Hoaxes, Myths, and Manias: Why We Need Critical Thinking
Thinking is an innate ability that most people take for granted. But like writing well or speaking effectively before the public, thinking well is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice. In this unique introduction to critical thinking, Robert Bartholomew and Benjamin Radford first lay out the principles of critical thinking and then invite readers to put these principles to the test by examining a series of unusual and challenging case studies. Assembling a wide range of bizarre but actual incidents from many cultures and various time periods, they demonstrate how the tools of critical thinking can help to unravel alleged paranormal events and seemingly mysterious behavior.
What factors led to the "Martian panic" of 1938? Why did many people conclude that an alien spaceship crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947? How do we explain the panic expressed by otherwise normal Southeast Asian men who came to believe that a contagious disease was causing their genitals to shrink, or the frenzied dance manias that captivated thousands of Europeans during the Middle Ages? Bartholomew and Radford show that reality is very much a social construction, that cultural assumptions play a large part in our judgments about what is normal and what is deviant, and that the use of critical reasoning is our best means of ensuring an objective perspective.
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THE AMERICAN PICTURE
The Roswell Flying Saucer Crash
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abnormal airship hoax alien American appeared Arnold behavior beliefs Bequette Boston Globe broadcast Cantril century chronicles claims context Copter crashed critical thinking cult cultural Daily dance frenzies dance manias December December 23 Derbyshire described emotional Epidemic episode evidence examine example Eyewitness fear flying saucer Gazette History human hysterical Ibid incident involved January January 17 Jersey Devil Journal Jumping Frenchmen Kearney Kenneth Arnold Koro latah light London mad gasser Martian mass delusion mass hysteria mass media Mattoon mental disorder mysterious myth newspaper night normal November November 26 objects observed occurred Oregon panic participants penis phantom helicopters pilot police popular prowler Psychiatry Psychology R. E. Bartholomew religious reports residents REVIEW QUESTIONS rumors San Francisco scare scientific scientists sightings Skeptical Inquirer social Special Branch startled story symptoms tarantism Tillinghast tions triggered typically Unidentified Flying Objects victims wave Western witches Worcester York