Sadly, fake news and widespread misinformation are probably here to stay. So many fabrications appear so fast that there’s no way we can correct every wrong claim someone makes.
But there is hope. We can use a few quick, handy tools to make us less susceptible to being conned on social media and elsewhere.
With the fun, free, and easy to use Cranky Uncle app, we can start to train ourselves to spot false reasoning and errors in logic. The colorful game in the app introduces us to the five-point acronym FLICC.
Cranky Uncle, for example, offers this statement: “A Nobel Prize winner in chemistry says vitamin C can cure cancer.”
Which of the five FLICC techniques listed above is that statement an example of? I missed this one the first time. This is an instance of a fake expert. A chemist is an expert but not in the area of cancer research.
What about this: “Scientific models don’t perfectly match observations so they can’t be relied on.” Which FLICC is this? You probably got this right away—it’s impossible expectations which demand unrealistic standards of certainty.
You can find Cranky Uncle, the brainchild of John Cook from the University of Melbourne, at the Apple App Store or on Google Play. There’s even a version you can use on a browser.
If we can get better at spotting logical fallacies like oversimplification, ad hominem, false analogies, red herrings and more, it’s less likely anyone will make a fool out of us.