The difference between science and pseudoscience

ghoti

Karmic Sangoma
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
45,666
#1
Seems like we need to get this going so people can identify the difference between science and pseudoscience.

Science:

Their findings are expressed primarily through scientific journals that are peer-reviewed and maintain rigorous standards for honesty and accuracy.

Reproducible results are demanded; experiments must be precisely described so that they can be duplicated exactly or improved upon.

Failures are searched for and studied closely, because incorrect theories can often make correct predictions by accident, but no correct theory will make incorrect predictions.

As time goes on, more and more is learned about the physical processes under study.

Convinces by appeal to the evidence, by arguments based upon logical and/or mathematical reasoning, by making the best case the data permit. When new evidence contradicts old ideas, they are abandoned.

Does not advocate or market unproven practices or products.

Pseudoscience

The literature is aimed at the general public. There is no review, no standards, no pre-publication verification, no demand for accuracy and precision.

Results cannot be reproduced or verified. Studies, if any, are always so vaguely described that one can't figure out what was done or how it was done.

Failures are ignored, excused, hidden, lied about, discounted, explained away, rationalized, forgotten, avoided at all costs.

No physical phenomena or processes are ever found or studied. No progress is made; nothing concrete is learned.

Convinces by appeal to faith and belief. Pseudoscience has a strong quasi-religious element: it tries to convert, not to convince. You are to believe in spite of the facts, not because of them. The original idea is never abandoned, whatever the evidence.

Generally earns some or all of his living by selling questionable products (such as books, courses, and dietary supplements) and/or pseudoscientific services (such as horoscopes, character readings, spirit messages, and predictions).

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.
PLEASE READ MORE: http://www.quackwatch.com/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/pseudo.html
 

ghoti

Karmic Sangoma
Joined
Jan 17, 2005
Messages
45,666
#3
Unfortunately, this distinction is lost on so many people.
Yeah, I posted this here because a couple of people have problems telling the two apart. Theyre actually so different its not funny, but if people see the word "science" in anything, they naturally assume its real science.

IE. Like a book titled, "The science of Feng Shui". While it might look look all scientific.. its not. The intention of the title is to deceive people into believing its something credible... when its not.

Im just glad we dont have scientologists here :D
 
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