In the latest installment of our YouTube series The Randi Show, James Randi gives his thoughts on Sylvia Browne's latest "psychic" disaster. Once again, Browne told the parent of a missing child that her child was dead. Once again, Browne was wrong. This time, Browne's false prediciton involved Amanda Berry, whose gruesome kidnapping has made international headlines and put Browne in the spotlight, we hope for the last time.
Antibiotics for Low Back Pain (Harriet Hall) http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/antibiotics-for-low-back-pain/ A new study showed that antibiotics improved chronic back pain in a select group of patients who had MRI findings of bone edema adjacent to a herniated disc. It was good science, well designed, with a plausible rationale; but it would be premature to accept it before the study can be replicated and confirmed, and it mustn’t be extrapolated to back pain patients outside the limited subset that was tested.
We are happy to announce that distinguished climate scientist Michael E. Mann and renowned miracle buster Sanal Edamaruku will both be joining the The Amaz!ng Meeting 2013 program.
"You alluded to the word "skeptic." Well, many of those who simply deny that climate change exists, we don’t call them skeptics, because that’s not skepticism. That’s just denial or contrarianism. Now, skepticism is a good thing in science, but it means looking at all sides of an issue." — Michael E. Mann
Michael E. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC). Dr. Mann is author of more than 160 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming in 2008 and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines in 2012. He is also a co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning science website RealClimate.org.
"For many, the regressive belief in superstitions and miracles is an escape from the hardships of life. … They become vulnerable to exploitation by astrologers, godmen, dubious pseudo-psychologists, corrupt politicians and the whole mega-industry of irrationalism." — Sanal Edamaruku
Sanal Edamaruku is an Indian skeptic and founder of Rationalist International. He is the acting president of both Rationalist International and the Indian Rationalist Association, as well as editor of the internet publication Rationalist International. He has exposed numerous frauds, mystics and superstitions in India. In 2012, the Catholic Church filed a complaint against Edamaruku and he was criminally charged with hurting religious sentiments after he debunked a weeping Jesus statue in Mumbai. He has been forced into exile until the charges are dropped.
These are just the latest addition to our already stellar lineup including James Randi, keynote speaker Susan Jacoby, Dan Ariely, Susan Blackmore, Jerry Coyne, Susan Haack, Marty Klein, Cara Santa Maria, Steven Novella, Michael Shermer, and around 50 other presenters!
The common notion about being a "skeptic” is that you hold a generally questioning attitude or have a dubious opinion on a certain topic. At the extreme, terms like “climate skeptic” or “truther” express distrust and denial of scientific conclusions. Scientific skepticism, however, is an approach that emphasizes evaluating claims based on evidence. The process of skepticism is of great value to society to lessen the potential of believing or investing in something that isn’t all it appears to be, which may have social, financial or even tragic consequences.
"I Doubt That: The Media Guide to Skepticism" is a live workshop presented at JREF's Hollywood headquarters by Sharon Hill of DoubtfulNews.com. This presentation will provide a look into organized skepticism – what it is, what it means to be a skeptic, what skepticism isn’t, and why it’s important for everyone to know how to apply it in a world overloaded with questionable information. Come visit with some friendly neighborhood skeptics who can help you sort through the nonsense and critically evaluate some extraordinary claims. Find out the difference between merely saying “I’m skeptical” and REALLY applying skepticism.
Please join us at the JREF's Hollywood headquarters for "I Doubt That" Sunday, June 2 at 1:00pm. This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. If you plan to attend, please RSVP on our Facebook event page. And for Google Maps directions to our headquarters, click here.
Why do people believe the things that they do? While only science can generate testable hypotheses, advocates of various paranormal claims tend to rely more on anecdotes, appeals to authority and “intuition” and the general public tends to be ambivalent about the distinction between science and the supernatural. Ongoing controversies over intelligent design in schools, climate change and vaccination have demonstrated that the public perception about science is often shallow due to misunderstandings about how science works.
A recent article published in the Journal of Educational Psychology presents the results of a research study directly comparing the processes that influence how people form opinions on scientific and paranormal concepts. Written by Andrew Shtulman of Occidental College in Los Angeles, the article is part of his research program studying conceptual development relating to science education and how people weigh the actual evidence involved before forming opinions on complex subjects.