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Extraordinary Claims

by Steve Zolotow |  Published: Dec 10, 2014


“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence!” When Carl Sagan popularized this expression, he was referring to claims made about the paranormal or the miraculous. In reality, the more unusual or unexpected a claim is, the more we should demand that there be accurate and verifiable proof. Recently, some scientists claim to have uncovered situations in which matter moved or could move faster than the speed of light (Einstein claimed that the speed of light was ‘God’s speed limit’). Immediately, the scientific community demanded definitive proof, which has not yet been provided. One hears many extraordinary claims about poker and poker players. It is very easy to be confused by statistical variance and expectation. If someone said to you that he was very good at predicting whether the next card dealt would be red or black, you’d ask him to prove it. Suppose you deal one card and he calls its color ...

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