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Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time
Why People Believe Weird Things Pseudoscience Superstition and Other Confusions of Our Time
Author: Michael Shermer
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...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780716733874
ISBN-10: 0716733870
Publication Date: 9/19/1998
Pages: 306
Rating:
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 19

3.4 stars, based on 19 ratings
Publisher: W.H. Freeman Company
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette
Members Wishing: 2
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book opens your eyes to so much that is going on around us. It covers everything from Alien Abductees to the Holocaust to Creantionists. You will disagree with the author's views on several issues, but you will find yourself questioning your own beliefs. A great read for any skeptic.
reviewed Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time on + 203 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Why do so many people believe in mind-reading, past-life regression, abductions by extraterrestials and ghosts? What has given rise to belief in "scientific creationism?" And why do some people claim that the Holocaust "never happened?" This book asaults modern, popular superstitions and prejudices.
reviewed Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time on + 21 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Good skeptic stuff, interestingly written. Includes Why SMART People believe weird things.
reviewed Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
While I respect and enjoy Michael Shermer's work, particularly his "Skeptic" column in Scientific American, I was a bit disappointed with this book. After hearing a radio interview he did to promote the book when it first came out, I was chomping at the bit to read it. It was definitely interesting, but the title should have been "Weird Things People Believe," because the book never answered its own question. It's more of a catalog and history of various irrational convictions. Had I known this going in, I probably would have enjoyed it more, but I couldn't help missing the inquiry I'd been anticipating.
reviewed Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very interesting read. Makes you think and wonder about things.
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reviewed Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time on + 26 more book reviews
With so many articles and books today about the sometimes-irrational economic behavior of our species, this book from the '90s might feel a little thin, but it's still a decent introduction to some concepts.

In a way, this is two books. The first part highlights the top superstitions of the time, such as the recovered memory movement, Satanic or sex-abuse cults, astrology, ESP, etc. Shermer outlines the psychological reasons why belief persists in the face of contrary evidence. (For example, many of us suck at probability, me included!)

The second half spends a significant amount of time on Holocaust denial, including interviews with some of the people involved in that movement. While that's a great topic, I felt like the book had veered away from why I picked it up in the first place: the why.


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