A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

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From Abracadabra to Zombies - 780 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.

Also posted are over 20 years of reader comments.

Click here for Index of all Reader Comments

  • Recent Entries or Modifications

for last month's changes see current Newsletter

Date           Status* Entry

27 Nov
new orthomolecular medicine & therapy

24 Nov
update Robert O. Young (alkaline diet) goes on trial

23 Nov
new reader comments: p-value fallacy

20 Nov
new p-value fallacy

09 Nov
New Skeptic's Dictionary Newsletter


Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary

doomsday & doomsday cults

A 2014 Public Religion Research Institute survey of adult Americans found that 49% of those polled believe we are in the end times.

Doomsday is the day the world as we know it ends. It is a day of colossal catastrophe, devastating destruction, extinction, and annihilation. A doomsday cult is a group of people led by a charismatic character who has convinced them that the end is near. A doomsayer is somebody for whom the signs of catastrophe and imminent calamity are ubiquitous.>>more

sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up)


In a nutshell: Superstitions are beliefs about the power of things to bring about good or bad when there's no logical or scientific evidence for the belief.

A superstition is a belief that something can cause good or bad to happen when there's no scientific or logical reason for believing it.

It's bad luck to be superstitious!It seems that everybody is superstitious about something. Ask anyone if they would wear a sweater worn by somebody who has done the worst evil thing you can imagine. Even though there is no rational or logical reason for believing that an evil person's sweater would feel any different from any other sweater, most people don't want to even come near the sweater of someone they think is evil.>>more

a blast from the past

Skeptimedia: apocalypse now?

I may be a fool, but I have my reasons

20 May 2011. I'm told that the world will start ending tomorrow, but I don't believe it. I'm told I'm a fool and will burn in everlasting fire for not believing, but I have my reasons. According to some people, the Bible has a hidden prediction in it that a fellow named Harold Camping has figured out. There is a code, they say, that he deciphered and now knows with certainty that the world will end tomorrow because the Bible, he says, asserts the end will come exactly 7,000 years after the end of Noah's flood (or something along those lines). I'm a dupe, according to these people who are waiting for what they call "the rapture." Worse, I'm a damned dupe. Some god will make me suffer for eternity for not accepting Mr. Camping's word. Well, like I said, I may be a fool and I may be a dupe, but I have my reasons.>>more


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