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Book Title: Why People Believe Weird Things|
Date of issue: 1997
ISBN 13: 9780965594875
The author of the book: Michael Shermer
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 8.54 MB
Edition: W.H. Freeman and Company
Read full description of the books Why People Believe Weird Things:Few can talk with more personal authority about the range of human beliefs than Michael Shermer. At various times in the past, Shermer has believed in fundamentalist Christianity, alien abductions, Ayn Rand, megavitamin therapy, and deep-tissue massage. Now he believes in skepticism, and his motto is "Cognite tute--think for yourself." This updated edition of Why People Believe Weird Things covers Holocaust denial and creationism in considerable detail, and has chapters on abductions, Satanism, Afrocentrism, near-death experiences, Randian positivism, and psychics. Shermer has five basic answers to the implied question in his title: for consolation, for immediate gratification, for simplicity, for moral meaning, and because hope springs eternal. He shows the kinds of errors in thinking that lead people to believe weird (that is, unsubstantiated) things, especially the built-in human need to see patterns, even where there is no pattern to be seen. Throughout, Shermer emphasizes that skepticism (in his sense) does not need to be cynicism: "Rationality tied to moral decency is the most powerful joint instrument for good that our planet has ever known."
--Mary Ellen Curtin
Read information about the authorMichael Brant Shermer (born September 8, 1954 in Glendale, California) is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating and debunking pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. The Skeptics Society currently has over 55,000 members.
Shermer is also the producer and co-host of the 13-hour Fox Family television series Exploring the Unknown. Since April 2004, he has been a monthly columnist for Scientific American magazine with his Skeptic column. Once a fundamentalist Christian, Shermer now describes himself as an agnostic nontheist and an advocate for humanist philosophy.
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