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How Do You Avoid Pseudoscience?

August 19, 2010

I’m working on lectures for my classes on how to think critically and recognize woo. Joseph Calabrese’s Legends, Lore, and Lies is one of the texts I’m using to create the lectures.

His guidelines for evaluating claims are worth repeating here (though I suspect regular readers have little need of being reminded of the skeptic’s tool kit:

•”Defer to simpler explanations.”
•”Insist on exceptional levels of proof for extraordinary claims.”
•”Imagine alternative explanations for phenomena.”
•”Remember that fraud is common.”
•”Remember that people can delude themselves.”
•”When possible, devise tests.”

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