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Skeptics: arm yourselves The baloney detection kit

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posted on Apr, 6 2010 @ 09:31 AM
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Skepticism, the opposite of belief

There are many fine skeptics on ATS, but there are also those who would benefit from learning the tools of the trade so to speak. I guess this post is mostly directed at them. Being a noob skeptic myself I have learned a great deal from listening to people like Carl Sagan, James Randi, Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer.

Every once in a while very interesting claims are posted on ATS, I am mostly interested in the UFO phenomena by the way. I find that it is easy to get swept away by seemingly honest claims. But as long as I have the right questions somewhere in the back of my head I have a good chance of discovering the reality behind the claims. Here is a list of questions you might want to ask.

  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 how 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?


Below Michael Shermer (founder of Skeptic Magazine) explores these questions in detail. Enjoy.





posted on Apr, 6 2010 @ 10:36 AM
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I think this is one that everybody should read !

Way to go.



posted on Apr, 6 2010 @ 10:40 AM
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This is good. Try using this on the 9-11 OS. hehe



posted on Apr, 6 2010 @ 11:30 AM
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reply to post by Sinter Klaas
 


Thank you, you're absolutely right.

reply to post by The_Zomar
 


Ha ha, I never visit that part of ATS.



posted on Apr, 6 2010 @ 01:29 PM
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reply to post by cripmeister
 




1.How reliable is the source of the claim?

This is a method of ad himinem attack. If a physicist told us the moon was made out of cheese and the GFL said it was made of rocks it would not make the moon be made out of cheese.



2.Does the source make similar claims?

In an objective analysis it would not matter.



3.Have the claims been verified by somebody else?

I do not see why this would matter the GFL and all the spirit light people have numbers to back them up but that does not make them right.



4.Does this fit with how the world works?

This kinda goes out the window when you are dealing with subjects that alter the way the world works. According to this and the above the x-ray, television would all set off the detection kit shortyl before they came to be.



5.Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?

This again does not change much, who has tried to do what does not really mean anything.



6.Where does the preponderance of evidence point?

That is somewhat subjective, depending on what it is there may be no proof on either side just theories.



7.Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?

This just begs the question "what are the 'rules' of science?"



8.Is the claimant providing positive evidence?

This is kinda subjective again, positive evidence is usually what the reader agrees with.



9.Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?

This goes along with the idea that science is just a long history of corrected mistakes.



10.Are personal beliefs driving the claim?


This would work well on both sides Skeptics saying there is no such thing as ufos and the open skulled believer saying they are real. So is one side's personal beliefs more valid that the others?



posted on Apr, 6 2010 @ 02:05 PM
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reply to post by zaiger
 


You didn't watch the video did you



posted on Apr, 6 2010 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by cripmeister
 


I for one have learned to solely trust my intuition. I have found that my logical mind often conflicts with my intuition, when making a decision for example. The intuitive choice has always.proven to be the right one. Discern through intuition



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 11:56 AM
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reply to post by cripmeister
 


I for one have learned to solely trust my intuition. I have found that my logical mind often conflicts with my intuition, when making a decision for example. The intuitive choice has always.proven to be the right one. Discern through intuition



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 12:50 PM
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Originally posted by zaiger
reply to post by cripmeister
 




1.How reliable is the source of the claim?

This is a method of ad himinem attack. If a physicist told us the moon was made out of cheese and the GFL said it was made of rocks it would not make the moon be made out of cheese.

No it's not an Ad Hominem attack. And you're using a false analogy. Reliability means that he's made other claims in the past that turned out to be true. Unreliable means he's made claims that turned out to be bogus... over and over and over again. A better analogy would be this: If the same guy who's been saying for 15 years that the moon is made of cheese despite overwhelming evidence to suggest it’s not, suddenly comes forward with a new theory that mars is made of paprika, you should be very sceptical of his claim.





2.Does the source make similar claims?

In an objective analysis it would not matter.


Yes it would. If a person is making multiple (possibly contradictory) claims of an outstanding nature in a short duration of time, that would be highly suspicious. A Good example: When you watch a guy's youtube video of a UFO, and he's got 50 other similar videos as well, all of which he took himself, chances are he's misinterpreting a common man-made or natural phenomenon. It is very unlikely that one person would see that many unidentifiable objects. Again, it shouldn't cause you to dismiss his claim outright, but it should cause you to be very sceptical of his claims.





3.Have the claims been verified by somebody else?

I do not see why this would matter the GFL and all the spirit light people have numbers to back them up but that does not make them right.


Now you're starting to reach a little. We're not talking about who has the largest legions of supporters, were talking about corroboration. Did anybody else see the same thing as him? Were they with him at the time, or did they see it independently? Has anybody looked into the matter for themselves and been able to reproduce the claimants results? A good example of this would be "SeeingUFOsinPennsylvania" or whatever her numpty name is. Other people have gone to see what the big deal is, and they all conclude that she’s out of her mind. No substantiated corroboration from others means we should be sceptical.





4.Does this fit with how the world works?

This kind of goes out the window when you are dealing with subjects that alter the way the world works. According to this and the above the x-ray, television would all set off the detection kit shortly before they came to be.


Yes, you're right. When someone comes up with a "new" invention that he claims will do fantastic things that don't fit into the current model of how the world works, you should be VERY sceptical. And people are. The reason we have the TV and the x-ray now isn't because people blindly took the inventors' words for it, it's because they provided evidence, and the results were reproducible. But if someone is trying to tell you something that contradicts or ignores everything we know about physics or science, they’re probably full of baloney. You should remain sceptical until you see some evidence.





5.Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?

This again does not change much, who has tried to do what does not really mean anything.

Yes it does. If someone has tried to disprove the claim – maybe they’ve succeeded! Check it out first before you blindly believe the claim and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble. Trust me, this is a very important step in becoming a critical thinker. Debunk yourself and your own beliefs whenever you can.




6.Where does the preponderance of evidence point?

That is somewhat subjective, depending on what it is there may be no proof on either side just theories.

Scientific evidence is not subjective. It is, by its very nature, objective and verifiable. We’re not talking about “proof” OR “theories” we’re talking about evidence - “FACTS”.




7.Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?

This just begs the question "what are the 'rules' of science?"

This does not “beg the question” (ie. Circular reasoning), and the rules of science are very straight forward. I recommend you look up the “Scientific Method” on Wikipedia if you’re confused.




8.Is the claimant providing positive evidence?

This is kinda subjective again, positive evidence is usually what the reader agrees with.

I’ve addressed this already; evidence is by its very nature objective. Interpretations of evidence are less so. And evidence is not “what the reader agrees with” – you’re confusing knowledge with belief.




9.Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?

This goes along with the idea that science is just a long history of corrected mistakes.

I don’t entirely understand what you’re trying to say here exactly. The question stands on its own merit: Does the new theory explain as many things as the old one? Or does it just leave us with more unanswered questions which will require even more radical new theories?




10.Are personal beliefs driving the claim?


This would work well on both sides Skeptics saying there is no such thing as ufos and the open skulled believer saying they are real. So is one side's personal beliefs more valid that the others?

Sceptics are not using their “personal beliefs” to come to the answers. They’re following the preponderance of the evidence. True Believers, on the other hand, are usually philosophically or religiously married to their beliefs, and no amount of contradictory evidence will ever convince them otherwise.

It’s clear to me that you don’t at all understand science, the nature of knowledge, or, really, much of anything at all.
You should work harder to deny ignorance – especially your own.



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 12:52 PM
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Originally posted by cripmeister

  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 how 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've said it before but this is nothing but a set-up for self-indoctrination.


"How reliable is the source of the claim?"

Who decides what is reliable? According to most authorities, the MSM is reliable. Enough said! Let the blind indoctrination continue.


"Does this fit with how the world works?"

There is not a single person on this Earth who can tell you how the whole planet works. What this question means is, "Does this fit with your pre-conceptions of the world?", in which case, learning anything new about it is already completely ruled out. More of the indoctrinations we've already been taught, please!


"Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?"

I have no problem with this as long as it is strict logic and reasoning, but many people are incapable of this and think of science as if it's the new religion. Something can't be true unless it's peer reviewed by a bunch of Ivy League schools, etc. which is a blatant logical fallacy if true logic and reasoning are to be followed.


"Are personal beliefs driving the claim?"

Ah, the final card to be played. Simply dismiss the source because they actually believe what they are claiming? And you do not, of course (if you haven't picked that up from the other points already!), so obviously they are wrong!



I have a fine baloney detection kit, and this "baloney detection kit" is baloney.



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by bsbray11

I've said it before but this is nothing but a set-up for self-indoctrination.


"How reliable is the source of the claim?"

Who decides what is reliable? According to most authorities, the MSM is reliable. Enough said! Let the blind indoctrination continue.


"Does this fit with how the world works?"

There is not a single person on this Earth who can tell you how the whole planet works. What this question means is, "Does this fit with your pre-conceptions of the world?", in which case, learning anything new about it is already completely ruled out. More of the indoctrinations we've already been taught, please!


"Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?"

I have no problem with this as long as it is strict logic and reasoning, but many people are incapable of this and think of science as if it's the new religion. Something can't be true unless it's peer reviewed by a bunch of Ivy League schools, etc. which is a blatant logical fallacy if true logic and reasoning are to be followed.


"Are personal beliefs driving the claim?"

Ah, the final card to be played. Simply dismiss the source because they actually believe what they are claiming? And you do not, of course (if you haven't picked that up from the other points already!), so obviously they are wrong!



I have a fine baloney detection kit, and this "baloney detection kit" is baloney.


Your post is full of bombast and rhetoric.

I highly reccomend that you read my previous post on the matter. (You should find it directly above the one I am replying to now.)

Deny ignorance.

[edit on 7-4-2010 by RedBird]



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:32 PM
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Well, I have to give some credit to those being skeptical of the skeptics' guidelines I suppose. But I suspect that those so inclined to challenge the "baloney detection kit" probably believe in some baloney and like it that way.



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:33 PM
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Originally posted by RedBird
Your post is full of bombast and rhetoric.

I highly reccomend that you read my previous post on the matter. (You should find it directly above the one I am replying to now.)


I don't care for what you post.

If anyone has a problem with what I post I will argue each specific point with them.

We already have a "baloney detection kit" and it's called "the scientific method." Anything else is claptrap, including this little check-list of making sure everything is compatible with authorities and conforms to what one already believes.



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:35 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
Well, I have to give some credit to those being skeptical of the skeptics' guidelines I suppose. But I suspect that those so inclined to challenge the "baloney detection kit" probably believe in some baloney and like it that way.


This coming from someone who confuses rhetorical arguments with literal ones and has a record of being unable to validate their own assertions with the kind of proof they demand of others.

You guys can keep it coming all day! I'll still be here waiting for someone to start the nitty gritty on my first post on this thread above. Looking forward to it.



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:44 PM
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Originally posted by bsbray11
This coming from someone who confuses rhetorical arguments with literal ones and has a record of being unable to validate their own assertions with the kind of proof they demand of others.


If you're going to be accusatory, at least be honest about things. You tried to derail a thread by nitpicking one of my posts and I refused to engage your derailing attempt. Apparently to your profound irritation.

And I was right, at least in your case. You pick apart the "kit", and you believe in things that you cannot readly support with evidence, a.k.a., "baloney".



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:51 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
If you're going to be accusatory, at least be honest about things. You tried to derail a thread by nitpicking one of my posts and I refused to engage your derailing attempt. Apparently to your profound irritation.


No, you claimed there was evidence for something or other and thus the thread itself was pointless, and so I asked what this evidence was, and you immediately backed away and accuse me of "nitpicking."


It's not irritating to me. Not a single one of the people who argue in favor of the 9/11 OS, have ever manned up to the challenge of showing what has actually been proven. Not a single damned one of you, in all the years I've been posting here. So no, it's not irritating, but it's kind of comical and sad at the same time. Like Copernicus' days all over again.


And I was right, at least in your case. You pick apart the "kit", and you believe in things that you cannot readly support with evidence, a.k.a., "baloney".


So what's the flaw with the scientific method itself, if it has to have this "baloney detection kit" to supplement it? Think about it, and tell me what the flaw is. But don't hurt yourself.



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:51 PM
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reply to post by cripmeister
 



How is skepticism the opposite of belief when skepticism is a belief in itself? To be skeptical instead of open is a tendency you choose to have and believe. I do not see the a separation between the two. "Believers" generally tend to believe in something if it sounds plausible to them. "Skeptics" generally tend to believe in materialistic proof of ideas and that proof should be verified by science. These are my overall generalizations anyway. Let me guess, this is philosophical and has no basis ; )



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by bsbray11

No, you claimed there was evidence for something or other and thus the thread itself was pointless, and so I asked what this evidence was, and you immediately backed away and accuse me of "nitpicking."


It's not irritating to me. Not a single one of the people who argue in favor of the 9/11 OS, have ever manned up to the challenge of showing what has actually been proven. Not a single damned one of you, in all the years I've been posting here. So no, it's not irritating, but it's kind of comical and sad at the same time. Like Copernicus' days all over again.


That is not what happened, this is not a 911 thread, and nobody wants to hear the problems you encountered in debate in other threads.



So what's the flaw with the scientific method itself, if it has to have this "baloney detection kit" to supplement it? Think about it, and tell me what the flaw is. But don't hurt yourself.


I believe wholeheartedly in scientific method. The "kit" is designed to address psueodoscientfic and/or unsupported claims. I can't see where anyone would have a problem with acquiring the ability to detect nonsense when presented, unless you're either presenting some yourself or have bought into some already.



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 02:01 PM
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Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
I believe wholeheartedly in scientific method. The "kit" is designed to address psueodoscientfic and/or unsupported claims.


And the scientific method is not?

You still have not explained what the problem with the scientific method is, that it should include this "kit."



posted on Apr, 7 2010 @ 02:26 PM
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Originally posted by bsbray11

Originally posted by traditionaldrummer
I believe wholeheartedly in scientific method. The "kit" is designed to address psueodoscientfic and/or unsupported claims.


And the scientific method is not?

You still have not explained what the problem with the scientific method is, that it should include this "kit."


With all due respect you seem to be missing the whole point. The "baloney detection kit" is a set of tools and guidelines for skeptical thinking, not a replacement for nor supplement to the scientific method. It would be useful in addressing such things as religious claims, an area in which the scientific method may not have any efficacy. Hopefully that will clear up your confusion.




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