Crackpots, Quacks, Baloney and Quotes on Skepticism

With the understandable, almost militant enthusiasm around AGW, I would like to remind everybody (skeptical or not of AGW) of three insightful lists of signs of a “scientific” theory being something “baloney” made up by “crackpots” or “quacks.

Plus some quotes by Carl Sagan on skepticism.

(1) “Trademarks of Crackpot Theories

(2) “Are you a quack?

(3) Sagan’s “Baloney’s Detection Kit

I am not saying anybody pro- or against AGW is espousing deranged hypotheses with no basis on reality. Still, it would be so much simpler if everybody (and I mean, everybody) compared their pet and/or collective thinking to the lists above.

No need to reinvent the wheel.

For example it would be nice to read that so-and-so theory is “baloney according to Sagan” because of this or that claim or behavior.

Or that persons supporting a particular theory are usually guilty of quack-signs number m, n and p.

And now with the quotes:

You can get into a habit of thought in which you enjoy making fun of all those other people who don’t see things as clearly as you do. We have to guard carefully against it.” – Carl Sagan, 1987 CSICOP meeting

People are not stupid. They believe things for reasons. The last way for skeptics to get the attention of bright, curious, intelligent people is to belittle or condescend or to show arrogance toward their beliefs.” – Carl Sagan

The chief deficiency I see in the skeptical movement is its polarization: Us vs. Them — the sense that we have a monopoly on the truth; that those other people who believe in all these stupid doctrines are morons; that if you’re sensible, you’ll listen to us; and if not, to hell with you. This is nonconstructive. It does not get our message across. It condemns us to permanent minority status.” – Carl Sagan