The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

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Wiley, Jan 11, 2011 - Science - 456 pages
6 Reviews
A wealth of evidence for doubters and disbelievers

"Whether it's the latest shark cartilage scam, or some new 'repressed memory' idiocy that besets you, I suggest you carry a copy of this dictionary at all times, or at least have it within reach as first aid for psychic attacks. We need all the help we can get."
-James Randi, President, James Randi Educational Foundation,

"From alternative medicine, aliens, and psychics to the farthest shores of science and beyond, Robert Carroll presents a fascinating look at some of humanity's most strange and wonderful ideas. Refreshing and witty, both believers and unbelievers will find this compendium complete and captivating. Buy this book and feed your head!"
-Clifford Pickover, author of The Stars of Heaven and Dreaming the Future

"A refreshing compendium of clear thinking, a welcome and potent antidote to the reams of books on the supernatural and pseudoscientific."
-John Allen Paulos, author of Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper

"This book covers an amazing range of topics and can protect many people from being scammed."
-Stephen Barrett, M.D.,

Featuring close to 400 definitions, arguments, and essays on topics ranging from acupuncture to zombies, The Skeptic's Dictionary is a lively, commonsense trove of detailed information on all things supernatural, occult, paranormal, and pseudoscientific. It covers such categories as alternative medicine; cryptozoology; extraterrestrials and UFOs; frauds and hoaxes; junk science; logic and perception; New Age energy; and the psychic. For the open-minded seeker, the soft or hardened skeptic, and the believing doubter, this book offers a remarkable range of information that puts to the test the best arguments of true believers.

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Consider me a skeptic of this "Dictionary". I came upon page 317 which states that the rebirthing technique was responsible for the death of a girl. Not so. Those involved with this unfortunate tragedy were typical extreme fundamentalist women who were obsessed with drive a demon or the devil out of the subject by a religious practice of squeezing the young girl enough to kill her. rebirthing (IE. breathing) is not squeezing & vice versa. This being SO obvious it makes the who "Dictionary" not only questionable by fraudulent. If this written work is suppose to be science, it makes all of science look bad. What now days passes as objective science is more & more often clearly seen as not objective at all, and in fact "science research" can most easily be bought by those with enough money. How sad! 

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Well, two stars for effort.
The idea that this book is in any way "scientific" is absolute hokum. Just read the section on "manifesting" e.g. "this is unlikely", "this is improbable" type
statements (sorry, can't look back to get quotes).
I know someone who is just plain lucky, and most people I know know similar people. I also know someone who is just plain unlucky. The lucky one was talking to a friend on the phone and mentioned that her washing machine had just broken down. The friend said "we've got a new one just hanging around in the garage, do you want it?" She just has to think she like something to happen, to get a job in some field and it comes to her. The unlucky one is in bed with ME virtually all the time (I believe bad luck is a symptom of ME/CFS), but goes out once a year. One year she was involved in a very bad car accident and her her worsened considerably. Probabilistically this was unlikely because she goes out so rarely.
So that's how the world is, maybe most of us between these two extremes. The role of a "scientist" is to investigate what is going on and to try and find out how to repeat the process. But that's a real scientist. The role of "scientists" in our materialist (in both senses of the word) society is to act as support for a materialist world view. So any statement that denies something outside the materialist world view is considered "scientific". But it is ignorance, pure and simple. As Richard Dawkins should say, this blind support of materialism is a "meme" passed on by family, education, newspapers, media etc. - all owned by those with an interest in maintaining a materialist society.
Robert Carroll is a dupe, but he's only in it for the money - as a materialist that's all that exists for him!

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About the author (2011)

ROBERT TODD CARROLL is the chairman of the philosophy department at Sacramento City College in California. He began publishing his skeptical writings on the Internet in 1994. His site,, has developed an international following and receives more than 500,000 hits a month. Carroll is also the author of Becoming a Critical Thinker: A Guide for the New Millennium. He lives in Davis, California.

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