The DVD recordings of this year's JREF Amazing Meeting were hindered by a technical problem; it seems an entire DAY'S worth of audio was lost. A plea apparently went out to attendees to see if anyone had recordings of that day's talks. From the JREF store:
However, due to our audience's complete disregard for instructions to refrain from recording the proceedings, and a heroic effort by JREF video manager Rich Montalvo, we recovered most of the audio, and we were able to put those presentations on the DVD.
While I think the JREF has done some really great work for the scientific community in the past, I've been growing increasingly tired of Randi's antagonistic attitude, and feel that he may actually be hurting the "skeptic community" as well the public's opinion of science in general. I'd really like to get him to tone his act down a little, maybe stop trying to make people seem foolish in addition to pointing out where they're wrong. Unfortunately, though, he's loved (almost worshiped) by the majority of skeptics out there, so I can't see that happening on its own any time soon. Anytime someone makes a negative claim about Randi, no matter how valid it is, Skeptics just shout them down.
When I saw these Randi Voodoo Dolls, they seemed like just the thing!
I've been stabbing that thing with the included pins at regular intervals, hoping and believing -- 'cause that's the trick with Voodoo... you apparently have to believe in order for it to work -- but Randi keeps going strong, ranting about evil works of fiction and television programs (all the while decrying those that rant about how evil the types of television programs he would like to see are), seemingly unaffected by the magic I've been trying to work.
Strangely though, I've been noticing a correlation between my stabbing and the rise in popularity/credibility of anti-Darwinian proponents. Creationists and other Intelligent Design proponents attempt to cast the theories of Darwin in doubt, claiming "scientific" evidence, when really all they have to support their claims is religious Mumbo Jumbo1. It seems like more and more of the uninformed public are getting behind these people, thinking that what they're promoting is science despite the fact that their claims are downright loony. As a skeptic, I know that correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation, but as a Voodoo practitioner I suspect that this is causatory. My stabbing is having an unforeseen side-effect, and I don't know why.
I did a little investigating and uncovered something completely shocking! Take a look here at the tag affixed to mini-Randi's bottom:
What is the JREF trying to pull here? This is clearly a Charles Darwin Voodoo Doll, and they're trying to pass if off as a James Randi Voodoo Doll. Not only is this fund raising attempt dishonest, it's downright malicious! I mean, it's fine and dandy to sell a Voodoo doll of yourself, but selling one of someone else is terrible.
I did a little checking, and guess what I found out? Charles Darwin is dead.
Coincidence? I think not. Shame on you JREF.
1: I use the term "Mumbo Jumbo" because it seems to fit well with my little Voodoo motif, not because I want to be disrespectful. I have my own crazy religious beliefs, and I deeply respect yours. They just aren't scientific in nature, so please stop trying to convince people they are. "Because it says so in the Bible" has been good enough for 2,000 years, there's no reason you need to go trying to have science back you up now as well. In the words of famed theologian George Michael, "You gotta have faith. Faith-fa-faith!"