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Michael Shermer says the human tendency to believe strange things -- from alien abductions to dowsing rods -- boils down to two of the brain's most basic, hard-wired survival skills. He explains what they are, and how they get us into trouble.

▶ Michael Shermer: The pattern behind self-deception. A questioning approach to a range of strange beliefs that get into our heads. Shermer's explanation of these is that we are pattern seeking creatures who tend to invest our patterns with supernatural agency...


Michael Shermer: Why people believe weird things | Video on

Michael Shermer: Why people believe weird things - YouTube

Michael Shermer: Why people believe weird things | Talk Video |

Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Mental Math Tricks -- Michael Shermer, Arthur Benjamin

from Brain Pickings

The Baloney Detection Kit: A 10-Point Checklist for Science Literacy

10-Points: How reliable is the source of the claim? Does the source make similar claims? Have the claims been verified by somebody else? Does this fit with the way the world works? Has anyone tried to disprove the claim? Where does the preponderance of evidence point? Is the claimant playing by the rules of science? Is the claimant providing positive evidence? Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory? Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

from Big Think

Understanding (and Refuting) the Arguments for God

The antithesis of christian debate: Skeptic Michael Shermer presents ten major arguments for the existence of God — and counters each one.

Kay H. wrote: Michael Shermer. Anything that asks you to deny demonstrable fact, to force yourself into ignorance, to accept a lie in place of truth, is not a smart move. No wonder violence, crime, neglect, and abuse are so often correlated with religious fervor. The very basis of religious indoctrination, of faith, is forcing a person to deny what is natural, truthful, and human.