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Roger Ebert Weighs In On Expelled PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Monday, 12 January 2009 00:00

Bruce Meinsen writes:

Dear Randi:

As a big fan of you and the JREF, it was with some interest that I looked for Ebert's review of Ben Stein's "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed", but the movie was released (April 18, 2008) without a peep from Ebert - which I thought quite strange for a movie that had such inflammatory material. It turns out that he waited until almost 8 months later to write/publish his review - and you can certainly see why if you read it. I didn't see any mention of it on your website and though it's somewhat belated, I thought it's important enough to point out to your readers. Here's the link if you're interested.

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WOO IN REVIEW: Criminal Profiling Contest PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   
Sunday, 11 January 2009 02:43

WOO IN REVIEW: Criminal Profiling Contest

After reviewing the television show Criminal Minds, I was surprised to discover how many people do not believe that criminal profiling has a value to criminal investigation better than, say, psychic detectives.

According to research conducted in the early 1990's, out of 192 cases where profilers had been called in as investigation support, only 88 were ever solved, and only 17% of that number were cases where criminal profiling was deemed a helpful element of the investigation.profiler1

It's important to remember, when examining that statistic, that criminal profilers aren't called in often, and only are when other investigation methods (such as forensics) have failed. The crimes investigated are hard to solve – harder than most.

There is also a misconception that profiles are intended to be used as evidence, or to directly lead to an arrest.

This isn't the case. Criminal profiling can be used, however, to eliminate suspects from a pool. And in order to review criminal profiling on the whole, I've designed a case of serial murder for you to participate in.

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NEW: James Randi Speaks on YouTube PDF Print E-mail
James Randi Speaks
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Saturday, 10 January 2009 14:56

randispeaksAs a new feature of Randi.org, we're proud to announce James Randi Speaks: a weekly video commentary from Randi on YouTube produced at the new JREF video studio. This week's feature: Problems with Miscommunication - James Randi talks about the ways in which people communicate and how some times things get misinterpreted.

This 8 minute video is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4ISmhwE1aY.

 
The Church Almost Answers — I Mean, You Know, Like... PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   
Saturday, 10 January 2009 12:00
davisOn Thursday, January 8th, Tommy Davis, a spokesman for the Church of Scientology International [COS], appeared on the NBC Today show to respond to questions about the possible COS influence on actor John Travolta's actions re the recent tragic death of his 16-year-old son, Jett. NBC interviewer Ann Curry asked Davis whether the Church approved of the use of "medicine prescribed by a doctor," to which Davis answered:

Absolutely, Ann. When - whenever you're dealing with any kind of physical condition - I mean - this - this isn't the kind of thing that's - that's even an option, I mean, this is - this is, mandatory, ah, ah, you know - you have some sort of physical condition diagnosed by a medical doctor and that doctor is prescribing the medication, the person is going to take it, I mean, just - just, like anybody else would. Dealing with a physical condition, you're going to do that.

Please note that Davis used the specific expression "physical condition" in this answer, three times. He had evidently been coached to emphasize that the COS - following their founder L. Ron Hubbard's confusing view of how the universe works - accepts medical intervention in "physical" problems. As for whether they were equally willing to discuss psychological or emotional situations, Davis was prepared to waffle and dodge, and he did. Examine the following section of the transcript and decide for yourself.

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Signals Disappoints PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Sunday, 11 January 2009 00:00

reflexologyboardSignals, the catalog that supports public television in the US, has let us down again. This time, they're pushing the Reflexology board:

A centuries-old healing art, reflexology reduces stress, boosts energy, and benefits your whole body from head to toe. The reflexology board is an important tool of Eastern acupressure medicine. Wooden nodes stimulate pressure points and enhance circulation.

Let's take this one at a time.

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