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

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Souvenir Press Limited, 2007 - Belief and doubt - 384 pages
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UFO abductions...television sychics...creationism...Holocaust denial. Faced with the rapid changes and anxiety of modern life, many people are turning to the alluring comforts of pseudoscience and the occult. In Why People Believe Weird Things, science historian Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic magazine and director of the Skeptics Society, explores the very human reasons we find supernatural phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. Shermer also reveals the darker and more fearful side of wishful thinking, including Holocaust denial, creationism, the recovered memory movement, alien abduction experiences, the satanic ritual abuse scare and other modern witch crazes, extreme Afrocentrism, and ideologies of racial superiority. A compelling and often disturbing portrait of our immense capacity for self-delusion, Why People Believe Weird Things celebrates the scientific spirit and the joy to be found in rationally exploring the world's greatest mysteries even if many of the questions remain unanswered. Foreword by Stephen Jay Gould. 20 illustrations. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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

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About the author (2007)

Michael Shermer is the director of the Skeptics Society and the host of the Skeptics Lecture Series at the California Institute of Technology. He teaches science, technology, and evolutionary thought in the Cultural Studies Program at Occidental College.

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