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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.

James Randi, Norm Edmund, and The Frustrated Compass PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

We get alot of interesting folks visiting the Foundation, and lately we’ve decided to begin filming them. Massimo Polidoro arrived from Milan this past Wednesday for a brief Floridian vacay, and yesterday Norm Edmund (of Edmund’s Scientific!), aged 93, swung by to join Randi and Massimo for lunch. After the jump, some candid, unscripted footage of Randi showing Edmund his Mova Globe, dishing about polar magnetism, and discussing the iPhone.

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A FINE TAKE ON LUNACY PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

This video, which deals with very specific subject, lunacy – the delusion of the biological effect of the full Moon – is really well-produced and organized.  I’ll refer you to three major parts – which are in English – and will give you a very good understanding of the content.  They are, referring to the elapsed-time bar at the bottom of the video – 32:25 to 40:10 (my interview), 45:29 to 47:23, in which a farmer gives a good reason for harvesting at full moon, and 48:30 to 55:05, where a psychiatrist provides an angle I’d never thought of, and explains a very good reason for fear of moonlight…

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How Come We Always Have To Wait Until Night To Do This? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

Common sense: Kids should be rewarded for good, not bad, behavior. The adults in their midst have a duty to discourage their anti-social, crazy, and excessively goofy tendencies, and to moderate any wild imaginative flights that could lead them to dishonesty, or to a permanent disfigurement of their budding worldviews. Most of all, adults must be square with them; mustn’t molest their cosmologies or affirm their infantile tendencies in such a way that the children will be mentally crippled or stunted. That’s my opinion.

Also my opinion: For the reasons above and probably several hundred more, Chip Coffey is one bad dude. Check out this clip from his show, Psychic Kids, the second season of which began airing last month, and continue reading after the jump. (I'd have embedded the vid, but its hosts have disabled that option. Probably to keep it from getting posted here.)

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A Faustian Bargain PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

By now, most of you have heard that the Pat Robertson has determined the cause of the recent earthquake in Haiti: it's the result of God's retribution for the nation having made a pact with the devil. In exchange for their freedom from French rule, the devil rules over Haiti. While I have long held Pat Robertson in disdain, he has reached a new height of audacity with this latest stunt. However, I feel there's a more important topic to discuss here than just the meaningless utterances of a failed doomsday prophet

Pacts with the devil date back centuries. While some pacts are for tangible goods, such as the classic Broadway production and film "Damn Yankees," the more insidious form involves human nature's quest for knowledge, with the most famous literary example being Goethe's Faust.  The idea that knowledge is somehow "evil" or to be avoided echoes back from the exploits of Prometheus, bouncing lightly off the Garden of Eden, and resting firmly in the social networks of the 21st century.

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Creation: The True Story of Charles Darwin PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

creationTo quote Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, the new movie Creation is a "thoughtful, well-made film that will change many views of Darwin held by the public—for the better." (Click the image for a preview.)

In this movie, we see Darwin as a young man, struggling with his faith as it conflicts with the evidence before him. His devout wife, less fond of beetles than Darwin, urges him to destroy Origin of Species before it's printed, and important men of the day urge him to abandon his heresy.

But as we know Darwin did not follow this advice, and the world changed forever.

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