science and pseudoscience feb 2014. today we hope to… understand the difference between science...
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Science and Pseudoscience Feb 2014
Today we hope toUnderstand the difference between science and pseudoscienceLook at some examples of pseudoscience and analyze their shortcomings
What is meant by science?What is meant by pseudoscience? How is it different from science?With your partner, discuss the following
What are some examples of pseudoscience?With a partner, see if you can come up with some examples of pseudoscience. Be prepared to provide evidence as to why you believe it is pseudoscience.
Some possible examples of pseudoscienceUfologyAstrologyPhrenology study of bumps on headCreation scienceParanormal investigations
Can something which is believed to be science turn out to be pseudoscience?Consider these beliefs which were formally widespread among the populationAlchemy the belief that we could transmute a common material into something of great value- ie lead into goldA belief in witchesA belief that the earth was the centre of the universeA belief that the earth is only a few thousand years old
Can some ideas which started on the fringe of science turn out to be true? Yes! Consider the following:Existence of meteoritesTheory of continental driftBut were these ideas pseudoscience or simply way out ideas in science? if the idea is based on evidence and the scientific method, then it should be considered science even if it is widely rejected
We need to be careful about pseudoscience passing itself off as scienceOne idea which comes up in discussions about the origin of life is the Theory of Intelligent design this is an idea which rejects the Theory of Evolution and natural selectionFrom the website www.intelligentdesign.orgThe theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.
The belief in Intelligent Design comes from certain Political and Religious GroupsCertain right wing Christian groups favour the teaching of Creationism in schools along with or in place of EvolutionMost people object to the teaching of Creationism in Science so these same groups have resorted to funding research into Intelligent DesignIntelligent design is really just another form of Creationism
The belief in Intelligent Design is an old one going back to AristotleThomas Aquinas in the 13th century used the argument to try and prove the existence of God:wherever complex design exists, there must have been a designernature is complextherefore nature must have had an intelligent designer
Intelligent Design seeks to prove the existence of an Intelligent designerThis theory seeks to prove the existence of an Intelligent designerSo, if it followed the scientific method, then what should the hypothesis be?
Is Intelligent design science?Is intelligent design a scientific theory? Here is an answer from the website www.intelligentdesign.orgYes. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.
Lets analyze the preceding paragraph from the perspective of the Scientific MethodIntelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI)How can you begin with the assumption that Intelligent agents exist when this is in fact what you are trying to prove (if it actually did follow the scientific method).This is a prime example of having a foregone conclusion and then looking for evidence to support it.
Can anyone see a problem with the method described in the previous slide?Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information.What tests? How do we define complex? What is specified information?
Can anyone see a problem with the method described in the previous slide?This is a prime example of having a foregone conclusion and then looking for evidence to support it. When your conclusion is that an all powerful creator made something, then anything can support your premise. But this is NOT evidence and not science.The argument that because something is complex, it must have been intelligently designed is incorrect. Natural selection has shown how complex organisms and complex forms can form over time. For example see the Wikipedia entry for evolution of the eyeThere is simply no evidence that an intelligent designer created anything but there is loads of evidence to support natural selection
Does this mean that a God does not exist?NO, the existence or non-existence of God is not considered hereWhat it does show is that all evidence that has been found points to the process of natural selection and evolution as the means of producing complex life forms on Earth
This cartoon nicely sums up the difference between a Science and a Pseudoscience
Creationism and Intelligent DesignWatch this short video which summarizes these two ideas and why they are not science
The Media is full of Examples of Pseudoscience There are probably more examples of pseudoscience in the field of health sciences than any other fieldWhy? Because we care about our health and we are willing to spend lots of money to take care of ourselves
Consider the following Pseudoscience called HomeopathyHomeopathy is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the bodys natural system of healing. Based on their specific symptoms, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine to each patient Homeopathy is based on the principle that you can treat like with like, that is, a substance which causes symptoms when taken in large doses, can be used in small amounts to treat those same symptoms From the Society of Homeopaths website: www.homeopathy-soh.org
Does Homeopathy Work?Watch the following video:Homeopathy, Quackery and Fraud