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Proudly Flaunting Ignorance PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Thursday, 20 August 2009 00:00

verizonThere seems to be no limit to the willingness of ignorant people to demonstrate their lack of understanding.  This example shows how abysmally some folks at Verizon failed at simple 4th-grade-level arithmetic.  Go to http://tinyurl.com/r2l5ar and hear part of a telephone discussion between a customer and the Verizon geniuses concerning a billing item. This incredible exchange runs just over 3 minutes. I suggest you first listen to this, then return here...  Go!

A good question for the Verizon geniuses could have been, "Is 100% of a cent the same amount as 100% of a dollar?"  If their answer were "No," follow that with "Is .002 percent of a cent the same amount as .002 percent of a dollar?"  The answer to both questions has to be the same...

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A B Kovacs is leaving the JREF PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Phil Plait   
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 13:13

We are sad to announce that A B Kovacs, our Director of Operations, is leaving the JREF. During her tenure with us she has worked tirelessly and with devotion to further the cause of the JREF, but sometimes outside events intervene.

A B was and will remain a great friend to the JREF and to the skeptical movement. She prepared a short statement for our community:

For the past 7 months, I have truly enjoyed my time as the Director of Operations for the JREF. I especially liked TAM7 planning with the team and getting to know some of you much better.  Some of you may know that to take on the role of Director of Operations, I became a partner in a fledgling business called Audacity Events.  This enabled me to work with the JREF and still meet the needs of my family. Unexpectedly, Audacity Events has taken off and for the past few months, I have been torn between my role at the JREF and my role as a business owner.   If time were not an issue, and it became possible for me to work 3 full time jobs, I would be able to maintain the level of commitment to the JREF that the skeptic community deserves.  However, time is an issue, and I find that my non-JREF responsibilities are taking up more time than I anticipated.

As a skeptic, the JREF has been and will continue to be very important to me. However, as a business owner, my life is going in a slightly different direction. After much discussion with Phil, we have mutually decided that it is best for both the JREF and for me that I focus on Audacity.  I will continue as both a member of the JREF community and a fan of the organization. I do hope that I will see you all both here on the Forum and over at Skepchick.org!

While we're unhappy to see her go, we hope for the best for her, and will always look forward to seeing her at skeptical events in the future.

 
"Quantum" Arguments Can't Explain Consciousness or the Supernatural PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   
Wednesday, 19 August 2009 00:00

Victor Stenger is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and an accomplished quantum physicist who has written numerous books explaining physics, analyzing religious claims, and debunking popular ideas supposedly derived from quantum physics.

In the foreword to Stenger's latest book, Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness, Michael Shermer writes,

Either there is evidence for the supernatural and the paranormal, or there isn't. There isn't. Victor Stenger explains why there isn't. Read this book to find out why.

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The Airport Vortex PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Monday, 17 August 2009 00:00

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?

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Creationists Believe the Darndest Things PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   
Tuesday, 18 August 2009 00:00

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).

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