Monday, April 5, 2010

A Simple Guide for Proving Anything

I steal. There are a lot of good people out there that are smarter than myself, or at least they have more time to be smarter than I do. I am not proud. I like to point to those I steal from because proper stealing saves time, but keeps you out of prison.

I have talked a lot about how to ensure your pseudoscience is seen as science and even make science seem like pseudoscience. It is always endearing when I see that I am right.

Here is the list from Tusanami's great blog at Young Australian Skeptic:Pseudoscientific Arguments — A Simple Guide For Proving Anything

  1. Refer to science as dogma, a few times if possible.
  2. Decide on your argumentative position and then cherry pick some evidence..
  3. Read up on logical errors — these are best used as part of a convoluted argument
  4. Find an Einstein quote that sounds like it might be relevant.
  5. Have a thesaurus on hand (a better vocabulary makes your argument stronger).
  6. Write with an authoritative tone.
  7. Use scientific jargon out of context.
  8. Tout your ideas as ones that scientists are incapable of or unwilling to consider.
  9. Dispute the whole concept of a scientific fact.
  10. Use scientific facts when necessary, but warp them to support your ideas.
  11. Use labels, slander, analogies, anecdotes etc. as evidence.
  12. Start out with your more scientifically-​​sound material (e.g. stuff you learned in school, or from wikipedia) to gain the reader’s trust, then degrade into the realm of nonsense.
  13. An accusatory tone can also help — everybody loves drama.
  14. Kick it up a notch with a full-​​blown conspiracy theory — guaranteed to get you a cult following.
Here are a few additional ideas that I came up with (you know I am right):

15) Quote people that agree with you
16) Misquote or quote out of context people that disagree with you (like 4, but simpler)
17) Use statements like 'everyone knows', 'we all agree', 'only a minority disagree', 'any doctor would tell you', 'what scientists won't tell you', and any other misleading statement, no matter how untrue. Special credit for quoting Fox News.
18) "You know I am right", is a great way to cause someone to agree with you.
19) Use the word 'natural'

In essence, the use of logical fallacies works, but the key is to sell your pseudoscience with emotion and especially in ways that makes the reader feel stupid if they don't agree with you. This is exactly what Fox News does. If it works for Fox News, it is 110% approved for use by pseudoscience.