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Pseudoscience

practice or claim that lacks scientific status; term used to describe a claim, belief, or practice presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to the scientific method

Pseudoscience is any alleged body of knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice claiming to be scientific or made to appear scientific, but not adhering to the scientific method.

QuotesEdit

  • Using the term pseudoscience, then, leads to unnecessary polarization, mistrust, disrespectfulness, and confusion around science issues. Everyone—especially scientists, journalists, and science communicators—would better serve science by avoiding it.
  • 'Tis strange how like a very dunce,
    Man, with his bumps upon his sconce,
    Has lived so long, and yet no knowledge he
    Has had, till lately, of Phrenology
    A science that by simple dint of
    Head-combing he should find a hint of,
    When scratching o'er those little pole-hills
    The faculties throw up like mole hills.
    • Thomas Hood, Craniology, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 597.
  • If we would stand up and be counted on the side of reason, we ought to drop terms like 'pseudoscience' and 'unscientific' from our vocabulary; they are just hollow phrases which do only emotive work for us.
    • Larry Laudan, "The Demise of the Demarcation Problem", in Cohen, R.S.; Laudan, L., Physics, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis: Essays in Honor of Adolf Grünbaum (1983)
  • The term “pseudoscience” has become little more than an inflammatory buzzword for quickly dismissing one’s opponents in media sound-bites. … When therapeutic entrepreneurs make claims on behalf of their interventions, we should not waste our time trying to determine whether their interventions qualify as pseudoscientific. Rather, we should ask them: How do you know that your intervention works? What is your evidence?
    • Richard J. McNally, "Is the pseudoscience concept useful for clinical psychology?". The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice (2003)

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