ‘amazing’ job at it. Go get them.

  68. Awesome awesome news. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the position.

    This is kinda like that movie ‘Rockstar’…. :-)

  69. Gary Ansorge

    Hmmmm, Phil, the Amazing Skeptic? Cool!

    A non hirsute friend once told me, “We(males) all start out with the same amount of testosterone. Some just waste theirs growing hair,,,”. As an evolutionary holdover, head hair is SO last millennium. Which, I guess, says that bald is evidence we’re still evolving???

    Keep evolving. It’s good for Ya.

    Gary 7

  70. sdh

    Congrats Phil. There are a lot of people who have faith in you. Faith that is based on experience and reason.


  71. The Barber of Civility

    Very VERY cool, Phil!

    I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks!

  72. Wow – that’s awesome. I’d like to share my path to Randi. I was raised by a fallen Catholic and a UU (so pretty much an Atheist upbringing). When I was an early teen I was into UFO’s and bigfoot and all that. However, I saw Penn & Teller on Letterman several times in the 80’s and was thrilled by their sincerity. Not only admitting that everything was a trick, but even explaining the tricks quite often. I went into engineering and soon realized that the universe makes sense, and saying “God did it” just has no place in a rational mind. I discovered Penn’s radio show about halfway through its run and through that found Phil and Randi. I don’t know how I made it 35 without knowing about Randi (except to say that studying and parenting takes up a lot of time). Phil, you have a big job ahead of you. I’d like to say that Randi has done the hard work and you just have to carry on, but I fear that woo-woo is still as strong now as it was when Randy got started. But I really think you will do a great job Phil, Congrats!

  73. TheBlackCat

    WOW! This is incredible! All congratulations Phil! That is an incredible honor. Those are extremely big shoes to fill, but I know you are up to the job. I can’t imagine anyone else who is better suited for the job than you. You are the one who originally introduced my to skepticism, so it is great to see Randi respects you as much as I do.

  74. CONGRATULATIONS, Phil. This is great news! You will absolutely rock in this role (haha, see what I did there?) :) They are indeed huge shoes to fill and I can’t imagine anyone better suited.

  75. It is. indeed, a tremendous honor, and you totally deserve it. Congrats! That Randi, he knows w good fit when he sees one. :)

  76. Richard Wolford

    No one deserves this more than you Phil. I owe you and Randi a huge debt, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it had not been for your work.

  77. J.M. Gallant

    I can’t think of a better person. Congratulations!

    I know you’re going to do great!

  78. Ignorant Athiest

    So, when do you start growing the beard? LOL.

    And Congrats.

  79. Hayley A.

    Congratulations Phil!!

  80. WithoutSol

    Congratulations! I am very excited for you.

  81. Congrats Phil! Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. I hope you’ll use your leadership to do something about the gender disparity at TAM and in skeptic circles in general; how nice it would be for teenage girls who were where you were back in the day watching Johnny to see role models who didn’t have beards (no offense! :) )

  82. Matt Schulte

    Way to go Phil, you will fill the big shoes nicely. Viva la JREF!

  83. antaresrichard

    A little cephalopod told me. Congratulations!

  84. Donnie B.

    And to think, I knew you ‘way back when…

    Congratulations, Phil. I’m guessing you’re a bit nervous about having to fill those shoes (I sure would be!) but your many long-time readers and (yes) admirers will be behind you all the way.

    I just have one question: will you be taking over the writing duties for the SWIFT column on the JREF site? Or will Randi continue to write it, or will it be shared among the two of you and/or others?

  85. Davidlpf

    Today the JREF tomorrow the white house.;-)

  86. Robert Krendik


  87. Congratulations, Phil. I have no doubt that you will be a great success!

    Your videocasts are always sparkling with clarity and enthusiasm, and I predict that once the mainstream media find out about your on-screen charisma you will be a regular on discussion panels, spreading the Amazing Gospel.

    By the way, where did you get that cool (har har) inflatable WMAP?

  88. Gazz

    Congratulations Phil! Of course, you know you’ll have to grow a big white beard now?

  89. potterbro

    Wow! You must be walking on the moon! (the fake one where they staged the missions… not the real one of course) ;0)

  90. Katrina

    Reading through all the comments is wonderful, and I concur with them all. Anything I want to say has been said already, and even though obsolete, I would like to say congratulations too!

    Seems like such a good fit. Hope you have time to continue opening my eyes to so many cool things out there through your web site. The James Randi Educational Foundation will be lucky to have you. Heh, I might even join, if it’s open to regular folks like me….

  91. potterbro

    oh… and CONGRATS!!!

  92. Greg

    Wow, what an honor. Congrats, man. You honestly deserve it. Keep fighting the good fight and we’ll keep on supporting you. Best of luck.

  93. hale_bopp

    Wow! And I knew you when :)

    Congratulations. Next meeting I see you, we will sit down in the bar and start working on your sleight of hand tricks!

  94. Mattand

    I can has kritikal thawt now?

    Congrats. I finer choice couldn’t have been made.

    Matt A

  95. Trykt

    That’s amazing news! I give you a hearty congratulations.

    Phil, you should know you are a personal hero of mine. I admire Randi and am a great fan of his work and I know that what you and many other great skeptics do is because of him, but in terms who I identify with enough to call a hero of mine it is your name on my list. Randi’s reputation is in good hands.

  96. Mattand

    ” ‘A’ ” finer choice couldn’t have been made.

    Ugh. Back to remedial English…

    Matt A

  97. Joe_Pilot

    Congratulations! Maybe it’s time for Colbert vs Plait II

  98. Mikel

    There are few times in our lives when we can feel truly honored and humbled, all at the same time. I’m sure you feel exactly that way now, Phil.


  99. notbad

    Wow. Good for you.

    By the way, you speaking your mind on this blog has a lot to do with why I read this blog.

  100. J. D. Mack

    Very cool, Phil!

    Does this mean that you’ll be moving to Florida?

    J. D.

  101. SF Reader

    Well, I suppose this means that the next book is going to take longer…



  102. Bradley547

    Wonderful news Phil!
    Is Randy going to teach you some magic tricks now?
    And are you going to start doing the SWIFT newsletter?
    Lets hope he doesn’t turn everything over to you though. I’m sure you can live without the Geller lawsuits 😉


  103. JennyW

    Congratulations, Phil! That’s wonderful news. Sounds like a perfect position for you.

  104. Navneeth

    Congratulations, Phil! My hope, wishes and blessings are with you. 😉

  105. NorthGuy

    What an honor! What a responsibility!
    The former is well deserved. The latter is in excellent hands.

  106. allkom

    Congratulations, well deserved. Critical thinking seems to be a scarce commodity nowadays and I quite frankly can not think of a more adequate nomination.
    (I know it’s an old joke but I can’t help it: the top seem OK, but the beard has a long way to go ..:)

  107. Wow, the board doesn’t have to vote or anything? I wanted a nice contentious, muck-raking, character assassinating election process.

    Congrats, Phil! Now get on the Tonight Show!

  108. lurker_above

    Great news for lovers of rational thought! Congratulations, Phil, and best wishes.

  109. Congratulations! It’s all for science!

    And I’ll definitely get a copy of your upcoming book for sure!

  110. OntarioGal

    Wow – and again I say unto you – WOW! What AMAZING news! I am especially encouraged by your stated goal of improving children’s education. Kids are born scientists, atheists and naturalists. My dear hubby and I have endeavoured to instill critical thinking and a naturalistic, humanistic philosophy into our two wonderful kids. We can use all the help we can get…

    And I must say, I can’t think of anyone better suited to fill Randi’s shoes. Congratulations!

  111. This is absolutely awesome. Congratulations, and I believe (based on the evidence of your fight for rationality so far, of course) that you’ll do a great job with this vital work.

  112. Supernova

    CoooOOL! We’ll have to start calling you TABA (The Amazing Bad Astronomer).

    Props to you, Phil. It’s great news.

  113. Scott M


    Wow. This really is great. The best news I’ve heard in a year. Congratulations!

  114. Congratulations, Phil! You’ll do a great job. Educate them peoples!

  115. bjn

    Congratulations Phil, may your good humor and friendly style continue to win over skeptical minds. Beware the low road – that ground is owned by the likes of PZ.

  116. Guy Mac


  117. bigjohn756

    Phil, you need to start studying magic now. I am sure that you know how much Randi’s knowledge of that subject has helped him over the years.

    Good luck, Phil, Randi may be a little guy, but, he has left you with some very big shoes to fill.

  118. I remember Randi from his appearance on Australia’s Don Lane show (1980). I’ve never forgotten the name or the incident and I’d have to say he had quite some influence on my early skepticism, such as it was, though I never saw Don Lane the same way afterwards.

    Congratulations Phil.

  119. Daumier

    I didn’t the world could get any more amazing after Stephen Moffat was announced next head writer for Doctor Who…clearly I was mistaken :d

    With the way things are going I’m expecting at any point for it to be announced I’ve won a eleventy billion dollars and the High Imperial Crown of the megaverse or something really interesting like that.

  120. GeekGoddess

    Haha! I knew this!

    I read it on skepchik.org early this morning!!

    Oh, and… RAWR!!!

  121. Gib

    Congratulations Phil.

    I’m very happy for you, and for all of us.
    I can’t think of a more suitable person for the position.

  122. Bart

    As you’re the most visible of the original Bad Science crew and one who is still actively promoting its ideals, this is clearly a torch you are well-suited to carry. Congratulations.

  123. Congratulations! I remember when James Randi came on the Tonite show and exposed Peter Popoff for the lying fraud that he was/is.

  124. Mena

    Congrats, Phil and I was also wondering about that inflatable WMAP…

  125. P2WIGuy

    Congratulations Phil! This is some mightily great news!

  126. Awesome man! Congrats! 😀

  127. dusty59

    WOW, you’re right– that’s HUGE. Congratulations!

  128. baryogenesis

    A love of astronomy pointed me to your site and from there to PZ and Randi. Life-changing in terms of honing critical skills. Great stuff. Congrats.

  129. Thomas Siefert

    Congratulations to you Phil, the choice is really obvious when you think about it in a logical and rational manner.

  130. madge

    Looking at all these comments I would say that your “minions” are very pleased and very proud of you! 😀

  131. Vy

    Congratulations, Phil! That’s so great! (I totally didn’t see this coming, but I think you’d make a wonderful president.)

  132. Andy

    Congrats, Phil…

    I wonder why Sylvia didn’t see this coming…


  133. Dread Polack

    Major congrats, Phil. I have been talking about getting into the JREF more actively lately, this seems like a good time. :)

  134. Max Fagin

    PZ is going to **** a brick!

    Oh wait, that’s right, cephalopods don’t have an anus.

    Congrats and good luck!

  135. Mark

    Congratulations Phil! Couldn’t think of anyone better for the job.

  136. Kevin Hower

    Congratulations, Phil! That’s awesome news!

  137. Nick

    Congrats, man! This is exciting news for all of us. I’m sure you will do a fantastic job!

  138. Tara Dresbach

    Congratulations Phil! You must be feeling absolutely giddy. What an honor.

  139. I’m speechless as I saw the light of epic awesomeness. Congratulations! I know for sure that you will do great. I am very happy for you, and I think I say that in behalf of everybody who reads Bad Astronomy.

  140. Congrats Phil! They are some big shoes, but I’m sure you’ll do a great job.

  141. Congrats Phil. I hope you study his style, and maybe learn a few magic tricks yourself.

  142. Congratulations, Mr. President!

    Good luck in your new functions and finding free time for your other duties… 😉 Seriously, the JREF will continue to be in good hands. Bravo!

  143. Eddie

    Massive congratulations and respect for you, Phil.

  144. SteveN

    Congratulations on the new shoes, Phil!

    I was also very happy to hear that you, like I, *used to be* very taken with UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, etc. Just evidence of an intensely curious mind I think.

  145. Oh my gosh… congrats!!!!

  146. Falyne

    Woot! Congratulations!

  147. I guess the real question is:


  148. SteveG

    Congratulations, Phil! Keep up the good work.

    (of course you’ll need to grow a proper beard)

  149. Brian T.

    Phil, words fail me. Congratulations.

  150. Holy cow! This is great news! I love James Randi, and I can think of no one better to fill his shoes. Congrat, Phil. You deserve it. 😀

  151. Mena

    Er, Max Fagin, anuses are pretty standard equipment for most critters, including cephalopods.

  152. Keith Ebbecke

    I’m a bit skeptical about all this.
    Congratulations Phil.

  153. Brian

    Wait, does this mean we have to start calling you ‘Phil “The Amazing” Plait’ now?

    “Have to”? I don’t think he’ll be able to stop us.

    Unless he prefers the term “The Amazingly Bad Astronomer” …

    Phil, my humblest congratulations. What an honor!

  154. Now you can use those shoes to kick some antiscience *ss!

  155. Congrats Phil. You realize you need to start taking magic and slight-of-hand classes now. JREF needs magicians!

    heh. I wonder if you get to change the name to JREPH?

  156. TMB

    Excellent news, congratulations!!

  157. Fritriac

    Conga rats, dear BA! JR knows something about quality.

  158. He man, gefeliciteerd!

  159. Guysmiley

    Congrats Phil!!

  160. Sloan

    You must feel kinda like Willy Wonka just handed you the keys to the Chocolate Factory! Except you don’t get any little Oompa-Loompa minions to do your bidding.

    Anyway, congratulations, Phil. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!

  161. Joe

    Holy crap, president of JREF? I don’t believe it, because that’s too awesome.

    I can’t add anything to what everyone else has said, except to add another ‘congratulations!’ to the growing pile.

    Well freakin’ done, Phil.

  162. Sander

    Very nice, congratulations! I’d also like to say that what Randi is to you, you (and the SGU people) are to me. So be prepared for me taking over your position in oh say 40 years 😉

  163. Escuerd

    Wow, Phil. I know a lot of people have said it already, but congratulations. That’s a prestigious position, indeed.

  164. Erin

    Where on earth are you going to find time to run the JREF with all that you already do for us?! Wait, what am I saying… you’re Phil Plait you can do (seemingly) anything.
    PS Greatest headline!
    Thanks and congratulations on this honor, most deserving one.

  165. Mister Earl

    CONGRATULATIONS! Give Mr. Randi our best. How is his health?

  166. Congratulations, Phil, you’re going to do an amaz!ng job.

  167. Kirk

    Joining in with everyone else to say congratulations! Given your consistent focus on educating others over the years, this sounds like the perfect choice to me.

  168. pcarini
  169. Wow! just wow! That is AWESOME! Congratulations Phil, I’m sure you’ll have fun and be a terrific president!

  170. Zebb

    Congratulations Phil, a great choice.

  171. Bob Brashear

    Congratulations! This calls for a rocket launch!

  172. Kristin C

    Holy crap! I just gaped for several seconds.

    Congratulations Phil!! (And to Mr. Randi for this awesome contribution to the JREF!)

  173. bswift

    Congratulations, Phil! What an incredible honor!

  174. Sean

    Glad to see you were chosen and accepted it. You’ve got a great speaking style for the media circuit, non confrontational style that can help with fence sitters, and the right educational background to promote the E in JREF. Finding your blog a while back helped point me in the direction of the Foundation and improve my skeptical skills and knowledge base. I hope the added prominence of your new role will help more people like me improve their critical thinking abilities. Win for education, science and skepticism.
    Congratulations Phil.

  175. Wooo yeah!! Just adding my voice to the many, many congratulations flowing forth. And don’t do yourself down; they may be some un-fillably large shoes, but I’m sure you’ll bring your own fair share of Amazing to the proceedings. Really looking forward to seeing what comes of this now. Best of luck!

  176. Well, I guess that cinches it: we’ll be calling you The Phantastic Phil from now on … 😉


  177. billsmithaz

    Congratulations just doesn’t seem to be enough to say, but sometimes the language just fails.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go re-calibrate the top end of my coolness scale. Again.

  178. MattGS

    And it’s great to see that everyone is happy for you.

    Hmmm, now that you’re president – are the right wing nutcases obliged to defend you, no matter what you do? Yay, no more stupid “stop blogging about stuff” trolls :)

  179. Todd W.

    Lots of others already beat me to much of what I was going to say: the big white beard, the magic tricks, the Geller lawsuits. So, I’ll just leave it at congratulations!

  180. Davidlpf

    Sorry to bring some rain to parade but it the Blue collar scientist passed on.

  181. Long time reader, first time poster. Major congrats!

  182. Brian Engler

    Congratulations!! You deserve it, and the Foundation remains in great hands with you as President and Randi as Chairman of the Board. Now, he does a lot of things, but can he sing as well as Sinatra . . .

  183. Bob from Jupiter

    The first time I saw Randi was in the mid 60’s on a New York kids show called Wonderama. He was great.

  184. DMLou

    Congrats, Phil! I’m sure you’ll do just fine in continuing to educate the public and shoot down pseudoscience nonsense in Randi’s tradition. :)

  185. Tim G


    I can tell this means a lot to you.

  186. Congratulations Phil! You don’t have to be the next Randi to fill the role as the JREF’s Geek-In-Charge-Of-Stuff. I suspect he chose you with the knowledge that you’d just keep being yourself, but now with a greater audience and resources.

    Did you have to make fun of his big feet though? Geez!

  187. Christine P.

    Woo hoo! That is all kinds of awesome, and well-deserved. Congrats!

  188. Yojimbo

    Omedeto Phil! Randi is a wise man :)

  189. Chip

    This is great news Phil! Congratulations.
    I really want to come to the next Amazing Meeting.

  190. DrFlimmer

    What are you NOT going to do? (aside of becoming a creationist 😉 ).

    Phil, Congratulations from “over the pond” and Germany. I guess this gonna be a tough task, or maybe mission, and I wish you all the best! You are doing well and you will go on like this, just do it!

  191. ppb

    Congratulations, Phil! Couldn’t happen to a Badder astronomer. As a fellow (amateur) stargazer, I couldn’t be more proud.

  192. I know my comment will get lost in the sea of congratulatory comments, but I want to say congratulations anyway in case you do actually read through them all one day. It is important to me to congratulate you, so I am, whether you see it or not.

    I also know our paths will cross in the future and I’ll get the opportunity to see you in person and say it to you then. Congratulations!

    I think you are a good fit for the JREF too. I agree that to a great extent the JREF IS James Randi. But I would like to see a JREF whether Randi is running it or not. And while Randi is mortal (so far as I know, though I secretly wish it weren’t so), it makes perfect sense to plan for the extended future. Putting you at the helm makes all the sense in the world to me. You don’t need to be James Randi. You are Phil Plait. You’ll bring your own (valued) perspective to the Foundation. It can be Phil Plait’s James Randi Educational Foundation. I like it.

    Does this mean you’ll be moving here to Fort Lauderdale?

  193. Josh Miller

    Wow, Phil! This is a huge honor and I congratulate you! I am very happy for you and cannot wait to see what good this brings.

  194. Moose

    Holy smoley! Congrats, Phil!

  195. Honir

    Congratz! This is awesome! You are the right man for the job.

  196. Christopher Zoller

    This is phenomenal, Phil; I can’t think of anyone better for the job. Congratulations!

  197. Mitchell Atlas


    Congratulations Phil! The news blew me away!

  198. Andrew

    Congratulations Phil! Really, I can’t think of a better person to continue Randi’s great work. Go kick some anti-science butt and help others (like me) escape the closed-mind world they live in.

    -Thanks for your continued efforts

  199. alfaniner
  200. Whysely

    Congratulations, really great news. Sounds like the perfect choice. :)

  201. Congratulations, Phil! Well-earned.

  202. HvP

    Stunningly awesome Phil! Hawesome even :)

    I found your site first and it was you that led me to the intelligent wit and rationality of Randi. He’s a smart cookie and can obviously see the enormous impact you yourself have had in bringing rationality into people’s lives while making it fun and relevant.


  203. Michele Limon

    Phil, congratulation for the position.

    Randi has been an hero of mine for many years as well; plus as a member of the WMAP team I particularly proud that you are holding our CMB beach ball while one stage next to him.

  204. Greg in Austin

    Congrats! Don’t let all this power go to your head, or else you’ll need a bigger hat.


  205. I’m not surprised to see the comments are already flooded with congratulations, but I’m not going to let that stop me from joining in. Congratulations, Phil. I can honestly say that I can’t think of a more appropriate person to fill/Phil Randi’s big shoes.

  206. Many congratulations Phil – you’ll do a wonderful job!

  207. Steeev

    So will you be changing the name of the organization to Bad Astronomer Randi Foundation? I don’t want to have to tell people I am a member of BARF.

  208. PG

    So, do you go from BA to ABA (Amazing Bad Astronomer), or PBA (President Bad Astronomer)? 😉

    Congratulations and well deserved!

  209. Harold McTestes

    Congrats, Phil!! What awesome news. Kick butt and take names!

  210. Clair

    Dude! Congrats! 😀 !!!

  211. JakeR

    Congratulations, Phil. I’ve been a Randi fan probably longer than you, and a Phil fan for about three years now. Excellent choice.

  212. peaches

    Congratulations from one more fan Phil. An excellent choice on the part of the JREF!

  213. Laurel

    Congratulations. I am a big fan of both you and Randi and know you will do an excellent job.

  214. Arthur Maruyama

    Wow, BA, congratulations!

  215. Ryan

    As a reader of BA and a JREF member I’m very excited for you and the future of JREF! Congrats!

  216. Meatpie

    Way to go Phil! You and Randi are BOTH amazing in your ability to bring truth to the forefront and tell pseudoscience and psychic babble to get in the trunk where it belongs!

  217. Wow. That’s awesome, Phil. May I ask what exactly the job of “President” is? I mean I assume that James Randi himself will still be involved in the foundation, but will he still be the official head?

    Does this put you above Jeff Wagg? Can you give Jeff orders now? Like tell him to dance and stuff?

  218. Wicked Lad

    Heartiest contratulations, Phil! You’ll be great as Randi’s successor at JREF.

  219. Holy Hawsome Haleakala! Congratulations, Phil!
    Great news! Time for some bubbly!

  220. ReptileMinion

    Congratulations, you certainly have some big shoes to fill. I would say that this comes as a surprise, but I know that my reptilian masters from Planet X have worked tirelessly among the Zionist Illuminati Masons to put people like Randi and you in place to lull those with critical minds into thinking that there is no shadow government made of physic reverse vampires.

    Best wishes and keep up the good work of ‘disproving’ us!

  221. Charlie

    Nice work Phil!

  222. David

    Wow. I can’t think of a better choice.

  223. Congrats Phil! Couldn’t happen to a better skeptical person.

  224. JonMcSkeptic

    Randi, the JREF, and skepticism in general could have done much worse, yet hardly any better than you, Dr. Plait the Bad Astronomer.

    I am greatly pleased and offer happy congratulations!

  225. Big congrats phil. You definately deserve it.

  226. BA! Just adding my congratulations to the flood – I did an actual double-take when I read the news in the RandiGram. This was truly awesome news, I know you’ll be up to the task. You’ve already been such a big influence on my own sceptical outlook.

    Good luck and all the best for the future. I can’t think of anyone better suited to the role.

  227. Utakata

    I will just add…that with all the, “thou shall not have a political comment,” rhetoric that BA is faced when ever he pokes at it’s descrepencies…today, Phil Plait has been vindicated. One With Big Shoes would not hand them over to him so lightly otherwise. But hey…I also agree that’s not the only reason BA got The Plumb. Congrats. :)

  228. CanadianLeigh

    Congratulations Phil!!! Everything witty and important has been said. Now we just need “Skeptologists” on prime time.
    When is the world tour to begin?

  229. Sandra (MedTek)

    Sincere Congratulations Phil! I am so proud of you.. Gee, your life must seem like it’s some sort of dream.

    Please, please don’t ever lose your sense of childlike wonder and enthusiasm. It’s what sets you apart.

    Please come visit us here in the UK real soon again, ok?

  230. Congratulations, Phil, from the staff of the Skeptic Friends Network!

  231. NoAstronomer

    Huge congratulations!

  232. Wallace Turner

    Great choice by Randi.

  233. Illucian

    This is amazing! Congratulations. :)

  234. Phil — so very, very glad to hear that in looking around for someone to carry on his legacy, Randi picked someone who looks vaguely like me.

    Heartfelt congrats!

  235. Gopherbroke

    There are VERY few names right behind Randi on the list of people who are uniquely qualified to hold this position. Congratulations are not nearly enough..we all know you will take care of everything Randi has created

    A battle of wits between you and Adam Savage for the position would have been fun to watch thou 😉

  236. Coriolis

    Wonderful news! I’ve been an admirer of James Randi for many years now, and his tireless efforts to rout the lunatic fringe. I admit I had been wondering, in recent years, who might take up the mantle when he chose to step down– but little did I suspect I was already a reader of his successor. Congratulations, Phil, and keep the flame of truth lit!

  237. Amazing, Mr. President
    You’ve got a heck of a beard set of shoes to ‘phil’


  238. Congrats, Phil!


  239. Sathish

    Congrats and All the BEST!!!

  240. Joey Joe Joe

    That is huge news! Congratulations.

    Randi has done an amazing job and I’m sure you will also.

  241. This is just excellent news. Congrats Phil, on the position and that wonderfully horrific pun!

  242. Crux Australis

    Today, the James Randi Educational Foundation, tomorrow, the United States! Phil for President! Phil for President!

  243. Betsy

    Oh WOW! I have been wondering for awhile what would happen….
    He could not have put it into better hands!

    By the Way Many thanks for the Happy Birthday email,we were all thrilled!!!!!!!!!

  244. extrabitterstoat

    Congrats, Mr. President!

  245. Evil German

    Congratulations Dr. Plait!

  246. OtherRob

    Wowzers! Congrats, Mr. BA! I know you’ll do a fantastic job!

  247. fatboyinde

    I wanted to believe this article, but I’m a bit skeptical. Nice try.

  248. Congratulations!

    (Oh, and should we refer to you as “the Astronomical Plait” from now on?)

  249. Kol

    As the first order of business, I suggest that the title of “President” be changed to something that leaves less of an aftertaste in the brain.

    “Magister” springs to mind but I can see how that might cause problems in (lack of) translation in the future. Along those lines, “Lord” is right out.

    “CEO”? Blech!

    “Biggest Big Cheese” doesn’t give it the respect it deserves.

    “Head Skeptologist”?


    Congrats. You’ve earned the position regardless of the title.
    Count me as one of the many claiming your (and JR’s) positive influence on my perception of the Cosmos.

    Oh yeah. That Sagan dude, too.

  250. Funkopolis

    Congratulations, Phil! IMHO this is much bigger than moving to Discovery! Well done!

  251. WOW Phil, that’s fantastic. I’ve been a contributor to JREF for a while now, and it’s weird to see you become President of it!

    From one Phil to another, congrats. You’ll do a great job :)

  252. Well done, Phil. I can’t think of anyone more deserving.

  253. Dave Hall

    “Amazing Junior”
    There–thats the title!

    Congrats on the new job. Please thank Mr Randi for all of us. He made a great choice!

  254. Tucker


  255. WOW! I’m late to the party, but major congratulations and it’s well deserved.

    Don’t let this give you a big head, but your debunkings were the first I encountered, so you had on me much the same impact Randi had on you. I was only exposed to Randi after much reading of your blog when it first got started.

    So, in addition to the congratulations, I’d like to put that little story into your (virtual) award cup.

  256. Jen

    Wow! Congratulations, Phil! That’s awesome! 😀

  257. Doubelplusgood news Phil! Hearty congratualtions, couldn’t have gone to any more deserving. Now get out there and slay some dragons!


  258. Lazarus

    Ha ha — it seems that anyone who says that Plait is a jerk gets taken off.


  259. Wow, that’s frigging awesome! This will obviously get lost in the sea of well wishers but you are a great choice, and i know you’ll hold the flag high.

  260. Dvae

    That’s awesome news Phil, and well deserved. Congratulations!

  261. claschxtreme

    Weeeeh!!! Congrats Phil, you truly deserve it. I can’t think of a better rational thinking person to walk in those shoes.

  262. Ijon Tichy

    Debunking is underrated. Most of us are too fixated with being nice (which is just a pose, much of the time, given how often we are nasty when no one is looking). People who reject reality do not deserve our respect, because they are rejecting a large part of what it means to be human (i.e. the use of reason, rationality, logic, etc). They deserve ridicule, and if you can be educational in the process, like Randi has over the years, well that’s a bonus.

    Congratulations on your new role, Phil. It’s a big responsibility.

  263. No Lazarus, it’s people who are themselves being jerks who get deleted. That’s my commenting policy, linked in every post in my blogroll.

  264. M Naumann

    BA – WOW… Congrats!

  265. Andy James

    It was about time for you to grow that beard out all the way…Congrats!

  266. The Jigsaw Man

    Allow me to add my own congratulations.

    Well done, that man.

  267. Big huge mega-congratulations, Phil.

  268. Grand Lunar

    Does this mean you will also be known as “The Amazing Phil Plait”?

    Congrats and kudos!

    This won’t require you to move to Fort Lauderdale, will it?
    Not that there’s anything wrong with my home town; it’s just that it might be frustrating if you had to move AGAIN.

    I’d also like to say that you, James Randi, Penn & Teller, and Dr. Neil Tyson all helped in my thinking processes, and made me a better person too. It feels good to know science and to be a skeptic.


  269. Better throw away that razor, Phil! Congratulations!

  270. Mark Roberts

    Go get ’em, Phil! Glad to hear that the E in JREF is going to be emphasized, and I can’t think of a better person to do it. Congratulations.

  271. tim

    Hooray! Congrats Phil!

  272. PHS Phil

    Congratulations! It’s hard to convey sincerity via text, but believe me, I mean it 100%.

  273. Chew

    Randi has got to be the toughest act to follow. I wouldn’t don the “Amazing” honorific yet. Start small and build up. How about the “Pretty Good BA” or the “Swell BA”?

  274. John

    Congrats dude, you deserve it

  275. Esmitt

    Excellent. This is an excellent step for the organization. Congrats Phil!

  276. Oh boy, did this news make me sit up and shout! Very well done, Phil! I’ve been following your progress since your first Bad Astronomy web site. You’ve come a long way – and deservedly so. I know you will do your very best to help further the sorely-needed work of the JREF. Congratulations!

  277. DLC

    Phil : as a long-time fan of James Randi, both the magician and skeptic, I congratulate you on your position. Although I rather thought Michael Shermer would get the nod, you’re a good guy for the position with a solid grounding in science.
    Now.. about those card tricks . . .

  278. David D.G.

    Awesome, Phil! This is simply freakin’ awesome! =^D

    This may interest you, by the way. A year or so ago, somebody on the FSTDT.com forum posed the question of who might make the best upcoming choice for a new main champion of skepticism and science-based rationality to the public, what with Carl Sagan being long gone and The Amazing Randi getting on in years. My own suggestion was Phil Plait. Once that name was put forth, everyone simply agreed, “Oh, yeah, Phil’s perfect for that,” and the thread promptly dropped below the screen horizon with that decision settled essentially unanimously. There simply wasn’t anyone else even remotely in your league.

    I’m happy to see that we weren’t the only ones who thought so. Congratulations!

    ~David D.G.

  279. Mega congratulations Phil!!
    May the force be with you.

  280. Let me add my congratulations, Phil. I think you’ll make a great Prez.

  281. GAZZA

    I can’t imagine a better choice. Congratulations Phil; we’ll send you plenty of Minties to celebrate.

  282. Phil

    Congratulations! Randi has been a hero of mine for years. You know you’re now going to have to develop a few tricks and an acid tongue!

  283. Thanny

    I hope it’s a paying position, so you can afford all the analgesics you’ll need when you start dealing with the woo-woo crowd to the depth that Randi does.

    Like seemingly everyone else commenting, I’m at a loss to think of anyone better for the job, short of Randi himself.

  284. Late to the party but no less excited than everyone else. Congratulations!

  285. Brango


    You’re really the only natural choice, Phil.

    Bear the torch well and infect fake with real like there is no tomorrow!

    (There is a tomorrow, just in case anyone was wondering)

  286. JKH

    BRAVO!! Perfect man for the job. Well done Randi. Congratulations Phil.

  287. Jim

    I had the pleasure a few years ago of being brought out of the audience at a Penn & Teller show at the Rio in Vegas to inspect the .357 magnums that they were about to shoot at each other. After the show (and still holding my initialed .357 bullet that Penn “caught” in his teeth) I approached both of them and thanked them for “always being amazing”. One of my friends present at the time remarked that the only one more amazing would be Randi.

    And now perhaps Phil…

    Good luck, Phil! And what an excellent choice, Randi! All the best to you in your new endeavors.

  288. Scott Mange

    Congratulations to you Phil personally and to James Randi also. I’m a big fan of both. I am so glad to know the JREF will continue! I’m not a believer but I can find no better words to express what I’m feeling about this but to with you both godspeed.

    Best wishes to you both.

  289. Scott Mange

    Congratulations to you Phil personally and to James Randi also. I’m a big fan of both. I am so glad to know the JREF will continue! I’m not a believer but I can find no better words to express what I’m feeling about this but to wish you both godspeed.

    Best wishes to you both.
    (Resubmitted – Lousy spell checker!)

  290. woohoo! let me say that you don’t look NEARLY old enough to take the job. well done.

  291. Phil, this is wonderful news. Randi’s is a very, very hard act to follow, but I am sure you will do the job justice. Having met both you & Randi I am very glad that things have turned out this way, and I wish you every success for the future. – Steve Roberts, Melbourne Skeptics

  292. Ted H.

    Congrats Phil! The JREF is in good hands.

    Does this mean you have to move to Florida?

  293. Chris

    To echo the many good wishes already expressed, congrats and way to go , Phil. You are a worthy successor to the amazing one.

    As others have said, get those whiskers growing! As one with a fine white growth, I can assure you it immediately gives you a level of “gravitas” those other beardless youths can only dream of!

  294. Kate

    Yay Phil! Woohoo!

    You’ll make a mighty fine President, sir. :)

  295. Congratulations Phil, in many ways you and your original Bad Astronomy site have been the same catalyst for critical thinking that Randi has been for you. I am truly happy and excited for you. I hope that Randi stays with the JREF for many years more the both of you are Amazing role models and the world is better for it.


  296. Ragutis

    Fantastic, Phil! Hold that torch high.

    So? Moving to sunny Fla.?

  297. Congrats, Phil! I’m a fan of Bad Astronomy, and I’m also a fan of Randi.

    I can’t imagine a better choice to carry on Randi’s work.

  298. GregInVancouver

    Wow! That’s amazing Phil!

    Congratulations! I absolutely, positively have to get to one of the upcoming amazing meetings.

  299. DTdNav

    Wow Phil, super news!! I remember when you answered a moon hoax e-mail question I’d sent you when I was deployed to the Middle East in 2002. Your prompt reply and straight forward answer gave me the info I needed to trounce my flight engineer in an in-flight debate somewhere over Pakistan. I didn’t think anything would make him shut up and stop spewing that nonsense everyday, but your info did the trick. I was hooked on Bad Astronomy from then on.
    I think you’ll do a great job. One of these days I’ll make it to a TAM or down to one of your talks and finally get to meet you.

    P.S. I’d offer to start a JREF chapter up here in windy Cheyenne for you, but my wife told me I couldn’t. I’m working on her though.

  300. Jeff Fite

    Okay–now it’s time to work on your “stage name.”

    Other have riffed on JR’s ‘amazing’ appellation: “The Pretty Good Bad Astronomer,” or “The Swell BA.”

    Howzabout “The Amazingly Bad Astronomer?”

    Or, perhaps you plan to be ‘Dr. Phil Plait’ at the JREF, leaving your BA persona here? [Which one is the real you?] So then, you have to become “The Adequate Plait,” or somesuch. Perhaps, “The I’m-working-on-the Amazing-part Phil?”

    Then again, if JR is hiring a president simply to fill out all the forms and take charge of all the records a 503(c) requires–while keeping the fun stuff for himself–maybe you should just call yourself “The Paper Plait!”

    Ha! Hahahahahah! I kill me!

    One more idea:
    James Randi Educational Fund = JREF, then
    Bad Astronomer Research Fund = ?

    Congratulations, sir!

  301. Kyle

    As everyone has said congrats Phil. Makes me all giddy inside to remember that I got to meet you at one of your talks and even asked you a question. Fame by rub off proxie.

    And Phil you live in Boulder, you know you won’t be filling Randi’s shoes since you are probably wearing Tevas or more likely Birkenstocks by now. :-)

  302. AL


  303. Wow, that is fantastic, Phil! I’m so happy for you. 😀 You’re my Randi. Thanks to Wil pointing me here, I’ve gotten back into learning things for the sheer joy of learning. You’ve helped to sharpen my skepticality to a fine point. I’m so glad you write this blog and make those videos OF SCIENCE! Thank you for being awesome. You totally deserve the honor of that position.

  304. Evilbob

    Bit late on this one – hadn’t checked my RSS reader for a while. Fantastic, Phil! Looking forward to seeing your work as ‘The Amazing Astronomer’!

  305. TravisM

    WOOHOO Phil! That is sooo cool!

    You know you’re gonna hand out a million bucks soon…!

    LMAO! LOL!

  306. sgeek

    Two of the minor deities in my personal pantheon join together? Happy day! 😀

    Also, congratulations. As far as I’m concerned, Randi made an excellent choice.

  307. Naomi

    Congratulations, Phil!!

  308. russ cargill
  309. Kimpatsu

    Congratualtions, BA!
    I guess you’re gonna have to change your name from Phil Plait to Full Plate, now…

  310. themadlolscientist

    There is no way I can … even be moderately Amazing.

    Says who? Bite your tongue, BA, you’re too modest!

    Those are some big whiskers you’re going to have to try to fill.

    Optimus Primate FTW! Fur-faced dudes TEWTALY RAWK!!!1!

    @ Kimpatsu:

    I guess you’re gonna have to change your name from Phil Plait to Full Plate

    I’ll give you some major props for that one just as soon as I stop gagging. 😀

  311. Buzz Parsec

    I for one welcome our new Amazingly Bad astronomer overlords! Congratulations, Phil.

  312. I had worried about the future of the JREF once or twice, knowing that we will not be able to keep Randi forever. Now that you’ve been named, it’s obvious that you’re the perfect choice and I feel silly for not realizing that before.

    But where’s your sense of whimsy, Phil? You *could* have used this pic of Randi and ye.

    Don’t forget you’ve got an army of JREFers here to help you carry the torch.

  313. Beowulff

    Congratulations :) An honor indeed! But I have faith trust that you’ll do fine – at the very least we already know you can match Randi in being snarky at woo :)

  314. Congratulations Phil! The JREF is a very important institution in the battle against pseudoscience, crankery and plain stupidity. I’m certain that you’ve got what it takes to successfully head the JREF into the future!

  315. This is good news, well done Phil.

  316. Sweet; congrats!!!!

  317. MoMan

    Whoa! Over 300 congratulations from over 300 gullible people! Not a true skeptic in the bunch? I smell a conspiracy. A rush to April 1. Tomorrow we will be offered stock in an IPO. And EVEN IF THIS MIGHT BE TRUE, what about 300 letters of congratulations to Randi for his good judgment? Huh!

  318. Torgo

    A worthy successor. Congrats!

  319. DoctorOHM

    Congratulations, you’re a good choice for the position.

  320. Craig Levine

    Congratulations Phil! I’m sure that you will do an excellent job in this role. I can’t think of a better person to fill it. BTW, it was a pleasure chatting with you and listening to your talk at the RASC General Assembly in Toronto this past June. Cheers!

    – Craig

  321. Marlayna

    My congratulations. :)

  322. JeromeClemente

    Congrats Phil,

    now roll your sleeves and get to work.

  323. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Congratulations, Phil!

    Um, now that you’re president, can I get a pardon?

    Not that I’ve done anything wrong, mind you. *coughs softly*

  324. Great job Phil! That’s excellent news

  325. John

    Excellent!! I had been wondering who might pick up the reins from the great man.

    Your blog and the JREF site (particularly Swift) have over the years consistently been the two places I have visited most regularly on the interwebs.

    Best wishes

  326. I’m a long time fan man, you do great work and I can’t think of a better person to take over! Massive congrats!

  327. BigBadSis

    Seems like a mere “congratulations” just doesn’t suffice. We’re all just really happy for you, proud of you, and in awe. It’s no wonder you’re the favorite child. 😉 Here’s to a successful reign.

  328. Law Mom

    I skip the blog for a day and look what I miss…

    Congratulations to you, Phil. I am both thrilled and somewhat relieved.

  329. Lee Nilsson

    great job dude. couldnt have picked a better man.

  330. Wendy

    CONGRATULATIONS, PHIL!!!!!! You’re the perfect one for the job! Randi is to you, what you are to me — you inspired (and still inspire) me to think critically, and you’ve also inspired me to pursue a career in astronomy. It would be an honour to one day attend a JREF meeting, and to shake both Randi’s and your Amazing hands!

  331. BAMom

    I haven’t commented until now because your multitude of followers have said it all so well. I agree with your Sis.. We are so very proud of you. However, I do take exception to her comment about ” favorite child”. She sounds like Tommy Smothers.

    Mr. Randi surely thought about this for quite awhile. You have a lot to live up to. I am proud of the trust he has in you. You can do it!


  332. Faithful Reader

    Oh, how wonderful! As a reader from long long ago on the Bad Astronomy website, I am so very pleased and happy for you.

  333. Berny Levine

    I couldn’t imagine a more natural transition. The passing of the mantle will undoubtedly be as normal as morning following night.


  334. Congratulations. With great power comes great responsibility.

  335. t8m8r

    Congratulations!! BA rocks!

  336. Paul

    Well, bend my spoons, it’s about time you got a real job… ;).

    Seriously, congratulations on the new gig. It is reasonable to conclude, based on prior empirical data, that you will perform you duties with results in the highest percentile. In other words, I can’t think of a person better suited for the position.

  337. Torbjörn Larsson, OMa
  338. I want me one of them CMB globes.

  339. Charlie in Dayton


    Better late than never, I sez, sezzi, about commenting on this…maybe it was the shock of it happening that took awhile to recover from…

    I was there at TAM 1…got the book AND a JREF hat with BA autograms…

    This combination will be orders of magnitude beyond the simple sum of its parts.


    …and congratulations!

  340. Algo2

    Congratulations! The JREF is lucky to have you.

  341. mattie

    Ol’ Randi couldn’t have picked a better man for the job.
    Keep fighting the good fight, Phil!

  342. Joe Niedbala

    I just got back from many days away without Internet access and this was some of the best news to discover!

    Yes, Phil, you are right, there can be only one Amazing Randi. That said, many, many years down the road, when you finally decide to pass the baton on yourself, I can predict (without aid of any psychic powers – just common sense) that they will be saying that there can only be one PHENOMENAL Phil!

    And, it may be tough, but let us hope that that successor is as phenomenally worthy of the position as you yourself are!


  343. NP

    Congratulations! I love James Randi.

  344. Gebo


  345. Marion Delgado

    Congratulations, Phil:

    I have to say, it’s nice to see a scientist in there vs. a magician. (A) As the execrable Penn Jillette* showed, magicians don’t really necessarily understand science AT ALL. I was also never, ever impressed with Randi’s understanding of the pillars of the scientific method.

    That being said, the critique from the debunker/skeptical magician, etc. community of scientists, especially people like Targ and Putoff, e.g., is that they misapplied the standards of science when dealing with intentional fraud**. What makes you suitable indeed is you have dealt with the people with the spoons hidden in their sleeve and the confederate with the ectoplasm hiding behind the fake wall in scientific claims.

    *I try
    **Arguably, they went further than that eventually in abetting pseudoscience.

  346. Marion Delgado

    above was garbled by my over-sensitive trackpad, i was trying to type “*I try to be even-handed, Hank Bauer, who used to be quite sound on skepticism and metascientific issues has become an even bigger denialist than Penn Jillette, just in slightly different directions (climate change like Jilette, but also HIV and a few other “woo” things). I still think Bauer’s understanding of science was a lot better in, e.g., Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method than Penn (w/wout Teller) ever demonstrated.

  347. Nadia

    I’m a bit late, but congrats, Phil!

  348. Sean

    Phil Plait, president of the JREF. Soon you’ll be running for president of the United States and then onward to conquer the world!

    But, what I came here to say is that it is very possible to be the president of an organization without having to be where it is headquartered. Though their terms only last a year, the International President of Kiwanis International (as well as Circle K and Key Club) is an example of someone who serves as the leader of a worldwide organization without having to live in Indianapolis (Kiwanis headquarters) to serve their term.

    And maybe because you live in Boulder, the scattered collection of skeptics and other interested people can have an easier time persuading you to have a visit in Wyoming >_>

  349. Rahne

    I’m REALLY late with this, but you’re a fantastic guy Phil and you’ll do the JREF an skepticism proud by being its president. Congratulations! Here’s to you!

  350. This is excellent news. Congratulations. I’ve just discovered your blog and I think it’s great.

  351. This is really nice. Congrats man. Keep up the good work. :)

  352. Tom

    Randi couldn’t have picked a better man for the job but
    what about Magnetic Man Miroslaw Magola?


    best regards

  353. Victor Neurolog

    Telepathy , telepathy is possible???

    I am medicine student , today I received email from one person that “can use telepathy”.
    Is it possible that telepathy works on the distance of few kilometer, correct and all the time?
    I can not find any official document on any existing person today that can use telepathy
    but I found Vinko Rajic and Uri Geller and they are talking that they can use telepathy.
    Why they do not make research on it? Many Schizophrenic are coming with similar story.
    Can it be that some Schizophrenics are just receiving from some other head?
    James Randi offer 1000000$ for evidence, but Vinko and Uri can use telepathy or maybe NOT?

    There is not scientific evidence for telepathy. Why this telepathy madness?
    At Edinburgh University, experts conducted controlled experiments to see if telepathy is possible.
    Vinko maybe can give evidence for it but why they do not make an experiment with Vinko or Uri Geller?

    Why are Schneider’s symptoms of the first rank for Schizophrenia exact the same as Vinko’s telepathy?
    Is CIA’s remove viewing project just a bluff because telepath’s like Vinko can never find out who actually
    is sending to them , also receiver or sender can never localize each other.

    I think it is in interests of science and human kind to make some really research on Vinko and Uri.
    New “Mad Monk” like Grigori Rasputin can happen again, some pararanormal people are very dangerous.


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