Say you’re at a party and someone is talking to you and a few others about their beliefs on vaccinations. Or maybe climate change is their topic, or evolution, or alternative medicine. What they have to say sounds like it could be wrong, but how do you know? If you’re not an expert on a subject yourself, how can you spot the signs that the speaker is no expert either?
John Grant, the author of more than 70 books and an expert on conspiracy theories, has a few ideas for you. In Debunk It: How to Stay Sane in a World of Misinformation, Grant starts off by talking about critical thinking, and how learning to analyze a few key points can help you recognize when someone is trying to pass off information as accurate when they’re either just repeating something they’ve heard or purposefully trying to mislead. There’s a lot of conflicting information coming our way these days, so learning to think critically is an important skill to have.
Grant is an equal opportunity debunker, taking on issues dear to those who lean politically left and right. He also delves into issues from the past, to show how conspiracy theories and misinformation have been around about as long as people have been keeping records of what others have said. All the more reason to realize that someone with an agenda will always work to confuse issues of the day. Debunk It! offers tips on how to recognize when we are being misled and ways to find information that is considered accurate. Grant backs up his words with footnotes and an extensive bibliography for readers who want to check his sources. I recommend it for teens and others who want to be more informed consumers of information.
Read my interview with author John Grant to learn more.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.