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About the Author

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.
Image credit: Michael Shermer, photo credit to Wikipedia user Loxton


Obras de Michael Shermer

The Secrets of Mental Math (2006) 966 cópias, 9 resenhas
Why Darwin Matters (2006) 614 cópias, 12 resenhas
Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? (2002) — Autor; Narrador, algumas edições262 cópias, 3 resenhas
Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye (2016) 111 cópias, 17 resenhas
Skepticism 101: How to Think like a Scientist (2013) 58 cópias, 2 resenhas
The Soul of Science (1997) 13 cópias
Race Across America (1993) 4 cópias
Skeptic Religion Vol. 12 No. 3 2006 — Editor — 3 cópias
Skeptic - Vol. 16, No. 3, 2011: Islam — Editor — 3 cópias
Skeptic - Vol. 17, No. 1, 2011: Scientology (2011) — Editor — 3 cópias
Skeptic - Vol. 12, No. 1, 2005: Mythbusters (2005) — Editor — 3 cópias
How to Debate a Creationist (1997) 3 cópias
Skeptic - Vol. 10, no. 4, 2004: The Skinny on Fat (2004) — Editor — 3 cópias
Skeptic - Vol. 09, No. 4, 2002: Stephen Jay Gould (2002) — Editor — 2 cópias
Endzeittaumel (1998) 2 cópias
Skeptic v.2 No. 4 (1994) 2 cópias, 1 resenha
Skeptic Magazine: Volume 3, Number 3 — Editor — 2 cópias
Argumente und Kritik (1996) 1 exemplar(es)
Ensine Ciência a Seu Filho (2011) 1 exemplar(es)
Skeptic Magazine Vol 25 No 2 (2020) 1 exemplar(es)
Skeptic Magazine 2020 (2020) 1 exemplar(es)
Skeptic Vol 5 No 1 1997 — Editor — 1 exemplar(es)
Skeptic Magazine Number 1 2019 (2019) 1 exemplar(es)
Skeptic Magazine Volume 16 # 4 (2011) — Editor — 1 exemplar(es)
Skeptic Magazine (Volume 16 # 3) (2011) 1 exemplar(es)
"A Skeptical Manifesto" 1 exemplar(es)

Associated Works

Darwin (Norton Critical Edition) (1970) — Contribuinte, algumas edições661 cópias, 4 resenhas
What Is Your Dangerous Idea? Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable (1914) — Contribuinte — 632 cópias, 8 resenhas
Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (2007) — Prefácio — 323 cópias, 10 resenhas
A Manual for Creating Atheists (2013) — Prefácio — 245 cópias, 5 resenhas
New Scientist, 15 May 2010 (2010) — Contribuinte — 4 cópias
The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy (2018) — Contribuinte — 4 cópias


Conhecimento Comum

Nome padrão
Shermer, Michael
Nome de batismo
Shermer, Michael Brant
Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
Los Angeles, California, USA
Locais de residência
Altadena, California, USA
Claremont Graduate University (PhD|History of Science|1991)
California State University, Fullerton (MA|Psychology|1978)
Pepperdine University (BA|1976)
science writer (Scientific American)
editor (Skeptic)
historian of science
television producer
television presenter
bicycle racer (mostrar todas 7)
university professor
Graf, Jennifer (wife)
Skeptics Society
Scientific American
Skeptic Magazine
Occidental College
Fellow, Linnean Society of London (2001)
Philip J. Klass Award (2006)
Katinka Matson
John Brockman
Max Brockman
Scott Wolfman (Wolfman Productions)
Pequena biografia
Michael Shermer is an enthusiastic cyclist as well as a leading skeptic.
Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, the host of the The Skeptics Society’s Distinguished Science Lecture Series, and Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University.

Dr. Shermer’s latest book is The Believing Brain. His other books include: The Mind of the Market (on evolutionary economics), Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design (about evolution, how we know it happened, and how to test it), Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown (about how the mind works and how thinking goes wrong), and The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Share Care, and Follow the Golden Rule (on the evolutionary origins of morality and how to be good without God). He wrote a biography, In Darwin’s Shadow (about the life and science of the co-discoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace). He also wrote The Borderlands of Science (about the fuzzy land between science and pseudoscience), and Denying History (on Holocaust denial and other forms of pseudo history). His book How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God, presents his theory on the origins of religion and why people believe in God. He is also the author of Why People Believe Weird Things (on pseudoscience, superstitions, and other confusions of our time). He also wrote The Soul of Science (a brief statement of belief on science, the soul, and the afterlife, from a scientist’s perspective) and co-edited (with Pat Linse, the co-founder of Skeptic magazine) The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience (an analysis of the most prominent controversies made in the name of science).

Dr. Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991). He was a college professor for 20 years (1979–1998), teaching psychology, evolution, and the history of science at Occidental College (1989–1998), California State University Los Angeles, and Glendale College. Since his creation of the Skeptics Society, Skeptic magazine, and The Skeptics Society’s Distinguished Science Lecture Series, he has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, Tom Snyder, Donahue, Oprah, Leeza, Unsolved Mysteries (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!), and other shows as a skeptic of weird and extraordinary claims, as well as interviews in countless documentaries aired on PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, The Science Channel, and The Learning Channel. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown.




This review is based on the Blinkist version of the book...thus a summary and my review needs to be qualified as such. Presumably the original full text has much more details and research.....but it also takes much longer to read. If I like the Blinkist version, I might seek out and read the full book. Actually, I have read his much later book “The believing BVrain” and it covers much of the same ground as this book. Meanwhile, here are some snippets that caught my attention:
What separates real science from pseudoscience? Pseudosciences like astrology or creationism claim to be “scientific,” but they actually reject scientific laws and methods.
Science is based on laws that can be measured.
Consider the law of gravity. We can test it again and again, and confirm that it’s always true.
A scientific theory can also be tested, but it’s different from a law, because it’s possible to prove a theory wrong......Anyone can research a theory, and correct and improve it if necessary......Pseudoscientific theories, however, aren’t based on facts. They’re based on belief, which also means they can’t be proven wrong,
Divination, for instance, is based on the assumption that certain people have innate psychic powers.....Yet throughout human history, no one has ever been able to prove that psychic powers exist......Because divination isn’t based on evidence, it can’t be tested.
A scientist would say, “x is true because I can prove that x is true,” whereas a pseudoscientist would say, “x is true because you can’t prove that x is wrong.”
Scientific knowledge always grows and improves, whereas pseudosciences are static. Science is always correcting itself, as people filter out the good and bad ideas, and replace the bad ones.
If creationism were a true science, creationists would either have to successfully dismiss Darwin’s theory of evolution with empirical evidence (which they’ve failed to do), or accept it. And of course, they can’t accept it, because if they did they’d have to admit the Bible is wrong. So creationism can’t claim any scientific rigor for itself.
If you watch a mind reader or psychic at work you might be surprised at the accuracy of their information. Accurate readings, however, don’t mean that divination is real. Psychics use tricks to fool their audience into believing them, just like magicians. There are two methods that psychics or other mystical people use to fool people into believing them.
The first is to give a cold reading, For example, the psychic might start out with, “Do you have problems in your relationship?” If they keenly observe how their client reacts verbally and physically to leading questions, they can make further educated guesses about their personal life and situation. [I once put this into practice at a school fete...as a “fortune teller” at the American School of Madrid ...charging a pittance as a fund raiser. But I was literally stunned at how easily people were impressed......had a huge queue outside the “tent”... For example, I asked somebody their name and later in the session I purported to come up with their name by looking into the crystal ball.......they were really impressed with my psychic powers but had forgotten that they had told me their name themselves....What was especially frightening to me was that some people were asking me things like....”will I recover from this cancer” and “should I divorce my husband”....whoa!!! what are you expecting for 50 cents?.....clearly people wanted to believe]
the client will remember the hits much better than the misses. Fortune tellers also usually try to keep it positive, by saying things like “You’ll find your true love soon.”
Psychics will often arrange informal meetings with certain spectators before a performance. It may seem harmless, but it’s actually a good opportunity for the psychic to get personal information about people through small talk, then use it to wow the audience later.
In many cases, all it takes to be a “psychic” is access to someone’s Facebook or Instagram.
Some hallucinations caused by chemicals are remarkably similar to reports of near death experiences. “Out of body” sensations can be induced by dissociative drugs such as ketamine or LSD. People feel they’re leaving their body, and they might even watch themselves from across the room.
The fact that we have receptors in our brains for these artificially produced chemicals means that our bodies must produce them as well. So we can deduce that near-death out-of-body experiences are probably similar to those that people experience on drugs.
The common vision of the tunnel can also be explained. Many people who’ve experienced this tunnel (and some of those who haven’t) believe it’s a transition between life and death. However, the tunnel isn’t a gate to heaven. We can actually explain it biologically. It’s caused by abnormal cell activity in the visual cortex–the area of the brain where information from the retina is processed......Hallucinogenic drugs or a lack of oxygen can interfere with the nerve cells in the visual cortex by making them fire at different rates....and giving the effect of spirals with our vision The nearest thing we have to these moving spirals is a tunnel–hence all those tunnels to the afterlife.
Many alien encounters are actually caused by not getting enough sleep. “White-line fever” is a sleep disorder that’s often experienced by truck drivers.....People who’ve experienced white-line fever report seeing bushes that turn into animals, or mailboxes that look like people. Of course, this sort of sleep deprivation can also lead to hallucinations about aliens.
During sleep or hypnosis, memory and fantasy can sometimes mix so much that it’s impossible to sort them out afterward......Alvin Lawson, a psychologist, once put some students into a hypnotic state and told them they had been kidnapped by aliens. After the students woke up and were asked about their alien kidnapping, they could provide very detailed stories–all untrue.
From time to time, some kind of mass hysteria is triggered. People get falsely accused of a crime, the media goes wild and people become convinced that an innocent person is guilty.
Newspapers ran headlines like “Anesthetic Prowler on the Loose,” and the offender became known as the “Phantom Gasser of Mattoon.” Investigations soon revealed that the entire story had been made up. The police spoke of people’s “wild imaginations” and the newspapers characterized the story as “mass hysteria.”.....This is exactly how witch hunts in the Dark Ages started. Someone made a false accusation, others became scared, the truth became irrelevant, and hysteria spread.
The flipside of the witch hunt is the cult–when one unusually charismatic person is elevated above others, and their political or philosophical views accepted without criticism.
Followers of the atheist novelist Ayn Rand have a similarly hysterical devotion to their figurehead: they think they are rational “Objectivists,” but won’t tolerate any questioning of Rand.
In 1994, Frank J. Tipler released a book called The Physics of Immortality, which initially received a lot of attention. It might be tempting to believe we have proof that immortality is real, but Tipler’s pseudoscientific theory is untenable......Tipler’s theory also relies on many hypotheticals. The construction of his super computer lies far in the future, meaning many things need to occur in just the right way for it to happen. If one of these hypotheticals doesn’t occur just as Tipler predicts, the computer might not be constructed at all...
In reality, creationism is an attack on science. If creationists wanted to prove that God created everything, they’d have to first disprove much of our knowledge about biology, geology or paleontology. Needless to say, they haven’t had any success with this...The wealth of scientific evidence speaks against creationism....With so much evidence piled against them, creationists have the burden of proving their theory right. Naturally, they can’t, so they focus instead on proving existing theories wrong. They fail at this, too.
Holocaust deniers acknowledge there was anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, but insist that there was no planned extermination of Jews in Europe during World War II. They’re emphatic: they just want to know “the truth.”...Holocaust deniers know that there must be some inaccuracies in that mountain of evidence, so they concentrate on their opponent’s few weak points, and if they find an incorrect statement they’ll conclude that all their opponent’s facts must be wrong.....A commonly used example is the story that Nazis manufactured soap from Jewish corpses, which is a myth. Holocaust deniers argue that if the soap story is historically wrong, the gas chambers must be a myth as well.
The key message in this book: Pseudoscience isn’t comparable with real science. It isn’t based on facts, but rather on superstitious belief or manipulation. Yet many people still believe in pseudoscientific or supernatural theories, some of which can be harmful, such as creationism or Holocaust denial. We need to stand up against pseudoscience by using rational, scientific arguments against them.
My take on the book: Fairly powerful stuff. Now a little dated and superseded by his book: “The Believing Brain” but still good. Four stars from me.
… (mais)
booktsunami | outras 40 resenhas | Jul 11, 2024 |
This is an excellent book about ultra-cycling by someone who's raced the Race Across AMerica (RAAM) several times, as well as Miami to Main and Seattle to San Francisco.
SteveCarl | Jun 24, 2024 |
There are some fun tricks you can use to speed up your mental calculations. Depending on what you're using math for, you cherry-pick the ones that are most useful for you.
On the first-pass read through, I marked sections I wanted to invest time in learning. Then on the second-pass, I'm planning to practice those techniques. (but will probably procrastinate this)

There were moments of frustration however. So many of these tricks have exceptions. Things like:
If the first number ends in a 9 then do this, but if it's a factor then do something else—and you can remember this by remembering my dog chewed the couch Thursday.
It becomes a huge burden after awhile.
As the math scales to increasing difficulty, naturally the tricks start to get complicated. At some point you scratch your head and wonder "this is a shortcut???"

Mine this book for your preferred gems.
… (mais)
fotmasta | outras 8 resenhas | May 23, 2024 |
I liked the book when I read it in 2006, but knowing what I know about Shermer, I need to reassess that.
clair.high | outras 11 resenhas | Mar 19, 2024 |



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