As we come to the end of another bang-up year here at the JREF, I want to update you on our work and ask that you renew your support.
Over half of our annual support comes during this critical year-end period and we couldn't continue fighting charlatans and promoting critical thinking without it. This year, we’re asking you to help us raise a total of $300,000 to support our unique educational mission in 2013.
The JREF is an independent non-profit and all donations are used for the sole purpose of promoting critical thinking to the public and advancing the skeptical cause. In just the past year:
- We exposed paranormal and pseudoscientific frauds, and raised awareness of the JREF's important work in major media around the world, including the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, NPR, BBC, Scientific American, Al Jazeera, Forbes, the Young Turks, Discovery News, Huffington Post, Wired, Bloomberg Business Week, and major outlets in Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia, Canada and Latin America. Not to mention my name in the New York Times crossword puzzle!
- We partnered with Wired and Huffington Post for ongoing Op-Ed pieces from myself and D.J. Grothe, wherein we exposed Theresa Caputo (The “Long Island Medium”) and Dr. Phil (for his promotion of "psychic medium" John Edward) to public scrutiny, among many others.
- In our annual Pigasus Awards, we “honored” Daryl Bem (who conducted questionable scientific research on psychic powers), Syracuse University (which promoted pseudoscientific “facilitated communication” for autistic children), the "Long Island Medium" Theresa Caputo, her host network TLC, and “psychic medium” James Van Praagh.
- We expanded our line of free classroom resources to include both student and teacher editions, and published new JREF in the Classroom kits on topics ranging from dowsing to public hoaxes, all to help educators inspire an investigative spirit in the next generation of critical thinkers.
- We launched the new CONsequence podcast and continued other digital programs, including The Randi Show and For Good Reason.
- We published several new books on the iPad, Kindle and Nook, including Unnatural Acts by Robert Todd Carroll and Homeopathy and its Kindred Delusions by Oliver Wendell Holmes. They join our growing library of skeptical titles, including some of my own works such as Flim Flam, The Truth About Uri Geller and Faith Healers.
- We continued our blockbuster annual skeptics conference, The Amaz!ng Meeting, in Las Vegas, with more than 1,250 supporters of science and critical thinking in attendance. This year we have been sharing the TAM 2012 presentations on our popular YouTube channel as free educational resources for the public, and we also published many previous TAM videos from our archives. These videos have already been viewed over a half a million times.
- We will return to the sea with The Amaz!ng Adventure educational cruise — a TAM-at-Sea — exploring 2012 doomsday predictions in the Riviera Maya with dozens of seafaring skeptics already booked!
- We enhanced our field efforts with several grassroots organization workshops at events around the United States, and regular action items and tips for skeptical activists on our website. We also published our grassroots database this year, which is the most comprehensive and up-to-date listing of skeptics groups we’ve published.
- We supported, presented at, and/or distributed educational resources at dozens of skeptical educational events, including the Reason Rally, NECSS, Dragon*Con, SkeptiCal, QED, Carl Sagan Day, Reason in the Rock, Camp Inquiry, the American Humanist Association's annual conference, The World Skeptics Congress, THiNK in India, the Phoenix Area Skeptic Society's End of the World party, the Orange County Freethought Alliance, Freethought Festival, SkeptiCamp DC, and Denver SkeptiCamp. We will be at the 2012 Australian Skeptics Convention in just a few days!
- We coordinated several dozen of my lectures around the world, including a nine-day tour of India and a three week tour of Spain, Italy, and Germany. One of my Italian lectures was broadcast to 35 movie theaters throughout the country as part of a public cultural series. I was also a featured speaker at the World Skeptics Congress, THiNK in India, the Porchlight Storytelling Series, the Reason Rally, the Magic Castle, the Academy of Magical Arts annual award show, Camp Inquiry, Dragon*Con, NECSS, the Barrow Neurological Institute’s annual gala, Carl Sagan Day, CFI - Portland, and at the University of Denver, Arizona State, University of Maryland, Broward College, University of Wisconsin, and Ohlone College. And I was honored this year to receive lifetime achievement awards this year from both the American Humanist Association and The Academy of Magical Arts.
- We appointed two new JREF Research Fellows: Kyle Hill, a popular science writer focused on effective public communication of science; and Leo Igwe, who is spearheading the JREF's new initiative to combat harmful superstition and promote critical thinking in Africa. To this end, the JREF has already released Igwe's A Manifesto for a Skeptical Africa, and will host Igwe's monthly column, Skeptical Africa on randi.org. They join our team of other JREF Fellows, including Dr. Steven Novella, Dr. Karen Stollznow, Dr. Ray Hall, and Tim Farley.
- We provided scholarships to students who focus on skepticism in their academic fields, and awarded grants to teachers who bring skepticism into their classrooms through innovative programs. We also launched a skeptical educator series on Randi.org, curated by Bob Blaskiewicz.
- We've been involved with the production of a major documentary, An Honest Liar, which tells the story of my life’s work and is expected out in late 2013.
- We promoted our Million Dollar Challenge in major media and offered the prize to celebrity psychics and other public figures and organizations who had made paranormal claims or endorsed charlatans, including priceline.com, and Simon Cowell. We produced a video of a live Million Dollar Challenge event from the stage at TAM 2012, illustrating the proper way to evaluate a paranormal or fringe science claim, and inspiring activists and ordinary people around the world to evaluate these types of claims themselves.
...And much more!
None of this would have been possible if not for the support we received from concerned and dedicated skeptics and science advocates like you during last year's Season of Reason. Now we are counting on your generous financial help to fund our operations into the next year.
Your Season of Reason 2012 contribution will help us equip more educators to teach students skepticism, support more grassroots campaigns to fight charlatanry, and take on more public figures and celebrities who promote dangerous nonsense.
If you believe that skepticism and critical thinking can make the world a better place, please do not leave the burden of supporting this work to someone else. We need you to help keep the light of critical thinking shining brightly in 2013.
With sincere thanks,
James Randi, Founder
P.S. – When you contribute $100 or more to the JREF's Season of Reason campaign, we will send you a limited-edition ceramic ornament, designed and handcrafted by Amy Davis Roth of Surly-Ramics. The design is based on a favorite photo taken of me during a recent lecture tour in Norway. I think I look a bit like a certain lovable mythical figure, if I do say so myself. Please support the Season of Reason today.
P.P.S. – Our Season of Reason ornaments have become quite a collector's item and we do have a small stock of the previous designs. When you contribute $300 or more to the JREF's Season of Reason campaign, you will receive a set with all three designs (ornaments for 2010, 2011, and 2012).