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

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From Abracadabra to Zombies - 763 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.

  • Recent Entries or Modifications

for last month's changes see current Newsletter

Date           Status* Entry

20 Feb
new book review of James Michener's unpublished manuscript on fortune-telling

19 Feb
new reader comments: vaccinations

15 Feb
update HIV/AIDS denialism

09 Feb
update glucosomine & arthritis pain

04 Feb
new reader comments: vaccinations and Dr. Blaylock

03 Feb
update herbal supplements not what they claim

02 Feb
revised Transcendental Meditation

01 Feb
update Superbowl and Violence Against Women

29 Jan
new Fatima "prophecy" and SD Newsletter

 

Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary

faith

Faith is a non-rational belief in some proposition. A non-rational belief is one that is contrary to the sum of the evidence for that belief. A belief is contrary to the sum of the evidence if there is overwhelming evidence against the belief, e.g., that the earth is flat, hollow, or is the center of the universe. A belief is also contrary to the sum of the evidence if the evidence seems equal both for and against the belief, yet one commits to one of the two or more equally supported propositions.>>more

sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up)

UFOs (unidentified flying objects)

In a nutshell: UFOs are unidentified flying objects that some people think are spaceships from other planets.

A UFO is an unidentified flying object that many people think might be spaceships run by aliens.

Many people believe that some aliens have come to Earth in flying saucers or UFOs from planets outside our solar system.>>more

a blast from the past

The Miracle Detectives

03 Jan 2011. "The Miracle Detectives" was full of surprises. (In case you don't know, the show is on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, which debuted Jan 1.) At least it was full of surprises for me as a skeptic of both miracles and Oprah. I might even go for a cheap laugh and say that it was a miracle the show wasn't pure mush. But let's cut the cheap shots and get to the point. TV miracles are really boring. Even though this show is about as fair as one can get in examining miraculous claims, it doesn't matter. It's just not that interesting to watch people talk about the healing power of dirt or discuss whether a flash of light on an opening door was caused by the sun or an angel. Worse. There is no way to make this kind of program more interesting, except maybe to spend a few extra bucks and shoot the program in HD. Even that, though, couldn't save this kind of show from being a terminal soporific.>>more

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