Sunday, May 1, 2011

Believing Bullshit published in the US


I had not realized that Believing Bulshit is already out in the US. The amazon.com page is here.

Someone left a flattering review with a "but" which is possibly fair enough.

Here's the blurb:

Wacky belief systems abound. Members of the Heavens Gate suicide cult believed they were taking a ride to heaven on board a UFO. Muslim suicide bombers expect to be greeted after death by 72 virgins. And many fundamentalist Christians insist the entire universe is just 6,000 years old. Of course its not only cults and religions that promote bizarre beliefs significant numbers of people believe that aliens built the pyramids. How do such preposterous views succeed in entrenching themselves in the minds of sane, intelligent, educated people and turn them into the willing slaves of claptrap? Believing Bullshit is a witty and insightful critique that will help immunize readers against the wiles of cultists, religious and political zealots, conspiracy theorists, and various other nutcases by clearly setting out the tricks of the trade by which such insidious belief systems are created and sustained.

14 comments:

stevec said...

Despite subscribing to an rss feed of your blog, somehow the existence of this book had escaped my my steel sieve like memory. I'm surprised by the title, as it seems a little more blunt and approachable than your usual scholarly and erudite blog postings, closer to my own style than what I perceive to by your style. I'll definitely be having a look at this book, and hoping the contents line up with the title's audacity.

Fordi said...

Why no ebook?

TaiChi said...

I'd also like to ask about the ebook: will it eventually come out in electronic format?

Stephen Law said...

I don't actually know! Will ask...

Stephen Law said...

...but actually at this point I think there are no plans for ebook.

senseinai said...

No ebook?!! You know this is the year 2011, right? ;-)

senseinai said...

Good news: Kindle now has an ebook version for ten bucks ... no bullshit! Congratulations and may you be blessed by the consumer fairy ... if you believe in her, that is.

senseinai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Schei said...

For us old folks with MD (Macular Degeneration), do you plan on an audio version (I hope, I hope)?

Thanks!
Ken Schei
Founder: Atheists for Jesus
ken@atheists-for-jesus.com

Dr Liz Miller said...

In the New Scientist, 11th June, you argue that there are some facts we all agree on, and choose as your example the boiling point of water.

Water does not always boil at 100 degrees centigrade. The boiling point of water depends on atmospheric pressure. The lower the atmospheric pressure, the lower the boiling point of water. This is the reason that it is impossible to get a decent cup of tea up a mountain - the water won't be hot enough

Dismissing theories however apparently unlikely, such as the boiling point of water, on the basis of flawed evidence, undermines scientific progress including that described by Boyles Law.

If you are going to be dogmatic about science, would it be better to learn some first?

Stephen Law said...

Thanks for that Liz

In fact I did think, when I used the water example, "Hmm, is it worth adding "at 1 atmosphere" because some pompous pedant will inevitably miss that I'm deliberately simplifying a bit, missing out a detail we are all aware of, for the purposes of economy and style, and announce that I am scientifically illiterate." Then I thought, "No, surely, no one with the modicum of education required to know that water only boils at 100C at 1 atmosphere, would be that silly."

senseinai said...

I was depressed at the commenter's trite ugliness, but your reply is surgically delightful.

Unknown said...

Hello Professor Law,
I just finished reading the statement by Dr. Polkinghorne and thought it was obviously logically flawed. Unless I am completely wrong minerals don't escape the gravity well of our planet so such resources don't need tectonic activity to circulate. Earth is pretty much a closed system when it comes to matter (minor additions by comets not withstanding) and without tectonic activity the planet might be one shallow sea filled with minerals and life would look very different but to state that it wouldn't exist is very simplistic. Therefore, I think Dr. Polkinghorne is rationalizing to support his beliefs.

Marshall said...

Nevertheless, a brief caveat about the influence of pressure would have been appropriate, instead of a long excuse. In any case, I only saw that comment because I saw that you stated in the introduction that a conventional immunization to protect against malaria would be better than relying on homeopathic treatment. Although a homeopathic treatment may well be useless, it would have been far better if you had chosen an example for which there is an effective vaccine, such as for polio, since, at the time of the publication of your book, there was, and still is not an effective malaria vaccine.