Pseudoscience Classes #2-5

[IMPORTANT: Make sure you read the Introductory bumf and view Class #1 first!]

Class #2: The Appearance of Science

In short: Whether something is ‘science’ depends on its processes and underlying philosophies, and not on its superficial appearances. Hence, stuff can sometimes appear ‘scientific’ when it is actually not scientific at all…AND SIMILARLY, stuff can sometimes appear ‘unscientific’ or silly, when it is actually perfectly scientific and reasonable.

Targeted reading:
Hughes, Chapter 2 (pp. 20-25), Chapter 11 (pp. 143-148)
Schick & Vaughn, Chapter 6 (pp.158-181)
Park, ‘The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science’
From the blog: “Radiation is good for Japan”: Coulter’s case dissected

Class #3: The Nature of Science

In short: As the world has figured out ways of sorting reliable information from unreliable information, so philosophy has had to figure out ways of demarcating science from ‘pseudo-’science.

Targeted reading:
Hughes, Chapter 2 (pp. 20-25), Chapter 11 (pp. 143-148)
Schick & Vaughn, Chapter 6 (pp.158-181)
Wikipedia, ‘History of Science’
From the blog: “Atheists die first”: CNN’s “expert” fights back

Class #4: Science vs. Pseudoscience

In short: Philosophers of science have established a range of differences between science and pseudoscience, some relating to principles of understanding, others relating to matters of presentation.

Targeted reading:
Schick & Vaughn, Chapter 5 (pp. 96-111; pp. 139-142)
Lower, ‘What is Pseudoscience?’
Wikipedia, ‘Pseudoscience’

Class #5: How we Struggle with Randomness

In short: Fundamental human observation allows the detection of patterns from vague information, but in so doing leaves us prone to attributing inaccurate meaning to what we see and hear. In other words, our senses do in fact lie. Sometimes.

Targeted reading:
Schick & Vaughn, Chapter 5 (pp. 96-111; pp. 139-142)
From the blog: Wake up and smell the…woahhh!

Click here to move on to Classes #6-9

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