- How reliable is the source of the claim?
- Does the source make similar claims?
- Have the claims been verified by somebody else?
- Does this fit with the way the world works?
- Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
- Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
- Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
- Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
- Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
- Are personal beliefs driving the claim?
Thursday, March 22, 2012
A useful checklist for detecting "baloney" (or maybe you prefer Harry Frankfurt's euphemism) from Skeptic publisher Michael Shermer, inspired by Carl Sagan's Demon-haunted World. "When we're growing up we tend to be pretty credulous..."