05-13-2011, 02:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Total Cats: 1,532
Without commenting either positively or negatively on the device and method described, and as an alternative to having to think for myself and express my own thoughts and ideas in keeping with the spirit of this thread, I'm just going to park an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry
on "pseudoscience" here for reference, wherein I have underlined certain sections which may or may not be in any way relevant to the claimed discovery.
Over-reliance on confirmation rather than refutation
- Assertions that do not allow the logical possibility that they can be shown to be false by observation or physical experiment (see also: falsifiability)
- Assertion of claims that a theory predicts something that it has not been shown to predict. Scientific claims that do not confer any predictive power are considered at best "conjectures", or at worst "pseudoscience" (e.g. Ignoratio elenchi)
- Assertion that claims which have not been proven false must be true, and vice versa (see: Argument from ignorance)
- Over-reliance on testimonial, anecdotal evidence, or personal experience. This evidence may be useful for the context of discovery (i.e. hypothesis generation) but should not be used in the context of justification (e.g. Statistical hypothesis testing).
- Presentation of data that seems to support its claims while suppressing or refusing to consider data that conflict with its claims. This is an example of selection bias, a distortion of evidence or data that arises from the way that the data are collected. It is sometimes referred to as the selection effect.
- Reversed burden of proof. In science, the burden of proof rests on those making a claim, not on the critic. "Pseudoscientific" arguments may neglect this principle and demand that skeptics demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that a claim (e.g. an assertion regarding the efficacy of a novel therapeutic technique) is false. It is essentially impossible to prove a universal negative, so this tactic incorrectly places the burden of proof on the skeptic rather than the claimant.
Personalization of issues
- Tight social groups and authoritarian personality, suppression of dissent, and groupthink can enhance the adoption of beliefs that have no rational basis. In attempting to confirm their beliefs, the group tends to identify their critics as enemies.
- Assertion of claims of a conspiracy on the part of the scientific community to suppress the results.
- Attacking the motives or character of anyone who questions the claims (see Ad hominem fallacy).
Use of misleading language
- Creating scientific-sounding terms in order to add weight to claims and persuade non-experts to believe statements that may be false or meaningless. For example, a long-standing hoax refers to water by the rarely used formal name "dihydrogen monoxide" (DHMO) and describes it as the main constituent in most poisonous solutions to show how easily the general public can be misled.
- Using established terms in idiosyncratic ways, thereby demonstrating unfamiliarity with mainstream work in the discipline.[attribution needed]
And also from the Wikipedia Entry
on "Voodoo Science"
Warning signs of pseudoscience
Park, a physics professor, science administrator/lobbyist/journalist and outspoken scientific skeptic, outlines his seven warning signs that a claim may be pseudoscientific and analyzes beliefs in popular culture and the media with a skeptical eye. Those seven warning signs are:
These warning signs are nearly identical with those of pathological science, as discussed by physicist Irving Langmuir in 1953.
- Discoverers make their claims directly to the popular media, rather than to fellow scientists.
- Discoverers claim that a conspiracy has tried to suppress the discovery.
- The claimed effect appears so weak that observers can hardly distinguish it from noise. No amount of further work increases the signal.
- Anecdotal evidence is used to back up the claim.
- True believers cite ancient traditions in support of the new claim.
- The discoverer or discoverers work in isolation from the mainstream scientific community.
- The discovery, if true, would require a change in the understanding of the fundamental laws of nature.