!!> Reading ➹ The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake ➱ Author Steven Novella – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk


The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake An All Encompassing Guide To Skeptical Thinking In The Popular The Skeptics Guide To The Universe Podcast S Dryly Humorous, Accessible StyleIt S Intimidating To Realize That We Live In A World Overflowing With Misinformation, Bias, Myths, Deception, And Flawed Knowledge There Really Are No Ultimate Authority Figures No One Has The Secret And There Is No Place To Look Up The Definitive Answers To Our Questions Not Even Google But, By Thinking Skeptically And Logically, We Can Combat Sloppy Reasoning, Bad Arguments And Superstitious Thinking It S Difficult, And Takes A Lot Of Vigilance, But It S Worth The EffortIn This Tie In To Their Incredibly Popular The Skeptics Guide To The Universe Podcast, Steven Novella, MD Along With Skeptical Rogues Bob Novella, Cara Santa Maria, Jay Novella, And Evan Bernstein Will Explain The Tenets Of Skeptical Thinking And Debunk Some Of The Biggest Scientific Myths, Fallacies And Conspiracy Theories Anti Vaccines, Homeopathy, UFO Sightings, Etc They Ll Help Us Try To Make Sense Of What Seems Like An Increasingly Crazy World Using Powerful Tools Like Science And Philosophy THE SKEPTICS GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE Is Your Guide Through This Maze Of Modern Life It Covers Essential Critical Thinking Skills, As Well As Giving Insight Into How Your Brain Works And How To Avoid Common Pitfalls In Thinking They Discuss The Difference Between Science And Pseudoscience, How To Recognize Common Science News Tropes, How To Discuss Conspiracy Theories With That Crazy Coworker Of Yours, And How To Apply All Of This To Everyday LifeSo, Are You Ready To Join Them On An Epic Scientific Quest, One That Has Taken Us From Huddling In Dark Caves To Stepping Foot On The Moon Yes, We Really Did That Like All Adventures, This One Is Foremost A Journey Of Self Discovery The Monsters You Will Slay And Challenges You Will Face Are Mostly Constructs Of Your Own Mind With The SKEPTIC S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE, We Can Do This Together


10 thoughts on “The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe: How to Know What's Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake

  1. says:

    Long time listener here I have been anticipating this book for a while, and it did not disappoint I enjoyed the audiobook Steves narration is easy to listen to while also being engaging However, the encyclopedia like layout make the printed version a practical compendium for later reference It is excellent for understanding how the mind works doesn t work, and how we all deceive ourselves into thinking that we actually understand probability For people who are just getting into critical t Long time listener here I have been anticipating this book for a while, and it did not disappoint I enjoyed the audiobook Steves narration is easy to listen to while also being engaging However, the encyclopedia like layout make the printed version a practical compendium for later reference It is excellent for understanding how the mind works doesn t work, and how we all deceive ourselves into thinking that we actually understand probability For people who are just getting into critical thinking and scientific skepticism and want to learn about how to know what s really real , but don t want to do this whole podcast nonsense This book is a great place to start It is well written, with just the right balance between entertaining examples and compelling explanations For SGU veterans If you have worked through every episode of the SGU, monitored a wide selection of skeptical science blogs, and memorized all 24 logical fallacies in their order of disgrace to the human intellect there probably isn t a lot a new information for you here, you cocky little twit Why haven t you bought it for everyone around you yet


  2. says:

    This was one of the books I waited with utmost anticipation and so glad to get a chance to read it finally I have been a long time SGU listener almost 10 years , and they have been a major inspiration for me to teach myself critical thinking I still do and initiate a grassroots skeptical movement in Turkey along with a website as well as a top podcast of our own So naturally, when I heard the team was coming up with an actual book, I was very excited and pre ordered it immediately.Steve and This was one of the books I waited with utmost anticipation and so glad to get a chance to read it finally I have been a long time SGU listener almost 10 years , and they have been a major inspiration for me to teach myself critical thinking I still do and initiate a grassroots skeptical movement in Turkey along with a website as well as a top podcast of our own So naturally, when I heard the team was coming up with an actual book, I was very excited and pre ordered it immediately.Steve and SGU team did a great job of compiling the basic building blocks of scientific skepticism and critical thinking The book starts with the introduction to scientific skepticism and why it is important, continues to explore the major factors that contribute and distort our understanding of the world, major reasoning and cognitive faults we all make have, the science pseudoscience demarcation problem Then it goes on to give some real world examples to allow the reader to practice what they learned about critical thinking skills in the earlier chapters It talks about historical events that claimed to be extraordinary and turned out to be not so, some existing pseudoscience out there and why those claims do not hold water and personal experiences of the contributors in the domain of scientific skepticism and critical thinking.In the last section, there is a very comprehensive reference list The book has ALL the major references it mentions along the chapters in one place and in great detail, and even that is alone is such a great resource.The language of the book is very clear, easy to read understand with lots of examples It is very well organized the earlier chapters prepare the reader for the later ones that provideexamples.Overall this is a great book to introduce a person to critical thinking scientific skepticism it explains why this is an important topic, why people should be mindful of how they reach to conclusions, make decisions, even how they argue with each other and how to try to convince others For me, this will be a great comprehensive resource to use when I need to explain someone a basic concept with great examples I did not learn anything new by reading it since I knew pretty much every concept described in the book due to immersing myself into the literature of scientific skepticism and critical thinking in the past years, but despite that, I loved to book for its comprehensiveness, clarity and being an overall resource for every fundamental concept in scientific skepticism Actually, let me re phrase myself I did not learn any new information from the book, but as usual I learned a lot on how to communicate and articulate these things from Steve and his narration style, as usual He is such a great communicator, an aspiration for all of us I will keep this book as a fundamental resource in my library and definitely can see myself gifting to many people in the future What a great tool to help us to spread the news Thank you SGU team, it has been a pleasure to read this


  3. says:

    This is one of the best books on critical thinking and skepticism since Carl Sagan s The Demon Haunted World Although you would hope, in the 21st century, that it shouldn t have to be explained why treating eczema with turmeric infusions is a bad idea, gullibility for pseudoscience is a recurring feature of human psychology and in need of constant debunking The first part of the book covers the unreliability of our senses, cognitive biases, logical fallacies, and the difference between science This is one of the best books on critical thinking and skepticism since Carl Sagan s The Demon Haunted World Although you would hope, in the 21st century, that it shouldn t have to be explained why treating eczema with turmeric infusions is a bad idea, gullibility for pseudoscience is a recurring feature of human psychology and in need of constant debunking The first part of the book covers the unreliability of our senses, cognitive biases, logical fallacies, and the difference between science and pseudoscience This part covers the core skills of critical thinking and skepticism and reminds us that we must be constantly vigilant against the plethora of ways we can delude ourselves In fact, the running theme throughout the book is the concept of fallibilism, and how we are all wired to engage in biased and logical fallacious thinking even self proclaimed skeptics or critical thinkers As the authors constantly remind us, this is a tendency we all have to perpetually work to overcome, and that no one is immune to bias just because they identify as a skeptic.The rest of the book covers specific cases of pseudoscience, pseudo journalism, and instances where pseudoscience can harm or kill The book ends with some advice on the practical application of critical thinking skills and how to engage with others persuasively when debating pseudoscientific ideas My only complaint in discussing the line of demarcation between science and pseudoscience and falsifiability, the authors never mention Karl Popper once Popper is, of course, the most prominent early advocate of falsifiability and one of the greatest philosophers of science of the twentieth century The authors discuss falsifiability, critical rationalism, error correction, and several other ideas that were popularized by Popper without, to my mind, giving appropriate credit Overall, if you re new to skepticism, this book covers the full assortment of critical thinking, psychology, logic, and science needed to navigate complex issues and engage in independent thinking If you re not new to the subject, it will act as a nice refresher and a welcome escape from a world filled with superficial thinking, conspiracy theories, fraud, and outright stupidity


  4. says:

    This is one of the better skeptic books The author doesn t merely debunk the usual suspects of pseudoscience although there is plenty of debunking of UFOs, Ghosts, Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Astrology et al The author goes into our cognitive biases and blind spots and illogical thought processes and provides tools for fighting ever new pseudoscience, fake news, hoaxes, and assorted nonsense which springs eternal in many forms This book is a gem that will give you a fighting chance against lying This is one of the better skeptic books The author doesn t merely debunk the usual suspects of pseudoscience although there is plenty of debunking of UFOs, Ghosts, Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Astrology et al The author goes into our cognitive biases and blind spots and illogical thought processes and provides tools for fighting ever new pseudoscience, fake news, hoaxes, and assorted nonsense which springs eternal in many forms This book is a gem that will give you a fighting chance against lying minds be they other people s or your own


  5. says:

    This should be required reading for everyone not just the choir of scientific skeptics.


  6. says:

    Some friends and family have called me annoying since whenever they post something on social media that is a crock, I call them on it and provide the relevant proof I don t know why, but seeing crap like that posted just raises my ire Note opinions, religious, love messages, cute furpersons get a pass Despite the fact that some claim I am picking on them, I do note that the offender s postings tend to drop dramatically when they have been chastened a few times What are you, the sheriff of Some friends and family have called me annoying since whenever they post something on social media that is a crock, I call them on it and provide the relevant proof I don t know why, but seeing crap like that posted just raises my ire Note opinions, religious, love messages, cute furpersons get a pass Despite the fact that some claim I am picking on them, I do note that the offender s postings tend to drop dramatically when they have been chastened a few times What are you, the sheriff of Facebook Anyway, something I have pondered lies at the core of the issue, namely, why do people believe that stuff in the first place So, this book was right up my alley and did not disappoint The book is truly a guide as to why we think the way we do and even as the sheriff, the true skeptic needs to realize they have some of those issues as well, we just need to try harder to stay as balanced and unbiased as possible.So if you want to improve your critical thinking or perhaps understand why some folks seem incapable of it pick up a copy The fun thing about the book is that though it is an easy read as it is irreverent , casual, full of humor and anecdotes at bottom it is a serious work, directed at correcting some serious issues


  7. says:

    I would describe this book as excellent tool for structuring your knowledge about science thinking I like that most of chapters are quite short, because it was easy to read it on the go At some paragraphs I had to really focus to uderstand the full meaning of it, but I put it on a blame of me not being perfect english speaker and, what isimportant, who said that it must be an easy lecture


  8. says:

    Sometimes you find a book that s just so good a 5 rating just doesn t quite feel right The Skeptics Guide to the Universe is one of those books for me and easily my best non fiction read of the last couple of years This book not only helps you to become a true skeptic, it will also help you to deal with people who don t believe in fact based reasoning, something that seems to be an increasing trend these years.Time to put on your critical thinking cap Are you ready to put become part of an e Sometimes you find a book that s just so good a 5 rating just doesn t quite feel right The Skeptics Guide to the Universe is one of those books for me and easily my best non fiction read of the last couple of years This book not only helps you to become a true skeptic, it will also help you to deal with people who don t believe in fact based reasoning, something that seems to be an increasing trend these years.Time to put on your critical thinking cap Are you ready to put become part of an epic quest, one that has taken us from huddling in dark caves to stepping foot on the moon Yes, we really did that Like all adventures, this one is foremost a journey of self discovery The monsters you will slay and the challenges you will face are mostly constructs of your own mind But if you can master them, the rewards are indeed epic This is how the book introduction ends I couldn t agreeI have been challenged, and indeed, we are nothingthan bags of mostly water with an emotional flavour with our own biases and preferences But knowing is half the battle The book starts off with the what the core concepts are of skepticism The first section of the book gives you all the tools you need to learn the tricks of the trade to becoming a true skeptic The most important lesson you will learn from the first section is that you are no better than anyone else, even if it s easy to think you are For instance the Dunning Kruger effect is one to always keep in mind This effect describes the inability to evaluate one s own competency, leading to general tendency to overestimate one s abilities It s not just about dumb people not realising how dumb they are, you should know that you are just as ignorant as the average person is in every area of knowledge that you are not an expert in Another thing that s very important to realise is our tendency to seek out or interpret information as support for previously held notions or beliefs This is called confirmation bias and we re all guilty of this We all have certain world views and beliefs and everything that supports it, we hold on firmly, to rationalise that we re a good, moral person What s important to know is that this will differ from person to person, but once you see confirmation bias in action, you ll see it everywhere I know this section in particular opened my eyes to some discussions on the internet and where people were coming from Confirmation bias is the one bias to rule all biases, the mayor of Biastown, captain of the USS Bias, the Sith Lord of the bias side of the Force okay, you get the idea One thing I really liked about this book is that it tells you to always respect other people, because you never have all the information You don t know where they re coming from and that s why you should withhold judgement and give other people the benefit of the doubt This tendency to rationalise our own actions as being the result of external factors beyond our control, while ascribing other people s actions to internal factors is called Fundamental Attribution Error, and it s very easy to spot, although you should always remain vigilant when you re guilty of this bias.The book is very thorough on its subjects and basically after you ve finished the first section which is also the largest, by far you will have a Swiss Army Knife of skills and knowledge you can put to use to become the skeptic you want to be From placebo effects, to conspiracy theories, to cold reading, to pseudosciences, to all the psychological aspects You just keep wanting to readand learnPeople often say that science in itself is a religion as well, but what they tend to forget is that although science might seem to be the denial of the existence of God, or other supernatural things, science is not a religion, it s a method The real beauty of science to me can be found in this quote The scientific method consists of the use of procedures designed to show not that our predictions and hypothesis are right, but that they might be wrong Scientific reasoning is useful to anyone in any job because it makes us face the possibility, even the dire reality, that we were mistaken Carol TavrisThe Human race has a constant need to find answers and science is one of the best ways to find answers And if a theory is found to be flawed, or that they simply don t hold up to extensive testing, then those theories and views will have to be altered That s how I want to be as a person too If people can show me my reasoning is wrong, even if it might go against everything I hold dear, I have to face the possibility that I may be wrong That s the beauty of science As the book itself states If you learn new information, happily incorporate it into your assessment.I really loved the first section of the book and I find it hard to shut up about this book The other sections were equally interesting, but were mostly stories about how people put their skepticism into practice They were lovely stories, and definitely worth reading, because they re cautionary tales and give you solid advice on how to deal with certain situations, such as antivaxers and climate change deniers.This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to learn how to thinkcritically for themselves Something we can all use in this time of fake news and science deniers This books deserves all the five stars I bestow upon it, although I would rather give it 6 5 It s just that awesome I will finish this review with one last quote Science is a way to teach how something gets to be known, what is not known, to what extent things are known for nothing is known absolutely , how to handle doubt and uncertainty, what the rules of evidence are, how think about things so that judgements can be made, how to distinguish truth from fraud, and from show Richard FeynmanFinal score Cover art reminiscent of The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy Paper smell Print lettering Originality Information Overall Happy reading Jeffrey


  9. says:

    In short, an amazing read The book has lots of interesting points, as such I create adedicated and in depth review of this work here Spoiler alert there are some annotations in the review In short, an amazing read The book has lots of interesting points, as such I create adedicated and in depth review of this work here Spoiler alert there are some annotations in the review


  10. says:

    I m a big fan of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, which is dedicated to the promotion of science and critical thinking If you aren t familiar with it, I would urge you check it out As an outgrowth of the podcast the self proclaimed skeptical rogues produced a new book called The Skeptics Guide to the Universe How to Know What s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake The book covers many of the fundamentals upon which the podcast is based in that it delves into the mu I m a big fan of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast, which is dedicated to the promotion of science and critical thinking If you aren t familiar with it, I would urge you check it out As an outgrowth of the podcast the self proclaimed skeptical rogues produced a new book called The Skeptics Guide to the Universe How to Know What s Really Real in a World Increasingly Full of Fake The book covers many of the fundamentals upon which the podcast is based in that it delves into the multiplicity of ways that people can be fooled into believing things that simply aren t true As Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman once said The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool The first section of the book describes various errors in reasoning including such things as the fallibility of memory, cognitive biases, logical fallacies, heuristics, data mining, the placebo effect, p hacking, the law of large numbers, the Dunning Kruger Effect, motivated reasoning, the ideomotor effect, and many others Probably the overarching theme of this section which representsthan 50% of the text is that it s not just those with whom we disagree that engage in sloppy reasoning, bad arguments and superstitious thinking, it s all of us to a greater or lesser degree Even the most ardent of critical thinkers needs to guard against falling into one of these cognitive traps.The book then goes on to cover some specific anecdotal examples of skeptical lessons written by each of the rogues This is followed by practical advice as to how to double check reporting performed by the news media and a few specific examples of pseudoscientific thinking Finally the book wraps up with some advice as to how to foster critical thinking in others On their podcast, the rogues billed the book as a skeptical primer that does a deep dive on the fundamentals of critical thinking and skepticism As such, the book entirely succeeds It was, for the most part, written by Steve Novella who is not only brilliant, but is an articulate and effective science communicator The text is clearly and concisely written and does a thorough job explaining the common and several uncommon mechanisms of deception I also appreciated the books short manageable chapters and logical organization I do have a criticism however, though perhaps it s not so much with the book itself as with my expectation of the book The Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast has great energy, and discusses various aspects of science and critical thinking in a fun and humorous manner unfortunately, this book doesn t possess these attributes to any appreciable degree i.e it s not particularly fun or humorous As science communicators, the first order of business isn t to present the audience with a litany of dry facts, it s to generate a sense of excitement and curiosity that primes the audience to learn Improving the entertainment value would have helped in this regard and may have been achieved had there beencollaboration with the other less pendantic members of the group Bob, Cara, Jay and Evan Good information but rather dry and lacking in joy


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