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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Sanal Edamaruku, Rationalist Hero

I wrote this summer about meeting Sanal Edamaruku, an Indian skeptic and founder of Rationalist International. I had the honor of speaking with him at length during a reception at The Amazing Meeting, the annual event presented by The James Randi Educational Foundation, where Sanal was one of the featured speakers.

While many of us in the skeptical community fight nonsense and pseudoscience with our words, Sanal has put his life on the line for the cause -- facing death threats for exposing frauds and mystics in India. Last year, the Catholic Church filed a complaint against Sanal and he was criminally charged with hurting religious sentiments after he debunked a weeping Jesus statue in Mumbai. He has been forced to flee to Finland, where he lives in exile.

Here is the presentation which brought two standing ovations from the TAM audience, complete with stories of the fakirs and fakers who are so popular in India -- including how Sanal got the authorities to stop a guru who "heals" babies by standing on them, despite their claims that they couldn't do anything because it was a religious practice...