“A primer not only on how not to believe but also on why so many people do believe bullshit, despite the lack of evidence for such beliefs, or even in the face of disconfirmatory evidence. Believing Bullshit should be read by every college freshman and every person seeking public office, and its strategies memorized and put to use by every critical thinker.”
D. J. GROTHE
President of the James Randi Educational Foundation
“Sadly, the people who would benefit most from Believing Bullshit are the least likely to read it. We all get taken in by bullshit sometimes, though, and if you think you don’t, you definitely should buy this book. But you should anyway.”
Senior lecturer in philosophy, the Open University, United Kingdom
Members of the Heaven’s Gate suicide cult believed they were taking a ride to heaven aboard a UFO. Muslim suicide bombers expect to be greeted after death by seventy-two heavenly virgins. Significant numbers of people believe that aliens built the pyramids, that the Holocaust never happened, and that the World Trade Center was brought down by the US government.
Like the black holes of outer space—from which nothing can escape—our cultural landscape is riddled with intellectual black holes. Philosopher Stephen Law suggests these self-sealing bubbles of belief can trap even the most intelligent of us, and that some of the world’s greatest thinkers have been sucked in, never to escape. With a witty, insightful critique, Law identifies eight key mechanisms that can transform a set of ideas into a psychological flytrap. He discusses the dangers black holes can pose, exploring scientific reason, religion, relativism, brainwashing, button pushing, bias and presupposition, and the power of anecdote, among others.
With clear and honest critique, Believing Bullshit helps immunize us against the wiles of cultists, religious and political zealots, conspiracy theorists, promoters of flaky alternative medicines, and proponents of other crackpot theories by setting out the tricks of the trade by which such insidious belief systems are created and maintained.
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Stephen Law is a senior lecturer in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London; provost for the Centre for Inquiry; and editor of Think: Philosophy for Everyone. He is the author of numerous books for adults and for children, including The Greatest Philosophers, The Philosophy Gym, The War for Children’s Minds, and Really, Really Big Questions, among others.