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InvisibletrendalM
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Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 04/17/01
Posts: 19,378
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit"
    #4717962 - 09/27/05 01:35 AM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Warning signs that suggest deception. Based on the book by Carl Sagan "The Demon Haunted World". The following are suggested as tools for testing arguments and detecting fallacious or fraudulent arguments:

Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the facts.

Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.

Arguments from authority carry little weight (in science there are no "authorities").

Spin more than one hypothesis - don't simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.

Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours.

Quantify, wherever possible.

If there is a chain of argument every link in the chain must work.

Occam's razor - if there are two hypotheses that explain the data equally well choose the simpler.

Ask whether the hypothesis can, at least in principle, be falsified (shown to be false by some unambiguous test). In other words, it is testable? Can others duplicate the experiment and get the same result?

Additional issues are:

Conduct control experiments - especially "double blind" experiments where the person taking measurements is not aware of the test and control subjects.

Check for confounding factors - separate the variables.

Common fallacies of logic and rhetoric:

Ad hominem - attacking the arguer and not the argument.

Argument from "authority".

Argument from adverse consequences (putting pressure on the decision maker by pointing out dire consequences of an "unfavorable" decision).

Appeal to ignorance (absence of evidence is not evidence of absence).

Special pleading (typically referring to god's will).

Begging the question (assuming an answer in the way the question is phrased).

Observational selection (counting the hits and forgetting the misses).

Statistics of small numbers (such as drawing conclusions from inadequate sample sizes).

Misunderstanding the nature of statistics (President Eisenhower expressing astonishment and alarm on discovering that fully half of all Americans have below average intelligence!)

Inconsistency (e.g. military expenditures based on worst case scenarios but scientific projections on environmental dangers thriftily ignored because they are not "proved").

Non sequitur - "it does not follow" - the logic falls down.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc - "it happened after so it was caused by" - confusion of cause and effect.

Meaningless question ("what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?).

Excluded middle - considering only the two extremes in a range of possibilities (making the "other side" look worse than it really is).

Short-term v. long-term - a subset of excluded middle ("why pursue fundamental science when we have so huge a budget deficit?").

Slippery slope - a subset of excluded middle - unwarranted extrapolation of the effects (give an inch and they will take a mile).

Confusion of correlation and causation.

Caricaturing (or stereotyping) a position to make it easier to attack.

Suppressed evidence or half-truths.

Weasel words - for example, use of euphemisms for war such as "police action" to get around limitations on Presidential powers. "An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public"


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: trendal]
    #4717989 - 09/27/05 01:39 AM (11 years, 2 months ago)

This should be stickied. :thumbup:


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: Silversoul]
    #4718039 - 09/27/05 01:46 AM (11 years, 2 months ago)

BTW, I'd like to add to the list of fallacies the "Google it" fallacy, in which person making the claim shifts the burden of proof away from them to the inquiring party, often by telling them to look it up, or "google it." This is a fallacy I see committed regularly on this forum.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: Silversoul]
    #4718109 - 09/27/05 01:58 AM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Paradigm said:
BTW, I'd like to add to the list of fallacies the "Google it" fallacy, in which person making the claim shifts the burden of proof away from them to the inquiring party, often by telling them to look it up, or "google it."  This is a fallacy I see committed regularly on this forum.




:thumbup:

That one's a total cop-out.

I think I've been guilty of it once or twice, to be honest, so if you catch me trying it again slap me a few times and link to this thread :wink: :grin:


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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OfflinePhluck
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: trendal]
    #4718826 - 09/27/05 09:31 AM (11 years, 2 months ago)

I think there are a few exceptions for "Google it", like when Googling it immediately and easily proves the point.

ie.

"Harvard has a website."

"No it doesn't."

"Google it."


--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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InvisibletrendalM
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Folding@home Statistics
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: Phluck]
    #4719132 - 09/27/05 11:47 AM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Yeah that's true, too.

I think paradigm was thinking more of the "I'm not going to do your research for you...google it!" type of responses. Those usually come when someone just doesn't feel like explaining their side of the argument...so they say "google it" to try and put the effort on their opponent.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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Offlinedrtyfrnk
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: trendal]
    #4719259 - 09/27/05 12:21 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

I like this thread! Good job Trendal!


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It's Krang, Bitch!  :krang:


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Offlinefireworks_godS
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: trendal]
    #4719387 - 09/27/05 12:58 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
Misunderstanding the nature of statistics (President Eisenhower expressing astonishment and alarm on discovering that fully half of all Americans have below average intelligence!)




Effectively demonstrating to all exactly which percentile he personally belonged in. :wink:

:headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :satansmoking:
Peace. :mushroom2:


--------------------
:redpanda:
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

:heartpump: :bunnyhug: :yinyang:

:yinyang: :levitate: :earth: :levitate: :yinyang:


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InvisibletrendalM
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Folding@home Statistics
Registered: 04/17/01
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: fireworks_god]
    #4719560 - 09/27/05 01:42 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

fireworks_god said:
Effectively demonstrating to all exactly which percentile he personally belonged in. :wink:




:lol:

Too true...


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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InvisibleVeritas
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: Silversoul]
    #4719830 - 09/27/05 02:47 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Paradigm said:
This should be stickied. :thumbup:




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InvisibleSwami
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Registered: 01/19/00
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: fireworks_god]
    #4726682 - 09/28/05 08:04 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Took a Traffic School course this week. (Been playing too much Steve McQueen.)

No joke: Seatbelts are mandatory because fully half of all traffic fatalities are those who do not wear a seat belt.

I cannot make this stuff up. Retardation is rampant everywhere.


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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OfflineBooby
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: Swami]
    #4726720 - 09/28/05 08:15 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Swami said:
Retardation is rampant everywhere.




"I fish for anything that will take a line." Another Huey quote


--------------------
Let it not be remembered
That mycelium eats detritus and dies
But that life in all it's glory
Counts mycelium to be on it's side.


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: trendal]
    #4726743 - 09/28/05 08:19 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Scientists are the cream of the crop for humanity. Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, many of the famous ones are so logical and realistic as to make my head explode with joy.

Finally, a refreshing alternative to the all the bullshit 99.9% of people believe.


--------------------
So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: Swami]
    #4726773 - 09/28/05 08:25 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Swami said:
Took a Traffic School course this week. (Been playing too much Steve McQueen.)

No joke: Seatbelts are mandatory because fully half of all traffic fatalities are those who do not wear a seat belt.



That might actually be significant if the majority of drivers wear seatbelts.


--------------------


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Offlinephi1618
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: Swami]
    #4726797 - 09/28/05 08:30 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Swami said:
Took a Traffic School course this week. (Been playing too much Steve McQueen.)

No joke: Seatbelts are mandatory because fully half of all traffic fatalities are those who do not wear a seat belt.

I cannot make this stuff up. Retardation is rampant everywhere.





That's totally different than "half of <> are below average".
Most people probably wear seatbelts.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: phi1618]
    #4726817 - 09/28/05 08:34 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Yes, but half of those who do wear seltbelts are killed. So where is the advantage?


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: Swami]
    #4726840 - 09/28/05 08:38 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Are only half of the people who get into accidents wearing seatbelts? If so, then the statistic is meaningless. But if, as I suspect, the majority of people who get in accidents are wearing their seatbelts, but they only comprise half the fatalities, then that means that the seatbelt makes them statistically more likely to survive a crash.

Wow, of all the people I'd expect to understand statistics...


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Offlinephi1618
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: Swami]
    #4726890 - 09/28/05 08:44 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Seatbelts are mandatory because fully half of all traffic fatalities are those who do not wear a seat belt.



Quote:

Yes, but half of those who do wear seltbelts are killed. So where is the advantage?




There are A people involved in serious trafic accidents.
Of these, B are wearing seatbelts and C are not.

So, A = B+C.

Most people wear seatbelts.

So, B > C.

Of the A people involved in accidents, D die.
Of these, E are wearing seatbelts and F are not.

So, D = E+F

Half of all fatalities are those who don't wear seatbelts.

So, F = D/2 = E


The portion of those people who are involved in traffic accidents while wearing seatbelts who die is F/B, and the portion of those people who are involved w/o seatbelts is E/C.

E = F, and B > C,
so
F/B < E/C


In other words, if you get into an accident while wearing a seatbelt, the chances of you dying are less than if you weren't wearing a seatbelt.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: trendal]
    #4730445 - 09/29/05 10:47 AM (11 years, 2 months ago)

Nice!! :smile:


On a side note: I just want to point out how good of a book "The Demon Haunted World" is. It's been a few years since I've read it, but it's a great one to read!

Dr. Sagan really knew what he thought about everything (and I mean EVERYTHING). He was able to articulate this worldview with a degree of elegance not seen often. The Demon Haunted World is a great look at his own method of finding truth.

Another good book by Sagan, which I am currently reading, is The Dragons of Eden - where he basically lays out his own personal view of the Universe and how it works, and how we humans came to be here.


--------------------
You're here because you know something.
What you know you can't explain,
But you feel it;
You've felt it your entire life.
That there's something wrong with the world.
You don't know what it is, but it's there....
Like a splinter in your mind...
Driving you mad.


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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit" [Re: phi1618]
    #4730949 - 09/29/05 12:23 PM (11 years, 2 months ago)

You added the assumption that over half of drivers wear seatbelts, a statistic which was not in evidence anywhere in the literature.

Now if everyone wore seatbelts. The only fatalities would be from those who wore seatbelts...  :eek:


--------------------



The proof is in the pudding.


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