skeptic viewing the world with a rational eye

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Skeptic

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 9781627791397
Genre : Science
File Size : 38. 36 MB
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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.

Science Friction

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 1429900881
Genre : Science
File Size : 67. 1 MB
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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.

Why People Believe Weird Things

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 1429996765
Genre : Science
File Size : 67. 35 MB
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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.

How We Believe

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 1429996749
Genre : Science
File Size : 89. 80 MB
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A new edition covering the latest scientific research on how the brain makes us believers or skeptics Recent polls report that 96 percent of Americans believe in God, and 73 percent believe that angels regularly visit Earth. Why is this? Why, despite the rise of science, technology, and secular education, are people turning to religion in greater numbers than ever before? Why do people believe in God at all? These provocative questions lie at the heart of How We Believe , an illuminating study of God, faith, and religion. Bestselling author Michael Shermer offers fresh and often startling insights into age-old questions, including how and why humans put their faith in a higher power, even in the face of scientific skepticism. Shermer has updated the book to explore the latest research and theories of psychiatrists, neuroscientists, epidemiologists, and philosophers, as well as the role of faith in our increasingly diverse modern world. Whether believers or nonbelievers, we are all driven by the need to understand the universe and our place in it. How We Believe is a brilliant scientific tour of this ancient and mysterious desire.

The Believing Brain

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 9781780335308
Genre : Science
File Size : 37. 38 MB
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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.

Knowing The Score

Author : David Papineau
ISBN : 9781472123558
Genre : Sports & Recreation
File Size : 67. 26 MB
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'A tour de force that provides fresh insight not only into the nature of sport, but cooperation, the mind, altruism, teamwork, leadership, tribalism and ritualism. It's a book that every sports fan should read, and every sports writer should absorb' Matthew Syed 'David Papineau's book is an important contribution to our thinking about sports, society, psychology, and moral philosophy. But it is also much more than that. Gripping from start to finish, it is a terrific read full of humour and good sense. You don't even have to like sports to enjoy it' Ian Buruma Why do sports competitors choke? How can Roger Federer select which shot to play in 400 milliseconds? Should foreign-born footballers be eligible to play for England? Why do opposing professional cyclists help each other? Why do American and European golfers hate each other? Why does test cricket run in families? Why is punching tolerated in rugby but not in soccer? These may not look like philosophical questions, but David Papineau shows that under the surface they all raise long-standing philosophical issues. To get to the bottom of these and other sporting puzzles, we need help from metaphysics or ethics, or from the philosophy of mind or political philosophy, as well as numerous other philosophical disciplines. Knowing the Score will be an entertaining, fact-filled and erudite book that ranges far and wide through the sporting world. As a prominent philosopher who is also an enthusiastic amateur sportsman and omnivorous sports fan, David Papineau is uniquely well-placed to show how philosophy can illuminate sporting issues. By bringing his philosophical expertise to bear, he will add a new dimension to the way we think about sport.

The Science Of Good And Evil

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 9781429996754
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 45. 98 MB
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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.

Why Darwin Matters

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 1429900903
Genre : Science
File Size : 29. 28 MB
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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.

Denying History

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 0520944097
Genre : Religion
File Size : 76. 88 MB
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Denying History takes a bold and in-depth look at those who say the Holocaust never happened and explores the motivations behind such claims. While most commentators have dismissed the Holocaust deniers as antisemitic neo-Nazi thugs who do not deserve a response, historians Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman have immersed themselves in the minds and culture of these Holocaust "revisionists." In the process, they show how we can be certain that the Holocaust happened and, for that matter, how we can confirm any historical event. This edition is expanded with a new chapter and epilogue examining current, shockingly mainstream revisionism.

The Moral Arc

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 9780805096934
Genre : Science
File Size : 37. 69 MB
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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.

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