January 11, 2022, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

JAN 11 Sara Gorman

Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us

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Time & Location

This is a 4-week virtual lecture series using the Zoom platform. A series of four lectures about Norse Mythology over a four-week period.

About the Event

This event includes a 60-minute "fireside chat" between Sara Gorman and moderator Dr. Kathy Anderson. At 8 pm we will take a ten-minute break then resume with a Q&A that can go until 9 pm. All registrants may attend the Q&A. 


Sara Gorman

Public health and behavioral science expert Sara Gorman has written extensively about global health, science communication, psychology and mental health, among other topics. Sara’s first book, Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us, explores the psychology behind irrational health beliefs and decisions. The book also provides advice for how the general public can discriminate between valid and invalid science, and considers how public health professionals and doctors can communicate with patients who have a fundamental mistrust of science and medical research. Sara’s work has appeared or been reviewed in TIME, The New Yorker, Science, Psychology Today, The Atlantic, BBC and NPR. Sara is also co-founder of Critica, a community committed to making rational decisions about health and security.


Denying To The Grave

Why do some parents refuse to vaccinate their children? Why do some people 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 everywhere.  In Denying to the Grave, Gorman and Gorman, a father-daughter team, explore the psychology of health science denial. Using several examples of such denial as test cases, they propose six key principles that may lead individuals to reject "accepted" health-related wisdom: the charismatic leader; fear of complexity; confirmation bias and the internet; fear of corporate and government conspiracies; causality and 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, as scientists continue to identify brain responses to new information that reveal deep-seated, innate discomfort with changing our minds.  Denying to the Grave explores risk theory and how people make decisions about what is best for them and their loved ones, in an effort to better understand how people think when faced with significant health decisions. This book points the way to a new and important understanding of how science should be conveyed to the public in order to save lives with existing knowledge and technology.


Moderator Dr. Kathy Anderson

Dr. Kathy Anderson, MD, FAAP, CLC, CEIM is board certified in General Pediatrics and Integrative Medicine working at Nurturing Wellness: Pediatric Integrative Medicine in Bismarck, ND.


HND Disclaimer and Value Statement

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota.

However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally.

Therefore, our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University.

To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

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Denying to the Grave: Why We Ignore the Facts That Will Save Us

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$25

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