Author Will Storr takes a look at why conspiracy theorists, Holocaust deniers and UFO-spotters, etc. refuse to accept the facts in his new book.
He takes a tour of a Nazi death camp, goes on a UFO-spotting trip, and even a fossil excavation with a renowned creationist, all in the name of investigating outlandish belief systems.
Storr studies not only the thought process behind conspiracy theories, but also the unwavering rationalism of their opponents.
His result, ‘The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science’, has been described as hilarious and gripping in equal measure, owing to the characters he meets along the way.
Storr admits that some of the beliefs he came across were more offensive than others, but says ‘confirmation bias’ plays a large role in how we form our views.
This means that many people subconsciously only choose evidence which supports their views, while selectively rejecting evidence which goes against them.
Storr studies not only the thought process behind conspiracy theories, but also the unwavering rationalism of their opponents. The article mentions how Storr talks to skeptics who eschew and decry homeopathy even though they haven’t read the studies, because we don’t want to believe it. No, that’s not really correct. We don’t buy homeopathy because MANY MANY qualified people have read the research and concluded it’s nonsense. Skeptics rely on scientific consensus. Homeopathy does not even make sense in terms of a mechanism. Some of these beliefs are wholly implausible and need more than someone saying “I want to believe” to justify taking them seriously.
I’m looking forward to reading this book. DN does book reviews, y’all. Drop us an email.