Thursday, February 9, 2012

Michael Shermer's baloney detection kit

This is brief, but quite useful. (I think Michael Shermer took this "baloney detection kit" idea from Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, which is an exceptionally good book. I highly recommend it.)

If you want a longer video explanation of such things, you might check out Here Be Dragons, a 40-minute video by Brian Dunning that's really quite good.

I'd just like to add that, if you understand why science works, you'll understand why it's rational for us laymen to accept - provisionally, as all science is provisional - the scientific consensus.

And that will save a lot of time. None of us has enough time to research all of the crazy things out there, not if we have a life we want to live, too. So if you can simply accept the scientific consensus - for good reason, mind - when it comes to many issues, that will save tons of time and make all this manageable.

But to do that, at least as a rational human being, you must understand the scientific method. You must understand why science works. You must understand that it's not infallible, but that it's always the smart bet. Science is easily the best way we've ever discovered of determining the truth.

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