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Old 5th November 2006, 04:07 AM   #1
H3LL
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Sceptical Leaflet Store/Archive Wanted

Warning - Slightly rambling thread..

Often we see threads asking for help/advise on various woo nonsense when members are in a position to do something. Visiting a psychic, homeopathic fair, loony at work etc.

Invariable someone in the thread will suggest handing out a leaflet/flyer etc.

This is all well and good but not all of us are eloquent enough or skilled enough to create a sufficiently "punchy" leaflet, nor may we have the time to create one if an opportunity to do something is imminent.

I would like to propose that we have an archive of suitable leaflets/flyers.

Richard Dawkins provides one to promote his book which is very effective.

We need something for woo topics such as:

No active ingredients in homeopathic remedies.
Cold reading
Hot reading
Failures of prominent psychics
Dowser failure - ideomotor effect
Faith healing
Card with bible quotes for the pocket
etc.

See. I'm not too good at this.

So. Leaflets that are punchy, factual and make people think twice before/while visiting [insert woo-woo here].

If you have already made and used one, we could store it.

In the spirit of the new "Go get 'em", JREF I feel this idea could be useful and if it meets with general approval for an admin/mod to do something with it to prevent it being just another thread that disappears into oblivion.

Don't use this thread BTW, something new, dedicated and moderated would seem more appropriate.

Thoughts?

.
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Old 5th November 2006, 12:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
So. Leaflets that are punchy, factual and make people think twice before/while visiting [insert woo-woo here].

If you have already made and used one, we could store it.
Unfortunately, leaflets detract from the legitimacy of the message. Whenever I think of leaflets, I think of Scientology, diet pill distributors, pyramid schemes, realtor's open house ads, or that old B&W footage of Lee Harvey Oswald handing out "fair play for Cuba" leaflets in New Orleans.

Since most people (unfortunately) associate celebrity with legitimacy, I would rather see Penn and Teller (or similar) featured prominently in a print piece (posters or brochures) that promoted a skeptical view. Imagine a poster on the street outside a psychic parlor that featured P&T with a headline, "PSYCHIC? BULLCRAP! See www.psychicripoffs.com"
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Old 5th November 2006, 12:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by H3LL View Post
Warning - Slightly rambling thread..

Often we see threads asking for help/advise on various woo nonsense when members are in a position to do something. Visiting a psychic, homeopathic fair, loony at work etc.

Invariable someone in the thread will suggest handing out a leaflet/flyer etc.

This is all well and good but not all of us are eloquent enough or skilled enough to create a sufficiently "punchy" leaflet, nor may we have the time to create one if an opportunity to do something is imminent.

I would like to propose that we have an archive of suitable leaflets/flyers.

Richard Dawkins provides one to promote his book which is very effective.

We need something for woo topics such as:

No active ingredients in homeopathic remedies.
Cold reading
Hot reading
Failures of prominent psychics
Dowser failure - ideomotor effect
Faith healing
Card with bible quotes for the pocket
etc.

See. I'm not too good at this.

So. Leaflets that are punchy, factual and make people think twice before/while visiting [insert woo-woo here].

If you have already made and used one, we could store it.

In the spirit of the new "Go get 'em", JREF I feel this idea could be useful and if it meets with general approval for an admin/mod to do something with it to prevent it being just another thread that disappears into oblivion.

Don't use this thread BTW, something new, dedicated and moderated would seem more appropriate.

Thoughts?

.
As Admin:

I'm happy to give what support I can - I have looked at adding an "article" feature to the forum - which would allow Members to post short (or not so short) articles. It would perhaps be ideal for an idea like this since the "article" can only be edited by the Member who started it (and the Mod Team) but others can leave comments on the article.

If there is enough interest I'm happy to add this feature. Lets see if the interest is there.
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Old 5th November 2006, 04:07 PM   #4
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I think it's a great idea, Darat.
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Old 5th November 2006, 07:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by CLD View Post
Unfortunately, leaflets detract from the legitimacy of the message. Whenever I think of leaflets, I think of Scientology, diet pill distributors, pyramid schemes, realtor's open house ads, or that old B&W footage of Lee Harvey Oswald handing out "fair play for Cuba" leaflets in New Orleans.
I have to agree there. They say "we operate out of a rolled up newspaper."

If I have one more "Free Mumia!" leaflet tucked under my wiper blade, I'm going to go down there and execute him myself.

I recall Penn&Teller criticizing a conspiracy nut, and indicated that the fact that his "book" was xeroxed and hand-stapled was a telltale sign of his credibility distance from legitemacy.
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Old 5th November 2006, 11:01 PM   #6
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The New Zealand Skeptics has some good flyers:

http://www.skeptics.org.nz/SK:RESOURCES:903613#flyers

Like this cool medium checklist:

http://www.skeptics.org.nz/download/mediumchecklist.pdf

And many more.
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Old 5th November 2006, 11:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
As Admin:

I'm happy to give what support I can - I have looked at adding an "article" feature to the forum - which would allow Members to post short (or not so short) articles. It would perhaps be ideal for an idea like this since the "article" can only be edited by the Member who started it (and the Mod Team) but others can leave comments on the article.

If there is enough interest I'm happy to add this feature. Lets see if the interest is there.
That's a good idea.
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Old 6th November 2006, 03:56 AM   #8
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I fired off an email about the idea to Randi when I made the post (not something I usually do) as I didn't want this to get momentum and then have it killed off later.

The Amazing One replied:

Quote:
Good idea…

James Randi.

I'm sooo happy.

Thank you Mr. Randi.


Originally Posted by Darat View Post
If there is enough interest I'm happy to add this feature. Lets see if the interest is there.


An articles section would be nice.
Is PDF format an option?

.
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Last edited by H3LL; 6th November 2006 at 04:02 AM.
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Old 6th November 2006, 04:00 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by H3LL View Post
Invariable someone in the thread will suggest handing out a leaflet/flyer etc.
If you can't beat em, join em?
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Old 6th November 2006, 04:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by T'ai Chi View Post
If you can't beat em, join em?
We can and no.

Is that a rhetorical question mark, a question question mark or just your bad habit?

I thought I'd captured it...Damn thing's escaped.


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Old 6th November 2006, 04:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CLD View Post
Unfortunately, leaflets detract from the legitimacy of the message....
I think it's important to make the leaflets appropriate for their use. As an example, just one person counting misses vs. hits while visiting a medium, deciding it's a scam and may never to go to them again. Less cash for the hoaxer and a small victory for scepticism. Also why I think a moderated thread/store is appropriate.

Have you alternative suggestions CLD?

Ranting and/or yelling at people as they go in to a medium's show is less than helpful and a little too extrovert for people like me. Quietly handing out a leaflet is about the right level of activity that suits my personality and perhaps others that would like to do something too.

.
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Last edited by H3LL; 6th November 2006 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 6th November 2006, 04:29 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tamazon View Post
The New Zealand Skeptics has some good flyers:

http://www.skeptics.org.nz/SK:RESOURCES:903613#flyers

Like this cool medium checklist:

http://www.skeptics.org.nz/download/mediumchecklist.pdf

And many more.
Nice. They could make a good start. Thanks.

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Old 6th November 2006, 04:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
As Admin:

I'm happy to give what support I can - I have looked at adding an "article" feature to the forum - which would allow Members to post short (or not so short) articles. It would perhaps be ideal for an idea like this since the "article" can only be edited by the Member who started it (and the Mod Team) but others can leave comments on the article.

If there is enough interest I'm happy to add this feature. Lets see if the interest is there.
There's a lot of this sort of thing on UK Skeptics. I'm sure John would let you borrow some if you asked him nicely. This is one thing I've felt the JREF site is missing, it has Randi's commentary and lots of rambling on the forum, but no educational thingies for people to look up.
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Old 6th November 2006, 05:09 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
I have to agree there. They say "we operate out of a rolled up newspaper."

If I have one more "Free Mumia!" leaflet tucked under my wiper blade, I'm going to go down there and execute him myself.

I recall Penn&Teller criticizing a conspiracy nut, and indicated that the fact that his "book" was xeroxed and hand-stapled was a telltale sign of his credibility distance from legitemacy.
What or where the heck is this Mumia they want to free? And why do they want to free him/her/it/they? And why should we care? En(In)quiring minds want to NO!
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Old 6th November 2006, 05:40 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
There's a lot of this sort of thing on UK Skeptics. I'm sure John would let you borrow some if you asked him nicely. This is one thing I've felt the JREF site is missing, it has Randi's commentary and lots of rambling on the forum, but no educational thingies for people to look up.
The UK Skeptics site is a good (and growing) repository of interesting stuff but they are using that content to draw people to their site so it may be a slightly counterproductive to have the same material here?
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Old 6th November 2006, 05:41 AM   #16
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I've set the article system up and just need some content to test it with - so if any one has any articles they would like to "donate" to the forum please contact me via PM or via email darat@randi.org .
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Old 6th November 2006, 09:34 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I have looked at adding an "article" feature to the forum - which would allow Members to post short (or not so short) articles.

Like this?
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Old 6th November 2006, 09:39 AM   #18
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Yep.

I have in fact installed it - you can have a look at it here: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...splay.php?f=68 It's not live yet as I'm still learning about it.
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Old 6th November 2006, 11:18 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by CLD View Post
Unfortunately, leaflets detract from the legitimacy of the message.
I think this depends on the quality of the pamphlet, both in format and content.

A cheaply-xeroxed leaflet, no matter the actual content, is hard to take seriously.

A nicely-formatted leaflet with poorly-written content is also hard to take seriously.

I believe that a well-written, nicely-formatted pamphlet can have an effect.

Yes, other methods are preferable where appropriate and possible. But there are situations where all you have time to do is give someone a pamphlet and hope they read it (making it attractive and well-written increases the chances of that happening).
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Old 6th November 2006, 11:48 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by H3LL View Post
I think it's important to make the leaflets appropriate for their use. As an example, just one person counting misses vs. hits while visiting a medium, deciding it's a scam and may never to go to them again. Less cash for the hoaxer and a small victory for scepticism. Also why I think a moderated thread/store is appropriate.

Have you alternative suggestions CLD?
Yes, although I suggested a less instantly gratifying solution: celebrity involvement/sponsorship. It could be any well-known skeptical celebrity. Maybe Randi could broker a deal with Penn and Teller. Giving someone a brochure with Penn and Teller on it would have more credibility than an anonymous pamphlet, or one that says "Podunk Skeptical Society".

Quote:
Ranting and/or yelling at people as they go in to a medium's show is less than helpful and a little too extrovert for people like me. Quietly handing out a leaflet is about the right level of activity that suits my personality and perhaps others that would like to do something too.
.
I've been handed brochures by acquaintances who were Rosicrucians and NRA members. In both instances, it felt creepy.

Don't get me wrong. I believe that lighting one candle is better than cursing the darkness. I just would want to make sure the candle has the greatest chance of being seen and taken seriously.
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Old 6th November 2006, 04:57 PM   #21
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Great idea - such a reference would indeed come in very handy! Thanks for setting this up. I agree that quality and format must be carefully considered - and perhaps, down the line, we could targe different audiences (I'm thinking stuff for younger crowds - high school - as well as adults). In any case, whatever format, I do think this material would be very useful.
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Old 6th November 2006, 05:51 PM   #22
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These "pamphlets" would provide a good rainy-day volunteer project, formatting the text into actual pamphlets. For a model, see Hank's Ass.

Note, I'm only suggesting this as a physical model, not as a model for the text, language or style of argumentation. The idea being, someone who needs a quick pamphlet on, say, anti-creationism, can print the appropriate pamphlet right off the library, fold them up and go hand it out.
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Old 6th November 2006, 06:27 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by H3LL View Post
We can and no.
Must be a "non-tract", or some other dishonest nonsensical word to help with pretending to have a different and original approach.
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Old 6th November 2006, 10:59 PM   #24
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Not checked out anything. Maybe links, to where the information is, would be a good idea? Only put on our site what is no-where else.

Otherwise someone could complain about copyright.
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Old 6th November 2006, 11:19 PM   #25
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Old 7th November 2006, 03:31 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by CLD View Post
Maybe Randi could broker a deal with Penn and Teller. Giving someone a brochure with Penn and Teller on it would have more credibility than an anonymous pamphlet, or one that says "Podunk Skeptical Society".
It doesn't have to be Randi. Most prominent sceptics are quite approachable and pleased to offer help in promoting critical thinking.

On that topic, and considering copyright issues mentioned (Rjh01) I contacted Richard Dawkins. I mentioned his flyers earlier and thought they would be an interesting start for Darat. In addition I asked if they had had any feedback from people using the flyers.

The response from Richard Dawkins' website:

Quote:
Yes, please use our flyers with abandon! We will ask for comments by those visiting the site the sort of response they have had.

Cheers,
Darat, on other CMS systems comments are available for each article. Would the JREF system allow comments for article to encourage feedback? Is this a good idea?

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Old 7th November 2006, 03:34 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
I believe that a well-written, nicely-formatted pamphlet can have an effect.
Did you or anyone else use this method while pursuing Kaz?

What were the responses, if any?

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Old 7th November 2006, 03:48 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by T'ai Chi View Post
Must be a "non-tract", or some other dishonest nonsensical word to help with pretending to have a different and original approach.
I understand most of the words but I'm not sure what you are doing.

Is it the list of answers from a cryptic crossword?

Could you please use commas to separate each word as it makes the list clearer and a link to the original crossword or clues would be helpful.

Thanks.

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Old 7th November 2006, 04:09 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by H3LL View Post
It doesn't have to be Randi. Most prominent sceptics are quite approachable and pleased to offer help in promoting critical thinking.

On that topic, and considering copyright issues mentioned (Rjh01) I contacted Richard Dawkins. I mentioned his flyers earlier and thought they would be an interesting start for Darat. In addition I asked if they had had any feedback from people using the flyers.

The response from Richard Dawkins' website:
Good work - people often forget a quick email or phone call can end weeks, months and even years of speculation!

Originally Posted by H3LL View Post
Darat, on other CMS systems comments are available for each article. Would the JREF system allow comments for article to encourage feedback? Is this a good idea?

.
Yes it does and yes it is a good idea - constructive feedback is always useful - it also allows them to be moderated before they appear so we would be able to prevent petty comments.
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Old 31st January 2007, 04:30 AM   #30
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I'm in the newsletter.

I'm so happy....

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Old 31st January 2007, 04:53 AM   #31
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Sorry it's taken so long but hopefully it won't be long until the first leaflet is ready (hint!).
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