How scientists can learn what distinguishes science from pseudoscience

November 18, 2014 by Michael J. I. Brown, The Conversation
Pooling expertise via collaboration can make amazing science happen. Michael Hoch/CERN

Scientists should study pseudoscience – see what the pseudoscientists are up to and perhaps (for a laugh) try a few pseudostudies themselves.

Critically, must learn what really distinguishes from pseudoscience. We can fall for comforting myths, with pseudoscience being the domain of cat palmists on TV claiming to predict earthquakes with the moon. Amusing, sometimes exasperating, but mostly harmless stuff.

But the most dangerous pseudoscience is not produced amateurish cranks, but by a minority of qualified scientists and doctors. Their pseudoscience is promoted as science by think tanks and sections of the media, with serious consequences.

British doctor Andrew Wakefield's claims about vaccines and autism continue to impact vaccination rates 16 years on, despite Wakefield being deregistered and his research debunked.

Why do a minority of scientists produce pseudoscience? Clearly some pseudoscience is strongly associated with ideological beliefs, and motivated reasoning can overwhelm data, logic and years of training. Perhaps some scientists get complacent, expecting their hunches to always be correct.

But perhaps there's another reason that's closer to home. Is part of the problem how we educate prospective scientists?

Hypothesis

Pseudoscience mimics aspects of science while fundamentally denying the scientific method. A useful definition of the scientific method is:

principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

A key phrase is "testing of hypotheses". We test hypotheses because they can be wrong.

Hypothesis testing is the first victim of pseudoscience. The conclusions are already known, and the data and analyses are (consciously or unconsciously) chosen to reach the desired conclusion.

Unfortunately, high school and undergraduate science students may have limited exposure to . A student laboratory exercise may repeat an experiment from decades ago, which has been simplified for teaching, and whose conclusions are well known.

Such an exercise teaches technical skills at the expense of hypothesis testing. Should we expect students to "get" hypothesis testing without real experience? No, and without real experience of hypothesis testing we may undermine years of education.

Time is of the essence

What is the most time consuming aspect of science? Collecting the data? Producing results?

In a school or university laboratory class, much time is devoted to obtaining the relevant results. However, this doesn't truly reflect how scientific research is undertaken.

When undertaking scientific research, obtaining a result can be relatively quick. The painful part is cross checking the validity of the result with different experiments and new data, including comparison with already published studies.

How scientists can learn what distinguishes science from pseudoscience
Linus Pauling won two Nobel Prizes, but late in his life Pauling promoted vitamin C as a cure-all. Credit: Nobel Prize Foundation/Wikipedia

Pseudoscience lacks these cross checks. "Discoveries" of alien life appear every year or so in the "Journal of Cosmology". Inevitably each "discovery" is followed by debunking, showing the "aliens" and "meteorites" have mundane Earthly origins. To a professional scientist, not checking for these obvious and mundane possibilities seems bizarre, but such sloppiness is a hallmark of pseudoscience.

Unfortunately, our teaching laboratory classes don't always emphasise cross checking. Students often spend most of their time obtaining results, with little time and few marks allocated to validating those results.

Journal articles and media reporting of science also emphasise new results (and understandably so). However, this reporting of science doesn't reflect how scientists devote their time and effort.

While "the result" is often the prelude to months of painful verification for scientists, are we actually training our students and the public that "the result" is what science is all about?

Nice fit

Fitting mathematical models to data is fundamental to science and its early history. Johannes Kepler's mathematical laws of planetary motion, developed in the early 17th century, paved the way for Newton's theories of motion and gravity.

Students often learn (or assume) that the smaller the difference between the data and a model, the better the model. This is often encouraged by the R2 statistic, which is provided by Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Unfortunately, taken to overly simple extremes, this can lead to problems.

When we look at data, we are often looking at a trend with noise superimposed. For example, maximum temperature gradually increases from winter to summer (trend), but from day-to-day it fluctuates up and down (noise).

We can model the trend with time using a relatively simple function (such as a sine curve), but with more complex functions (like high order polynomials) we can reproduce the fluctuations too. This improvement is largely illusory though, as we are fitting to fluctuations that vary from year to year.

In statistics this sin is known as over-fitting, and its dangers are taught in university courses – but I've seen first-hand that students don't always understand the risks. Perhaps the aesthetic appeal of a model following all data is too great.

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Pseudoscience embraces over-fitting in a myriad of ways. Overly complex functions (including artificial neural networks), with no basis in physics, are often fitted to without caution. Data may be shifted, rejected or filtered without justification.

A common consequence of over-fitting is wild "predictions" based on extrapolating functions (into the future). Time and time again, climate change deniers claimed long-term warming will soon be replaced by exceptionally rapid cooling. Such claims did not come to pass, and current claims (promoted by chairman of the Business Advisory Council Maurice Newman, among others) are just as dubious.

Over-fitting isn't merely an abuse of statistics, but can influence public debate about science. If we don't teach students about the risks of over-fitting and statistics abuse, public policy may be damaged.

Go team!

Collaboration is a powerful tool for science, enabling scientists to branch into new disciplines, exchange expertise and reduce errors.

Collaboration is also a powerful weapon against pseudoscience. An astronomer knows that Jupiter and Saturn don't induce meaningful tides on Earth. An oceanographer knows the strengths and weaknesses of tide gauge measurements.

The flaws of pseudoscience can thrive in the absence of collaboration. The errors in Australian geologist Ian Plimer's 2009 book Heaven and Earth indicate that Plimer did not collaborate with experts on radiative transfer and astrophysics.

The absence of collaboration by Ian Plimer may be part of a broader pattern. Studies rejecting have an average of 2.0 authors, while studies with no explicitly stated position or endorsing anthropogenic climate change have 3.6 and 3.4 authors. Those who reject collaborate less than other scientists, which can increase the likelihood of errors.

Unfortunately students may have limited experience of collaboration. Students sometimes work in groups of two or three, but these groups often don't reproduce the dynamics of scientific collaborations.

Students don't always create their own groups, and they often work with students with similar skills. It is rare for students to create new groups with diverse skills from scratch.

Marking schemes that evaluate performance relative to peers may even actively discourage collaboration and sharing of expertise by students. It may discourage the skills students actually need to succeed in science.

Can we fix it?

How can we educate scientists, while reducing the number of trained pseudoscientists?

We need to make science education more like science itself, and this has been recognised by many science teachers. Students need the time to explore and test multiple plausible hypotheses. We may sacrifice some discipline specific skills along the way, but perhaps this is a price worth paying.

We need to recognise and encourage the cross-disciplinary approach to science. Statistics is sometimes relegated to a few of undergraduate subjects, whereas it really has to be learnt (and relearnt) throughout an education and career. Budding scientists also need to learn about decision making, logic and logical fallacies.

We need to find means of making science education reflect the collaborative nature of . This does happen for many PhD students, but many undergraduate students don't get the opportunity to embrace and be rewarded for collaboration.

If we cannot effectively educate our about the true nature of science, a harmful byproduct will be a trickle of trained pseudoscientists, who will undermine the effectiveness of science in our society into the future.

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Michael Brown
4.6 / 5 (13) Nov 18, 2014
One of the more interesting aspects of trained pseudoscientists is disengagement from the peer reviewed literature. This is really puzzling, as the importance of peer review is really drummed into scientists (particularly during PhDs and beyond).

Why do they stop trying to publish in journals and instead write for broad audience (that is unfamiliar with the relevant data and methods)?

Perhaps one reason this happens is a minority of scientists have (or are taught) an overly optimistic version of peer review. Peer review is definitely a means of quality control, but to equate peer review with "correct" is a little like equating a police officer with "justice". Peer review can help remove errors, and a police officer can assist the process of justice, but these aren't equivalences.

Do people disengage when their expectations are built up beyond reality? Or is this disengagement a more deliberate act of avoiding scrutiny?
Michael Brown
4.4 / 5 (14) Nov 18, 2014
If a trained pseudoscientist wanted to attempt to undermine particular scientific disciplines or conclusions, they could just spend their time exaggerating doubts and uncertainties.

It is thus interesting that those who attack particular sciences often advance some rather far-fetched ideas (that lack evidence), either in the relevant sciences or elsewhere. For example, there are some climate change deniers who are keen on imminent cooling, cold fusion or disbelieve relativity/cosmology. Does this suggest an odd approach to hypothesis testing and evaluating evidence from the literature?

A recent example of this is highlighted by a court ruling regarding a wind farm. Sarah Laurie of the Waubra Foundation suggested some people are "so exquisitely sensitised to certain frequencies that their perception of very, very low frequency is right off the shape of the bell curve", such that they can, for example, from Australia, perceive an earthquake in Chile". This is absurd.
Michael Brown
4.5 / 5 (13) Nov 18, 2014
An interesting aspect of the climate debate is arguments about model fits.

It isn't hard to produce an empirical model with various free parameters that fits surface temperature as a function of time or correlates surface temperature with some other parameter. Since the parameters are free, one may achieve a very good-looking fit, but that fitting exercise won't provide predictions for other parameters (e.g., temperature as a function of location and altitude).

How should one compare an empirical model that matches one set of data really well with a physically motivated model that provides predictions for a variety of datasets? Some people will side with the empirical model, but this is often a mistake.

A new physical model trumps an older model by not just providing a better fit to the one dataset, but by providing a plethora of predictions (including new ones that hadn't been considered previously). GR replacing Newtonian physics is an obvious example of this.
Selena
Nov 18, 2014
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Selena
Nov 18, 2014
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Benni
2.8 / 5 (9) Nov 18, 2014
This article describes the bulk of Commentary on this site. So many commentaries here which flat out deny the science & math of Einstein's GR. These daily contributors of Commentary on this site indulge in substituting their own mathless perpetual motion energy sources claiming they've uncovered infinite energy sources(such as Casimir Effect), all the while transforming a zero quantity of mass to energy.

These funny farm science types are so easy to recognize, as soon as you see "infinite", "limitless", etc in their discussions of energy & the Universe, you know who they are, they are the usual suspects who are about to show up to one star this post by a Nuclear/Electrical Engineer.
gkam
2.8 / 5 (13) Nov 18, 2014
Benni, While I was in Technical services for PG&E, I got the inventors, an interesting group. Most were complete failures, because they assumed they knew physics.

I see the same errors here, by folk who know a little, and think by going to wiki they can fill in the gaps, but do not understand the underlying science, and make terrible conclusions.
teslaberry
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 18, 2014
many of the above comments make excellent points. there are plenty of kooks on the net, and also many wierd persistent commenters advocating bizzaro theories that have been falsified as utter bunkum ( like the 'electrostatic' theory of blablabla)

HOWEVER there is a major oversite in the area of identifying psuedoscience which is that for every one identified psuedoscientific claim or paper there are HUNDREDS of funded studies for BAD SCIENCE.

there is an EPIDEMIC of bad science. particularly in researching areas related to complex systems.

bad science is scientific experiment or observation defined by
1) sloppy observation without precisiosn
2) poorly formed hypothesis or protocol which cannot be falsified(verified) with certainty
3) poorly formed methods that are not easily reproduced by other scientists
4) lack of effective and meaningful controls
5) complex systems modeling & simulation is not science without testing hypothesis.
Benni
2.8 / 5 (11) Nov 18, 2014
Benni, While I was in Technical services for PG&E, I got the inventors, an interesting group. Most were complete failures, because they assumed they knew physics.


I see the same errors here, by folk who know a little, and think by going to wiki they can fill in the gaps, but do not understand the underlying science, and make terrible conclusions.


Right on the money okam. The most brazen name calling ("moron" is their favorite invective) people posting Commentary on this site are the ones who have the least professional science background but who think by some stroke of Copy & Paste magic they've become smarter than Einstein even though they are clueless about the math he used to prove E=mc2.
gkam
3.2 / 5 (13) Nov 18, 2014
T-berry,

That is why we have peer review. The Deniers do not use peer review.
MandoZink
5 / 5 (9) Nov 18, 2014
The ignorance of evidence (Galieo syndrome) is always evidence of pseudoscientific attitude. The Galileo opponents simply refused to look at Moon for to convince itself - because they knew, they wouldn't be pleased with it.

I read the article you referenced.(Galileo misspelled, by the way) The first comment that was posted on that blog stated something quite relevant which you should have heeded:
"Analogies are dangerous things. Inviting the inference that one is just like Galileo is an example."

I noticed that very inference was the basis for all your remarks that followed. Galileo's obstacle was not pseudoscience. He was up against a complete lack of science. Paradoxically, Galileo is routinely invoked by pseudo-scientists for their disappointments.

Also, the EmDrive was not an "antigravity" notion.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (7) Nov 18, 2014
Benni, While I was in Technical services for PG&E, I got the inventors, an interesting group. Most were complete failures, because they assumed they knew physics
-But you were there to set them straight because... well... you know physics dont you?
I see the same errors here, by folk who know a little, and think by going to wiki they can fill in the gaps, but do not understand the underlying science, and make terrible conclusions.
Well we've concluded that youre certainly not the scientist, engineer, and test pilot you claim to be because thats what the evidence tells us.

The more people who know this here at physorg, the better.
Jim4321
4.7 / 5 (6) Nov 18, 2014
I object to the implication that Linus Pauling was a pseudoscientist late in his life. He was a prodigiously prolific scientist who contributed much that was good to the world. Late in life he did champion vitamin C as a cure for the cold and for some cancers. Later research showed him wrong. Proposing hypotheses that turn out to be wrong -- even egregiously wrong -- is not the same as being a pseudo scientist. The implicit mind set of the author would have made Isacc Newton a pseudo scientist because he published on alchemy and biblical. interpretation. Enough of this arrogance and stupidity.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.3 / 5 (11) Nov 18, 2014
Pauling wasnt a pseudoscientist, he was a scientist who did pseudoscience. This is akin to scientists who do philosophy which can be just as dangerous as it dishonestly uses the reputation of the scientist to lend credence to non-science work.
imido
Nov 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
TegiriNenashi
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 18, 2014
Another useless metatalk. Why should I bother debunking those guys based on facts, when I know for sure they are wrong because their "methodology is not scientific".
imido
Nov 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
imido
Nov 18, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
alfie_null
5 / 5 (7) Nov 19, 2014
As a very consequence, the community of scientists will fight instinctively against every finding, which doesn't follow their own methods, theories and methodology. Which are just these most groundbreaking ones, as I explained already. We are selectively breeding the community of mediocre people, which hate every breakthrough in this way - for our own money!

I suppose it must look that way, if you find yourself being generally thought of as a crank, as you struggle to come to terms with how others view you. Cranks are loners. They don't play well with others, and thus perceive any organized group as a threat.
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (11) Nov 19, 2014
In statistics this sin is known as over-fitting, and its dangers are taught in university courses

Overfittingis a real problem, and the only way I have fopund to make people understand when it happens is to go for information theory. If your hypothesis is built around the introduction of as much (or more) information than your data supplies then you're overfitting. The less prior information your hypothesis has (which mostly means: the simpler your formula) compared to the complexity of your data the better it is (given a similar fit of a more complex hypothesis)

What students also need to be taught: It's OK to come up with a wrong hypothesis. But they also must be taught that they should set strict acceptance/recetion criteria for a hypothesis BEFORE doing the data analysis. Otherwise the urge to fudge the result (or dismiss uncomfortable data points as measurement error, etc.) is great.

antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (10) Nov 19, 2014
HOWEVER there is a major oversite in the area of identifying psuedoscience which is that for every one identified psuedoscientific claim or paper there are HUNDREDS of funded studies for BAD SCIENCE

Really? That seems like a fabricated statistic (read: bad science/pseudoscience) right there. Care to prove that hypothesis with hard data?

1) sloppy observation without precisiosn
2) poorly formed hypothesis or protocol which cannot be falsified(verified) with certainty
3) poorly formed methods that are not easily reproduced by other scientists
4) lack of effective and meaningful controls
5) complex systems modeling & simulation is not science without testing hypothesis.

1,2 and 4 would not pass peer review.
3 is sometimes dependent on method (e.g. not every scientist has an LHC in their back yard)
5 is part of the scientific process. It is a way to get testable predictions for a hypothesis.
Selena
Nov 19, 2014
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Selena
Nov 19, 2014
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JVK
1.4 / 5 (10) Nov 19, 2014
Luca Turin et al., linked quantum smell to quantum consciousness via the bio-physically constrained chemistry of protein folding and conserved molecular mechanisms of quantum biology that link ecological variation to ecological adaptations in species from microbes to man -- as exemplified in cephalopods.

See: Electron spin changes during general anesthesia in Drosophila http://www.ncbi.n...4151765/

Dose-Dependent Effects of the Clinical Anesthetic Isoflurane on Octopus vulgaris: A Contribution to Cephalopod Welfare http://www.ncbi.n...25369208

Fenyman's comments: https://www.youtu...X_0jDsrw

See also: Quantum biology: Algae evolved to switch quantum coherence on and off

"In the case of the fast-adapting E. coli, that would correspond to its DNA being primed to both enable the bacteria to eat lactose and also not be able to eat lactose."

http://discoverma...tum-life
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (6) Nov 19, 2014
Sometimes pseudoscience can become "institutionalized" and "formalized" into the mainstream dogma, just as "magnetic reconnection" has become.

"Of course there can be no magnetic merging energy transfer. Despite.. this, we have witnessed at the same time an enormously voluminous formalism building up based on this obviously erroneous concept.

I was naïve enough to believe that [magnetic reconnection] would die by itself in the scientific community, and I concentrated my work on more pleasant problems. To my great surprise the opposite has occurred: 'merging' … seems to be increasingly powerful. Magnetospheric physics and solar wind physics today are no doubt in a chaotic state, and a major reason for this is that part of the published papers are science and part pseudoscience, perhaps even with a majority in the latter group." Alfven
cjn
1 / 5 (2) Nov 19, 2014
Without reading the article, I'm going to say: "What is testing and reproducible data?"
gkam
3.2 / 5 (9) Nov 19, 2014
Read the article.
JoeBlue
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 19, 2014
This article on pseudo-science is pseudo-science in itself.
antigoracle
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 19, 2014
Studies rejecting anthropogenic climate change have an average of 2.0 authors, while studies with no explicitly stated position or endorsing anthropogenic climate change have 3.6 and 3.4 authors.

So Michael Brown, the AGW Cult's shill is back, peddling his snake oil. It is always amusing to see his weak attempts to sell AGW Cult "science" by associating it with REAL science. Like all the other AGW Cultists, if he had not turned a blind eye to CLIMATEGATE, he would have seen the error of his statement above.
http://wattsupwit...ncident/
Captain Stumpy
3.8 / 5 (10) Nov 19, 2014
they are the usual suspects who are about to show up to one star this post by a Nuclear/Electrical Engineer
@benni
whereas your initial post was good, your ended it with a trolling comment =bad

you've never been able to prove any claim regarding yourself, so making the claim that downvoting you is proof of other people's pseudoscience or as a marker for those who are ignorant of anything is simply more pseudoscience in itself

it proves nothing except that people don't like you and that you are narcissistic

and your next post undermines your own position as well
the actual rules of the site say
Keep science: Include references to the published scientific literature to support your statements. Pseudoscience comments (including non-mainstream theories) will be deleted (see pseudoscience)
not being able to refute a comment and having no references/links supporting you is a tactic that pseudoscience uses here

and you are one of the worst about that
Captain Stumpy
3.5 / 5 (8) Nov 19, 2014
degradation of author of ...not an argument
@ZEPHIR /selena/imido
wakefield was debunked, not degraded
the degredation came from his selling out to get money over pushing science, and it is still causing problems because some people ignore the real science to accept his conclusions... much like you ignoring this study ( http://exphy.uni-...2009.pdf ) for the sake of your faith in daw/aw
pseudoscience can become "institutionalized"
@cd
a common pseudoscience/conspiracy claim
you are a perfect example of the following
Pseudoscience embraces over-fitting in a myriad of ways. Overly complex functions (including artificial neural networks), with no basis in physics, are often fitted to data without caution. Data may be shifted, rejected or filtered without justification.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (9) Nov 19, 2014
@jk is a perfect example of pseudoscience as well, from ignoring modern studies, choosing to generate his own nomenclature/lexicon and making up his own interpretations of others results

especially since he ignores the facts, and that his own model causes mutations, which is a word he chooses to ignore and denigrate with his appeals to self authority

he thinks that publication of his papers gives him the authority to post his decisions about everything (despite having admitted to failing out of college) and to consider him the ONLY authority on the subject, even with his creationist overtones and failure to disengage his religion from his postings and work

to top it off, he claims that mutations cannot be beneficial here and on scientist magazine/science mag as well ... a claim which is directly refuted by Lenski et al and Dr. Cassandra Extavour et al
Experiment and evidence trumps your conjecture based upon your religion, jk

Captain Stumpy
3.8 / 5 (10) Nov 19, 2014
Sometimes pseudoscience can become "institutionalized" and "formalized" into the mainstream dogma, just as "magnetic reconnection" has become
@cd
quoting a dead scientist who has been proven wrong by experimentation and evidence, as well as thinking that nothing has changed in the decades since the claim/death of the scientists is another pseudoscience trait as well.

after all, you continue to denigrate modern astrophysicists for not knowing plasma physics and yet it has been proven time and again that you are wrong

clinging to a falsified belief (like Zephir) and not being able to support your claims with evidence (like Benni) are PSEUDOSCIENCE just as much as the above mentioned tasks in the article

and it would be corrected so easily as well, but your conspiratorial beliefs block you from learning the real science because of the "consensus" must be wrong

Eau9
1.9 / 5 (9) Nov 20, 2014
If Brown had a real understanding of reality he'd know that much of science is pseudoscience. It is mostly pseudoscience promoted as science.

Linus Pauling had long been a thorn to the business interests of organized medicine with his nutritional views. So, they've long been ridiculing him and putting out many distortions and lies about his vitamin claims (read supplements-and-health.com/vitamin-benefits.html ). These are the people who readily call themselves "real" scientists and consider this corrupt type of behavior "science."

A good starting place that uncovers the pervasive pseudoscience of orthodox medicine is by reading Ghislaine Lanctôt's "The Medical Mafia" (1995), Marcia Angell's "The Truth about the Drug Companies" (2004), and Peter Gøtzsche's book "Deadly Medicines And Organised Crime: How big pharma has corrupted healthcare" (2013).

"Science" is a big business where "scientific" data is crafted (=fabricated) to pander to corporate interests.
antigoracle
2 / 5 (4) Nov 20, 2014
One of the more interesting aspects of trained pseudoscientists is disengagement from the peer reviewed literature

Nope, the moral scientists would seek to protect their integrity when bullied by the immoral.
http://climateaud...eping-2/
JVK
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 20, 2014
Has anyone else with more intelligence than a theorist read this:

http://www.biorxi...0/010884

Excerpt: ...a substantial fraction of the RNA content in mammalian cells remains remarkably constant across large biological and evolutionary scales."

The focus is on RNA-mediated events that differentiate cell types via amino acid substitutions, not the pseudoscientific nonsense of population geneticists who never connected genetic networks to metabolic networks.
antigoracle
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 21, 2014
Pseudoscience mimics aspects of science while fundamentally denying the scientific method...blah...blah..blah.

Preaching to the AGW Cult's ignoramuses in order to conceal the truth.
http://www.passio...coverup/

Michael Brown should reveal how much he is paid for his tripe.
JVK
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 21, 2014
Illuminating the Interactome

http://www.the-sc...ractome/
Captain Stumpy
3.6 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2014
Has anyone else with more intelligence than a theorist read this
@jk (wakefield jr?)
part of PSEUDOSCIENCE is ignoring evidence that directly contradicts their assertions
scientists also need to learn about decision making, logic and logical fallacies
reminds me of what you do when you ignore Lenski et al & Extavour et al
especially when Dr. Extavour (a real doc with an education, not someone who claims decades of experience in diagnostic medicine violating licensing and federal laws) directly refutes your claims about her work and comments specifically about your assertions and interpretations of her work and proves that you are WRONG
So Kohl is mistaken if he is claiming that my study (or Rich Lenski's work) provide evidence AGAINST the role of mutations in evolution
jk starts with a belief as well
Clearly some pseudoscience is strongly associated with ideological beliefs, and motivated reasoning can overwhelm data, logic and years of training
antigoracle
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 21, 2014
antigoracle
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 21, 2014
I do agree with the headline of this article. It's about time the AGW Cult learn the difference between science and their pseudoscience.
Captain Stumpy
4.1 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2014
I do agree with the headline of this article. It's about time the AGW Cult learn the difference between science and their pseudoscience.
@antiG
pseudoscience relies upon blogs and other people's opinions for their support, kinda like this
http://climatechangereconsidered.org/michael-j-i-brown-adversaries-zombies-and-nipcc-climate-pseudoscience-september-26-2013/
(yes, your previous post)

SCIENCE, on the other hand, relies on evidence and publishes in studies, like so:
http://www.scienc...abstract
http://marine.rut..._pub.pdf
http://iopscience.../article
http://www.drexel...nge.ashx

you have never produced any science supporting your denialist stance
i've given you science to refute (with equivalent evidence, of course) and you've failed to come up with anything

antiG=pseudoscience TROLL

JVK
1.6 / 5 (7) Nov 21, 2014
For intelligent discussion, see Illuminating the Interactome
A massive screen yields the most comprehensive map of binary human protein interactions to date. By Molly Sharlach | November 20, 2014

http://www.the-sc...ractome/

Scroofinator
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 21, 2014
My issue is that science has forgotten it's roots. Physics started with philosophy, chemistry started with alchemy, astronomy started with astrology, etc. Pseudoscience can be a benefit to science by imagining new things that a typical scientist would overlook.

Point is, we don't know it all, not even close. So why should we classify different disciplines as one thing or the other? Science and pseudoscience are both a means to the same end, the search for knowledge.
zz5555
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 21, 2014
Science and pseudoscience are both a means to the same end, the search for knowledge.


It's not clear to me the reason you say this. Pseudoscience, by its very nature, avoids the scientific method. As such, pseudoscience isn't interested in whether the pseudoscientific claims are valid or not. As near as I can tell, pseudoscientists don't care if their claims are true - in fact, most seem to be opposed to any independent testing of their claims. I'm not sure what their true motivation is, but it surely isn't a search for knowledge.
imido
Nov 21, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
zz5555
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 21, 2014
"From this perspective the current climatic research is also a pseudoscience, as it doesn't care about alternative explanations of global warming or saturation mechanisms of it."

The thing about "alternative explanations" is that they have to come with data that supports them. It's clear from all the data that the world as a whole is warming. What could cause that? A cycle like ENSO? No, because that just redistributes the heat, doesn't increase it. The Sun? No, because the energy from the sun has dropped slightly while the earth has warmed a lot. Gamma rays? Not likely - there's no data to support it and neither does past history. Internal heat or volcanoes or waste heat? No, because none of these are close to the magnitude of measured greenhouse gas effects. CO2 is almost certainly the main culprit not only because no other explanations are supported by any data, but also because the earth's warming signature matches CO2.
Captain Stumpy
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 22, 2014
Pseudoscience can be a benefit to science by imagining new things that a typical scientist would overlook
@scroof
i completely disagree

Science starts out by asking the fundamental questions and then trying to answer them

pseudoscience starts out with the answer and then tries to justify it

these are two completely different states of mind and require two completely different thought processes

science goes with the evidence and changes as needed whereas pseudoscience changes the evidence or simply ignores it for the sake of their belief

science didn't "forget" their roots... they simply evolved past them into a more effective means of operating

your assumptions are based upon the fact that science doesn't validate some of your claims and thus you are painted a believer of pseudoscience, and you don't like that (ego)

so change
use the scientific method and forget about the BS
Captain Stumpy
3.3 / 5 (7) Nov 22, 2014
From this perspective the current climatic research is also a pseudoscience, as it doesn't care about alternative explanations of global warming or saturation mechanisms of it
@ZEPHIR
1- personal conjecture based upon stupidity
2- you are the worst pseudoscience acolyte out there
3- in order to have the "alternative explanations", there must be evidence supporting it (as zz5555 pointed out above)
so your conjecture is based upon a fallacy because of your delusional Dunning-Kruger state
there is evidence supporting the CO2 science in AGW: http://www.scienc...356.full
there are tons of studies that support AGW whereas there is nothing but your disjointed speculation supporting your conjectures

your inability to recognize and accept evidence that refutes your beliefs makes you a pseudoscientist trying to alter the data to fit the model, like jk, verkle, cantdrive and hannes alfven (and others)
zz5555
4 / 5 (8) Nov 22, 2014
Another comment about "alternative explanations":
In order to supplant a current theory (and, yes, many of the hypotheses associated with AGW are theories due to the overwhelming evidence in support of them), a new hypothesis must provide a better explanation for reality than the current theory. And that's a problem for hypotheses trying to supplant the theories on the effects of CO2: the current theories explain what's happening so well, there really aren't any gaping holes. There's nothing seen in the climate today (or for the past millions of years that we have data for) that would make anyone question the theories of how CO2 (and greenhouse gases) work.

The result, I think, is that pseudoscience is forced to come up with some very odd ideas. Someone even suggested dark matter doing something in the bowels of the earth (do people even listen to themselves?).
Scroofinator
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 22, 2014
Science starts out by asking the fundamental questions and then trying to answer them

pseudoscience starts out with the answer and then tries to justify it

By your definition. By mine, they both start with observation. How else would we know to ask "fundamental questions"?

Science then creates and tests a hypothesis, makes a prediction, creates a model, and repeats.

Pseudoscience tries to do the same thing, the only part that is different is that testing the hypothesis is much more difficult because the theories are typically more abstract.
your assumptions are based upon the fact that science doesn't validate some of your claims and thus you are painted a believer of pseudoscience, and you don't like that (ego)

And your assumption makes you sound like the megalomaniac we all know you to be. My "ego" plays no role in my scientific endeavors, for it leads to a closed mind.

You assume science knows absolutes, while history tells us a much different story.
imido
Nov 22, 2014
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antigoracle
3 / 5 (6) Nov 22, 2014
in order to have the "alternative explanations", there must be evidence supporting it

Here's plenty for you to choose from http://www.popula...ing.html
imido
Nov 22, 2014
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cantdrive85
2 / 5 (4) Nov 22, 2014
All groundbreaking ideas are unexpected and weird - actually the more, the more they are groundbreaking. Being the only sane person in the crowd is looking pretty insane.http://i.imgur.com/QYjho0s.jpg


That's me, at every sporting event and public display of nationalism I attend.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (8) Nov 22, 2014
Pseudoscience tries to do the same thing, the only part that is different is that testing the hypothesis is much more difficult because the theories are typically more abstract
@scroof
no, pseudoscience does NOT try to do the same thing
pseudoscience more often decides on a solution and then seeks evidence supporting the speculations
this is a core reason why pseudoscience fails at explaining anything (for more examples, see: astrology, palm reading, phrenology, creationists/intelligent design, electric universe, eugenics)
the difference is in the evidence and the methodology
makes you sound like the megalomaniac we all know you to be. My "ego" plays no role in my scientific endeavors, for it leads to a closed mind
i have no megalomania, as proven by my choice of lifestyle

and if you had no ego, you would accept empirical evidence which refutes your conjectures, and we all have seen you ignore evidence that doesn't suit your beliefs
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (8) Nov 22, 2014
You assume science knows absolutes
@scroof
i make no assumptions
i do, however, require evidence of conjecture, which you have yet to be able to provide... especially for your creationist beliefs and denigration of plate tectonics
feel free to show everyone here your overwhelming evidence on that one... we all need the laugh

But there is also evidence which doesn't support it (1, 2)
@ZEPHIR
i love how you REFUSE to see reality in front of you
you did notice that the second link actually quotes the study
Shortwave and longwave radiative contributions to global warming under increasing CO2
so much for your ability to read, eh? http://www.pnas.o...12190111
as for your first link
i suggest you read this
http://www.worlds...14820037
zz5555
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 22, 2014
But there is also evidence which doesn't support it (1, 2) This evidence is handled in the same way, like other uncomfortable evidences in contemporary science - you can never read about them again (the Galileo syndrome and the lack of attempts for replication applies here).


One paper doesn't qualify as much evidence - especially when a paper is nonsense like the first you linked to. Lu's is a curve fitting exercise that used known bad data and forgot that you need to consider actual physics when doing science (http://www.skepti...014.html ). The 2nd link supports CO2 as the main driver of the current climate change, so I'm not sure why you included it. Didn't you bother to read it?
imido
Nov 22, 2014
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Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Nov 22, 2014
Lu's is a curve fitting exercise that used known bad data and forgot that you need to consider actual physics when doing science
@zz5555
Plus there is the fact that a refute has been published as well which shows the problems with Lu's paper
it is especially cogent to recognize the second sentence out of the abstract
Here we show that this conclusion is based on assumptions about the saturation of the CO2-induced greenhouse effect that have been experimentally falsified.
That is the death blow for Lu's paper, really

http://www.worlds...14820037

I got this link from the article you linked at Skeptical Science
Good read

imido
Nov 22, 2014
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zz5555
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 23, 2014
"Yes, but it also utilizes well know saturation model (which is known for one hundred years in climaskeptic community btw). This model essentially says, if the global warming is causing the heating of atmosphere, then its heating should be already saturated - so we shouldn't observe further increase of global temperature"

Umm, no it doesn't. Your link (I'll repeat it here: http://www.skepti...nced.htm ) indicates that as more and more CO2 is added, it's affect slows down, but doesn't go away. That's why climate sensitivity talks about doubling of CO2. Going from 100ppm of CO2 to 200ppm raises temperatures ~3C. But if you start at 300ppm, you need to go to 600ppm to raise temperatures another ~3C. So increasing CO2 never becomes saturated - it always has an effect. It's part of climate science so it's hard to see how it's evidence against climate science. Didn't you read your link?
imido
Nov 23, 2014
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Captain Stumpy
3.5 / 5 (8) Nov 23, 2014
Nope, the scientific article with data can be refused only with another scientific article with data, not with anonymous comments at anonymous forum
@ZEPHIR
hey, moron... try re-reading that again
1- the published comment (here: http://www.worlds...14820037 ) IS a refute to Lu's paper, and the quote is from the abstract of the paper (as i stated: second sentence)
2- my/zz's comment is not the death blow, the paper is
3- the paper is specifically a refute to the first link YOU gave
you really should learn to read
I have better theory for it,
and your conjecture is nothing more than pseudoscience as it is NOT supported by evidence
you have no evidence so, in your own words
we are facing pseudoscience - again
sorry zephie... epic fail yet again
mostly for reading/comprehension problems
but also for being stupid and ignoring the links in front of you
zz5555
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 23, 2014
"This is just another problem of AGW model: with increasing CO2 concentration the temperatures of atmosphere should always rise"

No, this isn't part of the AGW theories. No one, but deniers and fake skeptics, have ever made this claim. Why did you think that any climate theories said this?

This claim is obvious nonsense since it ignores the largest heat sink in the climate - the oceans. And when you include the oceans, you find that there has been an increasing amount of heat each and every year since CO2 began to dominate the climate drivers. It also ignores the other climate drivers. These would sometimes be stronger than CO2 effects in the past, though now obviously CO2 currently dominates.

Seriously, you didn't know that CO2 doesn't get saturated. You didn't know that there is more to the earth's climate than the atmosphere. These are pretty basic concepts in climate science. You should probably learn at least the basics of science before commenting further.
imido
Nov 23, 2014
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zz5555
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 23, 2014
It's just your own argument, you silly.. :-) It was just you, who claimed here before hour, that the increasing concentration of CO2 will "delay" the saturation effect, so that the global warming can continue.


No. I said nothing about delaying saturation. I said the CO2 effect doesn't saturate.

At any case, whole the AGW theory is firmly based on assumption, that the increasing of CO2 will lead into increase of global temperatures.


1. As I pointed out, this isn't true. There are other drivers that could overpower the greenhouse effect, but don't right now and won't for hundreds (thousands?) of years.
2. As I pointed out, when you look at the entire earth, the warming has continued each and every year.

In addition to being unfamiliar with the basic science you appear to have difficulty with reading English. I get the impression that English is not your native tongue. You might try reading up on the science at skepticalscience.com - they have other languages.
Scroofinator
2 / 5 (4) Nov 23, 2014
you would accept empirical evidence which refutes your conjectures, and we all have seen you ignore evidence that doesn't suit your beliefs


What exactly have I ignored? Don't forget I don't discount plate tectonics, I just accept a different theory that started the process. It's sad that you discount such ideas based on the fact that they have "creationist" origins. What a feeble minded trait, to discount theories because they don't match up to your accepted beliefs.

require evidence of conjecture, which you have yet to be able to provide

Oh you mean like the numerous peer reviewed articles regarding solar forcing on climate? Still waiting for a response to that one...
imido
Nov 23, 2014
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imido
Nov 23, 2014
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zz5555
4 / 5 (8) Nov 24, 2014
No. I said nothing about delaying saturation. I said the CO2 effect doesn't saturate.


It contradicts the study here


No, it doesn't. That study looks at an instantaneous increase in CO2 and sees how the temperature changes while the level of CO2 is held constant. Your so-called saturation effect claims that as you increase the level of CO2 in the atmosphere that CO2 will no longer have any effect. Measurements in the lab show that to be false. Measurements in the atmosphere also show that to be false.
zz5555
4.4 / 5 (7) Nov 24, 2014
Yes, but not warming of atmosphere. Only warming of oceans continue - this is not what the AGW model predicts.


Um, no. The warming of the oceans is one of the predictions of AGW models (http://www.skepti...php?g=12 ). Seriously, this is very basic. Please read up something - anything - about science before responding again. Discussions are so much more interesting with people who know something about what they're talking about. Or ask questions about the many things you don't understand.
imido
Nov 24, 2014
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Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 24, 2014
What exactly have I ignored? Don't forget I don't discount plate tectonics, I just accept a different theory that started the process
@scroof
you ignored the links and evidence that was provided supporting plate tectonics and refuting your conjectures which were based upon a religious creationist belief, not science
It's sad that you discount such ideas based on the fact that they have "creationist" origins
i do not discout it based upon it's origins
i discount it based upon it's lack of scientific credibility as well as empirical evidence
it has none, and makes conjectures about existing evidence that is proven false
when you force the data to fit the religion/belief, then it is not science
What a feeble minded trait, to discount theories because they don't match up to your accepted beliefs
and this is what i am saying about you
My mind is made up by the evidence
i don't form the conclusions first, then seek anything supporting it/deform evidence to fit it
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 24, 2014
like the numerous peer reviewed articles regarding solar forcing on climate?
@scroof
still haven't finished reading and researching
some people have a life you know
I am not ignoring it

My guess is, the global warming is caused with dark matter and it originates in oceans - not atmosphere. After one or two years we will see, who was actually right here
@ZEPHIR
at least you are putting "my guess is" before it now...
do you have ANY* supporting evidence?
do you have a mathematical model* that simulates your conjecture and adds credibility to your proclamations?
is there ANY* mathematical predictions out there that support your conclusions?

*and by ANY, i mean any from a reputable peer reviewed source etc, not your daw/aw spam/trolling pseudoscience site

After all, that is the point of the article above...
how pseudoscience misdirects with plausible conjecture but withholds evidence or refuses to meet the same criteria as science
imido
Nov 24, 2014
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imido
Nov 24, 2014
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Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 24, 2014
do you have ANY* supporting evidence?
Of course, I've http://www.reddit.../ck9ec54]http://www.reddit.../ck9ec54[/url] prepared for it.
@ZEPHIR
i guess you didn't read the WHOLE message then? or did you miss this part
*and by ANY, i mean any from a reputable peer reviewed source etc, not your daw/aw spam/trolling pseudoscience site
your link was http://www.reddit.../ck9ec54]http://www.reddit.../ck9ec54[/url] ...
REDDIT is NOT a peer reviewed site, nor is it a reputable peer reviewed journal
and AWT is falsified and debunked here: http://exphy.uni-...2009.pdf

so SKIP the pseudoscience and start linking actual science
like i said above
zz5555
4.3 / 5 (6) Nov 24, 2014
OK, at the case of global warming we just need few years - and you'll see. I archived the current discussion here, and we may check the result after year - OK?


I'm not sure what we'll see that would possibly disprove fundamental physics in a year. I'd guess we'd need to see something that's likely to end up being a Noble prize.

My guess is, the global warming is caused with dark matter and it originates in oceans - not atmosphere. After one or two years we will see, who was actually right here.


Interesting. So you expect that dark matter will be identified and characterized enough for you to come up with a good hypothesis for all the warming that's happened, how it's warmed, why it suddenly accelerated in the '70s, and why CO2 isn't acting the way fundamental physics says it must act? There's your pseudoscience for you. ;)

But good luck with that.

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