The Nine Warning Signs of Bogus Science

Secular Blasphemy, which has several other great articles, has a summary of the seven warning signs of bogus science. I’ve added two of my own. For laypeople trying to sort through some of the difficult issues today, these are good to keep in mind:

  • The discoverer pitches the claim directly to the media.
  • The discoverer says that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his or her work.
  • The scientific effect involved is always at the very limit of detection.
  • Evidence for a discovery is anecdotal.
  • The discoverer says a belief is credible because it has endured for centuries.
  • The discoverer has worked in isolation.
  • The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation.
  • The discoverer refuses to show his data.(I’m not linking to the R-elians here, but you know what I mean)
  • The discoverer claims only he or she can do the technique
  • The foundation of scientific integrity is peer-review and reproducibility. One scientist making a claim doesn’t make the claim true. See rhetorical strategies. Getting an article published in a major scientific journal doesn’t even mean that it is an eternal truth, but if someone is making a big claim by himself, and no colleagues nor journals are backing him up, then check your bogometer.