Dan and I have been bantering back and forth on the war on Derek’s site. It’s an interesting read..
Dan, after reading Demon Haunted World once again last night, I found the references you were pointing to. Show me where Sagan’s rules of proof aren’t valid.
1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the facts.
Both the US and Britain have intelligence resources that Saddam has developed Chemical and Biological weapons. Saddam has also been hell bent on developing a nuclear weapon. This has been proven by numerous defectors from the Iraqi regieme as well.
2. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
Which has been done for the past three months. Maybe you didn’t hear of it, it’s called the United Nations.
3. Arguments from authority carry little weight (in science there are no “authorities”).
This is actually quite funny, so a two year old who has never looked at a telescope knew just as much about the universe as the (now dead) Mr. Sagan?
4. Spin more than one hypothesis – don’t simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
Tried and done. I think that’s when we started the inspections back eleven years ago.
5. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours.
Quantify, wherever possible.

Eleven Years of Inspections
Eighteen Resolutions Calling for Disarmament
Three Presidents who have called for regieme change
Five Years of No Inspectors on the Ground after they were kicked out
6. If there is a chain of argument every link in the chain must work. “Occam’s razor” – if there are two hypothesis that explain the data equally well choose the simpler.
Which is the simpler argument?

  • A worldwide conspiricy exists to remove Saddam from power and seize the oil fields of Iraq so the US and Britain can exploit them for generations. Also, the conspiricy has also entngled several Iraqi scientists who want Saddam removed for their own personal gains.
  • Saddam has lied and does possess WMDs.
    7. Ask whether the hypothesis can, at least in principle, be falsified (shown to be false by some unambiguous test). In other words, it is testable? Can others duplicate the experiment and get the same result?
    Hmm, well we’d have to get another dictator in some backwash country. You might have me on that one.