Why People Believe Weird Things

Check out the quote I just tripped over, strangely enough when googling “Zombieland” :

"If a group of Shakespeare scholars believe that the universe is explained in the bard’s plays, does that mean science courses should include readings of Shakespeare? Shakespeare’s plays are literature, the Bible contains scriptures sacred to several religions, and neither has any pretentions to being a book of science or scientific authority." ~~ Michael Shermer in Why People Believe Weird Things

As somebody who has made the “all of human experience can be seen on Shakespeare’s stage” argument, I think I know what he’s getting at with the “universe is explained in the bard’s plays” thing.  No, Shakespeare didn’t say much about the orbits of the planets.  But he did do a pretty good job at saying “Here’s people, and here’s how people react in certain situations.”  So good, in fact, that 400 years later we have to often remind ourselves what he did actually say, and what we’ve just projected onto him. But it’s not science, and has no claim as such. 

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