How to recognize Bad Science

Robert L. Park has written The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science:

bq. I began this list of warning signs to help federal judges detect scientific nonsense. But as I finished the list, I realized that in our increasingly technological society, spotting voodoo science is a skill that every citizen should develop.

The list:

# The discoverer pitches the claim directly to the media.
# The discoverer says that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his or her work.
# The scientific effect involved is always at the very limit of detection.
# Evidence for a discovery is anecdotal.
# The discoverer says a belief is credible because it has endured for centuries.
# The discoverer has worked in isolation.
# The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation.

posted at 1:38 pm on Friday, March 07, 2003 in Science and Technology | Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. Reid Ellis says:

    Let’s apply this to Galileo:

    (1) Not sure about this.. was there a media back then?
    (2) the Church was definitely suppressing things.
    (3) Gotta have the latest and greatest telescope, eh?
    (4) He said it was true, so it must be so!
    (5) Those ancient Greeks were onto something after all.
    (6) None of those Church-fearing people will help!
    (7) It’s the Earth that moves around the sun. No, really!!

    Okay, pretty lame, but still, we shouldn’t over-generalize if it can be avoided.

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