The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience
by Michael Shermer, Editor
November 2002, 903pp, 7x10
2 volumes, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-57607-653-8
$191, £142, 160€, A273
eBook Available: 978-1-57607-654-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Is there any truth to alien abduction and cold fusion, recovered memories and conspiracy theories? Michael Shermer, founder of the Skeptics Society and The 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.

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.

Edited by Michael Shermer, editor and publisher of The 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 The 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 The 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
Michael Shermer is editor and publisher of The Skeptic magazine, a regular columnist for Scientific American, and director of the Skeptic Society.


"[T]he treatment afforded the topics covered in this encyclopedia is serious . . . The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience is one of those sets in which the fascination value may equal its reference use . . . without a doubt, many people are captivated with the issues discussed in this work."—Against the Grain, February 1, 2003

"A careful reading . . . should be required of all who wish to get a university degree . . . In the Internet age . . . people . . . should make every effort toward two goals: To spread good scientific metionads for evaluating truth claims, and to help nurture enlightened traditional worldviews. . . . This set does much in the direction of acheiving the first goal."—American Reference Books Annual, March 1, 2004
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