Why Sane People Believe Crazy Things: How Belief Can Help or Hurt Social Peace
Beliefs can unite us or divide us, build societies or destroy them. Which will it be? That's the stark choice we now face.
Why Sane People Believe Crazy Things helps harness the power of beliefs by explaining what they are. What they do. How they work. Why "everyone except us" seems to have gone insane. And how we can bridge the chasm of misunderstanding and mistrust.
This book shows the connections between biology, belief, truth and meaning. It shows why many supposedly conflicting beliefs don't really conflict at all. It shows how to turn human weaknesses into strengths, so that our beliefs help us to create strong, rational, and compassionate societies.
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"Impressively nuanced analysis ... Palmer expertly surveys the historical development of belief, furnishing a philosophical tour that pays close attention to religion ... He navigates turbid academic waters with informality and light-handed grace ... A thoughtful consideration of torrid intellectual disputes."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"Well-reasoned and thoughtful ... Shows that it's possible even for those who hold vastly different beliefs to engage in convivial, rational, and reasonable discussions ... not only interesting, but vital to living."
-- Foreword Reviews
"Palmer applies philosophy and religious scholarship to illuminate what it means to hold a belief, show why beliefs often divide us, and argue that divergent beliefs conflict less than we realize."
"This book is well argued and broadly researched. It has challenged me to think more carefully about the basis of my beliefs. That is the best measure of its success."
-- William DiPuccio, Ph.D.
"I got a kick out of the chapter on Spinoza. It's quite a feat how the book bridges the gap between the ancients and the moderns. This one book could easily absorb an entire year of teaching at college."
-- Lindy Hayes, Attorney-at-Law