The Amazing Meeting 2014

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James Randi Educational Foundation
Putting Woo to a Good Use PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael A. Strieb   

As an educator I always had to be on my toes, not only to prevent undesirable behavior, but also to be aware of something much more elusive. Teachers are always on the lookout for something called a "teachable moment". They are tricky because they don't appear in your lesson plans, you have no idea where they will come from or when, and they may not even be on topic. Even trickier, you usually have a limited amount of time in which to take maximum advantage. Very often, the next thing you say determines whether or not you let that teachable moment slip by.

I was fortunate enough to capture one with my son just the other day. My father-in-law believes in all kinds of woo, and after talking with him my 9 year old son came to me very excited, his head full of stories about reincarnation, past life regression through hypnosis, and the possibility that after I die I'll come back as his child. Well, you can imagine how I felt. I opened my mouth, fully intending to say "Your grandfather has fed you a load of crap", when it hit me: this was a teachable moment. Instead of declaring those concepts bunk and leaving it at that, we had ourselves a dialogue.

TAM 8 Reviews Galore! PDF Print E-mail
Written by JREF   

The 'net has been abuzz with reviews and comments about The Amaz!ng Meeting 8. Here's a round up of some interesting ones we've run across. This is by no means an exaustive list, but there's something of interest for everyone here.

Geo-Geek Rachael gives a nice, one-page summary of TAM 8 on her blog, 4.5 Billion Years of Wonder.

Hemant Mehta live-blogged all of TAM. If you'd like to experience TAM as though you were there, or relive the event through the words of Hemant, I recommend you check out his efforts on The Friendly Atheist

Dylan Keeburg of Woo Fighters gives an indepth daily review of TAM starting with some of the Thursday workshops.

Skeptreview's Karl also gave an indepth daily report, but with the added benefit of being Michael Goudeau's shadow. If you're a fan of Penn Jillette or Michael Goudeau, you'll want to read this one.

Daniel Loxton of Skeptic Blog expanded on some of the ideas presented at TAM with his thoughtful piece on The Reasonableness of Weird Things.

CSI's Joe Nickell discusses TAM 8, and also his "out of body" experience meeting Lance Burton for the first time.

Also writing for CSI, Karen Stollznow, points out the lasting effect of Amaz!ng Meetings, and how each of us carried home a little piece of the event to share with others.

The JREF thanks all these reviewers for taking the time to share their thoughts. For more reviews and comments, you can check out the Twitter hash tag #TAM8.

Big Homeopathy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Wagg   

"Homeopathy is safe and has no side effects, yet 'Big Pharama' keeps pushing their poisons on us because they're greedy."

Have you heard this before? I have. If modern medicines have side-effects or aren't effective in 100% of cases, the reason doctors don't stop using them is because so-called 'Big Pharma' makes tons of money off of them.

Well, part of that is true. Pharmaceutical companies do make money from the products they make. Just like McDonalds or Home Depot or.... hey, what's this? Companies that make homeopathic products make money too!

Let's consider just one: Boiron.

Las Vegas Weekly Reviews TAM 8 PDF Print E-mail
Written by JREF   

LVWeeklyRick Lax of Las Vegas Weekly attended TAM and was surprised to find what we've known all along – Skeptics aren't the nay-saying curmudgeons that they're made out to be. In fact, he had quite a nice time and has many interesting things to say about his experiences.

He examines in some depth the question asked by a moon hoax afficianado of Adam Savage, and discusses the honesty of skeptics with Richard Dawkins. And he learned the history of the skeptics movment in a hot tub.

Read all this and more, at Las Vegas Weekly.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe Interviews James Randi and Banachek PDF Print E-mail
Written by JREF   
This week's topics on the official podast of the JREF are:
  • Interview with Randi & Banachek
  • News Items:
    • Report from TAM8
    • Monster Star
    • Anti-Vax in Oz
    • Kabbalah Bracelet
    • Monkey Fossil
    • Monkeys in the Pants
    • Libel Tourism Bill
  • Who's That Noisy
  • Science or Fiction
You can listen to the latest episode, plus read the blog entries and hear other contributions from the Rogue's Gallery at
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