Reviews Praise for The Believing Brain “Michael Shermer has long been one of our most committed champions of scientific thinking in the face of popular delusion. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2! If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. All Rights Reserved. In 1983, competing in the Race Across America bicycle challenge, he rode 1,259 miles in 83 hours without sleep and became delirious with exhaustion. That’s the insightful message of The Believing Brain, by Michael Shermer, the founder of Skeptic magazine. These evolved skills—which saved our ancestors who assumed, say, a rustling in the bushes was a predator intending to eat them—are the same attributes that lead us to believe in ghosts, … The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies by Michael Shermer "The Believing Brain" is a fantastic and ambitious book that explains the nature of beliefs. Since early man had only a split second to make such decisions, Mr. Shermer says, we are descendants of ancestors whose “default position is to assume that all patterns are real; that is, assume that all rustles in the grass are dangerous predators and not the wind.”. Case Studies (36) Dating (Men) (59) Dating (Women) (40) Influence & Persuasion (19) Leadership (7) Power Theory (47) Psychological Analyses (14) … Could these findings about psychopathological conservative political beliefs possibly be the result of the researchers’ confirmation bias? He gives the names ‘patternicity’ and ‘agenticity’ to the brain’s pattern-seeking and agency-attributing propensities, respectively. It finds meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless data. Shermer knows all the science, he tells great stories, he is funny, and he is fearless, delving into hot-button topics like 9-11 Truthers, life after death, capitalism, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and the existence of God. In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world's best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. Leonard Mlodinow, physicist and author of The Drunkard’s Walk and The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking). now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. The Believing Brain is bestselling author Michael Shermer's comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished. This is a problem. Is it the wind or a lion? The section on conspiracy theories, for instance, memorably exposes the bizarre leaps of logic that adherents often make: “If I cannot explain every single minutia [about the collapse of the twin towers]…that lack of knowledge equates to direct proof that 9/11 was orchestrated by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the CIA.”. But those are the easy cases. One is the brain’s readiness to perceive patterns even in random phenomena. His answer is science. Nonetheless, the author fully recognizes the importance of belief in our lives. RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2011. The other is its readiness to nominate agency—intentional action—as the cause of natural events. The best book I have read on the human tendency of forming, believing and defending irrational beliefs. As science advances, the things we once thought of as supernatural acquire natural explanations. I say believe because in most instances he describes in detail what happens in the brain (various electro/chemical processes) and where they occur in the brain. If you are religious, you may interpret the falling tree as a miracle, evidence that a loving God is watching over you. Thunderstorms are caused by natural processes of electricity in clouds, not by a god throwing thunderbolts. Shermer provides a handy list of 10 characteristics of a conspiracy theory that indicate that it is likely to be false; for instance, the more people who would have to have been involved in a cover-up, and the longer the alleged cover-up has lasted, the less likely that no one would have spilled the beans by now. The animism that preceded these religions, and which survives today in some traditional societies such as those of New Guinea and the Kalahari Desert, is fully explained by Shermer’s agenticity concept. - Dr. Leonard Mlodinow, physicist and author of Belief and the Brain: The science behind what we believe and why, by Emanuel Maidenberg Ph.D. In this book Michael Shermer lucidly describes why and how we are hard wired to ‘want to believe’. Now he has a new book out: The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies: How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. The Believing Brain is bestselling author Michael Shermer's comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished.In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world's best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. He revisits the “Gorillas in our midst” video to remind us that we don’t see things that we’re not looking for. The opinions here are mine only. This is an entertaining and thoughtful exploration of the beliefs that shape our lives.”, —Paul Bloom, author of How Pleasure Works. Our faulty thinking mechanisms can’t be eliminated but our errors can be corrected by science. We rely on a feeling of conviction, but that feeling can be uncoupled from good reasons and good evidence. Shermer’s exploration of cognitive biases alone will make even the most rational readers recognise the flaws in their thinking and more closely evaluate their beliefs. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Then, having formed a belief, each of us tends to seek out evidence that confirms it, thus reinforcing the belief. CILIPS COVID-19 Book Reviews – The Believing Brain Reviewer name: Scott Main Book title: The Believing Brain Author name: Michael Shermer Genre: Psychology - belief Overall Rating: Excellent Brief summary: One thought troubles me greatly. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. An emotional leap of faith beyond reason is often required for us to make decisions or just to get through the day. Shermer’s account implies that we are far from being rational and deliberative thinkers, as the Enlightenment painted us. People believe that they know way more than they actually do. Robert Greene. It’s free and takes less than 10 seconds! RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 1998. Shermer, however, has a particular interest in the latter, and much of his absorbing and comprehensive book addresses the wide spread human inclination to believe in gods, ghosts, aliens, conspiracies and the importance of coincidences. Times Books: New York, 2011, 400 pp., US$28.00, ISBN # 978-0-8050-9125-0 (hardcover). This is a must read for everyone who wonders why religious and political beliefs are so rigid and polarized - or why the other side is always wrong, but somehow doesn't see it." As the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, author of Why People Believe Weird Things, and a columnist for Scientific American, Shermer is perhaps the country’s best-known skeptic. Mr. Shermer is interested in how such beliefs come to be held, and why they can persist even in the face of what, to others, can seem to be the overwhelming evidence that contradicts them. Categories: Natural selection favors strategies that make many false causal assumptions in order to not miss the true ones that are essential to survival. Categories: The Believing Brain: Notes & Review. How do we tell the difference between noise and data? The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) LEADERSHIP, MANAGEMENT & COMMUNICATION | He also acknowledges that the pendulum can swing the other way—as in the case of Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project and current director of the US National Institutes of Health. The behavior is not much different than in the case of a baseball player who forgets to shave one morning, hits a home run a few hours later and then makes it a policy never to shave on game days. In The Believing Brain, he has written a wonderfully lucid, accessible, and wide-ranging account of the boundary between justified and unjustified belief. The scientific method is a teachable concept. Ronald Bailey reviews. People believe weird things because of our evolved need to believe nonweird things. The Believing Brain begins with three personal belief stories. "The Believing Brain is a tour de force integrating neuroscience and the social sciences to explain how irrational beliefs are formed and reinforced, while leaving us confident our ideas are valid. Magazine Subscribers (How to Find Your Reader Number). I say “we” because, after reading Mr. Shermer’s book and others like it, my uneasy conclusion is that we all do this, even when we think we do not. 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths by Michael Shermer 6,973 ratings, 3.93 average rating, 472 reviews ‧ In this work synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist, historian of science, and the world's best-known skeptic Michael Shermer upends the traditional thinking about how humans form beliefs about the world. These two interpretations of the same event exemplify Michael Shermer’s view that our beliefs come first and our explanations—or rationalisations—follow. In The Believing Brain, he has written a wonderfully lucid, accessible, and wide-ranging account of the boundary between justified and unjustified belief. The Believing Brain by Founding Publisher Michael Shermer, 9781250008800, available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide. The Believing Brain is bestselling author Michael Shermer's comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished. Harriet Hall on May 31, 2011. Informative and difficult to put down, this book adds a compelling and comprehensive case to the growing number of arguments about the importance of scientific reasoning, marred only by Shermer’s repeated citing of his own works and public appearances. Once an evangelical Christian, he lost his faith largely as a result of his college studies of psychology and cognitive neuroscience. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project. This remark will be regarded as outrageous by believing scientists, who think that they are as rational in their temples as in their laboratories, but scarcely any of them would accept the challenge to mount a controlled experiment to test the major claims of their faith, such as asking the deity to regrow a severed limb for an accident victim. Mr. Shermer calls this “belief-dependent reality.” The well-worn phrase “seeing is believing” has it backward: Our believing dictates what we’re seeing. We need emotion to motivate us and help us function. The first story is about a man whom you will have never heard of but who had a profound and life-changing experience in the wee hours of the morning many decades ago that still haunts him to this day and drives him to search for ultimate meaning in the cosmos. RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 2011. If there really was a lion and they didn’t run away, they were in trouble. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. Mr. Shermer is aware of this risk, and is at pains to reassure readers that his conclusions apply to everyone, even himself. Because I want to believe, but because I want to believe nonweird things don ’ t everyday... Accused galileo of putting the moons of Jupiter inside the tube, 1998 deluded and your! Of why people are prone to forming super natural beliefs based on patternicity and agenticity, one,! | all Rights Reserved | P.O cites survey results showing that 80 % of professors in grass. Of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the book is simply nonsense we seek information. In the grass indicated a predator, even in our religious faith, even himself experiment, it ’ wrong... 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