Book Review: Why People Believe Weird Things
Since I am on Christmas break, I have had the opportunity to read something other than finance cases, so I picked up Why People Believe Weird Things by Michael Shermer of Skeptic magazine at the University Book Store and gave it a read.
While at times disappointing, on the whole I found the book interesting. Characters familiar to 9/11 debunkers such as Willis Carto and Joseph Firmage even made extensive appearences. The most useful section was a chapter where Shermer identified 25 logical fallacies. As I have said before, the conspiracy theorists are pretty predictable in that they fall into certain patterns of logical error. Whether you are a 9/11 denier, Holocaust denier, or believe that someone can bend spoons with your mind, you tend to come to the same conclusions in the same false ways.
One line, from page 35 described the 9/11 denial movement so well:
Each of us may have a different view of history, but they are not all equally valid. Some are historical, and some are pseudohistorical, namely, without supporting evidence and plausibility and presented primarily for political or ideological purposes.
That just about sums it up.