BiPiSci – Skeptic Check: Betting on Pseudoscience

by Gary Niederhoff on November 25, 2019


Big Picture Science – Skeptic Check: Betting on Pseudoscience

Psychics may not be able to predict the future or sense your thoughts. Nonetheless, they rake in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. But the harm from pseudoscience can go far beyond your wallet – especially when it promotes unscientific treatments for serious disease. Find out what alarming discovery led one naturopath to quit her practice and why scientific ignorance is not bliss.

It’s our regular look at critical thinking, but don’t take our word for it.

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Robert Palmer / Psychic Pscam
Part 2: Lee McIntyre / The Rise of Denial
Part 3: Lee McIntyre / Engaging Disbelievers
Part 4: Britt Hermes / Science Convert

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Richard December 15, 2019 at 5:06 am

When a person like Lee McIntyre mouths “Climate Change” in the same breath as vaccines or evolution I can understand it. The dumbing down of our societies would mean that it is inevitable that eventually people like Lee McIntyre would get into positions in educational institutions to lecture people on their beliefs. But it is disappointing when people like Seth Shostak, who I greatly admire for other things, nods in unison.

Here is what is telling. When Lee McIntyre says – By the way there are people who deny “Evolution by natural selection” even today – he has inadvertently hit on the crux of the problem. “Climate Change” is not defined. Climate Changes, and has done throughout Earth’s history. It has changed throughout Human history too and we have adapted through these changes.

The evidence for evolution is overwhelming, but the Theory of Evolution actually refers to two things – one the fact that species evolve. That every specie has an ancestor that is extinct and we have all evolved from a common ancestor. But the other is the mechanism of evolution, in which natural selection is but one of the mechanisms.

Humans have evolved plants and animals such as wheat and dogs, which have nothing to do with natural selection. And we have reached the stage of taking control of our own evolution. Daniel S Milo points out in his book Good Enough “there are nonadaptive mechanisms of change as well, such as genetic drift, geographic isolation, and the founder effect. None of these paths to survival rewards the hardest struggler or the best specimen. Their rewards are governed not by merit but by chance.”

Science advances by evidence true. The difference between Newton’s predictions about the Orbit of Mercury and Einstein’s prediction was very slight. Do the predictions of “Climate Change”, vague as they are, come even close to such scientific exactness? The “Theory” and predictions in fact resemble those of Astrology and Tarot Card readers.

As Seth Shostak pointed out, psychics can hurt our pockets, so can angry high school dropouts and the ill-educated youths who have adopted “Climate Change” as their new religion.

avatar Richard January 6, 2020 at 6:05 pm

Dark Energy maybe an artifact of a false assumption. Prof. Young-Wook Lee (Yonsei Univ., Seoul), who led the project said, “Quoting Carl Sagan, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but I am not sure we have such extraordinary evidence for dark energy. Our result illustrates that dark energy from SN cosmology, which led to the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, might be an artifact of a fragile and false assumption.”
What about the myriad assumptions of the so called “Climate Change”? What about the countless predictions about what will happen as a result of the Earth warming?
Sure there are devastating bush fires in Australia, and Jakarta is sinking into the sea, but when a million predictions of doom and gloom are made, some will inevitably come true as a matter of chance.
Australia has been drying for thousands of years, subject to periodic droughts and this year has been hit by a double whammy of an Indian Ocean dipole and el nino or nina on the east coast. And Jakarta is sinking at the rate of 51 mm per year because of overuse of underground water, dwarfing the 3 km pa sea level rise.
Maybe the solution may just be to control the population, draw less water, have more extensive fire fighting equipment. Surely more direct than trying to reduce CO2 and then hoping everything will be sweet as.

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