Weak skepticism goes unnoticed because it is so pervasive and has been a normal part of the landscape for so long. Some of it may seem harmless (14 percent of Americans think Bigfoot is out there somewhere). Some of it may frustrate science literates (Nearly half of American adults believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old.) And some of it is just plain weird (several million Americans may believe that "lizard people" run the country). But it’s all symptomatic of a huge problem that costs us dearly. Take a close look and the scale comes into focus.

Even during economically challenging times humankind doesn’t flinch at squandering trillions of dollars on pseudoscience and superstition. Every day, unknown numbers of people in every society suffer because they trust medical quackery over evidence-based medicine. Some of them die.