The difference between Science and pseudoscience
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20-08-2016, 10:41 AM (This post was last modified: 20-08-2016 12:19 PM by Full Circle.)
The difference between Science and pseudoscience
Anyone who has been on this forum long enough will encounter some really baffling claims, usually from drivebys and sometimes from sincere believers in the religious.

So what is the difference? Many of us intuitively think we know already, if you can’t prove it then it has no meaning. But the real difference, according to Karl Popper, is if you can’t disprove it, or falsify it. That is the key.

Karl Popper on The Line Between Science and Pseudoscience

https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2016/08...nificance/

Excerpts:

"What was the missing element? Popper had figured it out before long: The non-scientific theories could not be falsified. They were not testable in a legitimate way. There was no possible objection that could be raised which would show the theory to be wrong.”

From there, Popper laid out his essential conclusions, which are useful to any thinker trying to figure out if a theory they hold dear is something that can be put in the scientific realm:

1. It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory–if we look for confirmations.

2. Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory–an event which would have refuted the theory.

3. Every ‘good’ scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.

4. A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is nonscientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.

5. Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.

6. Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory. (I now speak in such cases of ‘corroborating evidence’.)

7. Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers–for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by re-interpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a ‘conventionalist twist’ or a ‘conventionalist stratagem’.)

One can sum up all this by saying that the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability.”


And there you have it. All those times when we bring up to the believers the preposterous analogies such as the invisible dragon in the garage or Russel’s orbting teapot what we are correctly pointing out is that if the claim can’t be falsified then it falls squarely in the realm of pseudoscience at best and wishful thinking at worst.

*edit for grammar and spelling

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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20-08-2016, 10:57 AM
RE: The difference between Science and pseudoscience
The easy way to tell --- the pseudoscience "peer reviews" are in The National Enquirer...........

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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20-08-2016, 11:24 AM (This post was last modified: 20-08-2016 12:11 PM by pablo.)
RE: The difference between Science and pseudoscience
I remember seeing a video of Lawrence Krauss stating that the best way to prove something is true, is to try to prove it false.
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20-08-2016, 11:33 AM
RE: The difference between Science and pseudoscience
We should PM a link to this thread to theBorg.

... on second thought don't. Somehow, he'll misinterpret everything.
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20-08-2016, 12:03 PM
RE: The difference between Science and pseudoscience
(20-08-2016 11:33 AM)Aliza Wrote:  We should PM a link to this thread to theBorg.

... on second thought don't. Somehow, he'll misinterpret everything.

Yeah, don't bother. Borg doesn't actually care about learning. They're just here to troll.

If we came from dust, then why is there still dust?
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20-08-2016, 12:41 PM
RE: The difference between Science and pseudoscience
(20-08-2016 12:03 PM)cactus Wrote:  
(20-08-2016 11:33 AM)Aliza Wrote:  We should PM a link to this thread to theBorg.

... on second thought don't. Somehow, he'll misinterpret everything.

Yeah, don't bother. Borg doesn't actually care about learning. They're just here to troll.

That guy would be entertaining if I could understand 1/4 of what he writes. As it is he's just annoying. Dodgy

Say, Cactus, I am curious about something, if you don't mind. Shy
When I was in the air force, my call sign was "Preacher"- my official one, after the naming ceremony. My name is James Jones, AKA Jim Jones, AKA reverend Jim Jones, Guyana, kool aid, etc. Plus I talk a lot.
But in UPT (undergraduate pilot training) you often pick up a temporary call sign, and mine was "cactus". Because, as my squadron mates so delicately put it, I could be a real prick. Cool I'm just wondering if your screen name has a similar etymology?
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21-08-2016, 03:34 AM
RE: The difference between Science and pseudoscience
Some of the classic pseudo-sciences:

Homeopathy, Ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture, Rolfing, ESP,
Lysenkoism, aromatherapy, graphology, kinesiology, astrology,
biorhythms, iridology, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, reflexology,
facilitated communication, dowsing, hypnosis, full moon lunacy,
ear candling, chelation therapy, Dianetics, magnetic therapy.

Not comprehensive, but it gives you an idea of some of the pseudo-scientific lunacy out there. Which, amazingly, make their practitioners billions of dollars a year globally.

Sadcryface

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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21-08-2016, 03:43 AM
RE: The difference between Science and pseudoscience
You forgot one: buying a proper used car.

Ceterum censeo, religionem delendam esse
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21-08-2016, 03:46 AM
RE: The difference between Science and pseudoscience
I think
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability]this is needed as Popper 101 for this thread.

Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.
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21-08-2016, 03:47 AM
RE: The difference between Science and pseudoscience
I think this is needed as Popper 101 for this thread.

Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.
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