is it science or pseudoscience? kathy saunders university of waikato

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  • Slide 1
  • Is it Science or Pseudoscience? Kathy Saunders University of Waikato
  • Slide 2
  • Aims of the session Discuss the elements of the Nature of Science and use these as criteria to distinguish between science, pseudoscience and non-science Discuss the elements of the Nature of Science and use these as criteria to distinguish between science, pseudoscience and non-science Examine a range of recent scientific claims and make decisions, with justifications, as to whether these are science, pseudoscience or non-science Examine a range of recent scientific claims and make decisions, with justifications, as to whether these are science, pseudoscience or non-science
  • Slide 3
  • What is science? Think about categorising the following statements as scientific, not scientific, not scientific but seems scientific. Think about categorising the following statements as scientific, not scientific, not scientific but seems scientific. Knowing the right answer is not the point purpose is to think about what science is and isnt. Knowing the right answer is not the point purpose is to think about what science is and isnt.
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  • Is it scientific, not scientific, not scientific but seems scientific Every human possesses a soul Every human possesses a soul Water boils at 100 degrees C at 1 atmosphere (atm) pressure Water boils at 100 degrees C at 1 atmosphere (atm) pressure Aliens from another planet built Egyptian pyramids Aliens from another planet built Egyptian pyramids People born under astrological sign Aries are charismatic leaders People born under astrological sign Aries are charismatic leaders The earths surface is made up of many plates. The movement of these plates set in motion forces that result in earthquakes, volcanoes and mountain building The earths surface is made up of many plates. The movement of these plates set in motion forces that result in earthquakes, volcanoes and mountain building
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  • We hired scientists to test our product, and the results prove our product is better than that of our competition We hired scientists to test our product, and the results prove our product is better than that of our competition Water molecules contain a memory of what has been dissolved or diluted in them Water molecules contain a memory of what has been dissolved or diluted in them An inventors design for a car that uses water as a fuel has been bought up and suppressed by the oil companies An inventors design for a car that uses water as a fuel has been bought up and suppressed by the oil companies Reports of UFOs are suppressed by the government to prevent panic and/or maintain control over citizens Reports of UFOs are suppressed by the government to prevent panic and/or maintain control over citizens
  • Slide 6
  • What criteria did you use to place a statement in a category? What criteria did you use to place a statement in a category? Tentative definition for each category Tentative definition for each category Rename: Rename: Scientific SCIENCE Scientific SCIENCE Not scientific - NON-SCIENCE Not scientific - NON-SCIENCE Not scientific but seems scientific - PSEUDOSCIENCE Not scientific but seems scientific - PSEUDOSCIENCE
  • Slide 7
  • Dough Nut Activity Two circles are formed, with each person facing a partner, about m apart Two circles are formed, with each person facing a partner, about m apart Students spend about 2 minutes discussing statement and justifying their selection/opinion Students spend about 2 minutes discussing statement and justifying their selection/opinion Inner circle moves - rotate to right one person once time is up Inner circle moves - rotate to right one person once time is up
  • Slide 8
  • The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus
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  • Forum Is the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus science or pseudoscience? What are some claims you know of that you consider to be pseudoscience?
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  • Science can be defined as... PRODUCT: Science is a body of knowledge including facts, theories and laws PRODUCT: Science is a body of knowledge including facts, theories and laws PROCESS: Science uses a variety of tools and procedures to generate scientific knowledge PROCESS: Science uses a variety of tools and procedures to generate scientific knowledge WAY OF KNOWING: Science is one lens to make sense of the world. It relies on empirical evidence and generates knowledge claims based on linking evidence through to explanations through logic and mechanisms that can account for cause and effect. WAY OF KNOWING: Science is one lens to make sense of the world. It relies on empirical evidence and generates knowledge claims based on linking evidence through to explanations through logic and mechanisms that can account for cause and effect.
  • Slide 11
  • To recognise whether a statement is science,nonscience or pseudoscience.... Criteria of Characteristics of scientific knowledge Criteria of Characteristics of scientific knowledge Look for warning signs Look for warning signs
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  • Characteristics of scientific knowledge Predictable: Extends application of new ideas and stimulates new questions Predictable: Extends application of new ideas and stimulates new questions Replicable: Proposes a mechanisms for observed cause and effect that is repeatable; explanations must fit existing data Replicable: Proposes a mechanisms for observed cause and effect that is repeatable; explanations must fit existing data Empirical: Knowledge claims are based on evidence (all the evidence) that can be observed and tested (as opposed to authority) Empirical: Knowledge claims are based on evidence (all the evidence) that can be observed and tested (as opposed to authority) Natural: A natural cause or mechanism used to explain how or why an event happens Natural: A natural cause or mechanism used to explain how or why an event happens Tentative: Self correcting when new evidence is uncovered Tentative: Self correcting when new evidence is uncovered
  • Slide 13
  • Warning signs is the claim aimed directly at the media? (Scientists take to scientific forums) is the claim aimed directly at the media? (Scientists take to scientific forums) Are there claims that the establishment wants to suppress the work? Are there claims that the establishment wants to suppress the work? Is the scientific effect being described, at the very limit of detection? Is the scientific effect being described, at the very limit of detection? Is the evidence for it only anecdotal? Is the evidence for it only anecdotal? Are the predictions of the science quite vague? Are the predictions of the science quite vague? Is the statement said to be true because it has been believed for a very long time? Is the statement said to be true because it has been believed for a very long time? Has the person presenting this information been working in isolation? Has the person presenting this information been working in isolation? Do they propose a new law of nature in order to explain the observation? Do they propose a new law of nature in order to explain the observation? Is there sponsorship from someone or an agenda to push? Is there sponsorship from someone or an agenda to push? Taken from http://webexhibits.org
  • Slide 14
  • Superoxygenated Water
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  • Oxygen Therapy with Supercharged Oxygenated Water Now this Super Concentrated Oxygenated Water is Twice as Powerful ! ! Increase the oxygen level in your body SUPER Concentrated Oxygenated Water! The oxygen content of tap water contains approximately 5 to 7 ppm, running water of rivers and streams as much as 10 ppm, while other commercially bottled oxygen beverages claim up to 100 ppm. Biochemical Oxygen Demand studies, and other tests, indicated the oxygen content in This Super Oxygenated water to be 24% by volume, or 240,000 ppm. Now This Super Oxygenated water is TWICE as POWERFUL as the original!
  • Slide 16
  • This Super Oxygenated water enhances ten-fold the benefits of good nutrition, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Every time you drink a glass of water or juice, include up to two ounces of This Super Oxygenated water for a feeling of increased energy and vitality and to assist in an overall feeling of wellness. Source:cbshealthwatch Benefits of Increased Oxygen: Higher energy levels Greater mental awareness Stronger immune systems Greater ability for the body to detoxify A calming effect on the body
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  • So, armed with an understanding of how science operates, we can assess the many claims and counterclaims, many claiming scientific support and validity, that bombard us everyday
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  • Spotting pseudoscience is a skill every citizen should develop. A good grasp of the Nature of Science is essential to differentiate science from pseudoscience. SCIENTIFIC LITERACY
  • Slide 24
  • Some references Websites The Guardians Bad Science page: http://guardian.co.uk/life/badscience Websites The Guardians Bad Science page: http://guardian.co.uk/life/badscience http://guardian.co.uk/life/badscience How to recognise bad science http://webexhibits.org/bogus How to recognise bad science http://webexhibits.org/bogus http://webexhibits.org/bogus Sceptical Inquirer http://www.csicop.org Sceptical Inquirer http://www.c

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