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“Michael Shermer has long been one of our most committed champions of scientific thinking in the face of popular delusion. In The Believing Brain, he has written a wonderfully lucid, accessible, and wide-ranging account of the boundary between justified and unjustified belief. We have all fallen more deeply in his debt.” –Sam Harris, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Moral Landscape, Letter to a Christian Nation, and The End of Faith.
“The physicist Richard Feynman once said that the easiest person to fool is yourself, and as a result he argued that as a scientist one has to be especially careful to try and find out not only what is right about one's theories, but what might also be wrong with them. If we all followed this maxim of skepticism in everyday life, the world would probably be a better place. But we don't. In this book Michael Shermer lucidly describes why and how we are hard wired to 'want to believe'. With a narrative that gently flows from the personal to the profound, Shermer shares what he has learned after spending a lifetime pondering the relationship between beliefs and reality, and how to be prepared to tell the difference between the two.”—Lawrence M. Krauss, Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and author of The Physics of Star Trek, Quantum Man and A Universe from Nothing
"Michael Shermer has long been one of the world's deepest thinkers when it comes to explaining where our beliefs come from, and he brings it all together in this important, engaging, and ambitious book. Shermer knows all the science, he tells great stories, he is funny, and he is fearless, delving into hot-button topics like 9-11 Truthers, life after death, capitalism, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and the existence of God. This is an entertaining and thoughtful exploration of the beliefs that shape our lives."—Paul Bloom, author of How Pleasure Works
"The Believing Brain is a tour de force integrating neuroscience and the social sciences to explain how irrational beliefs are formed and reinforced, while leaving us confident our ideas are valid. This is a must read for everyone who wonders why religious and political beliefs are so rigid and polarized—or why the other side is always wrong, but somehow doesn't see it."—Dr. Leonard Mlodinow, physicist and author of The Drunkard’s Walk and The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking)
"We might think that we learn how the world works, because we take the time to observe and understand it. Shermer says that's just not so. We just believe things, and then make our world fit our perceptions. Believe me; you don't have to take my word for it. Just try clearing some space in your own Believing Brain."—Bill Nye, the Science Guy ©, Executive Director of The Planetary Society
"The Believing Brain is a fascinating account of the origins of all manner of beliefs, replete with cutting edge evidence from the best scientific research, packed with nuggets of truths and then for good measure, studded with real world examples to deliver to the reader, a very personable, engaging and ultimately, convincing set of explanations for why we believe."—Professor Bruce Hood, Chair of Developmental Psychology, Bristol University and author of Supersense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable
Michael Shermer is the author of The Believing Brain, Why People Believe Weird Things, The Science of Good and Evil, The Mind Of The Market, Why Darwin Matters, Science Friction, How We Believe and other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University. He lives in Southern California.
It is well written and interesting, and it motivated me to read some of Professor Shermer's other books.
I liked this book more then the "Demon Haunted World" because it builds up the argument for why anyone would believe any one of these things.
In his new book, Shermer lays out a theory of "belief based reality" that he argues is a human being's 'basic operating mode.'
While I have to admit that so much of the technical stuff, while fascinating, slipped my brain, I'm glad it was there. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Ben Tousey
informative re: what the brain is and how it does what it does. some of the book pushes a libertarian agenda a little too hard IMO.Published 1 month ago by andrew tompkins
Remember college lit's "suspend disbelief"? Well, to appreciate Schermer's skepticism, you will need to stop parroting the ignorance of others and truly peruse his work... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
You have to really want to learn what this guy thinks is up with what we think and how we think it.. It is more of a study than a read.Published 1 month ago by C. S. Suldovsky
Great book. Covers a lot of interesting topics. I wasn't crazy about the first chapter, but it definitely improved after that.Published 1 month ago by T. Pittman
I recently bought the book as a requirement for my psychology class. After finishing the first four chapter, I feel somewhat disappointed. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Thuan Le
Shermer's limited view of the world was aptly demonstrated by his utterance on page 6 of the prologue: "as rare as a black swan". Read morePublished 2 months ago by Roy
Please don't get me wrong. I hold the same position as the author - which is things that cannot be proved using strict scientific method are not believable. Read morePublished 2 months ago by metzmatt