SCIENCE vs. PSEUDOSCIENCE
Written by Maurice Saab
Recently, I had a debate with a friend who is a fan of global warming or should I say an Al Gore follower, one who I considered an alarmist. The mean point was, we have no idea how cold or hot the earth was before humans/scientists started keeping records. All we do know is, what has happened since scientist started keeping records; so now all of a sudden, we are supposed to change our way of life, really?
Lets look at earth from another prospective. If hunters were not hunting wild life, some people would have you believe, that there would be an over population of wild life. This is not true. Some would die off from old age, disease or be devoured by other animals as seen on “NetGeo” thereby keeping a balance in the wild and on earth.
Every day, people everywhere are bombarded by messages in the media that suggest that they need to drastically change how they live their lives or to take some particular action due to some sort of scientific finding. But do they really? The short answer is “it depends.” Most often, it depends upon the quality of the science or evidence supporting the action that is being promoted. The only way to avoid serious disruption to one’s daily life is to develop the ability to determine the difference between good science and bad science. That’s not necessarily easy, since bad science comes in many different forms. For instance, there’s the “defective” variety, where otherwise good scientists have made an error in their methods that leads to incorrect conclusions. This is probably the least harmful as it is likely to be quickly corrected, often by the scientist who made the error.
The trick is to figure out what is science and what is pseudoscience. To that end, I ‘ve adapted Steve Lower’s invaluable guide for recognizing the differences between good and bad science, organizing it by distinguishing aspects and adapting it while adding a number of my own observations and comments.
SCIENCE: The primary goal of science is to achieve a more complete and more unified understanding of the physical world.
PSEUDOSCIENCE: is more likely to be driven by ideological, culture or commercial (money-making) goals.
SCIENCE: Most scientific fields are the subjects of intense research that result in the continual expansion of knowledge in the discipline.
PSEUDOSCIENCE: Pseudoscientific fields generally evolve very little after being first established. The small amount of research and experimentation that is carried out is generally done more to justify the belief than to extend it.
SCIENCE: Scientist in legitimate fields of study commonly seek out counterexamples or findings that appear to be inconsistent with accepted theories.
PSEUDOSCIENCE: A challenge to accepted dogma in Pseudoscience is often considered a hostile act that leads to bitter disputes.
SCIENCE: Observations of data are often not consistent with current scientific understanding, though they do generate intense interest for additional study among scientists. Original observations and data are made accessible to all interested parties to support this effort.
PSEUDOSCIENCE: Observations of data that are not consistent with established beliefs tend to be ignored or actively suppressed. Original observations and data are often difficult to obtain from pseudoscience practitioners, and often just anecdotal.
HERE ARE SOME WORLD RENOUNCED SCIENTIST WHO HAVE JUMPED SHIP THUS FAR:
One of the world most eminent climate scientist, for several decades a “warmist”, has defected to the to the climate skeptic camp. Lennart Bengtsson a Swedish climatologist, meteorologist, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg and winner, in 2006, of the 51st IMO Price of the world Meteorological Organization for his pioneering work and numerical weather prediction- is by some margin the most distinguished scientist to change sides. Some time ago he signaled his move to the enemy camp by agreeing to join the advisory council (http://www.thegwpf.org/lennart-bengtsson-he-knows-how-little-we-know/) of Britain’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the think tank established by an arch skeptical former Chancellor Lord Lawson. Judith Curry- American climatologist and chair of the School of the Earth and Atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology is another example. Though still a self-described “Luke warmer”, Curry was probably the most senior member of the “warmist” establishment, up until Bengtsson’s defection to fraternize with the enemy. This has earned her the badge of honor of being labeled “anti-science” by Michael Mann. In her blog climate ETC she tries to encourage climate alarmists to show a sense of proportion and admits of their knowledge. (http://www.judithcurry.com/2014/05/06/u-s-national-climate-assessment-report/#more-15436).