10 questions to ask when considering if something is true

While the management is in a video-embedding mood, here’s another – The Scientific Baloney Detection Kit, which arrives with us via a long and prestigious line of scientists including Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins. It’s presented by Michael Schermer, editor of Skeptic magazine and offers the following ten questions to be applied to any evidence you wish to assess:

  • How reliable is the source of the claim?
  • Does the source make similar claims?
  • Have the claims been verified by somebody else?
  • Does this fit with the way the world works?
  • Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
  • Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
  • Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
  • Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
  • Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
  • Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

Now, I dislike knee-jerk scepticism as much as I do people who effortlessly believe six impossible things about breakfast. But I love critical thinking – and I like the way that this list would weed out sceptical dogma as well as it would unquestioning belief. So, on the basis of that, here’s the video: