The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science

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9781468310108: The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science

While excavating fossils in the tropics of Australia with a celebrity creationist, Will Storr asked himself a simple question. Why don’t facts work?

Why, that is, did the obviously intelligent man beside him sincerely believe in Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden and a six-thousand-year-old Earth, in spite of the evidence against them? It was the start of a journey that would lead Storr all over the world―from Texas to Warsaw to the Outer Hebrides―meeting an extraordinary cast of modern heretics whom he tries his best to understand. Storr tours Holocaust sites with famed denier David Irving and a band of neo-Nazis, experiences his own murder during “past life regression” hypnosis, discusses the looming One World Government an iconic climate skeptic, and investigates the tragic life and death of a woman who believed her parents were high priests in a baby-eating cult.

Using a unique mix of highly personal memoir, investigative journalism, and the latest research from neuroscience and experimental psychology, Storr reveals how the stories we tell ourselves about the world invisibly shape our beliefs, and how the neurological “hero maker” inside us all can so easily lead to self-deception, toxic partisanship and science denial.

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About the Author:

Will Storr is an award-winning novelist and long-form journalist. He has reported from refugee camps in Africa, war-torn rural Colombia, and remote Aboriginal communities in Australia. He is a contributing editor at Esquire, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Observer, The Sunday Times, and The Guardian. In 2012, he was presented with the Amnesty International award for his work on sexual violence against men. In 2013, his BBC radio series won the AIB award for best investigative documentary. He is author of The Unpersuadables (available from Overlook), Will Storr vs. The Supernatural and The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone.

Review:

"The subtle brilliance of The Unpersuadables is Mr. Storr's style of letting his subjects hang themselves with their own words." —Michael Shermer, The Wall Street Journal

"A tour de force . . . A searching, extraordinarily thoughtful exploration of what it means to believe anything . . . There are entire novels that do less than Storr achieves here in a mere 30 pages . . . Running through all these stories is Storr’s growing uncertainty about certainty." —Laura Miller, Salon
 
"Drawing upon his well-documented store of inquisitiveness about superstition, eccentricity, and idiosyncratic beliefs, Storr has delivered an accessible look at the brain’s capacity for adopting unconventional ideas . . . Storr’s distillation of current thinking on the subject is a nice primer for the non-expert reader." —The Daily Beast

"Throws new and salutary light on all our conceits and beliefs. Very valuable, and a great read to boot, this is investigative journalism of the highest order." —Independent, Book of the Week
 
"Storr can open chapters like a stage conjurer, and his prose has an easy, laconic style embracing Jon Ronson’s taste for the fabulously weird and Louis Theroux’s ability to put his subjects at ease. He is a funny and companionable guide . . . [who] confounds expectations." —Guardian

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