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A Faustian Bargain PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Thursday, 14 January 2010 10:57

By now, most of you have heard that the Pat Robertson has determined the cause of the recent earthquake in Haiti: it's the result of God's retribution for the nation having made a pact with the devil. In exchange for their freedom from French rule, the devil rules over Haiti. While I have long held Pat Robertson in disdain, he has reached a new height of audacity with this latest stunt. However, I feel there's a more important topic to discuss here than just the meaningless utterances of a failed doomsday prophet

Pacts with the devil date back centuries. While some pacts are for tangible goods, such as the classic Broadway production and film "Damn Yankees," the more insidious form involves human nature's quest for knowledge, with the most famous literary example being Goethe's Faust.  The idea that knowledge is somehow "evil" or to be avoided echoes back from the exploits of Prometheus, bouncing lightly off the Garden of Eden, and resting firmly in the social networks of the 21st century.

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Creation: The True Story of Charles Darwin PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 15:44

creationTo quote Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education, the new movie Creation is a "thoughtful, well-made film that will change many views of Darwin held by the public—for the better." (Click the image for a preview.)

In this movie, we see Darwin as a young man, struggling with his faith as it conflicts with the evidence before him. His devout wife, less fond of beetles than Darwin, urges him to destroy Origin of Species before it's printed, and important men of the day urge him to abandon his heresy.

But as we know Darwin did not follow this advice, and the world changed forever.

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CSI Elects JREF Associates as Fellows PDF Print E-mail
Latest JREF News
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 11:22

The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP), has announced sixteen new Fellows, including James Randi and Phil Plait.

Phil Plait, who recently received a "Skeptic of the Year" award from the Skeptics Guide to the Universe listeners, had this to say: "They are a prestigious and venerable organization, and to be included with this particular set of people is astonishing."

Randi responded: "I am sincerely flattered and honored to be invited back into the CSI fold. Being again a part of the operation is most satisfying to me."

The list includes many others associated with the JREF, including TAM speakers Steve Novella, Massimo Pigliucci, Robert T. Carroll and Harriet Hall.

The JREF offers its hearty congratulations to all inductees. CSI's full press release is below.

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Randi On (and Off) Chemotherapy PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Brandon K. Thorp   
Tuesday, 12 January 2010 16:51

Hello, and Happy Tuesday.

If Randi were still undergoing chemotherapy, he would have spent most of the morning at Broward General Hospital, getting hydrated and flushed and infused. But Randi’s done with chemo. Hear Randi’s thoughts on the subject after the jump.

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Prophecy Results PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Monday, 11 January 2010 18:18

prophecyimageSome of you may remember my article last year, wherein I invented a new form of mysticism related to iTunes, and shared my prognostications with the world. A year has passed, and it's time to to check my score. Though I don't actually claim to have any paranormal powers of prediction, I think you'll agree that I was quite accurate.


Here they are:

A major celebrity couple will break up amidst rumors of infidelity

Well, there were many this year in fact, but it was clearly Tiger Woods that was coming through so strongly.

An earthquake in South America will raise concerns over larger earthquakes in the future

I was only a few hundred miles off on this prediction, which actually referred to Honduras and Belize, in Central America. Residents have been warned to prepare for tsunamis, which often follow offshore events such as this one.

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