Skip to content

Cranky Uncle: Webinar with John Cook

    Webinar with John Cook | September 29, 2023 | 11:00 AM GMT +2| 6:00 PM GMT +10

    Misinformation is a complex problem with technological, psychological, social, and cultural aspects, requiring multi-disciplinary solutions. In the first of three autumn webinars with international guest speakers organized by the Media Literacy Coalition as part of the Media Literacy Days 2023 campaign, Australian scientist John Cook will present the Skeptical Science project, which includes the FLICC logic trap framework and the game Cranky Uncle, and represents just such a solution.

    Image taken from the book Cranky Uncle Vs. Climate Change. How to Understand and Respond to Climate Science Deniers by Dr. John Cook and slightly modified (isolated by the text)

    If you are a teacher of 6th to 12th grade students or a university lecturer, or if you are involved in education and want to learn more about learning through play and the inoculation method, you don’t want to miss the presentation and meeting John Cook. Participation in the webinar is free and not limited to a certain number of attendants, but registration is required. The webinar will be held in English, and after the presentation part, it will go into an open discussion, during which you will have the opportunity to ask questions and share experiences and good practices.

    Register yourself, your colleagues and students by filling out the form. If you have any questions despite the information provided below, do not hesitate to contact us at, or at phone number +359888661165.

    Inoculation—explaining the rhetorical techniques used to mislead—provides a framework for building public resilience against misinformation. Games offer a way to inoculate people against misinformation in an interactive and scalable way. By incorporating inoculating exercises into a game, players can be incentivized to repeatedly practice misinformation detection tasks, thus helping players get quicker and better at the critical thinking task of identifying fallacies.

    In this webinar, John Cook will outline how he combined psychological and critical thinking research with games and cartoons to overcome some of the psychological hurdles facing scientists and educators as they respond to misinformation.

    John Cook has a degree in physics from the University of Queensland and a PhD in cognitive psychology. He has worked as a graphic designer and cartoonist for more than a decade. He is the founder of the award-winning project Skeptical Science – a non-profit organization (501(c)(3) under US law), and the author of several books, such as Climate Change: Examining the Facts and Cranky Uncle versus environmental changes book. The eponymous site, Skeptical Science, generates more than 300,000 monthly visits and has been featured on CNN, HBO, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post. His MOOC, Making Sense of Climate Science Denial, has attracted more than 30 000 participants from over 160 countries.

    The game Cranky Uncle was developed by Dr. Cook at George Mason University in collaboration with creative agency Goodbeast through crowdfunding. The first version was released in December 2020, and by mid-2023, Cranky Uncle is already available in 9 languages.

    Cranky Uncle offers instant entertainment with the caricature of the eponymous main character who skillfully applies various logically flawed argumentation techniques to reject the conclusions of the scientific community. By adopting the mindset of his fictional uncle, the player develops a deeper understanding of science denial techniques, thereby gaining the knowledge to recognize and resist persuasion attempts in the future.

    Cranky Uncle explains the 14 science denial techniques from pseudo experts to cherry-picking and a variety of different logical fallacies that form the FLICC theoretical framework (from Fake experts, Logical fallacies, Impossible expectations, Cherry picking and Conspiracy theories ).

    The game is free to install and play for iPhone and Android-powered mobile devices as well as for browsers.

    Get to know FLICC classification: five techniques for denying and discrediting climate change science from the short handbook with definitions and examples, translated into Bulgarian. You can find a description and a link to it in the Manuals and Methodologies section of the Media Literacy Coalition’s official website..


    The translations of Cranky Uncle and the educational resources and curricula for teachers from Skeptical Science’s extensive library are all volunteer work. Cranky Uncle has not yet been translated into Bulgarian. If you are interested in the opportunity to get involved – alone or mentoring students and undergraduates you teach/lecture, and to help with the translation and localization of the game in Bulgarian, reach us at or indicate your interest to create new language versions by filling out the Google form at Translation coordinator Bärbel Winkler will then get in touch with more information. Your work will receive recognition and visibility, and will bring you the satisfaction of knowing that you have contributed to enriching the library with resources for developing media and information literacy in Bulgarian.

    Even though the translations of the Cranky Uncle game are done by teams of volunteers, each language incurs costs for programming activities to get a language set up in the game. If you’d like to support Cranky Uncle “teaching” his science denial techniques in other languages, please use the dedicated page to contribute.

    Learn more about Cranky Uncle and FLICC from the suggested list of related posts:

    Teachers’ Guide to Cranky Uncle

    The Science of Cranky Uncle Part 1: Why We Can’t Ignore Misinformation

    The Science of Cranky Uncle Part 2: Inoculation Theory

    Laurie Goering. LONDON, Dec 5, 2019 (Thomson Reuters Foundation). Sorting fake news from facts is a challenge with climate change – but a new cartoon ally is stepping up

    Cook, J. (2020). Cranky Uncle Vs. Climate Change: How to Understand and Respond to Climate Science Deniers. United States: Citadel Press.

    Jessica Murray Sat 7 Dec 2019 08.00 GMT. The Guardian. Cranky Uncle game takes on climate crisis denial and fake news

    See also:

    Cranky Uncle cartoons

    За кампанията “Дни на медийна грамотност 2023”