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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

19 May
update: the warrior cop

15 May
update1 GMO's (corporate irresponsibility in promoting pseudoscience); update2 new rules

10 May
new reader comments: Pamela Gellar & Megyn Kelly; revised begging the question

07 May
revision acupuncture

06 May
New Skeptic's Dictionary Newsletter


Sample the Skeptic's Dictionary

traditional Chinese medicine

quackTraditional Chinese medicine is a hodgepodge of diagnostic and healing practices developed over many centuries across a vast expanse of land that roughly corresponds to what today we call China. Most of the history of these practices occurred without much communication between the many different areas where they originated. There was no central healing school and what medical practices evolved often involve contradictions. Most important, though, is that these practices evolved long before the development of science and science-based medicine. What is called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a label that mischaracterizes two millennia of various healing traditions as if they comprised a monolithic brand. The expression 'traditional Chinese medicine,' without the capitalization of 'traditional' and 'medicine' is also a misnomer if meant to convey that there is a single tradition of medicine that has endured and evolved in an area of land that covers approximately 3.7 million square miles (9.6 million square kilometers) and over 1 billion people. The expression 'traditional Chinese medicine' originated in 1954 when used by Chinese communist officials for political reasons (Taylor 1995).>>more

sample Mysteries and Science (for kids 9 and up)


In a nutshell: Acupuncture is a kind of energy medicine. Needles are stuck into various parts of the body to unblock energy and bring back a balance of yin-yang. There is no scientific evidence for this energy or yin-yang.

Acupuncture is the puncturing of the skin with sharp needles to unclog an invisible energy that some people think runs through everything in the universe.

meridians chartEven though millions of people believe this energy, called chi (ch'i or ki, pronounced chee), and the forces of yin-yang, flow in the human body through pathways calledmeridians, scientists have never found chi, yin, yang, or the meridians in which they flow.>>more




a blast from the past

Cure Cancer the Natural Way?

6 September 2010. One of the most common medical scams is the "natural" cures scam and it is particularly pernicious for cancer patients. Combine fear of death with fear of radiation treatments and chemotherapy, add hope for an effective therapy that is cheap, easy, and avoids the painful and boring treatments of science-based medicine, and you have a prescription for a powerful opiate for the vulnerable. Throw in a healthy dose of ignorance about human physiology and some mistrust of the "medical establishment" and the quackaloon's job of luring you into his fantasy world of fabricated bodily processes and natural cures is as easy as setting up an authoritative-looking website.>>more


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