The Amazing Meeting 2014

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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.

Ben Stein Hates All Superstitions, Save His Own PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

The JREF doesn’t pick sides in political races, but we do frequently take issue with the journalists who cover them. And as Massachusetts voters drive to the polls to choose the new occupant of the Senate seat once occupied by Ted Kennedy, there is one pundit who must be singled out for attention before somebody — I’m guessing Scott Brown — wins.

That pundit is conservative, creationist, monotonous Ben Stein, of Ferris Bueller fame. Here’s what he had to say, in part, about Brown’s opponent, Martha Coakley:

Saints Down Under (The Mattress) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

Great news, Catholics! It is now official: “Blessed” Mary McKillop, dead these last ninety years, was roused from her mortal torpor in 1995 to perform a minor medical miracle on a faithful devotee in Sydney, Australia. (It was her second miracle in 90 years, which means she is a less proficient intercessor than John Paul II but a damned sight better than Saint Damien of Molokai.) View the story here, and see why Sister McKillop, the fiery founder of the Josephites and Australian pedagogical innovator, is now ready for canonization.

James Randi, Norm Edmund, and The Frustrated Compass PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

We get alot of interesting folks visiting the Foundation, and lately we’ve decided to begin filming them. Massimo Polidoro arrived from Milan this past Wednesday for a brief Floridian vacay, and yesterday Norm Edmund (of Edmund’s Scientific!), aged 93, swung by to join Randi and Massimo for lunch. After the jump, some candid, unscripted footage of Randi showing Edmund his Mova Globe, dishing about polar magnetism, and discussing the iPhone.

Written by James Randi   

This video, which deals with very specific subject, lunacy – the delusion of the biological effect of the full Moon – is really well-produced and organized.  I’ll refer you to three major parts – which are in English – and will give you a very good understanding of the content.  They are, referring to the elapsed-time bar at the bottom of the video – 32:25 to 40:10 (my interview), 45:29 to 47:23, in which a farmer gives a good reason for harvesting at full moon, and 48:30 to 55:05, where a psychiatrist provides an angle I’d never thought of, and explains a very good reason for fear of moonlight…

How Come We Always Have To Wait Until Night To Do This? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

Common sense: Kids should be rewarded for good, not bad, behavior. The adults in their midst have a duty to discourage their anti-social, crazy, and excessively goofy tendencies, and to moderate any wild imaginative flights that could lead them to dishonesty, or to a permanent disfigurement of their budding worldviews. Most of all, adults must be square with them; mustn’t molest their cosmologies or affirm their infantile tendencies in such a way that the children will be mentally crippled or stunted. That’s my opinion.

Also my opinion: For the reasons above and probably several hundred more, Chip Coffey is one bad dude. Check out this clip from his show, Psychic Kids, the second season of which began airing last month, and continue reading after the jump. (I'd have embedded the vid, but its hosts have disabled that option. Probably to keep it from getting posted here.)

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