James Randi Educational Foundation
Is There New Atheism at the JREF? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by D.J. Grothe   

The other day, I was sent a thoughtful email from a former supporter of the James Randi Educational Foundation who expressed concern that under my leadership the JREF has taken "on a very pointed role as an atheist organization." It seemed to him as if I appear to insist that "that skepticism *must* lead one to atheism." He stated he would no longer be financially supporting the Foundation, which is troubling, considering the JREF's increased need for support as we continue to expand our programs. I want to publicly address some of his concerns here, in case others share his views.

 

It is certainly true that I am an outspoken and enthusiastic atheist, and that I often criticize extreme religion in talks and articles for its harmful effects on believers and on society. But have I made the JREF into an atheist organization? (That some have argued I have also somehow turned it into a homosexual organization will remain unaddressed.)

 

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James Randi Appears at the Magic Castle PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Michael Blanford   

A couple days ago Randi appeared at the world-famous Magic Castle for a private standing-room only members' event, an on-stage conversation with the great Max Maven. I'm told the event had the largest attendance of any of them so far. Lasting two hours, Randi talked about his start in magic, his long career as a touring magician and escape artist, his friendships with some of the most significant figures in the history of 20th century conjuring, and his towering role in the worldwide skeptics movement.

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The interview with Randi drew a
standing-room only crowd at the Magic Castle

 

He reminisced about how his magic background fueled his early acts of public skepticism. He talked about his exposure of the TV evangelist Peter Popoff on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He discussed the responsibilities he thinks magicians have in society. And he revealed how his response to paranormal claimants and researchers has changed over the years, detailing episodes in the history of what has become the JREF Million Dollar Challenge, which the Foundation offers to anyone who can demonstrate under mutually agreed upon scientific condition the existence of any paranormal or supernatural ability.

 

The famous Magic Castle in Hollywood is a Mecca to magicians the world over. Built in 1908, the mansion has has been a regular haunt of Hollywood celebrities with interest in legerdemain and an appreciation for its classy atmosphere.

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James Randi and Max Maven

 

A private club and restaurant exclusively for members of the Academy of Magical Arts and their guests, the Magic Castle is also a premiere performance venue for some of the world's leading magical entertainers, with multiple performance spaces for close-up magicians, parlor performers and full stage shows.

 

We are happy to announce that the JREF plans to make segments of the event available on DVD and online in the weeks ahead.

 
Become a JREF Member! PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Bart Farkas   
Becoming a JREF member is the easiest way to support the JREF’s constant work to promote critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media with reliable information about paranormal and supernatural ideas so widespread in our society today.

Through media appearances, public lectures, grassroots organizing, resources for educators, academic scholarships, regional and national events and digital publishing, the JREF is constantly working toward these goals. Won’t you be a part of this worthwhile cause? Become a member today and receive this fantastic laser-engraved metal JREF 2GB Flash drive complete with three handpicked Randi Speaks videos and the online version of The Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural.

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Membership has its privileges, and in the case of the JREF the privilege is knowing that you are supporting rational thought and skepticism throughout the world.

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Click here to join now and get your 2 GB JREF Flash Drive!

 
Skepticism Alive and Well at Dragon*Con PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Michael Blanford   

logoIt’s Labor Day weekend and that means hordes of science fiction, fantasy, and comic fans have descended on Atlanta for Dragon*Con. Dragon*Con is the largest popular culture convention in the world with over 35,000 attendees and an incredible array of programming options. The weekend means being packed into elevators full of stormtroopers, vampires, and steampunk enthusiasts, countless themed parties, film festivals, a parade, costume contests, endless entertainment, and perhaps the most fertile ground for people-watching found anywhere in the world. As if that isn’t enough, there is also an entire weekend of lectures, panels, workshops, and live podcasts being presented by some the leading thinkers in the skeptical community. This programming is part of Skeptrack. Skeptrack is in its third year of existence as a fan-track devoted to exploring and advancing science and reason, especially related to paranormal and pseudoscientific claims.

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Colbert On Geller PDF Print E-mail
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Written by James Randi   

Apparently, Uri Geller is sticking by his decision that no matter what people say about him, it's all good publicity, just as I'm sure that mentalist Kreskin probably celebrates the existence stephen_colbertof the movie The Great Buck Howard, even though it's a devastating and hilarious exposé of him and his methods. Geller delights in quoting Oscar Wilde: "The only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about." Take a look here at the latest major comment on the professional spoon-bender, this time by Stephen Colbert, and decide whether Geller will celebrate this event or summon his lawyers – one of his very favorite pastimes – to bleat and moan once again. Colbert being Colbert, he could not possibly have passed up an opportunity to show just how ridiculous the latest from Geller really is. Even Geller’s devoted teenyboppers might gag at this claim.

Of course, we're still waiting for Geller to announce that he has succeeded in bringing back one of the cameras that the lunar astronauts left on our satellite 39 years ago; an intention he announced long ago, but which has so far not been achieved, for some strange reason.

 
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