Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:58 am

<< Week of July 01, 2016 >>
Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
1 Day Month

2 Day Month

3 Day Month

4 Day Month

5 Day Month

6 Day Month

7 Day Month





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 60 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
What is Pseudoscience? 
Author Message
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 5498
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1362
Thanked: 1370 times in 1071 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post What is Pseudoscience?
Good brief article from Scientific American by Michael Shermer.

What is Pseudoscience?
published September 2011 |

CLIMATE DENIERS ARE ACCUSED OF PRACTICING PSEUDOSCIENCE, as are intelligent design creationists, astrologers, UFOlogists, parapsychologists, practitioners of alternative medicine, and often anyone who strays far from the scientific mainstream. The boundary problem between science and pseudoscience, in fact, is notoriously fraught with definitional disagreements because the categories are too broad and fuzzy on the edges, and the term “pseudoscience” is subject to adjectival abuse against any claim one happens to dislike for any reason. In his 2010 book Nonsense on Stilts (University of Chicago Press), philosopher of science Massimo Pigliucci concedes that there is “no litmus test,” because “the boundaries separating science, nonscience, and pseudoscience are much fuzzier and more permeable than Popper (or, for that matter, most scientists) would have us believe.”

It was Karl Popper who first identified what he called “the demarcation problem” of finding a criterion to distinguish between empirical science, such as the successful 1919 test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, and pseudoscience, such as Freud’s theories, whose adherents sought only confirming evidence while ignoring disconfirming cases. Einstein’s theory might have been falsified had solar-eclipse data not shown the requisite deflection of starlight bent by the sun’s gravitational field. Freud’s theories, however, could never be disproved, because there was no testable hypothesis open to refutability. Thus, Popper famously declared “falsifiability” as the ultimate criterion of demarcation.

The problem is that many sciences are nonfalsifiable, such as string theory, the neuroscience surrounding consciousness, grand economic models and the extraterrestrial hypothesis. On the last, short of searching every planet around every star in every galaxy in the cosmos, can we ever say with certainty that E.T.s do not exist?

Princeton University historian of science Michael D. Gordin adds in his forthcoming book The Pseudoscience Wars (University of Chicago Press, 2012), “No one in the history of the world has ever self-identified as a pseudoscientist. There is no person who wakes up in the morning and thinks to himself, ‘I’ll just head into my pseudolaboratory and perform some pseudoexperiments to try to confirm my pseudotheories with pseudofacts.’” As Gordin documents with detailed examples, “individual scientists (as distinct from the monolithic ‘scientific community’) designate a doctrine a ‘pseudoscience’ only when they perceive themselves to be threatened—not necessarily by the new ideas themselves, but by what those ideas represent about the authority of science, science’s access to resources, or some other broader social trend. If one is not threatened, there is no need to lash out at the perceived pseudoscience; instead, one continues with one’s work and happily ignores the cranks.”

I call creationism “pseudoscience” not because its proponents are doing bad science—they are not doing science at all—but because they threaten science education in America, they breach the wall separating church and state, and they confuse the public about the nature of evolutionary theory and how science is conducted.

Here, perhaps, is a practical criterion for resolving the demarcation problem: the conduct of scientists as reflected in the pragmatic usefulness of an idea. That is, does the revolutionary new idea generate any interest on the part of working scientists for adoption in their research programs, produce any new lines of research, lead to any new discoveries, or influence any existing hypotheses, models, paradigms or world views? If not, chances are it is pseudoscience.

We can demarcate science from pseudoscience less by what science is and more by what scientists do. Science is a set of methods aimed at testing hypotheses and building theories. If a community of scientists actively adopts a new idea and if that idea then spreads through the field and is incorporated into research that produces useful knowledge reflected in presentations, publications, and especially new lines of inquiry and research, chances are it is science.

This demarcation criterion of usefulness has the advantage of being bottom up instead of top down, egalitarian instead of elitist, nondiscriminatory instead of prejudicial. Let science consumers in the marketplace of ideas determine what constitutes good science, starting with the scientists themselves and filtering through science editors, educators and readers. As for potential consumers of pseudoscience, that’s what skeptics are for, but as always, caveat emptor.

http://www.michaelshermer.com/2011/09/w ... doscience/


_________________
No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live as we dream--alone.

Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness


The following user would like to thank DWill for this post:
Cattleman, geo, Robert Tulip
Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:51 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
pets endangered by possible book avalanche

Gold Contributor
Book Discussion Leader

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4902
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 1577
Thanked: 1583 times in 1197 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
DWill wrote:
many sciences are nonfalsifiable, such as string theory, the neuroscience surrounding consciousness, grand economic models and the extraterrestrial hypothesis


Honest proponents of these ideas do not claim for them more than the evidence warrants. The distinction is that pseudoscience claims access to knowledge where independent observers fail to find it.

It is not right to call a "grand economic model" a science. It contains scientific content, but it always involves assumptions which are not purely evidentiary, especially those resting on human motivation and incentive.
DWill wrote:
scientists (as distinct from the monolithic ‘scientific community’) designate a doctrine a ‘pseudoscience’ only when they perceive themselves to be threatened

This is a surprising comment, and one that looks rather insulting towards scientists. I don't accept that scientists see pseudoscience as a threat to them; the threat is more about deluding innocent victims into believing falsehoods.

I would like to comment on two areas listed as pseudoscience, astrology and UFOs. There is no doubt much discussion in these fields is pseudoscientific. This has created the situation where anyone who suggests there may be some real basis for any of their claims is viewed with suspicion, to say the least. With astrology, the failure to find any reliable convincing statistically measurable evidence is a serious blow. But this only proves that planetary effects are too weak for existing methods to measure, not that they do not exist. Similarly with UFOs, the sporadic nature of claimed sightings makes evidence very hard to come by.

There is a need to distinguish between claims that are possible and claims that are impossible. If a claim is physically possible, we should be more careful about condemning the entire subject as fake. There is a tendency in the scientific community to jump to pronounce guilt by association, seeing a subject as cranky and so assuming that all research on the topic is equally tainted.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


The following user would like to thank Robert Tulip for this post:
DWill
Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:53 am
Profile Email WWW
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 5498
Location: Berryville, Virginia
Thanks: 1362
Thanked: 1370 times in 1071 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
Robert, you should replace your "DWill wrote" with "Michael Shermer wrote," though I'd be happy to be able claim the piece as my own. I also was surprised at first that Shermer cited threat as the spur to scientists deciding to battle against pseudoscience. But then it made sense to me. They see themselves as engaged in a pursuit with others who uphold common standards of methodology and evidence. Pretenders who try to hitch a ride on science can do various kinds of damage, but only if they gain influence. As Shermer can tell us as well as anyone, humans always have believed in weird things and always will.

I believe you have expressed a degree of distrust of the scientific community's ability to screen out, fairly, those findings and would-be theories that are scientifically weak or bogus. Shermer says that confidence in the community to do this is justified. He says that the best detector of pseudoscience is the very lack of any significant response to a contribution, and that the inability of that contribution to engage with current work and thinking is a good indicator that it is scientifically wanting. This mechanism isn't perfect, but it has seemed to work well. What truths about our world has it conspired to exclude? Regarding astrology, whereas you would cite prejudice (I think) as a cause of lack of attention, Shermer would say that collectively the community has rightly judged that there are many more promising areas in which to spend limited resources.

What Shermer doesn't mention as pseudoscience is the misapplication of science that can range from sloppy to fraudulent. I have trouble seeing this as essentially different from pseudoscience. Neuroscience is all the rage now, for example, so it seems that anyone wanting to make a name in self-help can pepper his discourse with jargon and tentative findings on neurotransmitters, etc., and make money. Another common misuse is to apply scientific findings in a broader context than that in which they were first presented.


_________________
No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence--that which makes its truth, its meaning--its subtle penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live as we dream--alone.

Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness


Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:56 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

BookTalk.org Moderator

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 3530
Location: Michigan
Thanks: 1318
Thanked: 1124 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
Pseudo science doesn't have to be tied to any subject.

After all, you can do real science about UFO's, bigfoot, auras, telekinetics and astrology.

Pseudo science is claiming to have done science, and claiming the verifiability, demonstrability, repeatability and success of the scientific method when in fact no effort has been undertaken to adhere to those standards.

Pseudo science is claiming to have proof of things which you merely have faith in, or finding a foot print and claiming that as irrefutable proof of the sasquatch.

It's dangerous because it gleans the edges of science. So vocabulary, the white lab coats, the "Dr. and Prof." at the beginning of a name and uses the people's trust in the widespread success of actual science to piggy back wild speculation and wishful thinking into the public realm as though it had been vetted the way actual science has been vetted. It's a dupe. A con-job. It's the difference between biology and creation "science". putting science on the end of something does not make it so, and that is the problem of pseudo science.


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:18 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Am I Great or What?

BookTalk.org Moderator
Silver Contributor 2

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 1721
Thanks: 151
Thanked: 708 times in 529 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
Mr Erickson65 wrote:
No living creature will ever be reduced to physics. There will never be a nice set of equations to solve in order to predict the overall workings of a cell, much less the vast structures it weaves as it duplicates during development. Though biophysics can account for a variety of discrete cellular processes, a point-to-point causal explanation of how DNA builds bodies is beyond the reach of physical analysis. By making the safe assumption of a strictly chemo-mechanical emergence of the body from its DNA, biologists placed themselves beyond testability and therefore beyond science. It’s not so much that reductionist theory is dead but that there was never a theory to begin with. From the day it hatched from the positivist mind of August Weismann, mechanistic biology was a chimera.
Ted Dace


I'm not sure who you are arguing against, but this is a misunderstanding of reductionism and science. No one is trying to reduce biology to physics, and that is certainly not what evolutionary theory is doing.

In order to explain the evidence for whale evolution, for example, do you really think scientists are trying to do it at the atomic, or quantum level? That would be pointless, if it was even possible. They are looking at DNA and fossil evidence, there is no reason to reduce it any further.

It would be like saying, I've got a good explanation for why interest rates have increased. Lots of atoms have moved from here to there. No one thinks that would be a good explanation, even though everything involved is made of atoms.



Mon Jun 18, 2012 10:19 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Thinks Night Out is Reading on Porch

BookTalk.org Moderator
Platinum Contributor

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3976
Location: NC
Thanks: 1522
Thanked: 1605 times in 1222 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
"evolutionary theory is pseudoscience it cannot be falsified."

Oh my.


_________________
-Geo
Question everything


Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:20 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Am I Great or What?

BookTalk.org Moderator
Silver Contributor 2

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 1721
Thanks: 151
Thanked: 708 times in 529 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
Mr Erickson65 wrote:
these guys see what they want to see believing is seeing and the paradigm shift which is taking place is going to show the pseudoskeptics exactly that. [/b]


I won't bother trying to tell you about the evidence for evolution -- it's out there if you're really interested -- but I'm curious, what is this paradigm shift?



Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:47 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 6838
Location: California
Thanks: 1012
Thanked: 1933 times in 1563 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
Quote:
They now know that Consciousness not matter is the primary substance of the universe.


The only people who "know" this are whackjobs. What evidence can you show of this consciousness?

Since the only vessel we have to understand the universe contains our consciousness, many mistakenly become blind to the threshold between their mind and their reality.

Quote:
That is your problem you claim its out there, hence its being projected.


What do you mean when you use the word "projected"? Use your own words, don't copy/paste.


_________________
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams


The following user would like to thank Interbane for this post:
johnson1010
Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:34 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

BookTalk.org Moderator

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 3530
Location: Michigan
Thanks: 1318
Thanked: 1124 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
Evolution is not psuedoscience. In fact it is the bedrock of biology, has been put to the test and is put to the test on a daily basis consciously for the last two hundred years, and subconsciously for the last 40,000 or so since the beginning of domestication.

It is readily apparent in the study of genetics, taxonomy, farming, geography, paleontology, embriology, livestock breeding, and ancestry.


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:49 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

BookTalk.org Moderator

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 3530
Location: Michigan
Thanks: 1318
Thanked: 1124 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
If you are having trouble understanding evolution, or have specific questions, i will be happy to try to answer them.

Check out this thread for a running discussion on evolution.

yes-evolution-t8939.html


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:57 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Likes the book better than the movie


Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 831
Location: Texas
Thanks: 370
Thanked: 344 times in 276 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)
Highscores: 1

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
This is a fascinating discussion and topic. I have always viewed pseudoscientests as those who make claims they have absolutely no evidnece for, and when chanllenged, rebut with someting like "They laughed at (Pastuer, Einstiein, etc.)."

On many of these subjects, I have a opinion, but am open to persuation otherwise. My problem is with those who assert "My mind is made up; don't try to confuse me with facts."

I will close with a brief comment on UFOs. I believe in extraterrestrial life; the universe is just to big to think otherwise. However, I also do not believe we have been visisted, for precisely the same reason. I also know the debate will not be settled until a 'flying saucer' lands in Central Park (spot picked at random), and E.T. steps out and says "I come in peace."



The following user would like to thank Cattleman for this post:
Interbane, johnson1010
Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:03 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

BookTalk.org Moderator

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 3530
Location: Michigan
Thanks: 1318
Thanked: 1124 times in 828 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
Alley-oop!

post106284.html#p106284

I've begun discussing your assertion that evolution is un-falsifiable.


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:34 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Am I Great or What?

BookTalk.org Moderator
Silver Contributor 2

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 1721
Thanks: 151
Thanked: 708 times in 529 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
Mr Erickson65 wrote:
This book is a must read:

http://www.evolutionisstupid.com/


I looked at it, it's completely ridiculous.

Here's one quote:

Quote:
So fish moved onto land, eh? If you watch Chuck Darwin science movies, you'll see that they did. And science films do NOT lie. Nothing to it! All the fish had to do was grow limbs, change their way of breathing, change their diet and digestive system, change their skin and eyes so they could see better and not dry out, change the direction of their motion from side-to-side to forward and backward, try not to get sunburned or freeze, change from cold blooded to warm blooded. NOTHING TO IT!!!! All it took was Time, and there you go! You've seen what happens to fish out of water. They DIE. But it should be OBVIOUS to you that, with MILLIONS OF YEARS OF TIME, all the changes that fish need to live out of water will take place, and soon enough, they'll turn into people. STUPID, is what it is. Darwin Clubbers KNOW it's stupid. They just won't admit it.


Needless to say, he doesn't understand evolution at all. You should try reading a real book.



The following user would like to thank Dexter for this post:
johnson1010
Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:22 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Am I Great or What?

BookTalk.org Moderator
Silver Contributor 2

Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 1721
Thanks: 151
Thanked: 708 times in 529 posts
Gender: Male

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
Mr Erickson65 wrote:
Confessions of the Evolutionist. Loved it!

http://harunyahya.com/en/works/8063/


On the first page it says "there is not even a single piece of evidence that would support evolution."

You really want to stand by that?

It just happens that all the DNA evidence is consistent with a common ancestor, with the fossil evidence, with biogeography (different species on different islands, for example) and all being consistent with the time frame necessary for evolution?

You should at least go with the "God started evolution" argument, the Christians that are scientifically literate have had to go that way.



The following user would like to thank Dexter for this post:
johnson1010
Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:24 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Moderator
Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 6838
Location: California
Thanks: 1012
Thanked: 1933 times in 1563 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: What is Pseudoscience?
Projected from where?


_________________
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” - Douglas Adams


Tue Jun 19, 2012 4:38 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 60 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

Announcements 

• WANTED: Help writing 125 to 200 word page descriptions
Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:45 pm



Site Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

Featured Books

Books by New Authors


*

FACTS is a select group of active BookTalk.org members passionate about promoting Freethought, Atheism, Critical Thinking and Science.

Apply to join FACTS
See who else is in FACTS







BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.



Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2016. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank