Bullshit Detection – “Evidence not Credentials”

As far as Bullshit Detection goes, I appear to be on a bit of a roll at the moment. I blogged here about spotting woo words a week ago, and that resulted in some interesting debate in reddit, so I’ve added an update to that original woo-words posting.

OK then, so what else can we add to our “Bullshit detection kit”? Well how about developing a healthy respect for evidence and learning to be skeptical about claims that are backed with nothing except credentials.

You do of course appreciate that you can obtain a degree in just about anything without actually studying or passing any exams; just pay the appropriate fee and become instantly accredited. A great example is Thunderwood college. This is a site run by Brian Dunning of Skeptoid and offers you free instant degrees. Brian is not attempting to con anybody, he simply designed the site to drive home the point that many credentials are bogus and meaningless. The mainstream academic community will of course issue valid degrees as proof that the recipient has acquired a specific level of knowledge. Unfortunately, there are also thousands of others churning out worthless credentials not recognized by the academic community, so unless the credentials are from an institution that is recognised by the mainstream academic community as an accredited organization, its meaningless.

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