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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.

Skeptics with Appeal PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   

We've had some wins and losses in the past year for skepticism. Some of these -- on both sides -- have been pretty big. Two of our big losses, for example, were Simon Singh's denial of his appeal to overturn an absurd UK libel ruling, and the firing of Chris Comer who did the horrifying act of trying to alert people about a science talk in Texas.

It turns out, the news may yet turn around for our two allies.

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A Major Victory for Reason PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K Thorp   

The World Health Organization [WHO] has responded to a call from young medics and said that it DOES NOT recommend the use of homeopathy for treating HIV, TB, malaria, influenza and infant diarrhea. In an open letter to the WHO in June of this year, the group of early career medics and researchers from the UK and Africa asked the body to make clear that homeopathy cannot prevent or treat these serious diseases despite its growing promotion by manufacturers and practitioners. The Director General's office has confirmed that the responses from WHO departments (below) "clearly express the WHO's position." Today the Voice of Young Science [VYS] network, who coordinated the letter, has written to the health ministers of all countries to publicise the WHO's position, asking them to combat the promotion of homeopathy for these dangerous diseases.

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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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