Recent public opinion polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans still believe in God and a universal spirit, almost nine out of ten people according to the latest Gallop poll published in 2011. The same polls show that a great percentage of people surveyed also believed in miracles, heaven, afterlife, hell, and the devil. Although these percentages have diminished since 1994, the numbers are perplexing in the wake of modern scientific discoveries.
Human beings have always believed in supernatural things, even those that may defy conventional wisdom or are considered scientifically refutable. Scientists and theologians have offered different answers to the question of why people believe in general, especially why they believe in strange things. In his newly published book The Believing Brain, author Dr. Michael Shermer, who is the founder of the Skeptic Society, tries to provide answers to this and similar questions by relying on scientific analyses.