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How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial Hardcover – April 2, 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The U.S. edition of what in Britain is called Science Tales (to conform with Cunningham’s Psychiatric Tales, 2011) consists of lively, plain-language debunkings of seven cases of quack or fraudulent science and, in the last chapter, antiscientific bias in general. The belief that the Apollo 11 moon expedition was a hoax, the “alternative” medicines known as homeopathy and chiropractic, the scare about the MMR vaccine inducing autism, arguments against evolution, apologies for fracking, and denying human involvement in rapid climate change are the seven “myths” Cunningham exposes. The text, while never failing to point up the dangers of believing the seven, is economical as can be, which well suits Cunningham’s bare-bones, glorified stick-figure drawing style. Besides stylized use of color—some chapters are all in similar tones (greens, blues), others in more contrasting shades (blue and red, orange and blue)—Cunningham uses plenty of tonally altered (but recognizable) photos to keep the uniformly six-panel pages looking good. The last four pages list, chapter-by-chapter, the print and web sources Cunningham consulted. --Ray Olson

About the Author

Darryl Cunningham is a prolific cartoonist, photographer, and sculptor. Andrew C. Revkin writes the Dot Earth blog for the New York Times.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Reprint edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419706896
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419706899
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brent R. Swanson on April 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
We face daily bombardment of contradictory "facts" coming at us from print, television, and online media. Much of this bombardment is manipulative in nature, urging us to buy a remedy, trust an industry, or elect a candidate. And science is usually cast as a bully, a fraud, or an instrument of persecution. And that is why we need "How to Fake a Moon Landing" and many more books like it.

Writer/cartoonist Darryl Cunningham takes on eight topics in this book, including "The Moon Hoax," "Chiropractic," "The MMR Vaccination Scandal," "Fracking," and "Climate Change." In each chapter he employs mixed media of cartooning, diagrams, and photographs to make the case for science over obfuscation. The cartooning may not parallel the graphic beauty of Winsor McCay or Hal Foster, but that isn't what's needed here. Cunningham's graphics are edgy and direct, clearly illustrating each point with just enough humor to avoid pomposity.

I wish that Cunningham had placed the chapter on "Science Denial" at the front of the book instead of at the very end. So many points made in that chapter apply to the other chapters. Beginning with "The Moon Hoax" at least establishes the roles of media-inflamed rumor and junk science in distorting our perception of reality.

Years ago, Isaac Asimov, in his introduction to James Randi's "Flim-Flam!" wrote, "Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition." In a similar vein, Darryl Cunningham writes in the introduction to his book, " Science isn't a matter of faith or just another point of view. Good science is testable, reproducible, and stands the test of time. What doesn't work in science falls away, and what remains is the truth." This could be one of the most important and relevant "comic books" of our time.
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Format: Hardcover
Wedding often whimsical images with no-nonsense text, "Moon Landing" is a friendly and convincing introduction to the most pervasive forms of science denialism in force today. There is a real and present danger when vaccination and anthropogenic global climate disruption are given the denialist treatment, and real stupidity in accepting homeopathy or denying the fact and theory of evolution. These important topics and others are given brief treatment, with just enough solid information to render further denial a much less comfortable proposition. My favorite thing about this book is the way photos and cartooning are used together to make really interesting graphics. Even setting aside the crucial nature of what's being communicated, this is paradigmatic communication, a sterling example of creativity harnassed in the service of useful, cogent information. My highest recommendation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the same genre as "Logicomix" and "Feynman", this graphic novel takes us on an expository tour through some of the most heinous claims of conspiracy theorists, charlatans, and cranks. Not something to keep around for reference, but required reading for any homeopath, chiroprancer, or, of course, moon landing hoax believer.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The author has a good aim, but does not discuss how to think critically when considering media scare tactics. In fact, his explanations are wrought with the same poor thinking skills he judges in others - confirmation bias, narrative fallacy, confusion between inductive and deductive reasoning, inconsistent arguments, etc.

Here's one specific example of an inconsistent argument from the chapter on Global Warming: Opponent to GW says, "But isn't it true there are a growing number of scientists that now believe the global warming theory to be incorrect." Penguin's answer, "Only 2.5 percent of the worlds top 200 climate scientists are skeptical." The question asked whether the number is "increasing", not whether the number is small. Embarrassing and just one example.

There are many great comic science books out there like the "Graphic Guides To ..." series and "The Cartoon Guide To ..." series. I would like to see these same topics in comic format by an author that does not propagate the same scare tactics and poor thinking skills he insults in others.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're looking for a book that goes into detail about subjects like the Hoax MMR vaccine scare or the bogus "we didn't go to the moon" theories, then this isn't it. Instead, the author uses an easily absorbed graphic novel format to introduce readers to these subjects and gives suggestions about where to go for more in-depth reading.

I found Moon Landing to be entertaining, sensible, and easy to dip in and out of. I commend Cunningham for tackling controversial subjects in a clear-headed, non-partisan manner. I thought this was mostly clearly stated in his coverage of fracking. Knowing little about the subject I wasn't sure if his take would be "the fears are overblown" or "the assurances that it's safe are spurious." In the end I thought he did a good job of concluding that there is a lot more we need to know about this very new technology and that governments owed it to us to ensure there is a level of transparency and thoroughness in their oversight of the industry. To me this showed he was prepared to objectively analyse the evidence without letting a partisan worldview have him reach a conclusion based on something other than the science. Such people are rare. I look forward to reading more from him.
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