Why People Believe Weird Things

Why People Believe Weird Things

Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time

By Michael Shermer; Stephen Jay Gould (Foreword by)

Holt McDougal, Paperback, 9780805070897, 384pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2002


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.

About the Author
Michael Shermer is the author of "The Moral Arc, Why People Believe Weird Things", "The Believing Brain", and eight 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 Presidential Fellow at Chapman University. He lives in Southern California.

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Praise For Why People Believe Weird Things

"This sparkling book romps over the range of science and anti-science."
--Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel

--Vanity Fair