Friday, April 9, 2010

Book review: Why People Believe Weird Things

I just finished reading the book Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer.

What is it about
Like the previous book I read, this one is about skepticism, debunking and the power of knowledge.
I've learned a lot reading it and not just the direct information written in the book, but also a lot more indirectly about how to be a skeptic and how to deal with people who believe in weird things.

Michael Shermer is a brilliant writer who manages to educate the reader about how to be a skeptic and how to prepare yourself to "defend" a scientific statement.

This is an amazing book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and honestly believe I've learned a lot from it.

In the book you'll be taken through sections about 'Science and Skeptiscism', 'Pseudoscience and Superstition', 'Evolution and Creationism' and 'History and Pseudohistory'.
Each section contains a detailed tour of what, when and why people believe. Michael always elaborates on the issues with his own experiences speaking to the "believers" and references to standard literature on the subjects. No issue is handled superficially and you'll be taken into a world of weird believes which will astound and frighten you (okay, maybe not, but it's really exciting).

Reading it
It has taken me quite some time to finish this book. Not that it's boring or too long, but because you have to stop reading and take some time to digest what you've just read. Especially if you want to become a better skeptic.
Or you can just read through it and take it for what it is, a book. You'll still have a great time reading it and experiencing how a real skeptic deals with weird things.

The next book will be 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman.