Is it a simple matter to distinguish a scientific argument from a pseudo-scientific argument
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Mankind has always endeavored to understand the world and its surroundings, to know and understand how and why things happen. Through this, both science and pseudo-science was born. A pseudo-science is something that claims to be scientific, but really isn’t. Some examples of pseudo-science include things like astrology, numerology, and other so-called “sciences”. A science tries to explain how and why things happen by creating laws that dictate what nature does. The laws of a scientific argument are based upon the hypotheses of scientists.
In order for a hypothesis to become a theory, it must be tested meticulously. The best way to prove it true is by proving it false. If the argument or hypothesis succeeds the test, then it is one step closer to being proven true. The more times it is proven true, the higher the probability of it being completely true. Inductively, after it has been proven true a number of times, it must be true. However, logically, it can never really be proven completely true, since it would take an infinite number of tests to do so.
A pseudo-science argument is similar, in that it has laws. However, these laws are mostly restatements of known facts. For example, in astrology, they make claims about what you are like based on what day you were born. The things astrologists say, however, are things that are statistically common for those people. They are also very vague, making the chances of being wrong increasingly low. Also, they can be interpreted in many different ways, allowing for unbelievable flexibility in their predictions.
A proven pseudo-scientific argument (theory) can always be proven right, which may seem good; however, in most cases, they can never truly be tested and seem to just explain everything known. They may be correct, but that doesn’t make them anymore scientific. If there is no way to prove it wrong, then it really can’t be proven right, either. A large problem of knowledge exists in whether one believes an argument is scientific or pseudo-scientific due to different reasoning.
If someone believes aliens are monitoring humans from a different planet or are exchanging technology with the government, a knower might perceive the argument as being pseudo-scientific because it cannot be proven wrong, while another might perceive it to be scientific because he/she has observed it. Science, then, must be able to be prove an argument or hypothesis right by attempting to prove it wrong. A pseudo-science, on the other hand, is proven right by finding things that show that it is right. You can’t prove a pseudo-scientific argument wrong, because it seems to always be right.
They are both inductive ways of proving things, but the scientific way is a little better and makes it easier to distinguish whether the argument is in fact scientific or pseudo-scientific, since it can survive an attempt to falsify it. A man named Popper developed a method, like the traditional scientific method, but more scientific. The method stated that after an argument has been made, rather than attempting to prove it right, a knower attempts to falsify it. If the argument holds true, it is then a truly scientific theory, and not a pseudo-scientific theory.
Basically, it encompasses the criterion for a scientific theory. This makes it really easy to distinguish a scientific argument from a pseudo-scientific argument, since the pseudo-scientific argument can’t even be tested by Popper’s method. Hume’s method states the strength of an argument should be a product of repetition. The critical attitude is a way of trying to establish an argument rather than trying to prove its genuineness. Popper believed then that the critical attitude is identified with the scientific attitude and that the assertive attitude is associated with the pseudo-scientific argument.
Therefore, Popper’s method can be used to show that a truly scientific argument is true. It is not very hard to distinguish a pseudo-scientific argument from a scientific argument as long as the knower understands the definitions of pseudo-science and science and knows the difference between the two. A pseudo-scientific argument can’t be tested by Popper’s method, making it rather obvious that it isn’t a truly scientific theory. A scientific argument must be able to have someone trying to falsify it, or it really isn’t a theory, but a restatement of an already known fact.