18 Mar 2010, 03:08
<> Before commencing to debunk, prepare your equipment. Equipment needed: one armchair.
<> Put on the right face. Cultivate a condescending air that suggests that your personal opinions are backed by the full faith and credit of God. Employ vague, subjective, dismissive terms such as "ridiculous" or "trivial" in a manner that suggests they have the full force of scientific authority.
<> Portray science not as an open-ended process of discovery but as a holy war against unruly hordes of quackery- worshipping infidels. Since in war the ends justify the means, you may fudge, stretch or violate the scientific method, or even omit it entirely, in the name of defending the scientific method.
<> Keep your arguments as abstract and theoretical as possible. This will "send the message" that accepted theory overrides any actual evidence that might challenge it--and that therefore no such evidence is worth examining.
<> Reinforce the popular misconception that certain subjects are inherently unscientific. In other words, deliberately confuse the *process* of science with the *content* of science. (Someone may, of course, object that since science is a universal approach to truth-seeking it must be neutral to subject matter; hence, only the investigative *process* can be scientifically responsible or irresponsible. If that happens, dismiss such objections using a method employed successfully by generations of politicians: simply reassure everyone that "there is no contradiction here!")
<> Arrange to have your message echoed by persons of authority. The degree to which you can stretch the truth is directly proportional to the prestige of your mouthpiece.
<> Always refer to unorthodox statements as "claims," which are "touted," and to your own assertions as "facts," which are "stated."
<> Avoid examining the actual evidence. This allows you to say with impunity, "I have seen absolutely no evidence to support such ridiculous claims!" (Note that this technique has withstood the test of time, and dates back at least to the age of Galileo. By simply refusing to look through his telescope, the ecclesiastical authorities bought the Church over three centuries' worth of denial free and clear!)
<> If examining the evidence becomes unavoidable, report back that "there is nothing new here!" If confronted by a watertight body of evidence that has survived the most rigorous tests, simply dismiss it as being "too pat."
<> Equate the necessary skeptical component of science with *all* of science. Emphasize the narrow, stringent, rigorous and critical elements of science to the exclusion of intuition, inspiration, exploration and integration. If anyone objects, accuse them of viewing science in exclusively fuzzy, subjective or metaphysical terms.
<> Insist that the progress of science depends on explaining the unknown in terms of the known. In other words, science equals reductionism. You can apply the reductionist approach in any situation by discarding more and more and more evidence until what little is left can finally be explained entirely in terms of established knowledge.
<> Downplay the fact that free inquiry and legitimate disagreement are a normal part of science.
<> Make yourself available to media producers who seek "balanced reporting" of unorthodox views. However, agree to participate in only those presentations whose time constraints and a-priori bias preclude such luxuries as discussion, debate and cross-examination.
<> At every opportunity reinforce the notion that what is familiar is necessarily rational. The unfamiliar is therefore irrational, and consequently inadmissible as evidence.
<> State categorically that the unconventional may be dismissed as, at best, an honest misinterpretation of the conventional.
<> Characterize your opponents as "uncritical believers." Summarily dismiss the notion that debunkery itself betrays uncritical belief, albeit in the status quo.
<> Maintain that in investigations of unconventional phenomena, a single flaw invalidates the whole. In conventional contexts, however, you may sagely remind the world that, "after all, situations are complex and human beings are imperfect."
<> "Occam's Razor," or the "principle of parsimony," says the correct explanation of a mystery will usually involve the simplest fundamental principles. Insist, therefore, that the most familiar explanation is by definition the simplest! Imply strongly that Occam's Razor is not merely a philosophical rule of thumb but an immutable law.
18 Mar 2010, 04:08
18 Mar 2010, 06:15
06 May 2010, 02:42
06 May 2010, 03:17
17 Sep 2010, 03:10
23 Sep 2010, 13:33
Scepcop wrote:The author sent me the new version of his article "Zen and the Art of Debunkery". Here it is:
21 Dec 2017, 10:30