It's your friendly JREF neighborhood content editor here, trying to work through the new blogging format and bring you some good stories and information.
I'm lining up new contributors for SWIFT. You may see a bit of a change in tone and focus. Behind the scenes, the JREF is hammering out a new, more descriptive mission, and specific objectives and goals for the organization. A substantial part of that mission is aimed towards the general public, those that hopefully will look to the JREF for a rational take on extraordinary and questionable claims.
Expect to see some new voices that may address topics that are well-trodden in the skeptical literature, such as the paranormal and quackery. These topics could be a turn off for those who would assume that anyone who subscribes to such nonsense is stupid or overly gullible. The facts are that millions of people still believe in miracles, paranormal activity, UFOs as alien spaceships, faith healing, witchcraft, demonic possession and psychic powers. Millions tune into TV shows every week to watch people pretend to play scientists and hunt ghosts or find Bigfoot. Millions and millions take medical advice from celebrities or quack doctors, subscribe to conspiracy theories, or spend billions on useless or potentially dangerous consumer products.
Not all nonsense beliefs are harmful. Some are just fun and society can get along fine entertaining them. And many extraordinary claims are simply amusing and a normal part of society. Yet, millions have no inkling that those claims may be bogus. They may not find out in time that a treatment or advertisement is a scam. Every day, well-intentioned people hurt themseves physically, mentally, and economically because of bad decisions based on misinformation.
I will try to make SWIFT a means to reach out to families, friends, neighbors, colleagues, policy makers and interested individuals from the young to the wise with solid information and commentary about assessing extraordinary claims.
Please share posts that you find important with others in your family and your social network. That's an easy and effective way to spark some critical thinking.
If you would like to add your voice to SWIFT, take a look at our Guidelines for SWIFT contributors and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.