Carl Sagan’s Tools for Baloney Detection #2

2. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.

On the fringes of science, and well into the areas of conspiracy theory, there is no debate on “evidence.”  There is only one view, everything else is to be discarded.  The power of debate allows for a clearer picture and interpretation of the evidence to emerge.  In numerous cases, where people have come up with theories that go against the grain, debate and analysis of evidence has allowed a greater understanding to emerge.  For instance, stress was thought to cause ulcers, but one doctor noticed that patients had high levels of a certain bacteria that could be contributing to ulcers, he was mocked.  Turns out he was right.  Stress inhibits he bodies immune system allowing the bacteria to flourish.  In this instance, both sides were right, just one side had a clearer picture of what was happening.

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