23 December, 2016

Skeptic: viewing the world with a rational eye by Michael Shermer


2016 seems to have been a non-fiction year for me. Having started off so whimsically with manga and (amazingly) a romance novel, it has morphed into a steady run of science, history, philosophy and scepticism... memories.

With that off my chest, my last pick for the year is Michael Shermer’s Skeptic, the second book I’ve reviewed by this author (the previous being: The believing brain), this one is a collection of the author’s columns from Scientific American (which we have in our catalogue in print and online!).

There is a lot to get your blood up in this book if you enjoy turning your critical eye to issues which are of the controversial variety. There can be few more qualified fellows to guide you through the journey than Michael Shermer (I’m so tempted to all him the Sherminator, oh! I just did). His combination of scientific understanding and a pleasurable writing style make this a bright and breezy read.

Each article is only a couple of pages each and covers a large variety of subjects from Aliens (including his own ‘brush’ with abduction) and conspiracy theories, to a famously heart-breaking pseudo scientific story on attachment therapy. Shermer (The Sherm? No, too far) is cutting and concise in his opinion and reasoning, and is flush with both as well as backing them up with interesting statistics and facts. Are you one of the minority (statistically speaking) who believe that having things explained is cool? Then unless you’re a long time borrower of Scientific American, this is the book for you!

Title: Skeptic: viewing the world with a rational eye
Author: Michael Shermer

Skeptic or sceptic? James W tried to get to the center of these differences but found the fiber of the task lacking color. Thus, he hopes his northern neighbors won’t take offense at his inability to analyze the issue.

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