I discovered this video today which lists 10 questions to help you decide whether a viewpoint, opinion, theory is worth taking on board and believing. Here are the questions that will help you detect bullshit (actually they called it the baloney detector kit but no one says baloney in Australia). Write them down and take them to conferences and see how the speakers fair—ask questions and if you don’t really understand what they are saying, pull them up and ask them to say it simply. It’s harder to convey your ideas simply than to use jargon. Don’t let them baffle you with bullshit.
- How reliable is the source of the claim?
- Does the source make similar claims? (eg. if you are into magic (or evolution), then all your ideas have a magic (or evolution) bent)
- 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? (it’s too easy to just bag the other side)
- Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
- Are personal beliefs driving the claim?
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: