The Importance of Pseudosciences

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience' started by Asexperia, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,629
    Already acknowledged - science didn't exist as such.
    But they DID start with systematic observations - the basis of science. Hence my use of the word "proto".
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    Pseudo. "See that star? The one that moves? That's Ares, the God of War. I can prove that conclusively. It's red. Case closed."
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Asexperia Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    196
    More pseudosciences:

    Phrenology, Numerology and Ufology.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Asexperia Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    196
    Literally.
    Pseudo means to be against the ideas of another person.
     
  8. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    18,629
    No.
     
  9. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    No, it's means "false". You don't have the horsepower to change the definition of a word.
     
  10. Kittamaru Now nearly 40 pounds lighter. Staff Member

    Messages:
    13,224
    I am curious - can you source this definition from any respected literary source?
     
  11. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,923
    Why do you like making up alternative definitions to words. What a strange thing to do...
     
  12. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    It's from "Argument Repair for the Hopeless."
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,477
    It is from the Greek ψευδής, meaning lying or false: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudo-
     
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,659
    This thread seems to introduce two different topics.

    1) The value of pseudosciences, if any.

    2) The question of how to define them.

    The first seems to be dependent on our having some satisfactory answer to the second.

    'Pseudoscience' has always been a perjorative term. Just as 'science' has typically been an honorific.

    Saying that 'pseudosciences' means 'false sciences' is etymologically correct, but it isn't particularly helpful. We still need to have some idea what makes them 'false'. How do the 'pseudosciences' differ or deviate from conventional science (whatever that means) and why is that supposed to be bad?

    A valuable discussion is here (I paraphrase a few points from that article below):

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pseudo-science/

    There are a number of related terms: 'non-scientific', 'un-scientific' and 'pseudo-scientific'.

    All non-science isn't pseudo-science. Science borders up against all sorts of things like metaphysics, mathematics, logic and history that seem to represent fields of non-scientific knowledge.

    'Un-scientific' moves in the perjorative direction, seeming to introduce the idea of failure to meet an expected standard (with science identified as that standard).

    As a first approximation, we might define 'pseudoscience' as whatever satisfies these two conditions

    (1) It is not scientific. (We can skip over for the difficult question of what 'scientific' means for the sake of discussion.)

    (2) Its proponents try to create the impression it is scientific. (The 'false science' aspect.)

    This proposed definition might be too wide, since it would seem to apply to scientific fraud and to errors in textbooks. Most people would want to call these 'bad-science' as opposed to 'pseudo-science'.

    There's an additional doctrinal component when something is condemned as 'pseudoscience'. Pseudo-science seems to involve the attempt to promote ideas different than those that have scientific legitimacy at the time. 'Pseudoscience' suggests deviant or unorthodox doctrine.

    So we might rewrite (2) above:

    (2') It is part of a non-scientific doctrine whose proponents try to create the impression that it is scientific.

    But many psychics, clairvoyants and ufo believers make no claims that they are scientists or what they are doing is scientific. Yet many "skeptics" will want to include these things in the 'pseudoscience' category.

    So we might rewrite (2) again:

    (2'') It is part of a non-scientific doctrine whose proponents claim provides reliable knowledge of its subject matter.

    This version threatens to become an assertion of scientism, once again threatening to condemn all non-scientific knowledge that we seemingly recognized up above. (History, mathematics, textual interpretation etc.)

    It does make clear one of the underlying issues though: "How to determine which beliefs are epistemologically warranted."

    But that issue is squarely philosophical and doesn't seem to have anything directly to do with science, unless we already assume that scientific belief is the only form of epistemologically warranted belief.

    Now we are veering towards the first issue in this thread, the question of whether 'pseudosciences' might have value.

    I think that thinking outside the doctrinal box can create opportunities for new advances. Thomas Kuhn made a similar argument when he stressed the importance of facing up to and addressing anomalies in what he called 'paradigm' change.

    http://faculty.vassar.edu/brvannor/Kuhnhelp.pdf

    But that shouldn't be interpreted as a license for 'anything goes' (as Kuhn sometimes seems to suggest). The new 'paradigm' still needs to have predictive and/or explanatory power. That's where our usual-suspect 'pseudosciences' like ufology or parapsychology seem to me to fail.

    Belief in correspondences between earthly and heavenly events is what motivated the ancients not only to watch the skies but to try to predict what would be happening up there. Even though we no longer believe in those correspondences, we need to acknowledge that astrologers were among the ancient world's top authorities on what happened in the heavens. Astrologers possessed the best data and the best ability to predict the movements of the heavenly bodies. (Even if their reasons for doing it and their explanations of those movements fell woefully short.)

    The history of alchemy has similar characteristics. A doctrine that seems bogus to us today motivated the alchemists to experiment with producing all kinds of transmutations in their laboratories, thus producing a huge body of useful lore concerning what people today would call 'chemical reactions'. Interestingly, the distinction between 'alchemy' and 'chemistry' is modern. 'Alchemy' is just a mediaval Latin adoption from Arabic, there the prefix 'al-' means 'the'. The word seems to be derived from the Greek chymeia or 'mixture'. Hence 'the mixtures'. (There was a very famous ancient Greek-language book by that name that was lost in the Latin West but was studied intensively by the Arabs. So 'al-kimiya' was often a reference to that book and to its doctrines.) So chemistry and alchemy were once the same thing and no distinction was made between them. Of course, chemical mixtures were once conceived very differently than how Exchemist conceives of them today. But despite that, the medieval and early modern alchemists were motivated to experiment.

    Perhaps todays parapsychologists and ufologists might try to emulate the astrologers and alchemists, collecting as much data as they can on their chosen phenomena, in hopes that patterns might later emerge that will lead to more fruitful theorizing. Even though they can't predict or explain very plausibly now, maybe somebody will in the future. (Most likely, it will turn out that their alleged phenomena were just fantastical.) But understanding the movements of the heavens and transmuting one kind of matter to another once seemed fantastical as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
    Asexperia likes this.
  15. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    21,515

    The scientific methodology is the application of logic based on data and observation, and on that basis I reject your "scientism"assertion..
    The applications of Astrology and Alchemy certainly would have provided data and knowledge for what today we call Astronomy and Chemistry. But that's where it ends. The doctrines and methodology of astrology and Alchemy are certainly pseudo and false although Alchemy did have an underlying "truth" to it, suggesting rightly so that different elements in practice can be fissioned and/or fused to produce new elements.

    With the psychics, clairvoyants and UFO believers not claiming to be scientists, as you say, let me say that also at least in some cases, scientists simply say that it is unexplained or unidentified. The inconsistencies, and nonsense develops from the immediate jumping to conclusions of Aliens, the supernatural, and/or the paranormal, based in flimsy evidence at best.
    Sure, one or two of MRs claims, particularly the African continent incident with the school children, do seem on face value as "out of this worldish"so to speak, but then at least to me, I start asking questions, as to why over a 100 or so years and 1000s of alleged sightings that what MR and others interpret as Alien, have they not made themselves known...why the continued flittering in and flittering out again...obviously having arrived here they would be advanced beings, and not have anything to be afraid of from us....the blurry photographs, etc etc. Showing that life on Earth is not "the only life in the universe" would be an outstanding, momentous awe inspiring moment for humanity, and a moment that would be forever etched in history. So tell me then, why is it unreasonable for scientists and normal folk to want extraordinary evidence for such an extraordinary claim? There are many atmospheric disturbances etc that may be mistaken for Alien origin UFO's ,cloud shapes on many variations that I once listed...St Elmo's fire, fire balls, weird refraction and reflection of light, mirages, planetary alignments and positions etc with relation to the Sun...the natural, non Alien possibilities are endless.

    My philosophical take on yourself, ( heaven forbid

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    ) is that you in an apparent effort to appear fair and reasonable and essentially unbiased either way, has you leaning over backwards in the direction of the clowns and trolls that jump to their preferred option of ghosts, ghouls, Aliens etc. But that is as yet only an hypothesis.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!



    As I have stated many times, as someone in the twilight of his years, the two things I would dearly love to happen and be known before I kick the bucket is the definitive proof or evidence that we surely are not alone, in this big wide wonderful awe inspiring universe (something I firmly believe in, call it faith if you will as as yet we do not have any evidence of life off this earth) , and the second is a manned landing on Mars: Both will happen in time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2017
  16. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,517
    Perhaps in the spirit of making/changing definitions when most people understand what pseudoscience is without referring to a 102 page manual we can accommodate those who wish to pick nits by dumbing down the definition

    My suggestion would be
    pseudoscience = crap

    Anybody think this would be helpful to the lexicon challenged?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,988
    I'd like to submit a new definition of my own.

    I submit that asexperia is synonymous with nonsensical.
     
    origin likes this.
  18. river Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,528
    The importance of the thread is on going .

    It allows the flexability of ideas , and ideas are the fundamental construct of understanding of anything .
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  19. Asexperia Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    196
    Don't be so pejorative.
     
  20. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,923
    And accepting bad ideas is the fundamental construct of ignorance.
     
  21. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,923
    I define pejorative as someone who enjoys jogging. So why don't you want Dave to stay in shape?
     
    DaveC426913 and Dywyddyr like this.
  22. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    579
    This could be used along with "nascent sciences". When people first start applying the rules of science to a pseudoscience they are approaching the nascent state.
     
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,659

Share This Page