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Science vs. Pseudoscience: Debunking Fake Science News and Developing Scientific Literacy

Learn to Recognize Pseudoscience

Learning to recognize pseudoscience begins with taking "a scientific approach to life." The Science Toolkit section from UC Berkeley's Understanding Science 101 covers how to recognize and critique media messages related to science.

Find more tips in the video and articles below, and on the "Evaluating Sources" page of this guide.

Great Science Podcasts

Learn Which Science-Related Websites Are Fake or Biased

 

Several scholars and journalists have compiled lists of fake news sites, including those that share pseudoscience. Here are some of the best:

  • Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC News) "Dedicated to educating the public on media bias and deceptive news practice," MBFC categorizes dozens of news sources based on their bias. The website also includes lists of reliable sources of scientific information, unreliable pseudoscience sources, and satirical sources.
  • False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical "News" Sources A comprehensive list of unreliable "news" sources, created by Professor Melissa Zimdars. See Zimdars's original document for "Tips For Analyzing News Sources," and read the Chronicle of Higher Education interview with her for more information about the project, and the response to it.
  • Politifact  This website seeks to present the true facts, unaffected by agenda or biases. Journalists set their own opinions aside as they work to uphold principles of independence and fairness.
  • Bad Astronomy A blog on scientific controversies.
  • SciCheck  focuses exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy.
  • The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry  "The mission of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry is to promote scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims."
  • The Journal of Irreproducible Results  “…offers spoofs, parodies, whimsies, burlesques, lampoons, and satires.”
  • QuackWatch  “…Your Guide to Quackery, Health Fraud, and Intelligent Decisions”
  • Retraction  Includes a select list of academic retractions.
  • McGill University: Office of Science and Society: "The McGill Office for Science and Society (OSS) is a unique venture dedicated to the promotion of critical thinking, science communication, and the presentation of scientific information to the public, educators, and students in an accurate and responsible fashion. With a mandate to demystify science for the public and separate sense from nonsense, the Office has a history of tackling fake news in the world of science well before the term “fake news” even existed."

Books: Science vs Pseudoscience

E-Books: Science Vs. Pseudoscience