Archive | Evaluating evidence

Crap Detection links

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With acknowledgement to Howard Rheingold, as published in his article in the SFGate of the San Francisco Chronicle and reproduced here.

Teachable moment: Crap Detecting
Assessing the Credibility of Online Sources
The CRAP Test
Urban Legends
Check quality of backlinks (links TO a site)
Newstrust guide to finding good journalism online
Museum of Hoaxes
Urban Legends (
Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit"

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Crap Detection 101

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"Every man should have a built-in automatic crap detector operating inside him."
Ernest Hemingway, 1954

An excellent article by Howard Rheingold published in SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Unless a great many people learn the basics of online crap detection and begin applying their critical faculties en masse and very soon, I fear for the future of the Internet as a useful source of credible news, medical advice, financial information, educational resources, scholarly and scientific research."

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Faith drops – in response

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Colleen (from Faith drops) added a comment to the posting of the ASA ruling against the claims of Faith drops. As the comment is far too long, I have added it as a posting.

Colleen (from Faith drops) writes:

To Harris / Geffen / Roy Jobson…. And anyone else

It would appear that everyone is on a mission – I guess we are keeping this site active by swallowing the bait – as before I am even able to respond to one thing they are on to the next……    Allow me to have my say – then by all means, everyone – have at it!!!   
Put the truth on your blog – not an extraction of something that is taken totally out of context –  at the very least the reading … Read the rest

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20 Common Logical Fallacies

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What is a logical fallacy?

All arguments have the same basic structure: A therefore B. They begin with one or more premises (A), which is a fact or assumption upon which the argument is based. They then apply a logical principle (therefore) to arrive at a conclusion (B). An example of a logical principle is that of equivalence. For example, if you begin with the premises that A=B and B=C, you can apply the logical principle of equivalence to conclude that A=C. A logical fallacy is a false or incorrect logical principle. An argument that is based upon a logical fallacy is therefore not valid. It is important to note that if the logic of an argument is valid then the conclusion must also be valid, which means that if the premises are all true then the conclusion must also be true. Valid logic applied to one or more false … Read the rest

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Evidence for claims

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Grading and quality of clinical scientific evidence

Thanks to Andy Gray for bringing this to my attention.

The WHO Handbook for Guideline Development explains the process: 

"Quality is defined as the ʹextent to which one can be confident that an estimate of effect or association is correctʹ. It is a continuum, as any discrete categorization involves some degree of arbitrariness. It is based on the following criteria:

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