is it science or pseudoscience?

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Is it Science or Pseudoscience?. Kathy Saunders University of Waikato. 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 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


Is it really Science?

Is it Science or Pseudoscience?Kathy SaundersUniversity of WaikatoAims of the sessionDiscuss 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-scienceWhat is science?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.3Is it scientific, not scientific, not scientific but seems scientific Every human possesses a soulWater boils at 100 degrees C at 1 atmosphere (atm) pressureAliens from another planet built Egyptian pyramidsPeople born under astrological sign Aries are charismatic leadersThe earths surface is made up of many plates. The movement of these plates set in motion forces that result in earthquakes, volcanoes and mountain buildingWe hired scientists to test our product, and the results prove our product is better than that of our competitionWater molecules contain a memory of what has been dissolved or diluted in themAn inventors design for a car that uses water as a fuel has been bought up and suppressed by the oil companiesReports of UFOs are suppressed by the government to prevent panic and/or maintain control over citizensWhat criteria did you use to place a statement in a category?Tentative definition for each categoryRename:Scientific SCIENCENot scientific - NON-SCIENCENot scientific but seems scientific - PSEUDOSCIENCE6Dough Nut Activity Two circles are formed, with each person facing a partner, about m apartStudents spend about 2 minutes discussing statement and justifying their selection/opinionInner circle moves - rotate to right one person once time is up 7The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus



Is the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus science or pseudoscience?What are some claims you know of that you consider to be pseudoscience?9Science can be defined as...PRODUCT: Science is a body of knowledge including facts, theories and lawsPROCESS: Science uses a variety of tools and procedures to generate scientific knowledgeWAY 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.


To recognise whether a statement is science,nonscience or pseudoscience....Criteria of Characteristics of scientific knowledge

Look for warning signs

11Characteristics of scientific knowledgePredictable: Extends application of new ideas and stimulates new questionsReplicable: Proposes a mechanisms for observed cause and effect that is repeatable; explanations must fit existing dataEmpirical: 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 happensTentative: Self correcting when new evidence is uncovered

12Warning signsis the claim aimed directly at the media? (Scientists take to scientific forums)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 evidence for it only anecdotal?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?Has the person presenting this information been working in isolation?Do they propose a new law of nature in order to explain the observation?Is there sponsorship from someone or an agenda to push?Taken from

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20So, 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

22Spotting pseudoscience is a skill every citizen should develop.A good grasp of the Nature of Science is essential to differentiate science from pseudoscience.SCIENTIFIC LITERACYSome referencesWebsites The Guardians Bad Science page: to recognise bad science Inquirer http://www.csicop.orgQuackwatch http://www.quackwatch.orgCritical thinking pseudoscience



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