Review: Bullspotting: Finding Facts in the Age of Misinformation

4 stars
Learn how to protect yourself from scams!

I took a class at my school. I learned how to take an idea in, think about it and decide how much truth it holds. Some people call this process “critical thinking” or “rational inquiry.” Call it what you will; all people should build this skill.

People across the world practice critical thinking. The people belong to a group called “the skeptic community.” Some members of the skeptic community stand tall with fame:

  • James Randi

  • Penn and Teller

  • Michael Shermer

  • Peter Bhoghossian.

I had to read a book for my critical-thinking class. I read Bullspotting by Loren Collins. Collins has worked in the skeptic community for years. He found his niche when he started to fight back against the Obama Birth conspiracy theory. But I had never heard of him. So, I started his book without bias.

I stopped believing in God in 2000. Since then, I took up critical-thinking as a hobby. I loved to learn about it. I loved to learn about who practiced it. But I never spent time learning how to practice it myself. At last, I learned when I read Collins’ book.

As I read, I learned about the dangers that come when bad ideas get popular. I learned about the hazards you risk when you take a false idea as true. Then, I learned how to stay safe from these risks. I learned how to see if an idea follows good logic. I learned how to see the symptoms of lies, bad science and empty claims. And, I learned about the different shapes and sizes that these threats come in. For instance, a rumor starts from one of three causes:

  • someone heard something wrong

  • someone understood something wrong

  • someone remembered something wrong

Also, a person will pull off a hoax (or scam) for one of three reasons:

  • for fun

  • for money

  • to get ahead in their own way.

Collins spends time telling stories of famous conspiracies and hoaxes from the past. He goes into detail about how they started, how they grew and how they ended. Then, he looks at the symptoms they held; he shows how they fooled us. At last, he shows us how we could have spotted the lies and saved ourselves from damage. Collins covers topics like:

  • Holocaust Denial

  • Moon Landing Denial

  • Alternative Medicine

  • 9/11 Truth Conspiracies

  • Creationism

  • 14th Amendment Citizenship in the USA.

When you read Bullspotting, you will get smarter. You will gain knowledge when you read it. And, you will get a weapon: you will get a skill that filters out nonsense as you take in new information. This will make you learn with more efficiency.

Bullspotting holds only two-hundred pages. But it goes by at a slow pace. It goes at this pace because its two-hundred pages hold a lot of information. I wanted to take it all in as I read. And I wanted to understand it. And keep it. So, I took my time to read it. And so should you.

I read Bullspotting; I feel smarter than ever. Also, I feel safer. I feel safer because I will never fall for a scam again. I will never make a bad decision. I will never get a treatment that science doesn’t say works. And, I thank Collins for that.You should read the book yourself.

You can get a copy here.