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Explaining pseudo science

  1. Mar 16, 2009 #1
    Recently I have been appaled by the number and the virulence of paper, books and web sites against "mainstream" science.

    This is from the "21st Century Science & Technology magazine" web site:

    21st Century Science & Technology magazine challenges the assumptions of modern scientific dogma, including quantum mechanics, relativity theory, biological reductionism, and the formalization and separation of mathematics from physics. We demand a science based on constructible (intelligible) representation of concepts, but shun the simple empiricist or sense-certainty methods associated with the Newton-Galileo paradigm.

    Our unique collection of editors and scientific advisers maintain an ongoing intellectual dialogue with leading thinkers in many areas, including biology, physics, space science, oceanography, nuclear energy, and ancient epigraphy. Original studies by the controversial economist Lyndon LaRouche have challenged the epistemological foundations of the von Neumann and Wiener-Shannon information theory, and located physical science as a branch of physical economy. In science policy areas, we have challenged sacred cows, from the theory of global warming to the linear threshold concept of radiation. ​

    I would really summarize it as:

    Throw eveything away and make free space for religious belief.​

    Similar things, or worse, can be read at many places, like for example the http://www.worldnpa.org/main/" web site.

    But is that the right way to explain or understand the spread of pseudo-science or even anti-science?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2009 #2


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    Only as examples of pseudo-science and outright crackpot sites.
  4. Mar 16, 2009 #3


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    I don't trust anything related to Lyndon LaRouche! He is politically motivated, and he believes he should be president of the US. He has run under various platforms/parties, and he has some rather bizarre and extreme ideas about politics, economics and science. His organization used to run the Fusion Energy Foundation which was more political/philosophical than technical. A conservative family friend got a subscription for me when I was in university, but I quickly pointed out it was more or less a front for a wacky political organization, which some see as far left and others see as far right (fascist).
  5. Mar 16, 2009 #4
    How can we undertand their aggressive tone like in this paper:


    by Laurence Hecht who wrote many other similarly aggressive papers on other topics including the greenhouse effect.

    Is it a way to attract other supporters?
    Is it because they had some bad experience, in the academics for example?
    Is it because of some kind of conservative educations?
    Is it because this is the meaning of freedom -for some- in the US?
    Are they crazy?
    This looks totally strange to me. I thought first this was US folklore -maybe- but I see that also coming from Russia and easter european countries too, even china.
    Is something happening right now, or is this an old traditions?
  6. Mar 16, 2009 #5
    I feel like a lot of this stems from people not understanding what they are talking about. A lot of people hear someone say something and simply believe it despite other clear and available evidence. Its like saying that all Hondas are bad cars because you have a friend who had one and it broke a lot. People who take the time to write papers or journals to try to refute things that are already proven theories are usually just uneducated and looking for an argument. Some people really like to start a ruckus. For example, Im sure the authors of the articles used as examples here are more than happy that we have a thread devoted to discussing their craziness! These sorts of people tend to attract others who want to be part of the conflict.
  7. Mar 16, 2009 #6
    The problem is that a lot of people will believe anyone that gives them "facts" or "theories", especially more so when they are unable to comprehend the scientific alternatives. People trust too much and have too much bias. The attitude of "If I don't understand, it must be wrong" is rather worrying becoming popular.
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