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The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer, Book Review Example

Pages: 1

Words: 308

Book Review

In his book, Michael Shermer tries to explain why people are often drawn into believing things that are not true. He pegs his arguments on both the social sciences and the neuroscience to show how people are predisposed into seeing patterns in the natural events and then proceed into ascribing reasons behind such patterns. This pre-dispositions helps in explaining the reasons behind people believing in all sorts of things (Shermer, 2011).

In the analysis, he identifies two major factors within the predisposition for beliefs. The first is known as paternity. This is where people develop the tendency and patterns of seeking meanings behind meaningful and meaningless events. The ability to detect patterns help people in predicting things that are coming into the future and studying the current trends. The second major factor that is identified is called Agenticity. This refers to the infuse patterns that presents meanings and the intentional agents which explain the reasons why things occur as they do. Since people do not like to simply believe that things happen randomly, they tend to seek the causes and the reasons behind their occurrences. Shermer further applies the above analysis into five successive belief areas, namely the afterlife, God, aliens, politics, and conspiracies.

According to his analysis, once a belief has been formed, the brain seeks its confirmation and quick notes the evidence that support such. Since the beliefs come first, they become so strongly attached and cannot be easily shaken off. He asserts that believing in the brain is entertaining as well as informative (Shermer, 2011). Shermer supports her assertions using a number of evidences. Nonetheless, the book cites paternity and agenticity as being the major factors behind the development of beliefs within the human mind.

Reference

Shermer, M. (2011). The believing brain: From ghosts and gods to politics and conspiracies—How we construct beliefs and reinforce them as truths. Macmillan.

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