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The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of…
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The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing…

by Robert Todd Carroll

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Showing 5 of 5
Eh, it was a good-ish "dictionary", but whatever was up with all of the other book ads-sorry, "recommendations"- in every page? They annoyed the hell out of me and made it a bit of a drag.
Blog-book indeed. ( )
  AshuritaLove | Apr 7, 2013 |
I don't think it's really accurate to call this a dictionary. "Encyclopedia" might be a little closer, but it often lacks the fully objective tone that we expect an encyclopedia to have, as the author sometimes interjects his own thoughts, perspectives, and even his personal experiences. Really, I think the best way to describe it is as a series of very short articles, from a few sentences to a few pages, exploring various ideas and claims from a skeptical, critical-thinking perspective. How much these topics are explored varies a lot. Some broad subjects are glossed over with quick summaries, while some more obscure ones are examined in considerable detail. Every entry, however, does list resources for further reading, which is nice. The tone can occasionally get a little snarky, which sometimes comes across as a pointed and amusing salvo against a deserving target, but sometimes feels like the author is substituting a dismissive tone for actual analysis, which is not exactly useful in this context. Still, I approve of the basic idea.

Carroll says flat-out in his introduction that this book is not aimed at an audience of true believers, and that is unquestionably accurate. If you have any kind of personal investment in ideas such as the power of crystals, the authenticity of psychics, the existence of UFOs, or or the effectiveness of homeopathy, this book isn't going to change your mind, it's only going to piss you off. But for those who are interested in getting a critical perspective on subjects that mostly just bring up page after page of breathless testimonials from people trying to sell you stuff when you google them, this can be a good starting point. And, for the skeptically inclined, it can be kind of fun to browse through and see all the various nutty things people have believed at one point or another. ( )
2 vote bragan | Mar 20, 2012 |
This is a valuable reference for any library. The author compiles all sorts of scientific, pseudoscientific, and fringe concepts in a single reference, and gives a good, thorough discussion of the evidence, or lack thereof, for each. ( )
  quantum_flapdoodle | Apr 13, 2011 |
Some of the articles are well written. Some are well researched and interesting. Unfortunately, many are no more based on 'science' than the beliefs he pokes fun at, and come down to 'I don't understand what they are talking about, and I think it is ridiculous.' ( )
1 vote MarthaJeanne | Sep 9, 2010 |
I just picked it up to look up one thing, and then had a bit of a browse, and then ended up reading the thing cover to cover.

This resource gives you loads of background facts to back up the claims and assertions it makes (unlike most of the kinds of woo it examines) and as such rises above most popular books which cover far less subject matter far more sensationally.

You will learn about the way thinking can go wrong with common logical fallacies and ways that people fool themselves, all covered in a very general sense, but then lots of details of the many fads, cults, cons, quacks, conspiracy theories and charismatic nut jobs which have more or less succeeded in the world are piled up for your digestion. You may start by sitting like me thinking how clever you are for not falling for them, until you come across things which you either have been taken in by, or, if you are honest, may well have flirted with if you encountered them in the wild. The whole read then becomes even more rewarding as you do now realise that you are arming yourself against woo for the future (bearing in mind you now know you are a poor human idiot like everyone else) and not just laughing at the poor human idiots who have fallen for it before.

I particularly loved the occasional bit of desiccated humour which is lightly sprinkled throughout.

A unique reference for anyone who prefers to live in the real world and plans on not being duped by woo. ( )
  psiloiordinary | Dec 23, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0471272426, Paperback)

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, randi.org

"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., quackwatch.org

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:06 -0400)

"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."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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