Science vs. pseudoscience

One of the most enlightening things about going to back to school has been learning the actual scientific method, hypothesis testing, etc. There’s an awful lot of pseudoscience and pseudo-scholarship out there successfully masquerading as the real thing. The unfortunate reality is that many people get duped into believing things because the shell game is convincing: here’s the thing you already want to believe anyway, devoid of actual evidence but wrapped in scientific-sounding garb. For example, a great deal of scientifically illiterate people think they know the definition of science as that which is observable and repeatable. This is pseudo science. It sounds plausible, but in reality it’s a narrow redefinition of science that fits their agenda and nothing outside their agenda. In reality, the scientific method would be better defined as the testing of falsifiable predictions.

As mentioned in the video, pseudoscience confirms what a person wants to believe. Science is in the business of falsification. It’s hypothesis testing 101.

Trying to prove something is true automatically means one is approaching the issue the wrong way. If you want to validate the truth of something with any intellectual honesty, you need to examine the contradictory evidence. We should assail our beliefs at every opportunity, because only those that withstand scrutiny are reasonable to hold.

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