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

Criticisms and Frequently Asked Questions

Why "Debunkatron"?
Brian Dunning of Skeptoid wrote that he would post on forums and mailing lists offering alternate, more reasonable explanations for the reported phenomena but was derided as a "skeptoid" and "debunkatron" for doing so. I found "debunkatron" to be a funny mildly-derogatory word and the domain was available so I was inspired to have a go at my own skeptical website. The robotic name influenced my website's simple style and outline format.

Why Debunkatron?
It's mostly a quick reference for skeptics, but I also hope to help people to try not to fool themselves and waste their money or harm their health. And I, as an advocate of science and reason, disdain pseudoscience and dogma.

Why .com?
Because it kinda rhymes with Debunkatron, and perhaps I'll sell some skepticism-related merchandise in the future.

You're just linking to other people's work.
Yes, mostly. Debunkatron is designed to be a first-stop portal, but there is also original content.

Setting out to debunk something presumes that it's bunk.
Setting out to disprove something is unscientific because the results can be tainted by biases, but pointing out things that have been determined to be false is the kind of debunking that I'm doing. That and pointing out extolled things that have no credible evidence to back them up. I don't care if something is concluded to be true or false (like whether or not there are bigfoots, alien visitors or a cosmic universal consciousness); but I do care about the process for reaching tentative conclusions (no bigfoots, no alien visitations, and no cosmic universal consciousness), and science has demonstrated to be an excellent tool for doing so. A thing cannot be "debunked" unless it is filled with bunk to begin with. --Robert Sheaffer

Where is the true science in this? There is non, all there is is blind skepticism, people like this have been proven wrong countless times all throughout history and will continue to be proven wrong until they start putting there money where there skepticism is and prove there facts. [sic]
Science thrives on criticism and is inherently skeptical of claims, especially extraordinary claims. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and the burden of proof is on the claimant. One of the purposes of Debunkatron is to expose claims that are disproved, unfounded, or founded on dubious evidence like anecdotes or eye witnesses. Truth is elusive but bunk can be easy to see. I will admit to being wrong when presented with credible evidence. And then, as always, the truth will be considered as tentative because better evidence may be found later.

You think you're so smart, you know-it-all.
We are all idiots so some degree, thanks to our mammalian primate brains with flawed perception, imperfect memory, and fallible intuition. We cannot know everything, but that should not stop us from pursuing knowledge.

Oh, we don't really know anything.
You don't know that rocks aren't edible? You don't know that humans cannot give birth to puppies? You don't know that jumping off high cliffs is dangerous? We know things. With diligence and rigor so as to try not to be fooled, we have built a great unifying body of knowledge that is increasingly more accurate and complete. Personal experiences are misleading and are not enough to get a good grasp on the nature of our universe. The truth consists of hard-to-vary assertions about reality as pointed out in David Deutsch's TED Talk. And while we're at it, let's not fall for the post-modernism (everyone is right) contradictory nonsense.

In the past, we did not not know about things like atoms, radioactiviy, electromagnatism and quantum mechanics, so there might be more hidden things that science hasn't found yet, and there are things that science cannot touch.
Sure, there is much more to discover, but if we allow for the supernatural and unknown forces without evidence or good reason, then anything goes. We might as well assert demons, fairies, ghosts and/or gods. Since such guesses are all equally valid (um, invalid) then why bother?

There is no Truth with a capital "T", but thanks to the scientific method, we now have an accumulation of truths (lowercase "t") that has formed a coherent model of our universe. Science and modern philosophy have revealed a single underlying reality. Our everyday world and our origins are explainable, though not necessarily predictable due to complexity.