James Randi Educational Foundation

James Randi Educational Foundation
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JREF News And Updates

February 2012

Photo of D.J. GrotheA Message From President D.J. Grothe
The past months have been a busy time at the foundation as our team continues the Whack-a-Mole battle against the purveyors of paranormal and pseudoscientific nonsense in our society. We did internet and media actions against celebrity psychics James Van Praagh and Psychic Sally, continued to educate the public about the consequences of unfounded belief, such as with the human rights abuses of accused witches in Africa, the dangers of alternative medicine, and homeopathy scams, and we continued publishing books on skepticism and critical thinking for the iPad, Kindle and Nook (be sure to check out Bob Carrol's new title!).

Our new series on the intersection of magic and skepticism launched in cooperation with the Academy of Magical Arts at the World Famous Magic Castle featured Randi for the first two events, and both are online here. A number of new videos have been added to our popular YouTube Channel, now the 14th most subscribed nonprofit channel in YouTube history, including talks by Phil Plait, Sadie Crabtree, and Michael Shermer. And we have been getting great feedback on our classroom resources teaching critical thinking through investigation of psychic powers, with more classroom modules to be released in the weeks ahead. The Randi Show, hosted by JREF's Brian Thompson, and featuring Randi himself, has been gaining a growing audience. And our media presence has been growing with our recent Open Letter to Dr. PhilHuffington Post article about Psychic Sally, and a recent Sirius/XM Radio feature on psychic charlatans that elicited really interesting listener feedback.

Randi has been traveling like a banshee, with recent talks in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Boulder, and throughout Florida, with upcoming appearances at Ohlone College in Fremont, CA and Metro State College of Denver, CO. JREF will also be at the Reason Rally, NECSS, SkeptiCal, and QEDCon. Be sure to come see the JREF next time we're in your neck of the woods!

Even with all this activity, I'm sad to say that a valued member of our team is leaving the foundation. Sadie Crabtree is moving to London to be with family, and you can read the announcement, as well as details about the staff opening, here. We will miss her and look forward to her remaining connected with the foundation going forward.

We couldn't do the work we do continue to do without supporters like you. While support for our work grew last year over the year before, it still amazes that an organization with our reach has as few members as we do. If just one of ten subscribers to our email list would become members, we would nearly quadruple the number of members we currently have.

Won't you please consider becoming a member of the James Randi Educational Foundation today?

Randi and I and the rest of the team are grateful every day for the opportunity to keep fighting back the darkness, speaking truth to the nonsense, puncturing the pretense of the charlatans. And with your help, we can expand those efforts.


President, James Randi Educational Foundation

horizontal separatorJames RandiWill you join me at the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C.?

On March 24, I’ll be speaking at the Reason Rally, where thousands of freethinkers will gather in Washington, D.C. for what could be the largest ever celebration of secular values in our nation’s capital. It’s just been announced that the brilliant musician and comedian Tim Minchin will be part of the Rally’s featured entertainment, along with punk rock band Bad Religion, more music and comedy, and addresses by leaders of the freethought community. How can you pass this up...?

The JREF is proud to be a founding sponsor of the Reason Rally, and I hope you’ll lend your support as well by joining me in Washington this March. You can find out more about attending at ReasonRally.org.

horizontal separatorsgu-at-tam.jpgSave The Date: TAM 2012 is July 12-15!

More than 1,650 people from all over the world attended The Amaz!ng Meeting in 2011, and TAM 2012 promises to be even more astounding. Put it on your calendar today so you don’t miss it!,The JREF’s annual conference in Las Vegas will be held this year from July 12 to July 16. Registration will open in just a few weeks.

horizontal separatorRandi at PorchlightRandi Shares Stories From His Life in San Francisco and Hollywood

During one week in January, James Randi spoke at two spectacular events—first, at the Porchlight storytelling series in San Francisco, where he drew an unprecedented turnout to the Contemporary Jewish Museum for “Abracadabra,” a Porchlight tribute to Harry Houdini. Second, Randi at the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood to continue his interview series, “In Conversation with Max Maven.”

Watch the video of Randi's second Magic Castle appearance.

Visit Randi.org for a report and photos from both events.

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An Honest LiarTrailer Released For Forthcoming Randi Documentary

If you attended TAM 2011 Las Vegas, you may have seen award-winning filmmakers Tyler Measom and Justin Weinstein walking around with their crew, shooting for this film. Measom co-directed the documentary Sons of Perdition, and Weinstein wrote and edited the Sundance jury-prize-winning Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey.

Their latest work-in-progress is an independently-produced documentary about the life and work of James Randi, called An Honest Liar: The Story of The Amazing Randi. You can learn more about the project at AnHonestLiar.com and watch the new trailer at Randi.org.

horizontal separatordr-phil2.jpgAn Open Letter to Dr. Phil from D.J. Grothe: Get Real

“As a T.V. psychologist, your oft-repeated advice to viewers is ‘get real.’ But the content of your Jan. 10 show was anything but. Instead of taking your own advice, you gave an uncritical platform to phony ‘psychics’ who abuse people’s emotions in order to fool them.”

Read the rest of JREF President D.J. Grothe’s letter, which was covered by D Magazine and Towleroad.

horizontal separatorJREF eBook Library Grows, Now Available Internationally

We're happy to report that we've now published six skeptical eBooks, in order to make these wonderful resources available to a wider audience—including An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Supernatural; Flim-Flam!; The Faith Healers; The Truth About Uri Geller; Unnatural Acts; and Homeopathy and its Kindred Delusions.

For our international supporters, our books sold through Apple's iBooks store are newly available in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Download JREF eBooks at Randi.org.

horizontal separatorUpcoming Events

  • March 10-11: D.J. Grothe speaks at QED in Manchester, UK.
  • March 24: James Randi speaks at the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C.
  • April 13: James Randi speaks at Ohlone College in Fremont, Calif.
  • April 21: Brian Thompson leads a breakout on skeptical activism at SkeptiCal in Berkeley.
  • April 21-22: James Randi and D. J. Grothe speak at NECSS in New York City, sponsored by the JREF
  • April 27-29: D. J. Grothe speaks at Atheistfest at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

horizontal separatorTop Posts from Randi.org Blog

horizontal separatorJREF In the News

  • The Jay Thomas Show | Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, February 15, 2012
    Interview with D.J. Grothe (not available online)
    resident of JREF and the host of For Good Reason, a critical thinking podcast, will tell us about the tricks fake psychics use to convince people of their powers.
  • The Thinking Atheist, February 16, 2012
    Faith Healers - With Special Guest James Randi
    In this show, world-famous illusionist and skeptic James Randi explains the faith healing phenomenon, exposes many of the fraudulent tactics of faith healers, and speaks about the $1 million challenge given to anyone who can demonstrate supernatural power.
  • Willamette Week, February 13, 2012
    Willamette Geek: The Week in Geek
    Noted skeptic and former magician James Randi will look at the trickery of various "think tanks" over the past three decades, "launching a world-wide plague of misinformation, the repercussions of which can still be felt today." Dun, dun duuuunn.
  • Darkness Radio | AM1130 Minneapolis, February 7, 2012
    Psychic Scams (interview with D.J. Grothe) — Listen Online

    JREF President D.J. Grothe on how to protect yourself from fake psychics, how sincere psychic advisors may be self deceived, the $1 Million Paranormal Challenge, and the psychological tricks psychics may use to appear to have supernatural abilities.
  • The Jay Thomas Show, February 6, 2012
    Interview with Banachek (not available online)
    Famed mindreader and Director of the James Randi Educational Foundation's Million Dollar Challenge, which challenges psychics to prove their claims.
  • The Buffalo Beast, February 3, 2012
    TWiC #5: Sally Morgan and other frauds

    One of the more celebrated debunking instances among skeptics is when James Randi and his cohorts caught the notorious scam artist / phony “faith healer” Peter Popoff red-handed lying to his audiences.
  • Doubtful Newsblog, January 30, 2012
    The Deliberate Skeptical Hoax

    James Randi orchestrated many hoaxes in order to demonstrate how easy it is fool people, especially people who think they can’t be fooled.
  • Overlawyered, February 6, 2012
    February 6 roundup

    U.K.: “‘Psychic’ Sally Morgan Sues Critics for £150,000 After Refusing $1 Million to Prove Her Powers” [D.J. Grothe, HuffPo] “She’ll be calling witnesses such as ‘an uncle, or father, or a man… with a b in his first name’.” [@thegagthief]
  • Furious Purpose, February 3, 2012
    Who the hell is Sally Morgan?

    Sally the psychic apparently didn’t like the offer of the challenge, and she sent some goons out to threaten Simon Singh with legal action.
  • Skeptic Money, February 1, 2012
    DJ Grothe Calls Dr Phil On BS Psychics

    In an open letter to Dr Phil, DJ Grothe, past host of Point-of-Inquiry, requests he “get real” and stop pandering to psychics.
  • Ask An Atheist, January 21, 2012
    “Dr.” Homeopathy (feat. James Randi)

    Deanna, Mike and Sam talk to to James Randi, the man at the front of a foundation with a million dollar prize for scientifically valid proof of the paranormal and a legend among skeptics.
  • ExpertsColumn, February 1, 2012
    The Amazing James Randi

    James Randi is an amazing man. He gave up his magic show years ago, but then he set out to debunk all the so called miracles of faith healers, mediums, and the supernatural.
  • India Today, January 29, 2012
    Early detection of autism in babies brings hope

    Model-turned-author McCarthy's support for Wakefield's report won her The James Randi Educational Foundation's Pigasus Award for the 'Performer Who Has Fooled The Greatest Number of People with The Least Amount of Effort' in 2008!
  • Wild About Houdini, January 19, 2012
    Randi reappears at The Magic Castle

    The legendary James "The Amazing" Randi made his reappearance at the (now re-opened) Magic Castle on Monday to continue his interview with Max Maven in the Inner Circle. It was, once again, standing room only, and Randi at age 83 was as energetic as ever.
  • Towleroad, January 15, 2012
    NEWS: Dr. Phil, Dr. Plait, And Dr. Paul
    “Gay skeptic and magician D.J. Grothe tells Dr. Phil what's up.”

  • Front Burner | D Magazine, January 12, 2012
    Dr. Phil Gets A Kick In The Pants
    “There is much to dislike about UNT product Dr. Phil (McGraw). You’ll recall two former DMN writers published an entire book of stuff to dislike about him. Now comes an open letter from the president of the nation’s largest skeptic group.”

  • Hufffington Post, January 12, 2012
    An Open Letter to Dr. Phil: Get Real (from JREF President D.J. Grothe)
    “As a T.V. psychologist, your oft-repeated advice to viewers is "get real." But the content of your Jan. 10 show was anything but. Instead of taking your own advice, you gave an uncritical platform to phony 'psychics' who abuse people's emotions in order to fool them.”
  • The New Statesman, January 12, 2012
    Could pseudo-science fund cancer research?
    “The geeks are on the march with increasingly vocal and co-ordinated calls for an end to crystal healing and the rest.... admirably spearheaded by the likes of Ben Goldacre, Simon Singh and Robin Ince over here, Penn & Teller and James Randi in the US....”
  • A.V. Club, January 11, 2012
    Ghost Hunters - Roller Ghoster
    “At times like this, you have to wonder if all that attention they get from people like James Randi and the editorial board of Skeptical Inquirer sometimes gets on the ghost hunters' nerves.”
  • Privé | De Telegraaf, January 6, 2012
    Derek Ogilvie unmasked? (link to machine translation)
    “The American James Randi examined some years ago, the forces of Derek through a test.”
  • The Bent Spoon, December 8, 2011
    Issue 7: Ghost Hunting, Pt. 1 (Interview with James Randi)
    “Yes, as a magician, I realized that I was in a unique position to be able to recognize how the so-called “psychics” were doing their tricks. When I became 60 years of age.... I decided that my time would be better spent investigating these matters and trying to inform people as to how they were being fooled.”

  • Token Skeptic, December 28, 2011
    Episode Ninety-Seven – Skeptical Activism 201: The Skeptics Strike Back (Panel with D.J. Grothe)
    From challenging anti-vax groups and homeopathy, to consumer awareness raising... What can skeptics do and how to get it right, by doing some research.”
  • Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle, December 19, 2011
    Word of the Day: 48A “Amazing Magician”
    "James Randi (born Randall James Hamilton Zwinge; August 7, 1928) is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF)."

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