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How's Your Health, Skeptics? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Christina Stephens   
Friday, 03 July 2009 00:00

Medical literature frequently reports finding that strong religious belief or spirituality has a positive effect on health outcomes with regard to longevity, measures of mental health, recovery after illness, and other health measures. Generally, findings show that people who attend religious services once or more per week have fewer physical and mental illnesses, recover more quickly from illness, and have lower mortality rates than individuals who attend less frequently or not at all. [1-3]

Naturally, it is easy to infer from the abundance of literature linking religion to positive health outcomes that people who are less religious or nonreligious are less healthy and more mentally and physically ill, I.E. -that there is something wrong with us. Yet it is important to note exactly to whom these religious individuals are being compared.

Review: The Ghost Map PDF Print E-mail
Written by Naomi Baker   
Thursday, 02 July 2009 00:00

"The probability of an outburst or increase during [calm, mild] weather, I believed to be heightened on holidays, Saturdays, Sundays, and any other occasions where opportunities were afforded the lower classes for dissipation and debauchery"  - unattributed quote by ‘expert' regarding how cholera disproportionally attacks the poor and other social underclasses, in Victorian London.

As strange as this seems to modern eyes, this statement was backed up by scientific evidence, or at least what passed for such in England of the mid-19th century.  During this time, the predominant theory for the spread of contagion and sickness was miasma (Greek for "pollution"), that is bad smells and foul air were the causes of disease.

The Ghost Map: the Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, by Steven Johnson (Riverhead Books) is the story of Dr. John Snow and Rev. Henry Whitehead's discovery of the water-born transmission of cholera, a disease which struck with terrifying regularity in London and other large cities.  The popular folklore is that Dr. Snow plotted cases of cholera deaths on a map, and deduced that the outbreak's source was a particular well in a poor section of London, and removed the handle to the pump, thereby halting the epidemic, and was hailed as a hero.

TAM 7: Buses to P&T Sat and Sun Available $15 PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   
Tuesday, 30 June 2009 15:06

Given the distance from South Point to Rio where Penn & Teller will be performing, the JREF has arranged for a motor coach to take people to and from the events. To help recoup the cost for this, we'll be collecting $15 per person at registration. Space is limited! If you'd like to reserve a seat, please send an e-mail to



That's My Kid Too PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael Goudeau   
Tuesday, 30 June 2009 00:00

tamyspeakerThe real science is obvious and overwhelming. Vaccines don't cause Autism. Mercury in vaccines didn't cause Autism. Jenny McCarthy's son was vaccinated after mercury was removed from the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine. Autism rates haven't dropped as a result of mercury being removed from vaccines. Autism rates are the same in vaccinated and non-vaccinated kids. There are big studies around the world showing this to be true. They are the best science we have and science is our only hope in solving this. Chip Denman said it best, (Forgive my paraphrasing) "Science is not a smorgasbord. You don't pick and choose what you want to believe. You sit down and take what you're served."

Autism rates won't be changed by Jim Carrey or Jenny McCarthy but there will be dead and injured people as a result of their anti-vaccine campaign. Some people claim there already are: Read about measles, mumps and rubella and the damage they did before vaccines. We've forgotten the damage these diseases and others brought before vaccines. Ask your grandmother. If we stop the vaccines the Center for Disease Control thinks we'll have 2.7 million deaths worldwide annually from measles alone.

TAM 7 Penn & Teller Tickets Sold Out! But... PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   
Monday, 29 June 2009 16:21

Yes folks it's true.. we've completely sold out of our block of Penn and Teller tickets for both nights during TAM. We're thrilled that so many of  you will be joining us at the Rio, and sorry for those who couldn't make it.

If you'd still like to attend the show, there are tickets available through normal channels. You won't be sitting with us and the pricing is different, but you will see the same show. :) The two TAM dates are July 11 and July 12.

For more information, the Rio Box Office.

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