If you've any doubt that religion is superstition, consider the current condition of the real-estate market, and what a certain portion of Americans are resorting to. They may believe that religious faith can move mountains, but can a small piece of cheap plastic move a house? Yes, a lot of people think so, provided that the plastic is a figurine of Saint Joseph. As of the beginning of 2009, shops that sell religious charms, books, and various holy chachkas, are reporting booming sales of tiny statuettes of Joseph - the actual father of Jesus Christ and the patron saint of home and house sellers - both to real estate agents and to homeowners.
The proprietor of a Saint Jude Shop in Pennsylvania happily announced:
We have over 5,000 items in our store, and you know what the No. 1 item is? The St. Joseph statue!
Note: this piece is a little dated, but rather than let it go to waste, I thought I post it. My apologies for the delay. - Jeff Wagg
Has the National Broadcasting Corporation decided to abandon any pretense of rationality and reality? Reader and colleague Margaret Downey tells us:
I just watched [December 5th] a "how to sell your house in today's bad economy" segment on NBC's Today Show (in the 8:00 AM hour). The segment featured their "Real Estate Expert" Barbara Corcoran. She was asked questions by host David Gregory after a short film that highlighted "creative" ways people are trying to sell their homes.
The film showed people doing some creative advertising (no problem with that) and a man who held a sign on a street corner telling people about the apartment he was selling in the city. The other people they showed in the film clip advocated smudging, Feng Shui, house blessings, and exorcism.
Randi comments: This "smudging" woo-woo is the nonsense of wafting smoke over yourself and/or your possessions in order to "purify" them. Duh.
In this episode, James Randi answers selected user comments, spends some time explaining why 3X and 6x preparations are not truly homeopathic, and explores an unsolicited "professional" horoscope reading he recently received via YouTube.
Randi points out some interesting discrepancies in the reading.
Sandra Quincy writes from Australia to tell us about her successful anti-quackery activities "down under."
I thought that you might be interested in the success that I have had with getting a magnetic product removed from sale in Australia. It all started when a Century Mail booklet fell out of my October 2008 Reader's Digest. I looked at it out of curiosity and saw an ad for this little plastic case called the Sex Magnet. It claimed to increase a man's libido and promote oxygen and blood flow if the man put it into his trouser pocket. I was so angry at such a stupid claim that I wrote to the Australian Complaints Resolution Panel. They investigate therapeutic goods. They responded to my complaint and said that they would investigate the claim when they next met. I got a reply last week.