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.
Every morning, I sit back at the breakfast table, crack open my newspaper, and think, "Man, there is a lot of nonsense out there." Or sometimes, "Really? I'm still buying paper newspapers? What is this, 2002?" In any case, the media is always full of ill-supported claims, from house hauntings to aura cleansing to UFO sightings. And these last couple of weeks have been no different. But what can you do to combat this nonsense in the media and around the world? Well, I'm glad you asked. Here are a few ways you can turn a media mess into a skeptical success.
American Homeopath Peddles Fake Medicine in Haiti
What's Happening:News came out this week of a Massachusetts woman who has been working with the organization Homeopaths without Borders to teach locals in Haiti how to use homeopathy to allegedly treat various ailments, from headaches and acid reflux, to eye problems and severe anemia. As regular readers of randi.org know, homeopathy is, by definition, not medicine. Homeopathic remedies contain no active ingredients, and their use may delay a patient seeking real treatment, sometimes with dire consequences.
What's Happening: Pop culture icon Ice T and his wife are enjoying their third season of Ice Loves Coco on E! and this week, Mrs. T revealed that she has psychic abilities which allow her to wordlessly communicate with dogs (video at the link). Her baffled husband offers her some pretty good advice: "These conversations you have with me, like this; don't have them with other people." Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle! Here I thought dogs mostly communicated through barks and the affectionate leg hump, when all this time, I should have been sending my mutts concentrated brain waves.
What You Can Do: Tweet at Coco and encourage her to take the JREF's Million Dollar Challenge, to demonstrate her ability to communicate with non-human animals. With a million extra dollars, she can pocket the cash or give it to the charity of her choice. Be sure to tag us @jref, and as always, be polite.
Superstorm Sandy Victims Deal with Devastation
What's Happening: Unfortunately, this story is not a tale of superstition. The hurricane which ripped through the east coast has left 185 dead, more injured, and totaled at least $20 billion in damage. And now some of the victims are preparing for another storm.
What You Can Do: Show your support for the victims, and promote critical thinking by wearing a Disaster Relief Placebo Band (which turns the "Power Balnce" band on its head). For each disaster relief Placebo Band sold, $2 goes to Hurricane Sandy disaster relief, and for every watch sold, $5 is donated to the cause. Get yours here.
Want to do more to fight woo in your area? E-mail us to get started doing skeptical activism in your home town.
Carrie Poppy is the director of communications at the James Randi Educational Foundation, and a regular contributor to Randi.org.
I enjoy plane trips because these are the only times I get to read for enjoyment. On a recent flight my book of choice was a title by skeptic Steve Cuno and Joanne Hanks. “It’s Not About The Sex” My Ass: Confessions of an ex-Mormon, ex-Polygamist ex-wife tells the fascinating story of Joanne’s personal journey from mainline Mormon, to fundamentalist Mormon, to non-believer.
This case is interesting in that most fundamentalists are born into these groups, while Joanne and her husband chose to join a polygamist cult. Joanne and her chiropractor husband Jeff were raised as members of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). They both had family with a polygamist past. Following exposure to Second Coming propaganda, they decided that the end was nigh, and they needed to return to the original church to ensure their salvation. After shopping around for a sect, the couple and their three young children moved to Manti, Utah, and joined James Harmston’s True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of the Last Days (TLC). As per section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants, Jeff took a “celestial wife” and the family was promptly excommunicated by the LDS.
We are thrilled to announce that The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) returns in just a few months: July 10-13, 2014 at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
Our theme this year – Skepticism and the Brain – is focused on the cognitive and brain sciences and how they inform the project of skepticism. Keynote speakers include the acclaimed philosopher, cognitive scientist, and best selling author Daniel Dennett and Scientific American Editor-in-Chief Mariette DiChristina. Other speakers include neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland, Australia's Dr. Karl,Evolution & Human Behavior Editor-in-Chief Robert Kurzban,Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience authors Scott Lilienfeld and Sally Satel, M.D., influential memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus, clinical neurologist Steven Novella, M.D., immunologist Paul Offit, M.D., National Center for Science Education's Eugenie Scott,Skeptic Editor-in-Chief Michael Shermer, psychologists and best selling authors Carol Tavris and Richard Wiseman, and many, many more!
The inimitable George Hrab returns as our Master of Ceremonies. As Pacific Standard magazine recently described, Hrab's "vaudeville-style" has set the tone for "what is perhaps the world’s preeminent gathering of self-proclaimed skeptics."
This annual celebration of critical thinking is an unparalleled opportunity to make like-minded friends, enjoy some of the brightest minds on issues important to skeptics, and leave with tools for spreading a helpful and educational message to those who might be hurt by charlatans and unfounded belief. TAM has become the must-go-to event for skeptics and science advocates.
James Randi and over a thousand other like-minded folks for four days of fun, friendship, and critical thinking!
UPDATE:According to the LA Times, the sentencing has been pushed back until June 11th. Maybe some sanity will settle out by then.
Randi takes a different tone this time as a recent letter has shown that his adopted country is sometimes less than compassionate. Are politics more important than people? Maybe, but it shouldn't be that way.
From Randi -
Understand this: I heartily endorse and accept marijuana use for medical purposes; research has clearly shown that it works efficiently in that role, and brings comfort and relief to the suffering. As a result of this stated conditional acceptance, I have been approached by those who advocate general use of the substance on the same level that tobacco enjoys. Generally, this makes sense to me, except that if its use were to bring with it the same dreadful health penalties that accompany tobacco, I would be reluctant to accept that. I am not a drug user, I have never even been inebriated. That is my personal choice, and I feel that other persons should also enjoy freedom of choice, even if taxes are imposed on that freedom in order to legislate it; I don’t want out-of-control drivers threatening my safety, for example.