The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science
Will Storr was in the tropical north of Australia, excavating fossils with a celebrity creationist, when he 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. He goes on a tour of Holocaust sites with David Irving and a band of neo-Nazis, experiences his own murder during 'past life regression' hypnosis, discusses the looming One World Government with iconic climate sceptic Lord Monckton 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.
'I loved it ... funny, serious, richly vivid ... Read this book.' Daily Telegraph An investigation not only of outlandish belief systems, but of all belief systems ... engaging' Sunday Times '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 'Incontrovertibly brilliant' Esquire 'Brilliant' Grazia 'Read this and never trust your own mind again.' Q Magazine 'The Heretics 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 'Utterly engrossing ... The Heretics is an accessible and absolutely compelling read, Storr leaving us with a distinct lack of trust in the verity of our own beliefs. The most dangerous thing anyone can do is dismiss as stupid the beliefs of fringe extremists.' Daily Express '[Storr] seeks not to mock strange convictions, but to get inside the minds of those who hold them. The result is an entertaining journey dotted with some fascinating reportage ... Storr remains sufficiently dubious of improbable claims, but sufficiently open to the genuine distress of those who make them, to explore alternative explanations for their plight' Observer 'I don't totally agree with The Heretics, which is why I enjoyed it so much, it pinpricked my mind from some of its lazy slumbering' Robin Ince 'Storr takes his personal experiences on a Louis-Theroux type ride ... [and] opens up his life as another source of irrationality, leading the reader to question their own core beliefs.' Stylist 'The Heretics is essentially a book about belief written by a sceptic questioning his own scepticism ... At first glance Storr covers much the same territory as those other explorers of the outer realms of belief, Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux, but his tone is both less sneery and more genuinely exploratory than either ... This is a humane and generous book and in the face of those ultra-rationalists and materialists who wish to rob us of the wonder of human existence, its insightful exploration of lives lived "beyond the facts" is to be celebrated.' Sunday Telegraph 'Will Storr is a versatile, imaginative, committed long-form journalist with a populist touch. He is often brave with regard to his article choices ... a talented, ambitious writer.' Independent
Will Storr is a longform journalist and novelist. His features have appeared in various publications, including Guardian Weekend, The Times Magazine, Observer Magazine, GQ, Marie Claire and the Sydney Morning Herald. He is a contributing editor at Esquire magazine. He has been named New Journalist of the Year and Feature Writer of the Year, and has won a National Press Club award for excellence. In 2010, his investigation into the kangaroo meat industry won the Australian Food Media award for Best Investigative Journalism and, in 2012, he was presented with the One World Press award and the Amnesty International award for his work on sexual violence against men.