Editor reviews

Michael Shermer is the perfect authority for this topic. Having once believed in almost everything - from alien abductions to near-death experiences - he now believes in almost nothing. Or at least, he needs a lot of convincing. With a scientist's precision, he methodically dissects common beliefs and errors in thinking that most of us commit at least some of the time. Shermer is the master of the reality check, but he's far more than just a misanthropic debunker of superstition. He knows, and explains, why we have a need to believe the implausible. This is smart listening. (Rick L.)
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Summary

UFO abductions, television psychics, paranormal phenomena, skeptics and believers alike, find themselves debating truths and lies in the strange web of pseudoscience and the occult. With everyday normal life moving too fast to comprehend, people are turning to the bizarre and wacky for comfort. Now, director of the Skeptics Society Michael Shermer explores the very human reasons why we find other worldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. The eternal search for meaning and spiritual fulfillment leads us astray by extraordinary claims and controversial ideas, particularly those in the realms of superstition and the supernatural. This celebrates the scientific spirit and the joy to be found in rationally exploring the world's greatest mysteries.
©1997, 2002 Michael Shermer
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Lesley on 08-04-09

Shermer is all over this.

Shermer has been the editor of Skeptic Magazine for some years and in that time has come across many weird beliefs and has attended many dubious seminars and psuedo-science events. Shermer tells it how it is and uses reason and whit to get over the real science and socoilogy behind ridiculous claims. I read the book first, and it would be a good idea to get an unabridged version of this (If Shermer has the time) but this is an excellent listen covering some of his adventures to the other side of science. I would also recommend 'Borderlands of science' and his most recent release of his lectures on the history of science.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Giedrius on 09-03-07

sceptical of sceptical

It's a sceptical of sceptical of sceptics.

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1 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By reggie p on 17-09-04

Ok but not as good as How We Believe

This book contained many of the same arguments in the author's other book, How We Believe, with additional discussion of topics such as the Holocaust deniers as well creation scientists. There was too much debunking of the deniers and creationists and not enough analysis of why people believe such things. I suppose the reasons why people believe nonsense is really limited to a few reasons, such as hope, fear, laziness, etc., that are applicable to a variety of situations. There's not a whole lot more that can be said about this.
No need to read both of the author's book. I liked How We Believe much better than this one.

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10 of 12 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jennifer on 07-10-10

Tricky concepts made easy

This book is really clear and easy to follow without being patronising. I love the section on logical fallacies.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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