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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.

The Dark Side of Religion PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Bart Farkas   

Without question most religions function within a framework that is fundamentally good, with much of the focus of teachings boiling down to being good to your fellow man (or woman) and being a decent person. But one has to be either naïve or in deep denial to think that there isn't a dark side to religions. Indeed, those jets flying into the twin towers had a religious component, and the Olympic bombing in Atlanta had a religious component, as did the tragedy in Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, scores of abortion clinic bombings and nearly all of the conflict in the Middle East. To be sure, I'm not blaming these actions exclusively on religion, because it's people that do these things, not the religion itself. That said, religion does play a role in these events and the problem occurs when people interpret religion in such a way that it denigrates a particular group of people or encourages violence.

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It Just Won't End PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

I continue to be appalled at the American Cancer Society [ACS] embrace of quackery. This is a gentle, somewhat tentative embrace, but any seeming acceptance by authority lends validity to any form of nonsense, and medical science - which the ACS purports to represent - is poorly served in sites I have been looking into.

I have before me literature from the ACS which provided me with a phone number whereby I could obtain more information on subjects that interest me. I called that number and spoke with a very pleasant and cooperative woman who referred me to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network [NCCN] where I found www.NCCN.com, the "Consumer website of the NCCN," and a current article headed, "Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation."

I must explain.

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Proudly Flaunting Ignorance PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

verizonThere seems to be no limit to the willingness of ignorant people to demonstrate their lack of understanding.  This example shows how abysmally some folks at Verizon failed at simple 4th-grade-level arithmetic.  Go to http://tinyurl.com/r2l5ar and hear part of a telephone discussion between a customer and the Verizon geniuses concerning a billing item. This incredible exchange runs just over 3 minutes. I suggest you first listen to this, then return here...  Go!

A good question for the Verizon geniuses could have been, "Is 100% of a cent the same amount as 100% of a dollar?"  If their answer were "No," follow that with "Is .002 percent of a cent the same amount as .002 percent of a dollar?"  The answer to both questions has to be the same...

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"Quantum" Arguments Can't Explain Consciousness or the Supernatural PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

Victor Stenger is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and an accomplished quantum physicist who has written numerous books explaining physics, analyzing religious claims, and debunking popular ideas supposedly derived from quantum physics.

In the foreword to Stenger's latest book, Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness, Michael Shermer writes,

Either there is evidence for the supernatural and the paranormal, or there isn't. There isn't. Victor Stenger explains why there isn't. Read this book to find out why.

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Creationists Believe the Darndest Things PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   

Finding young Earth creationist lunacy is like walking into an elephant paddock at a zoo and hoping to find poop. All too easy.

I say this because in England, thinking the Loch Ness monster disproves evolution can help get you a job! A group there called The National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) provides information on vocational and academic skills -- they're something like an accreditation group. They reviewed the curriculum involved in getting an International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE): a certificate granted after passing a creationist course that's taught in about 50 private Christian schools in the UK. And what did the NARIC find? That this certificate is just fine and dandy, and equivalent to international A levels (a scholastic certificate that shows competency in a particular course).

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