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.]
In an effort to make our extensive video library available online free of charge, The James Randi Educational Foundation is posting high quality digital video lectures and sessions from previous Amaz!ng Meetings and other events on randi.org. Check back often to see the latest video content.
July 12-15, 2012 | South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa | Las Vegas, NV
24 Talks | 5 Panels | 10 Workshops | 3 Evening Shows | 3 Late Night Events 2 Live SGU Shows | 1 Million Dollar Challenge
The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM), the world’s largest celebration of science, skepticism and critical thinking, is just two weeks away. With well over one thousand skeptics already signed up, if you haven’t reserved your spot yet, now’s the time!
Check out the the full schedule online. We have an AMAZ!NG lineup of exciting talks, panels and workshops, with brilliant speakers like Penn & Teller, Carol Tavris, Lawrence Krauss, Pamela Gay and Randi himself.
Talk topics include "The Moral Arc of Science," "The Future and Nothing," "Techno-optimism vs. Reality," "The Self Illusion," "Ignorance: How It Drives Science," and many, many more!
TAM is a full four-day skeptical immersion experience, from early morning to after midnight each night, debating, discussing and celebrating skepticism and its goals.
Folks, this is a serious matter. Our colleague Richard Wiseman explains:
My latest book is called Paranormality. It follows in the footsteps of one of my all-time favourite skeptical books, Randi's Flim-Flam, and examines what seemingly supernatural phenomena tell us about our brain, beliefs and behaviour. I explore lots of topics, including psychic readings, out of body experiences, mind control, ghosts and dream precognition. I made the book as interactive as possible, and Richard Dawkins was kind enough to provide an endorsement, writing “Wiseman shows us a higher joy as he skewers the paranormal charlatans, blows away the psychic fog and lets in the clear light of reason”.
The book has done well in the UK and has been bought by publishers in lots of other countries. However, the major American publishers were reluctant to support a skeptical book, with some suggesting that I re-write it to suggest that ghosts were real and psychic powers actually existed! We didn’t get any serious offers and so it looked like the American public (around 75% of whom believe in the paranormal) wouldn’t get the opportunity to read about skepticism.
It's been quite a week for news stories. If you haven't been glued to your TV (and your Twitter feed) following the presidential elections, you may have been reading about Simon Cowell hiring a house healer (more on what the JREF is doing to help Mr. Cowell in an upcoming post) or tracking Theresa Caputo's tour across the United States. But what can you do with news of pseudoscience and paranormal claims, besides gently tugging at the roots of your hair until your head bleeds? Here are a few suggestions.
UFO Spotted Over Pregnant Mother in the United Kingdom
What Happened: The Irish Sun is reporting that a Buzz-Lightyear-like figure was spotted floating above an unsuspecting pregnant woman last week. The photographer claims he did nothing to manipulate the photo and that he didn't notice the Tim Allen-like figure until after the photo was taken. Okay, sure, so the Sun isn't exactly the premiere source of credible information, but this is just the sort of claim we hear every day, from people who accidentally catch their own thumb in a photo, to those who intentionally insert an object into the frame. And, unfortunately, these fakes often fool many people, causing them to wonder if aliens are on their way to Earth to rob graves and slowly chase women.
What You Can Do: If you can recreate the effect in the photo, send us your own version, and we'll share the best ones, so the world can see how easy it is to manipulate a photo and get the same effect. We've already received many fantastic entries, so hurry up and send us your own version! The best one wins a Team Randi shirt!