Why People Believe Weird Things

a book review

sub-titlePseudoscience, Superstition, And Other Confusions Of Our Time
authorMichael Shermer
date reviewed2002.06.10

This is a book by a professional debunker; a man who does the circuits deflating people like Holocaust deniers. This book attempts to explain the difference between science and pseudo-science, in which people with a variety of (usually non-rational) claims attempt to make their theories sound like science by adopting the dressings of science.

I had to stop, part way through, because its tone was a little too smug, too self-congratulatory. True, the author pits himself against some real nuts (Ayn Rand, Ernst Zundle), but his writing style defeats him by becoming a touch too didactic and ranting. He sounds like the zealots he's trying to explain away.

rand()m quote

...a man is always prey to his truths. Once he has admitted them, he cannot free himself from them.

—Albert Camus