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Cranky Uncle with Dr. John Cook

Posted on 27 December 2023 by BaerbelW

Cranky Uncle teaches players to spot the techniques of science denial. The original version of the game deals with climate change denial, and a newer version focuses on vaccine hesitancy. Both are fun and effective... and free!

In December, Melanie Trecek-King - who runs the "Thinking is Power" website - talked with John Cook about the Cranky Uncle game. They discussed both the classic and the vaccine version of the interactive game explaining the techniques and tricks used in science denial.

The Cranky Uncle game is freely available on iPhones, Androids, and browsers via the links below where you can then select one of the available 12 languages to play it in. If you already played V1 of the game in English on your device, you'll need to start from scratch by first deleting your account in the settings and then selecting another language. The browser version looks best if you resize the screen to mimic a smartphone in portrait mode.



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Comments 1 to 5:

  1. I have collated some important climate data that might come in handy when trying to counteract disinformation.
    It is not rocket science, but it is science.
    As Cranky Uncle might say, it is just plain common sense.
    Every single government in the whole world, bar none, is desperately trying to increase economic growth, blissfully unaware that economic growth is the primary driving force of the climate catastrophe. We point the finger at the evil fossil fuel merchants and their enablers in government, but they are just struggling to keep up with our insatiable demand for more stuff!
    Since 1990 global clean energy generation has increased 1000 fold, but our emissions have been going up at the same time, by 60% since 1990. We have burnt more fossil fuels since we learnt about climate change than all the rest of history put together! Our emissions have been rising by about 10% every year since 1950, though the rate has slowed a bit lately, which is encouraging.
    The reason they keep going up is because the global economy keeps growing. The economy grows by about 4% per anum. So clean energy must replace emissions at the same rate, just to break even. Clean energy generates 17% of our global energy needs. So to replace 4% of
    CO2, it must increase by 18% every single year. If we are to achieve Zero Net Emissions by 2050 we must reduce our CO2 by another 4% p.a. every single year for nearly 30 years. That means increasing clean energy by another 18% p.a. So we must increase our clean energy by 36% every year. Last year we our clean energy went up 10%, a shortfall of 26%. So this year that 26% gets added onto this years target, bringing it up to 62%. Next year it will be 88%, and so on.
    If you know anyone who thinks that is even remotely possible, please refer them to a psychiatrist!
    There is only one solution to this predicament.

    Ben Laycock


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  2. We must crash the economy!

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  3. Ben L  @1&2 ,

    you are very Droll.  (Is that "plan D" ?)

    If plan C  =  Crash the economy

    and plan B  =  Blowing past 3 degrees

    . . . do you not have a plan A  = Acceptable political compromise?


    or are you hell-bent on plan G . . . the Genghis-Khan method?

    (Asking for a Friend.)

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  4. Ben... I think crashing the economy wouldn't be a wise approach to avoiding disaster. You can't rationally trade one form of human catastrophe for another. Crashing the economy would potentially be as bad or even worse than the path we're currently on.

    I would note there are no researchers (that I am aware of) suggesting crashing the economy as a solution to the climate change crisis. My suggestion for you is to consider the idea that deployment of carbon-free energy is operating on a exponential scale. That could actually bring us in line with zero carbon goals, if we can achieve that. Probably the bigger concern is resource limitations to carry out exponential deployment of renewables.

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  5. Ben Laycock, Some observations and feedback ...

    The evidence appears to clearly indicate that it is incorrect to believe that "... every single government ... is ... blissfully unaware that economic growth is the primary driving force of the climate catastrophe."

    There is enough evidence from the COP interactions, and so much more, to establish a consensus understanding (a legitimately justified 'common sense' as opposed to a harmfully misled developed 'common sense among a portion of the total population') that people wanting to benefit from harmful unsustainable developed perceptions of advancement, success and superiority are the fundamental problem, not just regarding climate change impacts.

    The 'government representatives' acting for the benefit of harmful unjustified pursuers of benefit are likely 'well aware of how harmfully misleading they are being' when they fight against more rapid ending of fossil fuel use. Even the 1.5 C target limit of harm done was a harmful compromise. But, because of the unjustified success of harmful pursuers of personal benefit since 1990, the more justified compromise of 1.0 C limit of harmful impact was 'no longer an available option' in 2015.

    As for the solution being 'crash the economy', in addition to the points made by Eclectic and Rob Honeycutt, I offer the following thoughts. I agree with crashing the economy if:

    Crashing the economy is => Leadership actions to increase awareness and improve understanding of what is harmful and how people can be more helpful to others, especially to future generations.

    That type of leadership would result in:

    • a very rapid ending of harmful unsustainable developed aspects of the economy (stuff that should be excluded from measurements of economic success). The rapid ending would be assisted by leadership encouraging a reduction of unnecessary harmful activity, especially by the richest.
    • a very rapid increase in the development of less harmful more sustainable economic activity (with the harmful impacts properly and fully subtracted so that there is no misunderstanding regarding the value or merit of an economic activity while harmful activities are cleared out of the system)

    That 'crashing of those aspects of the economy' would be Good for the future of humanity. And it would most negatively affect the people who want to be more harmful and less helpful (also a Good Thing).

    Of course, if the status quo powers continue to get their way, including being able to significantly compromise leadership actions, the harm suffered would most likely be severely experienced by those less powerful who do not deserve to be penalized - you know - the undeniable status quo history of humanity. And those less powerful 'easy to harm' people include the future generations of humanity (They have no vote, marketing, or legal power).

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