James Randi Educational Foundation

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May 2011

Take Action: Tell Congress to Close the Quack Medicine Loophole for Homeopathic Remedies

In response to the quack medicine industry’s “World Homeopathy Awareness Week,” the JREF called on Congress to close the loophole that exempts homeopathic remedies from certain FDA regulations that apply to drugs and nutritional supplements.

Click here to send a message to the Senate committee that oversees the FDA. Then share this action with your friends!

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Message from the President

Photo of D.J. Grothe

It has been a busy month at the JREF. As you see from the announcements included in this newsletter, we are excited to welcome Dr. Steven Novella to our team to head up JREF’s science-based medicine project. In this regard, we hope you will take action with us and ask Congress to make manufacturers of homeopathic remedies play by the same rules as everyone else. Below you’ll also read about our partnership with the Women Thinking Free Foundation to conduct opinion research on misinformation about immunization. 


I am happy to report that The Amaz!ng Meeting 2011, to be held July 14-17 in Las Vegas, has been met with a lot of enthusiasm: when the Early Registration period ended last Saturday, more than 1,000 skeptics had registered for the event. Regular registration rates are now in effect, and if you would like to join us this summer, please register online at www.amazingmeeting.com today.


A highlight for me this month was attending Randi’s performance of magic at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles a few days ago, at an event for the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. One of his assistants was Congressman Patrick Kennedy. To hear Randi talk in front of this distinguished audience of about 600 about his life's work as the world's leading skeptic, and about the important activities of the James Randi Educational Foundation, was inspiring. If you are new to the JREF, get inspired yourself by reading one of Randi’s celebrated books on skepticism, such as The Faith Healers or Flim Flam!. They’re both now available for the iPad and Kindle, as you will see below. 


On behalf of Randi and the rest of the JREF staff, thank you for helping us advance skepticism and critical thinking. As Randi puts it, the work of the Foundation is like the old Whac-A-Mole arcade game because a new purveyor of nonsense always pops up just as we successfully challenge the last one. It is important work, and we could not do it without your involvement and support.

Signature of D.J. Grothe

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Randi performs in a program on Magic and the Brain for the Friends
of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.
Congressman Patrick Kennedy and another gentleman assist.
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Dr. Steven Novella Appointed Senior Fellow, Appears on Dr. Oz Show

Photo of Dr. Steven NovellaScience educator and skeptic Steven Novella, M.D. is the JREF’s new Senior Fellow and Director of our new Science-Based Medicine project. Novella is an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine, and a critical figure in a number of skeptical endeavors, including the New England Skeptical Society and The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. He’ll now work with the JREF to provide the media and the public with trustworthy information about unproven alternative medical practices.

Last week, Dr. Novella appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, a syndicated program that promotes ‘energy medicine,’ homeopathy, and other quackery. Novella has challenged Oz to play fair, and be a guest on The Skeptics’ Guide to defend his belief in useless alt-med practices.

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JREF/WTFF Opinion Research on Childhood Immunization

During National Infant Immunization Week, the Women Thinking Free Foundation (WTFF) and the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) announced we’re joining together to conduct an opinion survey aimed at understanding the spread of the unfounded “vaccine panic” that prevents some parents from getting important immunizations for their children. The JREF will make the results freely available to public health advocates to help inform their efforts to support childhood immunity. Read more about this effort here. 

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Faith Healers Released on iBooks, Flim-Flam! on Kindle

Picture of Faith Healers iBookThe Faith Healers, James Randi’s damning indictment of the faith-healing practices of leading televangelists and others who claim divine healing powers, has been released for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch through Apple’s iBooks store for just $6.99. His skeptical classic Flim-Flam!, already available through iBooks, has now been released for the Kindle. These releases are part of the JREF’s ongoing effort to make both classic and modern works of skepticism and critical thinking available to wider audiences through new digital publishing technologies.

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JREF In The News

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