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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.

Homeopathology PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   

We skeptics can rant and rail against homeopathy, how it's useless, how it's nothing more than water, how there is no real methodology or mechanics behind it, how it's been shown over and over not to have any efficacy over the placebo effect... ... but sometimes simple mockery is the best way to sway people's hearts.

 


 

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How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Hold My Tongue PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Richard Saunders   

Over the years, I have gained a reputation for being cool in the face of utter nonsense. Attending many, many Mind Body Spirit (Wallet) festivals has taught me to keep a straight face, feign ignorance and ask questions.  This approach has given me a valuable insight into the thinking of those we oppose or at least investigate.  It’s hard to underestimate the amount of information peddlers of woo, will gladly tell you when you seem really interested in what they have to say.  My best result was a number of years ago when I managed to have members of the Australian Homeopathic Association Inc tell me at a Parents, Babies & Childrens’ Expo to keep clear of orthodox vaccinations but instead use homeopathy. (See Homeopathy Exposed Again! ) This resulted in Australian Skeptics blowing the whistle on the Australian Homeopathic Association Inc in the press and on radio.  A good outcome for our side.

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Acupuncture versus Electro-Acupuncture: Application of Occam's Razor PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Christina Stephens   

When one sees press release headlines like, "For Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Acupuncture and Exercise May Bring Relief, Reduce Risks", as seen here, one tends to assume that the content of said press release concerns a specific alternative medicine procedure in which fine needles are inserted into specific parts of the body for therapeutic purposes based on the hypothesis that the needles can alter "energy".  When one reads the text of the press release, one is greeted with, "Exercise and electro-acupuncture treatments can reduce sympathetic nerve activity in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), according to a new study."

Electro-acupuncture and acupuncture are two different things and should not be used synonymously.

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All You Need is Love. (Pass it on.) PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   
skeptilovelogo

Recently, I was working out of the JREF offices in Ft. Lauderdale. Sean McCabe, Randi’s personal assistant, volunteered to drive me to the airport when my weekend of sandy beaches was over, and it was time to return to my home – land of sandy deserts (Las Vegas).

We had some time to kill before heading to the airport, and drove around in circles for a while. We passed a sign outside a building that said, simply, “Please Give Peanut Butter. Thank You,” and decided there was no better way to kill time than giving peanut butter to random people who asked for it. We drove to a gas station, picked up peanut butter, and headed back to the building to find someone to hand it to – not knowing what the building was, or what the peanut butter was even for.

I mean, perhaps it was like asking your neighbor for a cup of sugar when you’re baking cookies. Just more elaborate.

But, in fact, we found ourselves donating peanut butter to a Christian outreach group benefitting the homeless and impoverished in Ft. Lauderdale.

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A Ghost Story PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Naomi Baker   

ghostyI saw a ghost.

Or maybe it was a spirit. I was a young teen, maybe 13.  In the dark of night, something caused me to waken.   Moonlight poured through a window covered only by thin yellow curtains, giving the room a honey-colored glow.  The house was built in the early 20th century, and like many small houses of that time, the room had doorways on either side, one leading into a living area and the other into an adjacent bedroom. My little brother was gently snoring on the adjacent bed.

My mother stood near the foot of the bed, wearing the simple cotton housecoats that she preferred in hot summers.  Her hand on her chest, she was muttering, or perhaps moaning. I could not tell if she was speaking words, but I sensed she was in distress, or pain.

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