More stolen goods recovered from the ancients! Baloney Detection Kit!

 Brainpickings: the Baloney Detction Kit: A 10-Point Checklist for Science Literacy

Howard Rheingold has been promoting what he calls crap-detection for some time. This new “kit,” from the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, does the same but concentrates the search for the bad smell in the domain of science. Want to know if a claim is believable? Ask yourself:

  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?

I used to teach this stuff years ago to my Grade 6 and 7 students in a Practical Reasoning course we ran at Island Pacific School which was founded by the forward-thinking…er, backward-thinking Dr. Ted Spear. Ted is one of the few I know who are working hard to recover the Lost Tools of Learning. Though the ancients did not have science as such, crap detection, Socrates would say, is an ancient skill.


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