The charming tale and pseudoscience
of the power of pretty stones and crystals seems so harmless and easy to believe.
All of it boils down to Yin and Yang - the carnal struggle between two extremes; one that is retrogressive, stubborn, not open to criticism and is not evidence-based (historical revisionism and pseudoscience
), while the other is progressive, flexible, open to criticisms and evidence-based (scholarly history and science).
It is an open secret that many science graduates flirt with various pseudosciences; university qualifications in science do not immunise people to their appeal.
School science education would appear to have three options: no response, confronting pseudoscience head-on, or a measured response whereby testable claims arising from pseudosciences are subjected to scrutiny.
The confrontation option involves mainstreaming specific pseudosciences into the curriculum.
A 'middle path' response option is to examine testable claims arising from various pseudosciences in the course of covering curricular units devoted to topics which are associated with particular pseudosciences, thereby avoiding the need to write named pseudosciences into the curriculum, while at the same time forging connections with conventional disciplines.
People who agreed to take part were sent questionnaires which sought to ascertain the status of pseudosciences in official secondary school curricula and/or the policy of respondents' science education organisations with respect to pseudoscience, and respondents' personal opinions on three issues:
Chapter 8 analyzes the relation between pseudoscience
and postmodernism, and investigates how extreme skepticism can abet extreme credulity, using a series of detailed case studies: pseudoscientific therapies in nursing and 'alternative medicine'; Hindu nationalist pseudoscience
in India; and radical environmentalism.
SCIENCE UNDER SIEGE: DEFENDING SCIENCE, EXPOSING PSEUDOSCIENCE. Edited by Kendrick Frazier.
Finally, he classifies both sociobiology and work relating to the anthropic principle in cosmology as borderline examples of pseudoscience.
Unlike the pseudosciences
the scientific method is predicated on the bedrock principle "Mistrust arguments from authority" (though Sagan acknowledges that, "Scientists, being primates, and thus given to dominance hierarchies, of course do not always follow this commandment.").
Shermer asserts that whereas scientists seek to minimize the effects of observation on the observed, pseudosciences do not (p.
WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS: PSEUDOSCIENCE, SUPERSTITION, AND OTHER CONFUSIONS OF OUR TIME by Michael Shermer.
His book is part of a genre epitomized by the writings of today's doyen of debunkers, science writer Martin Gardner, who, following earlier science popularizers such as Joseph Jastrow, has sought to inform the public of the vagaries and pretensions of what he sees as "pseudoscience." On a second level, however, Shermer's book presumes to be more than just fun and asks readers to take it seriously for its reflections on the psychology and even sociology of deviant science.
SHERMER'S PERSPECTIVE ON SKEPTICISM AND PSEUDOSCIENCE