Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Read it before passing judgement.

Clearly the current 'reviewers' have not read it. Funny how one uses thier lack of belief in evolution to dismiss a book that explains how those beliefs are formed. (And by the way it's 'Scientific theory' which if you didn't know is not 'guesswork'. It's also the theor...
Clearly the current 'reviewers' have not read it. Funny how one uses thier lack of belief in evolution to dismiss a book that explains how those beliefs are formed. (And by the way it's 'Scientific theory' which if you didn't know is not 'guesswork'. It's also the theory of gravity.... do you think that is made up too?). As for the book.... a great read and an eye opener (if only some would actually remove thier blinkers and read it).

posted by Knowledge70 on July 14, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Excellent book!

This is excellent book illustrating how our basic beliefs, based on cultural values, are hard wired into our psyches when we are children. We are not the objective rational beings that we like to think we are. That¿s why cultures believe in so many ridicules myths to th...
This is excellent book illustrating how our basic beliefs, based on cultural values, are hard wired into our psyches when we are children. We are not the objective rational beings that we like to think we are. That¿s why cultures believe in so many ridicules myths to the detriment of society as a whole.

posted by chas3 on January 3, 2012

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Read it before passing judgement.

    Clearly the current 'reviewers' have not read it. Funny how one uses thier lack of belief in evolution to dismiss a book that explains how those beliefs are formed. (And by the way it's 'Scientific theory' which if you didn't know is not 'guesswork'. It's also the theory of gravity.... do you think that is made up too?). As for the book.... a great read and an eye opener (if only some would actually remove thier blinkers and read it).

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 18, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    The quality of your thinking determines the quality of your life.

    Thoughts plus feelings equal beliefs. Michael Shermer has brought to light what we all need to understand about ourselves and others. What you believe is the core indicator of how your life will perform. As Shermer infers in his subtitle, our beliefs become our truths and out-picture in who and what shows up in our experience. As we maximize and stay mindful of this process, we will truly make the quality of our lives the greatest they can be. I use the tools I learned in "Optimal Thinking: How to Be Your Best Self" and "The Power of Decision" to be conscious and consistent with my best thinking.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2012

    Excellent book!

    This is excellent book illustrating how our basic beliefs, based on cultural values, are hard wired into our psyches when we are children. We are not the objective rational beings that we like to think we are. That¿s why cultures believe in so many ridicules myths to the detriment of society as a whole.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2011

    Good one

    The book is especially written for people like the 1st two reviewers. Ofcourse, it's not easy for them to understand since they lack that.

    4 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    Informative and entertaining

    I really enjoyed this book. It goes beyond why people believe odd things and examines why we believe anything. He makes a very good argument that we formulate our beliefs first and then use evidence to justify them.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Dithers

    I am a skeptic and an atheist, and I always seem to find it difficult to enjoy Shermer's works. It seems to me he rarely keeps to the topic of his books. The section on astronomy is the best example of this, as it dithers on into a rote science history lesson. And what do the differences between one side of an island and another have to do with "the believing brain?" I may never know.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2013

    A well-articulated explanation of how human beings form beliefs.

    A well-articulated explanation of how human beings form beliefs. Beliefs come first, based on emotional factors or ease of understanding, followed by "logical" explanations. Anyone who has dealt with human beings can see that this is indeed true. It's helpful to have books like this to remind us of our tendencies, so we can counteract them with scientific reason.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Skepticism In The Believing Brain Michael Shermer, the founder a

    Skepticism
    In The Believing Brain Michael Shermer, the founder and editor of Skeptic Magazine, shows the reader how and why we believe. He begins the book with a discussion of religious beliefs, providing a few examples of life-altering religious (or irreligious) experiences, including his own. I found these stories engaging and enjoyed Shermer's philosophical discussion. Then Shermer defines "agenticity"--the tendency to assume patterns have meaning and intention (an outside agent) instead of seeing them as non-intentional or even random events. He describes the cellular mechanics of our brains and why we would have evolved "agenticity," and then provides many examples of how we see patterns even when they don't exist. This part was pretty funny. I enjoyed his examples. Shermer describes how we can become convinced that our own beliefs are accurate and unbiased, how confirmation bias leads to unconsciously ignoring data that contradict our ideas while noticing in minute detail all the examples in which the data confirm our ideas. This leads to a political discussion of liberals versus conservatives versus libertarianism (because, after all, we simply MUST hear about Shermer's libertarian beliefs!). The final third of the book describes the progress of scientific beliefs from world-is-flat to the multi-verse (again, Shermer inserts a commentary about what HE believes, which seemed a small digression from his main point). This third of the book also describes how the scientific method works. I found the final third of the book less interesting than the first two thirds. It seemed a little less organized than the first two parts, but that may have been because my mind was wandering since I was already familiar with the material he covered. In the end, this was a fun and interesting read, but nothing I'm going to read again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Don't buy

    In the first few pages, the author finds it wrong that more people believe in God & angels than evolution. He assumes too much. Evolution is not a FACT it is a THEORY. I for one am comvinced it is not true (read Behe's "Darwin's Black Box") Regardless, this book is an insult and a waste of money and time. Do not buy

    1 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2011

    Bad

    Waste of money.

    1 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2011

    Would not recommend it.

    Author is more interested in writing about how smart he is and about his personel views than the facts. There are better books on this topic.

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2011

    Ok

    Started off good and then became a soap box from which he preaches his political and economic philosophy

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 16, 2011

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