Mourning the Loss of Bob Carroll, Creator of The Skeptic’s Dictionary October 13, 2016

Mourning the Loss of Bob Carroll, Creator of The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Susan Gerbic penned a lovely eulogy for Robert Carroll, the creator of The Skeptic’s Dictionary, who died this past August from pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer.

His website categorized and explained alternative medicines, hoaxes, paranormal phenomena, and New Age nonsense — all with a critical eye — long before anyone else was doing it.


Before there was Wikipedia, there was The Skeptic’s Dictionary. It was conceived and managed by this one amazing person, Robert Todd Carroll. He started it in 1994 after taking a community education class with his wife Leslie, learning about the Internet, email, and HTML.

When Bob discovered his cancer in 2014 we talked briefly about it as we were both members of the club no one wants to join. He told me that he had traveled to Switzerland for treatment and that after 5 weeks he was exhausted. He didn’t feel depressed, just tired. He asked me, “Did you ever get to the point where you were tired of being tired?” Yet he continued maintaining the website and writing his popular newsletters. Only in May 2016 did he announce that he was stopping due to health reasons.

She also includes several memories from prominent skeptics who knew him well.

In case you’re wondering, the Skeptic’s Dictionary website is paid for through 2023, so it’s not about to disappear. But no word yet on whether anyone will take over maintaining the site. It’s possible that’s no longer necessary with Wikipedia around; still, his legacy will continue. As Susan writes, “Thank you Bob; you showed us the way. We will continue from here.”

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