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.
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.
Another excellent TAM is in the books. As Randi announced in his closing remarks, exciting times for the organization are ahead.
It's not news that the randi.org website is overdue for a makeover. The JREF is working on that as a high priority. I've just come on board as a Creative Consultant for the organization. (You may know me as the editor of Doubtful News. You can see my bio here.) Loads of unique and exciting content from new contributors will be forthcoming. Bear with us while we build the new platform and expand content.
To anticipate the new online presence, the JREF Facebook and Twitter accounts will be revamped. Please accept our apologies for changing the follow lists and formatting as we streamline and clean up older material. The social network feeds will carry important information about the organization, messages to the public, event announcements, website content links, outside links of interest, and occasional responses to questions and comments. Please continue to Tweet interesting news links and your skeptical event announcements to the JREF twitter account @jref.
If you have any particular questions, concerns, or requests email them to me at email@example.com.
Thank you for your past support and stay tuned... what's ahead will be Amazing!
A winner! Yes, “An Honest Liar,” the 90-minute documentary firm labored over and produced by Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom, had its world premiere in New York City on April 18th, then the Canadian premiere followed in my home town, Toronto. Deyvi and I have been busy ever since “on the road” trying to personally attend as many screenings as we can. The film has already been shown at numerous film festivals all over the world now, and we just received very welcome news. In theannual AFI DOCS, the American Film Institute’s 12th documentary film festival in the Washington, DC, area, this year’s Audience Award for Best Feature went to “An Honest Liar”! We won in a field of well more than one hundred contenders!
AFI DOCS is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the seat of our nation’s government. With such excellent judges as Ken Burns, Spike Lee, and Barbara Kopple on the AFI Advisory Board, I personally take this as a resounding endorsement. I’ve never forgotten Spike’s well-known advice: “Do the right thing.” Thank you, man…
Deyvi and I were at first just a bit surprised at the very serious – yet effusive – audience reaction to “An Honest Liar,” but we soon saw that this was going to be the response we should expect. People were teary-eyed yet smiling as they crowded around us, shook our hands and made their comments. We’re very grateful to Justin and Tyler, as well as to their excellent crew who got it all together and now share our delight.
Thank you, folks, and you can look forward to yet more news on this film. No hints, but we’re only getting started…
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.