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From Abracadabra to Zombies - 765 entries | View All

The Skeptic's Dictionary features definitions, arguments, and essays on hundreds of strange beliefs, amusing deceptions, and dangerous delusions. It also features dozens of entries on logical fallacies, cognitive biases, perception, science, and philosophy.

 

Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary

Illuminati, The New World Order & Paranoid Conspiracy Theorists (PCTs)

The Illuminati were members of a secret society in Bavaria in the late 18th century. They had a political agenda that included republicanism and abolition of monarchies, which they tried to institute by means of subterfuge, secrecy, and conspiracy, including the infiltration of other organizations. They fancied themselves to be "enlightened" but they had little success and were destroyed within fifteen years of their origin (Pipes 1997).

Paranoid conspiracy theorists (PCTs) believe the Illuminati cabal still exists, either in its original form or as a paradigm for later cabals. Many PCTs believe "that large Jewish banking families have been orchestrating various political revolutions and machinations throughout Europe and America since the late eighteenth century, with the ultimate aim of bringing about a satanic New World Order."* What George Bush was talking about in his state of the union address in 1991 was no less than the establishment of a single world government with the anti-Christ (who some say is Bill Clinton (or is he a decoy?), but could be Pat Robertson or George W. Bush) at its head.>>more

sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up)

homeopathy

In a nutshell: Homeopathy is water medicine. The science shows that there's nothing in homeopathic medicines that could cure anything. Still, many people say they've been helped by homeopathic potions.

Homeopathy is medical treatment by water. For example, if you have a rash, a homeopathic medicine will usually be made by taking a small amount of a plant that causes a rash and mixing it with 100 times as much water. The mixture is shaken and then one part of the mixture is added to 100 parts water. There is then more mixing, shaking, and diluting. The mixing, shaking, and diluting goes on until only a few or no molecules of the original plant remain in the last batch. Any medicine taken from the last diluted batch will be nothing but water.>>more

a blast from the past

Energy Healing: Looking in All the Wrong Places

How is it possible to get relief from swelling, pain, nausea, headaches, anxiety, and an assortment of other ailments without the use of medicine or surgery? It happens all the time and has been going on for centuries. It’s called by many names but these days it’s mostly called “energy healing.” Whatever name it goes by, ultimately it amounts to faith healing. The amazing thing about it is that the healer need not even touch the patient. In fact, the healer need not even be in the presence of the patient. Powerful medicine, no? Yes, very powerful and not completely understood, though there are many theories being offered, the most common ones these days being couched in terms of chi or prana, meridians, auras, and chakras. Is there any evidence that there is a metaphysical life force (call it “energy” or “chi” or whatever you want) that determines health depending on whether it is blocked or flowing? If there is, I’d like to see evidence for it that's not just post hoc reasoning and begging the question.>>more

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