Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist : The Great Courses: Professional

  • by The Great Courses, Michael Shermer
  • Narrated by Professor Michael Shermer
  • Series: The Great Courses: Professional
  • 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Despite our best efforts, we're all vulnerable to believing things without using logic or having proper evidence—and it doesn't matter how educated or well read we are.
But there is a method for avoiding such pitfalls of human nature, and it's called skepticism. By using rational inquiry and seeing subjects from a scientific perspective, we can approach even the most sensitive claims with clear eyes to ultimately arrive at the truth.
During 18 lectures that will surprise, challenge, and entertain you, you will learn how to think, not just what to think—and you'll come to understand why extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
You'll discover how skepticism can help differentiate between real science and pseudoscience, as well as between "scientific" history and pseudohistory—distinctions that have serious educational and political implications.
Fascinating case studies illustrate how you can apply the methods of skepticism to detect specious claims and faulty logic in any scenario you encounter such as:


The methodology employed by Holocaust deniers
Arguments made by proponents of creationism
The biology of near-death experiences and the sensed-presence effect
Psychic abilities and other "paranormal" phenomena.
As you learn how our brains work to form beliefs, you'll examine the classic fallacies of thought that lead us to experience mistakes in thinking and to form bad arguments in favor of our beliefs.
Is there a God? Is there life after death? Is there a basis for morality without God? Skepticism 101 doesn't shy away from controversial questions, nor does it give final answers. What it offers are methods and hard evidence for rationally evaluating various claims and positions, and an opportunity to understand why you believe what you believe.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Highly recommended.

Would you consider the audio edition of Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist to be better than the print version?

It is not yet available in print, but perhaps it should be to gather a wider readership.


What did you like best about this story?

This is a succinct and comprehensive run through of rational and scientific thinking and understanding as it is today. I would highly recommend it to every and anyone.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Too much information to concentrate on and absorb .


Any additional comments?

It would be a shame if those of strong relgious faith were put off listening to (reading) this, but that would only prove some of the variuous cognitive biases contained therin.

Read full review

- Patrick

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses