Baloney Detection Kit

Carl Sagan's book "The Demon Haunted World"

Sagan's Ten Tools for Skeptical Thinking
"The Fine Art of Baloney Detection"

The kit is brought out as a matter of course whenever new ideas are offered for consideration. If the new idea survives examination by the tools in our kit, we grant it warm, although tentative, acceptance. If you’re so inclined, if you don’t want to buy baloney even when it’s reassuring to do so, there are precautions that can be taken; there’s a tried-and-true, consumer-tested method.

1 Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.” NIST is part of Bush's Department of Commerce - no independent
2 Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view. Bush's 9/1 Commission did not include a single scientist, just politicians. Sen. Max Cleland quit saying it was a fraud.  WTC 7 was hardly mentioned.  Ace Elevator Company was never investigated. Same with SecuraCom security guard.  No investigation of Larry Silverstein, who got $4.2 billion.
3 Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts. Bush and Cheney claimed that Osama Bin Laden did it.
4 Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy. Only the Bush Story of 9/11 was considered by the Bush Commission.
5 Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will. No alternatives such as Remote Control Take Over of the jets, using Boeing's patented technology or Ace Elevator Company planting explosives in the shafts, or LVI Systems planting explosives above the ceiling panels.
6 Quantify. If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging. Dr. Harrit, Dr. Jones, and Dr. Farrer specifically measured chemicals found in the dust from the World Trade Center, and found active thermitic residue.
This experiment is being replicated at an independent lab.
A new experiment using spectral analysis, that does not harm the dust, is planned.
7 If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them. Bush's argument is "they hate us for our freedoms", then proceeds to take them away from Americans.  The story of the box cutters comes form Barbara Olson's alleged phone call to her husband Ted (who worked for Bush).  But the FBI and DoJ stated in the Moussaoui trial, that the call had a duration of zero seconds.
8 Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler. Controlled demolition, as with other buildings, matches the observations. 
9 Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say — in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result. Dr. Sham's "thermal expansion" theory has never been shown to work on actual steel, not NIST's computer simulation cartoons.

Michael Shermer's version - 10 Questions
rephrased and reordered from Carl Sagan's
with Richard Dawkins

1 How reliable is the source of the claim? Bush, Cheney?  What science background do they have?     They have been caught on other lies, such as Iraq WMDs.
2 Does the source make similar claims?  
3 Have the claims been verified by somebody else? NIST is part of the Executive Branch and answered to Bush & Cheney.     NIST will not release the data for their computer simulation cartoons.


4 Does this fit with the way the world works? Nobody had replicated, even in a model, a steel structure completely collapsing just due to fire.
5 Has anyone tried to disprove the claim? Here are 22 papers in non-truther journals
Plus there are over 60 peer reviewed papers in
6 Where does the preponderance of evidence point? There is abundant evidence of a cover up, and key people were not investigated by Bush's investigation. 
7 Is the claimant playing by the rules of science. Lynn Margulis Sagan, speaking about NIST's report:   "this is not science"
NIST refuses FOIA requests to release the data they used for their computer simulation cartoons of the WTC towers.
8  Is the claimant providing positive evidence? Nanothermite was found by Dr. Niels Harrit, Dr. Steven Jones, Dr. Jeff Farrer et al.
A replication study of this is currently in the works.     Where is Bin Laden's body
9  Does the new theory account for as may phenomenon as the old theory. Boeing's patented Remote Control Take Over technology (visible to anyone at USPTO.Gov) looks just like a hijacking, same flight path, same radar signal, same crash evidence, same DNA.
10 Are personal beliefs driving the claim? The Neocon members of the Project for a New Century, including Cheney and Bush's brother said: "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor."

The Bush Story of 9/11 does not hold up to
Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit

Sage Sagans - 9/11 Truthers

Association for Nine Eleven Truth Awareness