Criteria for threads in the Alternative Theories forum

Discussion in 'Alternative Theories' started by James R, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    We need to clearly establish what kinds of threads are going to live in the Alternative Theories subforum, and which are better suited to Pseudoscience (if any).

    For example, here is one suggestion: threads might only be started in the Alternative Theories section if they satisfy a few basic criteria. For example, the person posting theory might need to:

    1. Explain how the "alternative" theory differs from the mainstream theory in its predictions/explanations of phenomena.
    2. Outline why the alternative theory is superior to the mainstream one.
    3. Explain any flaws in the standard science one that are addressed by the alternative theory.
    4. Outline any experimental evidence or tests that do/might enable us to distinguish between the alternative theory and the mainstream one, in order to determine which is superior.

    ---

    This might be too strict.

    What I would like to know is:

    Do you think there should ever come a point where an alternative theory should be moved from the Alternative Theories forum to Pseudoscience, or even to the Cesspool? What criteria, if any, ought we to apply to make such decisions?

    Should there perhaps be a time limit for the initial presentation and discussion of new theories (a few days, a month?) and then a public vote on whether the theory will remain in this forum?

    How should we determine if a theory is a "crank" theory? Does it matter whether it is or not? At what point, if any, should we say "Enough of this nonsense"?

    Bottom line: do you think the Alternative Theories forum needs to maintain any kind of standard of scientific discourse, or should it be anything goes?
     
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  3. wlminex Banned Banned

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    wlminex's preliminary comments on:

    By "maintain" do you mean "control"?
     
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I thought I was clear enough. I am asking whether you think that there should be any criteria applied in order for a thread to "belong" in the Alternative Theories forum. And if so, what?

    Or do you think any idea is fair game for this subforum, no matter how kooky, how much it is debunked, how much it doesn't make any sense or lacks logic or is incomprehensible?
     
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  7. wlminex Banned Banned

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    . . .maybe a REALLY SIMPLE rule . . . . .No one (member) can re-post verbatim, a previous post on the same forum!
     
  8. prometheus viva voce! Moderator

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    If you're suggesting that alternative theories should contain theories that are not mainstream but are up to the standards of scientific rigour then I fear this forum is going to be short.
     
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I'm not suggesting anything, prometheus. That is one option, of course.

    This subforum was created after a vote by a bunch of members who said they wanted it.

    So, now that it's here, I'd like to hear from some of those people as to what their vision of it is.
     
  10. prometheus viva voce! Moderator

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    Sure, I understand that, but looking at your suggested criteria in the OP it's hard to think of any alternative theory (ie, one that has appeared here and been moved to pseudo, or has appeared there to start with) that has done those things, so my opinion is that those rules are indeed too strict.

    At the other end of the scale, it seems like the changes could amount to splitting pseudo into physics pseudoscience, biol pseudoscience etc, with a catch all forum for things that defy categorisation.
     
  11. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    james there really is not point in putting "alternitive med" in the forum if you expect evidence, if there was a cochane review surporting a theorpy it would be called MEDICINE
     
  12. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Asguard:

    By the same argument, there's no point in allowing alternative Physics here if we expect evidence, because then it would just be Physics and could go in the Physics forum.
     
  13. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    i dont disagree (but i wouldnt know a real physics theory vs a myth where as im on much firmer ground with med), your the one asking what level of evidence should be required.

    My personal feeling is the homopathy especially (maybe not so much some of the herbal meds and acupunture) shouldnt be anywhere but the cesspool and MAYBE psudoscience. Wacky "physics" are amusing but effectivily harmless, "Alternitive med" on the other hand is much more incidious. Your effectivily taking on the same problems that exist on the internet with ANY medical diognosis except more so because even if the diognosis is spot on the "treatment" is not only a scam but also divirts people away from seeking REAL care. So they take the snake oil thinking its going to cure there cancer and the snake oil salesmen scams millions (in some cases) off them and they think they are fine so they dont get check ups until the cancer is so advanced that there is nothing that can be done. Further more i have herd people HERE say that its not cancer which makes you sick but the chemo which the drug companies pump into you to make money.

    Under NO cirumstances should we be tolerating that, its dangerious and possibly criminal
     
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Asguard,

    All the things you mention involve a contest of ideas. I am very happy, I assure you, to see any quack "alternative" medicine debunked when it is discussed here.
     
  15. MacGyver1968 Fixin' Shit that Ain't Broke Valued Senior Member

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    Some people object to having their threads moved to Pseudoscience...because that name seems to have a negative connotation of crackpottery. I would suggest merging the two subforums into the one, more cordially named "alternative theories".
     
  16. raydpratt Registered Senior Member

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    I was getting ready to post a thread about an alternative explanation of "soft-style" martial techniques where the mainstream theory would actually be the doubted theory in western science. So, I'm at a loss, but the 'alternative theories' category seems correct.
     
  17. Hercules Rockefeller Beatings will continue until morale improves. Moderator

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    Out of curiosity, how much of the material in Pseudoscience (now or formally) do you think was not crackpottery? What I’m getting at is: should we care if someone objects to a perceived negative connotation of crackpottery when they have, in fact, posted a crackpot thread? :shrug:
     
  18. MacGyver1968 Fixin' Shit that Ain't Broke Valued Senior Member

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    In my opinion it was all woo...but I was just trying save the feelings of crackpots

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  19. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    For example this: The Nonsensical "Growing Earth" "Theory, but has been moved.
     
  20. rogerharris Registered Senior Member

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    i think its great you guys have this demarcation.

    Other forums like rational skepticism have a policy where everything thats not encoded as mainstream, i.e. Proto and fringe is binned into pseudoscience for ridicule. Thats completely anti-science.

    I think its the atheist fundamentalism mindset. The forum was a spinoff born from a battle mindset between athiests and theists and they just kept hammering away until the theists have flown, so what is left to hammer at. They decide to punish their own creative scientists and allow enforcers to come on and be quite abusive (all in the name of science). And they complain about a massive traffic drop ? We all know science has a cycle where ideas go back and forward from fringe-proto-mainstream gover time as problems are figured, new info etc comes to light.

    Blog on that here..


    http://dipoleneurology.blogspot.com/2011/07/dipole-neurology-pseudoscience-or.html
     
  21. chiaki57 Banned Banned

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    I thinks or do you think any idea is fair game for this subforum, no matter how kooky
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2013
  22. rogerharris Registered Senior Member

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    everything is fair game in life... emphasis on fair... because even quackwatch is full of the cognitive bias that ratskep was prone to.. the ingroup boorish, self-assured type bias.

    thats why we need to stick to specific classifications and rules for pseudoscience that are a bit more serious than this type quackwatch approach. i.e. We base it on serious learning on how theories changed and were discovered, discarded and refound in science history. Those can be found on wikipedia under pseudoscience.

    Another problem is separating idea from process. i.e. Even a good idea might come from somebody with a quack type mindset... just as false science comes from serious process (i.e. pharma ghostwriting). so there has to be latitude to not discard just on somebody having a crank approach. Obviously there are limits.
     
  23. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Anythang goes... why not.???

    Make Sciforums more hospitable to more people wit diferent ideas.!!!
     

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