He has been a professional magician — The Amazing Randi — for more than seven decades, and the skeptical scourge of practitioners of the paranormal for more than four.
He escaped from a straitjacket dangling over Niagara Falls and survived. He chopped off goth-rocker Alice Cooper’s head, and Cooper survived. He sent millionaire faith-healers into bankruptcy, ruined Israeli mentalist Uri Geller’s act in front of a national television audience on The Tonight Show, and wrecked a government research project on psychic powers.
As you now know, there are major changes taking place at the JREF.
We've been successful in our mission as an educational resource, but for some time we have felt that we could be doing more to make a difference, especially with regards to cultivating a new generation of critical thinkers. So, our prime focus for the future will be to build our educational content, and to develop more and greater opportunities to promote critical thinking in the classroom.
I also want to reassure you that, never fear, the Million Dollar Challenge lives on!
And, in exciting news, we are beginning to plan TAM 2015 -- our 13th! JREF Fellow and long-time volunteer Ray Hall has agreed to be the Program Chair for the next summer's meeting. Ray says to expect a full agenda of scientific skepticism, critical thinking, Sunday Papers, informative and inspirational talks, new insights, the warmth and family of the TAM community, and all the usual magic that is The Amazing Meeting.
Received at email@example.com on 13 November 2008, unaltered except for removal of sender's name.
I was thinking about your site, and thought what about the possibility of testing for GOD. And then coincidently I found the following article on your web site (point 2.5). It is very interesting. For the first part, GOD means different things to different people. Though most people around the world believe in some form of God, or Gods.
Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine.
The “CDC whistleblower saga”: Updates, backlash, and (I hope) a wrap-up (David Gorski) Whistleblower William Thompson alleged CDC malfeasance in withholding data from a vaccine study. The CDC has now issued a statement, and Hooker’s paper re-analyzing the data has been removed from the public domain because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions. Anti-vaccine activists are leaking documents and issuing threats, and much remains to be explained; but the CDC conspiracy theory is implausible and not supported by the evidence.
The Unpersuadables (Harriet Hall) A new book by Will Storr investigates why some people irrationally reject information showing their beliefs are false. Our brains systematically deceive us with illusions and errors in thinking; we create models of reality and try to explain away anything that doesn’t match. We are inherently fonder of stories than of science. Being unpersuadable is an evolved human characteristic; we must learn to overcome the limitations of our prehistoric brains.
CAM and Headaches (Steven Novella) A recent editorial about the treatment of headaches propagates many misconceptions about CAM. It exaggerates CAM’s popularity, blurs the line between CAM and scientific medicine by including things like exercise, pretends that “Western” medicine is just an arbitrary historical choice, and tries to justify CAM modalities that have been disproven.
Chiropractic “pediatrics” firmly in the anti-vaccination camp (Jann Bellamy) Anti-vaccine speakers have been invited to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s upcoming conference. The chiropractic position on vaccines ranges from virulently anti-vaccination to tepid support from a minority. It is scary to think they are promoting themselves as primary care physicians and pediatricians.
Ebola SCAMS (Mark Crislip) Some homeopaths are telling people how to make their own Ebola remedy at home, starting with body fluids from an infected person. Others offer an MP3 file of homeopathic remedy energy. Nano silver is another alleged remedy. This kind of lunacy capitalizes on fears of Ebola and could lead to fatal consequences.
Brandon has been extremely busy in Europe with Randi's sold-out tour. Crowds have been large and enthusiastic. But he did have time to send off this missive and video:
Greetings, Jeff. It's late at night in Tallinn, Estonia, where Randi just lectured in the old city center at the Science Academy. The Academy is one of those glorious old estates meant to be lived in for generations, gilted walls disappearing beneath decades' worth of portraiture. (Didn't happen: A century after it was built, a bunch of scientists took it over.) This was a classier joint than we're used to, but Randi comported himself as well as you'd expect.