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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 Skeptical Manipulation PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brian Govatos   

I like converting people to my ways. Yeah, so what? You do too. You know, converting people to my brand of car, my kind of computer, my political perspective, my favorite restaurants. I like it when people I care about appreciate and understand things that I appreciate and understand. It just feels so good. Iʼm not qualified to discuss the psychology behind it, I just know itʼs true. To take it to another level, I also like being converted to other ways, ways that are better than my own. That also feels pretty good, because it feels like Iʼm growing and moving forward. I guess the whole point of any conversion is that one is changing from something to something thatʼs better, or at least, something that is perceived to be better.

Iʼve been fairly successful at this conversion business, you should know. How? Itʼs simple; I employ manipulation. Does that sound dirty? It shouldnʼt; we manipulate each other all day, every day, and we certainly donʼt make any apologies for doing so.

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One Thought from CFI's World Congress PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

warforchildrensmindsI had the good fortune to attend The Center for Inquiry’s World Congress in Bethesda, MD. It was a great conference, chock-full of interesting speakers (one of them was AMAZING), and I left with new thoughts and ideas. Rather than give an overview on the entire conference, I’d like to focus on the one speaker who made me say “Huh, that’s interesting” more than any other. And that was Dr. Stephen Law.

He has written many books, but the one that he addressed primarily was The War for Children’s Minds. In this book, he discusses the realities of strict, religiously authoritarian parenting vs. more liberal “let us help you figure out who you are parenting.”

The results are refreshing and encourage discussion.

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Strange Advice From a Psychic PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

fanSome so-called psychics will say that you'll meet a "tall dark stranger." Others might posit that someone with a name beginning with "M" will have an influence on your life. And now, at least one, will tell you to put your testicles in front of a fan.

Yes, it's true. Kim O'Neill has been declared "Best Psychic in Houston," and her channeled spirit or guardian angel... or something, has told her that a fan is the key to fertility.

And you know, there's some truth to that.

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My First Time PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

tam3It was fall of 2003. I had just moved to Vermont, and didn't quite feel at home yet. Not that I've ever really felt at home anywhere. Did you ever have the feeling that you were just a little bit different? That you saw things that others didn't see (and perhaps missed things they did see)? Well, that's how I've felt much of the time.

It was my good fortune to come across Skeptic magazine in the bookstore at Georgetown University, and a new issue arrived in my shiny new mailbox about a month after I moved to Vermont. I read it eagerly, and saw an ad therein for a convention in Las Vegas featuring James Randi and Penn & Teller.

It was called The Amaz!ng Meeting 2, and I decided to go. And nothing's been the same since.

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So, you wanna be a skeptic? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   

If you read Swift, chances are you're skeptical about something. Maybe you think all psychics are frauds, or Jenny McCarthy is a massive health threat, or homeopathy is killing people who should be taking real medicine, or the 911 Truthers are full of it. I'm sure there's some form of bad thinking out there that sticks in your craw. And maybe, like me and many, many other folks, you've had enough.

Knowing that stuff, reading about it, is a whole lot different than getting off your keister and doing something about it. If you've got the itch, the need, the desire, the passion to get up and do something about all the nonsense facing the world, what can you do? What's the next step?

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