How much do I want to read more? 6/10

This book contains some unexpected, interesting ideas, like the opening quote:

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another which states that this has already happened."

Or:
"Our real-time experience of the world is fleeting. The moment after we experience something, it becomes a memory.
Everything we personally know about the world is memory."
"Our memories serve more to support our beliefs than to inform them. In a way, they are an evolving story we tell ourselves."

It looks like this book has a lot of boring fillers, but some pretty good gems in between.


Introduction

[quote, Douglas Adams]
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another which states that this has already happened.

This is the essence of skepticism: How do we know what to believe and what to doubt?
“How do we actually know anything?”

It’s intimidating to realize that we live in a world overflowing with misinformation, bias, myths, deception, and flawed knowledge. We are all children and there are no adults.
We are all struggling through this complex universe just like everyone who came before us.

That meant that all those alien visitation documentaries (including half of the In Search of… episodes) were not just wrong, they were nonsense. I felt betrayed.

the denial of evolution. This blew me away. By then I’d read dozens of books and articles on evolution
I was well versed in the mountains of evidence scientists had accumulated showing that life on Earth has evolved.

The arguments of creationists ranged from silly to sophisticated, but ultimately they were all flawed. I tried my best to understand where they went wrong. At first I naively believed that if I could just explain to creationists (when I had the opportunity, during random in-person encounters) the flaws in their reasoning or the factual errors in their premises, I could change their minds. While this isn’t impossible, it proved far more difficult than I had imagined.


SECTION 1: Core Concepts Every Skeptic Should Know


[quote, arl Sagan]
The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what’s true.

1. Skeptics’ Guide Entry: Scientific Skepticism

2. Skeptics’ Guide Entry: Memory Fallibility and False Memory Syndrome

[quote, Steven Pinker]
Cognitive psychology tells us that the unaided human mind is vulnerable to many fallacies and illusions because of its reliance on its memory for vivid anecdotes rather than systematic statistics.

Our real-time experience of the world is fleeting. The moment after we experience something, it becomes a memory.
Everything we personally know about the world is memory.

Memories are constructed from imperfect perceptions filtered through our beliefs and biases, and then over time they morph and merge. Our memories serve more to support our beliefs than to inform them. In a way, they are an evolving story we tell ourselves.