BOGUS DETECTOR - five questions

When someone makes an intriguing claim, ask yourself...
1. Why don't I already know about this?

You've been around for a while. You're somewhat educated, experienced, well-informed, up-to-date on most things. Not that you know everything, but intriguing claims get a lot of public attention. Ask yourself: Why don't I already know about this?

2. How would the world be different?

If a special tonic restored hair, wouldn't bald heads be a rare sight? Wouldn't every drug store on the planet have that amazing product right there on the top shelf? Ask yourself: How would the world be different?

3. Who is this claim coming from?

Are you just now learning about this claim from an infomercial? Or an obscure website? Maybe someone at work? A clerk in a quaint shop, or a Facebook comment? If this claim were legit, wouldn't it be coming from well-known sources? Unless... unless the truth is being suppressed by a vast conspiracy. 

4. Is a vast conspiracy being blamed?

What sinister entity could it be? Is it NASA? The AMA? The FDA? The CDC?  Ooooooooh, They don't want you to know.

If you think Big Pharma is hiding proof that magnets relieve arthritis, just think of all the people who would have to remain silent - for their whole lives. Ask yourself, How could the bad guys keep such an intriguing claim from the rest of the world? 

5. Does this claim rely on personal testimony?

Floyd filled glass jars with water and put them on his front lawn. He claimed the jars kept dogs from urinating on his grass. Soon Floyd's neighbors were convinced and water-filled jars appeared on lawns up and down the block. Then, gradually, over the next two years, and one-by-one, folks took in the jars. Now, it's like that whole thing never happened.

So, there you have it -

Well-meaning people passing along bogus information. 

So, the next time somebody makes an intriguing claim, pause, and ask these five questions.

 Because you don't want to be spreading someone else's horse manure.