The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and ... (Book Discussion)

Meetup type: Book discussion (attendees are encouraged to read all or at least some parts of the book before the meetup.)

Title: The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths

Author: Michael Shermer

Book Description: 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.

Get the book: Amazon (Hard Copy), Amazon (Kindle), Kobo

Location: Meeting location will be confirmed close to the date. It will be in St. Denis street (between Ontario & De Maisonneuve), either in Second Cup/Starbucks (few people) or in Le Commensal (more people).

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  • Masood

    Just a note to say that we have a reservation under my name in Le Commensal, for a room called "La Salle Verte"; when you enter the place, walk in and then walk down few stairs and the room should be on your far right. You can order from the self-service in the upstairs when you arrive or during our meetup. Please keep your RSVPs current. Hope to see and chat with you all!

    June 10, 2012

  • Fred

    I've started reading the book on Tuesday night and still am at reading it. Hope to be done by Sunday night! Very important topic, we could discuss on it for weeks!

    June 7, 2012

  • Masood

    Yes Robert, that's good enough. Glad to see you back in the group! :)

    June 7, 2012

  • Robert

    I may only have time to read supporting materials, excerpts from book, book tour interviews & talks, and so on... Should be enough. ~RS

    June 7, 2012

  • Masood

    Glad to have you here Carole! :) And good to see you've read Shermer's take on those conspiracy theories. Au plasir de te revoir le 10 juin :)

    May 31, 2012

  • Carole

    Hi Masood! I finally found your group! I'm in. I read the author's chapter on 9/11 and will gladly discuss it! Au plaisir!

    May 30, 2012

  • Masood

    Hi Suzan, guess that means "I'm in"? Great! Hope to see you and the rest soon! :)

    May 30, 2012

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Rafaël

We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

Rafaël, started French Conversation Group

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