Sign up for news and updates!






Enter word seen below
Visually impaired? Click here to have an audio challenge played.  You will then need to enter the code that is spelled out.
Change image

CAPTCHA image
Please leave this field empty

Login Form



Shouting Fire PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Scott Hurst   
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 00:00

In the 1919 Supreme Court case of Schenck vs. United States, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. famously wrote "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic." By "falsely," Justice Holmes clearly meant shouting fire while not believing there to be a fire. It goes without saying, shouting fire in the event of an actual fire would never be a cause for punishment. It appears that shouting fire while holding a mistaken belief that there was a fire, a terrible and possibly lethal error, would likely be no cause for punishment, either. But what if that belief was based on no good evidence?

A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs. Doubts had been suggested to him that possibly she was not seaworthy. These doubts preyed upon his mind, and made him unhappy; he thought that perhaps he ought to have her thoroughly overhauled and refitted, even though this should put him at great expense. Before the ship sailed, however, he succeeded in overcoming these melancholy reflections. He said to himself that she had gone safely through so many voyages and weathered so many storms that it was idle to suppose she would not come safely home from this trip also. He would put his trust in Providence, which could hardly fail to protect all these unhappy families that were leaving their fatherland to seek for better times elsewhere. He would dismiss from his mind all ungenerous suspicions about the honesty of builders and contractors. In such ways he acquired a sincere and comfortable conviction that his vessel was thoroughly safe and seaworthy; he watched her departure with a light heart, and benevolent wishes for the success of the exiles in their strange new home that was to be; and he got his insurance-money when she went down in mid-ocean and told no tales.

What shall we say of him?

Read more...
 
Unique Opportunities! PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Monday, 04 May 2009 10:21

skepchicksThe JREF has some very good friends, and among them are Prof. Richard Wiseman and Skepchick.org. They've each donated amazing items for the TAM Scholarship fund, which helps people get to TAM 7. These auctions are open to anyone, whether you're attending TAM or not.

From Richard Wiseman:

Following in the footsteps of The Luck Factor and Quirkology, I am currently working on a new popular psychology book. It will be published by Knopf in the US in January. To help raise funds for the JREF TAM Scholarship program, I am offering one person the opportunity to have a special mention in the acknowledgments section of the American edition of the book. Everyone bids in the auction, and I will work with the winner to come up with a fun sentence for the acknowledgment (e.g., 'Special thanks to xx, who has the wit of Oscar Wilde, the brain of Einstein and the beard of Darwin' or 'I would also like to thank the ever wonderful xx - without you this sentence would not have been possible'). The winner can also choose to use the acknowledgment to mention someone else rather than themselves, thus making it an unique present for a friend, colleague or loved one. All of the money raised goes to the JREF TAM Scholarship program. So, get bidding and I look forward to seeing your name in the book......

Read more...
 
Randi Appears on Young Aussie Skeptics PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Sunday, 03 May 2009 00:00

Jason Ball writes:

Hello,

The Young Australian Skeptics had the privilege of interviewing James Randi at the CFI World Congress. The interview can be heard on the latest episode of The Pseudo Scientists, their official podcast.

Check it out at: youngausskeptics.com (Episode 10 direct link).
Become a fan on facebook.

Read more...
 
Dilute this Poll? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Friday, 01 May 2009 11:33

Those who follow me (or Scott Hurst, who introduced it to me) on Twitter or read PZ Myer's blog have seen calls for skeptics to vote in this poll regarding the effectiveness of homeopathy on Swine Flu, or as it is more properly known, H1N1. The mission is clear... overwhelm the poll with skeptic votes saying "No, Homeopathy can't help Swine Flu."

(If you don't know what Twitter is... you'll have to find someone more articulate than myself to explain it.)

I had an exchange with "CarrieP" on Twitter, which I will share with you.

CarrieP: Thanks for link. IMHO, Too much bashing, not enough details, in comments.  "homeopathy = crap" does no good on a pro-CAM site.

JeffWagg: The interesting question is, what does do good?

CarrieP: Indeed. I don't have a good answer there, I just try to be respectful and present the science more than attack the woo.

CarrieP: I work with the sweetest lady who's strongly into alt med. Changing her mind is like wearing down a rock with rainwater. S-L-O-W.

Read more...
 
There's a Difference PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Saturday, 02 May 2009 00:00

Reader "Roger" sent us this note:

I got an education this last weekend. I did not realize there was a difference between a "health" expo and a "wellness" expo. My buddy got us a booth to display our line of supplements and power nutrition. As I walked into the event center, I saw a couple of chiropractors. I don't know what you think about them, but they were there teaching people about good posture....okay, no problem.

As soon as I walked in the door to the main exhibit room, I was floored. First thing I saw was "aroma therapy"...doh!! Then there was a guy sitting between two pillars with a crystal dangling between them. He "channels" energy to the crystal because the nearest vortex is about 1000 miles away....double doh!! Of course, the psychics, clairvoyants, and mediums all had booths and were offering readings.... "Doh" doesn't cover it here. The event started at 11. About 10:45, about ¾ of the people in there started to meditate with an eerie chant. There was reiki, feng shui, an oxygen bar, light therapy, angel readings, crystal therapy - with crystals from the Himalayas...

Read more...
 
<< Start < Prev 331 332 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 Next > End >>

Page 335 of 406