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 2002

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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 founder and publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, Director of the Skeptics Society, Adjunct Professor of the History of Science at Occidental College, and host of the Skeptics Lecture Series at Caltech. He is also the host of a national TV show called "Exploring the Unknown" (Fox Network) and the author of "Why People Believe Weird Things" (1997), and "How We Believe: The Search for God in an Age of Science" (1999). Alex Grobman is President of the Institute for Contemporary Jewish Life; editor of "Genocide: Critical Issues of the Holocaoust"(1983), as well as "In Defense of the Survivors: The Letters and Documents of Oscar A. Mintzer, AJDC Legal Advisor, Germany, 1945-46" (1999); and author of "Rekindling the Flame: American Jewish Chaplains and the Survivors of European Jewry, 1944-1948 "(1992) and "Out of the Depths of Despair: Rabbi Nathan Baruch and the Vaad Hatzala in Post-War Europe" (forthcoming, 2002)

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.
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