The Sciences

I am leaving the JREF Presidency

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitDec 7, 2009 7:36 PM


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It is with bittersweet feelings that I announce that as of January 1, 2010, I will no longer be President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. On that date, skeptic, podcaster, and all-around good guy D. J. Grothe will take the helm. The JREF has a press release online with more information. This was a very difficult decision for me. But I'm leaving the Presidency so I can concentrate on some future TV projects I've been developing. This has been a dream of mine for more than a decade, and something I've worked on very hard, so it's an opportunity I simply could not pass up. With that in mind, I discussed this with Randi and the other members of the JREF Board of Directors, and we all agreed it was for the best. Not to rationalize this too much, but if this does work out it means I'll be able to promote skepticism, science, and critical thinking to a much larger audience. This will ultimately benefit the JREF itself, too.

I'm really happy D. J. accepted the role of President in my stead. He is a beloved member of the skeptical community. His podcast, Point of Inquiry, is among the best in the business. He is a thoughtful, intellectual, interesting, and warm person, and will be an outstanding example of leadership when he takes the JREF reins. With D. J. involved, the future of the JREF is stronger than ever. And this isn't to say I'm severing all ties with the JREF! Far from it. I strongly believe (if I may use that word) in the mission and goals of the Foundation, and I have no desire to just walk away. I'll stay on in an informal capacity to advise, impart my rich wisdom, and tell Randi puns. You have to stick with your strengths. And to belay the obvious question: I can't disclose any more details about the TV stuff right now. Sorry, but I really can't. Rules is rules. Trust me, when I have news I can report I'll be singing it from the rooftops.

The past 15 months have been quite the whirlwind, what with TAM 7, TAM London, Randi's health announcement, and so much more. The JREF stands solid and tall in the world of skepticism and critical thinking. Being a part of it, representing it, and working with Randi himself has been more than an honor. It's been, well, amazing. And finally, I want to thank everyone who has been involved with the JREF: the staff; the circle of magicians, scientists, and skeptics we contact for advice and help; the JREF Board of Directors for accepting me into the fold in the first place, and Randi his own self. Without him, it would just be the EF. And that's just silly. And, of course, the JREF community at large across the planet. You are the ones who have made us who we are: a global force of rationality and reason. You know as well as we do that the struggle against the forces of unreason will never end. Without your support, your energy, and your enthusiasm, our ability to stand up for sense and science would grind to a halt. Presidents will come and go, but you will always be there, and that means more to us -- more to me -- than can be said. Thank you all.

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