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The Believing Brain

The Believing Brain Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 1429972610
Release 2011-05-24
Pages 400
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The Believing Brain is bestselling author Michael Shermer's comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished. In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world's best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. Our brains connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen, and these patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop of belief confirmation. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths. Interlaced with his theory of belief, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality.



The Believing Brain

The Believing Brain Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 9781780335308
Release 2012-06-07
Pages 160
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Synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist and science historian, Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. Using sensory data that flow in through the senses, the brain naturally looks for and finds patterns - and then infuses those patterns with meaning, forming beliefs. Once beliefs are formed, our brains subconsciously seek out confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop. In The Believing Brain, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not our belief matches reality.



The Believing Brain

The Believing Brain Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 1780335296
Release 2012-06-01
Pages 464
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Bestselling author Shermer presents a comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished.



Why People Believe Weird Things

Why People Believe Weird Things Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 1429996765
Release 2002-09-01
Pages 384
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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.



Why We Believe in God s

Why We Believe in God s Author J. Anderson Thomson
ISBN-10 9780984493234
Release 2014-07-01
Pages 144
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In this groundbreaking volume, J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., MD, with Clare Aukofer, offers a succinct yet comprehensive study of how and why the human mind generates religious belief. Dr. Thomson, a highly respected practicing psychiatrist with credentials in forensic psychiatry and evolutionary psychology, methodically investigates the components and causes of religious belief in the same way any scientist would investigate the movement of astronomical bodies or the evolution of life over time—that is, as a purely natural phenomenon. Providing compelling evidence from psychology, the cognitive neurosciences, and related fields, he, with Ms. Aukofer, presents an easily accessible and exceptionally convincing case that god(s) were created by man—not vice versa. With this slim volume, Dr. Thomson establishes himself as a must-read thinker and leading voice on the primacy of reason and science over superstition and religion.



How We Believe

How We Believe Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 9780716741619
Release 2000-11-01
Pages 302
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Recent polls show that 96% of Americans believe in God. Why are people turning to religion in greater numbers than ever before? In How We Believe, Michael Shermer presents the results of an exhaustive empirical study in which he asked 10,000 Americans how and why they believe and about details of their faith. The result offers fresh and startling insights into age-old questions.



SuperSense

SuperSense Author Bruce M. Hood
ISBN-10 9780061867934
Release 2009-04-07
Pages 320
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“In an account chock full of real-world examples reinforced by experimental research, Hood’s marvelous book is an important contribution to the psychological literature that is revealing the actuality of our very irrational human nature.” — Science In the vein of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Mary Roach’s Spook, and Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational, The Science of Superstition uses hard science to explain pervasive irrational beliefs and behaviors: from the superstitious rituals of sports stars, to the depreciated value of houses where murders were committed, to the adoration of Elvis.



The Mind of the Market

The Mind of the Market Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 0805078320
Release 2008
Pages 308
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The best-selling author of Why People Believe Weird Things offers a revealing study of the influence of evolutionary theory on the modern economy, as well as the evolutionary roots of human economic behavior, bringing together the latest research in neuroeconomics, psychology, biology, and other fields to analyze the economics of everyday life. 50,000 first printing.



Believing Bullshit

Believing Bullshit Author Stephen Law
ISBN-10 9781616144128
Release 2011-04-01
Pages 271
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This book identifies eight key mechanisms that can transform a set of ideas into a psychological flytrap. The author suggests that, like the black holes of outer space, from which nothing, not even light, can escape, our contemporary cultural landscape contains numerous intellectual black-holes—belief systems constructed in such a way that unwary passers-by can similarly find themselves drawn in. While such self-sealing bubbles of belief will most easily trap the gullible or poorly educated, even the most intelligent and educated of us are potentially vulnerable. Some of the world’s greatest thinkers have fallen in, never to escape. This witty, insightful critique will help immunize readers against the wiles of cultists, religious and political zealots, conspiracy theorists, promoters of flaky alternative medicines, and various other nutcases by clearly setting out the tricks of the trade by which such insidious belief systems are created and maintained. From the Trade Paperback edition.



Heavens on Earth

Heavens on Earth Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 9781627798570
Release 2018-01-09
Pages 320
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A scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality from the bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth. For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, and though no one has ever returned from such a place to report what it is really like—or that it even exists—today science and technology are being used to try to make it happen in our lifetime. From radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading, Shermer considers how realistic these attempts are from a proper skeptical perspective. Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and how we can live well in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.



Suspicious Minds

Suspicious Minds Author Rob Brotherton
ISBN-10 9781472915641
Release 2015-11-19
Pages 288
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'A first class book' Sunday Times We're all conspiracy theorists. Some of us just hide it better than others. Conspiracy theorists do not wear tin-foil hats (for the most part). They are not just a few kooks lurking on the paranoid fringes of society with bizarre ideas about shape-shifting reptilian aliens running society in secret. They walk among us. They are us. Everyone loves a good conspiracy. Yet conspiracy theories are not a recent invention. And they are not always a harmless curiosity. In Suspicious Minds, Rob Brotherton explores the history and consequences of conspiracism, and delves into the research that offers insights into why so many of us are drawn to implausible, unproven and unproveable conspiracy theories. They resonate with some of our brain's built-in quirks and foibles, and tap into some of our deepest desires, fears, and assumptions about the world. The fascinating and often surprising psychology of conspiracy theories tells us a lot – not just why we are drawn to theories about sinister schemes, but about how our minds are wired and, indeed, why we believe anything at all. Conspiracy theories are not some psychological aberration – they're a predictable product of how brains work. This book will tell you why, and what it means. Of course, just because your brain's biased doesn't always mean you're wrong. Sometimes conspiracies are real. Sometimes, paranoia is prudent.



The Moral Arc

The Moral Arc Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 9780805096934
Release 2015-01-20
Pages 560
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Bestselling author Michael Shermer's exploration of science and morality that demonstrates how the scientific way of thinking has made people, and society as a whole, more moral From Galileo and Newton to Thomas Hobbes and Martin Luther King, Jr., thinkers throughout history have consciously employed scientific techniques to better understand the non-physical world. The Age of Reason and the Enlightenment led theorists to apply scientific reasoning to the non-scientific disciplines of politics, economics, and moral philosophy. Instead of relying on the woodcuts of dissected bodies in old medical texts, physicians opened bodies themselves to see what was there; instead of divining truth through the authority of an ancient holy book or philosophical treatise, people began to explore the book of nature for themselves through travel and exploration; instead of the supernatural belief in the divine right of kings, people employed a natural belief in the right of democracy. In The Moral Arc, Shermer will explain how abstract reasoning, rationality, empiricism, skepticism--scientific ways of thinking--have profoundly changed the way we perceive morality and, indeed, move us ever closer to a more just world.



Psychology Gone Wrong

Psychology Gone Wrong Author Tomasz Witkowski
ISBN-10 9781627345286
Release 2015-01-29
Pages 306
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Psychology Gone Wrong: The Dark Sides of Science and Therapy explores the dark sides of psychology, the science that penetrates almost every area of our lives. It must be read by everyone who has an interest in psychology, by all those who are studying or intend to study psychology, and by present and potential clients of psychotherapists. This book will tell you which parts of psychology are supported by scientific evidence, and which parts are simply castles built on sand. This is the first book which comprehensively covers all mistakes, frauds and abuses of academic psychology, psychotherapy, and psycho-business.



Science Friction

Science Friction Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 1429900881
Release 2010-04-01
Pages 336
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Bestselling author Michael Shermer delves into the unknown, from heretical ideas about the boundaries of the universe to Star Trek's lessons about chance and time A scientist pretends to be a psychic for a day-and fools everyone. An athlete discovers that good-luck rituals and getting into "the zone" may, or may not, improve his performance. A historian decides to analyze the data to see who was truly responsible for the Bounty mutiny. A son explores the possiblities of alternative and experimental medicine for his cancer-ravaged mother. And a skeptic realizes that it is time to turn the skeptical lens onto science itself. In each of the fourteen essays in Science Friction, psychologist and science historian Michael Shermer explores the very personal barriers and biases that plague and propel science, especially when scientists push against the unknown. What do we know and what do we not know? How does science respond to controversy, attack, and uncertainty? When does theory become accepted fact? As always, Shermer delivers a thought-provoking, fascinating, and entertaining view of life in the scientific age.



Atheism and Secularity 2 volumes

Atheism and Secularity  2 volumes Author Phil Zuckerman
ISBN-10 9780313351822
Release 2009-12-21
Pages 514
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This important two-volume contribution to the field of secular studies offers the first comprehensive examination of atheists and non-religious people around the world. • Includes essays by 19 top sociologists and psychologists who study atheism and secularity • Offers extensive bibliographies for each chapter



Skeptic

Skeptic Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 9781627791397
Release 2016-01-12
Pages 320
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Collected essays from bestselling author Michael Shermer's celebrated columns in Scientific American For fifteen years, bestselling author Michael Shermer has written a column in Scientific American magazine that synthesizes scientific concepts and theory for a general audience. His trademark combination of deep scientific understanding and entertaining writing style has thrilled his huge and devoted audience for years. Now, in Skeptic, seventy-five of these columns are available together for the first time; a welcome addition for his fans and a stimulating introduction for new readers.



The Science of Good and Evil

The Science of Good and Evil Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 1429996757
Release 2005-01-02
Pages 368
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From bestselling author Michael Shermer, an investigation of the evolution of morality that is "a paragon of popularized science and philosophy" The Sun (Baltimore) A century and a half after Darwin first proposed an "evolutionary ethics," science has begun to tackle the roots of morality. Just as evolutionary biologists study why we are hungry (to motivate us to eat) or why sex is enjoyable (to motivate us to procreate), they are now searching for the very nature of humanity. In The Science of Good and Evil, science historian Michael Shermer explores how humans evolved from social primates to moral primates; how and why morality motivates the human animal; and how the foundation of moral principles can be built upon empirical evidence. Along the way he explains the implications of scientific findings for fate and free will, the existence of pure good and pure evil, and the development of early moral sentiments among the first humans. As he closes the divide between science and morality, Shermer draws on stories from the Yanamamö, infamously known as the "fierce people" of the tropical rain forest, to the Stanford studies on jailers' behavior in prisons. The Science of Good and Evil is ultimately a profound look at the moral animal, belief, and the scientific pursuit of truth.