According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, "debunk" is defined as 1.Expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief). 2.Reduce the inflated reputation of (someone), esp. by ridicule: "comedy takes delight in debunking heroes".
The American Heritage Dictionary traces the passage of the words bunk (noun), debunk (verb) and debunker (noun) into American English in 1923 as a belated outgrowth of "bunkum", of which the first recorded use was in 1828, apparently related to a poorly received "speech for Buncombe" given by North Carolina representative Felix Walker during the 16th United States Congress (1819–1821).
Often the term "debunkery" is not limited to arguments about scientific validity. It can also be used in a more general sense at attempts to discredit any opposing point of view, such as that of a political opponent.
- Stephen Barrett founded Quackwatch and writes on medical quackery.
- Brian Dunning produces the podcast Skeptoid
- Stanton Friedman has debunked both supposed UFO cases and debunking attempts on other UFO cases.
- Martin Gardner, mathematics and science writer who has extensively debunked parapsychology.
- Harry Houdini debunked spiritualists.
- Ray Hyman, psychologist known for debunking some parapsychological studies.
- Philip Klass was a pioneer in the field of skeptical investigation of UFOs.
- Donald Menzel was Philip Klass' predecessor in debunking UFOs.
- Penn & Teller demystify magic tricks and illusions. They have also debunked many other aspects of popular belief on their show, Penn & Teller: Bullshit!.
- Phil Plait debunks astrology and end-of-the-world scenarios.
- James Randi has exposed faith healers, psychics and others claiming to have paranormal powers.
- Carl Sagan debunked purported close encounters such as the Betty and Barney Hill abduction, and pseudoscience such as Immanuel Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision.
- Committee for Skeptical Inquiry
- The Skeptics Society
- The MythBusters, a program on the Discovery Channel. Two former special effects technicians, Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, use modern technology to test the validity of urban legends.
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology debunked the World Trade Center controlled demolition conspiracy theories.
- Popular Mechanics has released several publications also debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories, in particular those mentioned in Loose Change.
- Snopes debunks or validates urban legends.
- The website Bad Astronomy, by the American astronomer Phil Plait, debunks astrology and other myths related to the sky.
- James Randi Educational Foundation
See also Edit
- ↑ Template:Cite web"to expose or excoriate (a claim, assertion, sentiment, etc.) as being pretentious, false, or exaggerated: to debunk advertising slogans."
- ↑ debunk – The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, accessed 2009-01-11
- ↑ Template:Cite book
- ↑ Area parents seek answer for Autism, The Times Leader, April 1, 2002, "That is coincidence, said Dr. Stephen Barrett of Allentown, a veteran debunker and operator of Quackwatch.com."
- ↑ Houdini and the spiritualists, Summit Daily News, November 3, 2007, "Houdini himself wouldn’t have believed in his second coming anyway, because he didn’t believe in spirit manifestations. In fact, he spent much of his life and career debunking spiritualists and mediums — an admirable mission that history and forensic specialists now tell us probably led to his untimely death at the age of 52."
- ↑ Pseudoscience, Skepticism To Make A Close Encounter, Seattle Times, June 12, 1994
- ↑ Review/Theater; Penn and Teller Offer Several Variations On a Magic Theme, New York Times, April 4, 1991, "As debunkers, they seek to remove the mystique from magic, to demonstrate the digitation behind the presti."
- ↑ The wizard gets a windfall—even the Amazing Randi needs advice on how to keep his $272,000 prize from vanishing, CNN Money, September 1, 1986, "Randi began his campaign against fakes in earnest in 1964, during a stint as the host of a radio talk show in Manhattan. He had become disturbed by the number of listeners phoning in with such flummery as tales of self-styled clairvoyants' uncannily correct forecasts. Gradually, his work as a debunker began to rival his show-business career, gathering momentum in the early 1970s, when Uri Geller caught Randi's attention."
- ↑ Obituaries; Betty Hill, 85; Claim of Abduction by Aliens Led to Fame, Los Angeles Times, Oct 24, 2004, "Carl Sagan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning astronomer, was among the Hills' debunkers, yet he considered their story noteworthy."