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The Jet-Set Seduction
by Sandra Field
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In Why People Believe Weird Things, science historian Michael Shermer explores the very human reasons we find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. The editor of Skeptic magazine and the director of the Skeptics Society, Shermer shows how the eternal search for meaning and spiritual fulfillment often results in our thinking being led astray by extraordinary claims and controversial ideas - particularly in the realms of superstition and the supernatural.But Shermer also reveals the darker and more fearful side of wishful thinking, including Holocaust denial, creationism, the recovered memory movement, alien abduction experiences, the satanic ritual abuse scare and other modern witch crazes, extreme Afrocentrism, and ideologies of racial superiority. As Shermer investigates these movements and the people behind them, you'll be introduced to the strange debating tactics of creationist Duane T. Gish as he goes toe-to-toe with the author over evolutionary theory; the apocalyptic visions of a leading racial pseudoscientist; ESP adherents who claim they've proved the power of thought-control; the "magical" techniques a famous psychic uses to fool his audiences; and the leaders of the Holocaust denial movement and their views on Nazis, freedom of speech, and future goals.A compelling, and often disturbing, portrait of our immense capacity for self-delusion, Why People Believe Weird Things is ultimately a celebration of the scientific spirit - and the joy to be found in exploring the world's greatest mysteries, even if many of the questions remain unanswered.
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