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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.

Resveratrol - Wine Not Take a Miracle Pill to Live Longer? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

People who drink red wine in moderation tend to live longer than those who abstain from alcohol entirely. Unfortunately, alcohol comes with certain other unwanted effects that you may have noticed from your own experiences late at night or the morning after. Wouldn't it be great if we could figure out what is in the alcohol that improves health and put it in a pill that couldn't make you tipsy?

 
Chiropractor Prefers Lawsuits to Rational Discussion PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

sas-libelAustralian chiropractor Joseph Ierano was rather upset with the Australian Skeptics organization recently. So upset was he, that he filed a complaint with the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission, a government body that keeps track of and prosecutes based on claims of malfeasance regarding medical issues.

So what was Joseph Ierano's complaint? He's upset that the Australian Skeptics republished an article by TAMLondon speaker Simon Singh. He sent Australian Skeptics a very detailed list of questions based on the article, even though they were merely reprinting it and not the original authors. When he hadn't received an answer in two weeks, he filed his complaint. In fact, a very detailed response was sent three weeks after the original request by Ierano.

 
Those Herbs are Bad, These Herbs are Good PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

It took a very long time, but Dr. Christine Daniel was recently arrested on two counts of wire and mail fraud. She claimed to be able to cure cancer through herbal treatments, and even appeared on the religious Trinity Broadcasting Network touting how her treatments had a 60% cure rate, even in the most serious cases.

She is also a Pentecostal Minister, and she used this position to home in on people in her community. She'd promise them help through unapproved treatments that cost thousands of dollars. She urged her patients to stop "toxic" chemotherapy and instead begin a regimen of prayer and her exclusive product, "C-extract," an "herbal" remedy.

Oh, the irony.

 
TAM London: A Brilliant Success! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   

[Note: all the pictures here, and more, are in my TAM London Flickr set.]

TAM London has come and gone, but it's left quite a wide swath. The Amaz!ng Meetings 1-7 have all been, well, amazing, and so this one, the James Randi Educational Foundation's first international conference, had a lot to live up to.

I think we did pretty well.

In fact (to use an Americanism), this ball was hit way out of the park. The speakers were incredible: Brian Cox talking about the Large Hadron Collider and the origin of gravity, Simon Singh on his well-publicized libel lawsuit involving craven chiropractors, Ben Goldacre and bad medicine, Ariane Sherine on the atheist bus campaign and her new book, The Atheist's Guide to Christmas (for which I wrote an essay), and so many more. Professor Richard Wiseman emceed the event, and was fantastic at revving the audience up and keeping things moving -- it was a tough choice to have him host rather than give a talk, but he did such a tremendous job I may never want to hear him give a talk again.

 
Britain to Benny: Go Away! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

In a delicious piece of good news, the UK decided not to let self-proclaimed faith healer Benny Hinn enter their country. He tried again, and again, was denied.

Was he denied because his "parsonage," that is his personal home paid for with church funds, is worth $10,000,000? Was he denied because he won't open his books to public scrutiny? Maybe it's because he proclaimed that God would destroy the homosexual community with fire? No, it was none of these. It was a simple, non-personal change in British law that states simply that "preaching" is not work, and therefor a work visa will not be granted unless he has documentation from a church.

 
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