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- a compendium of horrendous examples
Pseudoscience appeals to false authority, to emotion,
sentiment, or distrust of established fact.
A high-school dropout is accepted as an expert on archaeology, though he has never made any study of it! A psychoanalyst is accepted as an expert on all of human history, not to mention physics, astronomy, and mythology, even though his claims are inconsistent with everything known in all four fields. A movie star swears it's true, so it must be. A physicist says a "psychic" couldn't possibly have fooled him with simple magic tricks, although the physicist knows nothing about magic and sleight of hand. Emotional appeals are common. ("If it makes you feel good, it must be true." "In your heart you know it's right.") Pseudoscientists are fond of imaginary conspiracies. ("There's plenty of evidence for flying saucers, but the government keeps it secret.") And they argue from irrelevancies: When confronted by inconvenient facts, they simply reply, "Scientists don't know everything!"
Pseudoscientists invent their own vocabulary in which many terms lack
precise or unambiguous definitions, and some have no definition at all.
Listeners are often forced to interpret the statements according to their own preconceptions. What, for for example, is "biocosmic energy?" Or a "psychotronic amplification system?" Pseudoscientists often attempt to imitate the jargon of scientific and technical fields by spouting gibberish that sounds scientific and technical. Quack "healers" would be lost without the term "energy," but their use of the term has nothing whatsoever to do with the concept of energy used by physicists.
Science and pseudoscience essays
Pseudoscience often strikes educated, rational people as too nonsensical and preposterous to be dangerous and as a source of amusement rather than fear. Unfortunately, this is not a wise attitude. Pseudoscience can be extremely dangerous.
One might wonder if there are not examples of "crossovers" in the other direction; that is people who have been thought by scientists to be doing pseudoscience, who eventually were accepted as doing valid science, and whose ideas were ultimately accepted by scientists. From what we have just outlined, one would expect this to happen extremely rarely, if ever. In fact, neither I nor any informed colleague I have ever asked about this, knows of any single case in which this has happened during the hundreds of years the full scientific method has been known to and used by scientists. There are many cases in which a scientist has been thought wrong by colleagues but later—when new information comes in—is shown to be correct. Like anyone else, scientists can get hunches that something is possible without having enough evidence to convince their associates that they are correct. Such people do not become pseudoscientists, unless they continue to maintain that their ideas are correct when contradictory evidence piles up. Being wrong or mistaken is unavoidable; we are all human, and we all commit errors and blunders. True scientists, however, are alert to the possibility of blunder and are quick to correct mistakes. Pseudoscientists do not. In fact, a short definition of pseudoscience is "a method for excusing, defending, and preserving errors."
Science and pseudoscience essays Next ..
Pseudoscience deliberately creates mystery where none
exists, by omitting crucial information and important details.
Anything can be made "mysterious" by omitting what is known about it or presenting completely imaginary details. The "Bermuda Triangle" books are classic examples of this tactic.
Pseudoscience does not progress.
There are fads, and a pseudoscientist may switch from one fad to another (from ghosts to ESP research, from flying saucers to psychic studies, from ESP research to looking for Bigfoot). But within a given topic, no progress is made. Little or no new information or uncovered. New theories are seldom proposed, and old concepts are rarely modified or discarded in light of new "discoveries," since pseudoscience rarely makes new "discoveries." The older the idea, the more respect it receives. No natural phenomena or processes previously unknown to science have ever been discovered by pseudoscientists. Indeed, pseudoscientists almost invariably deal with phenomena well known to scientists, but little known to the general public—so that the public will swallow whatever the pseudoscientist wants to claim. Examples include firewalking and "Kirlian" photography.
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Science and Pseudoscience Custom Essay Sample ..
Some confusion on this point is caused by what we might call "crossover." "Science" is not an honorary badge you wear, it's an activity you do. Whenever you cease that activity, you cease being a scientist. A distressing amount of pseudoscience is generated by scientists who are well trained in one field but plunge into another field of which they are ignorant. A physicist who claims to have found a new principle of biology—or a biologist who claims to have found a new principle of physics—is almost invariably doing pseudoscience. And so are those who forge data, or suppresses data that clash with their preconceptions, or refuse to let others see their data for independent evaluation. Science is like a high peak of intellectual integrity, fairness, and rationality. The peak is slippery and smooth. It requires a tremendous effort to remain near it. Slacking of effort carries one away and into pseudoscience. Some pseudoscience is generated by individuals with a small amount of specialized scientific or technical training who are not professional scientists and do not comprehend the nature of the scientific enterprise—yet think of themselves as "scientists."
Science and Pseudoscience Essay - Anti Essays
Many scientists' ordinary response to pseudoscientific claims is simply to laugh at them. But mythology has always been an important part of human culture, often by giving people the illusion of having some direct control over their lives. This can lead to their becoming advocates for various kinds of health , to commercial scams, and to cult-like organizations such as . Worst of all, they can pressure political and educational circles to adopt their ideologies.
Demarcation Of Science And Pseudo Science Philosophy Essay
This table could be greatly expanded, because science and pseudoscience are precisely opposed ways of viewing nature. Science relies on—and insists on—self-questioning, testing and analytical thinking that make it hard to fool yourself or to avoid facing facts. Pseudoscience, on the other hand, preserves the ancient, natural, irrational, unobjective modes of thought that are hundreds of thousands of years older than science—thought processes that have given rise to superstitions and other fanciful and mistaken ideas about man and nature—from voodoo to racism; from the flat earth to the house-shaped universe with God in the attic, Satan in the cellar and man on the ground floor; from doing rain dances to torturing and brutalizing the mentally ill to drive out the demons that possess them. Pseudoscience encourages people to believe anything they want. It supplies specious "arguments" for fooling yourself into thinking that any and all beliefs are equally valid. Science begins by saying, let's forget about what we believe to be so, and try by investigation to find out what actually is so. These roads don't cross; they lead in completely opposite directions.
FREE Science or Pseudo-Science? Essay
In examining the following table, it might be helpful to consider examples of astronomy vs. astrology, or of chemistry vs. alchemy, which at one time were single fields that gradually diverged into sciences and pseudosciences.
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