Pseudoscience & Denialism – Not Always Loaded Words

Pseudoscience… Denialism… Skepticism…

These terms are usually not neutral in connotation, and often loaded, but this is not always the case.

Some operative definitions are in order:

I’ve previously given a workable definition of Pseudoscience here…

And Phil Plait gives a good distinction between Denialism and Skepticism here…

These terms have very precise meanings when used by scientists and skeptics, though they are often dialogue-stoppers when used carelessly, especially when used to refer to other peoples’ ideas without good reason…

But there are times that they’re appropriate when you have to call things like they are, and name a spade a spade.

Who is right? Who is wrong? The best way to find out is to use science itself as the criterion, since that’s what works better than anything else in the tangible results department. It’s what Carl Sagan once said ‘delivers the goods.’ And it’s what demonstrably works that gets to be used as the benchmarks for what these terms actually mean.

If of course you are using them to merely deride well-established ideas that disagree with your subjective feelings, your illusions, wishes, delusions, opinions, or personal ideology, and focusing mostly on mere suspicions of the biases and personal motives of those you disagree with, then I’m sorry, that’s denialism, not science.

For me, it’s good to be conscientious when dealing with some people, and often a wasted effort with others…

Let’s face it, the thinking of some fringers often seems to come from Mars, and these types you can’t reason with, but I find it best to attack ideas, not people, save those who willfully and dishonestly promote these ideas with the claims they make to bilk, harm, or misguide innocent people.

One thought on “Pseudoscience & Denialism – Not Always Loaded Words

  1. Pingback: Musings from the Peanut Gallery « The Call of Troythulu – musings of a skeptophrenic

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