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From Abracadabra to Zombies - 767 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

28 June
new Book Review:The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It by Kelly McGonigal

27 June
new Book Review: On the Move: A Life by Oliver Sacks

26 June
update SD Newsletter: Theresa replies

24 June
update marijuana and cancer

20 June
news reader comments: Deepak Chopra on living forever young

19 June
update GMOs: Seralini's continued failure

18 June
New Skeptic's Dictionary Newsletter

 

Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary

Gonzalez protocol

The Gonzalez protocol is a cancer treatment created by Nicholas Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D.James Gonzalez, M.D. and is available only to his patients. The treatment involves taking about 150 supplements of vitamins, minerals, and pancreatic enzymes (from pigs); daily coffee enemas, and special diets allegedly tailored to the patient's metabolic system.

According to the National Cancer Institute, "clinical data concerning the effectiveness of the Gonzalez regimen as a treatment for cancer are limited with conflicting results." This claim is a bit misleading, since the positive results came from Gonzalez himself.>>more

sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up)

ghost hunters

In a nutshell: Ghost hunters are people who use lots of scientific equipment when they look for ghosts. Scientists don't think the equipment will do them much good.

Ghost hunters look for ghosts or evil spirits (demons) in haunted houses, graveyards, old hotels, and other places. It's likely that some of the first stories cavemen and cavewomen told their little cavechildren were stories about ghosts and demons. It seems just about everybody loves a good ghost story or a scary tale about some wicked demon's nasty tricks.>>more

a blast from the past

Book Review

Charlatan by Pope Brock

The only complaint I have about Pope Brock's fabulous and depressing book, Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam, is the implication in the title that the age of flimflam has passed. Flimflam will end when human weakness ends. Human nature drives us to magical thinking, making us vulnerable to becoming either charlatans or their victims or both. You don't have to enter the revival tent to find masses of people adoring charlatans. You don't have to go to third world countries to find people who believe in magical potions that promise everything from restoring vitality, hair, or eyesight to curing everything from constipation to cancer. My local newspaper, The Sacramento Bee, carries full-page ads, written and posted in the style of news articles, for such things as "memory pills" (that also restore vision) and "miracle, drug-free" cures for aching joints. You might have seen the same kind of medical posing in the Los Angeles Timesduring the 1920s and 30s. Brock's featured John Brinkley, quack of the centurycharlatan, John Brinkley (1885-1942) was a master deceiver, most famous for planting bits of billy goat testicle in men's testicles. Why would he do such a thing? To help the feeble rise to the occasion, and he had neither knowledge of nor access to the bonobo. Billy goats had a good reputation...>>more

 

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