Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines pseudoscience as a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific
Oxford Dictionary defines pseudoscience as a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method
I guess from these definitions you can conclude why I up in arms against pseudoscience. There are some websites that would go so far as to claim that what they write on their websites as fact. I strongly argue that not only do these statements are completely irresponsible but dangerous as they tend to lead individuals believing in the unproven.
I may step on some feet here but let me show you a few things that can let me rationalise exactly what I mean.
The following is a pyramid diagram of how Science works and how Pseudoscience works:
Here is a list of Pseudoscience topics that many people believe are real
- Astrology refers to any of several systems of understanding, interpreting and organising knowledge about reality and human existence, based on the relative positions and movement of various real and construed celestial bodies.
- Planetary alignments are events where two or more planets and the Sun and Moon line up from the perspective of Earth. Much of astrology has been developed around such alignments.
- Sun signs are astrological signs that are determined by the location of the Sun at a particular moment in time such as an individual’s birth.
- Creation science is the belief that the origin of everything in the universe is the result of a first cause, brought about by a creator deity, and that this thesis is supported by geological, biological, and other scientific evidence. This “evidence” is either Biblical in nature, or it attacks a tenet of evolution, incorrectly assuming that if any part of evolution is wrong, the whole thing is wrong and creationism is right.
- Baraminology is an attempt to create a bible friendly version of species without invoking evolution.
- Biblical scientific foreknowledge asserts that the Bible makes accurate statements about the world that science verifies thousands of years later. A favourite of kdbuffalo/Conservative. Suffers from the problem that prophesy should predict the future, not the past. Kinda the whole point.
- Catastrophic plate tectonics
- Creationist cosmologies are ones which, among other things, allow for a universe that is only thousands of years old.
- Flood geology is the creationist form of geology that advocates most of the geologic features on Earth are explainable by a global flood.
- Hydroplate theory is an attempt to explain how an earth-wide flood could occur.
- Soft-sediment deformation is the idea that rocks can only be deformed if wet and soft.
- Intelligent Design is a version of creation science stated in secular terms, viz. that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”
- The Banana fallacy is an argument about how things are designed to suit humans, while ignoring other explanations such as artificial selection.
- Irreducible complexity is the claim that some systems are so complex that they cannot have evolved from simpler systems. It is used by proponents of intelligent design to argue that evolution by Natural selection alone is incomplete or flawed, and that some additional mechanism (an “Intelligent Designer”) is required to explain the origins of life.
- Specified complexity is the claim that when something is simultaneously complex and specified, one can infer that it was produced by an intelligent cause (i.e., that it was designed) rather than being the result of natural processes.
- Modern geocentrism cites uniform gamma ray bursts distribution as evidence that we are at the center of the universe, and other ideas of this type.
- Crop circles are geometric designs of crushed or knocked-over crops created in a field. Aside from skilled farmers or pranksters working through the night, explanations for their formation include UFOs and anomalous, tornado-like air currents. The study of crop circles is termed “cerealogy” by proponents.
- Dogon people and Sirius B is a series of claims that the Dogon tribe knew about the white dwarf companion of Sirius despite it being invisible to the naked eye.
- Erich von Däniken’s proposal of ancient astronauts.
- Full moon lunacy is the belief that the full moon is correlated with the manifestation of lunacy.
- Non-materialist neuroscience is the attempt to scientifically prove the existence of a “mind,” and is closely related to dualism
- Channeling is the communication of information to or through a person allegedly from a spirit or other paranormal entity
- Dowsing refers to practices said to enable one to detect hidden water, metals, gemstones or other objects.
- Electronic voice phenomenon is the alleged communication by spirits through tape recorders and other electronic devices
- Extra-sensory perception is the paranormal ability (independent of the five main senses or deduction from previous experience) to acquire information by means such as telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition,psychic abilities, and remote viewing.
- Levitation, in this sense, is the act of rising up from the ground without any physical aids, usually by the power of thought.
- Materialization is the supposed creation or appearance of matter from unknown sources.
- Psychokinesis is the paranormal ability of the mind to influence matter or energy at a distance.
- Spiritualism is a religious movement which holds the belief that communication with the dead can occur through the powers of individuals called mediums. Seances are ritualized attempts to communicate with the dead.
- Perpetual motion is a class of proposed machines that violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Perpetual motion has been recognized as extrascientific since the late 18th century, but proposals and patents for such devices continue to be made to the present day.
- Free energy is a particular class of perpetual motion which violates the first law of thermodynamics and the law of conservation of energy. Of particular note are proposals involving the extraction of zero-point energy, a real energy found in quantum mechanics that cannot be used to do work.
- Torsion field physics is a theory about some new kind of fields that travel much faster than light. Torsion fields are often used to “mathematically describe” other pseudoscientific topics.
- Hyperdimensional physics is a concept that has been very vaguely described by Tom Bearden. Mike Bara once summed it up as “a rotating body pulls energy from its higher state.” None of the examples he gives are actually valid.
- Ufology is the study of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and frequently includes the belief that UFOs are evidence for extraterrestrial visitors.
- The Face on Mars (in Cydonia Mensae) is a rock formation on Mars asserted to be evidence of intelligent, native life on the planet. Higher resolution images show it to appear less face-like. It features prominently in the pseudoscientific theories of Richard C. Hoagland.
- Alien abductions are events where people claim to have been taken into a spaceship for medical experiments by aliens before being returned to earth.
- Close encounters are events where persons witness UFOs, or purportedly meet and/or communicate with alien beings.
- Immanuel Velikovsky’s proposals that ancient texts refer to the collision of astronomical bodies as in Worlds in Collision.
This list doesn’t even cover half the things out there that people believe in. I would like to believe in some of these as they would benefit us as human beings. Some I DO believe in such as homeopathy. I don’t know whether it is the placebo effect or whether it seems to work on just me, but sometimes I have to confess pseudoscience can be useful sometimes when it doesn’t directly harm or effect the individual or those around them.
For the full list of Pseudosciences check our the following link: Link
Here are some dangerous pseudoscience topics that have become harmful:
Let me start with my own one that I believe works with me:
I have taken the following sometime: Arnica, Hypericum, Ginkgo Biloba, Garlic Essence, Magnesium, Zinc, Chamomile, Green Tea, Valerian, and about 20 others. I would like to think that by taking these that I have only brought benefits to myself. There are so many websites out there that recommend homeopathic remedies for simple ailments to extreme health risks like diabetes. I have taken homeopathic medicines for anxiety, cholestorel, blood pressure and wellbeing. I continue to take these homeopathic medicines today, but let me go over some dangers of doing so:
- Many Homeopaths reject Vaccines and Immunization: Link
- Homeopaths will prescribe untested alternatives to science based Medicines: Link
- Homeopathic remedies are a cheaper alternative: Link
- Homeopathic medicines do not completely cure anything: Link
- Homeopaths are not doctors: Link
The website skepticalraptor.com Link has been fighting this problem for many years. I would urge you to read some of their knowledgable write ups. There has been clear evidence for reputable universities, doctors and scientists that have proven the vaccines do not and have never harmed children. All three of my kids have been vaccinated. I have complete faith that they will turn out absolutely fine because I have read up on what I need to know.
However, there are those that would hinder and encourage the problem through their own beliefs and celebrity status. For example:
If you are still unsure or skeptical check out the following sites:
- From the Washington Post: Link
- From the CDC: Link
- From ILF Science: Link
- From Time Magazine: Link
- From Science Based Medicine: Link
- From Huffington Post: Link
- From Parenting.com: Link
I would like to acknowledge rationalwiki.org and the above websites for sharing their information with this blog.