TAM, also known as the Amazing Meeting, that has been taking place in Las Vegas in July, just might, or perhaps might not have come to an end.
What has happened is that the JREF has issued an announcement that puts a question mark over it all …
Since James Randi’s retirement earlier this year, the Board has considered how to continue the Foundation without his direct involvement.
The Board has decided that it will convert the foundation into a grant making foundation.
Starting in 2016, we will be making grants to non-profit groups that we believe are promoting activities that encourage critical thinking and a fact-based world view. We expect to make a small number of grants each year totaling approximately $100,000 per year. We will NOT accept suggestions, applications or proposals for these grants. We hope they will come as a pleasant surprise to the recipients, just as Randi’s MacArthur foundation grant was a pleasant surprise to him.
As we will only be making grants in the future, we think it appropriate to stop accepting memberships and donations. Any donations received before December 31, 2015 will be tax deductible.
We plan on continuing the Million Dollar Challenge as a means for educating the public about paranormal claims.
Over the years, we have spent a great deal of time dealing with claims ranging from yet another dowsing claim to some VERY eccentric and untestable claims. The overwhelming majority refuse to fill out the application or even state a claim that can be tested. Some of them show up in person and demand to be tested while they wait. We can no longer justify the resources to interact with these people.
Effective immediately, JREF will no longer accept applications directly from people claiming to have a paranormal power. We will however offer our Challenge to anyone who has passed a preliminary test that meets with our approval. We will provide example protocols early next year. Of course, any established psychic may always contact JREF to be tested directly (preferably with an independent, third party TV crew.)
It’s been a great nineteen years and we thank you for your interest and support.
The Board of Directors of
The James Randi Educational Foundation
Chip Denman and Rick Adams
Over the years a great many lives were changed for the better and as a hub it inspired and gave birth to many skeptical activists, so it is all rather sad that it is coming to an end.
So that’s it then, no more TAMs … right?
Actually, there is no word on that one way or another, and so I suspect no decision has been made.
I did hear a whisper that the folks hired to run TAM13 were retained to run the next one in 2016, but that is simply a whisper, and should be treated with an appropriate degree of skepticism.
And the forum?
It is also alive and well, and has been handed over and rebranded “the international skeptics forum” – you can find it here.
Are there alternative skeptical meetings?
Of course, there is a vast diversity to select from …
- The DragonCon Skeptical track
- QED in the UK
- European Skeptics Congress
- … and lots more
Beyond TAM and the JREF, skepticism is not simply alive and well, but is thriving as never before. There are Skeptic gatherings all over the place where skeptics meet to discuss critical thinking, irrationality, science, pseudo-science and the paranormal and their effect on society. Both TAM and the JREF was simply one small part of that on-going story.