The Amazing Meeting 2014

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James Randi Educational Foundation
Preschool Skepticism PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Blanford   

I have had the opportunity to teach science and give critical thinking programs to kids of just about every age. I faced one of my greatest challenges last week when I did my first program in a series of three for my son’s preschool.  I did two short classes for the groups of three and four year-olds on colors and optical illusions.  It was a blast and the kids seemed engaged.  We mixed colors with food dye, we separated colors with paper chromatography, and the kids showed up their teacher with the color/word confusion chart (a sure thing with kids who know their colors but can’t read). In the end, I asked the little ones if they had fun, they enthusiastically cheered “YES!”. I then asked them what they learned.  A girl shouted “colors are made of science” - another cheer rose up.


Written by Jamy Ian Swiss   

It was Friday, January 31st, 2003, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when I stepped out on stage to welcome a room of about 250 people to the opening evening program of the very first The Amaz!ng Meeting. It was a thrilling moment, but even this professional mind-reader could neither have foreseen nor foretold that seven years later we would be close to selling out our eighth TAM gathering, with close to 1200 attendees.

Having appeared at all but one of The Amaz!ng Meetings between then and now, I’ve had the unique vantage of watching from the stage and seeing our tremendous growth. I’ve performed on stage, presented workshops, moderated panels, and more, and I’ve had unforgettable experiences pile atop one another in my memory – and yet perhaps the most amazing aspect of this amazing meeting is that I know without doubt that something equally remarkable and memorable is going to occur in Las Vegas just a few days from now. The Amaz!ng Meeting never fails to exceed my expectations – and that is truly amazing!

The Official TAM 8 App PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   

tam8appIt's official: we're launching our very first smartphone "app," for TAM 8. It's available for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, Android, and Blackberry devices. Created for the JREF by the folks at Core-Apps, this app will allow you to view:

  • TAM 8 Schedule
  • Speakers Bios
  • Maps
  • Your own custom schedule
  • Twitter feed
  • and Alerts

Contents are updated every time you load the app, so if there's a change it will be reflected on your device.

We hope this is the first of many apps to come from the JREF. To find the app, search for "TAM8" in your app store, or visit iTunes. You can also vist with your device.

PZ Myers, Pamela Gay, and atheistic skeptic organizations PDF Print E-mail
Written by D.J. Grothe   

I love PZ Myers and his blog Pharyngula — a mix of science education and social commentary from an atheistic perspective — way more than some of my more temperate and low-key friends would approve. He is for me what I imagine Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck is for fiscal, religious or cultural conservatives. Except that PZ is reasonable and on the right side of the issues, unlike Limbaugh and Beck. (Of course, fans of Limbaugh or Beck must think the same thing of them.) PZ Myers is one of the two or three best polemicists that people of my worldview have to rally around. I cheer when he sticks it to my cultural competitors. I enjoy reading his uncompromising stance. I like that he is direct and funny and pulls no punches, and convince myself sometimes that this might allow other skeptics and atheists to take different, more diplomatic approaches when addressing religious or paranormal beliefs.


That others take different approaches is something PZ doesn't seem to like.


Eight reasons TAM 8 Excites Me PDF Print E-mail
Written by D.J. Grothe   

In the six months since I became the president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, much of our time at the organization has been devoted to planning this year's Amazing Meeting, which is now just two short weeks away -- July 8-11, 2010 in Las vegas, Nevada. As plans came together over these preceding months, and the event expanded and grew, all of us at the JREF have become more and more excited. During a recent staff meeting, a longtime employee of the foundation argued that this will be the best TAM ever. Here are eight reasons I agree with him. 

1. Co-sponsorship 

For the first time in the history of the Amazing Meeting, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP), along with the Skeptical Society, will both be official organizational co-sponsors of the event, in support of the James Randi Educational Foundation, each providing promotions and underwriting. Although the Skeptic Society has always been very supportive of TAM and the JREF, this represents a considerable expansion of cooperation and mutual support among the three national skeptics organizations. Considering that there may have been some historic competitiveness among them, I consider this a major positive development. I am proud that the skeptical movement has grown to be so cooperative in working to promote critical thinking in society.


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