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Skeptical Readers - Bookclub

Let's read a book and have a discussion!

This month's book is Michael Shermer's - The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.

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.

You can purchase the book at:

Interview with Michael Shermer:

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  • Karen

    I so enjoy chatting it up with like-minded readers and the knowledge they bring to the table.

    February 12, 2014

  • Jackie

    great discussion!

    February 12, 2014

  • craig c.

    The other book I mentioned, which Michael Shermer referenced, is Out Political Nature, by Avi Tuschman. Wow, there is so much scholarship out there of which I know so little!

    February 11, 2014

  • J. Y.

    I just woke up from a nap. Oh my G_D (but he doesn't exist). I will see you all at another book discussion group.

    February 11, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Wish I noticed this earlier so I could get the book

    February 11, 2014

    • Jocelyn

      Try to come next month!

      February 11, 2014

    • Jocelyn

      We have the book and date set

      February 11, 2014

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