Why do some parents refuse to vaccinate their children? Why do some keep guns at home, despite scientific evidence of risk to their family members? And why do people use antibiotics for illnesses they cannot possibly alleviate? When it comes to health, many people insist that science is wrong, that the evidence is incomplete, and that unidentified hazards lurk to harm us. In Denying to the Grave, Gorman and Gorman explore the psychology of health science denial. Using several examples of such denial as test cases, they propose seven key principles that may lead individuals to reject "accepted" health-related wisdom: the charismatic leader; fear of complexity; confirmation bias and the internet; isolation and marginalization; fear of corporate and government conspiracies; filling the ignorance gap; and the nature of risk prediction. The authors argue that the health sciences are especially vulnerable to our innate resistance to integrate new concepts with pre-existing beliefs. This psychological difficulty of incorporating new information is on the cutting edge of neuroscience research; scientists have identified brain responses to new information.
This book explores risk theory and how people make decisions about what is best for them, in an effort to better understand how people think when faced with health decisions. Denying to the Grave points the way to a new understanding of how science should be conveyed to the public in order to save lives with existing knowledge and technology.
"In this superb book, Sara E. Gorman (project manager, Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health) and psychiatrist Jack M. Gorman (CEO & chief scientific officer, Franklin Behavioral Health; The Essential Guide to Psychiatric Drugs) collaborate to explain why many people deny scientifically established facts, even in the face of compelling evidence...Perfect for fans of the subject and Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow."--Library Journal, Starred Review"Perhaps a new book, Denying to the Grave by public health specialists (a father and daughter team) Sara Gorman and Jack Gorman, can help us understand why facts and statistics fall on deaf ears time and time again...The book is thoughtful, exploring the psychology, neurobiology and evolutionary roots that underpin some of our decision-making, which can make adaptive behaviour maladaptive."--New Scientist"In [Denying to the Grave], the Gormans explain not just how people fall for the false claims of politicians, but also how intelligent people wind up in cults or why a nation wracked by gun violence continues to reject gun-control measure... [The Gormans are] equal opportunity debunkers, taking on GMO fear-mongering and anti-vaxers along with the National Rifle Association."--The Atlantic"Why do so many cling to beliefs that run counter to evidence? Sara Gorman, a public health expert, and Jack Gorman, a psychiatrist, investigate the psychological factors that lead to such self-defeating denial of facts and conclude that normal, evolutionarily adaptive tendencies act against us."--Scientific American"From Anti-vaxers to those who refute that HIV causes AIDS, scientific illiteracy, medical mistrust, and conspiracy thinking seriously threaten public health. In Denying to the Grave Sara and Jack Gorman expose the psychological underpinnings of denialism. Shining a light on those who propagate destructive denialism movements is our best weapon against their effects. The Gormans have done a great service with this well-reasoned and evidence-based book. There is no denying that."--Seth Kalichman, PhD, Professor of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut"Science brought us out of the Age of Darkness and into the Age of Enlightenment. Unfortunately, a powerful anti-science sentiment in America now threatens to send us back to a darker time-a time when we reject vaccines, deny climate change, and condemn genetic engineering technologies that have and will continue to save our lives. Denying to the Grave describes the forces that work against science and how science education alone won't solve the problem. Using a series of fascinating examples, the Gormans explain why it is so hard to convince people where the real risks lay."-- Paul A. Offit, MD, Author of Bad Faith: When Religious Beliefs Undermine Modern Medicine"A fascinating, readable and very well informed analysis of why our brains trick us into resisting scientific evidence, even at the cost of our lives. An important and engaging book that should be on everyone's bookshelf."--Nicoli Nattrass, D.Phil Oxon, Professor, Centre for Social Science Research, University of Cape Town
Sara Gorman, PhD, MPH, is a Project Manager at Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health, where she works on global mental health, increasing the quality of evidence in the global health field, and alternative funding models for global health. She has written extensively about global health, HIV/AIDS policy, and women's health, among other topics, for a variety of health and medical journals, including PLoS Medicine, International Journal of Women's Health, and AIDS Care. She has worked in the policy division at the HIV Law Project and as a researcher at the Epidemiology Department at Harvard School of Public Health. She has also analyzed mental health policy under the ACA for the Vera Institute of Justice and researched the effectiveness of semi-mobile HIV clinics in rural Kenya for HealthRight International. Jack M. Gorman, MD, is CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Franklin Behavioral Health Consultants. Dr. Gorman was on the faculty of Columbia University's Department of Psychiatry for 25 years, eventually serving as Lieber Professor of Psychiatry. He then became the Esther and Joseph Klingenstein Professor and Chair of Psychiatry and Professor of Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Like his daughter and co-author Sara, Dr. Gorman received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He received his MD from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and did his residency and fellowship training at Columbia University.