John Cook

John Cook is the Climate Change Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. He created and runs Skeptical Science, a website that rebuts climate misinformation with peer-reviewed science. His efforts have concentrated on making climate science accessible to the general public, releasing smartphone apps for the iPhone and Android phones. He has produced climate communication resources adopted by organisations such as NOAA and the U.S. Navy and co-authored the book Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand with environmental scientist Haydn Washington. In 2011, Skeptical Science won the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for the Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge.

Blog Posts

Recursive Fury: Facts and misrepresentations

Posted on 22 March 2013 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

Our paper Recursive fury: conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation has been published. The paper analyzed the public discourse in response to an earlier article by Lewandowsky, Oberauer, and Gignac (LOG12 for short from here on), which has led to some discussion on this blog earlier.

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AGU Fall Meeting sessions on social media, misinformation and uncertainty

Posted on 16 July 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky & John Cook

We have proposed several sessions for the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco on 3-7 December: on uncertainty, misinformation and social media. AGU members are invited to submit abstracts for the sessions - the deadline to submit an abstract is August 8. Details of the sessions are:

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ABC documentary demonstrates the how and why of climate denial

Posted on 26 April 2012 by John Cook

This is a repost from Skeptical Science. Note that STW's own Stephan Lewandowsky has also published on this topic in The Age/Brisbane Times and Australian Media Centre/ABC Environment.

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From the Debunking Handbook to “Widerlegen: aber richtig!”: Die deutsche Übersetzung

Posted on 26 February 2012 by Stephan Lewandowsky & John Cook

Das “Debunking Handbook,” daß John Cook und Stephan Lewandowsky for einigen Monaten auf Englisch produziert haben, ist inzwischen mehr als 465.000 mal heruntergeladen worden. Unter Anderem ist das “Handbook” von Richard Dawkins und Al Gore auf deren Internetseiten empfohlen worden.

Das “Handbook” ist jetzt auf Deutsch übersetzt worden, und wir machen es nun hier zum herunterladen verfügbar. Der deutsche Titel ist “Widerlegen: aber richtig!

Wir bedanken uns sehr bei unseren ehrenamtlichen Übersetzern, Bärbel Winkler und Oliver Marchand, für ihre sehr detaillierte und ausführliche Arbeit.

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Debunking Handbook: update and feedback

Posted on 23 January 2012 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

When we published the Debunking Handbook, I have to admit, we completely underestimated the impact it would make. A few days after the launch, it suddenly went viral with over 150,000 downloads in a single day. This week, it just ticked over 400,000 downloads. We always planned that the Handbook would be useful not just for climate myths but for communicators having to deal with any type of misinformation. Nevertheless, it was surprising to see the Handbook featued on websites as diverse asRichard Dawkins and Silobreaker. A website devoted to debunking MLM myths saw it as "useful when debating with brainwashed members of MLM organizations". A Muslim forum speculated that it "Should be useful when engaging people who believe lies about Islam". Currently, several educators are looking to integrate it into their curriculum.

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The Debunking Handbook: now freely available for download

Posted on 27 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook, a guide to debunking misinformation, is now freely available to download. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, there's no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of myths. The Debunking Handbook boils the research down into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation.



The Handbook explores the surprising fact that debunking myths can sometimes reinforce the myth in peoples' minds. Communicators need to be aware of the various backfire effects and how to avoid them, such as:

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The Debunking Handbook Part 5: Filling the gap with an alternative explanation

Posted on 25 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook is an upcoming guide to debunking myths, by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, unfortunately there is no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of misinformation. This Handbook boils down the research into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation. The Handbook will be available as a free, downloadable PDF at the end of this 6-part blog series.

This post has been cross-posted at Skeptical Science

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The Debunking Handbook Part 4: The Worldview Backfire Effect

Posted on 23 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook is an upcoming guide to debunking myths, by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, unfortunately there is no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of misinformation. This Handbook boils down the research into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation. The Handbook will be available as a free, downloadable PDF at the end of this 6-part blog series.

This post has been cross-posted at Skeptical Science

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The Debunking Handbook Part 3: The Overkill Backfire Effect

Posted on 20 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook is an upcoming guide to debunking myths, by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, unfortunately there is no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of misinformation. This Handbook boils down the research into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation. The Handbook will be available as a free, downloadable PDF at the end of this 6-part blog series.

This post has been cross-posted at Skeptical Science

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The Debunking Handbook Part 2: The Familiarity Backfire Effect

Posted on 18 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook is an upcoming guide to debunking myths, by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, unfortunately there is no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of misinformation. This Handbook boils down the research into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation. The Handbook will be available as a free, downloadable PDF at the end of this 6-part blog series.

This post has been cross-posted at Skeptical Science

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The Debunking Handbook Part 1: The first myth about debunking

Posted on 16 November 2011 by John Cook & Stephan Lewandowsky

The Debunking Handbook is an upcoming guide to debunking myths, by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, unfortunately there is no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of misinformation. This Handbook boils down the research into a short, simple summary, intended as a guide for communicators in all areas (not just climate) who encounter misinformation. The Handbook will be available as a free, downloadable PDF at the end of this 6-part blog series.

This has been cross-posted at Skeptical Science.

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