Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Baloney Detection

1) Is the source reliable?
Errors occur, but if the source's errors tend to be all on one side or bunched together, it should raise a big red flag.
2) Does the source make similar claims on other subjects?
On related (or even marginally tangential) topics, is this source making the same general statements of fact?
3) Have the claims been verified independently?
Can the claimed results be replicated? 
4) How does the claim fit with the way we know the world works?
Too good to be true = prob'ly not true
5) Is the claim falsifiable?
What's the alternative explanation?  What's been done to try to disprove it? 
6) Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
Any claim supported by only a few points, while challenged by lots of other points, is prob'ly bogus.
7) Are you playing by the rules of the scientific method?
UFOlogy vs SETI
8) Is the one making the claim presenting positive evidence?
Or are they just making unsupported denials of an "opposing" theory?
9) Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
Pointing out a few anomalies or outliers doesn't negate current theory
10) Is the claim being driven by personal belief?
Is Confirmation Bias at work here? Is the claimant pushing a "theory" in support of an ideology and/or religion and/or world view?

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