On a recent driving trip I realized at one point that I was completely relying on my GPS device to tell me, turn by turn, where to go. If my GPS lost its signal I would have no idea where I was or how to proceed. In the past I would navigate with maps and I would have a pretty good idea of the roads between me and my destination. Now I mindlessly do whatever my cell phone tells me to do.
Is something similar happening in modern medicine? There is no question that our modern technology has given us powerful diagnostic tools, but has this atrophied our most important tool of all, our brains?
There exists an online discussion forum titled “Parapsychology and alternative medicine forum” focused on the Skeptiko podcast, which has previously featured JREF president D.J. Grothe as a guest, where the interview focused on the JREF’s Million Dollar Challenge. On this forum, there is a lengthy discussion about me and the JREF. As we might expect, I seem to be the classical “thorn in the side” for them, a convenient focus for their ire and their fear.
I’ve selected the first two full pages of their complaints, criticisms and comments, and over the next week or so, I’ll make my observations on them, correcting the spelling grammar, and punctuation – for clarity – and removing any names found there.
Since I found that the first 14 items I came upon flaunt most of the misconceptions held about me and the Foundation, dealing with those just may clear the air a bit in this respect. These items are taken in the order they came up on the site. There are 14…
In 2008, the Amaz!ng Meeting 6 took on the theme “I, Skeptic”, exploring the role skeptics play in the modern, digital age. We are happy to present our keynote speaker from that meeting, astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who delivers a fiery defense of critical thinking and a skeptical worldview.
You can check out JREF's other videos from The Amaz!ng Meetings, which have been viewed nearly 1.5 million times since we started making them available online for free, at YouTube.com/JamesRandiFoundation.
The following hastily scrawled letter was found one morning slipped under the door at the JREF Blog Department of Education addressed to “Any Skeptical Professor.” If you are an educator and would like to contribute to the Swift Blog’s series about skepticism and education, please contact Bob Blaskiewicz.
Dear Skeptical Professor,
I am a college student, and recently my biology instructor has said some strange things. The other day, he was talking about "all the toxins in our food and our environment.” He also said, "With all the pesticides in our food, it's no wonder cancer is now the number one killer in America, even more than heart disease." He also talked about the professor who was reported to be looking for young woman to surrogate a Neanderthal baby. He apparently didn't know the professor had been misquoted.
I'm at a loss. I don't want to embarrass him in front of the class, but I also hate that he's passing on misinformation. I also have to consider that if I make trouble, there goes my GPA!