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.