The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science

The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science

by Will Storr


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781468310108
Publisher: Abrams Press
Publication date: 03/03/2015
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 696,127
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Will Storr is an award-winning journalist and novelist whose work has appeared in the Guardian, Sunday Times, The New Yorker, and the New York Times. His books include Selfie: How the West Became Self-Obsessed and The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science (Overlook/Abrams Press). His writing courses are among the most in-demand offerings of the Guardian Masterclasses and the Faber Academy. He lives in Kent, England.

Table of Contents

1 'It's like treason' 1

2 'I don't know what's going on with these people …" 21

3 'The secret of the long life of the tortoise' 31

4 'Two John Lennons' 44

5 'Solidified, intensified, gross sensations' 52

6 'The invisible actor at the centre of the world' 73

7 'Quack' 92

8 'Some type of tiny wasps' 117

9 'Top Dog wants his name in' 136

10 'They're frightening people' 159

11 'There was nothing there, but I knew it was a cockerel' 181

12 'I came of exceptional parents' 199

13 'Backwards and forwards in the slime' 219

14 'That one you just go, "Eeerrrr'" 252

15 'A suitable place' 271

Epilogue: The Hero-Maker 299

Acknowledgements 315

A note on my method 316

Notes and references 318

Index 346

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

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