Believing Brain From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies - How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths

ISBN-10: 0805091254

ISBN-13: 9780805091250

Edition: 2011

Authors: Michael Shermer

List price: $28.00
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Description:

Bestselling author Michael Shermer's comprehensive and provocative theory on how beliefs are born, formed, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguishedIn 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. Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain, Shermer argues, is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. Our brains connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen, and these patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop of belief confirmation. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths.Interlaced with his theory of belief, Shermer provides countless real-world examples of how this process operates, from politics, economics, and religion to conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and the paranormal. Ultimately, he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality.
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Book details

List price: $28.00
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Publication date: 5/24/2011
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 400
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.50" tall
Weight: 1.606
Language: English

Michael Shermer is the director of the Skeptics Society and the host of the Skeptics Lecture Series at the California Institute of Technology. He teaches science, technology, and evolutionary thought in the Cultural Studies Program at Occidental College.

Prologue: I Want to Believe
Journeys of Belief
Mr. D'Arpino's Dilemma
Dr. Collins's Conversion
A Skeptic's Journey
The Biology of Belief
Patternicity
Agenticity
The Believing Neuron
Belief in Things Unseen
Belief in the Afterlife
Belief in God
Belief in Aliens
Belief in Conspiracies
Belief in Things Seen
Policts of Belief
Confirmations of Belief
Gepgraphies of Belief
Cosmologies of Belief
Epilogue: The Truth Is Out There
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index
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