If only people would stick to basics, and perhaps start with something like this. “Notes on how to spot pseudo-science.” [popsci.com] My own thoughts on how to spot pseudo-science are perhaps by no means as rigorous, as these, though more basic. The writer probably deals with it at a higher level than I do. I tend to do a buzz word count. You know, if an article contains a lot of words like energy, spiritual, conceptual, etc. especially in the first few lines. Then I usually stop reading. But the irony is that perhaps one of the best buzz words, is actually "science", since most real scientists and most real science journals are too busy doing, or trying to explain, science to bother to mention that they are doing science, they take that for granted. So that if you encounter, “science”, “scientific”, “scientific proof”, etc. especially in those first few lines, you can generally smell that you may be on to a phony. Funny but I think true.
The average person does not read "The New England Journal of Medicine" or "The Harvard Law Review" or any other of the vast repositories of knowledge that this countries best scientific and legal minds contribute to. Granted, being able to understand these articles require someone to be "smarter than the average bear". Although there are many who might be able to at least understand a portion of what the author/authors are trying to convey, I would guess that the only people who truly understand these articles are fellow academics. These types are either directly involved in that particular discipline or share a thirst for knowledge so as to broaden their own understanding of life. I am in no way saying that every article is correct ... I leave it up to the TRUE scientific community to keep the science honest.
I dare say a large majority of(the USA) has been polarized NOT by SCIENCE(and when I say that, I mean TRUE SCIENCE)...but polarized rather by a news media that have become sensationalists. These media outlets are now(by design) INFLUENCERS(FOR SALE to the highest bidder)...worst of the offenders being FOX. All the media outlets have fallen pray to this Siren Song...some to a far greater degree but they all worship at the same alter. Kidnapping the viewers with effects and vitriol has now become the norm. Inflaming people's emotions with brazen lies and accusations. The philosophy of divide and conquer is on full display...Our education system is now fair game for any lunatic who doesn't understand the value of SCIENCE, HISTORY, ART, MATH or HUMANITIES. Religion is no longer viewed as a seperate issue of study...the push now is to try to incorporate it into EVERYTHING that is taught..."the guiding principles of democracy and science approved by Jeebus".
The Conservative Right have found their weapon of mass destruction and want to light the fuse. Knowledge is a cancer to the autocrat...knowledge is a cancer to the Religious Right...knowledge got us into this nightmare...knowledge is the only thing that can get us out. Voting is the only thing that can turn this tide. We aren't all doctors and scientists...but we are not STUPID. We KNOW what the ramifications are if we don't crush this political mania that is attempting to destroy everything this country has worked for. We were never perfect and we never will be...but what is being forced upon us by the Right will DESTROY this COUNTRY...plain and simple. Rant over.
Here is an example of the brain-dead level of discourse I am encountering from the hard-headed anti-vaxer poluka from illinois. This exchange of blows took place in round 10:
He sends me a right cross ZeeeMedia.com video under the heading, "Dr. Robert Young -- Viruses Don't Exist Explained, Nanotech Inside People Is A Bioweapon"
He followed with this uppercut comment: "Scientific proof
of bioweapon vaccine"
I bobbed and weaved, and both shots missed me entirely. After about five minutes of internet research I was able to deliver this smashing left hook right in the kisser:
"FYI, "Doctor" Robert O. Young is a total flim-flam man. He has no degrees beyond high school from any accredited college or university. He was convicted in 2016 of practicing medicine without a license, and sentenced to 3 years and 8 months in jail."
I supplied a link to an nbcsandiego.com news piece on Robert Young.
For now, silence from the poluka. He lies twitching on the canvas. But I expect him to come flailing with some new bullshit at any moment. It's only a matter of time.
Nullius in verba, the motto of the Royal Society, so important some scientists have it as a tattoo.
'Clinically proven' is a good one; it doesn't mean anything at all. Lol
Meanwhile, this is what real scientists have to put up with everyday. Lol
I think it true also. A person can also use buzz words to avoid a political phony as well. Most people do not do this because they want to go with something new site wise to avoid boredom and break away from the accepted norm, or they just know that a MAGA site is the right one. In discussion it turns out that you are stupid for not knowing this.
Back to science again, the pseudo beliefs are in there for many reasons and I find that the religious favor this right along with the MAGA. Yes, everybody knows that blah blah blah blah. Until just recently the flat earth idea seemed to just be a few idiots. Now it is bigger than ever again and Trump is still flying around in Air Force One. Maybe even with a bible in his hand. Many that go this route are reading everything with a comparison to what Revelation is telling them. I want to run and hide and I do keep my doors locked.
I watch out for emotionally charged attacks on established science or scientist. This is a sure sign of a dubious motivation of the author and I lose interest very quickly.
Also hyperbole is not normally a communication style used by objective scientist. When the first line of an article claims that “ivermectin is to the Covid-19 virus what garlic is to vampires” I’m done.
That is very true. Unfortunately the issues are also compounded, by the respect and glamour given to revisionists, who do indeed deserve rewards when they can show a genuine new view point. But of course that tempts many, even among genuine scientists to reach for the prize and make exagerated claims, even when they have little foundations for doing so. Which of course sadly does science no credit, and only further encourages the pseudo-scientists.
If anybody tells me that they have "scientific proof" of anything that tells me that they are mentally defective.
Evidence, ok. Proof? Rare as hen's teeth. That's the great thing about science. It always leaves the door open for new information and an updating of our knowledge.
Science is like a little kid who answers "why?" to everything. One thing pseudosciences have in common is they end with an appeal to authority. Once they reach a wall they quit, "because the bible says so" is obvious. Astrology started as science but once they accepted "it's written in the stars" as an answer it was over. Popular today is some "evolutionary psychology" while admittedly it has to be true in a scientific sense in that it asks the question "why are people like that?"; "because evolution" isn't an answer.
Actually there is something to evolutionary psychology. For instance, the field has provided evidence that based on scent alone, women can detect which man has an immune system most different from her own, and in a blind test will choose him over other prospective mates. This makes sense only in evolutionary terms. The combination of genes coding for more immune system diversity provides offspring with a higher chance of survival, all other things being equal. There are other examples as well.
@Flyingsaucesir Of course there is a lot to it, that's what makes it so appealing to hucksters, it's replaced "quantum" as a word to spew bullshit to the chumps.
I believe, "The proof is in the puddin' ". Last year I had someone from a non-English language speaking country tell me that she started learning English at six years of age. She also played the piano. Her long letters were filled with interesting ideas and topics and she was not using incorrect structure, such as verb tenses.
I just went ten rounds with a poluka from Illinois who insists on sending me links to all kinds of wacky anti-vax propaganda. I hammered him hard with what should have been knockout punches, but he kept getting back up, so I hammered him some more. No good. The dude is impervious to reason. All I can do is fend him off with this jab, which is pretty effective at forestalling his advance:
"The standard for dissemination of information regarding the safety and efficacy of vaccines is publication of peer-reviewed studies in reputable scientific journals. Period. Don't send me anything that isn't a peer-reviewed article published in a reputable scientific journal. Got it?"
I know who you are referring to. Save you typing, even if the words were on a 2 x 4 and you swung that board like Babe Ruth it would have zero effect. I am convinced that from dawn to dusk he reads the crap science as his vocabulary has improved and more closely resembles the microbiology textbook on my shelf now.
A good read.