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The Believing Brain: From Spiritual Faiths to Political Convictions - How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. (English Edition) par [Shermer, Michael]
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The Believing Brain: From Spiritual Faiths to Political Convictions – How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths. (English Edition) Format Kindle

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Longueur : 465 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
Page Flip: Activé Langue : Anglais

Description du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Synthesizing thirty years of research, psychologist and science historian, 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. Using sensory data that flow in through the senses, the brain naturally looks for and finds patterns - and then infuses those patterns with meaning, forming beliefs. Once beliefs are formed, our brains subconsciously seek out 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.

In The Believing Brain, 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 our belief matches reality.

Biographie de l'auteur

Michael Shermer is the author of The Believing Brain, Why People Believe Weird Things, The Science of Good and Evil, The Mind Of The Market, Why Darwin Matters, Science Friction, How We Believe and other books on the evolution of human beliefs and behavior. He is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the editor of, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University. He lives in Southern California.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3124 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 465 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1780335296
  • Editeur : Robinson (7 juin 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B005RZB9YY
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Lecteur d’écran : Pris en charge
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5 1 commentaire client
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°171.142 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The beginning is very interesting. He starts explaining epistemology, and the scientific method. He also talks about some interesting cases. Towards the middle/end, he starts talking about astrology, making some points about paradigm shifts, but then continues with astrology till the end... I had the feeling we were kind of living the reason why a person would by the book in the first place. Buying for how a belief is put into place then destroyed, to long history of astrology.
However; he explains it very well, and has made me more curious about the universe!
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) (Peut contenir des commentaires issus du programme Early Reviewer Rewards) 4.2 étoiles sur 5 211 commentaires
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A great book, and an important one for my process 7 mai 2017
Par T. Ray Humphrey - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I almost passed on this book because the cover looked a little silly. But I was intrigued by the TOC. Shermer did not disappoint. I have read other books on the brain vs. mind, Consciousness separate from our physical selves, etc. This book fits right on my e-shelf next to those others. Put me on the skeptical side of those topics, but know it's been a long journey for me to get here. I have believed all that in the past, but in the end it stopped adding up and stopped making sense.

His simple answer is science. Shermer is not a scientist in a particular field, but he has talked to and read many scientists in many fields. My words, but supported by this book: Science tells us what we know about the world around us. Personal experience does exist, but if it cannot survive the scrutiny of the scientific method, it remains as personal experience. We build rocket ships and smartphones out of science, not personal experience.

One of my favorite quotes from the book: "Just because we don't know the natural reason for something, that doesn't mean there is a supernatural reason for it."

This book didn't change my thinking much, as I was leaning in this direction anyway. However, I learned useful things, and the book reinforced my position. It was a very important book to me at this time in my journey.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Comprehensive and convincing account 20 septembre 2015
Par Odysseus at home - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Books about science, beliefs and religion can be divided into two types, those that are convincing and well written and those that are only well written. This book is one of the first type: it is well written and highly convincing. By "highly" convincing I mean the quality of the discussion, which is normally the place where the writer denotes his capacity to ponder and compare with equanimity different or opposing positions. This is the hard part and Michael Shermer (to me at least) has overcome the test.

Having read several books on the topic, this is at the height of one of the betters, which is "The trascendental temptation" by Paul Kurtz. Like Shermer, Kurtz was a secular humanist and a sceptic. In this vein, Shermer reinforces and complement also what Kurtz explains in his excellent work. This is not easy if you take into account the variety of topics that a challenge like this imposes: you have to cover from biology to history to politcs to economics. And Shermer not only is good in analyzing different perspectives but also in discussing them and giving you his own ideas.

Not an easy task, I repeat. It's easy to cover different topics without adding nothing new at all as it happens with a dictionary or a catalog. In this case you have an essay that includes, and even more, compromise the author with his ideas. Is he who is saying "this is what I think," and that demands courage and -on the same level- a deep understanding about what is said.

In sum: a perfect balance between extension and depth. Well suited for agnostics and believers who want to know what they have when they feel tempted to say "this is what I believe."
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 My most exciting 'Aha' moment. 8 septembre 2015
Par Ron Shaw - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I've spent my whole life being fascinated by psychology and why it is that humans think and act as they do.
Why are we all so very similar yet, at the same time, so very different?

I've studied psychology and philosophy formally and informally over many decades (I'm 67) and couldn't begin to estimate how many books and articles I've read on human behavior, the mind, and how we all tick.

I first became acquainted with Michael Shermer about 10 years ago. Though impressed with him from the outset he was (for me) a bit in the shadow of Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett whose public profiles were greater than Shermer's due to their provocative, controversial books that flew off the shelves of bookshops and shook societies the world over. Dawkins is a hero of mine but I also have enormous respect for (the late Christopher) Hitchens, Harris and Dennett whose teachings have enlightened and inspired me. These four were more 'out there' than the understated Shermer so he (Shermer) slipped under my radar.

Then I discovered the wonderful website 'Closer to Truth' run by interviewer par excellence and brilliant intellectual Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
While none of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris or Dennett is featured in Kuhn's interviews, Shermer is.
He (Shermer) handles all of Kuhn's deep, probing questions with a calm assuredness and I soon began to realize what an impressive, original-thinker he is.
I watched videos of his debates with Deepak Chopra, Jean Houston and numerous other 'notables'. Shermer never failed to come up trumps and I could see that he is every bit as switched-on and knowledgeable as the four I mentioned above.

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of Skeptic Magazine, Shermer is in the rare position of being right up-to-date with many and varied fields of knowledge, particularly the Sciences. He studies the latest findings that come across his table and deftly synthesizes the information at hand, presenting us with outstanding articles and thought-provoking talks.

I just had to buy 'The Believing Brain'.
After reading it I immediately wanted to read it again (I'm almost finished the second run-through).
This book has provided me with the most exciting and satisfying 'Aha' experience I've had.

For me, Michael Shermer is vastly underrated, not just as a thinker and communicator.... but also as a psychologist.
He has the best, most complete grasp of the hows and whys of 'Belief' of anyone I've come across ...and, of course, it's Belief (capital letter intended) that so often determines behavior (of individuals, of tribes, of societies, even nations).

With my understanding of Belief (and, as a consequence, Human Behavior) immeasurably enhanced, I've never felt so enlightened.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Read by a Crusader for Common Sense 29 décembre 2014
Par Herbert Gintis - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Like Shermer's other books and columns, this is a very informative and engaging volume. However, his central thesis is surely wrong, or at least incomplete. Here is his central thesis (p. 5): "We form our beliefs for a variety of subjective, personal, emotional, and psychological reasons ... after forming our beliefs we then defend, justify, and rationalize them with a host of intellectual reasons, cogent arguments, and rational explanations. Beliefs come first, explanations for beliefs follow. I call this process belief-dependent realism...Reality exists independent of human minds, but our understanding of it depends upon the beliefs we hold at any given time."

If this were true, then "reality" could never lead us to change our beliefs. But we do change our beliefs, often in response to new information. The really critical question is when do we change our beliefs in response to reality, and when do we not?

Note that if Shermer's thesis were correct, then he believes it and all of the book is a rationalization of his pre-existing belief. Why should we bother to read his rationalizations? More generally, why ever listen to anyone's arguments about the nature of reality? they are just rationalizations of pre-existing beliefs.

At a minimum, we should add something about the costs of holding incorrect beliefs. For instance, it does not much matter what a non-scientist believes about evolution, so there is no cost to being a Creationist. By contrast, a biologist pays a high cost by believing in Creationism. He might, however, believe in God at very low cost.

Problems arise when people believe in wrong things even when the costs are very high. For instance, parents may doom a child to disability or death by believing in faith cures.

A more difficult problem is why people ever believe in things that are uncomfortable when the belief cannot help them in some way. For instance, a devout religious believer may still reject Creationism simply because the evidence is against it.

There is clearly more to be said on the subject.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the most thought provoking books 4 juin 2017
Par Gregory Elfrink - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
As fake news, dogma, and fanaticism seems on the uprise, this book is even more relevant today in helping people understand what is often the folly of belief. That maybe we should not trust in ourselves as much as we do, until we really examine the beliefs we harbor.

Highly recommend this book, in fact it is the MOST recommended book I've shared with others and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

This book is also written extremely well, while it offers real thought provoking insights into belief, it does so in an entertaining and easy to consume kind of way for a layman.
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