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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.

Randi on Religion and the JREF PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

My recent article about Denny's has once again called into question the JREF's stance on Atheism. Rather than go through the issue again, I'm going to post two past Swift articles, one today and one tomorrow, that demonstrate how skepticism - as the JREF sees it - can be a big tent.

On July 25th, 2003, six years and one day before I published my Denny's article, James Randi had this to say about religion. You will note that he says that atheism is normally outside the matters that the JREF handles. - Jeff Wagg

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Why I Deny Religion, How Silly and Fantastic It Is, and Why I'm a Dedicated and Vociferous Bright - by James Randi

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The Latest Gossip about Travolta and Scientology PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

There are hints that John Travolta may be reconsidering his relationship with the Church of Scientology after his son's death.

The boy was taken off his seizure medication because it was no longer working. Standard practice would be to try a different medication or a combination of medications, but apparently this was not done. Instead, he was treated with saunas, food supplements, Vitamin B and vegetable oils. He died of a seizure.

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TAM 7 Vaccine Drive Total PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Joe Albietz   

Well, the final tally is in, and the TAM 7 vaccine drive to benefit the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) has been an outstanding success.

Our original concept had been to simply collect donations in association with TAM registration, and to present the SNHD with those proceeds at TAM 7.  The relatively late conception of the project combined with working to ensure that donated funds would be used to their optimal effect meant that it was an understated affair with relatively little publicity.  When combined with the current economy and the fact that attending TAM has never been a cheap affair, we had no idea what kind of response the project would receive.

We need not have worried.

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Denny's Discount Discrimination PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

dennysflyerBefore we get started, I have to say once again... the JREF is not an atheist organization. Our staff and membership are composed of both believers and non-believers, and the question of whether there's a "god" is not addressed by the JREF directly. However, the following affects us all, and demonstrates a clear lack of critical thinking on behalf of the management at the American diner chain known as "Denny's."

I found myself in Euless, TX this morning, and decided to have breakfast at Denny's with my Macbook Pro. As I approached, I saw the attached flyer affixed to the door (click for larger image).

I was a bit taken aback, as I knew there had been controversies about this practice in the past, and I had naively thought such promotions were a matter of history. But this was even worse... not only were folks who attended church given a 10% discount, their church received a donation as well.

I considered leaving right then, but decided to have my meal as planned and then discuss the matter with the manager on the way out. At no time was I concerned about the discount for myself: 10% off a $10 meal isn't much of a motivator. This was a matter of principle, so I decided to confront the manager directly. Though this isn't something I'm terribly comfortable with, it was necessary.

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Dowsing by...iPhone PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Naomi Baker   

iphonedowseIn response to a post I saw on Twitter, I hustled over to the Apple iTune store to check the story out. Yes, indeed, there was a free application ("app") for a virtual dowsing rod (link opens in iTunes). When you launch the program, your screen shows two parallel rods over a background that looks like the ground, with grass and exposed dirt. As you tilt the phone, the rods spread or come together, and when you get a hit, the phone vibrates, buzzes, and a red light flashes. Apparently I have water in the keyboard of my Mac. Or maybe oil. I'll let you know how the drilling comes out, at which time I will be busy filling out my paperwork for the JREF Million Dollar Challenge.

Ok, so this a silly application. But I thought regular readers might get a kick out of the comments in the store.

I used this dowsing rod application when I was in the desert to find wter. An arch nemesis left me in the middle of the desert with only a bottle of motor oil, after he threw me out of the CEO position of my multi-national corporation.

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