Not sure what to believe?
Start using your Baloney Detection Kit.
The idea of a ‘Baloney Detection Kit‘ originates with the late Carl Sagan, as detailed in his classic book ‘The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark‘, and is really about applying the scientific approach to assessing claims about anything. It applies to everything we do in our daily lives, and especially in medicine where so much baloney is thrown around – whether its by the likes of Big Pharma or practitioners of Woo.
Here Michael Shermer describes his version of the ‘Baloney Detection Kit’. Keep one one you at all times.
Michael Shermer’s 10 question BDK:
- 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?
Finally, in case you don’t feel geeked out enough, here’s ‘We Are All Connected’ from the Symphony of Science (hat tip to @MovinMeat – yet again). It’s a fitting tribute to the likes of Sagan and Richard Feynman, two men who truly saw the beauty of reality and shared it with us all.
Not explaining science seems to me perverse. When you’re in love, you want to tell the worldCarl Sagan
Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.
After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.
He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE. He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.
His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.
On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.