TAM 7 is fast approaching and those of you who have already signed up may have noticed something a bit different at the bottom of the registration page. This year the JREF is working with the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) to provide vaccinations for the children in Nevada.
Nevada has one of the worst vaccination rates in the nation. The reasons are multifactorial. Though there is a significant fraction of children who remain unvaccinated because of the distrust of vaccine safety spread by the current anti-vaccination movement, lack of health insurance, a large transitory population, and poverty (Las Vegas unemployment is now over 10%) also play a large role in its dismal vaccination rate.
Belief is a powerful and frightening force. It defies evidence, logic, and reason. It is not to be trusted. A prime example of that was brought to my attention by the site weirdthings.com, which offers many such ponderances.
An hour south of Washington, DC, mysterious rings have been observed floating above the King's Dominion amusement park. Visible for up to 15 minutes, they seem to hover in place and then move on their own accord. They're unlike any aircraft built by man. They're so unique, that they've been reported by CNN. One witness, Deena Smith, wondered if it was the end of the world. A UFO investigator says that it's similar to a UFO seen in the 50's.
And yet, we have everything we need to solve this mystery.
Marmite is a yeast paste favored by Brits and Aussies, but somewhat shunned in the states. Having actually tried the stuff, I do wonder how folks can enjoy it. But then again, I like peanut butter and Fluff sandwiches, and I understand that marshmallow creme is a rather American phenomenon.
And though I've opened exactly one lid of marmite and countless dozens of lids of marshmallow creme, I can't say that I ever noticed anything quite as noteworthy as that which Claire Allen discovered on the lid of her marmite jar as she made lunch for her four year old son.
This week, beacon of truth FoxNews had an interview with two champions of reason: John Edward and Sean Hannity. Removing tongue from cheek, I present to you an interview that demonstrates two things: 1) it’s still cool to be “the skeptic” and 2) to quote Southpark, “John Edward is the biggest douche in the universe.”
John Edward, when asked why he doesn’t defend what he does, had this to say:
Because as soon as — as soon as you have to defend something, then you're admitting that something needs defense. So I kind of, like — I come from a place of I'm a spiritual person. I believe in God. I would never defend my belief in God. People either do believe or they don't believe, and that's OK. That's their choice.
So I feel the same way about this. As soon as I go to a place I have to defend it, I feel like you immediately lose. I have no problem explaining it, though, or trying to teach about it.
Well, guess what John… if you want us to believe that you can TALK TO THE DEAD, yes, you’re going to have to defend it. Do so succesfully, and we'll give you $1,000,000. This "non-answering" is a favorite technique of so-called psychics and mediums, as it puts all the pressure on the person who has questions, and make them feel guilty for somehow doubting such an esteemed individual. Alas, we skeptics are like that.