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This book identifies eight key mechanisms that can transform a set of ideas into a psychological flytrap.
The author suggests that, like the black holes of outer space, from which nothing, not even light, can escape, our contemporary cultural landscape contains numerous intellectual black-holes—belief systems constructed in such a way that unwary passers-by can similarly find themselves drawn in. While such self-sealing bubbles of belief will most easily trap the gullible or poorly educated, even the most intelligent and educated of us are potentially vulnerable. Some of the world’s greatest thinkers have fallen in, never to escape.
This witty, insightful critique will help immunize readers against the wiles of cultists, religious and political zealots, conspiracy theorists, promoters of flaky alternative medicines, and others by clearly setting out the tricks of the trade by which such insidious belief systems are created and maintained.
About the Author
Stephen Law (Oxford, England) is a senior lecturer in philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London; provost for the Centre for Inquiry UK; and the editor of Think: Philosophy for Everyone (a journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy). He is the author of numerous books for adults as well as children, including The Greatest Philosophers, Companion Guide to Philosophy, The War for Children’s Minds, and Really, Really Big Questions, among other works.
"Offers flashes of wit and insight.”
—Times Higher Education
“I would like to see this book read by college freshmen, and certainly anybody running for public office. The witty, insightful, and often amusing arguments might help to immunize readers against religious and political zealots, conspiracy theorists, and new agers by understanding their stocks in trade….”