Why People Believe Weird Things

Author: Michael Shermer
Publisher: Souvenir Press
ISBN: 0285639692
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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"(A) splendid book." Vanity Fair Why do smart people believe weird things? Why do so many people believe in mind reading, past-life regression therapy, extra-terrestrial abduction and ghosts? What is behind the rise of 'scientific creationism' and Holocaust denial? In an age of supposed scientific enlightenment why do we appear more impressionable than ever? Scientific historian, and director of the Skeptics Society, Michael Shermer debunks these extraordinary claims in a no-holds-barred assault on the popular superstitions and confused prejudices of our time. Exploring the very human reasons behind otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories and cults Shermer explains why are they are so appealing to so many. "Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism - and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency." Stephen Jay Gould, from his foreword Shermer reveals the darker side of wishful thinking, through the recovered memory movement, satanic rituals and other modern witch hunts, and ideologies of racial superiority. Confronting those who take advantage of the gullibility of other people to advance their own, self-serving agendas Why People Believe Weird Things is compelling and often disturbing. It is a perceptive portrait of the human capacity for self-delusion and a celebration of the scientific spirit.

Why People Believe Weird Things

Author: Michael Shermer
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780805070897
Format: PDF, Docs
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Revised and Expanded Edition. In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, New Age hokum, and alien abduction. A no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, with more than 80,000 copies in print, Why People Believe Weird Things debunks these nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. In an entirely new chapter, "Why Smart People Believe in Weird Things," Michael Shermer takes on science luminaries like physicist Frank Tippler and others, who hide their spiritual beliefs behind the trappings of science. Shermer, science historian and true crusader, also reveals the more dangerous side of such illogical thinking, including Holocaust denial, the recovered-memory movement, the satanic ritual abuse scare, and other modern crazes. Why People Believe Strange Things is an eye-opening resource for the most gullible among us and those who want to protect them.

Why People Believe Weird Things

Author: Michael Shermer
Publisher: Holt Paperbacks
ISBN: 9781429996761
Format: PDF
Download Now
Revised and Expanded Edition. In this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, many people still believe in mind reading, past-life regression theory, New Age hokum, and alien abduction. A no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, with more than 80,000 copies in print, Why People Believe Weird Things debunks these nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons people find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. In an entirely new chapter, "Why Smart People Believe in Weird Things," Michael Shermer takes on science luminaries like physicist Frank Tippler and others, who hide their spiritual beliefs behind the trappings of science. Shermer, science historian and true crusader, also reveals the more dangerous side of such illogical thinking, including Holocaust denial, the recovered-memory movement, the satanic ritual abuse scare, and other modern crazes. Why People Believe Strange Things is an eye-opening resource for the most gullible among us and those who want to protect them.

How We Believe

Author: Michael Shermer
Publisher: W H Freeman & Company
ISBN: 9780716735618
Format: PDF
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Attempts to understand the balance between faith in God and scientific reason, focusing on the impact of religion in modern American society, as well as examining theories of nonbelievers in such fields as anthropology and psychology.

Science Friction

Author: Michael Shermer
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9781429900881
Format: PDF, ePub
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Bestselling author Michael Shermer delves into the unknown, from heretical ideas about the boundaries of the universe to Star Trek's lessons about chance and time A scientist pretends to be a psychic for a day-and fools everyone. An athlete discovers that good-luck rituals and getting into "the zone" may, or may not, improve his performance. A historian decides to analyze the data to see who was truly responsible for the Bounty mutiny. A son explores the possiblities of alternative and experimental medicine for his cancer-ravaged mother. And a skeptic realizes that it is time to turn the skeptical lens onto science itself. In each of the fourteen essays in Science Friction, psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer explores the very personal barriers and biases that plague and propel science, especially when scientists push against the unknown. What do we know and what do we not know? How does science respond to controversy, attack, and uncertainty? When does theory become accepted fact? As always, Shermer delivers a thought-provoking, fascinating, and entertaining view of life in the scientific age.

Pseudoscience and the Paranormal

Author: Terence Hines
Publisher:
ISBN:
Format: PDF, Docs
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Television, the movies, and computer games fill the minds of their viewers with a daily staple of fantasy, from tales of UFO landings, haunted houses, and communication with the dead to claims of miraculous cures by gifted healers or breakthrough treatments by means of fringe medicine. The paranormal is so ubiquitous in one form of entertainment or another that many people easily lose sight of the distinction between the real and the imaginary, or they never learn to make the distinction in the first place. In this thorough review of pseudoscience and the paranormal in contemporary life, psychologist Terence Hines teaches readers how to carefully evaluate all such claims in terms of scientific evidence. Hines devotes separate chapters to psychics; life after death; parapsychology; astrology; UFOs; ancient astronauts, cosmic collisions, and the Bermuda Triangle; faith healing; and more. New to this second edition are extended sections on psychoanalysis and pseudopsychologies, especially recovered memory therapy, satanic ritual abuse, facilitated communication, and other questionable psychotherapies. There are also new chapters on alternative medicine, which is now marketed in our drug stores, and on environmental pseudoscience, with special emphasis on the evidence that certain technologies like cell phones or environmental agents like asbestos cause cancer. Finally, Hines discusses the psychological causes for belief in the paranormal despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This valuable, highly interesting, and completely accessible analysis critiques the whole range of current paranormal claims.

Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science

Author: Martin Gardner
Publisher: Courier Corporation
ISBN: 0486131629
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Fair, witty appraisal of cranks, quacks, and quackeries of science and pseudoscience: hollow earth, Velikovsky, orgone energy, Dianetics, flying saucers, Bridey Murphy, food and medical fads, and much more.

Paranormal America

Author: Christopher D. Bader
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9780814786420
Format: PDF, ePub
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A significant number of Americans spend their weekends at UFO conventions hearing whispers of government cover-ups, at New Age gatherings learning the keys to enlightenment, or ambling around historical downtowns learning about resident ghosts in tourist-targeted “ghost walks”. They have been fed a steady diet of fictional shows with paranormal themes such as The X-Files, Supernatural, and Medium, shows that may seek to simply entertain, but also serve to disseminate paranormal beliefs. The public hunger for the paranormal seems insatiable. Paranormal America provides the definitive portrait of Americans who believe in or have experienced such phenomena as ghosts, Bigfoot, UFOs, psychic phenomena, astrology, and the power of mediums. However, unlike many books on the paranormal, this volume does not focus on proving or disproving the paranormal, but rather on understanding the people who believe and how those beliefs shape their lives. Drawing on the Baylor Religion Survey—a multi-year national random sample of American religious values, practices, and behaviors—as well as extensive fieldwork including joining hunts for Bigfoot and spending the night in a haunted house, authors Christopher Bader, F. Carson Mencken, and Joseph Baker shed light on what the various types of paranormal experiences, beliefs, and activities claimed by Americans are; whether holding an unconventional belief, such as believing in Bigfoot, means that one is unconventional in other attitudes and behaviors; who has such experiences and beliefs and how they differ from other Americans; and if we can expect major religions to emerge from the paranormal. Brimming with engaging personal stories and provocative findings, Paranormal America is an entertaining yet authoritative look at a growing segment of American religious culture.

Believing in Magic

Author: Stuart A. Vyse
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019999692X
Format: PDF
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In this fully updated edition of Believing in Magic, renowned superstition expert Stuart Vyse investigates our tendency towards these irrational beliefs.

The Science of Good and Evil

Author: Michael Shermer
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9781429996754
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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From bestselling author Michael Shermer, an investigation of the evolution of morality that is "a paragon of popularized science and philosophy" The Sun (Baltimore) A century and a half after Darwin first proposed an "evolutionary ethics," science has begun to tackle the roots of morality. Just as evolutionary biologists study why we are hungry (to motivate us to eat) or why sex is enjoyable (to motivate us to procreate), they are now searching for the very nature of humanity. In The Science of Good and Evil, science historian Michael Shermer explores how humans evolved from social primates to moral primates; how and why morality motivates the human animal; and how the foundation of moral principles can be built upon empirical evidence. Along the way he explains the implications of scientific findings for fate and free will, the existence of pure good and pure evil, and the development of early moral sentiments among the first humans. As he closes the divide between science and morality, Shermer draws on stories from the Yanamamö, infamously known as the "fierce people" of the tropical rain forest, to the Stanford studies on jailers' behavior in prisons. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth.