Book review: The Men Who Stare at Goats

There were two things that prompted me to read this book: an interest in the curious history of psychic research within the US military, and the reputation that the author seems to have in skeptical circles. I’ll skip the dramatic buildup by saying that the book failed to address either of these.

The Men […]

Occam’s razor

Occam’s razor is a proverb, if you will, that underlies critical thinking and the consideration of alternatives. In its most commonly used form, it reads rather simply: If there are multiple explanations for some observed phenomenon, the simplest one is likely the most accurate. As can be seen from that link, however, this is […]

So, why do people believe?

While I take pains not to let it come through in posts, overall, I’m a fairly cranky person, and I know at least a few other skeptics are as well. It would be easy to take this and extrapolate that being skeptical makes you cranky, which some people really do believe and which is an excellent example of failing to understand correlation and causation. For my part, I know where it comes from, and can only say that the same may be true for others as well. Basically, I find far too many people to be irrational and even fatuous, and when you’re immersed in such a culture, it’s hard to be upbeat, you know? Especially as election season comes around.

Which is, naturally, why so much of this blog deals with critical thinking; it is (part of) my own contribution towards correcting this, and an exercise in reaching people. Not to mention that critical thinking has also been remarkably informative, about nature, about behavior, and about how things work overall, so I find it pretty cool, actually. The crankiness is what led to skepticism, as I struggle to understand why people are so spastic sometimes. Belief in things without firm evidence is rampant in our society, and it does make you wonder why. Herewith, some of my musings on why this is so often seen, and how it works out that way.

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The root of all wobble?

Several years ago I used to hang out on UFO and paranormal forums, seeing what kind of evidence was being put forth and the reasoning behind the beliefs. I’m fond of saying that if I had been pursuing some kind of psych degree, I had the ingredients for several theses right in front of […]