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The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths Hardcover – May 24 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books (May 24 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805091254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805091250
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 662 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #75,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By shippou_satsuki on Aug. 20 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've got to say, this book is fascinating. Not because it appeals to agnostics/atheist and even to religeous people... because it brings to light a very interesting tale of how our brain works, how a belief is formed (religeous OR any other), and what are the biological/psychological foundation of a belief, and of an "other-worldy" experience. Shermer doesn't pretend holding one truth beyond any other ; he basically shows how science today can explain the human capacity of taking in a belief. He doesn't go where he shouldn't ; trying to explain the sociological or anthropologic formation of belief with natural science. He stays sharp on knowledge already developped, and gives plenty of examples/further explanations.

A very big thumbs up to this author. The only downside is when he tries to explain how a neuron works, he lost me a bit... but then again, my background is in sociology, not bio-psychology.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Blashy on Sept. 26 2011
Format: Hardcover
Well documented with good researche referenced, not just "his" opinion.

He conveys the message very well for the every day reader.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shermer is concerned with the truth and calls it as he sees it. A cornerstone of the skeptic philosophy and a regular contributor to Sci American, he has written a number of books which theorize why we are the humans we are. I, for one, think the Believing Brain has nailed it. It is why we believe what we believe. Ever wonder? For many it will perhaps start a dialogue in ourselves which we often stuff or dismiss. But we shouldn't be afraid to do that. This is the underlying message from Shermer. As individuals we need to question why we do what we do and think what we think and believe what we believe. The answers may not be what we had thought and they may upset us, but in the end we become the owners of who we are. Recommended to the fearless thinkers inside you.
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By DarkStar on Jan. 19 2014
Format: Hardcover
While I read Skeptic magazine regularly (Michael Shermer is the publisher and editor-in-chief) I couldn't finish this book. I'll have to give it a second try.
It's not the research or the prose that fails, in fact it's this anecdote that will forever stick in my head: the story of a little girl who was hyperactive and unruly and some psuedo-scientist/psychologist who used the discredited method of "re-birthing." They smothered the little girl in a makeshift womb of couch cushions, and despite her protests they continued with the "therapy."
I had to set the book down and cry after that. I couldn't continue on.

I'll try again, but that real-world example was
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Shermer explores the mechanisms of human belief from a scientific, skeptical point of view. At times the book becomes a little convoluted with scientific explanation and terminology, but beyond that, it is a an interesting read
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