Seven Signs of Phoney Science

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Thanks to Erin Jeffries for spotting this piece on the seven signs of phoney science.

1. The discoverer pitches the claim directly to the media.

2. The discoverer says that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his or her work.

3. The scientific effect involved is always at the very limit of detection.

4. Evidence for a discovery is anecdotal.

5. The discoverer says a belief is credible because it has endured for centuries.

6. The discoverer has worked in isolation.

7. The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation.

Some of these don’t apply to the climate change “skeptics,” although they often claim that they are standing up against a “powerful establishment” of scientists and governments, all of whom have noticed the obvious.

Some other rules might be:

8. Follow the money. Ask yourself if there is profit to be made in touting one unlikely scientific claim over another.

9. Be wary when someone uses an obvious truth (i.e., “the weather is variable”) to bolster an unsustainable conclusion (“climate change is unpredictable”).


For more on the who’s who of the climate denial industry, check out our comprehensive climate deniers research database.

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