The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science by Will Storr, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science

The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science

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by Will Storr
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-05-13
A cerebral ride into the world of the unorthodox.Sallying forth to take on the benighted creationists, novelist and Esquire contributing editor Storr (The Hunger and the Howling of Killian Lone, 2014, etc.) takes pause and realizes that his way of thinking is not all that different from what is being presented from the pulpit of the church. Yes, his chosen approach is that of a rationalist, but how biased and compromised is it? What, really, does he know about the nitty-gritty of evolution, unmediated by the fine reasoning of a Darwin or a Dawkins? And where do our beliefs come from? It is unproductive and deluding to simply dismiss a belief as stupid; intelligence does not arbitrate against odd beliefs, for some clearly bright people hold some curious, complex, elusive notions. So Storr ventures with new eyes into their territory, to the outlandish and the heretical, all the while exploring theories of the brain and how it perceives the world. As he notes, each of us is a concoction of sensory pulses that fashions a unique vision: "Cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, the brain's desire to have the outer, real world match its inner models—it takes us part of the way there," he writes. "It tells us that a properly functioning brain cannot be trusted to think rationally…." The author presents superb stories of visiting with voice-hearers, smug skeptics, sufferers of the Morgellon itch, Holocaust deniers, recovered-memory confabulators, and he combines these stories with his often humorous personal tale—which included experiencing his own murder through the process of hypnosis. Storr's piercing narrative is piquant and full of surprises and reversals of circumstance, as well as plenty of undeniably valuable information."The mind remains, to a tantalizing degree, a realm of secrets and wonder," writes the author, and so, too, does the world around us, which he entertainingly scours for the possibility of crucial anomalies.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781468308181
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
03/06/2014
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"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

Meet the Author

Will Storr is a journalist who has dressed up as a woman to impress the transsexual leader of radical pro-suicide campaigners, trained in jungle warfare with the British army, and has been arrested and then deported under armed guard from Los Angeles. He is the author of Will Storr vs. The Supernatural and has written for many publications and won many awards.

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The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
peterangelo More than 1 year ago
The Unpersuadables offers a lot of good food for thought even tough I am not quite halfway through I find Will Storrs writing style appealing and insightful. He takes you places and makes you think and reflect on your own beliefs along the way. Very timely book for the day and age we currently live in. Peter