I'm looking for a bit of crowd-sourcing. The baloney detection kit Carl Sagan outlined in The Demon-Haunted World I believe will help critical thinking and thusly the end of animal exploitation. I (perchance quite naively) believe that good critical thinking will result in the recognition of animal rights (for lack of a better phrase) and I'd like to work towards this endeavor. The idea of animal rights AND critical thinking have been outlined in obscure and abstract language. While being descriptive and correct it's hardly a sexy form of advocacy. I'm looking for some help distilling some of these concepts into easy to understand language and phrasing. Ideally it would fit on a flier or business card fold-out. I'd like to be able to easily hand this out. It's a tall order I know but let's try breaking it down.
Baloney Detection Kit:
- 1A) Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the facts
- 1B) Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
- 1C) Arguments from authority carry little weight (in science there are no "authorities").
- 1D) Spin more than one hypothesis - don't simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
- 1E) Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours.
- 1F) Quantify, wherever possible.
- 1G) If there is a chain of argument every link in the chain must work.
- 1H) "Occam's razor" - if there are two hypothesis that explain the data equally well choose the simpler.
- 1I) 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?
- 1J) Conduct control experiments - especially "double blind" experiments where the person taking measurements is not aware of the test and control subjects.
- 1K) Check for confounding factors - separate the variables.
- 2A) Ad hominem - attacking the arguer and not the argument.
- 2B) Argument from "authority".
- 2C) Argument from adverse consequences (putting pressure on the decision maker by pointing out dire consequences of an "unfavourable" decision).
- 2D) Appeal to ignorance (absence of evidence is not evidence of absence).
- 2E) Special pleading (typically referring to god's will).
- 2F) Begging the question (assuming an answer in the way the question is phrased).
- 2G) Observational selection (counting the hits and forgetting the misses).
- 2H) Statistics of small numbers (such as drawing conclusions from inadequate sample sizes).
- 2I) Misunderstanding the nature of statistics (President Eisenhower expressing astonishment and alarm on discovering that fully half of all Americans have below average intelligence!)
- 2J) Inconsistency (e.g. military expenditures based on worst case scenarios but scientific projections on environmental dangers thriftily ignored because they are not "proved").
- 2K) Non sequitur - "it does not follow" - the logic falls down.
- 2L) Post hoc, ergo propter hoc - "it happened after so it was caused by" - confusion of cause and effect.
- 2M) Meaningless question ("what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?).
- 2N) Excluded middle - considering only the two extremes in a range of possibilities (making the "other side" look worse than it really is).
- 2O) Short-term v. long-term - a subset of excluded middle ("why pursue fundamental science when we have so huge a budget deficit?").
- 2P) Slippery slope - a subset of excluded middle - unwarranted extrapolation of the effects (give an inch and they will take a mile).
- 2Q) Confusion of correlation and causation.
- 2R) Straw man - caricaturing (or stereotyping) a position to make it easier to attack..
- 2S) Suppressed evidence or half-truths.
- 2T) 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"
*stolen from here.
**Also see: Michael Shermer's Boloney Detection Kit:
THE TEN QUESTIONS
- 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?
Can you make the above points more coherent?