Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time

Front Cover
Henry Holt and Company, Sep 1, 2002 - Science - 384 pages
31 Reviews

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.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
7
4 stars
18
3 stars
4
2 stars
2
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Razinha - LibraryThing

I wonder if Michael Shermer’s book should have been titled “Why Do People Believe Weird Things” because it is more an exploration than an exposition. Well-researched and documented, the extensive ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - hcubic - LibraryThing

Generally speaking, if you skipped every book with the word "weird" in the title, you wouldn't be missing much. This is an exception. Michael Shermer teaches the history of science at Occidental ... Read full review

All 6 reviews »

Contents

PROLOGUE Next on Oprah
1
PART 1 SCIENCE AND SKEPTICISM
11
PART 2 PSEUDOSCIENCE AND SUPERSTITION
63
PART 3 EVOLUTION AND CREATIONISM
125
PART 4 HISTORY AND PSEUDOHISTORY
173
PART 5 HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL
253
BIBLIOGRAPHY
315
INDEX
333
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2002)

Michael Shermer is the author of The Believing Brain, Why People Believe Weird Things, The Science of Good and Evil, The Mind Of The Market, Why Darwin Matters, Science Friction, How We Believe and other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University. He lives in Southern California.

Bibliographic information