Eleven Characteristics of Pseudoscience

I came across this today, and it’s really good.

Eleven Characteristics of Pseudoscience

"Modern science was a game changer for humanity. At its core, science is a way of learning about the natural world that demands evidence and logical reasoning. The process is designed to identify and minimize our biases. Scientists follow evidence wherever it leads, regardless of what they want (or don’t want) to be true. Scientific knowledge progresses by weeding out bad ideas and building on good ones. We owe much of the increase in the quality and quantity of our lives over the last century to scientific advancements."

“It’s no wonder then that people trust science. The problem is, many don’t understand how science works and what makes it reliable, leaving them vulnerable to claims that seem scientific…but aren’t. By cloaking itself in the trappings of science, pseudoscience appeals to the part of us that recognizes science is a reliable way of knowing. But pseudoscience doesn’t adhere to science’s method. It’s masquerading. It’s cheating.”


6 (resistant to correction) and 10 (lacking adequate peer review) tend to be found in scientific papers I have seen by certain individuals (like the colleague that told my grandfather “I don’t make mistakes”).

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Very good! Thanks!


Fair enough, but the truth will be found out.

I disagree with a lot of this. Pseudoscience is something which pretends to be science but isn’t. Something certainly isn’t pseudoscience just because it isn’t science.

According to the “characteristics of pseudoscience” above

God is pseudoscience.
Friendly conversations are pseudoscience.
A lawyer’s argument is pseudoscience.
Science fiction is pseudoscience.
Magic is pseudoscience.
A religious dogma is pseudoscience.
The spiel of a used car salesman is pseudoscience.
Dreams are pseudoscience.
The TV news is pseudoscience.
The communist party is pseudoscience.


I have no use for wide broad terms that describe most things. I prefer precise definitions.

The quote in the OP is good, though.

I don’t see where all this is implied in any way on this web site. Religion can be pseudoscience when it makes untestable scientific claims. Intelligent Design and Creation Science are in that category.


No. None on your list is pretending to be science so none of them are pseudoscience. Only if they portray themselves as scientific, only if they pretend to be science, do they become pseudoscience. (Your list could be way longer. ; - )


Exactly! And that is precisely my point.

Something is not pseudoscience just because it doesn’t use the methodology of science. It must also pretend to be science.

What web site? I do not have to follow any links just because you post them.

My list is derived from the list in the pic posted by Randy. It takes at least one more thing for something to be pseudoscience than any of these “characteristics of pseudoscience” in that list. It has to be masquerading as science. However this would be crystal clear to anyone who read my post to the end.

Yes. because… one calls itself a scientific theory and the other calls itself science.

… ah… found what what misleading people regarding my meaning in my post and corrected it.

Where? You said nothing like that.

Which of those are pretending to be science? None of them.

Yes. So? The article doesn’t claim that anything with those characteristics is pseudoscience. It offers a list of characteristics of pseudoscience. If pseudoscience does really have those characteristics, then the list is accurate. It’s intended to help distinguish science from pseudoscience; it’s not a comprehensive definition of pseudoscience.


It can take a while. It’s been 35 years since the paper in question was published, and nobody has yet published something noting the misspelling and misidentification of one of the species in it. Or the senior synonyms of a couple of the others (the publication that those are in itself tends in the direction of 6 and 10, but that’s a separate issue).


Have you thought of doing the deed?

Yes, I or my grandfather probably will, since we have specimens of them from other (age-equivalent) deposits.


I hope you do. They say that science is self-correcting, but somebody has to step up to the plate and do the correcting!

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