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Unnatural Acts: Critical Thinking, Skepticism, and Science Exposed! [Kindle Edition]

Robert Carroll
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.49
Kindle Price: $6.66
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Book Description

Unnatural Acts is for people who want to improve their thinking, become more accurate in their beliefs and more reasonable in their actions, and who are tired of being fooled by others.
This book is about natural and unnatural thinking, and how the way we think affects everything we do. Natural thinking is instinctive, intuitive, quick and dirty. It works pretty well most of the time, but it can get us into trouble. We can deceive ourselves into believing what’s not true or even what goes against our own self-interest, if we’re not careful. And manipulators who understand natural thinking can use that understanding to hoodwink us into believing what isn’t true or doing what they want us to do. You can reduce the chances of being duped by learning how to think in unnatural ways. I hope this book helps you do that.

Product Details

  • File Size: 559 KB
  • Print Length: 302 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1105902196
  • Publisher: James Randi Educational Foundation (December 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006ONRGT0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,543 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting to the truth October 8, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What Robert Carroll brings out is the fact that we live in an irrational world because of the ways in which our brain plays tricks on us. Our modern brain is a product of every change in our environment that our species experienced. In the darkness of night we see animals waiting to pounce, and even in the light of day we are ready to fight for our lives at the drop of a hat. A glass of spilled milk can cause child abuse, in the guise of teaching lessons.

That the shrewd and cunning use words to further their own devious agendas, is shown by the way language has been manipulated. Fear can easily be turned to hatred by emotionally charged issues. The more emphatically a lie is repeated, the more emotion that is attached to the lie, and the less likely the concept will be questioned as being untrue. For instance: "ethnic cleansing" has been used to justify genocide; "intense debriefing" has been used to justify terrorist methods used against prisoners held for interrogation--depriving them of sleep, frightened by vicious dogs, dunk in water to stimulate drowning ("waterboarding" used to evoke visions of a day at the beach, etc.)

In our society, power is passed on in a peaceful way, but not in an honorable way. Playing politics is pulling out every trick in the trade. Unfortunately, the truth tellers are the last to be believed or appreciated. There is no better time to read this book, than right now.

Joan Morrone
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unnatural Acts October 19, 2012
Before writing this review I read the review by Joan Morrone. I have never read a more accurate, well-written review in my life. I am totally jealous.

Read her review ... and then get the book.

Oh, Okay. I'll add one thing.

One big surprise for me was that memorizing a series of numbers does not improve your mind's ability to remember a series of letters. Your mind responds to specific training. So learning a foreign language will only help you ... learn a foreign language. It won't improve your general memory as is popularly believed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I would have read it sooner January 24, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this on my Kindle when it first came out but forgot about it and only recently started reading it. I am very impressed by the quality of explanation in the book about the process of critical thinking and examining our own thought processes. While many people are aware others may intentionally deceive them, most do not realize how often we are fooled unintentionally by ourselves and others. The book is a great tool for learning how to cut through our own misperceptions, and assumptions, and conclusions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Read November 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Critical Thinking is one of the most important skills a mature and free human being needs to master. Carrolls book is a good tool to help hone this skill, by showing the logical fallacies, neurological and societally programmed limitations and the tricks that the peddlers of BS (be it in politics, medicine, business or simply superstitions) use to take advantage of the untrained mind.

Must Read!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vulgar logic November 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a great vulgar (for the common man without formal training) introduction to logic and critical thinking. The focus is on the practical application of logic and recognizing informal fallacies to separate truth from error, science from pseudoscience as well as informing the reader how to avoid confirmation bias that we all need to be aware of so that we can let real evidence seep into our worldviews and lead us to a more accurate picture of reality. The paucity of evidential reasoning among the public is the reason so many believe in paranormal hogwash. This book can help anyone who heeds its lessons to avoid fallacious reasoning behind the myriad hucksters out there pushing an agenda of falsehood.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for anyone and everyone! November 21, 2012
By MDhome
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tremendous book about critical thinking, skepticism for those who think they know how to perceive reality. I highly recommend it, and I do NOT recommend anything much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and very illuminating January 10, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book. Very few people truly realize how irrational we are and how little use we make of logic and critical thinking. Paraphrasing the author we evolved trough the ages to survive and mate. We had little use for rigorous thinking and analysis. And to my mind, our brains have improved a little in that respect, but not a lot. The chapter on "Deconstructing the Language of Politics" is especially interesting and valuable. How easily we can be mislead is plain scary. I have written a kindle article "Indoctrination as the Tool of Choice for Making up and Steering Thinking in Vast Populations" in case you are interested in going into more detail on that subject in particular. This book analyses in detail all the fallacies we incur in without even noticing. And many times, even if we are made to notice, we refuse to abandon notions with no support whatsoever, in science or logic.
My only disappointment was not in the book itself, but rather on his article, of which he provides a link on page 168. I read that article in its entirety and was disappointed to realize that in it, he indulges in some of the things he rightfully points out in the book. But aside from that, (which is not part of the book anyway) it's a fantastic recollection of common fallacies. The thing is, how do we teach people to recognize them? Is any educational system interested in having a thinking populace?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Interesting subject matter. Bland read.
Published 9 months ago by Mark Gilmore
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Interesting ideas worthy of consideration.
Published 10 months ago by mr. lucky
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
It explains thoroughly how we think - and the consequences of knowing this in a society level - it's a must read for anyone who wants to understand why and how we think and act... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Diogo F.
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening insight into the world of communication
Very much enjoyed this book. Seeks to unpack the communication style of politics and interest groups in particular. Engaging read.
Published 22 months ago by Bindi
5.0 out of 5 stars unnatural acts.
very interesting and informative. I won't do this reviewing anymore because you stupidly require a certain number of words to even do this . Read more
Published on March 6, 2013 by Kelli Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't like to think . . .
. . . perhaps you should consider this book. At the very least, it's better than listening to politicians, celebrities, pastors, ministers, the pope, and pretty much anyone with... Read more
Published on January 12, 2013 by E. D'Alise
2.0 out of 5 stars This book may be an example of the very propaganda and word twisting...
This book follows in the footsteps of the web blog by the same name [...]. The idea is to help the reader improve their critical thinking skills by analyzing the brains "natural"... Read more
Published on December 18, 2012 by PCWilliams
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More About the Author

Robert Todd Carroll (b. 1945) has always been interested in weird things, mysteries, stories of miracles and psychics and how beliefs in strange things conflict with logic and science. His favorite pasttime is thinking about why people believe in psychics, alien abductions, astrology, and hundreds of other things that conflict with what the science tells us. He taught Critical Thinking for more than thirty years and still enjoys investigating the biases, fallacies, and illusions that make being rational difficult. Since 1994, he's been posting articles on weird things and critical thinking at The website is called The Skeptic's Dictionary and has more than 700 entries, plus essays, book reviews, and more.

He taught philosophy for many years at a northern California community college. His first book (1975) was about the philosophy of an Anglican bishop who challenged the new empiricism as expressed by John Locke. Later, he wrote the text book "Becoming a Critical Thinker" (2003, 2nd ed. 2005) and a book named after his website: "The Skeptic's Dictionary" (Wiley, 2003).

In 2011, the James Randi Educational Foundation published his e-book "Unnatural Acts: Critical Thinking, Science, and Skepticism Exposed!" In 2012, the paperback of "Unnatural Acts" came out. "Mysteries and Science" came about at the urging of his wife and grandchildren for a critical thinking/science book about weird things aimed at a younger audience. In 2013, he published "The Critical Thinker's Dictionary: Biases, Fallacies, and Illusions and what you can do about them."

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