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Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation Paperback – October 16, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853837261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853837265
  • ASIN: 1616146346
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,144,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a book that everyone should take to heart. It reminds us that the human intellectual capacity for self-deception is infinite. A great read!"
- Nicholas Capaldi, director, Center for Spiritual Capital, Loyola University New Orleans, and author of The Art of Deception


"This highly readable and entertaining book is full of wonderful examples of BS. It also provides a very useful compendium of the warning signs of BS. We all need to build some immunity to BS - especially youngsters. This book is a good place to start."
- Dr. Stephen Law, philosopher and author of Believing Bullshit

About the Author

Loren Collins (Atlanta, GA) has been published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the topics of misinformation and critical thinking. An attorney and firm associate with the Law Office of W. Bryant Green, III, P. C., he is the creator of www.BirthofaNotion.com, a website that debunks the fallacies propounded by "birthers" regarding the legitimacy of President Barack Obama's US citizenship.

Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, these targets are just too quirky: science cannot do much about, maybe psychiatry might.
Samuel Martinsson
It's sad that the people who need this information the most will be the ones least likely to read Bullspotting, but one can hope.
Thomas Duff
It provides a choice selection of recent hoaxes, conspiracies and false rumours to demonstrate how the tools of skepticism work.
deusexmachina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By G. Tanner on November 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bulls#*t can and should be a fun and often hilarious topic of discussion, but it can quickly become a sad and sometimes horrifying subject once one realizes just how many absurd beliefs are held by so many people. With that in mind, it is great how Collins writes in a way that is both entertaining and yet still serious. This book is not a complete exposé of all the bull out in the world, but Collins does expose the important underlying motivations and deceitful tactics used by various bull-mongerers so that readers can become proficiently equipped to spot bull for themselves. An obvious problem to this book is that its message will likely be ignored by those who need it most. As Collins explains throughout the book, peddlers of bull are too skilled at dodging, denying, and/or ignoring legitimate arguments and evidence to benefit from the more than reasonable message found in his book. But the book's likely inability to better inform those bull-believers who need it most provides more reason for the rest of us to utilize this resource and others like it. Just as vaccinations for infectious diseases become more beneficial to the proximate population as more individuals are immunized, the same goes for our society's ability to cultivate communities where individuals can think critically and not be duped by bull.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Martinsson on February 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book portrays itself as scientific antidote and critical thinking tool to fight birthers, truthers, holocaust denialists, conspiracy theorists and other quacks. Unfortunately, these targets are just too quirky: science cannot do much about, maybe psychiatry might. It is good to be critical, and Collins provides some really nice examples of uncovering internet rumors and misquotations. But you cannot really fight JFK assisination conspiratists with science.

I would recommend three more constructive books:
*Michael Shermer: Why do people believe weird things (this one tries to understand where do all these strange beliefs come from, and not just offer science antidote).
*Massimo Pigliucci: Nonsense on stilts (this one squarely puts science against law, religion, pseudoscience, and shows how science is different)
*Moti Ben-Ari: Just a theory (basics of philosophy of science in very digestible format: induction, hypothesis, statistics; plus sociology of science, postmodernist critique, reductionism...)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By deusexmachina on November 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
The author of this book exposed one of the vilest hoaxes of the 2012 presidential campaign, that Barack Obama's mother once posed for pornographic photos. The author located the magazines that originally published the photos and, on his blog Barackryphal, he showed the photos were published when Obama's mother was only 15 years old and years before she moved to Hawaii where the photos were supposedly taken.

This excellent bit of research alone would make his new book on the art and science of detecting nonsense worth a look. However, he also turns out to be a clear, incisive writer who can tell an interesting story to illustrate a point.

The result is that even inveterate skeptics will find this book a good read. It provides a choice selection of recent hoaxes, conspiracies and false rumours to demonstrate how the tools of skepticism work. Perhaps because the author is a lawyer, the chapter on pseudolaw (legal theory that relies on frivolous arguments) is especially interesting.

As befitting a book on searching for truth, there are extensive notes and references at the end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By tess gerritsen on November 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
On the heels of a contentious campaign for the US Presidency, a campaign that was rife with wildly jaw-dropping myths about the candidates, it's a relief to see a book that takes a reasoned and detailed look at where disinformation comes from, and how to spot it. Addressing a variety of subjects, from the Birther movement to the "fake" moon landing to the anti-vaccination movement, the author takes aim at both sides of the political spectrum, and he pulls no punches. BULLSPOTTING makes a resounding case that gullibility -- and sometimes outright stupidity -- hews to no particular political party.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation by Loren Collins is one of those books you'd like to force everyone to read before they post anything online or express their "beliefs". Collins does an excellent job in categorizing the different types of misinformation you often encounter when people are trying to convince you that their "alternative" views are legitimate. Once you understand how people support those opinions, you can effectively counter the arguments. Of course, it doesn't mean they'll actually change, though... :)

Contents:
Introduction; Baloney Detection; Denialism; Conspiracy Theories; Rumors; Quotations; Hoaxes; Pseudoscience; Pseudohistory; Pseudolaw; What's The Harm; Notes, Index

Collins uses real-life examples in all the chapters to illustrate his points. For example, denialism is covered with the use of the young earth theory, JFK's assassination by a single person, the moon landing, Shakespeare's authorship, and the Holocaust. Each chapter covers how to spot that type of "logic", as well as the arguments that you'll encounter when you try to point out the fallacies. I found that breaking out the different types helped my understanding, as it broke down the feeling of being overwhelmed by the stupidity that is out there.

It's sad that the people who need this information the most will be the ones least likely to read Bullspotting, but one can hope. For everyone else, this is a very good read.

Disclosure:
Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed
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