About the Book

While belief in religious supernatural claims is waning throughout the West, evidence suggests belief in nonreligious supernatural claims is on the rise. What explains this contradiction? How can a society with a falling belief in God have a rising belief in ghosts, psychic powers, ancient astronauts, and other supernatural or pseudo-scientific phenomena? Taking the same anthropological approach he employed in his notable studies of religion, atheist author and activist David G. McAfee turns his attention to nonreligious faith-based claims. Whether going undercover as a medium, getting tested at Scientology headquarters in Los Angeles, or interviewing celebrity paranormalists and famous skeptics, he leaves no stone unturned in his investigation. As in the case of religion, he finds an unwillingness among "believers" to critically examine their most closely held convictions. Only once individuals honestly assess their own sacred cows will they be able to ensure that their beliefs conform to the known facts—and that our decisions as a society are based on the best available evidence.

About the Author


ISBN: 978-1634311182 (paperback)

SRP: $17.95

Page count: 448 pages

Trim size: 6 x 9

Pub date: August 2017

Ebook availability: Yes

Audiobook availability: Forthcoming

David G. McAfee is author of Mom, Dad, I'm an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Nonbeliever, Disproving Christianity and Other Secular Writings, and The Belief Book. He holds a degree in religious studies from the University of California–Santa Barbara and lives in Southern California. Yvette d'Entremont, also known as SciBabe, is a public speaker, science blogger, and former analytical chemist.

“Feel like you’re taking crazy pills? Are you surrounded by a world of dangerous nonsense? Don’t worry! You’re in luck -- and luck has nothing to do with it. Faster than you can say Dunning–Kruger effect, David G. McAfee’s No Sacred Cows gives you the tools to: effectively discuss sacred cows with people, solve your own ghost hauntings, use the real power of fake psychics to fight for truth, think like a scientist, tame the biases and cognitive dissonance in your own treacherous brain, deal with commonly encountered everyday bullshit like ‘alternative’ medicine, climate denial, and homeopathy, and tackle even more toxic bullshit like anti-vaxers and Scientology, and more. A must–read in an age that seriously needs a reality check.” 

—David Fitzgerald, author, Nailed and The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion series

“An informed, impressive, and personal survey of the skeptical field for the layperson and amateur skeptic alike. David G. McAfee has done his research, and it shows.”

—Benjamin Radford, author, Scientific Paranormal Investigation; Research Fellow, Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

“McAfee's new book is important and deserves to be read widely. It is based on years of research and tackles all sorts of false but common and often dangerous beliefs, superstitions, and fallacies. It teaches us to challenge assumptions, look for evidence and think critically. To be able to do that seems today more important than ever. I recommend this well-written, fascinating book to anyone who feels that sacred cows should have no place in our lives.”

—Prof. Edzard Ernst, Emeritus Professor, Complementary Medicine, Peninsula School of Medicine

No Sacred Cows is a fascinating, insightful, and most enjoyable read. McAfee’s evaluation of his thorough academic research is interwoven with anecdotes of personal experiences and an intriguing variety of interviews. This book should be read widely and discussed often.”

—Dr. Lynne Kelly, author, The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormaland The Memory Code

“With No Sacred Cows, which provides a bold and fresh look bringing solid research and consistently entertaining prose to the problem of irrational belief, McAfee has entered the strange worlds of true believers and come out alive. This remarkable book is a grand tour of fraud and delusion that everyone should read. Both irrational believers and seasoned skeptics will find much of value here.”

—Guy P. Harrison, author, Good Thinking and 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian


Advance Praise

"David G. McAfee's newest book should be on every skeptic's bookshelf,

and on every believer's, too. It is a thorough treatment of a number of topics that inspire undue credulity—some much more harmful than others—but all requiring skepticism. Having interviewed hundreds of authors on these sorts of subjects over the years, and having read all of their books, I enthusiastically recommend No Sacred Cows. It is an important work of skepticism steeped in solid research, open-minded inquiry, and a humane interest in helping believers better understand

and accept the world as it really is.”

—D.J. Grothe, director, Institute for Science and Human Values