SCI-ART LAB

Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Q: How do you explain pseudo-science?

Krishna: Pseudo-science, quackery and junk science is everything but science! Claiming things that never happen or happened - like telekinesis, ghost hunting, astrology, toxic cleansing and things like that - using scientific language and jargon to mislead public for personal and professional gains.

Fraud science is when highly qualified people in science purposely fabricate data or manipulate or misrepresent the results to suit their beliefs and ideology.

We are fighting it but it takes lots of our time and effort to defeat it.

Q: Has science emerged from pseudo-science?

Krishna: No.

But before science, there were several strange beliefs, imaginations, some primitive understanding of things, observations of natural happenings, using some trial and error methods for our benefit. We call this primitive or ancient knowledge. This might or might not have worked. There might have been some positive as well as negative consequences.

We cannot call this genuine science. It just is an unrefined form. Slowly the scientific method emerged from the abyss of ignorance when people began to realize that the objective truth can only be understood through meticulous scientific scrutiny, which cannot be subjective.

Now this forms the basis for genuine science.

Q: When science has developed so much why do some people still court pseudo-science?

Krishna: Scientific method is difficult to follow. It takes thorough scrutiny and years and years of hard work to establish facts. When they are established, you cannot cheat people and gain personal benefits. So some people try to make others follow them by strictly controlling them. These people don't allow others to learn genuine things. If you are desperate, ignorant, have fears, you listen to these fraudsters and follow pseudo-things instead of genuine ones. Pseudo-science is easy to follow.

Several celebrities, politicians, religious leaders, sports persons promote pseudo-science. Their appeal is making their followers blindly go for it. 

Some try to earn money via pseudo-scientific way. Detoxification, homeopathy practitioners come in this category.  

People who want to authenticate their beliefs, ideologies, and opinions take the help of pseudo-science to do that as real science doesn't endorse such things. In order to have emotional intelligence, some people try to mention things that can cause disturbance in others in the way others want - i.e., reduce the effect of truth to fit into their belief system ( some scientists do this while conducting research on topics like near death experiences, souls, after life etc. but these scientists enter into a pseudo-science arena to do this).

People who are not correctly trained in science don't know the difference between genuine science and the pseudo-things. So they follow whatever is offered to them as science.

Moreover, genuine science is difficult to understand if you are not familiar with it. It is more difficult to follow the right way. So people and their minds choose the easier things.

We are trying to change this mentality of people by simplifying science now so that they could benefit by following the genuine scientific way of doing things.

Q: What are the drawbacks of pseudo-science?

Krishna: There is no such thing as ‘harmless’ when it comes to pseudoscience.

Now rare funds for research are getting diverted to pseudo-science in some places.

People are getting cheated. How? When you spend money on a detoxification process that never works or cause harm to you, instead of going for a genuine medical treatment for your health condition, isn't that harmful for you and your health apart from losing money on unnecessary things?

And there are reports that big pharmaceutical companies are sporting pseudo-science to downplay the risks of addiction drugs like opioids to make people use and get addicted to them (1).

Pseudo-science gives you false knowledge, that won't help you in any way, instead of the one you can really benefit from. 

Q: What's the reason behind science looking at subjectivity with so much suspicion?
Krishna: Everyone thinks; it is human nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or down-right prejudiced. Yet the
quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely
on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is detrimental to science. It also effects the standard of our living. But still several people think, just because they did graduation, PG and Ph.D. in science, they can think scientifically. This itself is lopsided thinking. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.

Subjectivity is the quality of being based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Several things might screw up your thought process and understanding. These are cultural, religious, political, emotional and ideological ones. Just because you love or respect somebody - that somebody need not be always right. Or just because you hate somebody that person need not always be wrong. Just because you believe in something doesn't make it a fact.

You have to be totally neutral and get rid of all things that influence your thought process to get the facts right.

Science is the fundamental thing that runs this universe. Shoddy subjectivity, doesn't take you to the genuine facts of the universe. If you don't get your facts right, you cannot utilize science properly. That is why scientific method polices the world of science.

Critical Thinking

Scientific Thinking

Q: How can we differentiate between genuine science and pseudo-science? 

Krishna: I have seen some professors and scientists too following pseudo-science. When highly qualified people too cannot differentiate between the two properly, imagine the situation of ordinary people who are not at all trained  in science. But you can if you really try. I prepared  a guide for common people. Read it here and follow it strictly: how-to-trust-science-stories-a-guide-for-common-man

References: 

1. https://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/opioid-users-in-ottawa-continue-to-die-in...

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