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

From Abracadabra to Zombies - 785 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

Date           Status* Entry

15 Jul
update argument to ignorance

11 Jul
new reader comments: Atlantis

04 Jul
new reader comments: psychokinesis

02 July
new reader comments: firewalking


Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary


The trouble with ignorance is that it feels so much like expertise. --David Dunning

Confabulation is an unconscious process of creating a narrative that the narrator believes is true but that is demonstrably false. The term is popular in psychiatric circles to describe narratives of patients with brain damage or a psychiatric disorder who make up stories about what they perceive or remember, stories that are known to be either completely fictional or in great part fantasy but which are put forth confidently as accurate and truthful.>>more

sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up)


In a nutshell: A dowser uses wooden or metal sticks or rods to find water and other things.

Vintage photo of man dowsing for waterA dowser uses a stick or metal rods to find underground water. Usually, the dowser starts walking with the dowsing rod held loosely in his hands and straight in front of him. When the stick turns downward or two rods cross, the dowser thinks it is because there is water underground. There is no scientific reason why underground water would make a wooden or metal rod move in a man's hand. Scientists think the stick turns downward or the rods cross because the dowser moves the dowsing rod. Dowsers say they are not moving the rod. Scientists say that the movement is very slight, so slight that the dowser isn't even aware of it.>>more

a blast from the past

Book Review

Rise of the Warrior Cop



Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces


Radley Balko


September 16, 2014. The front page of today's Sacramento Beehonors the valor of fourteen California police officers. Three were involved in a deadly shootout with Christopher Dorner, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer charged in connection with a series of shooting attacks on police officers. The attacks left four people dead, including three police officers, and left three police officers wounded. Dorner shot himself in the head when he was cornered by the cops.>>more

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