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JREF Swift Blog
Swift, named for Jonathan Swift, is the JREF's daily blog, featuring content from James Randi, the JREF staff, and other featured authors.

SWIFT July 11, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

A Premiere Report, The Opposition Revealed, Dr. Tyson Again, Same Old Routine, A Pleasant Surprise, and In Closing…


Reader Robert Matic of Melbourne, Australia, reports to us on the Tuesday, 8 July, 2008, premiere of what has been advertised there as “a search for Australia’s most gifted psychic.” That’s much like saying, “a search for the least incompetent guesser,” in my opinion. It’s titled “The One,” and has now emerged on prime-time commercial television. This is the show we mentioned at Robert writes:

We were promised from the outset, by host Andrew Daddo, to receive a balanced program with one of the two judges being a believer (Stacey Demarco – Witch) and the other a skeptic (Richard Saunders – Australian Skeptics). Although the judges were given equal time to comment on the results of the tests – approximately ten seconds each per test! – the editing of the show heavily and predictably leaned towards the believer’s point of view. After introducing the seven psychics competing for the title – with loads of anecdotal evidence from clients, of course – the first episode went through one “controlled” test and, later, an open display of the psychics’ powers in front of the live studio audience.

SWIFT July 4, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

How Ridiculous Can You Get?, More Needles-in-Your-Face, Saunders Is In Action, TAM6 Preview, Giggle Time, In Closing.


We may have an answer to this simple, basic, question, taken directly from the very interesting SkepticWiki site at, which I recommend you visit often, especially since one of the hilarious and very effective Richard Wiseman videos is currently featured. Please, since you’ll be convulsed with laughter at the truly incredible naivety of the Comfort/Cameron team, read this in private. SkepicWiki tells us:

SWIFT June 27, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

Digging Up the Evidence, The Unsinkable Weil, Correction, No Comment, In Closing, The Amaz!ng Meeting Haunted?, How to Make a Difference, The TAM Community.

Padre Pio

At the end of April, the corpse of the the most charismatic holy man in the modern history of the Catholic Church, the popular saint Padre Pio, was exhibited to his devotees for the first time since his death forty years ago. You might ask, why?

An uneducated Capuchin friar from the town of San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy, this man became the most charismatic holy man in the modern history of the Catholic Church, being widely celebrated as a saint even during his lifetime and credited with at least 1,000 “miracle” cures. The most evident signs of his holy distinction were the "odour of sanctity" that followed him around – believed to have been obtained from eau de cologne – and the Christ-like wounds that he exhibited in the palms of his hands and in his side – at the traditionally-established body sites, though we now recognize that crucifixion was administered in a different fashion than medieval artists had presumed. Apparently sainthood does not confer expertise, only sanctity.

SWIFT June 20, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

Telepathic Pets, Well Said, That Video Analysis, Follow-Up, Improving the Law, More Waldorf, and In Closing…


The English, in particular, are slavishly devoted to their pets. In fact, in the UK there are few laws against quacks operating on humans, but probe a dog without a veterinary license, and the full wrath of British justice is brought against you before you have time to ask Fido if he has parental conflicts. Thus, there is a widespread belief in pet/human communication by woo-woo channels, as you’ll see by this inquiry, asked on a woo-woo site:

Does your dog seem to know when you’re coming home? Do other people in your house tell you they knew you were on the way home based on how your dog was acting? If so, your dog might be a good candidate for our experiment, and may earn a $1,000 prize offered to successfully participants. For more click here...

We're looking for dogs and owners willing to participate in a research project looking at the special bond that we share with our animals.

SWIFT June 13, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   

Silly Neck-Stuff, Incredible, Yet Another “Search” Show, Discovery Channel Discovers More Woo-Woo, Dow Jones Offers the Latest in Science, What Winners Do, Pretty But Useless, Waldorf Schools Examined, and In Closing…

Junk Jewelry

Reader Richard O. Brown writes us about that silly “Q-Link” that we’ve handled at Just another fraudulent – but highly profitable – bit of junk jewelry. Richard says:

Q-Link couldn't have gotten a less critical puff piece if they wrote it themselves:

Embarrassing. At least, based on the online comments, the readers aren't buying it. The Chronicle has good reporters who can write critically about science, health and technology, but as usual they assign an "arts and features" writer with no science background to this.

All sorts of sports and music-world heroes are said to wear this phony “charm,” as if IQ is well represented by pop stars. “More than 300 golfers in the PGA wear theirs” so we can be further reassured by that inclusion. There's more. Said Richard Gray, president and CEO of Clarus Transphase Scientific Inc., maker of Q-Link:

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