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List of skepticisms and scientific skepticism concepts (proposed article)

The following is a list of fields of endeavor and concepts that critics believe or have been characterized as having skepticism or scientific skepticism aspects. The definition refers to any concept, method, profession, organization, or person who has ever (including historical) been associated with the concept of critical skepticism. The subject or person may have been on the receiving end of accusations, on the accusing end, or on the study end (hence the inclusion of various terms related to medicine, science, psychology, logic, law, etc.). Some of these concepts, or certain parts of them, may be the subject of scientific research and may not be wholly dismissed by the scientific community. See the individual articles for detailed information.


1. This list is about skepticism as well as its association with criticisms, which is the reason for the inclusion of some topics about criticisms. The two topics are intimately related. The characteristics of scientific skepticism utilizes critical thinking in evaluating claims to reach a well-justified conclusion or logical answer, and attempts to oppose claims made which lack suitable evidential basis. Like a scientist, a scientific skeptic aims to decide claims based on verifiability and falsifiability rather than accepting claims on faith, anecdotes, or relying on unfalsifiable categories. Skeptics often focus their criticism on claims they consider to be implausible, dubious or clearly contradictory to generally accepted science. The term pseudoskepticism is often used by the opponents of skepticism as a way of summarizing their critique.

2. Some items are included simply because there has been debate from skeptical critics that have characterized it as its possible involvement of being or having a relationship to criticism, regardless of whether it was or was not. Other items are included as educational aids, as an understanding of these subjects, to enable one to better understand the subject of skeptical topics, and hopefully, making the whole process of scientfic skepticism much more transparent.

3. Therefore inclusion here is definitely not a statement that the subject matter is skeptical, that soley it has aspects regarded as rational skepticism by certain groups or people. It is only listed here because scientific skeptics, debunkers, consumer protection advocates, and/or government officials (FDA, FTC, etc.) consider the subject to be in some manner related to the subject of skepticism or criticisms, and therefore of possible value when researching the subject.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]


Alternative medicine

The following is a list of alternative medicine topics that are often criticized by scientists, mainstream medicine, or skeptics.
  • Hoxsey Therapy[74][75][76][77]
  • Innate intelligence It is well known that the use of the "innate intelligence" concept is controversial within the chiropractic profession, and is seen by many in the profession as antiquated metaphysical jargon which has no reference to reality. It is also a part of the "straight" vs. "mixing" battle that has been going on since the inception of chiropractic. Lon Morgan, DC, a reform chiropractor, expressed his criticism in this way: "Innate Intelligence clearly has its origins in borrowed mystical and occult practices of a bygone era. It remains untestable and unverifiable and has an unacceptably high penalty/benefit ratio for the chiropractic profession. The chiropractic concept of Innate Intelligence is an anachronistic holdover from a time when insufficient scientific understanding existed to explain human physiological processes. It is clearly religious in nature and must be considered harmful to normal scientific activity."[78]
  • Iridology Iridology, also known as iridodiagnosis[79], is an alternative medicine practice in which patterns, colors, and other characteristics of the iris are examined for information about a patient's systemic health. Practitioners match their observations to iris charts which divide the iris into zones that correpsond to specific parts of the human body. The eye, therefore, acts as a "window" into the body's state of health, although Iridology is a practice that is not recognized by mainstream medicine. Critics, mostly practitioners of mainstream medicine, dismiss iridology largely because published studies have indicated a lack of success for its claims.[80][81][82] The proposed correlation between illness in the body and coinciding observable changes in the iris is unsupported by clinical data. In controlled experiments, practitioners of iridology have performed statistically no better than chance in determining the presence of a disease or condition solely through observation of the iris[82] (See the scientific method[83]).
  • Isopathy[84]
  • Joint manipulation[85]
  • Magnet therapy Magnet therapy, or magnetic therapy, or magnotherapy is an alternative medicine claiming that certain medical disorders can be effectively treated by exposure to static magnetic fields. Scientific tests of magnetic therapy for the treatment of wrist pain from carpal tunnel syndrome and chronic low back pain have concluded that there is no health benefit from magnetic fields in those cases.[86][87]
  • Medical intuitive In alternative medicine, a Medical Intuitive is a person who feels that they have learned to apply their intuition to finding the cause of a condition. There are medical professionals, health care workers, scientists and others who are skeptical of such abilities and probably just as many who favor and use their services.[88]
  • Natural hygiene[89]
  • Naturopathic medicine Naturopathic medicine is sometimes referred to as naturopathy.[90][91][92][93]
  • Orthomolecular medicine[94][95][96][97][98]
  • Osteopathy[99]
  • Prayer healing Prayer (sometimes called orison) is an active effort to communicate with a deity or spirit either to offer praise, to make a request, seek guidance, confess sins, or simply to express one's thoughts and emotions. The words of the prayer may either be a set hymn or incantation, or a spontaneous utterance in the praying person's own words.[100]
  • Radionics[101]
  • Reflexology[102][103]
  • Reiki[104]
  • Spinal adjustment[85]
  • Traditional Chinese medicine[105]
  • Vertebral subluxation[106][107]
  • Vision therapy[108]

Concepts and methods

The following is a list of subjects that are often criticized by the scientific community, in studies (scientifically unverified), from skeptics, or certain groups.
  • Amygdalin In 1974, the American Cancer Society officially labelled Amygdalin, also labeled along with its derivative mixtures, Laetrile,[109] as "quackery," but advocates for Laetrile claim a series of historical misunderstandings and misrepresentations hinder accurate evaluation.[110][111][112]
  • Aspartame controversy Aspartame has been the subject of a vigorous public controversy regarding its safety and the circumstances around its approval. A few studies have recommended further investigation into alleged connections between aspartame and diseases such as brain tumors, brain lesions, and lymphoma.[113][114][115] These findings, combined with notable conflicts of interest in the approval process, have engendered vocal activism regarding the possible risks of aspartame.[116][117]
  • Aura (paranormal) In New Age belief, Aura refers to the energy field emanating from the surface of a person or object. This emanation is visualized as an outline of cascading color and may be held to represent soul vibrations, chakric emergence, or a reflection of surrounding energy fields. There is no scientific evidence for the existence of auras.[118]
  • Azeztulite Azeztulite (or Satyaloka Azeztulite quartz) is a misleading trade name for inexpensive quartz that is sold at inflated prices for its alleged crystal healing effects. Quartz is one of the most common minerals in the Earth's continetal crust. Azeztulite is an example of a fake mineral.[119]
  • Bigfoot Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is believed by some to be an ape-like cryptid and by skeptics to be the product of the imagination.[120][121][122][123][124][125][126]
  • Biorhythm A biorhythm is a hypothetical cyclic pattern of alterations in physiology, emotions, and/or intellect. "Bio" pertains to life and "rhythm" pertains to the flow with regular movement.[127][128][129]
  • Chakra[130]
  • Colloidal silver Colloidal silver is a colloid of silver particles in water. It is also claimed by some to be a beneficial nutritional supplement and to be a powerful antibiotic.[131][132] The ingestion of colloidal silver in large quantities or over a long period of time carries a high risk of argyria, a condition in which the skin turns permanently blue-gray.[133][134][135] Continued ingestion of high doses (more than 1 gram of accumulated silver, or 5 mg per day) of colloidal silver may result in argyria, an extremely rare condition causing a permanent discoloration of the skin.[133][134][135] A high-profile case of this is Stan Jones, a Montana Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2002 and 2006, who overdosed on colloidal silver.[136][137] The claims are anecdotal, and have not been confirmed by scientific study. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned over-the-counter sales of colloidal silver products claiming therapeutic value, or their advertisement as providing health benefits.[138][139] The FDA has issued warnings to internet sites selling or promoting colloidal silver.[140] If no health benefits are claimed, and colloidal silver is sold as a supplement, its sale is legal as long as the products comply with all other FDA regulations.[140] In 2002, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration made a similar ruling.[141]
  • Conspiracy theory A conspiracy theory attempts to explain the ultimate cause of an event or chain of events (usually political, social, or historical events) as a secret, and often deceptive, plot by a covert alliance of powerful or influential people or organizations. Many conspiracy theories claim that major events in history have been dominated by conspirators who manipulate political happenings from behind the scenes. The term "conspiracy theory" is used by mainstream scholars and in popular culture to identify a type of folklore similar to an urban legend, especially an explanatory narrative which is constructed with methodological flaws.[142] The term is also used pejoratively to dismiss claims that are alleged by critics to be misconceived, paranoid, unfounded, outlandish, irrational, or otherwise unworthy of serious consideration. For example "Conspiracy nut" and "conspiracy theorist" are used as pejorative terms. Some whose theories or speculations are labelled a "conspiracy theory" reject the term as prejudicial.
  • Coral calcium Coral Calcium is a salt of calcium derived from fossilized coral reefs. There have been many unsubstantiated claims made regarding coral calcium, perhaps the most controversial of which is that taking coral calcium can cure cancer by increasing "body pH." The FDA has prohibited disease treatments cures in advertising. Additionally, it can be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions (such as kidney failure) to take excess coral calcium.[143][144][145][146][147]
  • Creation-evolution controversy The creation-evolution controversy (also termed the creation vs. evolution debate or the origins debate) is a recurring dispute about the origins of the Earth, humanity, life, and the universe, a debate most prevalent in certain regions of the United States, where the mass media often portrays it as part of the culture wars or a supposed dispute between religion and science. The debate concerns what should be taught as science in schools. The creationists argue that both creationism and evolution are beliefs, and should be given equal weight in science classes. Leaders of the large established churches and the scientific community maintain that creationism is not science, and therefore has no place in a science class.[148]
  • Crop circles Crop circles are geometrical formations of flattened crops found in England and elsewhere. They have been found in wheat, barley, canola, rye, corn, linseed and soy. A few of the people who made the elaborate field of circles said aliens from outer space carved messages in the crops. Today it is well known the designs were made by earthlings.[149]
  • Cryonics[150]
  • Dental amalgam controversy? Controversy exists regarding the use of mercury in dentistry, in dental fillings. A minority of dentists has always been opposed to amalgam use but evidence of adverse effects on patients from mercury in amalgam fillings is contradictory and there remains no conclusive evidence of measurable ill-effects despite the fact that amalgam has been in use for over 150 years and continues to be the most common material used in fillings. Overall, however, its use is declining due to improving dental health generally and increasing availability of new alternatives.[151][152][153][154][155][156][157]
  • Dermo-optical perception Dermo-optical perception (DOP) refers to the supposed ability to see without using the eyes (as distinct from blindsight). Typically, people who claim to have dermo-optical perception claim to be able to see using the skin of their fingers or hands. People who claim to have DOP often demonstrate it by reading while blindfolded. Dermo-optical perception is sometimes referred to as bio-introscopy. DOP has been discredited as pseudoscience, and explainable by the use of magicians' tricks.[158][159]
  • DHEA[160][161][162]
  • Dietary supplements[163][164][165][166][167]
  • Ear candling Ear candling, also called ear coning, is a folk medicine practice intended to remove earwax (cerumen) and "toxins" from a person's ear by means of a hollow candle placed in the ear. It involves placing one end of a hollow candle in the ear canal and lighting the other end. Proponents maintain the resulting vacuum can clean out the ear, but mainstream medical science discounts this theory due to lack of evidence supporting it.[168][169][170][171][172][173][174][175][176]
  • Energy (spirituality)[177]
  • Feng Shui[178]
  • Food faddism Food faddism and fad diet are terms which refer to the tendency for idiosyncratic diets and eating patterns. A fad diet is supposed and promoted to improve health but may do nothing at all, or even have the opposite results if it is nutritionally unbalanced and unconfirmed by scientific studies.[179][180][181][182][183][184][185][186]
  • Global warming controversy The global warming controversy primarily concerns what steps society should take in response to global warming, and whether it is in a country's economic interest to take action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. There is a strong consensus among scientists that recent warming is caused by anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, and that warming will continue with serious consequences if emissions continue; only a few scientists disagree. Most of those skeptical scientists who disagree are not climate specialists such as a climatologist and some of them have been funded by ExxonMobil to create uncertainty.[187] Outside the scientific community, there is a greater amount of opposition to these conclusions from some corporations, advocacy groups, politicians, and individuals (see global warming skeptics).
  • Grapefruit seed extract Grapefruit seed extract (GSE), also known as citrus seed extract, as a natural antimicrobial is not proven. Its effectiveness is scientifically unverified. It has been claimed to have strong antimicrobial with proven activity against bacteria and fungi. However, multiple studies have shown the efficacy of grapefruit seed extract as an antimicrobial is not demonstrated. Although GSE is promoted as a highly effective plant-based preservative by some natural personal care manufacturers, studies indicate the universal antimicrobial activity associated with GSE preparations is merely due to contamination with synthetic preservatives.[188][189][190][191][192]
  • HGH controversies There are many controversies around the claims, products, and businesses related to the use of growth hormone as an anti-aging therapy. Most of this controversy falls into two categories. The first, claims of exaggerated, misleading, or unfounded assertions that real growth hormone treatment slows or reverses the effects of aging The second is the sale of products that fraudulently or misleadingly purport to be growth hormone or to increase the user's own secretion of natural human growth hormone to a beneficial degree. Solid medical evidence is harder to find, and appears to indicate mixed results. It is likely that there is some advantage, but it is also evident that benefits are being exaggerated by some for commercial gain.[193] Chronic use of hGH is not well studied, except when used in children for acute growth deficiencies. A long term increase in colon cancer and Hodgkin's Disease has been observed in these cases.[194]
  • Ionized bracelet Ionized bracelets, or ionic bracelets, are a type of metal jewelry purported to affect the chi of its wearer. The effect noticed by believers could very well have been the placebo effect. It is known, at least, that ionized bracelets have no significant effect on muscle pain relative to the placebo effect,[195] despite claims to the contrary by manufacturers.[196][197]
  • Journalism scandals Journalism scandals are high-profile incidents or acts, whether intentional or accidental, that run contrary to the 'ideal' mission of journalism: to report news events and issues accurately and fairly. Journalistic scandals include plagiarism, fabrication and omission of information, breaking the law or violating ethical rules, staging or altering the event being documented, or making substantial reporting or researching errors that result lead to libelous or defamatory statements.[198]
  • Low-carbohydrate diet Low-carbohydrate diets or low carb diets are nutritional programs that advocate restricted carbohydrate consumption, based on research that ties consumption of certain carbohydrates with increased blood insulin levels, and overexposure to insulin with metabolic syndrome (the most recognized symptom of which is obesity). Under these dietary programs, foods high in digestible carbohydrates (sugars and starches) are limited or replaced with foods containing a higher percentage of proteins, fats, and/or fiber. In recent years, studies have expressed potential health risks with this type of diet.[199][200]
  • Lunaception Lunaception is a form of birth control that depends upon the woman practicing it to align her menstrual cycle with the phases of the moon. The method was developed by Louise Lacey in 1974 through her book, "Lunaception : a feminine odyssey into fertility and contraception." The fundamental premise of the method is that nature and the universe are full of rhythms and cycles. Women can come into balance with their own fertility by paying attention to the evolutionary connection between menstruation and the moon. The method has never been tested under controlled scientific conditions and is therefore termed a pseudoscience.[201]
  • Megavitamin therapy In nutrition and Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), the term megavitamin therapy is used by its proponents to describe the use of large amounts of vitamins, often many times greater than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), to prevent or treat many types of diseases. Today it is an aspect of orthomolecular medicine that also employs other nutrients such as dietary minerals, enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, natural antioxidants and fermentable dietary fiber for short chain fatty acids. Historically megavitamin therapies have been stigmatized,[202] proponents say unfairly, by mainstream medical organizations and their associates.[203]
  • New Age New Age is a broad movement of late 20th century and contemporary Western culture, characterised by an individual eclectic approach to spiritual exploration.[204][205]
  • Paraben Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds are used primarily for their bacteriocidal and fungicidal properties. They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, cleansing gels, personal lubricants, topical pharmaceuticals and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives. Some public interest organizations are skeptical about the safety of parabens regarding over both its carcinogenicity,[206] as well as its estrogenic effect,[207] being expressed over the continued use of parabens as preservatives, although the scientific community has disproven any correlation with cancer and mostly agree that any causation is improbable.[208][209][210][211][212] There is also significant scientific consensus that any estrogenic effect caused by the doses received from consumer products are insignificant when compared to natural estrogens and other xenoestrogens.[213]
  • Parapsychology[214]
  • Phrenology[215]
  • Radioactive quackery Radioactive quackery refers to various products sold during the early 20th century, after the discovery of radioactivity, which promised radioactivity as a cure for various ills. It is now well known that radioactivity can actually be harmful and cause, among other things, cancer.[216]
  • Snake oil (cryptography) In cryptography, snake oil is a term used to describe commercial cryptographic methods and products which are considered bogus or fraudulent. The name derives from snake oil, one type of quack medicine widely available in 19th Century United States.[217][218]
  • Subtle body[219]
  • Superstition A superstition is the irrational belief that future events are influenced by specific behaviors, without having a causal relationship.[220]
  • Trans fat Most Trans fatty acids (commonly termed trans fats) consumed today are industrially created as a side effect of partial hydrogenation of plant oils — a process that changes a fat's molecular structure (raising its melting point and reducing rancidity) but this process also results in a proportion of the changed fat becoming trans fat. Unlike other fats, trans fats are neither required nor beneficial for health.[221] Eating trans fat increases the risk of coronary heart disease.[222] For these reasons, health authorities worldwide recommend that consumption of trans fat be reduced to trace amounts. Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are generally considered to be more of a health risk than those occurring naturally.[223]
  • Trepanation[224]
  • UFO conspiracy theory A UFO conspiracy theory is any one of many often overlapping conspiracy theories which argue that evidence of the reality of unidentified flying objects is being suppressed. Such theories often incorporate the idea that governments are in fact in communication or cooperation with extraterrestrials. Some of these theories claim that the government is explicitly allowing alien abduction in exchange for technology. Though widely known amongst the general public (and a staple of some types of fiction, such as the X Files), such ideas have seen little support from mainstream society.[225][226][227][228][229][230]
  • Urban legends An urban legend is a kind of modern folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. The term is often used with a meaning similar to the expression "apocryphal story." Urban legends are not necessarily untrue, but they are often false, distorted, exaggerated, or sensationalized. Despite the name, urban legends do not necessarily take place in an urban setting. The name is designed to differentiate them from traditional folklore in preindustrial times.[231][232][233][234][235][236][237]
  • Vaccine controversy The practice of vaccination has been opposed by some since its inception in the late 18th century,[238] but criticism has become more visible in the US and some other developed countries in recent years, roughly paralleling the widespread availability of online information. While positions vary from outright rejection of the practice to calls for more selective and cautious use of vaccination, some of the following arguments are typically invoked are: Critics claim that the public health benefits of vaccinations are exaggerated. They further claim that the mortality rates of some illnesses were already dramatically reduced before vaccines were introduced, and claim that further reductions cannot immediately be attributed to vaccines. Additionally, secondary and long-term effects on the immune system from introducing immunogens and adjuvants directly into the body are not fully understood. Some autoimmune diseases like Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Transverse myelitis and multiple sclerosis are known to be connected to vaccines, which suggests other autoimmune disorders might also be vaccine-related.[239][240]
  • Vitalism[241][242][243]
  • Vitamin O[244][245][246]
  • Water fluoridation controversy Water fluoridation controversy refers to the debate surrounding the health benefits of public authorities fluoridating water supplies. Calcium fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral found in all water sources, such as lakes, rivers, groundwater and oceans. Community water fluoridation is the process of artificially adjusting fluoride levels in drinking water supplies with the intention of improving oral health.[247] This is usually done by the addition of sodium fluoride, sodium fluorosilicate, or fluorosilicic acid.[247]
  • Yin and yang The concepts of Yin and Yang originate in ancient Chinese philosophy and metaphysics, which describes two primal opposing but complementary forces found in all things in the universe. In Western culture, Yin and Yang are often inaccurately portrayed as corresponding to "evil" and "good" respectively.[248]


The following is a list of words that have been used on the receiving end of accusations, on the accusing end, or on the study end of skepticism debates, hence its inclusion of various terms in regard to phrases of logic and thought processes. Additionally, there are various words that are within the framework of skepticism topics.
  • Ad hominem An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the person", "argument against the man") is a logical fallacy consisting of replying to an argument by attacking or appealing to the person making the argument, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument. It is most commonly used to refer specifically to the ad hominem abusive, or argumentum ad personam, which consists of criticizing or personally attacking an argument's proponent in an attempt to discredit that argument.[249][250][251][252][253][254][255][256]
  • Anecdotal evidence Information passed along by word-of-mouth but not documented scientifically is anecdotal evidence. In science, anecdotal evidence has been defined as: "information that is not based on facts or careful study"[257] or "non-scientific observations or studies, which do not provide proof but may assist research efforts"[258] or "reports or observations of usually unscientific observers"[259] or "casual observations or indications rather than rigorous or scientific analysis"[260]
  • Anti-intellectualism Anti-intellectualism describes a sentiment of hostility towards, or mistrust of, intellectuals and intellectual pursuits. This may be expressed in various ways, such as an attack on the merits of science, education, or literature. Anti-intellectuals often perceive themselves as champions of the ordinary people and egalitarianism against elitism, especially academic elitism. These critics argue that heavily educated people form an insular social class that tends to dominate political discourse and higher education (academia).[261][262][263][264][265][266]
  • Antiscience Antiscience is a position critical of science and the scientific method. It has been considered the "self-defeating...essentially anti-intellectual, rhetoric of many activists."[267]
  • Charlatan A charlatan is a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money or advantage by false pretenses. If the ascription is false, then "charlatan" is derogative; if it is true, then the description "charlatan" is not defamation.[268]
  • Confirmation bias In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias (or confirmatory bias) is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one's preconceptions, leading to statistical errors. Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study.[269][270][271][272][273][274][275][276]
  • Consciousness causes collapse Consciousness causes collapse is the theory that observation by a conscious observer is responsible for the wavefunction collapse in quantum mechanics. It is an attempt to solve the Wigner's friend paradox by simply stating that collapse occurs at the first "conscious" observer. Supporters claim this is not a revival of substance dualism, since (in a ramification of this view) consciousness and objects are entangled and cannot be considered as separate. Nevertheless, the doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with Quantum Mechanics and with facts established by experiment."[277]
  • Controversial science The phrase controversial science describes ideas and theories at odds with mainstream science. These ideas have often been advanced by individuals either from outside the field of science, or by scientists outside the mainstream of their own disciplines.[278][279]
  • Crank (person) "Crank" is a pejorative term for a person who holds some belief which the vast majority of his contemporaries would consider false, clings to this belief in the face of all counterarguments or evidence presented to him. The term implies that a "cranky" belief is so wildly at variance with some commonly accepted truth as to be ludicrous, arguing with the crank is useless, because he will invariably dismiss all evidence or arguments which contradict his cranky belief. Common synonyms for "crank" include kook and crackpot.[280][281][282][283][284][285][286][287]
  • Folk science[288][289][290]
  • Fraud In the broadest sense, a fraud is a deception made for personal gain. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and is also a civil law violation. Many hoaxes are fraudulent, although those not made for personal gain are not technically frauds. Defrauding people of money is presumably the most common type of fraud, but there have also been many fraudulent "discoveries" in art, archaeology, and science.[291][292]
  • Fringe science Fringe science is a phrase used to describe scientific inquiry in an established field that departs significantly from mainstream or orthodox theories.[293]
  • Intellectual dishonesty Intellectual dishonesty is the advocacy of a position known to be false. Rhetoric is used to advance an agenda or to reinforce one's deeply held beliefs in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence. If a person is aware of the evidence and the conclusion it portends, yet holds a contradictory view, it is intellectual dishonesty. If the person is unaware of the evidence, their position is ignorance, even if in agreement with the scientific conclusion.[294]
  • Junk science[295][296][297]
  • Logical fallacy[298][299][300][301][302]
  • Pejorative[303][304][305]
  • Pathological science Pathological science is a neologism that describes the process in science in which people are tricked into false results by subjective effects, wishful thinking or threshold interactions. It found resonance among skeptical scientists, who enjoy debunking recurrent pseudoscientific views and claims.[306]
  • Plagiarism Plagiarism is the practice of claiming, or implying, original authorship, or incorporating material from someone else's written or creative work in whole or in part, into ones own, without adequate acknowledgment. The written or creative work which is plagiarized may be a book, article, musical score, film script, or other work. Unlike cases of forgery, in which the authenticity of the writing, document, or some other kind of object, itself is in question, plagiarism is concerned with the issue of false attribution.[307][308][309]
  • Pseudoscience Pseudoscience, or junk science, is any body of knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that claims to be scientific but does not follow the scientific method.[310] Pseudosciences may appear scientific, but they do not adhere to the testability requirement of the scientific method[311] and are often in conflict with current scientific consensus.
  • Pseudoskepticism[312]
  • Quackery Quackery is a derogatory term that is defined as the "medical practice and advice based on observation and experience in ignorance of scientific findings. The dishonesty of a charlatan."[313] A "quack" is "a fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill. A person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, or qualifications he or she does not possess; a charlatan."[314] "Health fraud" is often used as a synonym for quackery, but this use can be problematic, since quackery can exist without fraud, a word which always implies deliberate deception.[141] The word "quack" derives from "quacksalver," an archaic word originally of Dutch origin (spelled kwakzalver in contemporary Dutch), meaning "boaster who applies a salve."[315] The correct meaning of the German word "quacksalber" is "questionable salesperson (literal translation: quack salver)." In the Middle Ages the word quack itself meant "shouting. The quacksalvers sold their wares on the market shouting in a loud voice."[316]
  • Scientific misconduct[317][318][319]
  • Self-deception Self-deception is a process of denying or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and logical argument. When one can believe their own "lie" (i.e., their presentation that is biased toward their own self-interest), the theory goes, they will consequently be better able to persuade others of its "truth." Self-deception enables someone to believe their distortions, and they will not present such signs of deception and will therefore appear to be telling the truth.[320][321][322]
  • Self-serving bias A self-serving bias occurs when people are more likely to claim responsibility for successes than failures. It may also manifest itself as a tendency for people to evaluate ambiguous information in a way beneficial to their interests. This happens in a way that could be unkown consciously to the person, flattering their own views.[323][324]
  • Skepticism In ordinary usage, skepticism or scepticism (UK spelling) refers to an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object, the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain, or the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism that is characteristic of skeptics (Merriam–Webster). In philosophy, skepticism refers more specifically to any one of several propositions. These include propositions about the limitations of knowledge, a method of obtaining knowledge through systematic doubt and continual testing, the arbitrariness, relativity, or subjectivity of moral values, a method of intellectual caution and suspended judgment, a lack of confidence in positive motives for human conduct or positive outcomes for human enterprises, that is, cynicism and pessimism (Keeton, 1962).[325][326][327][328][329][330][331][332][333][334]
  • Straw man[335][336]
  • True-believer syndrome True-believer syndrome is a term used by skeptics to describe an irrational, persistent belief in the paranormal or concepts that have been proven by science to be false and unverified.[337]
  • Wishful thinking Wishful thinking is the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence or rationality.[338][339]

Organizations, journals, books, etc.

See also

Further reading

  • The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions (Paperback) by Robert Todd Carroll, Robert T. Carroll (2003 Edition). John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-27242-6.[340]


  1. The Skeptics Dictionary: Definition of Quackery Article
  2. QuackWatch: Quackery Definition Article
  3. Quackery Information on Healthline Article
  4. Federal Trade Commission. Medical Health Claims: Add a Dose of Skepticism Article
  5. Shermer, Michael, A philosophical analysis of scientific skepticism A skeptical manifesto
  6. Quackery: How Should It Be Defined?
  7. Quackery, Fraud and "Alternative" Methods: Important Definitions
  8. In Support of Skepticism: "Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue." (Merton, 1962) Article
  9. Scientific Skepticism, CSICOP, and the Local Groups (Skeptical Inquirer July 1999) Article
  10. Skeptic: Reading Room: Skepticism Index Page
  11. A Different Way to Heal? and Videos - PBS, Scientific American Frontiers Web Feature
  12. What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine? - By Steven Novella MD
  13. Skepdic Article on Alternative Medicine
  14. NCAHF Resource Documents - Includes a list of alternative medicine modalities with links to articles relating to them
  15. Index of Questionable Treatments - Includes a list of alternative medicine modalities and links to articles relating to them.
  16. Who Gets to Validate Alternative Medicine - PBS article
  17. Alternative Methods of Healing and Natural Medicine - Information on alternative medicine<
  18. The Skeptic's Dictionary on acupuncture
  19. Quackwatch article on acupuncture
  20. A Neuroscientist Investigates Acupuncture - Robert Drysdale
  21. Higgens JPS, Green S, Editors. Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions 4.2.6 [Updated September 2006]. In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2006. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. PDF File Online
  22. Pressure Points 1: Going to the Heart Of Pressure Points - What They Really Are
  23. Pressure Points 2: Some Observations On Their Use
  24. Pressure Points 3: Types of Points
  25. Kimball C Atwood, IV, MD. Naturopathy, Pseudoscience, and Medicine: Myths and Fallacies vs Truth, MedGenMed. 2004 Jan–March; 6(1): 33.
  26. Ayurveda under the scanner,The Hindu
  27. National Center for Complementary and Alternatie Medicine
  28. Development and its Status of Ayurveda
  29. The Ayurveda Wars,Indian Express
  30. Journal of the American Medical Association
  31. Ayurveda under the scanner (Opinion/Editorial).
  32. Chelation Therapy: Side Effects of Chelation Therapy
  33. Chelation Therapy: Safety Concerns
  34. - 'Quack Therapies: Chelation Therapy' (discusses use of chelation therapy in conventional medicine and the hazards of chelation therapy by alternative practitioners)
  35. Quackwatch "Chelation Therapy: Unproven Claims and Unsound Theories" by Sam Green
  36. Critical thinking by Dr. Christopher Kent Article
  37. Creating Chiropractic Community Article
  38. Subluxation- the silent killer PDF File Article
  39. Chiropractic: The New England Skeptical Society: Flagship of the Alternative Medicine Fleet, Part One and Part Two - Steven Novella MD 1997
  40. S.E. Hartman, J.M. Norton (2002) Interexaminer reliability and cranial osteopathy. Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. 6(1): 23-34 PDF full report
  41. Ferre JC, Chevalier C, Lumineau JP, Barbin JY (1990) Cranial osteopathy, delusion or reality? Actualites Odonto-Stomatologiques 44: 481-494. PMID 2173359
  42. Wirth-Pattullo V, Hayes KW (1994) Interrater reliability of craniosacral rate measurements and their relationship with subjects' and examiners' heart and respiratory rate measurements. Physical Therapy 74(10): 908-916. PMID 8090842
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  45. Madeline LA, Elster AD. (1995) Suture closure in the human chondrocranium: CT assessment. Radiology 196(3):747-756. PMID 7644639
  46. Skeptic's Dictionary on Crystal Power
  47. Cancer Center - Complementary and Alternative Therapies - Electromagnetic Therapy
  48. ACS :: Electromagnetic Therapy
  49. Dr. Matthias Kamp, M.D.: Bruno Groening - A Revolution in Medicine. The rehabilitation of a man who was misunderstood. A medical documentation on spiritual healing. Grete Haeusler Publishing, 1998, (Chapters 1 - 4)
  50. proposed legislation to limit the activities of faith healers
  51. The Association of Former Pentecostals a non-profit organization uniting former Pentecostals and Charismatics, many who believe that promises of "instant miracles" are a form of psychological or spiritual abuse.
  52. Skepdic article on Faith Healing
  53. ACS :: Shamanism
  54. Folk Belief and Folk Medicine
  55. Folk Medicine
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  59. New England Journal of Medicine editorial about the risks of alternative medicine
  60. University of Maryland site about alternative medicine: uses, possible prescription drug interactions, and possible nutrient depletions
  61. Herbal supplements not child's play - CNN news article
  62. And the Good Herb Taketh Away
  63. Herbal Mythology - By Steven Novella MD
  64. Selling Supplements - By Steven Novella MD
  65. Herbal side effects and warnings - researched by Personal Health Zone staff
  66. Homeopathy at UK-Skeptics
  67. NCAHF Position Paper on Homeopathy National Council Against Health Fraud
  68. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann's "Organon Of Medicine" translated by Dudgeon Fifth Edition § 269
  69. Shang A, Huwiler-Muntener K, Nartey L, Juni P, Dorig S, Sterne JA, Pewsner D, Egger M (2005). "Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy". Lancet 366 (9487): 726-32. PMID 16125589.
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  71. Pascal Delaunay "Homoeopathy may not be effective in preventing malaria" BMJ. 2000 November 18; 321(7271): 1288
  72. 72.0 72.1 72.2 Wayne B. Jonas, MD; Ted J. Kaptchuk, OMD; and Klaus Linde, MD A Critical Overview of Homeopathy -- Jonas et al. 138 (5): 393 -- Annals of Internal Medicine Abstract
  73. Complex Homeopathy: Overview
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  89. Fit For Life: Some Notes on the Book and Its Roots James J. Kenney, Ph.D., R.D. Article
  90. Index to Information about NaturopathyQuackwatch
  91. Naturopathy by Robert T. Carroll – The Skeptic's Dictionary
  92. Naturopathy: A Critical Analysis by Barry L. Beyerstein, PhD, and Susan Downie
  93. Licensed to Kill: Some Doctors Are Real Naturals by Chris Wanjek
  94. "Vitamin Therapy, Megadose / Orthomolecular Therapy" British Columbia Provincial Health Services Authority 2000
  95. The Ascorbate Effect in Infectious and Autoimmune Diseases Fourth World Conference on Nutritional Medicine, San Francisco, June 2004.
  96. Hasslberger S. Vitamin C could be effective against SARS. New Media Explorer. 6 June 2003 includes republication of article: Mawhinney J. "Vitamin C touted to fight virus." Toronto Star, 30 May 2003.
  97. Should We "Thank God" for Julian Whitaker?, American Council on Science and Health, 1999
  98. Recommendations of the NCAHF Task Force on Supplement Abuse, 1987
  99. Dubious Aspects of Osteopathy
  100. What the latest prayer study tells us about God. - By William Saletan - Slate Magazine Article
  101. Skeptic's Dictionary: Radionics
  102. Reflexology: A Close Look
  103. Skeptics Dictionary: Definition of Reflexology
  104. National Council Against Health Fraud article on reiki
  105. Be Wary of Acupuncture, Qigong, and "Chinese Medicine" A Critical Overview
  106. Chiropractic's Elusive Subluxation - Stephen Barrett, M.D.
  107. Does the Vertebral Subluxation Exist? - Tedd Koren, DC
  108. Eye-Related Quackery
  109. Cairns T, Froberg JE, Gonzales S, Langham WS, Stamp JJ, Howie JK, Sawyer DT. Analytical Chemistry of Amygdalin. Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 317-318. Feb 1978.
  110. Laetrile/Amygdalin - National Cancer Institute Questions and Answers About Laetrile/Amygdalin Article
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  114. Soffritti, Morando, et al., "First Experimental Demonstration of the Multipotential Carcinogenic Effects of Aspartame Administered in the Feed to Sprague-Dawley Rats," Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 114(3):379-385, 2006.
  115. Roberts, H.J., "Does Aspartame Cause Human Brain Cancer," Journal of Advancement in Medicine, Volume 4(4):231-241, 1991.
  116. GAO 1986. "Six Former HHS Employees' Involvement in Aspartame's Approval," United States General Accounting Office, GAO/HRD-86-109BR, July 1986.
  117. Gordon, Gregory, United Press International Investigation, "NutraSweet: Questions Swirl," 1987.
  118. Auras in the "Skeptic's dictionary"
  119. The Vug; Fakes, Forgeries, and Misrepresentations in the mineral world Article
  120. Bigfoot, Abomindable Snowman of the Himalayas, Mapinguari (the Amazon), Sasquatch, Yowie (Australia) or Yeti (Asia): Article
  121. Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization
  122. China Flat Museum - includes an entire building dedicated to Bigfoot, including foot print casts, maps, photos, and other documents
  123. Sasquatch Research Initiative (SRI)
  124. Bigfoot Discovery Museum - Bigfoot Museum located in Felton, California.
  125. Information on Sivapithecus - Sivapithecus is the common ancestor to both orangutans and Gigantopithecus
  126. - website of legendary Bigfoot researcher, Loren Coleman
  127. Gardner, Martin. "Science: Good, Bad and Bogus", Fliess, Freud, and Biorhythm. . CH. 11. Prometheus Books, Buffalo, N.Y. 1981. ISBN 0-87975-573-3
  128. Hines, Terence M., Reprinted from: Psychological Reports, August 1998, "A comprehensive review of biorhythm theory". Psychology Department, Pace University
  129. Skeptic's Dictionary entry
  130. The 7 Healing Chakras: Unlocking Your Body's Energy Centers (Paperback) by Brenda Davies, Publisher: Ulysses Press (January 2000)
  131. Stephen Barrett, M.D. - Colloidal Silver: Risk Without Benefit (Quackwatch) Article
  132. Essay on Colloidal Silver - Isolated Silver as used in Natural Medicine on
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  142. Johnson, 1983
  143. Quackwatch article warning about dubious claims for coral calcium
  144. Marketers of coral calcium product are prohibited from making disease treatment and cure claims in advertising. - FTC news release, Jan 22, 2004
  145. Coral Calcium - Reference Guide
  146. Acid/Alkaline Theory of Disease Is Nonsense - Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
  147. Coral Calcium: A Barefoot Scam - Leon Jaroff, Time magazine article
  148. BBC Article
  149. The Hypnotic Power of Crop Circles, by Bert Janssen, 2004. ISBN 1-931882-34-7
  150. Cryonics FAQ
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  152. Mercury in Health Care - Policy Paper
  153. Downloadpage for W.H.O Report
  154. Mercury in Health Care - Policy Paper
  155. Whole-body imaging of the distribution of mercury released from dental fillings into monkey tissues
  156. Placental transfer of mercury in pregnant rats which received dental amalgam restorations
  157. Gastrointestinal and in vitro release of copper, cadmium, indium, mercury and zinc from conventional and copper-rich amalgams
  158. Skeptic's Dictionary entry on Dermo-optical perception
  159. Randi Institute on Dermo-optical perception
  160. The DHEA Debate: A critical review of experimental data (Published 2004)
  161. DHEA: Ignore the Hype (Published 1996)
  162. What the Skeptic's Dictionary has to say on DHEA
  163. "Controversial EU vitamins ban to go ahead" (the Times, July 12 2005)
  164. Dietary Supplement Further information
  165. US FDA/CFSAN Dietary Supplements
  166. Monitoring the Adverse Health Effects of Dietary Supplements Further information
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  169. Health Canada's statement on ear candles
  170. The Straight Dope: "How do ear candles work?"
  171. CBC Marketplace article on ear candling and risks
  172. Skeptic's Dictionary on Ear Candling
  173. Quackwatch on Ear Candling by Lisa M.L. Dryer, M.D
  174. Photos of an Ear Candling experiment
  175. Keeping Ears Clean by Robert Jackler, MD
  176. James Randi on Ear Candling
  177. Skepdic: Energy Healing: Looking in All the Wrong Places
  178. Richard Craze, Practical Feng Shui, Anness Publishing, London 1997.
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  183. Food Faddism Medicdirect - Comprehensive UK Health Information
  184. Nutrition Quackery/Faddism Columbia College
  185. How to Spot a Crazy and Ridiculous Weight Loss Method
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  187. Scientists' Report Documents ExxonMobil's Tobacco-like Disinformation Campaign on Global Warming Science Report
  188. Ganzera M, Aberham A, Stuppner H. Development and validation of an HPLC/UV/MS method for simultaneous determination of 18 preservatives in grapefruit seed extract. Institute of Pharmacy, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 May 31;54(11):3768-72. Abstract
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  190. von Woedtke, T., Schlüter, B., Pflegel, P., Lindequist, U.; Jülich, W.-D. Aspects of the antimicrobial efficacy of grapefruit seed extract and its relation to preservative substances contained. Pharmazie 1999 54:452–456. Abstract
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  200. NEJM -- Low-Carbohydrate-Diet Score and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women Article
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  215. The Skeptic's Dictionary: Overview of Phrenology
  216. Radioactive Quack Cures: Pictures Radioactive Quack Cures: Story
  217. Beware of Snake Oil — by Phil Zimmermann
  218. The Snake Oil FAQ by Matt Curtin and others.
  219. The Subtle or Yogic Body: The Etheric Body, according to Barbara Brennan (from her book Hands of Light) Online
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  232. ScamBusters on Urban Legends
  233. Hoaxbusters
  234. The AFU And Urban Legends Archive
  235. Urban Legends and Folklore
  236. Myth Busters TV show
  237. The International Society for Contemporary Legend Research
  238. Anti-vaccinationists past and present -- Wolfe and Sharp 325 (7361): 430 -- BMJ Journal
  240. Pseudoscience behind flu vaccination from Bill Sardi's Knowledge of Health Article
  241. Merriam-Webster definition: Vitalism
  242. Vitalism - Skeptic's Dictionary
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  244. Siwolop, Sana (January 7, 2001). Back Pain? Arthritis? Step Right Up to the Mouse. New York Times
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  253. Argumentum Ad Hominem
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  255. Argument Against the Person (Argumentum ad hominem)
  256. The Fallacy Files. Argumentum ad Hominem
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  259. Merriam-Webster
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  276. Skeptic's Dictionary: confirmation bias Teaching about confirmation bias
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  278. Controversial Science: From Content to Contention by Thomas Brante et al.
  279. Communicating uncertainty: Media coverage of new and controversial science by Sharon Dunwoody et al.
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  287. William F. Williams, editor (2000) Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience: From Alien Abductions to Zone Therapy Facts on File ISBN 0-8160-3351-X
  288. Folk Science Article
  289. Scientific American: Folk Science Article
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  291. Podgor, Ellen S. Criminal Fraud, (1999) Vol, 48, No. 4 American Law Review 1 Review Fraud - Alex Copola
  292. ICS Certification in Bank forensic Accounting ICS
  293. CSI On-line: Scientifically Investigating Paranormal and Fringe Science Claims fringe science investigators
  294. Intellectual Dishonesty Meanings Definition
  295. Center for Informed Decision Making, Sound Science versus Junk Science Article
  296. Dictionary: Junk Science
  297. A Textbook Case of Junk Science
  298. Logical Fallacies-a semi ordered list with definitions
  299. Fallacies - ESGS. Europeean Society for General Semantics
  300. Logical Fallacies .Info
  301. Logical Fallacies and the Art of Debate
  302. Logic & Fallacies: Constructing a Logical Argument
  303. Wiktionary - pejorative
  304. Definition
  305. Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press - Definition
  306. Irving Langmuir, "Colloquium on Pathological Science", held at The Knolls Research Laboratory, December 18, 1953. Kenneth Steiglitz, Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University. Transcript See also: I. Langmuir, "Pathological Science", General Electric, (Distribution Unit, Bldg. 5, Room 345, Research and Development Center, P. O. Box 8, Schenectady, NY 12301), 68-C-035 (1968); I. Langmuir, "Pathological Science", (1989) Physics Today, Volume 42, Issue 10, October 1989, pp.36-48
  307. UK Student Portal - Academic Directory: Plagiarism
  308. Plagiarism Stoppers : A Teachers Guide
  309. What is plagiarism?
  310. "Pseudoscientific - pretending to be scientific, falsely represented as being scientific", from the Oxford American Dictionary, published by the Oxford English Dictionary.
  311. For example, Hewitt et al. Conceptual Physical Science Addison Wesley; 3 edition (July 18, 2003) ISBN 0-321-05173-4, Bennett et al. The Cosmic Perspective 3e Addison Wesley; 3 edition (July 25, 2003) ISBN 0-8053-8738-2
  312. "Marcello Truzzi, On Pseudo-Skepticism" Zetetic Scholar (1987) No. 12/13, 3-4.
  313. Definition of Quackery - Online dictionary
  314. Definition of quack - Online dictionary
  315. quacksalver- American Heritage Dictionary
  316. German-English Glossary of Idioms
  317. Definition of Scientific Misconduct
  318. Defining Misconduct in Science
  319. Rethinking Unscientific Attitudes About Scientific Misconduct
  320. Self-deception article
  321. Self-Deception (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  322. Sample Chapter for Mele, A.R.: Self-Deception Unmasked.
  323. Miller, D. T., & Ross, M. (1975). Self-serving biases in the attribution of causality: Fact or fiction? Psychological Bulletin, 82, 213-225.
  324. Babcock, L. & Loewenstein, G., (1997). Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases, Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), 109-26
  325. Responding to Skepticism, by Keith DeRose. Introduction to Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader (Oxford University Press, 1999). Describes the main lines of response to philosophical skepticism.
  326. Skepticism and the Veil of Perception, book about philosophical skepticism & perceptual knowledge
  327. James Randi Educational Foundation
  328. Skepticality
  329. Skeptic Report
  330. Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
  331. Rationalist International
  332. Skeptics Society
  333. Peter Suber, Classical Skepticism. An exposition of Pyrrho's skepticism through the writings of Sextus Empiricus.
  334. Outstanding skeptics of the 20th century - Skeptical Inquirer Magazine
  335. Examples of False Positioning (Humbug! Online)
  336. Nizkor: Straw man
  337. W. Sumer Davis. Just Smoke and Mirrors: Religion, Fear and Superstition in Our Modern World, pp. 11-12. ISBN 0-595-26523-5. 
  338. A study demonstrating wishful thinking in memory
  339. Examples of Wishful Thinking @ Humbug! Online.
  340. The Skeptic's Dictionary

External links

This draft uses content that originally appeared on Wikipedia.

[[Category:Science-related lists]] [[Category:Criticisms]] [[Category:Obsolete medical theories]] [[Category:Pseudoscience]] [[Category:Scientific skepticism]] [[Category:Skepticism]] [[Category:Supernatural healing]]