How to Detect Bullshit

by Pete Quily on August 27, 2006 · 0 comments

The world would be a better place if everyone over the age of 16 read this and applied it.

Scott Berkun write’s a great article on how to detect what’s all to prevelant in the world today because few people use these questions

via elearning skinny

BS is usually defined as inventions made in ignorance of the facts, where the primary goal is to protect oneself…People lie for three reasons; the first is to protect themselves. They may wish to protect something they want or need, a concept they cherish, or to prevent something they fear, like confrontation. There is often a clear psychological need motivating every lie.

Here’s a few ways you can contribute to the reduction of bullshit.

The first detection tool is a question: How do you know what you know?

Throw this phrase down when someone force feeds you an idea, an argument, a reference to a study or over-confidently suggests a course of action. People so rarely have their claims challenged, that asking someone to explain how they know sheds light on whatever ignorance they’re hiding. It instantly diminishes the force of a BS driven opinion.

If everyone knows the gauntlet of friendly, but rigorous, intellectual curiosity claims must run through, BS will be discouraged while still in the minds of the tempted.

One thing I look for in detecting bullshit is self righteousness condemnation. It’s often an indicator.

What are some of your favorite ways of detecting bullshit?

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