Carl Sagan is cited at small animals in reference to the climate research controversy. Sagan provided a checklist for telling good science from bad that may be useful in measuring the quality (intellectual integrity) of debate and discussion. Its topics include:

  • independent confirmation of facts
  • substantive debate on the evidence
  • authority dependence to be avoided
  • examine multiple hypotheses
  • avoid attachments to particular hypotheses
  • quantify – move to higher quality measure and observation
  • every link in the chain of argument must be valid
  • use Occam’s Razor
  • look for falsifiability and testability of ideas

There is a means to detect a difference and to measure the quality of an argument. It is commonly considered a primary goal of public education to learn it. It is a goal that often seems to have been widely missed.

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