How to Spot Pseudoscience in an Age of Conspiracy Theories

In summary: John Baez, he of the Crackpot Index, exposed the Bogdanovich brothers. The story is so weird it hardly seems real.After plastic surgery to keep their youthful looks. Well, they don't look old....
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Astronuc
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Christopher Hitchens, “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” So the next time you’re considering whether a strange new theory is reasonable, consider these criteria. Is it untestable? Is it needlessly complicated? Has it been introduced without any evidence? If an idea checks these boxes, then there’s no reason to take it seriously.

https://academicminute.org/2022/11/...eudoscience-in-an-age-of-conspiracy-theories/
 
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Astronuc said:
A quick word on Hitchens as he a hero of mine, primarily because I have never heard anyone speak with such skill before.

I did not agree with everything he said in terms of politics but in terms of the art of oration, just beautiful and for me unparalleled.

In terms of science, that was not his area set and he was clear and honest about it in debates.

However he made a real attempt to understand the key points regarding the theory of Evolution and big bang cosmology.

His good friends were Richard Dawkins and Laurence Krauss so he had some decent resources to call on if he had a question!
Anyway conspiracy theories…

They seem to have proliferated somewhat in my view.

Every time I want to see an LHC post or discuss a James Webb image on Youtube there is a conspiracy waiting.

Latest ones?

Einstein was wrong. About everything apparently and Tesler was right. So SR and GR, gravitational waves and gravitational lensing all wrong and made up.

Strange thing is Einstein WAS wrong about expanding universe AND hidden variables but they do not mention that.

Latest on COVID is that it is not fake any more (mostly) but rather made in a lab and released deliberately, by who varies.

David Icke was right all along (although I think he has now changed his mind on the lizard/son of god thing, too painful to listen to him to confirm)

Evolution is wrong- this has a specific motivation not to be discussed but the arguments are changing (evolving)

Micro evolution is ok, macro not ok because kinds stay the same.

LHC (you will like this one) Is opening portals to the underworld and releasing evil spirits. The specific TeV required for this is not stated.
 
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pinball1970 said:
LHC (you will like this one) Is opening portals to the underworld and releasing evil spirits. The specific TeV required for this is not stated.
Now I know where certain politicians came from.
 
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I blame the media and social media.

Media orgs are factories with a mandate to churn out clickbait. They snuck in under our radar as if they were a news source, but they are, in actuality, an anti-news source.

Also, they have given equal voice to the ignorant as to the ...er... norant.
 
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DaveC426913 said:
I blame the media and social media.

Media orgs are factories with a mandate to churn out clickbait. They snuck in under our radar as if they were a news source, but they are, in actuality, an anti-news source.

Also, they have given equal voice to the ignorant as to the ...er... norant.
There has always been quackpottery out there, the net just gives instant access to all of it. If you really want to find that stuff. Sometimes it finds you when you are just looking at Science news items.
Some of it is so bizarre it sounds like they are making fun of it, OR they actually mean it. It is hard to tell the difference.
 
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DaveC426913 said:
An old classic, the Crackpot Index

John Baez, he of the Crackpot Index, exposed the Bogdanovich brothers. The story is so weird it hardly seems real.

BB.jpg


After plastic surgery to keep their youthful looks. Well, they don't look old....
 
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1. What is pseudoscience?

Pseudoscience refers to a set of beliefs or practices that claim to be based on scientific methods and evidence, but in reality lack scientific support and credibility.

2. How can one distinguish between real science and pseudoscience?

One way to distinguish between real science and pseudoscience is by evaluating the evidence and methodology used. Real science relies on rigorous research methods, peer review, and reproducibility of results, while pseudoscience often lacks these elements.

3. What are some common characteristics of pseudoscience?

Some common characteristics of pseudoscience include the use of vague or untestable claims, cherry-picking of data, lack of peer review, and the promotion of conspiracy theories or unproven beliefs.

4. How can the spread of pseudoscience be harmful?

The spread of pseudoscience can be harmful in several ways. It can mislead people into making decisions that may be harmful to their health or well-being, it can waste time and resources on ineffective treatments or products, and it can erode public trust in real science and experts.

5. How can individuals protect themselves from falling for pseudoscience?

Individuals can protect themselves from falling for pseudoscience by being skeptical and critically evaluating the claims being made. They can also seek out information from reliable sources and consult with experts in the field. Additionally, staying informed about current scientific research and understanding the scientific process can help individuals identify and avoid pseudoscientific claims.

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