This is a story about a man named Gullible Gavin. Gavin jolted upright at the sound of his alarm clock, and made sure he put on his energy bracelet before getting out of bed. After showering and dressing himself, Gavin dipped a single tea leaf in a bath of hot water, before draining the bath and refilling it again to brew a nice strong cup of homeopathic tea. Making his way downstairs, Gavin picked up today’s copy of “Quack Daily” while thinking about what to have for breakfast, and decided on a nice bowl of gluten-free pale-o’s lightly drizzled with snake oil. Reading the front page of the newspaper, Gavin frowned at the grave, grave news. It was going to be a very unlucky day for those born under Sagittarius. And now in what couldn’t possibly be a coincidence, Gavin couldn’t find his keys. He was so sure he left them by the healing crystals, or were they perhaps by the acupuncture kit? Panic began to set in. Gavin was surely going to be late for work.
At last! Saturday! Gavin rejoyced in his hard earned freedom, and decided to waste some time on the internet. But what’s this? An article about “debunking pseudoscience”? It soon dawned on Gavin that something was horribly, horribly wrong, and in his scrambled attempt to find out the truth, Gavin stumbled upon the most terrifying thing he’d seen in his life. Evidence.
It wasn’t even lunchtime yet, and Gavin had read his way through several hundred articles on skepticism, and decided to make some notes in the form of a checklist for testing any claim, which went as follows:
– Is every premise verifiable?
(Are the starting assumptions true?)
– Is the logic valid?
(Does the logic make it impossible for the conclusion to be false?)
– Is the claim falsifiable?
(Can the claim be tested?)
– Is the “evidence” or information reliable?
(Does repeating the test yield consistent results? What is the original source of the information?)
– Is the “evidence” or information independently verifiable?
(Are the results of the test replicable with others? Have you fact-checked the information?)
Armed with this magnificent checklist, Gavin knew that his days of gullibility were over. Leaning back in his chair and letting out a sigh of relief, Gavin began thinking about how he simply couldn’t wait for the next Social Zen post to come out.