Why do so many people believe in mind reading, past-life regression therapy, abductions by extraterrestrials, and ghosts? What has led to the rise of "scientific creationism" and the belief that the Holocaust never happened? Why, in this age of supposed scientific enlightenment, do we seem to be more dangerously confused than ever?
With a no-holds-barred assault on popular superstitions and prejudices, the author debunks these extraordinary nonsensical claims and explores the very human reasons we find otherworldly phenomena, conspiracy theories, and cults so appealing. The author shows how the eternal search for meaning and spiritual fulfillment often results in our thinking being led astray by incredible claims and controversial ideas.
The author also reveals the more dangerous and fearful side of wishful thinking, including Holocaust denial, the effort to incorporate creationism into public school curricula, the recovered memory movement, the satanic ritual abuse scare and other modern witch crazes, extreme Afrocentrism, and ideologies of racial superiority.
Finally, the author describes his confrontations with those who take advantage of people's gullibility to advance their own, often self-serving, agendas. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)