“Prometheus, the premiere publisher of skeptical literature, here issues a book that deserves to be shelved alongside the works of such giants of the field as Randi, Shermer, Kurtz, and Nickell. With a combination of lively prose and keen analytical reasoning, the author examines some of contemporary culture’s most commonly held beliefs.… A valuable, not to mention very entertainingly written, addition to the literature of skepticism.”
—Booklist (starred review)
Maybe you know someone who swears by the reliability of psychics or who is in regular contact with angels. Or perhaps you’re trying to find a nice way of dissuading someone from wasting money on a homeopathy cure. Or you met someone at a party who insisted the Holocaust never happened or that no one ever walked on the moon.
How do you find a gently persuasive way of steering people away from unfounded beliefs, bogus cures, conspiracy theories, and the like? Longtime skeptic Guy P. Harrison shows you how in this down-to-earth, entertaining exploration of commonly held extraordinary claims.
A veteran journalist, Harrison has not only surveyed a vast body of literature, but has also interviewed leading scientists, explored “the most haunted house in America,” frolicked in the inviting waters of the Bermuda Triangle, and even talked to a “contrite Roswell alien.”
Harrison is not out simply to debunk unfounded beliefs. Wherever possible, he presents alternative scientific explanations, which in most cases are even more fascinating than the wildest speculation. For example, stories about UFOs and alien abductions lack good evidence, but science gives us plenty of reasons to keep exploring outer space for evidence that life exists elsewhere in the vast universe. The proof for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster may be nonexistent, but scientists are regularly discovering new species, some of which are truly stranger than fiction.
Stressing the excitement of scientific discovery and the legitimate mysteries and wonder inherent in reality, Harrison invites readers to share the joys of rational thinking and the skeptical approach to evaluating our extraordinary world.
FURTHER PRAISE for FIFTY POPULAR BELIEFS:
"Guy Harrison's 50 Popular Beliefs People Think are True is the perfect book for skeptics to carry with them whenever they venture into the dark and mysterious realms where myths, monsters, and magic lurk as pretenders to truth, and where pseudoscience and superstition rule the day. I haven't had this much fun flipping around an encyclopedic collection of weird things A to Z since indexing Skeptic magazine. Harrison has added to the growing body of skeptical literature a contribution that will continue to move our culture toward one that openly embraces reason, science, and logic."
—Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine; columnist for Scientific American; author of The Believing Brain and Why People Believe Weird Things
“Extremely well written, with a generous helping of good-natured humor, Harrison’s book is the perfect antidote to magical thinking. Not just debunking fifty modern myths, Harrison explains exactly why these fifty popular beliefs have not passed scientific muster, always holding open the possibility, however remote, that one day they might. It’s a fun read and should be on the bookshelves, not just of every skeptic, but of every believer in things that go bump in the night.”
—Dr. Kenneth Feder, professor of anthropology at Central Connecticut State University and the author of Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Guy P. Harrison is the author of the highly acclaimed 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian, 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True, 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, and Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity. He has won several international awards for his writing, including the World Health Organization's award for health reporting and the Commonwealth Media Award for Excellence in Journalism.