Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Delusions and why people have them

Senior Skeptic Michael Shermer has a look at the many delusions afflicting too many people, "from alien encounters to Virgin Mary sightings on pizza pies, to hidden messages revealed while playing "Stairway to Heaven" backwards - and explains the evolutionary and cognitive basis for these lapses in reason."

TED has the video. Robin gets the hat tip.

LINKS: Skeptic founder Michael Shermer on TEDTalks - TED Blog

RELATED: Science, Nonsense, Philosophy


  1. PC, have you read Shermer's book Why People Believe Weird Things? He devotes a chapter to Ayn Rand and the Objectivists, describing them as a cult, and analysing why such a committed group formed around Rand.

    Heh. Ayn Rand and the Objectivists. Sounds like a band. :-)

  2. Oh yeah. I might need to read it again and see how it now stacks up, but reading it at the time it came out I thought the people he was referring to largely deserved what he said.

    That said, of course, Rand's epistemology is just what the Sceptics themselves need.

  3. I heard Michael Shermer in a debate recently where he opened with a joke/jibe at the Muslim Muhammed cartoon stupidity. He's got a good sense of humour:

    "Did you hear about the nasty incident last week involving 5000 rioting atheists in Denmark?

    They stormed the office of a Danish newspaper on reports that 12 pieces of blank paper were found on a cartoonist's desk"...

  4. I take it you've never listened to "Stairway to Heaven" backwards.


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