Posts Tagged ‘Baloney detection kit’


Hello, world indeed!

August 18, 2008

daunt·ing [ dáwnting ]

disheartening: likely to discourage, intimidate, or frighten somebody

That pretty much sums up how I feel at the moment.  As in creating this blog is daunting.  I’m staring at an empty page with no idea what to write, uncertain if I can summon up the ideas, let alone the wordsmithing required to place them down on…uhh…my keyboard.


Still staring back at me. It’s not gonna go away.

I read a great comment by Wil Wheaton on his blog that essentially said “Just start writing!” and fix it later.  His point being that it is much easier to fix problems on a full page than it is to fill up a blank page.  But Wil, what if my whole page turns out to be crap?  What if I turn out pages of crap?  Ahh. There goes that nasty fear, that intimidation, that daunting-ness.  Hearing Dr G say “you’re writing in passive voice”!

But what is fear?  In this case, I guess it would be that I get horrible comments criticizing my writing, my style or my facts.  Worse yet, what if no one even reads this?  Ok, ok, I have a little writer’s anxiety.  So where do these fears come from?

The unknown.

I’ve never written for an audience before, so I have no idea what to expect.  A bit of fear is natural, I suppose.  That’s kinda of why I wanted to write to begin with – to take away people’s fear.  Provide people with facts and hopefully they won’t be afraid.  But providing information alone isn’t enough.  Each of us should carry around with us what the late Carl Sagan called a “baloney detection kit“.   What does it mean?  I’m not going to begin a discussion on critical thinking, partly because it is late, but mostly because there are lots of good sources on it.

Am I being naive?  Probably.  Can I make a difference?  I hope so.  Look, I have no idea where this is going to lead except hopefully, to the truth.  At least the truth as we can know it.  Whether it be print media, television, radio, the internet or even <shudder> at school, the public is fed a lot of wrong information.  Information on everything from global warming to stem cell research.  From alternative energy to alternative medicine.

Knowing what to listen to and more importantly HOW to listen certainly can be a daunting task.

Thanks for reading TheBIOT.