OVERRIDE

Why People Believe Weird Things

Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time

Michael Shermer; Foreword by Stephen Jay Gould

Holt Paperbacks

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.
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.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

PART 1SCIENCE AND SKEPTICISMScience is founded on the conviction that experience, effort, and reason are valid; magic on the belief that hope cannot fail nor desire deceive.—Branislaw Malinowski, Magic, Science, and Religion, 19481I Am Therefore I ThinkA Skeptic’s Manifesto



On the opening page of his splendid little book To Know a Fly, biologist Vincent Dethier makes this humorous observation about how children grow up to be scientists: “Although small children have taboos against stepping on ants because such actions are said to bring on rain, there has never seemed
READ THE FULL EXCERPT
BACK

REVIEWS

Praise for Why People Believe Weird Things

"This sparkling book romps over the range of science and anti-science."
--Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

"Splendid."
--Vanity Fair
"This sparkling book romps over the range of science and anti-science."
--Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

"Splendid."
--Vanity Fair

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Michael Shermer; Foreword by Stephen Jay Gould

  • 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.

  • Michael Shermer Jeremy Danger
    Michael Shermer

MACMILLAN SPEAKERS

Michael Shermer Stephen Jay Gould
X

Macmillan Speakers Bureau

represents thought-provoking authors and experts. We can find a speaker uniquely positioned for your audience and budget.

More info
BACK

BUY THE BOOK

Available Formats and Book Details

Why People Believe Weird Things

Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time

Michael Shermer; Foreword by Stephen Jay Gould

BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

BACK

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Holt Paperbacks

BACK