21 September 2009

What’s that smell? Spotting fakes and frauds

I’m surprised I've never seen this list of seven warning signs of bogus science. (The second one made the most recent appearance in this blog of the seven, here.)

For long term stuff, I might add something Arthur C. Clarke said on an episode of the television series, Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. Though I don’t have the exact quote, it was along the lines of:

Science generally gets to the bottom of things in 50 years &ndash if there’s any bottom of things to get to.

If a claim has persisted for decades without good evidence in its favour, it’s unlikely to ever get good evidence in its favour. Doubtless there are a few counter-examples, but these are rules of thumb, not laws.

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