Sunday, August 6, 2017

Book Report: Believe Weird Things

According to Michael Shermer, the reason people believe in weird things is, "More than any other, the reason people believe weird things," says Shermer, "is because they want to. . . .It feels good. It is comforting. It is consoling." Secondly, weird beliefs offer "immediate gratification." He has spent his career basically disproving various beliefs usually by interviewing people and then offering them a different truth to what they believe using science or factual information. 

He thinks that one of the main reasons people believe random things is that they simply don't know any better. If they had any knowledge or background in chemistry, biology (basically science in general) then they would not be foolish enough to believe in the paranormal. Shermer himself had a crazy experience where he thought he had been abducted by aliens..., which seems bonkers considering he lives his life disproving people who say stuff like that. Although he concludes that his experience was just sleep deprivation, he did for a moment believe in a weird thing. 

Overall I enjoyed this book; as I was reading it I was defensive because even if there is a scientific explanation for something, I think sometimes we need a little magic in our lives. Shermer even goes as far as telling people who listen to mediums and psychics that they are believing in nothing. He claims they use common stories to attract people, like "you've lost someone you love." Out lectures have discussed mediums, however I still choose to believe in a little magic and hope. 

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