The Baloney Detection Kit (on RDF TV)

broadcast June 2009

With a sea of information coming at us from all directions, how do we sift out the misinformation and bogus claims, and get to the truth? Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, lays out a “Baloney Detection Kit” — ten questions we should ask when encountering a claim.

The Ten Questions

  1. How reliable is the source of the claim?
  2. Does the source make similar claims?
  3. Have the claims been verified by somebody else?
  4. Does this fit with the way the world works?
  5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
  6. Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
  7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
  8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
  9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
  10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?


This is the first video by RDFTV.
Presented by The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
Directed by Josh Timonen
Produced by Maureen Norton
Animation by Pew 36 Animation Studios
Music by Neal Acree
Post Production Sound by Sound Satisfaction
Supervising Sound Editor/Re-Recording Mixer: Gary J. Coppola, C.A.S.
Sound Editor: Ben Rauscher
Production Assistant: Graham Immel
Copyright © 2009 Upper Branch Productions, Inc.

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54 Comments to “The Baloney Detection Kit (on RDF TV)”

  1. Ahmad Says:

    Can science put a value to art?
    Can it say which art is more beautiful than another?

    Can science produce life or create a protein life from new?
    Do you actually believe in Darwinism which has been disproved over and over again?

    In a way science is like economics. They can explain why one thing happened from any angle or perspective, but they can’t do much about it. I’d like science a whole lot more if we can use it to turn politicians into tadpoles.

  2. Ellen Says:

    what is about metaphysical matters? what is about time line of science progress, how about Earth being flat and only later being discovered not so? Science is always subject of the up to the date discoveries and not an absolute truth on time line.
    And even science now accepts placebo effect as real.
    By the way I am an engineer(MSEEE) with an experience in physics research.
    Best regards,

  3. Robert Bowersock Says:

    I do understand what the guy in the video is saying about. In regards to social class and how are things built prier to modern technological gadgets we have today. As to some people who believe in these end of the world baloney nonsense that seams to be every year there’s always some guy predicting the world will on such & such date and time, as for those who believe in Ufos, Ghost, Paranormal activity’s are complete Baloney. As are fear in terrorism is true and could i major attack on a unsuspecting city might possibly happen after the death of terrorist osama bin laden (al Queda leader formally) it may spark a major terrorist attack worst then 9/11. For example: How people reacted to the beating Rodney king in 1991 by the four LAPD police officer’s witch spark the 1992 La riots with a result of 53 deaths & 3000 injuries. As i do think science is real and is why there is a lot of modern stuff today. Honestly i don’t take the word form anybody especially people like Barrack Obama who is a liar and make people think we out of the recession in 2011 but lied as we were still in it. Police chief’s and sheriff’s are suppose to earn the public trust to earn integrity during there career.

  4. M Says:

    Why hasn’t anyone said that there “Must be a picture of the object in question to be clear and not blurry?” Why is it that every picture of what is “supernatural” always is out of focus? Can’t anyone hold a camera still? Amazing!