Guy P. Harrison] Think Why You Should Question

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Think: Why You Should Question Everything by Guy P. Harrison

"Think" is a fantastic and inspirational book that will teach readers how to think like scientists. Question everything, embrace doubt is a recurring theme that accomplished author, historian, anthropologist Guy P. Harrison drives home with mastery and clarity. This is an entertaining and illuminating book that will empower you to avoid common pitfalls of bad thinking in a constructive way. This enlightening 300-page book includes the following five chapters: 1. Standing Tall on a Fantasy-prone Planet, 2. Pay a Visit to the Strange Thing That Lives Inside Your Head, 3. A Thinker's Guide to Unusual Claims and Weird Beliefs, 4. The Proper Care and Feeding of a Thinking Machine, and 5. So Little to Lose and a Universe to Gain.

Positives:
1. Beautifully written and researched book. Harrison has a passion for his topic that is palpable and admirable. A master at conveying clear and inspirational thoughts grounded in good science and sound thinking.
2. Skepticism is a great topic. This book is enlightening and fun to read.
3. Harrison always delivers! Quality critical thinking goes in before his books come out. He has earned my trust as an author that will consistently deliver a book worthy of my time and interest.
4. Drives home the need for skepticism. "Skepticism is an important issue for everyone. It's something we all need, regardless of intelligence, education, location, social status, or income."
5. This is a thought-provoking book and a quote fest, "Skepticism is just about having a healthy dose of doubt and using reason to figure out what is probably real from what is probably not real. It means not believing you know something before you can prove it or at least make a very good case for it. Skepticism is nothing more than thinking and withholding belief until enough evidence has been presented."
6. Harrison has a unique gift of giving intellectual beat downs in the nicest and most constructive ways. "Millions of people say that paranormal mind powers can move objects. Big deal; people can say anything. Let's wait until someone gets around to proving it before we get excited. In the meantime, why not check out how nature moves entire continents It's called plate tectonics and scientists have plenty of evidence for it."
7. In defense of good science. "Science is best thought of as a tool. And, like most tools, it can be used to do something constructive or to whack somebody over the head. Science is a great way of thinking and discovering that helps us figure out much about the world and the universe."
8. Debunking common misconceptions. "Being smart, whatever that word means to you, doesn't automatically make someone a good skeptic."
9. Understanding the right approach to skepticism and it may involve just asking the right questions. "If believers refuse to think critically about their claims, then call them on it. Why are you reluctant to challenge a claim that you say is so important and obviously true What are you afraid of"
10. The value of being a good skeptic. "Weak skepticism is perhaps the greatest unrecognized global crisis of all. Every day, people waste time, throw away money, suffer, and even die because they failed to think like a scientist."
11. A great discussion on brain science and how it relates to skepticism. "The good news for you is that just being aware of how your brain goes about its business greatly improves your chances of keeping both feet planted in reality." A bonus quote, "We don't really see what we look at. Instead our brain tells us what we see, and it doesn't give us the complete and accurate picture." Great stuff!
12. One of the great strengths of this wonderful book: reasons to be skeptical. Harrison goes through a long list of reasons to be skeptical in an accessible and intelligible manner.
13. Sound scientific principles. "The best we can do is accept conclusions that are backed up by the best evidence we have today and agree to change our minds if better evidence ever comes along that says something different tomorrow."
14. Great examples of common biases/fallacies and how to recognize them. Base-rate fallacy. "We can readily find ourselves focusing on one tiny speck of information (a single story, for example) or on bad data that supports a claim while simultaneously ignoring more credible information or a larger body of data that goes against it."
15. Provides MANY great examples of bad claims. "The basic claim of homeopathic medicine is that water can "remember" an active ingredient in the original brew and that-contrary to logic-the more you dilute the solution, the more potent it becomes for treating diseases. Most homeopathic remedies are diluted to such extremes that there is nothing left of the original active ingredient!" "Complementary or alternative medicine is really just unproven medicine."
16. Find out Harrison's favorite end-time scenario.
17. Addressing the so called Moon-hoax, "The late Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, summed it up nicely: "It would have been harder to fake it than to do it."
18. Good overall health, including brain health. "There is just something about flipping back and forth between languages that keeps a brain sharp and healthy. It even seems to delay for years the onset of Alzheimer's disease in elderly people."
19. The hard cold facts, "humankind currently spends hundreds of billions of dollars per year on fortunetellers, medical quackery, and other nonsense."
20. A sense of awe. "By the way, if your life ever seems too slow, just remember that the Earth is spinning at the equator at a rate of about a thousand miles per hour. We are also flying through space around the Sun at speeds of more than 65,000 miles per hour."
21. Excellent notes, Bibliography and even a section called Resources to Keep Learning.

Negatives:
1. There is very little in this excellent book to complain about other than the feeling I get that Harrison wanted to go deeper into some of the topics and decided to go for quality and brevity over a more comprehensive approach.
2. On such an ambitious and broad topic like thinking and skepticism you can certainly question everything but it's too hard to cover everything. That is, some topics were left out: 911 conspiracy, Holocaust deniers, etc understandably so.

In summary, what a wonderful and inspirational book this turned out to be. Skepticism is a fantastic topic that has real value for the individual and society. Harrison succeeds in showing how to put good thinking into practice by applying it to a number of fascinating and popular paranormal claims. But what set this book apart from most is the youthful glee for knowledge and the quest for wisdom. "I love knowing that I'll never run out of things to learn and experience." My sentiments exactly! You owe it to yourself to be a good skeptic, get this book and learn how.

Further recommendations: "50 Popular Beliefs People Think Are True" and "50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God" by the same author, "Critical Thinking" by Wayne Bartz, "An Appetite for Wonder" and "The Magic of Reality" by Richard Dawkins, "Demon-Haunted World" by Carl Sagan, "This Explains Everything" edited by John Brockman, "Nonsense: A Handbook of Logical Fallacies" by Robert J. Gula "The Science of Miracles" by Joe Nickell, "Do You Believe in Magic" by Paul A. Offit, "Tales of the Rational" by Massimo Pigliucci, "Voodoo Science" by Robert Park, "Science Matters" by Robert M. Hazen "Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science" by Shawn Lawrence, "Lies, Damned Lies, and Science" by Sherry Seethaler, and "Science Under Siege" by Kendrick Frazier.


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