Best Debunkers?

Who are the best debunkers of rumours, superstitions, and fallacies in your opinion? A lot of these books and sites often cover the same old things (like say nobody in Columbus’ day thought the Earth was flat for example).

First of all there is our incomparable Cecil Adams and his Straight Dope.

Then there is Snopes. com.

Among books I’d say the best I’ve seen are Brunvand’s work on urban legends, Ackerman’s *Popular Fallacies, *and John Stossel’s Get Out the Shovel (which is more explicity political than the other ones.

Maybe Dictionary of Misinformation too.

James Randi / JREF

I don’t have a debunker to add, just want to say I despise John Stossel with the white hot intensity of ten thousand suns.

Houdini, James Randi, Penn & Teller (outside of political stuff).

Add Mythbusters to the list.

<URL></URL> is pretty good for debunking stuff from politicians and commentators.

Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies In The Name Of Science is the single best debunking book ever written. Granted, some of the stuff he’s debunking is now out of date or totally forgotten, but his ability to write with flair, to not get shrill* and to seem to actually enjoy the hell out of the weird crap he’s debunking makes it a must-have.
*One of the unfortunate flaws in Randi’s writings is that his written voice is shrill. Even when I’m nodding in agreement with him, I’m also wishing he’d just chill out a little.

No shit. If the dude cut out all of his bitching, moaning, and insulting, he’d have room for twice as much debunking.


I like Brian Dunning of Skeptoid, a podcast (with transcripts for those who can’t listen).

The Mistakes We Make by Nathan Dole is an oldie but a goodie: There’s a sequel too called More Mistakes We Make is a good site as well as Skeptic magazine. I’ll second Penn & Teller. When it ran on Showtime, their show “Bullshit” was a great. Then there’s Christopher Hitchens, R.I.P. Not a typical debunker, but one of the world’s great skeptics.

Though I have not read it, I have heard good things about the Skeptical Inquirer magazine, so this thread prompted me to look it up, and on its Wikipedia page I found this quote:

Indeed, I was nodding at the good list from the OP and then suddenly it was like Sesame Street’s “One of this things is not like the others!”

BTW one should add these to the list of best debunking sites: to deal with fake skeptics on climate science, and to deal with Creationists and IDer’s, for GMO contrarians and Skeptic’s Dictionary at and for most topics.

I second Skeptiod. It’s short and sweet and filled with good info.

Bullshit had some excellent episodes where they completely blow apart cultural bias, the circumcision and immigration and prison episodes come to mind.

They had some episodes that picked much less focused targets and just felt boring and like shooting fish in a barrel, oh look they got a woman selling healing crystals to say a bunch of nonsense on camera like contacting past lives etc. They then proceed to freeze frame and insult her, good thing they pointed out to me that reincarnation isn’t real:smack:

Some episodes just seemed about mocking non-mainstream beliefs which never needed the debunking as no testable claims were made.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki writes some books on these, and I think Popular Science and New Scientist as well.

Bob Park (Wiki link He’s been fighting the “EM fields cause cancer” BS for decades. It’s taking longer than we thought.

For health related issues, Quackwatch run by Stephen Barrett is good.

Brand new, not a lot there yet. Looks promising.