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Excellent Choice PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Friday, 02 January 2009 00:00

oopReader John Michalski, a science teacher at East Hanover Middle School, NJ, writes to say that it’s

Good to have thinkers in the media, wherever we can find them.

Of course, we at JREF agree with John, who sends us to this site to learn that Stephen Whitty, the movie critic for the Newark (NJ) Star Ledger, gave a “science fiction" rating to "Expelled

Skeptical of Business Services... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brian Dunning   
Thursday, 01 January 2009 00:00

corporationIt's year end again, and about now I always get an extra annual load of junk mail. This particular batch is from companies who attempt to deceive small business owners into paying for unnecessary services that appear to be a legal requirement.

I received a typical solicitation today. Corporations are required to keep certain records, including the recorded minutes of shareholder meetings. In my case, once a quarter I type a sentence or two detailing any important decisions I made regarding my podcast, and I stick it in a file. This is a legal requirement, and it takes me ten minutes to comply.

Today's solicitation was from a company offering to store it for me, for $175, if I mail it to them. Nothing wrong with that. Probably not worth it, but certainly there's nothing wrong with offering such a service.

The Wall Street Journal Debunks the Myth of Alternative Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harriet Hall   
Wednesday, 31 December 2008 00:00

We frequently criticize the media for gullible reporting of pseudoscience and inaccurate reporting of real science. But sometimes they exceed our fondest hopes and get it spectacularly right. On December 25, 2008, the Wall Street Journal gave us all a Christmas present: they printed an article by Steve Salerno that was a refreshing blast of skepticism and critical thinking about alternative medicine.

Salerno points out that 38% of Americans use "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) and it is being increasingly accepted in hospitals and medical schools. He says this should be a laughing matter but isn't because of the huge amounts of money being spent on ineffective treatments. Not to speak of the huge amounts of money being wasted on implausible research at the NCCAM.

A Correction PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Tuesday, 30 December 2008 00:00

gvThis strange man George Vithoulkas, in Greece, is still flailing about on the subject of a comprehensive, definitive, homeopathy test, which convinces me that he's honestly self-deluded - as so many naifs are - that homeopathy actually works. Certainly, any reasonable person looking at the many tests that have been conducted to test the weird claims made ever since Samuel Hahnemann came up with this idea back in 1792, would immediately see that the "art" is simply imaginary. The tests that I approved to be done by the Royal Society and broadcast on BBC-TV, offering the JREF million-dollar prize, demonstrated that fact very strongly, so it takes a totally delusional mind to still think that there's anything there to be found.

Vithoulkas is currently celebrating the fact that I blamed the Greek homeopaths for aborting the arrangements for a test, when I should have said that it was the Hungarians who were responsible; since they're all deluded, I can't manage to keep them sorted out...  I also had a notice entered a week earlier than I'd said it would appear, and that provided Vithoulkas with a further source of glee.

I Don't Get the Joke: My Year-End Tirade PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Randi   
Monday, 29 December 2008 00:00

rwOn Xmas Day, "pastor" Rick Warren, the currently-celebrated evangelist who is on every TV screen and front page as the hand-picked preacher to deliver the invocation of divine magic at the Obama inauguration ceremony, gave an effusive, rambling account on the NBC Today Show that demonstrated his incredible naivety about rational thinking and how disconnected his brand of religion - at least - is from reality. He was gushing over a miracle that he said had "blessed" his family.

The facts: Warren said that his daughter-in-law Jaime gave birth to her first child six weeks prematurely, though he can't seem to remember whether it was five, six, or seven weeks, since he gave all three figures... The hospital, he said, performed a C-section to save the baby's life - and the mother's. In that procedure, Warren said, they discovered that it was a "breech baby," that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck and it was not receiving oxygen.

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