One of the more distressing things about organized skepticism is how they’ve tainted science and reason — too often it seems that opportunists have grabbed the principles as handy talking points that they can babble about while acting in ways that befoul the good ideas. But sometimes they get caught at it.
Jason Kottke wrote a post crediting Michael Shermer with popularizing Carl Sagan’s rules — his baloney detection kit. Then he was informed about Shermer’s reputation, so he rewrote the post and put in this addendum.
Update: After I posted this, a reader let me know that Michael Shermer has been accused by several women of sexually inappropriate & predatory behavior and rape at professional conferences. I personally believe women, and I further believe that if Shermer was actually serious about rationality and his ten rules for critical thinking listed above, he wouldn’t have pulled this shit in the first place (nor tried to hamfistedly explain it away). I’ve rewritten the post to remove the references to Shermer, which actually made it more succinct and put the focus fully on Sagan, which was my intention in the first place (the title remains unchanged). (via @dmetilli)
It’s dismaying that it takes this long to get the word out, but eventually, we can hope the truth will win. It’s just a shame that someone can profit for so long off Carl Sagan’s reputation when their life is a standing repudiation of Sagan’s ideas.
Shermer still gets invited to skeptic events, by the way.