For the fun of debunking,
duty of skepticism,
and love of science.

It is difficult to say what truth is, but sometimes it is so easy to recognize a falsehood.
--Albert Einstein

The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that ain't so.
--Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), Will Rogers (William Penn Adair), or Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw)0

When you read or overhear nonsense or the besmirching of science, do you have an urge to respond and set things straight? Are you seeking knowledge and tools to help refute such foolishness? Would you like to be the bane of forums and comments sections about pseudoscience, grand conspiracies, quackery, or the supernatural? If yes to any of the above, then you have come to the right place. Welcome! If you are new to skepticism (not to be confused with cynicism), I recommend that you start with Tools for assessing claims, Cognitive Biases and Traps, and Logical Fallacies.

Debunking can be an easy sport yet it can require tedious research to learn a subject and get your facts straight. Although ideologues and true believers cannot be swayed by logical arguments and credible evidence, there might be others on the sidelines who can be influenced.

True believers can be quite deluded. You say one thing and they will hear another (see Why People Don't Realize They're Incompetent for an explanation). And in the case of grand conspiracy believers, any argument against the conspiracy becomes an argument for the conspiracy, as contrary evidence was planted and absent evidence was removed. Sneaky! But you might be able to sow a seed of reality that could rear its rational sprout years later.

Debunking isn't about being contrary (no it isn't! yes it is!); it's about exposing shams and falseness, and it can be good debate practice or just plain fun. Apart from having fun, the primary goal should be the defense of quality science because it's such an amazingly useful tool for discovery and progress.

Lastly, imagination and intuition can be inspiring, useful, and enjoyable; but imagining doesn't make it so, and intuition is but a fallible prediction; and when fiction is presented as fact, it is open to criticism, and your health, wealth, or peace of mind can be in jeopardy from bunk.

Table of Contents

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Debunked Subjects

Undebunked Subjects
A list of subjects that were previously considered bunk but have since been vindicated.
None at this time.

Tools for assessing claims

Concepts and subjects for your debunking toolbox

Resources and communities for your debunking toolbox


0The source and exact quote is in dispute. Please let me know if you know.

1Wikipedia links are included if the articles have a critical/skeptical/controversy section or if they provide a good overview of the subject. Help make Wikipedia better: create an account there and add or improve skeptical content, thanks.

2Penn & Teller: Bullshit! is not fair in their portrayals but they make good points and usually come to correct conclusions (exceptions include their denial of global warming and fixation with Libertarianism). No links available at this time until I can find a landing page for each episode.

3The rules of homeopathy are paraphrased from James Randi. And thanks to Dr. Mark Crislip for the analogy of the infinitesimally-small hammer.

4Greenman Studio (Peter Sinclair) and Nature: Attributing physical and biological impacts to anthropogenic climate change.

5A reference to Weird Al's Albuquerque: "Hey, you've got weasles on your face."

6Zero Tolerance (ZT) Policy is not so much bunk as folly and listed here as a personal pet peeve.

7Paraphrased from J.B.S. Haldane.

Credits & Awards


The Snuggle Wolf of Science, Skepticism, and Silliness