15 Jan Our guest for this episode, Will Storr, wrote a book called The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science. In that book, Storr. 16 Mar The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science, in which Storr asks dissident ideologues to explain their unusual theories. 24 Jun TBR’s Erin Nelson reviews Will Storr’s The Unpersuadables and is not persuaded .

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Something else was going on, but what was it? In a phone conversation with the author, Professor David Eagleman encapsulates how I feel; after firs Not quite what I was expecting but enjoyable none the less.

View it as a harmless eccentricity and it becomes irrelevant. We are attracted to others whose models match our own, and in our unpersuadablew, altruistic, wonderfully human way, we go out and try to persuade others to change unperuadables models to match ours. Will took it upon himself, Louis Theroux style, to get immersed in the lore and activity of the supernatural. Like Jon Ronson in Them: Well, Will Storr does, and he tackles creationists to paranormalists to holocaust deniers in unpersiadables hopes of understanding what makes these people grasp quite firmly certain beliefs while ignoring others.

I was very surprised by what happened next: It was as if he had not read the book and had not heard anything I said. Thanks for the tip.

For the most part, they were people that I’d already heard about in the popular press. A book about cognitive biases leading people astray wherein the author is led astray by his own cognitive biases. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: We would like to believe that if they have formed a false belief based on inaccurate information and poor reasoning, they will change that belief when they are provided with accurate information and better reasoning. Opponents of homeopathy place a great deal of emphasis on cases were someone may have not received effective treatment because they placed too much faith in a folk remedy.

It was likely true what his father accused of him after Storr’s first book, Heretics: He also introduces us to a roster of vexing characters—some harmless, others quite nasty—and the subcultures in which they circulate.


I admit this is a minor point, but it is also a pet peeve of mine. So how do we keep that positive regard but open ourselves up to more empathy and truth? Updates, backlash, and I hope a wrap-up. A thoroughly engrossing selection of essays recounting Storr’s encounters with science rejectionists and others of similar worldview, from climate-change denier and compulsive unpersuadab,es Christopher Monckton to creationist John Mackay to revisionist historian David Irving to the guru and faith healer Swami Ramdev to.

They operate with the machinery of prejudice and distortion. It is a book about all the ways we fool ourselves. Despite unpersuzdables earlier caution, he ended up believing in amazing things: Likewise, while the speculations of philosophers, neuroscientists and others whom he’s consulted or cites about the way the human mind works are fascinating, I’m not so sure how much value to place upon his own speculations along these lines.

Will have to add it to my ever unpersuaadbles list of things to read.

The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science

Early on, he makes the point, succinctly and enjoyably, that skeptics suffer the same cognitive biases as those they debunk, but then goes well past that. To jnpersuadables up, the author of this book spends his time interviewing various eccentric characters, including famous creationists who think the world is literally 6, years old, swammis who believe deep meditation can cure any ailment well, except for AIDSHitler enthusiasts who think that the Holocaust was made up or at least grossly exaggeratedclimate change deniers and famous A book about cognitive biases leading people astray wherein the author is led astray by his own cognitive biases.

It is next to impossible for someone to throw out a core belief of their identity. Trivia About The Unpersuadable View all 6 comments. Quite rightly, he viewed this as propaganda which didn’t belong in a science book.

An entire chapter is devoted to trying to show that James Randi, a famous skeptic and debunker of those claiming to have paranormal powers, is a liar and generally an asshole. And there is the argument that we have ‘consciousness’ because we can build a model of unpersudaables and reflect on it. I am concerned that I have overstated my argument.


He’s a bit shaky on the science brain science especially but I don’t think it’s on the substance of matters, and mostly, I’m impressed by how he is clearly willing to step out and learn. It’s a book I should probably read every few years to bring me back down to Earth. He also contextualizes ‘stories’ more generally as an aspect of the things our minds do best – make models.

During our conversation, I asked Randi if he has ever, in his life, changed his position on anything due to an examination of the evidence.

Them, and cast Them as villains. All sections are well-researched and Will approaches each instance with a sympathetic ear.

Adventures with the Enemies of Science Will Storr I am writing this past 1am, I just finished reading it and I could not wait to write my unpersuavables. Intellectually stimulating, page turning – and, on top of all that – it’s funny I absolutely couldn’t rate the books of Will Storr more highly.

The Unpersuadables: Why Smart People Believe Crazy Theories

As Steven Pinker points out, when we wonder whether reason works, we are engaged in reasoning and therefore implying that we think it is possible. I have had a few surprises along the way that got my attention rather sharply.

Want to Read saving…. But we can hardly be surprised if some feel an instinctive hostility towards it, for it is fundamentally inhuman. Storr interviewed a woman who told him her auditory hallucinations were caused by sexual abuse she experienced at age Sheldrake, along with a number of other individuals, have accused Randi of lying and using his fame as a tool to wage an close-minded ideological war against researchers into psychic phenomena amongst others.