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50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True par [Harrison, Guy P.]
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Longueur : 461 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"Prometheus, the premiere publisher of skeptical literature, here issues a book that deserves to be shelved alongside the works of such giants of the field as [James] Randi, [Michael] Shermer, [Paul] Kurtz, and [Joe] Nickell. With a combination of lively prose and keen analytical reasoning, the author examines some of contemporary culture's most commonly held beliefs… A valuable, not to mention very entertainingly written, addition to the literature of skepticism."

- Booklist starred review

"This book will blow readers' minds (and it should) by making them realize how easy it is to hold a strong belief without applying either critical thinking or skepticism. Harrison…pokes gaping holes into common beliefs in the supernatural…and the tendency to believe that only personal religious tenets are correct despite total ignorance about other religious doctrine… Harrison guides us gently but firmly along an explorative path of our collective illogic, strong tendencies toward easy answers and magical thinking, and susceptibility to confirmation bias. He doesn't judge readers for buying into beliefs that have no real basis in fact and science, but instead asks them to second-guess the tendency to readily accept the unproven and the illogical as true. VERDICT: An outstanding book that is required reading no matter what you believe."

-Library Journal

“A journalist turns a skeptical eye on beliefs ranging from astrology to Atlantis, showing that scientific discovery can be just as fascinating as myth.”

-Science News

“[A]n entertaining look at why some people believe in astrology (instead of astronomy) or are still looking for Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Others believe that aliens from outer space helped build the pyramids or their bodies are stored in Area 51. Harrison says that humans are a believing species and, as such, prone to believe in things that lack any scientific proof and can be absurd.”

-Bookviews by Alan Caruba

“Rarely has a skeptic gone to battle against nonsense with the warmth and humor found in 50 Popular Beliefs….[A] grand tour though the bizarre ecosystem of irrational beliefs and extraordinary claims. Harrison deftly and compellingly demonstrates how science and reality are preferable to superstition and delusion.... It is an ideal text for an introductory Science and Pseudoscience or Critical Thinking course. It is clear, comprehensive, non-threatening yet thought provoking while remaining accessible. It’s also a much welcomed and needed addition to every skeptic’s reading list.”

-Skeptic Magazine

“This book is a must-read for skeptics and non-skeptics alike. It will excite all critical thinkers and will get believers to reexamine many popular beliefs that they think are true. I recommend it to all who are concerned and deeply worried about the ‘gigantic cloud of danger’ looming large over our world today due to popular dogmatic and irrational beliefs.”

-Skeptical Inquirer

“[An] absolute ‘must read’… Each belief is covered with a general overview, the rational behind them and the scientific research that fails to support them, all presented with liberal witticism. Harrison champions the need for maintaining constant vigilance to avoid becoming prey to unfounded beliefs that on the face of things, probably won’t cause any harm but could well lead to falling victim to more dangerous, erroneous beliefs. Well written, thoroughly researched and entertaining, this important book teaches the importance of being a skeptic.”

-Monsters and Critics 

“[I]f you do not want your teenagers growing up believing that an angel is watching over them, or the Bible contains a code that reveals the future, or that global warming is purely a political issue, then give them this book.”

-Science Fact and Fiction Concatenation 


Présentation de l'éditeur

Maybe you know someone who swears by the reliability of psychics or who is in regular contact with angels. Or perhaps you're trying to find a nice way of dissuading someone from wasting money on a homeopathy cure. Or you met someone at a party who insisted the Holocaust never happened or that no one ever walked on the moon. How do you find a gently persuasive way of steering people away from unfounded beliefs, bogus cures, conspiracy theories, and the like? 

This down-to-earth, entertaining exploration of commonly held extraordinary claims will help you set the record straight. The author, a veteran journalist, has not only surveyed a vast body of literature, but has also interviewed leading scientists, explored "the most haunted house in America," frolicked in the inviting waters of the Bermuda Triangle, and even talked to a "contrite Roswell alien." He is not out simply to debunk unfounded beliefs. Wherever possible, he presents alternative scientific explanations, which in most cases are even more fascinating than the wildest speculation.

For example, stories about UFOs and alien abductions lack good evidence, but science gives us plenty of reasons to keep exploring outer space for evidence that life exists elsewhere in the vast universe. The proof for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster may be nonexistent, but scientists are regularly discovering new species, some of which are truly stranger than fiction.

Stressing the excitement of scientific discovery and the legitimate mysteries and wonder inherent in reality, this book invites readers to share the joys of rational thinking and the skeptical approach to evaluating our extraordinary world.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 4097 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 461 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1616144955
  • Editeur : Prometheus Books (3 janvier 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00C4B2TWA
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x96218588) étoiles sur 5 97 commentaires
81 internautes sur 87 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96273f6c) étoiles sur 5 A Great Book! 23 décembre 2011
Par Book Shark - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
50 popular beliefs that people think are true by Guy P. Harrison

"50 popular beliefs that people think are true" is a fascinating book about skepticism and critical thinking applied to fifty popular beliefs. In a true open-minded and respectful manner, Guy Harrison takes us on a wonderful journey of applying the best current evidence to popular beliefs. This 458-page book is broken out by the following eight sections: Magical Thinking, Out There, Science and Reason, Strange Healings, Lure of the Gods, Bizarre Beings, Weird Places, and Dreaming of the End.

1. As accessible a book as you will find and written in an elegant and engaging conversational tone. A fun, page turner of a book to read.
2. A well-researched book evidenced by the number of books referenced and comprehensive bibliography.
3. Excellent format! Each chapter begins with an appropriate quote or two about the popular belief and ends with a "Go Deeper" section of further reading.
4. A respectful and sympathetic tone used throughout. Mr. Harrison treats his topics with utmost respect and care. He's one of the few authors that can take on "sensitive" topics in a considerate manner. A rare quality indeed.
5. Fascinating topics! There is something for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The book covers a great and diverse selection of popular beliefs. Bravo!
6. The ability to express his thoughts in a logical and lucid manner. It's such a treat to read a book in which the author makes clear and succinct points.
7. Thought-provoking quotes and comments. "Being a skeptic means being honest and mature enough to seek answers that are based on evidence and logic rather than hopes and dreams."
8. A great defender of science and logic. The author does a great job of providing meaningful statistics and illustrations to back his points. Furthermore, he relies on subject matter experts to provide the best current evidence.
9. Some key concepts introduced that really helps understand why we believe. How we really see for instance and how our memories work. Great stuff.
10. The author makes it very clear what we know versus what we do not know. A good job of keeping things in perspective.
11. How cold readings work and an amusing tale that illustrates the points.
12. Wisdom and knowledge throughout. Everyone will have their favorite chapters, I enjoyed those that taught me knew things and are helping me change my perspective. The chapters involving intelligence and race were a pleasant surprise to me.
13. Chapters and concepts involving the supernatural are always a personal favorite and the author doesn't disappoint. Miracles, angels, souls, spirits...oh my.
14. This is an engaging book because the author's innate curious personality comes through so genuinely. There are many popular beliefs that the author himself would love to be true and hasn't completely ruled out. As an example the chapters on Aliens and UFOs. Absolutely love the self-deprecating humor and love for the awe of the unknown.
15. Pseudoscience placed in its proper place but done so as mentioned before with respect. Surprisingly but necessary, the author also does so with science.
16. The author provides a great point about global warming.
17. Guy Harrison's background is so vast and interesting that he is able to talk about topics from a firsthand perspective such as television news. Insightful takes on journalism and science.
18. A refreshing look at conspiracies. I'm a better person for having read it.
19. Great takes on alternative medicine, homeopathy, and faith healing. Benny Hinn...
20. Topics on religion are very interesting and even more so because the author is able to talk about all the main religions and not just Christianity which adds depth to the conversation.
21. Creationism and evolution, and even more interesting potential future debates.
22. Prophecies. The chapter on Nostradamus is fascinating and there is a separate one on worldwide prophecies, good stuff.
23. An interesting look at prayers.
24. Archaeology and what we don't know with conviction.
25. Bizarre beings like Bigfoot were fun chapters to read.
26. Loved the chapter on the Bermuda Triangle.
27. The Mayans and 2012 so topical and a great water-cooler topic for months to come and Mr. Harrison provides the insight.
28. The book "ends" with a bang. No really...many examples of how it will end.

1. Having to wait for the Kindle version. I couldn't wait so I purchased the book instead. No big deal.
2. Because this book is so ambitious and covers fifty popular beliefs; some chapters may not have the depth that some readers would have liked but the author did a wonderful job of providing further reading material.

In summary, I absolutely loved this book! It's one of the reasons why I enjoy reading so much. This is one of those few books available that everyone can enjoy. You can jump to your favorite topics if you desire or read it straight through. Either way you will at the very least respect the author's approach or best, enjoy it as thoroughly as I have. This is a book about skepticism that is fun to read, thought-provoking while never being unintelligible. Don't hesitate to get it! I highly recommend it!

Further suggestions: "50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God" by the same author, "The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as TruthsThe Believing Brain..." and "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time" by Michael Shermer, "Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries" by Benjamin Radford, "The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life" by Jesse Bering, "Why Evolution Is True" by Jerry A. Coyne, "Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists..." by Dan Barker, "Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment" Phil Zuckerman, "The Faith Healers" by James Randi, "The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails" by John W. Loftus, "Caveman Logic: The Persistence of Primitive Thinking in a Modern World" by Hank Davis, "The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us" by Victor J. Stenger, "The Blind Spot" by William Byers, "Paranormality" Richard Wiseman, "Storms of My Grandchildren" by James Hansen, "Braintrust" by Patricia S. Churchland, "The Panic Virus" by Seth Mnookin, "Science Under Siege" by Kendrick Frazier, "Superstition" by Robert Park and "Science and Nonbelief" by Taner Edis.
74 internautes sur 80 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9627e90c) étoiles sur 5 Reading is believing 28 décembre 2011
Par Hande Z - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Spoiler alert: If you believe in some of the beliefs discussed in this book you may not think the book as a whole merits reading, let alone buying. However, the topics discussed ranged from "Creationism" to "Area 51 is where they keep aliens", "Ghosts are Real and They Live in Haunted Houses', and "Astrology is Scientific" are varied and wide. So it is possible that one might believe (or is neutral about) some views expressed by Harrison but agree with Harrison on the rest. Even though he wrote from the sceptic's viewpoint, he does not disparage religious beliefs. He wrote in "My God is the Real One": "One ought to be aware of and respect , to a point, the emotional attachment many people have to their belief in the existence of a god or gods. But it only makes sense to try and ensure that something taken so seriously by so many people is actually valid in the first place. This is not, or should not be, a question for the skeptics alone. Don't believers also want to know if their gods actually exist or not?"

If the reader is inclined to believe in the topics discussed (the previous reviewer has helpfully set out a detailed list) he might wish to give this book a solitary star. I gave it five stars because I agree with virtually all the author's views. I had hitherto been ignorant about how scientific homeopathy is; Harrison described homeopathy as a failed method of alternative medicine. The ingredients used are so diluted that they have no effect whatsoever, and consequently, homeopathy has, at best, only a placebo effect. He traced the origins of homeopathic medicine and discussed what goes on in modern practices and why they are futile exercises.

The second reason this book deserves a five-star rating is that the author was able to describe and discuss the topics clearly and briefly so that it takes no more than 15 minutes to read each topic. Thirdly, he recommended further readings at the end of each chapter. The suggestions may not all be the most authoritative sources, but they appeared to be relevant and probably useful sources, as I have read many of the books suggested. For example, Under the chapter "Creationism is true and evolution is not", Harrison recommended 24 books including "The Ancestor's Tale" by Richard Dawkins - which might be reason enough for some to think Harrison's book unreadable.

Harrison begins each chapter with a quotation. Some sounded authoritative and some are humorous, for example, in "Television News Gives Me an Accurate View of the World" he quoted Arthur C Clarke: "Whom the gods would destroy, they first give teleivison.' In "I believe in Miracles" Harrison quoted Aristotle, "It is likely that unlikely things should happen", to commence his discussion of miracles.
18 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9627e708) étoiles sur 5 Another Home Run By Guy Harrison 23 janvier 2012
Par A Customer - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Guy Harrison's new book is a fun read about what people believe to be true. Whether talking about religion, UFO'S, Bigfoot, or the so-called faked Moon landings, Guy pulls back the veil of secrecy to expose things for what they really are.

Hard evidence along with reason and logic is what drives this book's main ideas. Some beliefs can be explained quite simply, without the need for magic, pseudoscience, superstition or a conspiracy being involved. Without evidence, people tend to fill in the gaps with thoughts or ideas that fit a person's belief in whatever subject is at hand. Confirmation bias, which is counting the hits, and forgetting the misses is a contributing factor in this thought process. Sometimes, like the author says, it's ok to say you don't know. That does not mean something unusual or strange is going on.

Some of my favorite chapters include conspiracy theories, religion, and the Bermuda Triangle. I found myself rather amazed at some beliefs I have never heard of before.

The style in which the book presents itself is not mean spirited or a put down in any way. But after reading this gem of a book, you'll find yourself asking the question, "Did I really believe in this stuff"?? Also enjoyed the "GO DEEPER" at end of each chapter for further reading on each subject.

Would also recommend JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy and The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x96281258) étoiles sur 5 Common sense ain't so common 9 avril 2012
Par Thomas E. Davis - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
If you have an interest in countering the nonsense that so pervades today's half-baked, blog-soaked, conspiracy-ridden popular culture, this clearly written book is a very helpful tool. You don't have to be a scientist to debunk astrology, birtherism, creationism, Bigfoot, or Atlantis, of course, since there is no real evidence for any of them. However, this volume not only lays out case after case against the paranoid and the supernatural; it also sheds light on the fearful, wishful, ignorant thinking that contributes to such delusions and fantasies.

From alien abduction and Area 51 to faith healing and homeopathy, from ghosts and witches to holocaust denial and doomsday predictions, "50 Popular Beliefs" examines facts that undermine the ideas of superstitious New Agers and religious fanatics, of conspiracy theorists and casual racists. Each of the 50 entries is thoroughly annotated and indexed and ends with a bibliography for further research, enabling readers to replace myth, magic, and mystery with refreshing reality.

Just as important as the preponderance of his evidence, the author's words show respect and compassion for those with whom he profoundly disagrees. "My goal," Harrison writes, "is not to win arguments or take away anyone's fun, happiness, or contentment." He wishes to give readers an understanding of and appreciation for the power of skepticism, a toolkit to confront the weird, kooky ideas that spread wildly in the age of the Internet. "The way I see it," he explains, "promoting reason and skepticism is a moral issue. It's about caring for your fellow humans."

I have a great deal of admiration for Guy Harrison's idealism. But he has to acknowledge that being skeptical gets us only so far. The desire to believe things for which there is no empirical data is an essential element in human nature. Overcoming it is very hard indeed, the job of a psychologist as much as a scientist. The certainty true believers feel is so comforting and inspiring that they cling to it like a life preserver, making it a passionate part of their identities. They belong to a very special group that has either seen the truth or seen through a plot to conceal it. Yet their ignorance of science and technology and probability and history bothers them not a bit.

If you've decided that attempting to rescue the misguided and misinformed is a worthwhile pursuit, that skepticism will help them to, in the words of the author, "lead safer, happier, and more productive lives," then this is the book for you. Yet you need to understand what you're in for. People will attack you for questioning their odd, baseless assertions. Many suffer from reductive, illogical, or emotional thought processes and thus typically refuse to listen to opposing evidence, no matter how well-founded or well-reasoned. Having already made up their minds, they will accept any supportive anecdote as proof of their ideas and reject any contradictory observations as deceptive or manufactured.

It's certainly easiest to smile, nod politely, and move away slowly when confronted by such people. Why should you waste time and effort in a vain attempt at converting them into rational thinkers? Perhaps the best motive is preventing them from infecting others who are prone to gullibility, especially when they are family or friends. But recognize your limits. You might be able to persuade such benighted individuals of the folly of their views on one particular issue, but because they lack critical thinking skills, they're likely to fall for the next bit of hocus-pocus or mumbo-jumbo they see or hear. You may simply have to shake your head, practice a form of triage, and leave it to more selfless souls to battle for reason. Hand them this book and wish them well.
16 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x962812b8) étoiles sur 5 A Great Introduction to Skepticism 16 mars 2012
Par Greg Schumaker - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
In the war on stupidity, this book is a great tool to introduce young minds into the fold of a reality-based community. A bit repetitive at points, but the humor and insights make up for that. The "Go Deeper" suggestions for further reading on each topic are a great resource.
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