# Pseudoscience for the Responsible [Debate]

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Well, I'll try a philosophical approach to this:

Does the Scientific Method uncover all truths, or is it just a method of uncovering some truths, truth being defined as that which can be validated using the Scientific Method?

What if truths exist that are beyond the realm of the scientific method? Do we humans assume we understand everything and can say for sure that truth is only that which can be validated by the scientific method?

How do we even know our world is real? If I may use Hollwood as an example, have you seen the movie "The Thirteenth Floor" in which a city was just a computer simulation and the citizens didn't know? It was created by a higher civilization, who was also secretly just another computer simulation created by another higher level civilization which may yet be just another computer simulation. The point is that I don't think we can ever know if anything we perceive is real, rather we can just use what we perceive as being practical and producing desired results, such as the scientific method, without really ever knowing for sure if the results represents truth or rather perceived truths, even if these perceived truths show predictability and repeatability.

Regards,

Wolfgang Mozart

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The scientific method is used for testing conclusions against observations.

This means it doesn't matter if the world around us is real or not; we can still describe it in a predictive and reliable manner.

"What if truths exist that are beyond the realm of the scientific method? Do we humans assume we understand everything and can say for sure that truth is only that which can be validated by the scientific method?"

I'm not sure what you mean here. Science does not strive to find pre-existing truths and validate them, it is simply for showing how and why things happen. As such nothing is really "beyond" science as a method, although there are certainly some things that are beyond our capacity to apply the method. For instance we can't yet chuck pineapples into black holes to see what happens. This in itself is not a limitation of the method - it's a constraint on the method caused by our poo technology.

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discovering truths also allows us to it invent possible aplications of them, and thus further our technology and METHODS for discovering even more truths.

from the simple Lens to the Microscope or Telescope type of thing.

it has a "snowball" effect

Truth just IS, its a black or white thing. WHAT that truth is, is imaterial, so what if everything is a "computer simulation" it makes no difference as that, then would be a Truth

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What if truths exist that are beyond the realm of the scientific method? Do we humans assume we understand everything and can say for sure that truth is only that which can be validated by the scientific method?"

I'm not sure what you mean here.

Well, the scientific method requires evidence, but what if the human brain is not intelligent enough to understand all evidence or to acquire all evidence? And what if there are some truths that are not predictable and thus invalid from the scientific point of view? Sorry if I don't make sense here.

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Well, the scientific method requires evidence, but what if the human brain is not intelligent enough to understand all evidence or to acquire all evidence? And what if there are some truths that are not predictable and thus invalid from the scientific point of view? Sorry if I don't make sense here.

scientific method doesnt require evidence, sometimes the lack of evidence in a result of a applied method can be just as revealing

we may not be intelegent enough to understand everything, Science doesnt dismiss that. and no we certainly cannot as humans detect everything, we use instruments for this, and somethimes develop new ones from the application of newly discovered truths. its all stepping stones, man had to discover metals to make tools, and these tools made better tools and now we have TV and laptops and mobile fones to order a take-away pizza

no appology needed

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This is somewhat subjective depending on what you mean by "a truth".

Unpredictably does not necessitate invalidity. Usually if an effect is unpredictable, it is due to more than one cause. The trick is to break the problem down into its components, all of which will be predictable separately. Enough information means that one can eventually model the effects of combinations of causes.

If the human brain is not sufficient to the task of acquiring or understanding the evidence, then there's obviously not much scope for addressing the problem at hand. Our capacity to adapt and continuing evolution though do mean that the more time we spend working on the problem, the more likely we are to make headway of some sort. In the meantime people are of course free to ascribe the effects of unknown causes to whatever imaginary entities they can conjure up, but to unilaterally call this truth would be folly.

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You know Sayonara, points 4, 5 and 6 of your list may have just messed up a lot of Archeaologists.

5 and 6 especially.

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Only the pseudoscientific ones, and nobody cares what they think.

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For some fun, mention "Diffusionism" to one and watch the fireworks.

(And really watch the logic behind what they say, it's quite fascinating. )

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I find it interesting that many threads get removed to that Area, and yet Ive never known one come out! as in someone made a valid point and started the thread in there (for whatever reason) and it was worthy of actualy being Science.

I guess every popular forum needs its version of a "waste paper basket"

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Yea this is a very emotional science based on the feeling rather than direct thought and I find it interesting to be debating on things no one will probly ever know just to see what others think, this is a science that has room for everyone and that is good as long as people are open-minded but also skeptical and keep things realistic some threads I have seen have been a little weird to say the least lol.

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This Is The First Reply To The Matter And May Be The Last Coz It Is Not Easy To Draw A Line Betweem Science And Pseudo-science.

It Is Not As Easy As That Coz U Always Have To Find Proof For The Theory But Pseudo Science Is All Based On The Hypothesis Or May Be The Imagination.

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This Is The First Reply To The Matter And May Be The Last Coz It Is Not Easy To Draw A Line Betweem Science And Pseudo-science.

Yes it is.

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Excellent original post, sayonara. I love how this is a science site but somehow people still rattle on their preachy, dogmatic crap (yeah I said it) about "God being at your door". I love the scare tactics these people use, and the mindless parroting of so called "proof" of Noah's Ark and stuff like that. I got news for you all, becasue some prominent creation "scientist" like Kent Hovind says something is true by no means makes it right. He is the in the propaganda, not science field.

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Unlike conventional scientific theory, which is based upon a continually progressing and narrowing identification of event-level observations that can be demonstrated and explained via the scientific method, there is no unilateral standard within pseudoscience that restricts any one individual or group of individuals to a single approach to any given problem.

This begs the question 'why is my submission considered to be pseudoscience. I have used the results of experiments listed by the PDG and Classical theory, to produce an interpretation (something that current theory does not have). So why is it pseudoscience and not an addition to current classical theory?

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Sayanora3(/B)

Surely the first requirement of any new theory subscriber is to be told the value of the submission, is it science or pseudoscience? In respect of my theory of elementary particle structure, that is the question I would most like to see answered.

With regard to the first four flashcards, a distinction should be made between disagreeing with an assumption built into current theory and disagreeing with something that has been proven by experiment. A number of subscribers think that because an assumption works mathematically, that is proof of its correctness; I disagree.

For example, the allocation of fractional charge to quarks so that quark charge will comply with the conservation rules is, I suggest; wrong. I show that the Classical Electron Radius equation produces the same value for radii as does the CLF model, but only if all particles have the same charge value (1). I justify this by relating the radii to Mass and wavelength.

I also challenge the current practice of designing experiments to find a particular (predicted) particle, rejecting some results, and averaging the remainder to obtain the desired result; as done in the 2004 Particle Data Group tables of leptons and quarks. I show that each experiment is a correct result in its own right (including the rejections). I show how nature achieves this using the same fractions as those found in FQHE experiments.

Finally by combining Einstein’s equation with de Broglie’s wavelength and the CLF equation I produce an equation for charged elementary particle structure. This (combining) approach was taken to avoid the accusation that the equation is the product of circular mathematics. The equation implies that the relationship between mass and wavelength is determined by the existence of a linear force that has the same value in all particles, hence the Linear Force Constant.

By linking my proposal to values found by experiment, I hoped to avoid the pseudoscience label and the accusation that I was replacing Quantum theory, which I am not; I am seeking certain interpretive corrections, but not challenging the accuracy of QT predictions.

But, in the end, I cannot sit in judgement on my own work, neither is it the sort of work normally accepted for review; so I rely on forums for constructive criticism and so far that criticism has been rather short on detail, is there any hope of detailed criticism?

elas

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Hi Elas.

The "flashcards" are intended as guidelines for use when posting on the forums, and were written at a time when we were inundated with baloney on a daily basis. If you feel that they are an unnecessary encumbrance when you are presenting your work, there is not generally a problem with ignoring or modifying them. After all, the less insane your work, the less it will come across as dodging the guidelines.

You can rest assured that most members will point out any perceived problems in a candid but constructive fashion.

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Sayanora3

http://forum.physorg.com/index.php?showtopic=13304&st=0

I cannot be certain right now, but I am hopeful that a recently discovered arXiv paper (also journal published) will enable me to make a direct link with QT mathematics; this despite the fact that I know nothing about them; but fortunately, I have an eye for graphs and the paper puts more than usual in graph form.

regards

elas

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Sayanora3

The new page is available at:

http://elasticity2.tripod.com/pji.htm

elas

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I find Sayonara³'s discourse on Pseudoscience for the Responsible interesting.

However this only fits the things that can be proven or dis-proven by current scientific methods. I believe it is possible for someone to have theories that cannot be proven or dis-proven by current scientific methods. Surely you scientist know of many things that you can't prove or disprove with science. This is why you are still trying to broaden your understanding of physics as we know it.

These things that science has yet to understand or there is no current scientific method to prove or dis-prove them due to a lack of scientific knowledge, I maintain should not be put into the category of Pseudoscience . To do so would be mixing apples and oranges.

I have read enough threads on this forum and for some, if the idea presented cannot yet be proven by our science, it is put down to be Pseudoscience. This does not make the idea untrue.. only that it cannot be proven or dis-proven by current methodology.

I propose science comes up with another category to include these things as they clearly do not fit the description of what Pseudoscience is.

There are many such things posted in this forum.

Many things in our past may have been called a Pseudoscience such as electricity, before science had the ability to understand it through scientific means.

For example. If I wanted to have a scientific discussion about the existence of Ghost, it would not be possible in this forum. Only because there is no established evidence one way or another to prove or dis-prove the existence of ghost and therefore would be shunned by the moderators.

Does this mean that Ghost have no place is scientific discussion? No it does not. If we never ask the questions and explore the fine lines of the possibility of other dimensions and how matter or energy may exist in them in relation to ghost, we will never get around to proving or disproving them scientifically.

We should have a forum for such things. Perhaps in 500 years science will have caught up and we will be able to do these things, and someone finds an archive of this web site stored in a computer in a time capsule, they may wonder why we didn't discuss such things.

Edited by John Phoenix

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Many things in our past may have been called a Pseudoscience such as electricity, before science had the ability to understand it through scientific means.

That's just it, though. Pseudoscience is not some permanent state. Once the claims/theories are proven/validated, then it is no longer pseudoscience... It's just science. The label is time and context dependent. The presenter of the theory or idea has every opportunity to prove it... to demonstrate it is accurate, but until they have, it's not science.

In much the same way, you have "alternative medicine." Once it's proven that it works and is beneficial, it becomes just "medicine," and the "alternative" term is discarded.

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However this only fits the things that can be proven or dis-proven by current scientific methods.

That's the nexus, right there.

Pseudoscience is discarding methodology in favor of seeking ways to convince others of the validity of an idea or phenomenon without evidence or in spite of contrary evidence.

To go with your ghost example: One common item held up as evidence is the photographic "ghost orb". However, such photographic effects can be produced at will by using flash photography in a dusty environment, where the dust particles sometimes reflect the flash into the camera lens, making for an out-of-focus bright spot.

Pseudoscience ignores that there is a repeatable experiment that suggests an explanation other than ghosts, and continues to insist ghost orbs are evidence for ghosts no matter what other evidence there may be that fails to corroborate the conclusion.

Science discards the evidence of "ghost orbs", until and unless further evidence corroborates the ghost explanation.

My main point being that "ghosts" are not pseudoscience. Ghosts are just a concept. How one goes about proving the existence of ghosts is what can be pseudoscience.

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Jill your point is taken. So, this forum is also labeled Speculation.. do ya think one could have a serious discussion about ghost here as long as one doesn't try to prove the existence of them with bad science?

Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged
That's just it, though. Pseudoscience is not some permanent state. Once the claims/theories are proven/validated, then it is no longer pseudoscience... It's just science. The label is time and context dependent. The presenter of the theory or idea has every opportunity to prove it... to demonstrate it is accurate, but until they have, it's not science.

In much the same way, you have "alternative medicine." Once it's proven that it works and is beneficial, it becomes just "medicine," and the "alternative" term is discarded.

You point is also well taken. However I disagree with you about alternative medicine in a way. If you study the history of medicine you will find that treating illness by natural means is the norm and this business of treating illness with pharmaceuticals is the new guy on the block.. its the alternative medicine. This would really be classed as alternative medicine by your definition because drugs do the body more harm than by treating it with natural means.

Even though both forms seem to be accepted by that standard I could consider the use of pharmaceuticals pseudoscience.

Also by those same standards there are lots proven beneficial treatments out there that are still considered alternative medicine.. why hasn't the alternative been dropped yet? Acupuncture and acupressure are two such.. practiced and proven for thousands of years.

Edited by John Phoenix
Consecutive posts merged.

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You seem to be referring more to "complimentary" medicine, not "alternative" medicine.

You should watch this special (it's incredibly accessible and interesting):

A synopsis:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/264223

This interview contains a lot of very important information, regardless of how one feels about CAM [Complimentary and Alternative Medicine]. Professor Baum starts by explaining the difference between complementary and alternative medicine. For him, complementary medicine is everything that improves the quality of life of a patient undergoing medical treatments, possibly for life-threatening diseases such as breast cancer. Alternative medicine, on the other hand, seeks to replace scientific medicine. Says Michael Baum:

I'm obviously against alternative medicine, because to me, alternative, by definition, means it does not work. If it works, we would use it.

As an example of that, he cites a few medicines of herbal origin that are being used for cancer therapy such as vinca alkaloids form periwinkle and taxanes from yew trees.

<...>

Later on, they talk about what Baum politely calls "post-modern relativism," the idea that everything is but an opinion. I have an opinion, but you have read some other books and you have therefore another opinion and both opinions are equally valid. As a result, we have now alternative medicine, alternative teaching methods, alternative legal advocates, "but," he says "we haven't yet come up with an alternative Boeing 747 pilot".

He links this to the MMR vaccine crisis where people are being told by alternologists and are convinced that there is a conspiracy of the medical establishment and the government that, in order to protect themselves, they were willing to sacrifice countless children to autism. "This is simply a lie," he says, and he adds that even among his closest friends, there are people who are not immunizing their children and that these children are now unprotected as a result.

<...>

Dawkins asks Baum if he can cite a few examples of complementary/alternative therapies for which he does have time. Baum cites art therapy as an example of complementary therapy in which he has invested quite some time. He also cites acupuncture, which is bonkers as an alternative complementary medicine belief system but which does have some value as a complementary therapy, for example in pain management. Still, his belief doesn't seem to go very far.

He goes on giving an example of the importance of clinical trials and tells a story about how he was chairing a meeting in Florence, Italy on the role of CAM in the treatment of breast cancer. He was in serious pain at the time, so much so that he was limping. An acupuncturist offered him a treatment. The next day, he was completely without pain, and even visited the Uffizi gallery for a few hours. The interesting part is that she offered the treatment, but that he didn't accept it. Had he accepted it, the result would have been so spectacular that he would have become a convert. A nice illustration of the importance of controlled trials.

Baum is also telling Dawkins about how many alternologists always go back to some "golden age" of medicine, and argues that there is no such thing as a golden age of medicine in the past, that the golden age is now, and that it will become more golden if only science can continue. He gives the example of Victorian England where life expectancy was not much more than about 40 years and where 30% of the children died shortly after birth whereas now most children survive, and that we now have life expectancies of close to 80 years, leading us to work longer than in the past.

Dawkins and Baum talk about the importance of science education. Baum tells Dawkins that we have a scientifically illiterate population, a scientifically illiterate house of commons and, worse, that they actually take pride into their scientific illiteracy. Scientists have an important task here, he says, and children should be taught the scientific method from early secondary school in order to have a scientifically literate population. <
>

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Jill your point is taken. So, this forum is also labeled Speculation.. do ya think one could have a serious discussion about ghost here as long as one doesn't try to prove the existence of them with bad science?

Honestly, no. Remove the pseudoscience that surrounds ghosts and you have nothing to discuss. Without some sort of evidence to base speculation on, well, you may as well just write pure fiction - a form of speculation itself, just not the sort that opens new options.

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