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John Cook - The Debunking Handbook
Posted: 19 December 2011 05:58 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Host: Chris Mooney

How do you successfully debunk misinformation?

The question is a deceptively simple one—which is precisely the problem.

Debunking is easy—just refute false claims, and provide corrective information.

Debunking successfully is something else again-you have to change minds, and make the corrective information stick. And how does that work?

Well, as it turns out, we actually don’t know very much about the process. But what we do know was recently compiled into a brilliant short document, the Debunking Handbook, available free for download from the website Skeptical Science.

Point of Inquiry recently caught up with one of its authors, John Cook, in San Francisco at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

John Cook is the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland in Australia. He studied physics, and maintains the popular global warming website “Skeptical Science,” which refutes misinformation by explaining, in user friendly fashion, the findings of the peer reviewed literature.

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/john_cook_the_debunking_handbook/

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Posted: 23 December 2011 05:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’ve begun a thread on Somasimple.com, a site devoted to therapy and neuroscience and linked the handbook there.

Here it is: http://www.somasimple.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12135

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Posted: 23 December 2011 05:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Barrett Dorko - 23 December 2011 05:20 AM

I’ve begun a thread on Somasimple.com, a site devoted to therapy and neuroscience and linked the handbook there.

Barrett, it looks like your posts exist simply to spam your website, and are only tangentially related to the issues upon which you’re commenting. If you wish to remain as a member on this site you are more than welcome to engage in comment and discussion, but simply showing up to provide more of the same sort of links is against the rules and may get you banned. Thanks.

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Posted: 23 December 2011 09:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Barrett Dorko receives no commercial benefit from SomaSimple.  The site is run by Bernard DeLalande out of France.  SomaSimple is a non-commercial discussion forum attended regularly by skeptical health care providers, who seek out a broad range of resources to better understand how to overcome the myths and outright charlatanism that pervades modern health care systems.  This particular podcast and Dr. Cook’s book have valuable information that can help us all debunk anti- and pseudoscientific ideas.

I can’t speak for him, but I can assure you that if it wasn’t for Mr. Dorko, I would know nothing about this site or the POI podcasts.

I think you would be doing yourselves a significant disservice by banning him from attempting to disseminate the information on this site.

[ Edited: 23 December 2011 09:13 AM by John Ware ]
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Posted: 23 December 2011 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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John Ware - 23 December 2011 09:09 AM

Barrett Dorko receives no commercial benefit from SomaSimple.  The site is run by Bernard DeLalande out of France.  SomaSimple is a non-commercial discussion forum attended regularly by skeptical health care providers, who seek out a broad range of resources to better understand how to overcome the myths and outright charlatanism that pervades modern health care systems.  This particular podcast and Dr. Cook’s book have valuable information that can help us all debunk anti- and pseudoscientific ideas.

I can’t speak for him, but I can assure you that if it wasn’t for Mr. Dorko, I would know nothing about this site or the POI podcasts.

I think you would be doing yourselves a significant disservice by banning him from attempting to disseminate the information on this site.

I’d be willing take your word for this. However in general we would prefer members who are active participants rather than people who seem to post simply to direct people to some particular site.

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Posted: 23 December 2011 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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John, you may be a real person, or you may merely be a sock-puppet of Barrett.  I tend to be less forgiving than Doug, and since you showed up, became a member then posted that so quickly, I question your very existence.  Had you been a member with some standing both in time and number of meaningful posts, I would be far more likely to accept your opinion.  The fact that you posted so quickly after Adam’s posts and indicated that you knew of him and the organization also indicates that you are not an objective observer but just another facet of the same advertising.

Occam

[edited to correct name to Barrett]

[ Edited: 23 December 2011 11:05 PM by Occam. ]
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Posted: 23 December 2011 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Oh Brother. If there’s some advertising advantage to be gotten from pointing people toward this discussion, the podcast, the handbook and whatever else POI has benefitted from as the end result of my promotion I’d love to see it. So far, well, nothing.

As soon as I heard this wonderful interview I knew that those of us who have tried endlessly, and, unsuccessfully, to dissuade several professions from archaic and harmful ideas regarding painful problems could learn from it and begin again.

That’s all this was about and that’s all this will ever be about. I have nothing to apologize for.

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Posted: 23 December 2011 03:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Barrett Dorko - 23 December 2011 03:01 PM

Oh Brother. If there’s some advertising advantage to be gotten from pointing people toward this discussion, the podcast, the handbook and whatever else POI has benefitted from as the end result of my promotion I’d love to see it. So far, well, nothing.

As soon as I heard this wonderful interview I knew that those of us who have tried endlessly, and, unsuccessfully, to dissuade several professions from archaic and harmful ideas regarding painful problems could learn from it and begin again.

That’s all this was about and that’s all this will ever be about. I have nothing to apologize for.

If you’re posting in good will, then no worries. I’ve made my point and hopefully we can move on constructively from here. Generally speaking, we have nothing against people pointing out useful material or discussions elsewhere on the web. But we do like members to be here for discussion.

Our concerns may seem to you petty, but we deal with spammers and scores of spam signups every day so this is a very real issue for us, and one we take very seriously.

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Posted: 23 December 2011 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Occam. - 23 December 2011 02:36 PM

John, you may be a real person, or you may merely be a sock-puppet of Adam.  I tend to be less forgiving than Doug, and since you showed up, became a member then posted that so quickly, I question your very existence.  Had you been a member with some standing both in time and number of meaningful posts, I would be far more likely to accept your opinion.  The fact that you posted so quickly after Adam’s posts and indicated that you knew of him and the organization also indicates that you are not an objective observer but just another facet of the same advertising.

Occam

I don’t know who “Adam” is, but Barrett Dorko is a real person with a large body of work, some of it published in our professional journals.  Google him if you don’t believe me.  When he finds interesting and thoughtful presentations of ideas, such as this POI podcast, he will link these to the SomaSimple site, where I moderate as well (for free-the site does not take advertisers), and even (brace yourselves) facebook.

I hope you fellows don’t feel above all that.

I’m real, too.  And I also found the interview with Dr. Cook very interesting and certainly relevant beyond just the climate change issue.  I think Dr. Cook would agree that debunk-able myths abound in many professions that supposedly claim to be founded in scientific principles.

I also understand the caution towards potential spammers and trolls, but explicitly questioning someone’s existence in the age of Google sounds a bit knee-jerk cynical to me.  Perhaps my middle initial will help, it’s “W”.

[ Edited: 23 December 2011 05:00 PM by John Ware ]
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Posted: 23 December 2011 11:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Sorry, mistyped the name.  I corrected it to Barrett.

Occam

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Posted: 26 December 2011 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I remain convinced that the handbook forms a template for those of us who are trying to successfully change the dogma that leads to stagnation.

I’ve seen about 700 views and 38 responses to a single post about this wonderful interview. Surely others would find something similar.

Where is everybody?

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Posted: 27 December 2011 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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John Cook,
Thanks very much for the debunking handbook.
It’s an excellent resource!

Also, I enjoyed hearing you on POI, but no doubt like many listeners, I was surprised to hear you self-identify as a god/supernatural believer.  In any event, while we don’t share theology, it’s apparent that we share many of the same values and a similar appreciation of scientific data. 
Best of luck with your website and with all your efforts to help people understand the science underpinning climate change.

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Posted: 28 December 2011 12:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thanks Adam, for the link to John Cook’s “Debunking Handbook”. I have it in my library now and will reread it many times.
I tend to be a little verbose and this excellent guide hopefully will help me in delivering succinct responses to complicated issues.

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Posted: 28 December 2011 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Like Trail Rider, I too was intrigued by Dr. Cook mentioning that he was a Christian, but not totally shocked.  The last I heard, the Pew Research Forum found that somewhere near 2/3 of scientists belief in some type of god or ‘spirit’.  It’s a fine example of how we have a tendency to compartmentalize our lives and attitudes.  Some scientists can apply an empirical view to their research, but not their own personal beliefs.

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Posted: 28 December 2011 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The Curious Skeptic - 28 December 2011 11:32 AM

Like Trail Rider, I too was intrigued by Dr. Cook mentioning that he was a Christian, but not totally shocked.  The last I heard, the Pew Research Forum found that somewhere near 2/3 of scientists belief in some type of god or ‘spirit’.  It’s a fine example of how we have a tendency to compartmentalize our lives and attitudes.  Some scientists can apply an empirical view to their research, but not their own personal beliefs.

We can debunk reliigion but until science comes up with a theory of everything, we cannot debunk God. Even a scientist can say, we know what happened after creation, but that does not negate the concept of a Creator.

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Posted: 28 December 2011 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Write4U - 28 December 2011 02:55 PM

We can debunk reliigion but until science comes up with a theory of everything, we cannot debunk God.

Sure we can. See the Problem of Evil.

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