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James Randi Educational Foundation
Where have we gone? PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Sharon Hill   

Yes, the updates are few these days but I wanted to post to let you know that we are working behind the scenes to improve the current website to make it more user friendly and easier to read. 

We decided not to add new content to the existing layout but take a bit of an online rest to plan out new content for the site. 

If you are interested in being a Swift blog contributor, send your proposal to the Editor (that would be me) at Editor@randi.org. I will start lining up contributors and articles regarding critical thinking education, skeptical activism, investigations, commentary and news. Also note that Doubtful News content will be coming to the JREF. 

Thanks for your patience.

Sharon
Content Editor

 
Last Week on Science Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

The Science-based Medicine summaries return! 

Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo-woo in medicine.

The false dichotomies of CAM and “integrative medicine” (David Gorski)  
Victoria Stern uses faulty reasoning to argue that while alternative medicine is bad, integrative medicine (that integrates alternative with conventional medicine) is good. She seems to think that only integrative medicine can address the “whole” patient and that it is necessary to embrace quackery in order to form a “true bond” between doctor and patient.

“Atavistic oncology” revisited: Dr. Frank Arguello responds (David Gorski)  Dr. Gorski criticized Dr. Arguello’s “atavistic chemotherapy” because it is untested, based on a questionable rationale, unpublished, and not even properly defined. Dr. Arguello demanded that he retract the article. His letters and e-mails (reproduced here in full) consist not of a rational response to Gorski’s criticisms, but of insults, ad hominem arguments, threats of legal action, letters to Dr. Gorski’s employers, excuses, and a challenge in the form of an experiment on a patient that would be unethical and that he had not even asked the patient about.

Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff) (Harriet Hall) Three recent articles confirm the understanding that too much salt is bad for health but provide evidence that too little salt is harmful too. Existing guidelines may be too extreme. Pink Himalayan salt has been recommended (by unreliable sources) because it contains 84 trace minerals, but some of those minerals are radioactive and poisonous.

Vitamin K Refusal – The New Anti-Vax (Steven Novella)  Some parents are endangering the health of their newborns by refusing the routine vitamin K injection that protects children for 6 months until they start getting enough vitamin K in their diet. Without this supplementation, there is a small but devastating risk of bleeding, brain damage, and even death. Irrational adherence to the naturalistic fallacy is largely to blame for both vaccine refusal and vitamin K refusal.

Clinical trials of integrative medicine: testing whether magic works? (David Gorski)  David Gorski and Steven Novella have managed to get an article published in a very good medical journal to present the SBM view. They show why randomized clinical trials of highly implausible CAM treatments such as homeopathy or reiki should be discouraged.

Tens of millions for CAM research – and it’s all on your dime (Jann Bellamy)  The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 was enacted to empower citizens to hold the government responsible for wasteful spending. Millions are being spent on research into acupuncture, chiropractic, naturopathy, homeopathy, and improbable treatments like chelation for heart disease. It’s time to stop wasting government money that could be better spent on more plausible areas of research.

That’s So Chiropractic (Mark Crislip)  A study attempted to correlate spinal health to overall wellness by dissecting 75 human cadavers and attributing diseases of the internal organs to misalignments of the vertebrae. Another trial with only 14 patients and no controls purported to show that chiropractic effectively treats autism. Such studies are methodologically horrible and useless. Chiropractors continue to discourage vaccination, to deny the risks of neck manipulations, and to offer unsubstantiated theories; and yet they want to become primary care providers!  

 
Take a Stand for Skepticism! PDF Print E-mail
James Randi
Written by James Randi   
sustained.jpg

We need your help to create a world where everyone has access to the tools of science and critical thinking, and charlatans can’t get rich by deceiving others.

For less than $3.70 a week, you can help expose dangerous frauds, support skeptical teachers, and educate and inspire the next generation of critical thinkers. 

The JREF's monthly donors are dedicated skeptics and critical thinkers who commit as little as $16 a month to provide year-round support for our shared mission. 

Please click here to join with our other monthly donors today in support of our important mission. It only takes a minute to make a big difference for our humble organization.

Sincerely,

James Randi
Founder

 

Read more...
 
Randi Speaks: The 2008 Pigasus Awards PDF Print E-mail
James Randi Speaks
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   

Every year on April 1st, the JREF gives out the Pigasus awards; a dubious honor to people or organizations that have done their best in the past year to snuff out science and promote irrationality. Randi talks about the 2008 winners, who receive no plaques, trophies, or banners: just the knowledge that they're getting publicity... but probably not the kind they want.

[Note: We became aware after making this video that Pigasus winner Dr. Colin Ross has recently reactivated his Million Dollar Challenge claim. While the video is still technically correct, we thought it fair to add this.]

To leave a comment please visit YouTube, and you can read the announcement itself on the 2008 Pigasus Awards page.

 
Giving Thanks PDF Print E-mail
Newsflash
Written by James Randi   

James RandiDear Friend,

As Thanksgiving approaches here in the United States, and we gather with loved ones, I can't help but pause and reflect on the work we do at the JREF, and how grateful we all are for the support from folks like yourself.

Concerned and dedicated skeptics and science advocates like you drive all the work we do combatting unreason and promoting critical thinking at the grassroots, in classrooms, at conferences, in the media, and on our speaking tours.

And as we look to the year ahead, I know that our work will continue to be difficult. Promoting skepticism is in many ways an uphill battle — but it is so worthwhile. And I also know that with your continued support we are ready for the challenges ahead.

So from all of us at the JREF, and from my family to yours, I want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Randi's signature

James Randi
 
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