Essay: How to detect bullshit

We all like to think we’re good at spotting BS, but how is it done? and why do people make stuff up to begin with? I take a shot in 2000 words.

Essay: How to detect bullshit

3 Responses to “Essay: How to detect bullshit”

  1. Bill

    I was immpressed by your paper: “How to detect bullshit”; however, I would suggest that the law of the opposite is also a very good way to detect bullshit.

    This law applies to any organization from a family to a country. It goes something like this:

    If you want to detect problems or bullshit in an organization, look at what the senior managers are doing and talking about and also listen to the employee grapevine (gripevine) and then test against the opposite!


    Talks about leadership most likely means there is leadershit – organizations with good leadership don’t need to talk about it.

    Talk about teams means there are no teams and there is perhaps vicious competition

    Talk about free flow of information may indicate organizational information costipation and secrecy

    I am sure you get my drift!!!

  2. Bill

    After I posted the comment above I googled “On bullshit” for the first time with goole Scholar and found one paper that I think should be referenced with your’s:

    Bullshit and the Art of Crap-Detection by Neil Postman (Paper delivered at the National Convention for the Teachers of English {NCTE}, November 28, 1969, Washington, D.C.)

    Postman describes one type of bullshit as Eichmannism – “that form of bullshit which accepts as its starting and ending point official definiotions, rules, and categories without regard for the realities of particular situations”…its language “is almost always polite, subdued, and seemingly neutral.” Strikingly it seems to me that Eichmannism is an essential amigo of practicing risk management!?

  3. Bill

    I would suggest that self-adualation and self-praise can be good bullshit indicators as may be condescension – our way is the best way or only way. Perhaps Western society gets into all the wars in distant lands because of these bullshit indicators?


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