John Cook completed an honors degree in physics at the University of Queensland, Australia. While completing his degree, he often drew cartoons in the margins of his physics notes. After graduating, he spent a decade as a cartoonist and graphic designer. However, he never strayed far from science and spent his spare time reading climate research and debunking misinformation.

In 2007, Cook founded SkepticalScience.com. He began exploring how to combat science denial and completed a PhD on the cognitive psychology of misinformation. He found that inoculation, or explaining techniques of denial, was the key to neutralizing misinformation, and that parallel argumentation was a powerful way to put it into practice. This inspired him to bring together his two careers, using parallel arguments in the form of cartoons to explain the techniques of science denial.

Cook is currently a research assistant professor with the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, where he focuses on combatting fake news by using critical thinking to inoculate against misinformation.