The official site of bestselling author Michael Shermer The official site of bestselling author Michael Shermer

Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience

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About the book

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A thorough, objective, and balanced analysis of the most prominent controversies made in the name of science — from the effectiveness of proposed medical treatments to the reality of supernatural claims. Is there any truth to alien abduction and cold fusion, recovered memories and conspiracy theories? Michael Shermer, founder of the Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine, and his team of well-known scientists and scholars have created an open-minded and authoritative two volume set that gives evidence both for and against extraordinary theories.

Edited by Michael Shermer, editor and publisher of Skeptic magazine, this truly unique work provides a comprehensive introduction to the most prominent pseudoscientific claims made in the name of “science.” Covering the popular, the academic, and the bizarre, the encyclopedia includes everything from alien abductions to the Bermuda Triangle, crop circles, Feng Shui, and near-death experiences.

Fifty-nine brief descriptive summaries and 23 investigations from Skeptic magazine give skeptical analyses of subjects as far-ranging as acupuncture, chiropractic, and Atlantis. The encyclopedia also gives for-and-against debates on topics such as evolutionary psychology and case studies on topics like police psychics and the medical intuitive Carolyn Myss. Finally, the volumes include five classic works in the history of science and pseudoscience, including the speech William Jennings Bryan never delivered in the Scopes trial, and the first scientific and skeptical investigation of a paranormal/spiritual phenomenon by Benjamin Franklin and Antoine Lavoisier.

  • Includes over 100 entries about pseudoscientific subjects like the Bermuda Triangle, handwriting analysis, and the health hazards of electromagnetic fields and cell phones
  • Presents 35 case studies and investigations from Skeptic magazine about topics ranging from police psychics and recovered memory therapy to Atlantis and witchcraft
  • Includes classic primary documents such as “Whatever Happened to N-Rays?,” Edward Condon’s “Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects,” and Benjamin Franklin’s report on animal magnetism
  • Includes over 60 contributors including scholars, psychologists, trial attorneys, and others
  • Contains descriptive essays about everything from the Bermuda Triangle and crop circles to Feng Shui, shamanism, and cryptozoology
  • Includes investigations from Skeptic magazine of subjects like acupuncture, homeopathy, and witchcraft
  • Features pro and con discussions of hot subjects like evolutionary psychology, race and IQ, and race and sports
    Includes historical documents such as Mr. Bryan’s Address to the Jury in the Scopes Case: The Speech Which Was Never Delivered
read or write comments (6)

6 Comments to “Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience”

  1. chad Simonds Says:

    You know, Michael, you’ll eventually need to write a book about the 9/11 Truthers and Scientology. I look forward to your thorough analysis.

  2. AJ Says:

    wow, it’s sad that shermers website attracts so many people who just dont get it. Keep up the work mike. The books are great. I just wish they were easier to get a hold of in New Zealand.

  3. GALM Says:

    Well, I gues there are some other psychic walking around. soon they will be asking for attention because they predicted that an Afroamerican woulbe president… and voila! Obama is the president. I guess if you go out everyday with an umbrella and say “it’s going to rain” I guess you will be right one day.

  4. Famous Mortimer Says:

    The “Skeptic” term has essentially become equal to “nut-job” in my mind, thanks to these almost avant-garde replies on every skeptics site that I have visited.

    They effectively support Shermer’s “Why Smart People Believe Weird Things” theory. It seems that focused minds are very good at filling in the gaps with a host of different dreamscapes. It’s like watching someone wield a chainsaw for fun. You might want them to stop, but ultimately, there’s very little you can do about it.

    Now, I’m quite certain that there’s a spattering of genuine mental illness at play here as well, but to have to wade through, and even expect these rampant mutterings on such a well nuanced site really breaks my heart.

    I consider it grafitti.

  5. ZT Says:

    @AJ: I don’t think the website attracts a high proportion of morons; rather, the morons are the ones who get angry because of the website, and angry people are far more likely to comment.

  6. Marshall Klarfeld Says:

    Carl Sagan gave us ‘The Baloney Detection Kit’. He admited that science at times had been wrong.
    My most memorable Sagan quote, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known”. The back cover of Carl Sagan’s 1985 book “Contact” shows the author leaning against a building with the ‘Winged Planet’ design engraved above his left shoulder. Was this an attempt to connect his story to the Sumerian stories of the Anunnaki? He named the spaceship Gilgamesh. My recent book “The Anunnaki Were Here!” reveals the conclusive evidence proving it’s title!!