skeptic viewing the world with a rational eye

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Why People Believe Weird Things

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 1429996765
Genre : Science
File Size : 55. 52 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.

Science Friction

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 1429900881
Genre : Science
File Size : 44. 57 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.

How We Believe

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 9780716741619
Genre : Science
File Size : 69. 1 MB
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Recent polls show that 96% of Americans believe in God. Why are people turning to religion in greater numbers than ever before? In How We Believe, Michael Shermer presents the results of an exhaustive empirical study in which he asked 10,000 Americans how and why they believe and about details of their faith. The result offers fresh and startling insights into age-old questions.

The Science Of Good And Evil

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 1429996757
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 51. 11 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.

Denying History

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 0520944097
Genre : Religion
File Size : 90. 19 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.

Heavens On Earth

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 9781627798563
Genre : Science
File Size : 64. 91 MB
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A scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality from the bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth. For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, and though no one has ever returned from such a place to report what it is really like—or that it even exists—today science and technology are being used to try to make it happen in our lifetime. From radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading, Shermer considers how realistic these attempts are from a proper skeptical perspective. Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and how we can live well in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.

50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True

Author : Guy P. Harrison
ISBN : 9781616144968
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 50. 47 MB
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Maybe you know someone who swears by the reliability of psychics or who is in regular contact with angels. Or perhaps you're trying to find a nice way of dissuading someone from wasting money on a homeopathy cure. Or you met someone at a party who insisted the Holocaust never happened or that no one ever walked on the moon. How do you find a gently persuasive way of steering people away from unfounded beliefs, bogus cures, conspiracy theories, and the like? This down-to-earth, entertaining exploration of commonly held extraordinary claims will help you set the record straight. The author, a veteran journalist, has not only surveyed a vast body of literature, but has also interviewed leading scientists, explored "the most haunted house in America," frolicked in the inviting waters of the Bermuda Triangle, and even talked to a "contrite Roswell alien." He is not out simply to debunk unfounded beliefs. Wherever possible, he presents alternative scientific explanations, which in most cases are even more fascinating than the wildest speculation. For example, stories about UFOs and alien abductions lack good evidence, but science gives us plenty of reasons to keep exploring outer space for evidence that life exists elsewhere in the vast universe. The proof for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster may be nonexistent, but scientists are regularly discovering new species, some of which are truly stranger than fiction. Stressing the excitement of scientific discovery and the legitimate mysteries and wonder inherent in reality, this book invites readers to share the joys of rational thinking and the skeptical approach to evaluating our extraordinary world. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Why Darwin Matters

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 1429900903
Genre : Science
File Size : 61. 42 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.

Heavens On Earth

Author : Michael Shermer
ISBN : 9781627798570
Genre : Religion
File Size : 33. 71 MB
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A scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality from the bestselling author and skeptic Michael Shermer In his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts to create heaven on earth. For millennia, religions have concocted numerous manifestations of heaven and the afterlife, and though no one has ever returned from such a place to report what it is really like—or that it even exists—today science and technology are being used to try to make it happen in our lifetime. From radical life extension to cryonic suspension to mind uploading, Shermer considers how realistic these attempts are from a proper skeptical perspective. Heavens on Earth concludes with an uplifting paean to purpose and progress and how we can live well in the here-and-now, whether or not there is a hereafter.

We Robots

Author : Curtis White
ISBN : 9781612194561
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 50. 38 MB
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In the tradition of Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not a Gadget, a rousing, sharply argued—and, yes, inspiring!—reckoning with our blind faith in technology Can technology solve all our problems? Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many of our most famous journalists, pundits, and economists seem to think so. According to them, “intelligent machines” and big data will free us from work, educate our children, transform our environment, and even make religion more user-friendly. This is the story they’re telling us: that we should stop worrying and love our robot future. But just because you tell a story over and over again doesn’t make it true. Curtis White, one of our most brilliant and perceptive social critics, knows all about the danger of a seductive story, and in We, Robots, he tangles with the so-called thinkers who are convinced that the future is rose-colored and robotically enhanced. With tremendous erudition and a punchy wit, White argues that we must be skeptical of anyone who tries to sell us on technological inevitability. And he gives us an alternative set of stories: taking inspiration from artists as disparate as Sufjan Stevens, Lars von Trier, and François Rabelais, White shows us that by looking to art, we can imagine a different kind of future. No robots required.

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