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n. Any body of knowledge purported to be scientific or supported by science but which fails to comply with the scientific method.


n. an activity resembling science but based on fallacious assumptions


Pseudoscience is a term used to describe a claim, belief, or practice presented as scientific, but which does not adhere to the scientific method. A field, practice, or body of knowledge can reasonably be called pseudoscientific when it is presented as consistent with the norms of scientific research, but it demonstrably fails to meet these norms.

Pseudoscience is often characterized by the following: contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims; over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation; lack of openness to evaluation by other experts in the field; and absence of systematic practices when rationally developing theories. The term pseudoscience is often considered pejorative because it suggests something is being inaccurately or even deceptively portrayed as science. Accordingly, those labeled as practicing or advocating pseudoscience often dispute the characterization.

Science is distinguishable from revelation, theology, or spirituality in that it offers insight into the physical world obtained by empirical research and testing. Commonly held beliefs in popular science may not meet the criteria of science. "Pop science" may blur the divide between science and pseudoscience among the general public, and may also involve science fiction. Pseudoscientific beliefs are widespread, even among science teachers and newspaper editors.

The demarcation between science and pseudoscience has philosophical and scientific implications. Differentiating science from pseudoscience has practical implications in the case of health care, expert testimony, environmental policies, and science education. Distinguishing scientific facts and theories from pseudoscientific beliefs such as those found in astrology, alchemy, medical quackery, occult beliefs, and creation science combined with scientific concepts, is part of science education and scientific literacy.

Usage examples of "pseudoscience".

Luckily, Darwinism is a nondisprovable pseudoscience, otherwise, it might be difficult to explain how religion can be an unfit mutation and, at the same time, has won the battle of survival.

Sparse and poor popularizations of science abandon ecological niches that pseudoscience promptly fills.

In its oddly charismatic leader, its promise of community, and the offer of magical powers in exchange for money and fervent belief, it is typical of many pseudosciences marketed for sacerdotal export.

The pseudosciences sometimes intersect, compounding the confusion - as in telepathic searches for buried treasures from Atlantis, or astrological economic forecasting.

Modern pseudosciences have studied it and renamed it, removed most of its power, confused its uses and origins, but it remains the shadow of what Mesmer discovered.

Pseudoscience is easier to contrive than science, because distracting confrontations with reality where we cannot control the outcome of the comparison are more readily avoided.

After the death of Mao Zedong and the gradual emergence of a market economy, UFOs, channelling and other examples of Western pseudoscience emerged, along with such ancient Chinese practices as ancestor worship, astrology and fortune telling - especially that version that involves throwing yarrow sticks and working through the hoary tetragrams of the I Ching.

The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

And so science (and other) teaching is too often incompetently or uninspiringly done, its practitioners, astonishingly, having little or no training in their subjects, impatient with the method and in a hurry to get to the findings of science - and sometimes themselves unable to distinguish science from pseudoscience.

While vast barriers may seem to stretch between a local, single-focus contention of pseudoscience and something like a world religion, the partitions are very thin.