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The Trouble With Open-Mindedness PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   
Saturday, 04 April 2009 00:00

JREF fan Clare Zimmerman alerted us to this brilliant video that illustrates perfectly the basic problem with the all-too-common accusation that skeptics are closed-minded.

 


 

Because we rely on evidence before we decide whether a claim is correct or not, we skeptics are not closed-minded! Instead, we filter the ideas that get into our heads, allowing us to separate sense and nonsense. As the saying goes, have an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.

 
The JREF YouTube Account is back online! PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Phil Plait   
Friday, 03 April 2009 09:00

We're pleased to announce that our YouTube channel is back online.

Our account had been suspended by YouTube due to some copyright complaints on a handful of videos we had uploaded. The videos in question have been removed, the proper hoops have been jumped through, and YouTube restored the account. We are currently going though our inventory to make sure any videos that we even suspect might be in violation are removed. There are 200+ of them, so it'll take us some time, but we're on it.

I'd like to thank all our supporters once again for the outcry when this happened. But I'll also gently chide some of you: there were many rumors, accusations, and conclusions jumped-to when our account was taken down. As you can see, no one was attacking us, and no one acted unfairly - the complainants were within their rights, and YouTube acted according to their rules. In fact, when we started conversing with one of the complainants and with YouTube, everyone acted in a civilized and even friendly manner. The matter was resolved quickly and, I think, to everyone's satisfaction.

Because of this, I'd like to personally thank everyone involved with this as well.

So we're back on the air! You can expect to see more Randi Speaks soon, as well as our usual skeptical take on all things unskeptical. Thank you to everyone for your support and patience.

 
Randi Speaks: Why Do We Still Believe? PDF Print E-mail
James Randi Speaks
Written by Jeffrey Wagg   
Monday, 30 March 2009 10:25

Many years ago, learned people realized that the masses believed many things that weren't true. Why do they still? Many years ago, learned people realized that the masses believed many things that weren't true. Why do they still? In this week's edition, Randi discusses a vist to the first "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!" Museum, chopping off Alice Cooper's head, and The Madness of Crowds.

To leave a comment, please visit YouTube.

 
Jenny McCarthy's Body of Work PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Phil Plait   
Friday, 03 April 2009 00:00

mccarthybodycountJenny McCarthy is well-known as an actress and something of a bawdy comedian. But her fame is growing in less elevated circles: she's an outspoken promoter of the anti-vaccination movement. Her claims that vaccines cause (or contribute to) autism are nothing short of breathtakingly ridiculous. It's why she won our 2008 Pigasus Award.

Medical doctors Orac and Steve Novella have written extensively about her, as has Skeptical Dad, and the Stop Jenny McCarthy site was created to expose her as the danger she is.

But the bar has been set even higher now: a new website has been created called Jenny McCarthy Body Count. Stark and grim, it has one purpose: to show how many preventable illnesses and preventable deaths have occurred due to unvaccinated people since Jenny McCarthy became the de facto face of the antivaccination movement. The website, created by skeptic Derek Bartholomaus, stops short of saying she is directly responsible for these illnesses and deaths, but her indirect responsibility is arguably relevant.

Read more...
 
Report from Phoenix Skepticamp PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Thursday, 02 April 2009 00:00

Don Lacey, known to chat room and forumites as AZAtheist, recently attended the Phoenix SkeptiCamp. I'll let him tell the story:

The meeting was held in Discovery Hall on the Arizona State University Campus with about 20 people attending. This was the fifth SkeptiCamp based on a conference concept called BarCamp which Reed Esau adopted for Skeptics. Obviously, Jim had put a lot of work into making this SkeptiCamp happen. Due to the sponsorship from Skeptics Society/Skeptic magazine, James Randi Educational Foundation, and Center for Skeptical Inquiry/Skeptical Inquirer magazine, the cost was free. Actually, it was better than free. In addition to the free T-shirts, there were books and magazines available for all the participants.

Jim Lippard began by talking about SkeptiCamp. The first rule of SkeptiCamp is that you talk about SkeptiCamp. BarCamp has 8 rules and the skeptics' version adds 9th rule: "Prepare to back up all stated claims."

There was a live blog being recorded by Tony Barnhart (Magic Tony); replay it and catch all the comments from the Blogosphere that occurred during the meeting.

Notable attendees included: Michael A. Stackpole of the Phoenix Skeptics on "Practical Techniques for Street Skepticism," John Lynch on "Academic Freedom and Intelligent Design," and Tony Barnhart on "Methods of the Pseudo-Psychic."

Read more...
 
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