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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.

Happy Day! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

prophetFortunately, Utah "Prophet" Leland Freeborn has predicted that President-elect Obama will be prevented from taking his seat in the Oval Office due to a disaster. I say "fortunately," because this is as dependable as one of Sylvia Browne's predictions, though I see that she's now charging her followers a fee to know how wrong she is.  Mr. Freeborn is known as the "Parowan Prophet," and he's read 2 Peter 2:13 - that's a book in the Bible - that warns the naïve, apparently, about "riots."  I fail to see where riots in response to Obama's election come in, but Leland seems to. These riots, according to him, will encourage the remnants of the "old, hard-line Soviet guard" to fire nukes on the USA, taking out about a hundred million of us, which has to get our attention. The verse reads, in the King James version:

[These natural brute beasts] shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the daytime. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you.

Umm, okay, but no cigar. Maybe the "New Revised Standard Version" of this book makes more sense?

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A Very Good XMas Gift PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
frontcoverA book by the late Bob Schadewald, "Worlds of Their Own," deals with - as the jacket says:

A brief history of misguided ideas: creationism, flat-Earthism, energy scams, and the Velikovsky affair.

To that, I'll add: perpetual motion, general pseudoscience, and end-of-the-world nonsense, all handled in depth and with great perception. Bob was a prolific technical writer, and the best of these are very knowledgeable about real science. He also served on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Science Education, including two years as its president.

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WOO IN REVIEW: Lance Burton: Master Magician PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

Woo in Review: LANCE BURTON: MASTER MAGICIAN (Monte Carlo)

One of the funnest things an individual in Las Vegas can do with their spare time if they aren't using it to toss money directly down the metaphorical toilet is see a magic show. Perspectives on magic shows vary – some people might view them as glorified lounge acts; a form of entertainment on par with mime or synchronized swimming. I apologize to all mimes and synchronized swimmers out there. I'm sure your work has value too. Or something.
burton
But those of us who are involved in skepticism know very well how important magic is, and I don't mean just because magicians from Houdini to Penn & Teller are so involved in critical thinking. I don't just mean because so many, like Banachek or Jamy Ian Swiss or the ever-vigilant James Randi, promote science. Science is a beautiful thing, truly, and anyone looking at the world on either a grand or minuscule scale can feel the power behind things like learning what an atom is, or the composition of a distant planet.

This is the sense of awe we get from knowledge. There is another sense of awe that comes from taking everything we know about the world and turning it on its head. There is one kind of person who can alter what we think we know so quickly that their title has become synonymous with the inexplicable. They are called Magicians.

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Truth Rears its Ugly Head in Virginia PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Brandon Creasy, a 16-year-old junior student in Franklin County, Virginia, at the Leonard A. Gereau Center for Applied Technology and Career Exploration, claims that an opinion piece he wrote backing the theory of evolution is being censored by the school's principal, Kevin Bezy. The student believes that Bezy had problems with the piece because the he doesn't believe in evolution. Apparently, the principal felt that there was a potential for community backlash, something that any elected official must fear, regardless of the principles involved - pun fully intended.

This was an opinion piece, not a sermon nor a news article, and young Creasy says that he has no plans to revise what he wrote. He will resubmit it as is. SWIFT offers here the complete article; we'd like to hear from readers what they think of Brandon's effort.

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The Latest Virgin News PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Reader Marshall Pierce in Milwaukee alerts us:

Once, statues in churches cried REAL tears and bled real blood. But, this tops that! This is THE MOST insane I have ever heard. You will NOT believe this one!

Umm, Marshall, I'll believe that the woo-woos will say or print anything, particularly the church! Never challenge me on this! But you can try...

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