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Review: How To Fake A Moon Landing

Climate change, fracking, evolution, vaccinations, homeopathy, chiropractics, even the moon landing, are all hot button controversies that come up in the news. In this book, Darryl Cunningham looks at them with a cool, critical approach, exposing the myths of science denial using comics, photographs and easily readable text.

Review: How To Fake A Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial
By Darryl Cunningham
Abrams Comicarts, April 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0689-9
172 pgs, $16.95

Teaching children critical thinking and analysis in very important, especially now that we live in a world where claims are often made with little to no evidence to support them. Being able to tell fact from fiction and pull truth from myth is doubly important when it comes to science. It is easy to misunderstand or be misled about scientific topics such as climate change, evolution, and vaccinations. This book examines several claims, using real-world examples, and explains why science and critical thinking are needed to evaluate them.

How To Fake A Moon Landing isn’t your typical science book. It uses a friendly, conversational style to present the issues and proceeds to talk through them, presenting the arguments and the refuting evidence while giving timely and relevant examples. Evolution has a long history of controversy, particularly in schools, while climate change is fairly new. Cunningham discusses both topics thoroughly, taking even the most incredible questions and answering them in a calm, logical voice. The point isn’t to debate but to explain.

Some topics are hard to fathom: Are there really people who believe we never went to the moon, or that vaccinations cause autism? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The popular science TV show Mythbusters did an episode dedicated to answering claims that the moon landing was faked. The episode is referenced, as well as its findings, extensively in its chapter. The effects of the vaccination controversy are being seen everywhere, as breakouts of diseases such as measles are being reported all over the U.S. This chapter shows how one falsified study can reverse decades of work in the medical community to eradicate deadly childhood diseases.

Some topics you might not have realized are controversial. Homeopathy and chiropractics are thought of as medical practices and are even covered by many health insurance policies. But they aren’t as medically sound as you’d think, as the chapters on these reveal not only the history but the current practice and potential dangers. Fracking is a new topic, like climate change, that also affects the environment. Learning more about the hows and whys of fracking will help to decide if its price is worth the cost.

The final chapter takes on a topic that isn’t often brought up: Science denial. It might not always be called that, but science denial is at the heart of all the issues discussed in this book and more, and it has consequences that can affect our everyday lives. The vaccination controversy is evidence of that. This chapter looks at some of the way science denial is spread and how it can take root, making it more difficult for good science to get out.

Despite sounding like a heavy subject, How To Fake A Moon Landing is actually easy to read and understand. The art is cartoonish and friendly. The narrator of the book, presumably the author, is shown as a spiky-haired, bespectacled man, though a penguin does take over for the “Climate Change” chapter. There is also a Sources section, where Cunningham lists all the books, articles and websites where he got his information, as well as the people who peer-reviewed his work.  Readers can find out more or double check him themselves. How To Fake A Moon Landing is a great non-fiction book that, whether you agree with Cunningham or not, will at least make you think—and that is the whole point.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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