The red herring

Conclusion to “Sham Inquiry” The coelacanth is a red herring Mainstream science, which is respected and functions very well with its current methodology, excludes those fields who don’t pass muster. For a theory to be considered as an explanation for observations of the natural world, even the public realizes it ought to be scientific. Using…

Elbowing in

Continuing with “Sham Inquiry” Elbowing in on good science The Journal of Scientific Exploration is the published by the Society for Scientific Exploration which describes itself as “a professional organization of scientists and other scholars committed to studying phenomena that cross or are outside of the traditional boundaries of science and…are ignored or studied inadequately…”…

Ghost Hunting – Sham Inquiry

Thousands of eyewitnesses report ghostly encounters from ancient history to modern times. Contact with the dead is very much part of our modern culture. With the expansion of television content and the internet, stories about hauntings have surged in popularity. Ghost hunting is a popular hobby for thrill seekers. It’s fun to be scared. The…

Cryptozoology – Sham Inquiry

Cryptozoology is “the study of hidden animals” (called ‘cryptids’). More precisely, it is the pursuit of animals that science does not recognize as existing and, in some situations, be considered ‘monster hunting’ in comparison to the ghost hunters in a forthcoming discussion. Like the closely related field of UFOlogy, cryptozoology can accurately be described as…

Pretend science

Playing Pretend Science In order to be technical, like science, pseudoscientists engage in a method of data gathering that is not haphazard or lazy. Intricate collection and analysis is often a part of pseudoscientific activity. They may produce enormous bodies of work. Commitment to a cause can prompt “energetic intellectual effort” [1]. The motives and…

So much information

WordPress has a new feature that allows me to blog from email. Very cool. Why did it take so long? The reason why this is Awesome is that I frequently get ideas or come across links at work. I can’t post to the blog at work because WordPress is blocked (along with thousands of other…

Weak evidence

Quality of evidence A frequent complaint from the fringe is that the scientific community is dismissive of the actual evidence for their extraordinary claim. Proponents of psi or UFOs will cite reams of evidence. The scientific community’s standard response is “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. That is, the evidence must be high quality, obtained through…

Using Subterfuge

Using subterfuge to build a case Pseudoscience proponents may resort to desperate measures to support and preserve a beloved theory – another sure sign that the theory does not qualify on the same level as a scientific one. The public generally falls for various forms of slippery techniques and logical fallacies that are used to…

Irrefutable

Science doesn’t work by beginning with the premise and searching for evidence to support it or, holding onto the premise no matter what evidence contradicts it. This is true close-mindedness. A theory can be worded in such a way that it can never be shown to be false. This is made very easy by incorporating…

Fancy jargon

Fancy jargon and complexity Science is loaded with jargon which serves as an efficient way to get a complex idea across in a neat package. Scientists name everything and give precise definitions. Thus, jargon is a hallmark of science. Whereas the jargon of science is meant to be precise and useful, the jargon of pseudoscience…

Immutable

Immutable and Closed to Criticism A half-century makes a huge difference in science these days. Consider physics, astronomy and medicine from just 50 years ago. Today’s great pseudosciences are ancient arts – astrology, traditional medicines, dowsing, divination. Apart from incorporating some new technology into their practice, like computers and electronic gadgets, the explanatory basis for…

Unorthodox and proud of it

The category of unconventional theories is labeled “maverick”, “fringe”, “frontier” and “exploration” in front of the word “science” to describe the work. (This community is featured on The Anomalist website – www.anomalist.com.) The conclusions they reach are at variance with what is taught as conventional science. Because these ideas are outside of the mainstream consensus…

Sour Grapes

“If you aren’t trying to get to the truth, you aren’t really inquiring” -S. Haack [1] A case of sour grapes We live in a world of science. Because of its high regard as a source of truth about the world, the concept of ‘science’ is often abused by scoundrels [2] and its appearance is…

Sham Inquiry

As part of a research project, I looked at the phenomenon of sham inquiry. It’s when pseudoscience or a marketing scheme dresses up to look like science in order to add credibility. The public can be easily fooled – they think if you look like this: …you must be a scientist. Well, that’s obviously not…