Posts tagged James Randi

Quote of the Day

Here’s a comment from a self-described skeptic* posting in the AA thread on James Randi’s forum. According to Godwin’s Law, I think we just won the whole Internet:

I just returned from a visit to ‘Stinkin Thinking’. The views there have a lot in common with racists and bigots.

You know if you see a black guy smoking crack they all smoke crack or if a Jew ask for something to be discounted it’s because all Jews are cheap.

Apparently if someone is raped by an AA member we are all rapists, if someone is convicted of robbery and goes to AA we’re full of criminals.

When some 46 year-old jackass tries to pick up a young woman at a meeting, we’re all horny drooling predators. I’ll give them credit though, they aren’t sexist, supposed there’s a bunch of “cougars” in our midst too. Scary stuff.

* He wrote this after telling me that since I am on a skeptic website, I have to provide evidence — as long as the evidence doesn’t come from Orange’s website. Is this a new thing among skeptics? To refuse to evaluate a study objectively because you don’t like this one other guy who references it?

A.A. Alfie: The Iron Man of Alcoholics Anonymous

A thread started over at the James Randi forum almost a year ago, and since that time “A.A. Alfie” has been trying to convince a group of skeptics that they aren’t seeing what they’re seeing, and that AA is not a religious program. They aren’t buying it, of course. I haven’t read through the entire year’s worth of comments, but Alfie seems to have knocked out multiple opponents with filibustering and quirky rationalizations. It’s an impressive display in stamina. He’s the Lou Gehrig of AA apologists.

I double-dog dare anyone to take this guy on. The first person to get him to concede a point gets a “One Day At A Time” serenity calendar, and my ever-lasting admiration.

Here is the original post that started it all:

Why Do People Insist AA Is Not Religious?

“I’m dealing with a spouse who has alcohol issues. His first therapist (social worker) told him to go to a Beginner’s AA meeting, and to “Keep An Open Mind.”

He went, and was instantly uncomfortable. Not only was Jesus Christ mentioned constantly as the Savior, but the meeting ended with, “The Lord’s Prayer.”

He related this to the social worker, who berated him for not going to a Beginner’s meeting. (Which it WAS listed as.) And then told him that, “The Lord’s Prayer” is not really religious, anyway.

My husband now sees a psychologist who specializes in cognitive behavior and doesn’t push AA.

Now I’m furious that MY new therapist is telling me that AA would be a good resource for my husband. “It’s not religious, it’s spiritual,” and “Your higher power can be anything at all, the ocean, even yourself.”

I’m not confrontational, and I tried to remember some of the advice I’ve received here about debating. I told her that I had done research on AA, that it had a 5% success rate, and that the Supreme Court had ruled that it was religious. Then I started to get emotional and told her that it was all based on a Buchmanite group designed to get people to accept Christ as the Savior, and that the Higher Power stuff was nonsense, since sure, it starts out as, “the ocean,” but ends up referring to God. And the “higher power” definitely CANNOT be yourself, since it has to be some outside force. As Henry Ford said of his cars, you can have any color you want so long as it’s black. Well, you can have any Higher Power you want so long as it’s God.

As former Catholics, my husband and I tend to get a bit touchy when religion is sold to us. It is very difficult to get away from, “Magical Thinking,” and I’ve been working so hard to restructure my thoughts, to think more critically, to learn about logic, and to question things. And it took a lot for me to “talk back” to my therapist about this, and I still feel guilty, like I should just accept it as good advice. Such is the mark that being a good little Catholic girl leaves on person.

I feel so angry that the majority of people don’t question AA at all.”

Happy April Fools Day!

Pigasus Awards Announced!

The JREF promotes critical thinking through grants for outstanding educators, scholarships to inspire skeptical students, and annual conferences showcasing the best of skeptical thought—but every April Fools Day, we honor the five worst offenders who are intentionally or unintentionally pulling the wool over the public’s eyes.

This year’s “winners”: NASA Engineer Richard B. Hoover, CVS/pharmacy, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Televangelist Peter Popoff, and, finally, Andrew Wakefield, father of the vaccine-panic industry. Find out why they won at


I thought I’d add this fool to the April Fools Day post:


Over at James Randi…

There’s a thread in the forums called “Why do people insist that AA is not religious.” I thought yall might be interested.

Youtube have lost the plot – JREF account suspended

The James Randi Educational Foundation YouTube account was suspended.


It seems that no one knows why, so maybe it’s just a mistake, or some hyperactive self-policing from YouTube, that will be resolved presently. Whatever the case, James Randi is an important advocate for plain rational sense in a world where we seriously run candidates who perform exorcism and are protected against the stinkeye by witch doctors — and where our gold standard for addiction recovery is some kind of theological bumper sticker quackery.

So, there’s a campaign among the skeptic community to mirror this video, and if you want to complain to YouTube, go here, scroll to the very bottom, select “new issue” then select “suspended account” and give ’em holy hell.

Also, you can download the video from mediafire.

So interesting! I wonder what’s going on…