Fallacy Taxonomy and Icons available via Wikimedia (Skeptical Science)

Fallacy Taxonomy and Icons available via Wikimedia

Posted on 16 March 2020 by BaerbelW

Many of you will already be familiar with the FLICC graphic which shows the 5 main characterstics of (climate) science denial, namely fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible expectations, cherry picking and conspiracy theories. It was first introduced when our MOOC “Denial101x – Making sense of climate science denial” launched in April 2015.


In the five (!) years since, John Cook and colleagues have been busy refining and enlarging this fallacy taxonomy as explained in a series of three new videos for Denial101x. Here is the first of them:

Part 2

Part 3

While working on the Cranky Uncle book and app, John Cook added even more icons to the taxonomy and gave people a chance to get to know them via several FLICC quizzes published on social media. They are still online and you can access them via these short links: http://sks.to/quiz1http://sks.to/quiz2http://sks.to/quiz9.

We recently received an email from a current Denial101x student suggesting to make the fallacy icons available as emojis to have them readily available when responding to comments on social media. While this might not be quite as easy as it sounds (anybody know?), it gave us another idea: make the current set of fallacy icons available on Wikimedia commons! So, this is what we did! The significantly larger taxonomy makes for a good entry point:

Large Taxonomy

The individual icons can be found on the page listing all of our uploaded files (which we plan to add to soon with more fallacy icons as well as other graphics from our large collection – please feel free to help us decide which ones to upload by posting a comment!).

And to state the obvious: these fallacies not only plague climate science but also many other scientific discussions. It for example didn’t take long for them to appear with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as John Cook noted in a recent tweet sharing the taxonomy graphic:

Seeing the same fallacies & science denial techniques proliferate with coronavirus as they do with climate science denial inspired me to post the latest version of the FLICC taxonomy, documenting many of the techniques found in science misinformation.

The individual icons will therefore hopefully come in handy to call-out fallacies regardless of the topics they show up with!