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..."

  1. How reliable is the source of the claim?
  2. Does the source make similar claims?
  3. Have the claims been verified by somebody else?
  4. Does this fit with the way the world works?
  5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
  6. Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
  7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
  8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
  9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
  10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

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