Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Why People Believe Weird Things

Why People Believe Weird Things is a book that dives into the world of believing in the unbelievable. Michael Shermer talks about a variety of topics throughout the book and how he is skeptical of stories such as ufo sightings.  Shermer does not only talk about why we should not believe every story we hear but also why people even have these believes in the first place and the thinking taking place behind the beliefs. Did proving the pseudoscience behind these theories is one of the step taken to make their fallacies fall apart. Shermer is one of the few that has gone out of his way to help people change their beliefs and stair them in the right direction.

My favorite part of this book is when Shermer told the story of Rosemary Altea a psychic that went of the Oprah Winfrey show. Altea was the first ever psychic allowed on the Oprah show because she was recommended by one of Oprah's close friends. On the show Altea amazed all with her ability to read the audience and talk of the loved ones. During the taping she found one family in particular and was able to name and talk about many specific details of this family. This amazed the crowd was in awe of the powers Altea had. Little did they know this had just turned into a hot reading.

This is related to the tactic we learned in class about Psychics. Psychics have two different tactics they use that enable them to read the audience. The first of which is a cold reading. This is when the psychic uses general statements in order to find one that will match some on in the crowed. This is called a hit and then the psychic will continue to try and talk about the person's history. On the other hand you have hot readings which is when the psychic already had the info on someone in the audience.  Altea and oprie had invited one of the audience members to show to be a part of it.  Shermer was also invited to the show by one of the producers and actually pointed out the this was a hot reading. But in the final cut of the show that aired this part was cut out.

Even today we can still see this classic tactics of tricking people into believing that you actually have these powers. Take for example the hit show Long Island Medium. This show is taking tricking and exploiting people to the next level. It honestly a shame that people believe in her. The attached video is a good example of the Long Island Medium trying to take advantage of a poor woman that lost her son.

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