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The Believing Brain

The Believing Brain Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 1250008808
Release 2012-08-07
Pages 400
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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 begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning, forming beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, accelerating 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. And ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not our beliefs match 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 9780285639690
Release 2007-09-01
Pages 384
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"(A) splendid book." Vanity Fair Why do smart people believe weird things? Why do so many people believe in mind reading, past-life regression therapy, extra-terrestrial abduction and ghosts? What is behind the rise of 'scientific creationism' and Holocaust denial? In an age of supposed scientific enlightenment why do we appear more impressionable than ever? Scientific historian, and director of the Skeptics Society, Michael Shermer debunks these extraordinary claims in a no-holds-barred assault on the popular superstitions and confused prejudices of our time. Exploring the very human reasons behind otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories and cults Shermer explains why are they are so appealing to so many. "Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism - and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency." Stephen Jay Gould, from his foreword Shermer reveals the darker side of wishful thinking, through the recovered memory movement, satanic rituals and other modern witch hunts, and ideologies of racial superiority. Confronting those who take advantage of the gullibility of other people to advance their own, self-serving agendas Why People Believe Weird Things is compelling and often disturbing. It is a perceptive portrait of the human capacity for self-delusion and a celebration of the scientific spirit.



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.



Seven Experiments That Could Change the World

Seven Experiments That Could Change the World Author Rupert Sheldrake
ISBN-10 9781620550069
Release 2002-07-01
Pages 320
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Examines the realities of unexplained natural phenomenon and provides explanations that push the boundaries of science. • Looks at animal telepathy and the ability of pigeons to home. • Proves the point that "big questions don't need big science". • Noted scientist Rupert Sheldrake is a former research fellow of the Royal Society. • New Edition with an Update on Results. How does your pet "know" when you are coming home? How do pigeons "home"? Can people really feel a "phantom" amputated arm? These questions and more form the basis of Sheldrake's look at the world of contemporary science as he puts some of the most cherished assumptions of established science to the test. What Sheldrake discovers is that certain scientific beliefs are so widely taken for granted that they are no longer regarded as theories but are seen as scientific common sense. In the true spirit of science, Sheldrake examines seven of these beliefs. Refusing to let intellectual dogmatism influence his search for the truth, Sheldrake presents simple experiments that allow the curious and the skeptical to join in his journey of discovery. His experiments look at how scientific research is often biased against unexpected patterns that emerge and how a researcher's expectations can influence the results. He also examines the taboo of taking pets seriously and explores the question of human extrasensory perception. Perhaps most important, he questions the notion that science must be expensive in order to achieve important results, showing that inexpensive methods can indeed shake the very foundations of science as we know it. In this compelling and intelligent book, Sheldrake offers no preconceived wisdom or easy answers--just an open invitation to explore the unknown, create new science, and perhaps, even change the 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.



Why Darwin Matters

Why Darwin Matters Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 1429900903
Release 2007-04-01
Pages 224
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A creationist-turned-scientist demonstrates the facts of evolution and exposes Intelligent Design's real agenda Science is on the defensive. Half of Americans reject the theory of evolution and "Intelligent Design" campaigns are gaining ground. Classroom by classroom, creationism is overthrowing biology. In Why Darwin Matters, bestselling author Michael Shermer explains how the newest brand of creationism appeals to our predisposition to look for a designer behind life's complexity. Shermer decodes the scientific evidence to show that evolution is not "just a theory" and illustrates how it achieves the design of life through the bottom-up process of natural selection. Shermer, once an evangelical Christian and a creationist, argues that Intelligent Design proponents are invoking a combination of bad science, political antipathy, and flawed theology. He refutes their pseudoscientific arguments and then demonstrates why conservatives and people of faith can and should embrace evolution. He then appraises the evolutionary questions that truly need to be settled, building a powerful argument for science itself. Cutting the politics away from the facts, Why Darwin Matters is an incisive examination of what is at stake in the debate over evolution.



The Borderlands of Science

The Borderlands of Science Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 9780195157987
Release 2002
Pages 360
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Presents a collection of essays on various topics in science and personalities in science, including Carl Sagan, Sigmund Freud, and Alfred Russel Wallace.



Heavens on Earth

Heavens on Earth Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 9781472140609
Release 2018-01-25
Pages 320
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A scientific exploration into humanity's obsession with the afterlife and the quest for immortality from the bestselling author and sceptic Michael Shermer In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans' belief in life after death. For millennia, the awareness of our own mortality and failings has led to religions concocting comforting notions of an afterlife, of heaven and hell, utopias and dystopias, and of the perfectibility of human nature. Heavens on Earth explores the numerous manifestations of the afterlife - a place where souls might go after the death of the physical body. Religious leaders have toiled to make sense of this place that a surprisingly high percentage of people believe exists, but from which no one has ever returned to report what it is really like. This is one of the most profound questions of the human condition and has long driven philosophers and theologians to try to understand the meaning and purpose of life for mortal beings, and how we can transcend mortality. Shermer details recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality by radical life extentionists, extropians, transhumanists, cryonicists and mind-uploaders, along with utopians who have attempted to create heaven on earth. Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and what we can do in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.



How We Believe

How We Believe Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 071673561X
Release 2000
Pages 302
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Attempts to understand the balance between faith in God and scientific reason, focusing on the impact of religion in modern American society, as well as examining theories of nonbelievers in such fields as anthropology and psychology.



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.



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.



Hardwired Behavior

Hardwired Behavior Author Laurence Tancredi
ISBN-10 0521860016
Release 2005-09-19
Pages 226
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Argues that the concepts of social morality and individual responsibility begin in the brain.



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.



The Moral Arc

The Moral Arc Author Michael Shermer
ISBN-10 1250081327
Release 2016-01-26
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.



Evolution and Social Psychology

Evolution and Social Psychology Author Mark Schaller
ISBN-10 9781134952496
Release 2013-05-13
Pages 400
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Why do we think about and interact with other people in the particular ways that we do? Might these thoughts and actions be contemporary products of our long-ago evolutionary past? If so, how might this be, and what are the implications? Research generated by an evolutionary approach to social psychology issues profound insights into self-concept, impression formation, prejudice, group dynamics, helping, aggression, social influence, culture, and every other topic that is fundamental to social psychology. Evolution and Social Psychology is the first book to review and discuss this broad range of social psychological phenomena from an evolutionary perspective. It does so with a critical and constructive eye. Readers will emerge with a clear sense of the intellectual challenges, as well as the scientific benefits, of an evolutionarily-informed social psychology. The world-renowned contributors identify new questions, new theories, and new hypotheses—many of which are only now beginning to be tested. Thus, this book not only summarizes the current status of the field, it also sets an agenda for the next generation of research on evolution and social psychology. Evolution and Social Psychology is essential reading for evolutionary psychologists and social psychologists alike.