The Amazing Meeting 2014

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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.

Creationists Believe the Darndest Things PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   

Finding young Earth creationist lunacy is like walking into an elephant paddock at a zoo and hoping to find poop. All too easy.

I say this because in England, thinking the Loch Ness monster disproves evolution can help get you a job! A group there called The National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) provides information on vocational and academic skills -- they're something like an accreditation group. They reviewed the curriculum involved in getting an International Certificate of Christian Education (ICCE): a certificate granted after passing a creationist course that's taught in about 50 private Christian schools in the UK. And what did the NARIC find? That this certificate is just fine and dandy, and equivalent to international A levels (a scholastic certificate that shows competency in a particular course).

 
The Airport Vortex PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

airportvortexI was recently in Sedona, Arizona. One of the United State's most beautiful spots, it's no wonder that people flock here for vacations. Imagine an idyllic southwestern landscape, and put a town in it. That's Sedona.

Sedona is also woo-woo central.

Psychics, aura photographers, crystal shops, and all manner of New Age belief is rampant here. There's even a UFO Crash Landing museum and store, with nightly UFO tours out into the desert.

But the big unique attraction here are the "energy vortices," or "vortexes" as seems to be the local parlance. We're all familiar with the concept of a vortex - it's the funnel shape you find in a tornado or a draining bathtub. But how does that relate to energy?

 
Denny’s Discrimination Update PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

It's been a few weeks since I wrote about discrimination at a Denny's in Euless, Texas, and I thought an update was in order.

I have not heard from either the corporate office or local franchise holder, either via e-mail or postal mail. I'm not too surprised by this, and I do expect a response at some time. I sent the letters via certified mail, and they were both received.

I do have an interesting follow-up though.

A few days after the original incident, I had occasion to be in Holbrook, Arizona. For breakfast, I decided to eat at - you guessed it - Denny's. The restaurant looked identical, but the experience was quite different. In fact, it was incredible.

 
Profiles of the Godless PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Christina Stephens   

Back in early July, I argued in this Swift post that studies reporting greater health (especially mental health) among strongly religious people using a control group of nonbelievers were weakened by the fact that nonbelievers may be too heterogeneous a group to make an adequate comparison to strongly religious populations. I pointed out the need to study nonbelievers as a group on a larger scale in order to determine if there were any meaningful differences between different subtypes of nonbelievers.

As such, I was pleasantly surprised when the newest issue (August/September 2009) of Free Inquiry magazine arrived in my mailbox. Hiding in the pages of the magazine is an article reporting on the results of a study which did exactly that.

 
A Death in the Family PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   

Here is a report on a crime with four victims and no perpetrator. In June, Australian couple Thomas and Manju Sam were convicted of manslaughter. Their first child, Gloria, died of eczema-related complications in 2002. She was nine months old, and had been battling illness over half her life. To deal with her eczema, she was treated almost exclusively with homeopathic remedies.

Today, sentencing recommendations were submitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

 
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