Carl Sagan’s “Baloney Detection Kit”

Carl Sagan, one of the great scientist-communicators to the general public of the past century, author of the 1980 book Cosmos and host of the 1980 TV series of that name, has a list of ideas for how to evaluate any kind of claim, a “Baloney Detection Kit”, described many times and recently posted again here: 9 questions Carl Sagan encourages you to ask before believing anything anyone has to say.


  1. Independently confirm ‘facts’
  2. Encourage debate
  3. There are no authorities, but there are experts
  4. Spin more than one hypothesis
  5. Don’t become attached to a hypothesis because it’s yours
  6. Quantify
  7. Examine every link in a chain of arguments
  8. Occam’s Razor
  9. Always consider if a given hypothesis can be falsified; beware if not
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