Jani-Petri'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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Sep 25, 2011

it was ok
Read from September 25 to October 06, 2011

Shermer is not as good a writer as some other famous skeptics or atheists such as Dennett, Harris, Hitchens, or Dawkins. The book has some interesting discussions, but they are quickly followed by more boring sections that one feels were added quickly in order to add to the page count. Editing should also have removed some sillier claims (my edition stated that Iraq and Afghanistan wars cost something like 4 billion which is 10% of US GDP....patently ridiculous). I also found it annoying that Shermer felt the need to campaign for his own set of libertarian political beliefs especially since some claims were in sharp contrast with the things he mentioned somewhere else. For example, he was for flat tax since the rich have deserved their lot through hard work etc., but then later on quotes studies that clearly show how society has inborn biases that make the playing field anything but level. (For example, same kids abilities and test scores were graded lower if it was thought that the kid comes from poor background.)
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