[Read Epub] ☲ The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths ♺ Renegades-bempflingen.de

I have been following Michael Shermer s column in Scientific American for years It s the first thing in the magazine that I read This book definitely did not dissapoint Shermer starts off with anecdotes and then goes into the very specific Oft repeated throughout the book is that belief comes first, rationalization of the beliefs afterward First we decide to believe, then the evidence collected tends to support what we believe This is regardless if the subject is religion, paranormal, UFO s or politics Shermer explains that our brains are pattern seeking and some people are disposed toward connecting dots even when there is no pattern patternicity Humans also infuse patterns with meaning, intention and agency , agenticity We want to believe things and so we do I found chapter 11, Politics of Belief particularly illuminating Apparantely I m a liberal because out of the following five moral foundations harm care, fairness reciprocity, in group loyalty, authority respect and purity sanctity, I am mostly in favor of the first two Like other liberals In a study based on 118240 people, liberals score the highest on harm care and fairness reciprocity and lower than conservatives on the last three Fascinating I found this book highly informative and quite amusing, although I m sure some people would hate it Your believing brains have chosen another truth and will not be swayed I try to live my life on the basis that I might be wrong about many things, but maybe I am simply self delusional Somethings will never change and never would I become a conservative politically Ever Other things I would change my mind about, if evidence was there and experiments could be repeated I try to be open minded, but my brains shall not fall out This is an excellent, comprehensive examination of the things we believe, and why It is a very well written, well organized book with a unifying theme we form our beliefs, and then we rationalize them with explanations We initially formulate our beliefs through two processes patternicity and agenticity Patternicity allows us to form all sorts of weird beliefs, including the whole gamut of superstitions For example, if something bad happens when a black cat crosses your path, and at a later time something else bad happens in the presence of a black cat, it is natural for one to see a pattern And, when we see a pattern even in a series of coincidental occurrences we often ascribe agenticity to it We attach a special meaning, or ascribe the occurrence to an agent who has intentionally willed it to happen Beliefs in haunted houses, lucky sweaters, seances, aliens, ghosts, and a host of other phenomena are due to agenticity.Shermer shows how the biology of the brain and chemicals that activate neurons in certain regions of the brain can play a big part in forming our beliefs Belief in the afterlife, in God, in aliens, in conspiracies, and political beliefs are all discussed in some detail A whole host of biases in our beliefs are described.Toward the end of the book, our scientific beliefs are described The history of cosmology is told in some detail, offering insights into how old paradigms hold sway for years decades centuries even millennia, until science has gathered overwhelming evidence for a better theory.I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in how and why people formulate beliefs. [Read Epub] ☲ The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths ☫ The Believing Brain Is Bestselling Author Michael Shermer S Comprehensive And Provocative Theory On How Beliefs Are Born, Formed, Reinforced, Challenged, Changed, And ExtinguishedIn This Work Synthesizing Thirty Years Of Research, Psychologist, Historian Of Science, And The World S Best Known Skeptic Michael Shermer Upends The Traditional Thinking About How Humans Form Beliefs About The World Simply Put, Beliefs Come First And Explanations For Beliefs Follow The Brain, Shermer Argues, Is A Belief Engine From Sensory Data Flowing In Through The Senses, The Brain Naturally Begins To Look For And Find Patterns, And Then Infuses Those Patterns With Meaning Our Brains Connect The Dots Of Our World Into Meaningful Patterns That Explain Why Things Happen, And These Patterns Become Beliefs Once Beliefs Are Formed The Brain Begins To Look For And Find Confirmatory Evidence In Support Of Those Beliefs, Which Accelerates The Process Of Reinforcing Them, And Round And Round The Process Goes In A Positive Feedback Loop Of Belief Confirmation Shermer Outlines The Numerous Cognitive Tools Our Brains Engage To Reinforce Our Beliefs As TruthsInterlaced With His Theory Of Belief, Shermer Provides Countless Real World Examples Of How This Process Operates, From Politics, Economics, And Religion To Conspiracy Theories, The Supernatural, And The Paranormal Ultimately, He Demonstrates Why Science Is The Best Tool Ever Devised To Determine Whether Or Not A Belief Matches Reality One of the most exciting books I have ever read The author is a science historian, and writes monthly articles for The Scientific American What I am going to describe here sounds cold and formal, but the book is written with spirit and vigour, with lots of the author s personal experiences and views included It pulsates with amazing ideas and I really relished every word Basically, it showed that on the upside we humans are amazing thinking animals, capable of using logic and conducting experiments to further our understanding of nature and the world But on the downside our brains are also designed to veer us towards some extraordinary distortions in thinking.The very things that make us able to make wise judgements about the world, can all too easily lead us to being mildly fanciful, or even bizarrely so Part of that is the difference in brain structure between individual people, part of it is just our natural way of thinking, which includes a host of weird and odd biases.There was so much I got from this book Descriptions of how our brains work The mechanics of how we think Descriptions of the role of religion in our lives from an evolutionary standpoint Descriptions of how our thinking is distorted Absolutely fascinating Provocative scenarios given, which even made an old rationalist like myself realise how much of my thinking is irrational and emotional A wonderful exploration of the basic psychological building blocks of religion and politics, An explanation of the core difference between the main political parties, and the psychology which drives people to want to be affiliated with one or the other The hormonal response which accompanies the sense of falling in love with someone an experience found only in monogamous, pair bonded species The scientific ideas explaining hallucinations and conspiracy theories A celebration of science and the scientific method as our best way forward.Finally, a little scenario presented in the book.What would you do if asked to wear for a while a jumper that belonged to a children s TV presenter versus What would you do if asked to wear a jumper that belonged to a sadistic, violent murderer Many people me included would only feel comfortable with the TV presenter s jumper, yet rationally and very obviously , it makes no difference whatsoever You don t catch things from jumpers.Apparently people who have transplants feel the same They don t want transplants from people we consider degenerates.This is just one of the descriptions in the book that helps the reader see their own thinking biases..I am concerned that this review has been much too pedestrian, and that I have failed to do justice to this amazing book Please, pick it up, and see for yourself what a wonderfully good read it is.P.S By the way, I found the last few chapters of the book, detailing the history of astronomy and its discoveries, boring, I can t get into anything to do with astronomy , and I skipped those It did nothing to detract from the wonderfulness of the bulk of the book Shermar makes an impressive and convincing argument against belief Not only religious and political beliefs but also scientific beliefs which makes this book even special Any believer may find this book pretty damning to his beliefs The last chapters were specially informative on the way science was confronted by the Catholic Corporation of the Church It took the Church around 300 years to finally withdraw their claim against Galileo No wonder believers are a resilient bunch. 1 From sensory data flowing in through the senses the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning The first process I call patternicity the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless data The second process I call agenticity the tendency to infuse patterns with meaning, intention, and agency We can t help it Our brains evolved to connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen These meaningful patterns become beliefs, and these beliefs shape our understanding of reality.Once beliefs are formed, the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which adds an emotional boost of further confidence in the beliefs and thereby accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive feedback loop of belief confirmation.Belief dependant realism 2 The law of large numbers, where million to one odds happen three hundred times a day in America 300 3 we see what we believe.What you believe is what you see The label is the behavior Theory molds data Concepts determine percepts Belief dependent realism 4 Risk and control were tested in a 1977 study that found that if you show parachute jumpers about to leap out of a plane a photographic representation of noise such as the snow on a television screen they are far likely to see a nonexistent embedded figure than if you presented it to them earlier Uncertainty makes people anxious, and anxiety is related to magical thinking A 1994 study, for example, showed that anxious first year MBA students are far conspiratorially minded than their secure second year colleagues Even such base emotions as hunger can influence your perceptual patternicity A 1942 study found that when ambiguous images are shown to both hungry and satiated people, the former are likely to see food And apropos the current recession, economic environments may lead to misperceptions where, in one experiment, children from poor neighborhoods and working class families tend to overestimate the size of coins compared to the estimates made by children from wealthy neighborhoods and families 5 belief comes quickly and naturally, skepticism is slow and unnatural, and most people have a low tolerance for ambiguity What you believe is what you see The label is the behavior Theory molds data Concepts determine percepts Belief dependent realism. This book bills itself as why people believe weird things, but it s really of why you shouldn t believe weird things It should be noted that I don t actually believe in any of the things discussed in the book God, heaven, hell, and other religious things UFOs and alien abductions conspiracy theories, esp 9 11 conspiracy theories , so the arguments against were tedious at best, and I gained no insight into why other people do believe them.Shermer s tone comes across as defensive and, to be honest, rather arrogant , particularly when he s recounting his own journey from belief to skepticism and when he s quoting from others who argue against him, then pointing out why they re wrong This is not so much a scientific exploration of an interesting psychological topic as a manifesto about everyone the author thinks is crazy The Politics of Belief chapter was particularly and rather offensively bizarre the thesis of most chapters is there s a right and a wrong, and science will tell us which is which, while the thesis of that chapter seemed to be, there s no right and wrong, but here s why you should be a libertarian like me anyway Shermer ought to apply his analysis to his own beliefs he seems to be under the impression that he alone forms opinions based on rational, unemotional reasoning.ALL THAT SAID, there were some interesting bits and even whole chapters I wish the book had been entirely about what it claims to be about and divided up by topic Patternicity, Agenticity, Confirmation Bias, etc without all the rest of the nonsense. I have to admit at the beginning that I have a significantly pro skeptic bias I love skeptics, so it is hard for me not to like the book An interesting book that belongs on my shelf between my books on psychology and science The Drunkard s Walk How Randomness Rules Our Lives, Freakonomics A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, Predictably Irrational The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and my books on agnosticism, skepticism, neo atheism and the evolution of religion The Evolution of God, The Blank Slate The Modern Denial of Human Nature, God is Not Great How Religion Poisons Everything, The God Delusion Anyway, Believing Brain was worth my time and was a nice homage to science, and the scientific method. Here s the tl dr review If you re looking for the ways that we tend to trick ourselves and how to deal with that reality, see Predictably Irrational or The Power of Habit Shermer s book is definitely not the book for that.Now the full review I was really excited about this book I was hoping that it would update and extend Consciousness Explained with contemporary neuroscience about belief That was, after all, exactly how the book billed itself through the marketing coverage and through the first couple of chapters.And, to be fair to the book, there is a fair bit about that going on I know about the neuroscience of belief than I did when I started The science content which is almost entirely found within the first half of the book is why this book got two stars instead of one It s a great book to get some general ideas and get the names of other interesting things to go research The basic idea that Shermer is pushing is that we choose our opinions first and justify them later, which seems obvious to me What this amounts to for Shermer is that we decide our opinions based on non scientific evidence and then have an expectation that science should justify them, and we ve got in built biases that help construct a fitting reality Once that clarification is in place Shermer does not supply it , Shermer does a really nice job proving it out in Part II.The book is also very accesible without being childish Shermer has a great writing style and his voice manages to remain friendly even when tackling highly controversial topics in a fairly confrontational way.But that s about all the positive stuff I can say about this book Beyond that, the book is basically a tour de force of philosophical and anti religious errors It s the most adroit, masterful presentation of all the problems with the so called skeptic culture that I am yet to see Ripping this book a new one could easily be the final project for an undergraduate class on post modernism or post colonialism Let me highlight some of the glaring failings which are still pissing me off, in roughly the order that they really bug me.First and foremost, the God Helmet, which Shermer treats at length Seriously, people, let this one go The Spiritual Brain A Neuroscientist s Case for the Existence of the Soul demolished the God Helmet, revealing it as the pseudoscience that it is Persinger is a de facto huckster selling a magic device to skeptics, and they re eating it up Shermer falls into the trap, too, and proceeds to announce that the God Helmet may be the first step toward demystifying a number of centuries old puzzles The problem is the God Helmet has never successfully been repeated Even using Persinger s own equipment, teams other than Persinger could not get the kind of results he found In short, the controlled the experiment, the less the effect of the God Helmet This is precisely Shermer s critique of the experiments around psychic phenomenon It s a totally warranted and valid critique of psychic experiments But it s also a totally warranted and valid critique of the God Helmet Shermer fails to apply his own skeptic standards to a device which he is inclined to believe, instead presenting us solely with his anecdotal experience and a heaping gob of praise If Shermer is going to call himself a skeptic, then he needs to actually be skeptical of everything evenly, including and especially those things he wants to be true The only good thing about the God Helmet example is the irony he fell into this trap because he wanted it to be true while writing a book about how people fall into traps by wanting to believe So it shows Shermer is as human and fallible and self delusional as he s casting everyone else to be, too.Second, Shermer s handling of philosophically loaded jargon and concepts is desperately in need of work In the first chapter, he disparages philosophy in favor of science as though they are mutually exclusive , and then proceeds to not just stumble across philosophical hornets nests, but to actually seek out those hornets nests and stick sensitive, squishy body parts right into the hole until he s sure he s been stung It s insane The most obvious example is his monism He says that he is a monist that all that exists is the physical activity of the brain Fine Unfortunately, the only defensible monist position vis a vis subjectivity is to deny it outright for a monist, the only philosophically safe position is to say that subjectivity simply does not exist You are not a subjective person You have no subjective experience Descartes was just wrong This is Daniel Dennett s take, and Shemer cites Dennett in footnotes, but apparently Shermer missed Dennett s actual point Instead, Shermer gives a delightful performance as a pseudo dualist, using terms like conscious vs subconscious which Dennett clearly explains is an erroneous distinction for a monist , became aware , and even qualia He even talks about a sense of free will But the qualia example is the most glaring demonstration Shermer asserts that qualia are purely chemical reactions pg 116 , which is a pretty astounding assertion, since neither science nor philosophy has come up with any way of accounting how one gets subjective experience qualia out of a chemical soup Despite that radical assertion, Shermer gives no justificationwhich isn t surprising, since there is none to give What is surprising is that Shemer makes the claim in the first place apparently monism and promissory materialism doesn t deserve skeptical treatment by Shermer.Third, Shermer fails to even handle his own terms well He defines two terms agenticity and patternicity, which seem to have promise as descriptors, but then he proceeds to use them inconsistently with his own definitions Agenticity is apparently the projection of an agent onto experience this is sometimes warranted e.g other people , sometimes not e.g wind in grass But then Shermer treats expecting the recently deceased person to be present in their home as a kind of agenticity That s not agenticity it s not the projection of an agent That s just a disappointed expectation or altered habituation Other examples are easy to find as you work the book just keep his technical definition of those terms at hand, and compare that to the way he uses them Because of this sloppiness, Shermer ends up coming across as not even really knowing what he s even talking about with his own ideas either that, or speaking out of both sides of his mouth.Fourth, the book takes a massive turn for the worse about half way through All the science falls out of it, and it basically falls in quality to a level below most science news blogs It s just ranting opinion stuff without justification or warrant The conclusion pulls things together a bit, but by that point, the damage has really been done.Fifth, the book panders to evolutionary psychology like it s science, but it s not There s no Popperian falsifiability to evolutionary psychology that is, there is no experiment which could prove theories in evolutionary psychology wrong Instead, people tell narratives and try to argue that the narratives make sense But that s not science that s philosophy And all you need to remind yourself that evolutionary psychology is lame is to remember that the aquatic ape hypothesis is still a viable evolutionary psychology hypothesis Worse, Shermer demonstrates his failure to grok evolutionary psychology when he calls it a full fledged science pg 42 it s not a science at all, but insofar as it is used in science, it is as a framework, not a discipline that s according to Tooby and Cosmides themselves in Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2007, 30 1, pg 42 43 But Shermer, following others like Dawkins and Dennett, want to laud evolutionary psychology because of some misguided idea that it disproves something about religion or faith.Sixth, Shermer is so locked up in the modern worldview that he s busy fighting ghosts of arguments that perished two centuries ago This is reflected in the very way he frames his core thesis that we form beliefs first and go looking for evidence later This is nonsense, as he well knows the use of the ACC the brain region, not the NCAA division means that the brain is processing evidence What Shermer means is that the we form beliefs without consulting science, and then we accept scientific evidence later This, of course, is obvious the brain doesn t have a capability for objective intersubjective thought, even granting the existence of mirror neurons There is no repeatable experiment performing homunculus in the brain that spends its downtime reading journals published by other repeatable experiment performing homunculus within other people s brains Scientific evidence like all intersubjective evidence and most rational argumentation reaches the brain through hijacking the primal systems So when we are forced to construct a belief, our only option is to do so through non scientific systems Once we construct a belief, though, that belief is a part of our reality, and so any additional evidence is forced to conform with the reality, or we re left with cognitive dissonance And the brain doesn t like cognitive dissonance Once a neural network is built, reconstructing modifying it is difficult, and so the brain prefers to kludge in new facts and cling to existing beliefs rather than destroy existing beliefs in favor of the new facts It s just how we re wired But for Shermer and his modernism, evidence just means scientific evidence , and so he misses this entire cognitive process because he wants to cling to the long since debunked Enlightenment idea of human cognition somehow grokking science directly This modernism blindness also completely wrecks his treatment of dualism That treatment is pathetically out of date Shermer has clearly never read John R Searle when he tries to argue that dualism is somehow hurt by evidence that the brain impacts the mind the mind which, remember, Shermer should be denying even exists.Finally, Shermer basically participates in all the standard Eurocentric, semi racist, modern ideas which post modern and post colonial critiques have ripped to shreds It s infuriating to see him a thought leader in this skeptic community failing to acknowledge the legitimate and valid critiques of the project which he is engaged on And a lot of it is purely superficial stuff which could be modified without losing any kind of core motivation to the project The most blatant single example of his modernism is when he says that current practices of hunter gatherer societies are models for our paleolithic ancestors as though those cultures have been doing nothing for the past 10,000 years but sitting on their thumbs and waiting to be discovered by Europeans In another place, Shermer presents the Neadrathals possessing Europe for centuries yet not developing culture as evidence of their weak mindedness as though Europe itself contains some kind of magic that s not found in Africa, the Middle East, or South Asia Also, there s a problem with the extensive argument that Shermer builds based on the assumed universal role of a god as judge of the good and the bad that problem being that such an idea is pretty much unique or at least central to the monotheistic religions It s so wrong that it isn t even Euro centric, but even limited than that even the Greeks didn t have a concept that Zeus was going to get you if you secretly betrayed your society unless, of course, someone in that society had an in with Zeus and tattled on you, or Zeus happened to be paying attention to you personally at the moment So that entire way of thinking is just plain empirically erroneous The idea that science can be the be all, end all of knowledge is an idea that has been roundly destroyed by pretty much everyone working post Nietzsche, and it s especially unforgivable in a post MacIntyre world But, of course, Shermer doesn t notice any of these issues, because modernism doesn t deserve the same kind of skepticism that everything else does.This book was a horrid failure, and it should be an embarrassment for an author who claims to be a critical thinker The fourth through sixth chapters have some interesting stuff, but everything else is straight up dangerous, because it s compellingly written but profoundly and painfully wrong even by its own skeptical standards The worst part is that Shermer is a thought leader and writes in an extremely accessible and convincing style, even as he spews bad philosophy and calls it science Because he s so charming, though, people buy it and pass it on as evidenced by the 5 star reviews here on GoodReads. nce inan lar n olu tu u ve ard ndan dayanaklar n n geldi i yolundaki inanca ba l ger ek ilik tezimins 244 Kozmos ve nc empanze kitaplar n okumu ve be enmi birisi olarak bu kitab n da t pk onlar gibi nemli bir kilit ta oldu unu d n yorum A a yukar benzer konulara odaklan yor olsa da bu kitab n vurucu noktas 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