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M. Sherman's Explanation to Superstitions

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Words: 1270 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Aug 16, 2019

Words: 1270|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Aug 16, 2019

Why people, all around the world, believe weird things and fall for hoaxes? In his book, entitled "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition and other Confusions of Our Time," M. Sherman explains why people believe weird things, as mentioned in the title of the book. According to him, most people, who believe weird things and fall for hoaxes are normal human beings. The reason for credulity is "thinking which has gone wrong in some way." In his book, there are four main and general mistakes or problems making people believe weird things or fall for hoaxes. These are problems in pseudoscientific, psychological, scientific and logical thinking. In the light of Sherman's book, I would explain that people believe weird things and fall for hoaxes because of the problems in thinking.

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One of the thinking problems is psychological problems in thinking as mentioned in Sherman's book. In this category, he describes a very important example of psychological problems is "the need for certainty." Briefly, he tells that in most events, most people need certain answers. At that point, I would say that most people need some answers and want to be sure about their environments. Therefore, they can believe weird things and fall for hoaxes as a result of needing an explanation even if it is very simple or weird. Take the case of Kevin Connolly's article, entitled "A Moving Tale from County Cork." He tells a story about the statue of the Virgin Mary at Ballinspittle and the people who believe that the monument is moving. At first, a person or group of people claimed that the statue is moving. At that point people who looked for an answer for the question, which is "did it really move?" They believed that statue was moving as a "need for certainty" because people do not want to be a position that they do not know anything about an important event for them. Therefore they could not wait for another answer which is the explanation of why people saw the statue moving. As I mentioned, the "need for certainty" is an instantaneous action which make people believe the weird or simple explanations.

"Problems in pseudoscientific thinking" is another important reason for why people believe weird things and fall for hoaxes. In this category, Sherman tells that "Rumors do not equal reality." According to him rumors do not always show the truth. Considering the "pseudoscientific thinking" I would say that in some events, rumors can make people believe weird things and fall for hoaxes. Take the case of Eric Tucker's article, titled 'Gorgeous Guy' A Big Fat Lie." In his article, he explains Dan Baca's deception. Dan Baca sent lots of messages, which included tributes of his abilities, to bulletin board. Furthermore, the messages informed people that Dan Baca was seen at the bus stop. Therefore, by using the internet he deceived people and made them visit the bus stop. In this example, the rumors make people believe the hoax. In other words, Dan Baca and some other people sent lots of rumors, which are messages, to bulletin board. Therefore, people believed that the "Gorgeous Guy" exits and they went to see him at the bus stop.

Another important reason for credulity is "logical problems in thinking." In this category, Sherman explains "ad ignorantiam" which means "If you cannot disprove a claim it must be true. In addition, Sherman claims that "overreliance on authorities" which means people believe most things that an authority says is also a "logical problems." These are example of errors in logical thinking which causes people to believe weird things and fall for hoaxes. Take the case of Scott O' Callaghan's article, entitled "The War of the Worlds: Why the Hoax Worked." Callaghan informs the audience about a broadcast. In the broadcast, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater chose H.G. Wells' novel, which is about an invasion from Mars, and present it over national radio on Halloween night in 1938. As mentioned in the article, although the event was only a performance, most people believed that Martians really came to the earth. What makes people believe the event? Firstly, when they listened to the broadcast and heard that Martians really came to the Earth, they believed it because of "overreliance on authorities." First of all, the radio station that performance was broadcasted was CBS. People had been listened to this type of radio stations, like CBS, in order to hear serious news and events. Therefore people relied on the news that they heard from CBS. At that point CBS is an authority that made people believed the hoax. However, CBS was not only the authority. There are some other outhorities that affect people. For example, in the broadcasting, there are some experts such as "'Military man'" or "'Scientist'" evaluated the events and said that Marians came to the Earth. Therefore, "overreliance on authorities" is an important factor that made people fall for the hoax. In addition, "ad ignorantiam" is the other logical problem in thinking. Considering this category, it can be said that because there was no proof that Martians did not come to Earth, people believed that they came. In other words, when people could not prove themselves that the Martians did not come, they believe the radio station's proof.

In the last category, "problems in scientific thinking," Sherman explains that "scientific languages" does not always show the truth. It is like believing the authority because when people believe everything that seems scientific, scientific thing becomes an authority for them. Therefore they can easily believe weird things and fall for hoaxes if a "scientific" result exists in the event. Take the case of Scott O' Callaghan's article, titled "The War of the Worlds: Why the Hoax Worked." As I mentioned that there are some people who spoke scientifically in the broadcasting. According to article the "'Scientists'" made some astronomic observation and explained the result to people. Therefore, people easily believed that Martians really came to the Earth.

Putting the categories together, I would say that people fall for hoaxes and believe weird things because of the problems in thinking. Take the case of Kevin Connolly's article, entitled "A Moving Tale from County Cork." As I mentioned, the example is about the statue that was considered to move by some people in Ireland. What are the reasons that people believe this hoax? Considering the categories, it is about the thinking problems. First of all, when people learned that the statue was moving, from "rumors" they looked for an answer for whether the statue moves or not because of their "need for certainty." Therefore, people believe the easiest explanation because they did not want to be in an uncertain situation, as I mentioned. At that point, take the case of Scott O' Callaghan's article, titled "The War of the Worlds: Why the Hoax Worked." the reason which made people believe the event was to believe the experts' answer and "scientific language." As a problem in logical thinking, they perceived that they cannot disprove that Martians did not land on the earth; therefore, they continue to believe the event. Finally, these two examples of hoaxes show that people believe weird things and fall for hoaxes because of thinking problems.

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In conclusion in the light of Sherman's article I would say that, the answer for the question, why people believe weird things and fall for hoaxes, is the problems in pseudoscientific, psychological, scientific and logical thinking. Neither what a person innately has nor what he learned from his culture is the proper answer for this question. The precise answer is "'thinking' which has gone wrong in some way."

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M. Sherman’s Explanation to Superstitions. (2019, August 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 29, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/m-shermans-explanation-to-superstitions/
“M. Sherman’s Explanation to Superstitions.” GradesFixer, 08 Aug. 2019, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/m-shermans-explanation-to-superstitions/
M. Sherman’s Explanation to Superstitions. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/m-shermans-explanation-to-superstitions/> [Accessed 29 May 2024].
M. Sherman’s Explanation to Superstitions [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Aug 08 [cited 2024 May 29]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/m-shermans-explanation-to-superstitions/
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