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Friday, May 29, 2009

Why People Believe Weird Things (Book Recommendation)



An outsider often wonders: how can anybody believe what the tax protestors, NESARA promoters, MLM pushers, and so believe? Do these folks really think that (for instance) pointing at the flag in the courtroom and shouting, "admirality flag!" will stop the trial? Or that shape-shifting reptilians are out to stop them from getting trillions of dollars? Or that losing money fast by recruiting one's own competitors, as one works for free for one's upline, is the way to success?

Well, yes, they do. And not, they are not necessarily clinically insane -- or even stupid. The truth is, human nature makes us believe things, especially things we want (or, worse, need) to be true. For a fascinating look at what makes people believe such stuff, read Michael Shermer's book, Why People Believe Weird Things.

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1 Comments:

At January 11, 2010 at 2:43 PM , Blogger Lord Balto said...

As for why people believe weird things, just take a look at Avital's online resume, part of which is reproduced below:

"My main interest is the relationship between decision theory and belief change, or rational belief change theory (RBCT). I believe belief change is often a matter of rational decision-making: agents change their views to fulfill certain epistemic desiderata."

Epistemic desiderata? Huh? So you go to school, learn a new specialist lingo, then teach it to others for a large fee, so they in turn can go out and teach it to others for a large fee. What do you call that again? It slips my mind. I think it starts with a "P". Of course the odds of actually making money off of this are not much better than those for Amway. But this is legitimate! It's taught at one of them Schools of Higher Edumacation!

 

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