Thursday, August 25, 2011

Let people discuss this before believing

Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World” is a wonderful primer on the subject, and offers us a “baloney-detection kit” for identifying bad arguments:
  • Seek independent confirmation of alleged facts.
  • Encourage an open debate about the issue and the available evidence.
  • "In science, there are no authorities. At most, there are experts."
  • Come up with a variety of competing hypotheses explaining a given outcome. Considering many different explanations will lower the risk of confirmation bias.
  • Don't get too attached to your own ideas, lest you get reluctant to reject them even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
  • Quantify whenever possible, allowing for easier comparisons between hypotheses' relative explanatory powers.
  • Every step in an argument must be logically sound, a single weak link can doom the entire chain.
  • When the evidence is inconclusive, use Occam's Razor to discriminate between hypotheses.
  • Pay attention to falsifiability. Science does not concern itself with unfalsifiable propositions
arranged by Innaiah Narisetti
with inspiration from Carl Sagan whom he met in 1994 in Washington DC

1 comment:

Don Wharton said...

Innaiah, this is an excellent post. Even though it does not have a lot of comments it has attracted the most page views over the last month - Don 10/7/11