James Randi Educational Foundation
Message from Randi: Looking ahead PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by James Randi   

Hello everyone, Randi here.

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.

 
Last Week on Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

 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. 

 
Putting Quacks, Scams, and Shams on the Ropes PDF Print E-mail
Newsflash

// DON’T MISS OUT!

REGISTERBUTTON.jpgDo not wait! Tickets are selling fast and registration prices will increase after March 31. We are expecting over 1,000 attendees again this year and if we fill up will be forced to close registration.

Read more...
 
Martin Rundkvist Reports on Randi PDF Print E-mail
European Tour
Written by Jeff Wagg   

Martin Rundkvist, speaker at TAM 5.5, archaeologist and friend of the JREF, spent some time with Randi during his European tour. He reports:

I spent Tuesday in the charming company of James Randi and his assistant, journalist Brandon Thorp. Myself and P.J. Råsmark had taken it upon ourselves to act as native guides and gophers for Randi during his days in Stockholm at the invitation of the Swedish Skeptics. So in the morning we went cane shopping together, though none of the canes we found were sufficiently antique-looking for our guest, and he seemed to manage effortlessly without one. And then we checked out the Vasa 17th century warship museum, since this is Stockholm's one truly unique attraction as far as I'm aware. (You'll recognise my M.O. from Massimo Polidoro's and Manuel Paz-y-Mino's visit a year ago.) Randi uses the Vasa, which sunk on its maiden voyage due to unrealistic royal demands incorporated into its design, as one of the test cases in his upcoming book Wrong!. In the afternoon there were interviews with Lars Björkvall of Vetenskap & Historia and Christer Sturmark of Humanisten, the latter periodical being a publication of the Swedish Humanist Association.

You can read more at scienceblogs.com.

 
New Videos from The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012: Skepticism and the Future PDF Print E-mail
Amazing Meeting
Written by JREF Staff   

 

If you missed The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012, you can still catch great talks on science and skepticism given live from the TAM 2012 stage, at the James Randi Educational Foundation's YouTube page. Today, we are happy to share videos of two wonderful talks by Dr. Pamela Gay and Dr. Karen Stollznow.

Dr. Karen Stollznow: Talking to Tomorrow

 

Linguist, investigator, and JREF fellow Dr. Karen Stollznow uses her expertise in language to explain psychics, mediums, channelers, and other peddlers of the paranormal. Click the image below for more.

 

stollznow

Dr. Pamela Gay: Make the World Better (Ask if Anyone Minds

Later)


Astronomer and educator Dr. Pamela Gay calls on skeptics to be proactive in creating a kinder, more rational, and welcoming society for both themselves and others. Click the image below to see this inspiring talk.

 

gay

 

More videos of TAM 2012 will be posted in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned!

 
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