As noted elsewhere, there are so many
elements of NotScience it is difficult to provide a generalization
that covers all aspects. Below are some of the more important characteristics,
and you can see how they contrast with Science, PseudoScience and
Science is concerned only with the description, investigation
and understanding of the natural world.
NotScience beliefs, attributes and activities
are concerned with all aspects of the human experience
the specific processes and findings of science. However, NotScience
beliefs are critical to Science because they control how and why
scientific knowledge is acquired and dictate how that knowledge
is interpreted and used.
Strong beliefs and biases should never influence the collection
and interpretation of evidence. It is difficult to suppress
bias and beliefs, so that is why blinded studies are very important
PseudoScience claims are not limited to
phenomena in the natural world.
Any claim within the realm of human imagination is acceptable.
usually concerned only with the descriptions of the
natural world. The one major exception I am aware of is
Creationists - they claim scientific evidence actually supports
Creation by divine intervention instead of evolution. The problem is that, by
definition, Creationism requires supernatural intervention into
otherwise completely natural processes.
||Scientific understanding involves discovering
natural Cause and Effect Relationships between events.
Once natural cause and effect relationships have been understood, it
is possible to make and test predictions about other natural
phenomena (related cause and effect relationships).
The existence of Neptune was predicted using
Newton's law of gravity and perturbations in the orbit of Uranus.
Einstein's theory of general relativity predicted that massive
objects would distort space-time and bend light. Maxwell's
work on electric and magnetic fields led to the prediction of radio
knowledge involves discovering and creating an understanding of
the interaction of humans with each other, with all other elements
of the natural world and with spiritual realms.
understanding attempts to describe Cause and Effect Relationships
between events, but neither the causes nor the effects have to be
natural. Also, obvious correlations between phenomena are
often accepted as demonstrating causation because there are no processes
that require testing of those assumptions in a controlled manner.
understanding should involve describing only
natural Cause and Effect Relationships
between events. Creationism adds periodic episodes of supernatural
Science must be Objective: Accurate cause
and effect relationships are discovered by observing, measuring
and describing natural phenomena and by designing and performing
experiments to collect and interpret evidence while minimizing personal
beliefs and interpretations of the world are Subjective (a person's
perception of reality). However, the methods of science are
employed to accumulate Objective knowledge which is then used to
support and justify NotScience beliefs.
and NotScience function in a symbiotic relationship -- NotScience
beleifs and ethics guide the scientists and provide a moral foundation
for the interpretation and application of scientific knowledge while
accurate, factual, morally neutral scientific knowledge provides
the foundation on which the physical components of human civilization
Personal biases and beliefs
are precisely what create PseudoScience.
PseudoScience is not limited to Objective,
Natural reality: Cause and effect relationships are invented
after observing and describing natural phenomena or after witnessing
events that are perceived as supernatural.
by definition is NOT Objective: Cause and effect relationships are
created by observing, measuring and describing natural phenomena
and by designing and performing experiments to collect and interpret
evidence while maximizing
personal biases. Research that does not conform to required
biases is ignored, and experiments are designed, carried out and
results analyzed to justify a specific belief.
By definition the natural world and natural
cause and effect relationships can only be observed, measured and
tested using our 5 basic senses and tools that can extend them.
far as anyone can reliably demonstrate, the
natural world can only be observed, measured and tested using our
5 basic senses (and tools that can
extend them), and this information also contributes to our NotScience
understanding of the world. Much of NotScience, though, involves
personal, internal reactions to events happening within the natural
world - belief, disbelief; happy, sad; fearful, confident; moral
and artistic feelings and judgments. These reactions cannot
be judged by the methods of science. Similarly, the validity
of any spiritual beliefs cannot be judged (or tested) by the methods
natural &/or supernatural world and natural &/or supernatural
cause and effect relationships can allegedly be observed using not
only our 5 basic sense, but any invented senses or measurement tools
that can be created to support the theory. However, those
invented senses or tools can ONLY be used by those with 'unique
supernatural talents'. It is interesting that
has ever been able to demonstrate any of the special talents in
a controlled experimental setting.
the natural world and natural cause and effect relationships can
only be observed, measured and tested using our 5 basic senses
and tools that can extend them.
Science is Transparent (information is
shared) and Assumes the Consistency and Predictability of Nature.
Scientific results are Reproducible - anyone who follows the published
methods will obtain the same results.
is difficult to make generalization about the Transparency of NotScience
beliefs and activities since the category covers so many disparate
areas of human activity and belief. Most NotScience assumes
the consistency and predictability of nature (or the spiritual realm),
however. Similarly, the concept of reproducibility of results,
as use in the description of Science, does not apply to NotScience.
is not Transparent. Results of PseudoScientific 'experiments'
cannot be reproduced by anyone - only those who hold specific beliefs
are able to 'validate' claims. There is no assumption of the
Consistency and Predictability of either Natural or Supernatural
is BiasTransparent (only information that supports specific beliefs
is shared as accurate). BiasScientific results are reproducible
only by those who share the beliefs, follow the biased methods and
accept the biased analyses and interpretations.
Science is a
Human Endeavor - Consequently:
are afflicted with human eccentricities.
- Science is
often messy. There can be legitimate disagreements and
conflicting evidence, particularly with complex issues.
Testimonials (anecdotal evidence) cannot provide scientific
validation of a proposed cause and effect relationship.
a Human Endeavor - Consequently:
beliefs and activities are afflicted with human eccentricities.
is often messy.
- All sorts of evidence - some scientific
and some not - is used to support the various beliefs and activities
within the NotScience realm.
PseudoScience is a Human Endeavor. Pseudoscience allows full
expression of uncontrolled human creativity.
is a Human Endeavor - Consequently:
allow their eccentricities to control the
analyses and interpretation of research.
is perceived as less messy than legitimate science
because only a small, edited portion of the
available evidence that supports
a specific position is presented.
Testimonials (anecdotal evidence) are employed to enhance the
biased interpretation of evidence.
Scientific Consensus is Critical
It is impossible to describe Consensus
within the NotScience realm. However, typically
like those with specific political, religious, artistic, philosophical,
etc. beliefs and goals will have a Consensus of beliefs within the
Consensus is Irrelevant in the realms of PseudoScience. Only
believers can find the 'evidence' to support their beliefs.
Consensus in BiasScience is only among
those who have the same strong biases. By definition, beliefs
in any BiasScience area are NOT shared by the majority of scientists
who accept the Consensus.
Science Knowledge is Provisional, it is
never fixed in unchangeable doctrines.
the realm of NotScience, belief in the permanence of knowledge,
and the manner it might be subject to change, is extremely variable
and depends exclusively on the group. Some beliefs constantly
change (like many artistic endeavors), some have beliefs that are
a bit more fixed (like law and politics), and some are relatively
unchanging (like many religions).
beliefs can become unchangeable doctrine or they can change at the
whim of the instigator - there are no rules or expectations.
Knowledge is fixed in unchangeable doctrines by the strong beliefs
that drive BiasScience.
Scientific Knowledge is Morally Neutral.
beliefs are a central component of (and define) many NotScience endeavors.
PseudoScience Knowledge is Morally Neutral. As with
legitimate science, the ethics and morals of those who practice
PseudoScience both determine how the information is acquired, interpreted
The acquisition and distribution of BiasScientific
Knowledge can be driven by strong moral beliefs.
Scientific descriptions of the natural
world (all theories and laws) should not be more complex than required
to adequately explain a given natural phenomenon.
complexity of beliefs about the working of the natural and spiritual
realms varies with the NotScience endeavor, and consequently no
generalizations can be made.
descriptions of 'reality' are simply presented in the most effective
manner using compelling stories to convince others of their validity.
complexity of BiasScientific descriptions of the natural world (all
theories and laws) is often less than those of legitimate science
because evidence that conflicts with the beliefs has been edited