Randi and others have written many times on the outrageous claims about facilitated communication (FC). This month, we have another court decision that provides some relief and another nail in the coffin for this communication process that has not been shown to work. This particular court decision, a civil case, was a smack down to police, prosecutors and a school. It has reminded us how false beliefs can be a dangerous and manipulative tool in court.
Some crazy news this week. You'd be wise to be very skeptical of this week's media headlines from Doubtful News.
Legend tripping gone wrong? Man stabs himself in a “haunted” house What happened this night when a paranormal investigator stabbed himself in the chest while visiting the Villisca murder house in Iowa, a place he had been before? It’s still not clear. Will the event enhance the haunted reputation? Does it suggest that some people take their hobbies a bit too far and become too emotionally affected? That is also not clear.
UK paper stokes fire of Satanic Panic. False before, what makes it true now? The claims sound remarkably the same as they did in the 1980s and 90s about underground Satanic groups conducting rituals and pulling children off the street for blood sacrifices. It was bogus then and no new evidence has shown up of late to make these new tabloid accusations plausible. Facts don’t matter, since the story is meant to scare people.
TV news in Virginia promotes disturbing story about “reincarnated” 4-yr old A local news station in Virginia highlights an exploitative tale for Veterans Day about a mother who thinks her child harbors the spirit of a US Marine killed in Beirut in 1983. The story is full of red flags that it is baseless and exaggerated. We sent this link with a complaint to the news station, they never responded.
Kent Hovind, Creationist, must like jail a lot Hovind and another man who holds contempt for US tax laws have been charged with mail fraud and criminal contempt for interfering with the sale of Pensacola properties Hovind was forced to forfeit as a result of his 2006 tax evasion case. He’ll have another trial for this charge in December.
Blockbuster Bible bombshell book: Jesus married Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene? A pair of authors are promote a new book but Biblical scholars say there is nothing to be excited about. In fact, the reviews are particular bad. One of the authors simply makes actual archaeologists cringe with his sensationalist conclusions.
L’Aquila decision against geoscientists overturned Very good news to report out of Italy all but one of the geoscientists involved in the misguided ruling regarding earthquake prediction are off the hook. Six who were convicted of manslaughter over their supposed advice about earthquake hazards had their rulings overturned. Only one, who made erroneous statements to the press, had his sentence reduced. The L’Aquila earthquake of 2009 killed over 300 people.
Catholic priests in Kenya preaching unfounded claim about tetanus vaccine Pseudoscience and misinformation sites are promoting this story about deliberate vaccine contamination in Kenya. The claims have not been confirmed and are regarded as false by health officials and medical professionals. Yet, the conspiracy mongerers and Catholic Priests in Kenya are fanning the flames that the tetanus vaccines contain a nefarious birth control additive.
New evidence of mystery creature in Lake Champlain? Dennis Jay Hall and Katy Elizabeth, self-proclaimed “Champ” experts, claim to have discovered evidence of not only a relict reptile that is the monster but also a Beluga whale in the lake. While the latter is exponentially more plausible than the former, neither is confirmed by experts or scientists. That does not deter the Champ hunters from making extraordinary claims they can’t support. The comments are especially enlightening in this piece as Hall chimes in.
Food Babe clueless about food, science, and apparently, air Vani Hari, the “Food Babe”, has become infamous for her criticism of the food industry. However, with a degree in computer science and experience as a management consultant, she sounds like an idiot when talking about food facts and science. Last week, she posted a blog piece on travel that was so ludicrous and full of misinformation that it was scrubbed from the Internet. We don’t want you to forget that she is pretending to be sciencey, but is not scientifically literate.
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SWIFT is named after Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver's Travels. In the book, Gulliver encounters among other things a floating island inhabited by spaced-out scientists and philosophers who hardly deal with reality. Swift was among the first to launch well-designed critiques against the flummery - political, philosophical, and scientific - of his time, a tradition that we hope to maintain at The James Randi Foundation.