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The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the…

The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science

by Will Storr

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129593,299 (3.75)5



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Though the author interviews and examines the ideas of people who are into some very..."interesting, subjects, like holocaust deniers, faith healers, and others, he also does the same to the people within the field of skepticism. What I found interesting about this book is that the author points out that even scientific or scientific-minded skeptics can they themselves become over-biased and refuse to look at other perspectives. You even need to be skeptical of skepticism!

An interesting examination into a perspective of science that many of us wouldn't consider. ( )
  Kronomlo | Jun 29, 2017 |
In trying to get to the source of false beliefs, Storr concludes that the instrument by which we draw our idiosyncratic conclusions―the brain―is largely at fault. Without cheap mockery and in full awareness of his own & everyone’s cognitive/psychological shortcomings, Storr’s investigation is fascinating and fatalistic, but not pessimistic. Worth a read by partisans everywhere.

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  MusicalGlass | Apr 1, 2017 |
An interesting investigation into the worlds of assorted skeptics, deniers, and holders of delusions, including creationists, smug atheists, sufferers of the Morgellon itch, paranormal researchers, and Holocaust deniers. Storr is a rationalist but he does a good job of keeping an open mind as he tries to understand why these people think the way they do. What Storr reveals is that rationalists can be as extreme in their narrow-mindedness as any religious fundamentalist, and that he can empathize with the kookiest of the bunch he profiles here, something I doubt I could ever do. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
Read at work over lunch. I'll probably buy it some time soon, though maybe not in hardcover. A great look at ways the mind makes mistakes, both sympathetic and skeptical. He ranges over a wide field, from homeopathy and Holocaust denial, to psychiatry and the skeptical movement itself. In the last part of the book Storr is on a quest to find proof that James Randi is not all he's made out to be, and of course he finds it. Rather than ridiculing and mocking those with false beliefs, he advocates trying to understand that you can also make egregious errors, that everyone does, and that this is probably not a fixable aspect of human nature. He seems to come down hard on the idea that it is immoral to have false beliefs, and I'll probably be thinking of that for quite a while.
4 stars oc ( )
  starcat | Aug 11, 2014 |
Err interesting. This isn't the usual trot through a look at these silly things that stupid people believe type of books it advances the hypothesis that people edit reality so as to make themselves right. The list of suspects includes creationists and holocaust denial but also gets into the scepticism and nit picks it. James Randi gets a going over for editing his biography repeatedly.
The gist of this is that intelligence is most usually used to justify the conclusion that you arrived before looking at the world. For this reason David Irving can stand in a reconstructed gas chamber and point at door handles on the inside but not go up to the doors and notice the inner handles don't work. The author includes himself in this and there are a number of passages of the author working out his own troubles and using cod psychology to guess why someone persists in a patently false belief.
He doesn't really go into the idea that science tries to cure such mistakes by relentless self criticism and instead gives us no one takes Sheldrake seriously for believing in the "force" and Bienviste got fired because he believes in homeopathy. ( )
  Davidmullen | Mar 3, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
"[A] searching, extraordinarily thoughtful exploration of what it means to believe anything — not just the weird things that the fanatics, eccentrics and heretics that Storr interviews believe."
added by lquilter | editSalon.com, Laura Miller (Mar 16, 2014)
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Interweaves personal memoir and investigative journalism with the latest neuroscience and experimental psychology research to reveal how the stories individuals tell themselves about the world shape their beliefs, leading to self-deception, toxic partisanship, and science denial.… (more)

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