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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.

Sad News & an Uplifting Declaration PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

I have received a report from N. Innaiah, Chairman of CFI India, and M. Subba Rao, concerning the condition of our colleague Basava Premanand, the revered and justly famous Indian rationalist with whom I have had the honor to be associated for many decades. Premanand is the publisher of "The Indian Skeptic," a journal devoted to exposing the tricks of such frauds as Sai Baba, who is worshiped as a living god by countless naifs around the world. The excellent documentary film "Guru Busters" by British film maker Robert Eagle shows Premanand and his crew zealously exposing supposedly supernatural stunts such as levitation, flesh-piercing and live burials.

Premanand is now hospitalized with a terminal condition, his friends are caring for him, but he's not lost any of his zeal or determination to maintain his rational philosophy.

Read more...
 
What If? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

I'm asked this often... "What if someone won the JREF $1,000,000 Challenge?"

Well, what if? Let's consider. In order for someone to win the challenge, one of two things would have to happen. Either someone would have to fool us into believing they had paranormal powers, or they'd actually have them.

The first situation is carefully guarded against. The claimant's protocols are reviewed by magicians and statisticians before approval, and a lot of effort is expended to ensure that a crafty conjurer can't get past us. Those who were at TAM 7 can testify that the situation was carefully controlled, and the audience was unaware of many other precautions that were in place. So far, so good—no one has fooled us yet!

The second situation is much more interesting.

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Show, Don't Tell PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

When it comes to homeopathy, a written or spoken explanation sometimes doesn't suffice. After explaining it to people, I'm often told "But no one would believe that... you must have it wrong." While I'm confident that I'm repeating exactly what Hahnemman believed, it just doesn't make sense.

Stephen Packard to the rescue. Stephen has create a visual guide to understanding homeopathy, loaded with humor, images, and most importantly... facts.

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A Chance Encounter PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

I was recently at a gathering of skeptics. There were about 3 dozen people there, some of whom I knew, but many more who were strangers to me. One of these stood out a bit, and when I first noticed him, I knew he was going to want to speak with me.

He was soft-spoken, friendly, and over-dressed for the occasion. After patiently waiting for me to finish a conversation, he introduced himself.

"Hello, I'm Dave. I'm clairvoyant."

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Why Do Just One Woo-Woo? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

In Phoenix, AZ, people are gathering in a pub for pizza and astrology. Joseph Anthony, a person who proclaims himself to have "extraordinary sensory perception," will give you a 10-minute astrological reading for $20 while you enjoy your pizza.

There's nothing newsworthy about this, and yet he's been in the news frequently, including this reference from the local ABC affiliate. You'll notice not much critical thought going on there.

It's interesting to note that he's a "psychic astrologer." What does that mean?

Read more...
 
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