And now, for a limited time, you can actually double the impact of your giving thanks to a generous JREF supporter who has pledged to match your donation dollar-for-dollar—if you act today. That means your gift will go twice as far—providing more free resources to educators to teach scientific skepticism, supporting more grassroots campaigns to fight charlatanry, and taking on more public figures and companies who promote dangerous nonsense.
We do all this because of the work Randi has been doing for decades to make the world a better place — a world where paranormal fakers are on notice, and the beguiled have a place to turn to get the truth. Randi’s tireless work inspires us to keep pushing back against the nonsense, and makes me unapologetic about asking for your help. The fight is worth it.
If you missed The Amaz!ng Meeting 2012, you can still catch great talks, panels, and workshops on science and skepticism given live at TAM 2012 on our YouTube page. Today, we are pleased to share one of those remarkable panels.
The Future of Skepticism
JREF president D.J. Grothe moderates this panel discussion with Jamy Ian Swiss, Barbara Drescher, Tim Farley, and Reed Esau about the future of skepticism as an approach to exploring claims and as a movement to advance that approach.
In today’s China, it appears that ancient superstitions are rising to the top of the politicians’ agenda for serious attention. The official view, their explanation for the series of misfortunes they believed to be threatening their careers last year, centered around a pair of Imperial guardian lions, traditionally known in Chinese as “shi,” and often called "Foo Dogs" in the West. They’re a pair of fierce-looking stone lions that guard so many homes and businesses, including the state-owned China Tobacco building just across the street from the government Land Bureau offices.
Well, a Land Bureau official has revealed that the secret weapon the Bureau used was “feng shui,” the ancient practice of how to arrange objects and to design architecture to supposedly improve health, prosperity and luck. For proof, he pointed at a stone wall in their parking lot that was built to block the feline statues’ harmful “qi,” or energy.
It’s a fact that Marxist ideology is fading in China, but as I’ve so often noted, ancient mystical beliefs once banned or shunned tend to gain ground and even replace one sort of nonsense with another; this happened in Russia within recent years when abandoned churches began to fill again as the grip of Communism relaxed.
Chinese fortunetellers are now eagerly offering costly sessions in astrology and numerology, and business people are consulting feng shui masters for financial guidance.
June 08, 2010 — Impromptu vid shot with a camera we're only just learning to use. We are in a lounge at Miami Int'l Airport, waiting on our Swiss Air flight to Helsinki, where Randi will make the first appearance of his Sleep of Reason Tour, 2010. The audio is a little low, but bear with it. Much more on the tour in the days ahead.