Science and the Skeptic: Discerning Fact from Fiction

Twenty-First Century Bks. Feb. 2022. 120p. Tr $37.32. ISBN 9781728419459.
Gr 7 Up–With the goal of teaching readers “how to distinguish fake science from the real deal,” chemistry professor Zimmer breaks down the scientific method, politically motivated disputes over and disavowals of scientific topics, and quackery—providing 20 succinct and easy-to-understand rules for telling the differences between legitimate scientific discoveries and hoaxes. These rules are presented as they come up in each of the first four chapters, while the final chapter is devoted to reiterating the what and the why of each rule in order. Interwoven in the book’s fast-paced and accessible narrative are special highlighted sections on timely scientific controversies, including COVID, climate change, anti-vax protesters, and GMO foods. Color illustrations are numerous, appropriately sized, and clearly captioned. The book concludes with a glossary of key terms; detailed source notes; a selected bibliography; a list of books, fact-checking websites, and online science news sources for even further inquiry; and an index.
VERDICT This slim but rich book on approaching science news with healthy skepticism would be an excellent and welcome addition to junior high or high school nonfiction collections.

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