Catelyn May's Reviews > The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths

The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer
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's review
Nov 28, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobooks
Read from November 26 to 28, 2011

I agreed with, disagreed with, and was ambivalent towards this book, each in equal measure. It was a very interesting read.

I am always appreciative of a skeptic/atheist/agnostic who doesn't treat religion like it's some blight on humanity or insist that we can disprove God's existence. I found the author very polite and far less condescending than others I have read on similar subjects (*cough* Hitchens and Dawkins *cough*). Perhaps it was because he spent a while as a fundamentalist Christian and so is not so quick to judge?

I found the book quite conversational in tone, which is always pleasant when neuroscience is one of the subjects. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an explanation of why we believe the things we do. The takeaway: we believe something (based on a variety of factors, most of which are out of our control) and then construct arguments to reinforce our belief. Sounds about right. It's very hard to re-examine your own beliefs objectively, as any good philosopher knows. Apparently science-y people need to be reminded of this too.

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11/26/2011 page 125
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