Thursday, 2 July 2009

The Baloney Detection Kit (or Scientific Method Made Simple!)

As Carl Sagan said "There is a lot of baloney out there". What is the Baloney Detection Kit? It's the scientific method.. or just science!
Credit to Carl Sagan who originally developed the Baloney Detection Kit in his book 'The Demon Haunted World".

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The Baloney Detection Kit (on RDF TV)

June 2009
With 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, Publisher ofSkeptic magazine, lays out a “Baloney Detection Kit” — ten questions we should ask when encountering a claim.


  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?


This is the first video by RDFTV.
Presented by The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
Directed by Josh Timonen
Copyright © 2009 Upper Branch Productions, Inc.

1 comment:

pepandy said...

There are also the 10 rules for Intellectual Honesty in Debate:

1.Do not overstate the power of your argument
2.Show a willingness to publicly acknowledge that reasonable alternative viewpoints exist
3.Be willing to publicly acknowledge and question one’s own assumptions and biases
4.Be willing to publicly acknowledge where your argument is weak
5.Be willing to publicly acknowledge when you are wrong
6.Demonstrate consistency
7.Address the argument instead of attacking the person making the argument
8.When addressing an argument, do not misrepresent it
9.Show a commitment to critical thinking
10.Be willing to publicly acknowledge when a point or criticism is good

-- Mike Gene, at design matrix 20 May 2009. Details on each are found at the reference, but only the titles are listed here. I believe he had posted them at a no-longer-accessible site much earlier.