Pseudoscience and the harm it causes.
Posted: 24 June 2015 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I came across this article today which does a good job of pointing out some of the harm that is caused by those who promote pseudoscience in many areas today.

Science might not be perfect but it is the best tool mankind has developed to understand itself and the world around us. With a grasp of the scientific method the world is suddenly revealed not as a place to be feared, but to be understood. As Carl Sagan also said: “There are wonders enough out there without our inventing any.”

http://theconversation.com/pseudoscience-and-conspiracy-theory-are-not-victimless-crimes-against-science-42630

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Posted: 26 June 2015 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Bump

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Posted: 26 June 2015 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Very good article, but the people who need to read it and think about are not going to do so. I’ve been involved in some Facebook discussions this week with people who believe things from psychic abilities to revisionist history regarding the Confederate battle flag. They unanimously refuse to even consider any information that might contradict their worldview, then turn around and call me close-minded because I don’t think like them.

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You cannot have a rational discussion with someone who holds irrational beliefs.

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Posted: 26 June 2015 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I hear you. Its a real problem. I was wondering recently if this problem had been studied and if anyone had come up with successful strategies for working around the walls people put up that block out rational thought? The frontal assault of facts and reason does not work. Someone must have found a way to make inroads with these kinds of people. If there is a useful technique it would be something we could all benefit from.

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Posted: 26 June 2015 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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macgyver - 24 June 2015 11:46 AM

I came across this article today which does a good job of pointing out some of the harm that is caused by those who promote pseudoscience in many areas today.

Science might not be perfect but it is the best tool mankind has developed to understand itself and the world around us. With a grasp of the scientific method the world is suddenly revealed not as a place to be feared, but to be understood. As Carl Sagan also said: “There are wonders enough out there without our inventing any.”

Several years ago I worked with a person who believed in “Crystal Power” and claimed to have experienced it by fixing a piece of crystal to a pole, standing out in a thunder storm, and feeling the power coming through the wet pole.  I could only shake my head and wonder how long it would take for him to be struck by lightening.  Another person I know, demonstrated a similar power by standing under some high tension power lines and holding up a fluorescent tube, the tube glowed a little.  I would suggest the Crystal Power was pseudo-science and the fluorescent tube was based on real physics.  The power the person felt from the crystal was real, but it didn’t originate where he thought it did.

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Posted: 26 June 2015 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I can relate to that. A few years back we were in Sedona Arizona with the kids and walked into a shop that sold geods, crystals, and various rocks. IN the middle of the store was a huge quartz crystal at least 4 feet tall. The owner volunteered that this crystal had special powers and demonstrated this for the kids. Not wanting to be rude we politely listened to see what she was going to do. She gathered the kids around the crystal and asked them to bang the palms of their hands together repeatedly supposedly to sensitize them to the power emanating from the crystal. Then they were supposed to open their palms toward the crystal and feel its power. When you did this you would feel a vibration through your hands. The kids did what she said and of course they all felt the vibration which was obviously caused not by the crystal but by the repeated smacking of their palms together. Of course you could then buy one of many smaller examples of the same crystal for a price.

We thanked her and left the store after which my middle child spontaneously performed the same procedure on the first parked car she came across. ” Look” she said ” I found a Volvo with crystal powers” as she held her palms out facing the car smiling.

It was reassuring to know that properly educated and trained, even a 10 year old can spot a scam when they see it.

[ Edited: 26 June 2015 03:37 PM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 26 June 2015 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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macgyver - 26 June 2015 03:29 PM

We thanked her and left the store after which my middle child spontaneously performed the same procedure on the first parked car she came across. ” Look” she said ” I found a Volvo with crystal powers” as she held her palms out facing the car smiling.

Damn!  Where can I get me one of them Crystal Powered Vulva’s, My wife would like it, and I could get some rest.

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Posted: 27 June 2015 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Settle down there Breakup. That’s Volvo, as in the Swedish car.

Back to the subject, earlier this week one of my cousins and I were discussing psychic abilities on Facebook. When I posted a link to the Wikipedia page for the Randi million dollar challenge she replied, “I did not read the page and please do not try to change my mind.”

This is he mindset we face.

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Posted: 28 June 2015 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I have a couple pseudo-science facebook friends. One often cites people who have PhDs or says “this is confirmed by science”. I ask for the names of the scientists or the studies but never get them. She once said something like “science has proven that there are energies beyond science”. She saw the problem with it once I pointed it out, but she hasn’t stopped doing it.

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