©1998 by Michael Shermer; (P)1998 by Audio Renaissance, an imprint of Renaissance Media, Inc.
I like all of Michael Shermer's books. He makes science understandable for non science people like me.
Nice, short read/listen, although the book is not exactly what I thought it would be. Perhaps a more appropriate title would be "Weird Things People Believe" as it was more or less an exploration of common fallacious beliefs, not a theory or explanation as to why people believe them. I guess I expected more of a Chris Mooney approach - an exploration into the psychology of why people believe weird things. Nonetheless, I don't feel that 1 second was wasted in reading/listening to this book and I would highly recommend.
I believe the title might be a bit misleading. I expected a more psychological/scientific approach to this book. The author, who is also the reader, mentions the scientific method [and what it is] with no actual examples or case studies of his work. His personal experiences, on Opera, don't go into detail as to the psychological aspects of why one believes wierd things. He speaks until he has something to say.
I don'trecommend this book if you're looking for case studies, or actual psychological/scientific data. Borrow it from a friend or go to a book store an scan through it, then decide.
Seems that author / narrator Michael Shermer has an axe to grind. And, well, listening to him grind it doesn't make for much entertainment. I was hoping to hear myths debunked and/or an explanation of the psychology of the paranormal. Instead, it seemed to be the same few concepts repeated ad nauseum with plenty of digs towards spirituality. If you're looking for someone to say, "The holocaust took place" (duh) and "Creationism can't be proven" a few dozen times, buy it.
Why didn't I read the reviews? Wasted a credit on this book. The other reviewers nailed it: Michael Shermer has an axe to grind. I wanted to be entertained, not listen to Shermer drone on about his personal opinions.
Worse yet, in addition to talking off the top of his head (he don't need no stinkin' research), Shermer fails to apply the rules to his own cherished beliefs.
For example, he describes the odds against alien abduction as astronomical. (For the record, I don't subscribe to ailien abductions.) I doubt he understands the term "astronomical" (1 chance in 10 to 50th power) because he easily accepts evolution, which requires belief in an incredulous 1 chance in 10 to the 117th power for the formation of the simplest protein, let alone animated life. (By the way that's not twice as unlikely, but rather 67 magnitudes less likely.)
Go ahead, believe in evolution if you must, preach it if you want, but don't try to justify your religion by invoking the virtues of math. (All praise be to Darwin! Darwin saves!)
Save you money and your credits! It's not even entertaining.
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