Talk:pseudoscience

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Oh my goodness.

Someone needs to alert the community of working scientists that when they work off a hunch or otherwise engage in informal discourse, they are engaging in pseudoscience. -dmh 14:34, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I would liken pseudoscience to the Cargo Cult (I'm stealing this analogy from the late Richard Feynmann, and invoking the First World stereotype, not the actual phenomenon). It uses the trappings of science in a formal way without any real understanding of actual science. For example, the description of the now infamous photon belt uses real terms like "photon" and "DNA", but in senses that are clearly only loosely analogous to their ordinary meanings.
I wouldn't categorize pseudoscience as a body of knowledge so much as a collection of beliefs, based partly in the wishes of the proponents and drawn partly from applying scientific terms in purely formal analogies without great regard to the details of their meanings. For example, pseudoscience speaks of "life energy" analogous to physical energy in some aspects, but clearly not in others. -dmh 19:11, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Your first comment was more to the point. I would liken cargo cults more to primitive science than pseudoscience. They are valid within the very limited parameters of scientific understanding in a primitive society.
Science fiction is not pseudoscience, but the introduction of "scientific" concepts within the context of literary licence. It is acting pejoratively to dismiss "life energy" as pseudoscience without an understanding of what it is in its own context. Many theories characterized as pseudoscience are simply not proven; the people who, in good faith but perhaps futilely, persist in trying to apply the rules of the scientific method to these theories are not acting pseudoscientifically. A theory which is discarded after being proven false is not pseudoscientific, but evidence of a situation where science has done its work. It's the theory rather than the science which was false. Eclecticology 16:59, July 20, 2005 (UTC)
"...often used by people who have no underlying familiarity..." - sorry, but it almost sound as "as soon as you get familiar with the subject, you'll understand that it's not pseudoscience". Then I can only wonder, then what is it? Science? To me, most "popular" (what I do call) pseudosciences - such as numerology, astrology, ESP... - is not about new theories which "are not (yet) proven", they are theories which time after time are getting *proved wrong*, but those proofs are simply discarded. So, I'd say that the present "usage note" is too broad, and that there are valid uses of this word. Not in the context of each and every failed theory, but in the context of failed theories which people refuse to let go off, perhaps claiming that the "scientific method" is the one to blame, not their thoery... \Mike 09:15, 10 October 2005 (UTC)