Summary of Who Will Debunk The Debunkers?

Looking for the article?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 5 minutes.

Who Will Debunk The Debunkers? summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans

Rating

8 Overall

7 Importance

8 Innovation

8 Style


Recommendation

People generally assume that oft-repeated “facts” are accurate, so truth-seeking skeptics and scholars play an important role in debunking false stories. But what happens when these myth busters replace one falsehood with another? Who holds them accountable – and are skeptics less likely to accept their own factual fallibility than others? getAbstract recommends this essay to truth-seekers interested in the evolving nature of facts – even, or perhaps especially, those touted by intellectual giants.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why “fake facts” are alluring,
  • Why experts are susceptible to perpetuating them and
  • How scholarly experts create “supermyths.”   
 

About the Author

Daniel Engber writes about science and culture for Slate, Wired and other publications

 

Summary

Sometimes “fake facts” are repeated so frequently and emphatically that people accept them as true – even when ample evidence exists to the contrary. It is easier to believe the first thing that sounds reasonably accurate than to search deeply for demonstrable facts that support a claim. Take, for instance, the widely believed story that spinach is full of iron. This supposed fact supported by science was disseminated though mainstream US culture in the 1930s using the popular cartoon character Popeye, who committed to eating his spinach to improve his strength. Many consumers followed suit. In the 1930s, Popeye’s evangelism helped increase US consumption of the green vegetable by one-third.


More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

Play Bigger
Play Bigger
8
The Death of Expertise
The Death of Expertise
9
This Article Won’t Change Your Mind
This Article Won’t Change Your Mind
8
“The Discourse Is Unhinged”
“The Discourse Is Unhinged”
7
3 Ways to Spot a Bad Statistic
3 Ways to Spot a Bad Statistic
8
Truth Decay
Truth Decay
8

Related Channels

Comment on this summary