BOGUS DETECTOR - 5 ways to spot horse manure

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. So, why don't you already know about this?  Not that you know everything, but shouldn't you have heard about such a claim before. Like, if this claim were legit, wouldn't it be really big news. Ask yourself: How could I have missed anything so big?

 2. Who is this claim coming from?

If this claim were valid, would you be hearing about it on Facebook? Or some obscure website?  Or a infomercial on TV? No, a claim this big would come out of major institutions and universities. The mainstream media would jump all over it. Everyone would be talking about it. 

3. How would the world be different?

If a miracle tonic restored hair, wouldn't bald heads be a rare sight? Wouldn't every drug store on the planet have that amazing tonic right there on the top shelf? Ask yourself: If this claim is legit, why isn't the world rushing to get some? Unless... unless a vast conspiracy is keeping the truth from everybody.

4. Is a vast conspiracy blamed?

Are you being asked to believe some sinister
entity is suppressing the truth? Is it NASA? The AMA? The FDA? The CDC?  It's a huckster's pitch: "They don't want you to know."

But, how could the bad guys keep their evil schemes a secret? Just think of all the people who would have to remain quiet - for their whole lives. Anyone blaming conspiracy theories is pushing a big load of paranoia.

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 water-filled jars appeared on lawns up and down the block. And they actually seemed to work. But, 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. But the next time somebody makes an intriguing claim, pause before you share it, and ask yourself these five questions. Because you don't want to be spreading someone else's horse manure.