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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baloney Detection Kit

Humanity ahs a capacity to believe many absurd things. There is a sea of information coming at us from all directions, how do we sift out the misinformation and bogus claims, and get to the truth? Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine lays out a "Baloney Detection Kit," ten questions we should ask when encountering a claim.

The 10 Questions:
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?

Michael Shermer discusses each of the ten questions in the video below. (If your broadband speed is not fast enough let the video play through with the sound off and then play it through with the sound on.)

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