New Meetup: Why People Believe Weird Things by Shermer, Michael

From: Ian
Sent on: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 10:51 PM
Announcing a new Meetup for Non-fiction Book Club Meetup Group!

What: Why People Believe Weird Things by Shermer, Michael

When: September 2,[masked]:30 PM

Price: CAD2.00 per person

Where:
The Ferret & Firkin
720 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, ON M5S 2T9
[masked]

For Septembers book we have decide upon

Why People Believe Weird Things by Shermer, Michael

There are copies at the library in total 13.

There are two editions one 1997, one 2002. The questions of the discussion will be based upon the 1997

The are copies at indigo
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Why-People-Believe-Weird-Things-Michael-Shermer/9780805070897-item.html

From Amazon.com
Few can talk with more personal authority about the range of human beliefs than Michael Shermer. At various times in the past, Shermer has believed in fundamentalist Christianity, alien abductions, Ayn Rand, megavitamin therapy, and deep-tissue massage. Now he believes in skepticism, and his motto is "Cognite tute--think for yourself." This updated edition of Why People Believe Weird Things covers Holocaust denial and creationism in considerable detail, and has chapters on abductions, Satanism, Afrocentrism, near-death experiences, Randian positivism, and psychics. Shermer has five basic answers to the implied question in his title: for consolation, for immediate gratification, for simplicity, for moral meaning, and because hope springs eternal. He shows the kinds of errors in thinking that lead people to believe weird (that is, unsubstantiated) things, especially the built-in human need to see patterns, even where there is no pattern to be seen. Throughout, Shermer emphasizes that skepticism (in his sense) does not need to be cynicism: "Rationality tied to moral decency is the most powerful joint instrument for good that our planet has ever known." --Mary Ellen Curtin

From School Library Journal
YA?Dedicated to Carl Sagan, with a foreword by Stephen Jay Gould, this book by the publisher of Skeptic magazine and the Director of the Skeptics Lecture Series at California Institute of Technology, has the pedigree to be accepted as a work of scholarly value. Fortunately, it is also readable, interesting, and well indexed and provides an extensive bibliography. The author discusses such topics of current interest as alien abduction, near-death experiences, psychics, recovered memories, and denial of the Holocaust. Never patronizing to his opponents, Shermer explains why people may truly believe that they were held by aliens (he had a similar experience himself) or have recovered a memory of childhood satanic-ritual abuse. He clearly explains, often with pictures, tables, or graphs, the fallacy of such beliefs in terms of scientific reasoning. While teens may find the first section of the book about "Science and Skepticism" a bit too philosophical and ponderous, the rest of it will surely captivate them. Read cover to cover or by section, or used as a reference tool, this book is highly recommended for young adults.?Carol DeAngelo, Garcia Consulting Inc., EPA Headquarters, Washington, DC

Learn more here:
http://www.meetup.com/Non-fictionBookclubToronto/calendar/10929421/

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