Tag Archives: michael shermer

Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer

Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer: I think, perhaps, that this book was not quite what I thought it was going to be. What I wanted – and this is no fault of the author’s – was a book debunking specific “weird things”. While I got a decent amount of that in the (fascinating) chapter on Holocaust deniers, by and large it was more about the psychological and emotional reasons people believe things that don’t make any sense. Which is fine, as far as that goes, but it seemed to keep returning to the same few theories each time. I guess you could say he was making his case with additional evidence, but I got a sort of “okay, I got it, move on” feeling about the whole thing. In short, it’s an interesting read but probably something you’d more enjoy reading a chapter here and there rather than straight through.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Why Darwin Matters by Michael Shermer

Why Darwin Matters by Michael Shermer: I came away from this book with rather tepid feelings. It didn’t feel like it flowed very well from point to point, and each point made felt glossed over, with a couple of bare sentences with a footnote. Shermer’s survey of evolutionary biology was often unclear, but when he was in his element – that is, the psychology of belief and religiosity – the tone became smooth and easy to read. I especially liked his discussion of the evolution of morality and the Genesis revisit at the end. However, I found his discussion of logical fallacies fell flat, his responses to Intelligent Design arguments felt unsatisfying even to an evolutionist like myself, and he spent so much time referring to other books that I started to wonder what purpose there was in reading this one. I am not sure what the target audience of this book was, but I don’t think I was part of it. Still, I do want to pick up some of Shermer’s other works that fall closer to his own field of study.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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