For all its intentions, Adam Rutherford’s new book, How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality, may not pass muster.

This is not to suggest that it’s a waste of time; on the contrary, Rutherford offers much to consider in a timely work. It’s just that, well, history, science, race and reality count for little when arguing with bigots and other irrational people. Or as Jonathan Swift put it back in the early 1700s: “Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired.”..

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